January 27, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)


You will have the jitters too, before this is all over. The other day the Minister of Trade and Commerce said they had heard no real protests against this trade treaty. Perhaps not, but there will be plenty of protests yet. I do say that industry is afraid when the Liberal party is in power, 71492-25J
because for the last few years it has been their direct policy continually to chisel, chisel, chisel at the tariffs under which these industries have been operating. Sometimes I am amazed at the childlike simplicity of the Prime Minister, at his belief in the benevolence of those countries with whom we make trade treaties. He believes they would do him no wrong, but in the working out of the treaties we find that they are the sort of countries who would trade a coconut for a peanut any day, and we would get the peanut. I recall a little ditty that I heard in my childhood and which, with a little revamping, fits very well the attitude of the Prime. Minister since 1935 in connection with trade treaties:
Tinker, tinker, little man;
Do your tinkering while you can.
Mischievous tinkering cannot last;
Elections come and your tinkering's past.
The other day the Prime Minister accused our party of being apostles of economic nationalism and of saying that trade was war. He also suggested that we were not being fair to the government in that we continually knocked it. In the first place, Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) said the other day, we are not the apostles of economic nationalism. We are interested in national economics, which is something this government apparently has forgotten. And when the Prime Minister asks us to say something kind and good about this government, why do they not give us a chance to do so? Why do they not do something so that at least we can go to our people, who are worried and harried and wondering what is going to happen in the future, and say, "At least the government are going to do this." Would it not be a good idea for the Prime Minister to take some of that philosophy to heart? Can one forget the campaign that he carried on in 1935? Was there ever a more bitter tirade against a leader or a party than that of the Prime Minister and his supporters in 1935? The Prime Minister accuses us of saying that trade is war. Well, Mr. Speaker, speaking for myself I say yes; trade is war. It is commercial war, and when we make a deal with another country the only way to figure out whether or not that deal is fair to Canada is by the number of lucrative jobs that are given the workingmen of this country as a result of that deal, and the type of market that is given to the farmers at the same time.
The other day we heard two different lines of thought from hon. gentlemen opposite. In his speech the Prime Minister referred to trade
The Address-Mr. Homuth

under the new treaty but dealt more particularly with the treaty from the standpoint of appeasement; that it was necessary to do this; that even if the benefits were not as great as they should be, this was the one thing Canada had to do. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, my fellow representative from Waterloo county, dealt with the question from an entirely different angle; and to my mind, poor as his argument was in regard to the benefits that Canada would receive as a result of this trade treaty, at least he dealt with it strictly from the standpoint of the trade between the two countries. To me that is the right way to deal with it; because under this so-cajled trade treaty from the Prime Minister's standpoint of appeasement, we make a treaty not only with the United States but with Germany, Italy and Japan, while some of the nationals of those very countries are to-day attacking us and trying to undermine the British constitutional system of government. So I ask: What mandate has this government from the people to go out and try to make a trade treaty as a gesture of appeasement to Japan, Germany and Italy? If the safety of the democratic institutions of the United States, Great Britain and Canada is to be predicated only upon the question whether or not we are prepared to sell out our workingmen and farmers to the people of the United States and other countries, then, as reverently as I can, I say God help democracy.
In his speech the other day our leader referred to the question of shoes. The Minister of Trade and Commerce immediately checked him up and quoted figures showing that only some two or three per cent of the shoes used in Canada were brought in from other countries. I still say, Mr. Speaker, that as a result of the trade treaty of 1935 and the trade treaty just negotiated we are going to give work to Czechs, to Germans, to Japanese and to people in the United States, while our own people will be put out of work. But it is not a question alone of how much stuff comes in, because after all we are not going to have the factories closed. Men who own industries dare not close them. Every cent they own is invested in them. They dare not close their doors; they have to keep them going. And so, regardless of what is done with the tariff, they try to keep their industries in operation.
How do they do it? Right to-day, in order to compete with the United States on shoes, manufacturers have to reduce wages in the shoe industry in Canada. They will have to lower the quality of the goods which go into many lines of shoes. It is not a question of how much stuff comes into Canada because

of trade agreements; rather it is a question of what, as a result, will have to be done in our industrial areas in order to compete against conditions in other countries. When the trade agreement is up for discussion I shall be able to show only too plainly that the conditions are just as I have described them. I will give facts and figures which will indicate that even though they are importing shoes to-day, and bringing them into Canada in competition with shoes made in the county of Waterloo and other parts of the country, the consumers in this country will not get them one cent cheaper. They are purchased over there simply on the basis of the amount of write-up that the merchant and wholesaler can put on them.
So that when we look back and read what the Prime Minister said in 1935 as to what he expected the trade treaty to do, we have cause to wonder. I challenge the Minister of Labour to go out to any industrial riding in Canada and say to the people, "As a result of the trade treaty of 1935 we have brought you prosperity." I challenge the Minister of Agriculture to go among the farmers of Canada and say to them, "As a result of the trade treaty of 1935 we have brought you prosperity, as predicted by our leader at that time."

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