We in this country, because of our geographical position-I am not criticizing for the moment but I think this is a fact-felt we had to make some compromise between the two positions, and we did give away, rightly or wrongly, the preference on some two hundred articles or more in order to get some hoped for benefits out of the United States market. Whatever the situation may be, sir, we know that trade on the triangle has virtually gone. Figures have been given, and I do not want to weary the house with respect to them again, but our trade with Great Britain has diminished until last year our exports to Great Britain fell off some thirty-four per cent; our exports to other countries, outside of the United States, fell off by some twenty per cent, whereas our exports to the United States increased to a substantial degree. Instead of a triangle you have at the best a two-way street. For the sake of argument I will admit for the moment it is a two-way street, but it is a street, sir, which could be mined very easily. It is a street on which land blocks could be established, if not an iron curtain dropped. We could very easily find ourselves in the position where it became a one-way street or no street at all but simply a meandering path on which the grass will grow. Then, our trade will wither and disappear, because we have lost those traditional markets to which we have been accustomed; markets which we in the east have to depend upon if our economy is going to be maintained. It is for that reason we look upon Torquay with misgiving and with doubt.
So far as these concessions are concerned we feel that our government has gone about as far as it felt it could go. Other conference countries, commonwealth countries, refused to go that far. The United States has refused to go any farther. We know that sooner or later this government, or some other government, will have to make up its mind just what position we are going to take in the trading of the world in the future. Certainly, we hope for multilateral trade. Certainly, we hope for a lessening of the trade barriers. But, sir, I think we have to be practical. Living in this world today we have to realize how, not fantastic perhaps, but how very flimsy may be these hopes. This preference is more than a matter of trade to those of us
in the east. Written into the trade agreements of the past there is the benefit of direct shipment, and the fact that preference will only apply to shipments made from the ports of origin in the commonwealth to a port on a river, lake or seaboard in Canada without transshipment.
In his statement the other night the Minister of Finance stated we had safeguarded the principle of preference. I am not quarrelling with that for the moment at all. It is for the future to determine. Since we gave away the benefits on at least two hundred items, then we automatically lost the benefits of direct shipment on those articles coming into Canada. They will now go into New York or Boston.
Subtopic: TORQUAY NEGOTIATIONS