May 21, 1951 (21st Parliament, 4th Session)


Arthur Laing


Mr. Arthur Laing (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I will be exceedingly brief, but 1 have heard such a spate of despondency over something that I had persuaded myself we should be overjoyed over, that I think someone should make a statement perhaps with particular reference to his particular part of the country.
I do not know whether the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) has received many compliments from the province of British Columbia, but I am going to say that, if he has not, he should have, over the agreement which has been concluded. The general basis of the criticism has been that we were unable to get into the broad phases of over-all trading the world around. Theoretically, from that criticism we can only deduce that Canada is to be blamed for not taking complete leadership in everything. Perhaps Canada is to be blamed for the condition the world is in, if we carry that proposition to its logical conclusion. It always takes more than one to make a bargain; and in a conference of this kind, it takes a great many more than one to do so.
I have been readin'g the United States periodicals and the British papers, and I have been led to believe that Canada came out best of all of the countries in the conference. We in British Columbia were particularly delighted for a variety of causes. I am going to adopt the policy that was adopted by the opposition when they were dealing with the increase in the sales tax, and quote the decreases percentagewise. In the case of aluminum going into the United States, we secured a reduction of 25 per cent in the United States duty against Canadian aluminum. That is going to mean a tremendous boon to our province of British Columbia because we are getting a huge development by the Aluminum Company of Canada which is going to alter entirely the face of our province, particularly in the region represented by my good friend the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite). That development is going to change the entire face of the province of British Columbia. This reduction will induce the early sale of their product in the United States. In zinc ores there is a reduction of

15 per cent in the duty; in zinc blocks, there is a reduction of 14 per cent. The hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Thatcher) said something to the effect: Oh well, those are
only things that the Americans want anyway. That is not a sound argument, Mr. Speaker. Of course they are things that the Americans want; but likewise they are things of which the Americans themselves produce vast quantities; and the reduction of their duty against our product makes it that much easier for our product to enter their markets. He seemed to indicate that we had given reductions in American manufactured goods. Why, of course! I understood that it was Canada's policy to have multilateral trade, to trade with everybody who would trade with us. A trading arrangement is a twoway street, as one of the hon. gentlemen opposite has already said. In order to get you have to give something. I think for the manufactured goods and the concessions that we have given we have reduced the cost of those goods to our Canadian consumers by that much, and it will not affect Canadian enterprise in any particular.
The next item to which I am going to make reference is the most important item of all, namely, Douglas fir plywood. We secured a reduction in the United States market of 50 per cent; in other words, a reduction from 40 per cent down to 20 per cent. This is of redoubled importance to us because it means a further manufacturing of our timber resources. There was a time in British Columbia when we British Columbians used to look askance at people who came along with rafts of logs with the bark on and threw them into the holds of boats which went to Japan. After that the best we could do for many years was to sell what we called squares. They too were manufactured abroad into finer lumber, or finished lumber. This agreement means that we are getting the most out of our lumber when we put it into plywood; and the plywood manufacturers in my riding tell me that even at 40 per cent they were almost able to get into the United States market. They tell me that at 20 per cent they will now have no difficulty at all. And we were wise enough to secure a reduction in the steel knives which cut our plywood, and they are a terrific expense. They are a knife I think of about 30 or 32 inches, and I think they run somewhere in the neighbourhood of $300 a piece, and they wear out fairly rapidly. We secured a reduction in those knives. The best knives are made in the United States, although they come from European countries as well. But the great development there is that we are going further with our manufacturing. And 80709-207i
Trade Agreements
today in broom handles, in paint brushes and in other things we also have advantages in that market, and now in plywood. I would suggest that we are getting out of our lumber resources three labour dollars for every one that we took 20 years ago. That is of tremendous advantage to British Columbia.
We have obtained a reduction in that market in canned salmon of 40 per cent. I do not know how great that may be to us in British Columbia. I rather imagine that we have pretty adequate markets for our salmon in British Columbia at the present , time; but I want to emphasize that this is a long-range deal. Had anything of this nature been announced in our province in the period 1925 to 1940 it would have been greeted as the greatest news that ever came to our province; and if there is any tendency at the present time just to accept it as another announcement it is because our industries are exceedingly busy at the present time, and have markets for nearly all the products that they can produce. But again I say this is a long-range proposition, and we should solidify and consolidate it as time goes on.
As I said, I wanted to speak just for a very few minutes, because after being a loyal Canadian I am a loyal British Columbian, and this agreement is of tremendous advantage to our province. I should like to say that our people in British Columbia are almost unanimously of that opinion, too. We have in this country today I think only two great sources of money to keep everything going. One is the wages of labour, and the second great source is the annual income of the Canadian farms from cash crops.
As a result of this agreement we are certainly going to step up the industrialization of the province of British Columbia, which is already a very great industrial empire. I should like to add my few words to those which the minister himself graciously gave to the splendid staff that Canada sent over there, headed by Hector McKinnon. I know some of the other men in agriculture, and in various other phases who accompanied the mission, and who I think did a magnificent job for Canada within the territory in which they were permitted to work.

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