July 10, 1956 (22nd Parliament, 3rd Session)


Anton Bernard Weselak


Mr. A. B. Weselak (Springfield):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with considerable interest to the speeches which have been made in the course of this debate. The amendment urges this government to take such steps as will ensure the greater processing of our raw materials in Canada. A great deal has been said in the course of this debate regarding the trade deficit which Canada suffers from at the present time in her trading relations. I think it is only common sense to recognize that any country which is experiencing the industrial development and expansion which Canada is experiencing today requires a great deal of specialized equipment, tooling equipment and other items to expand her industrial potential. I think a striking example of this is the pipe which is being imported into Canada at the present time for the construction of the trans-Canada pipe line which eventually will add a great deal to the industrial development and indeed to production in this country of ours.
In discussing the trade deficit a great deal has been made of the statement that Canada

is suffering an increasing trade deficit as a result of her trading relations. Very little has been said in the course of this debate about the increase in exports which this country is experiencing throughout the world.
In the mail this morning I received the dominion bureau of statistics daily bulletin for Monday, July 9, and the first paragraph makes interesting reading as far as this debate is concerned. The section is headed: Domestic Exports in May Reached Record Value and Volume
The article states:
Canada's domestic exports reached an all-time high record total for a month of $428,501,000 in May, topping last year's May total of $367,100,000 by 16-7 per cent and bettering the previous monthly peak of $411,700,000 in June, 1953 by slightly more than 4 per cent, dominion bureau of statistics reports in its monthly summary. In the first five months of this year exports to all countries advanced 11-6 per cent to $1,846,300,000 from $1,654,200,000 a year earlier. The volume of exports, also a record, rose 12-5 per cent in May and 7-9 per cent in the 5-month period, while prices averaged 3-8 per cent higher in May and 3-4 per cent in the cumulative period.
I submit, Mr. Speaker, that these export figures indicate an expansion in our industrial economy which is going forward apace.
On the second page of this bulletin are some rather interesting figures in so far as the group values of exports are concerned. These figures are given in millions, with comparisons for the same period last year. Agricultural and vegetable products, $358 million as compared with $297 million last year; animals and animal products, $102 million as compared with $101 million last year; fibres, textiles and products, $8 million as compared with $7 million last year; wood, wood products and paper, $612 million as compared with $597 million last year; iron and products, $154 million as compared with $128 million last year; nonferrous metals and products, $356 million as compared with $326 million last year; non-metallic minerals and products, $110 million as compared with $71 million last year; chemicals and allied products, $98 million as compared with $92 million last year; miscellaneous products, $44 million as compared with $32 million last year. Across the whole range there has been a substantial increase in our exports in the 5-month period this year as compared with last year.
Then, if we look at the main commodities themselves which are entering into our export trade, I think we can get some idea as to what percentage of those commodities form the raw materials to which the Leader of the Opposition has made reference. At the top of the list we have newsprint paper, a fully processed commodity. We find that in the 67509-371
Natural Resources-Development 5-month period of this year exports of this item have increased from $267 million to $290 million. Wheat, which is incapable of processing, and is generally shipped in its natural state, has increased from $134 million to $191 million. Planks and boards dropped slightly from $151 million to $131 million. Wood pulp, which is capable of further processing, increased from $118 million to $125 million. Nickel increased from $89 million to $93 million. Copper and products increased from $59 million to $85 million. Aluminum and products dropped from $88 million to $80 million. Fish and fishery products rose from $45 million to $46 million. Farm machinery and implements are at the same figure, $42 million.
In this whole range of products which are set out on this sheet, actually the only products which are capable of further processing are wood pulp, nickel in some instances, copper in some instances, zinc in some instances and iron ore. These are our main export commodities, and a very small portion of them is made up of commodities that are capable of further processing in Canada. In this respect, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some comparisons between 1939 and 1954.
It is true that in this 15-year period our exports of raw materials increased by 288 per cent but alongside this export of raw materials we find that in this period the index on durable manufactures rose from 107-9 per cent to 297-9 per cent or an increase of 277 per cent, which is less than the increase in our export of raw materials. The index on non-durable manufactures rose from 108-2 to 222-4 or an increase of 206 per cent. I think these figures indicate that where it has been economically feasible secondary industries have been established in Canada at a pace which compares favourably with the increase in our exports of raw material.
If we look at the exports we find that exports of partially and fully manufactured goods have risen in that period from $511 million to $1,846 million or an increase of 361 per cent which is far in excess of the percentage increase of our export of raw materials. Our total export of raw materials in 1954 amounted to $1,082 million. It is interesting to note that of this total figure 75 per cent comprises agricultural and other products which are generally exported in their natural and unprocessed state. The remaining 25 per cent or roughly $304 million were mineral and forest products which are quite capable of further processing.
In the same period in 1954 we imported $473 million worth of raw materials of the

Natural Resources-Development same category and this figure indicates, as the Minister of Trade and Commerce and other speakers have stated, that we are a net importer of raw materials to the tune of roughly $170 million in the year 1954 and not net exporters.
The official opposition in this house has advocated that a policy be adopted by this government of encouraging the maximum processing of raw materials within this country. In the course of the speeches which we have heard I do not think that any definite statement has been made by the Conservative opposition as to how they would achieve this end or just what actually would be done by them, should they form the government, to increase the industrial production in this country. However, I recall that the manufacturers' association of Canada were not quite as wary as the Conservative party concerning what means they would suggest be employed to achieve this end. They stated point-blank that they felt the tariff structure in this country was not such as to encourage the expansion of secondary industries. I believe the figures I have quoted indicate there has been a progressive expansion of industry in Canada and that industries have located themselves in this country where they have found it profitable to do so.
I do not think that in this country there is a lack of businessmen with sufficient foresight that where an industry can be established within the country which can compete with other industries in the home and the world market any opportunity would be overlooked by those businessmen to establish such an industry within Canada.
If the only answer lies in the suggestion of the manufacturers' association, then the work which has been done over the past 25 years in encouraging international trade would be lost. In addition to that we would create in and for Canada a state of economic isolation. We would try to reach absolute self-sufficiency at the cost of isolating ourselves from the trading markets of the world. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that if we were to follow that policy we would be going against the record of history. A reading of history indicates to me that in 1930 this method was tried. We tried to isolate ourselves from the other markets of the world and endeavoured to create tariff walls to prevent other people from bringing their goods into this country in competition with our own industrial development. The government of that time no doubt sincerely felt this was the answer, but before its reign was over it found this was
[Mr. Weselak.J
not the answer, and in 1932 the British preferential tariff was brought in in an effort to open the markets of the world to our primary production.
In 1935 the Liberal government came into power and in 1937 a statement of policy was adopted by Mackenzie King in which he stated that this party would bend every effort toward breaking the shackles which prevent free international world trade. I think this government has done that because in the period during which it has been in power protective tariffs in Canada have been reduced by close to 40 per cent and during that period our trade relations with other countries have increased tremendously and our exports have also increased proportionately. By adherence to GATT and bilateral agreements with such countries as Japan and the U.S.S.R. we have opened new markets particularly for our farm products and we expect these markets will be of great benefit to us in the future.
If we were to follow the suggestion of the opposition to its logical conclusion, it would appear to me we would have no alternative but to create an atmosphere wherein we would establish in this country uneconomic secondary industries which would not be capable of competing in the world markets without a certain amount of subsidization or protection. I suggest that the creation of this atmosphere would have an adverse effect upon the economy of this country. If we were to use protection as a means of achieving this end we would soon find we would lose our markets throughout the world.
As has been aptly said, trade is a two-way street. We must buy a certain amount from other countries in order to receive an open port into their markets, and I think this experience is illustrated by the bilateral agreements which have recently been concluded with Russia and which two years ago were concluded with Japan. On the other hand, if we were to try to subsidize these markets we would of necessity have to tax the people in order to meet the cost of such subsidization. If we were to sponsor or force uneconomic industries to establish themselves in this country we would possibly, as I have said, lose our world markets. We would be restricted to our own local markets and as a result we would naturally have to restrict our primary production because we would have no market for it.
This is a serious thing to us in western Canada. Our primary production through agriculture in western Canada is very great. We are dependent for approximately 70 per cent of our production in grain or foreign

markets, particularly in wheat. The expansion of the discovery of raw materials in western Canada has been encouraged by the markets which have been made available for these products and the effect of the development of raw resources in the western provinces is that there have been established service industries and other light industries which are required to service the raw material industry which has been developed as the result of the discovery of such materials, and they are continuing to develop and establish themselves in those particular provinces.
In my own constituency we have a very large pulp and paper mill which is dependent practically completely upon foreign markets. We have recently had brought about mineral developments in the Bird river and Cat lake areas where many metals are being discovered and which are presently being developed and mine shafts being sunk. If we were to adopt the policy of restricting our exports I am sure that these industries would definitely suffer. In my view, this proposition which has been put before the house should be scrutinized very closely. It has many implications which, if carried to their logical conclusion, would certainly have a serious and bad effect upon the economy of the country.

Topic:   TABLE I
Full View