Hon. CLIFFORD SIFTON (Brandon).
Mr. Chairman, I agree with what has been said by members of the House who have preceded me respecting the very great importance of the question we are now discussing. I have found it the most important question which has come before this House since I have had the honour of being a member of it, and when I say frankly to the committee that the result of my investigation has been to lead me to the conclusion that I cannot follow the leader of the party with which I have been identified practically all my lifetime it will be very evident that to me at least it is an extremely important question. A difference with the political party with which I have been associated all my lifetime must necessarily be of an extremely painful character. With the members of the government I am and always have been upon the best and closest possible terms politically and socially. Some of the members of the government I regard as my closest personal friends. And, away back in the county of Brandon there are a great many men who for 23 years have been my supporters, who, I am quite satisfied, will find great difficulty in understanding why I find it necessary to vote against the party with which they and I have been identified so long. It will be readily understood, Sir, under those circumstances, that my convictions upon the subject are extremely strong. Twenty years ago the Liberal party had as its policy a policy of unrestricted reciprocity. As a young man, young in public life at that time, I followed the leaders of my party; I took an active part in that election. There are I think some gentlemen in the House here against whom I spoke in that campaign, anci to the best of my ability I endeavoured to convince the electors whom I addressed that the policy of my party was a wise and a prudent policy. I am free to say, Mr. Chairman, that almost before the campaign was over I had succeeded in convincing myself that we were wrong. From that time on my views have undergone, perhaps a gradual, but a steady and a certain change. When the tariff was revised in 1897 I was satisfied that the tariff as we adopted it at that time represented a good policy for the Dominion of Canada and possibly the best policy we could adopt. And, ever since 1898, when under the Joint High Commission efforts were made to secure some kind of reciprocity with the United States, my conviction has been strengthening in that direction. A couple of years ago I had the honour of Mr. BUREAU.
delivering an address in New York in the Chamber of Commerce of that great city, and I indicated pretty clearly at that time, though to a somewhat hostile audience, what my views are.
Now, I am well aware, Mr. Chairman that it is a matter of possibly small concern as to when and how my opinion has been arrived at, but I will ask the House to pardon me for mentioning the facts which show that my opinion on this subject is not a spasmodic or suddenly formed opinion, but is the mature conviction which comes to me as the result of something over twenty years of pretty close contact with the affairs of Canada. Some of my newspaper friends have intimated that there was some mystery about my opinions upon this subject. I have not sought to make any mystery of them. I have perhaps avoided discussing the subject with my political friends because I did not desire that any of them should feel that I was endeavouring to induce them to adopt my opinions, and I did not desire to say anything to any of my Liberal friends except what I was prepared to say in the presence of the members of the government and in the presence of the House. But what I have to say about that is this. We have in the Dominion of Canada pretty strong party ties. We do not leave our party for small reasons. We do not leave our party because it happens to do something that we do not at the moment approve of-because it builds a bridge or a court house or a public building or even a railroad that we do not think necessary at the time. We have a pretty strong idea with regard to party allegiance, and my conviction is that it is a good thing and contributes to the stability of government that we have that idea. But it must be remembered nevertheless that, the reason why we adhere to a political party is that party in general represents the principles that we think ought to be applied to the government of the country; and when one's party is led to apply principles which are of fundamental and far-reaching importance, affecting the whole national structure, and one feels that he cannot conscientiously adopt or follow those principles, then, Mr. Chairman, his party allegiance is necessarily dissolved, and if he desires to retain his own self-respect, it becomes absolutely necessary for him to decline to follow that of which he does not approve. That is the position in which I find myself to-day; and, however, painful the process may be, I take the only course which I can take and retain my self-respect.
Getting away from that subject let me say a word or two in regard to the conduct of the debate by the government. I think the House has a little fault to
find, justifiably, with my hon. friends who have charge of the debate for the government. There has never been, since 1879, so important an alteration in the tariff as proposed in these resolutions; and when alterations of an extensive character are made, it has always been customary to make very thorough and complete inquiries of the most expert and detailed character. Otherwise it is impossible that those who are acting should really know what they are doing. When other countries undertake work of this kind, such inquiries are made. I wonder if the House is aware of the fact that when the last German revision of their tariff was made, 20,000 experts were employed for the purpose of collecting and collating information for the benefit of the government and for the -benefit of the parliamentary body which subsequently had to act upon their report. In England the Board of Trade experts act. Here we have generally had a collection of detailed information which was available when the debate came on in the House, and which the ministers in charge gave for the benefit of the members of the House. Now, I think we should have had the information which is necessary for the discussion of this question given us by the government. I think we should have had a full and clear statement as to the effects of this treaty upon our relations with the favoured nations. Members of the opposition have, by questioning, elicited from our hon. friends a good deal of information; but I venture the opinion that there is not a single member of this House outside of the government who now knows whether he is in possession of the whole information or not. Then, we should have had, I think, some comparative statements of prices. This whole question relates to markets and to prices. It would have been a comparatively small matter for a body of experts employed by the government to have got for us a comparative list of the prices of the principal commodities, in the United States, in Canada, and in the other countries concerned. But we have not received it. Neither have we the information, unless we dig it out of the blue-,books for ourselves, with great labour, and sometimes with the liability to make mistakes, as we have had evidence of once or twice in the debate already, with regard to the production of the various commodities by the countries concerned. Generally this has been done by the government and generally some member of the government has made it his business properly to place before the House the case for the government for the proposals that are made. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance never speaks except with that ability and cleverness which we all admire, and it was quite as much in Mr. SIFTON.
evidence in the address that he gave us in introducing these resolutions as it ever was in this House. But I do not think my hon. friend would claim that in that address he undertook to argue the merits of these proposals in detail. Neither did my hon. friend the Minister of Customs. If the committee desires to know just what I mean by this criticism, let them look at the speech which the Finance Minister delivered on the Grand Trunk Pacific resolutions, or at one of the speeches which my hon. friend the Minister of Customs has often delivered in this House in the budget debates, and they will see the kind of a case which our hon. friends can make when they desire to do it and have the material. I would conclude that either our hon. friends in the [DOT] government have not made the investigation and do not possess the facts, or else that the facts do not bear out the contention which they put forward.
Before going into this question of prices, I desire to say that I dissent altogether from the proposition that everybody in Canada has been in favour of reciprocity with the United States for the last forty years. I do not know of any warrant at all for the statement that both the parties, or that one of the parties, for the last forty years has been in favour of reciprocity. There can be no doubt that the Liberal party was in favour of reciprocity twenty years ago; there can be no doubt that in the platform of 1893 there was what might be called a look at reciprocity; and there .can be no doubt that later on, I think it was in 1898, under the Joint High Commission, the right hon. leader of the government attempted to get some measure of reciprocity from the United States. But there is equally no doubt that when the Joint High Commission ceased to act, the right hon. gentleman expressly made his position clear, and that in the general election of 1900, in the election of 1904, and in the election of 1908, there was no mention whatever of reciprocity by either of the parties. As a member of the government in the first two of those elections I should be credited at least with having a general idea of the policy of the government of which I was a member, and I dp not think there would be any individual in Canada more surprised than I if I had been told in either of those elections that it was a part of the policy of the government to seek reciprocity. If there was anything that was clearer than another in connection with the policy of the two political parties in those three successive general elections, it was that neither of them made any claim to advocate the policy of reciprocal trade relations with the United States.
I agree with what has been said that
the government lias no mandate to make these proposals. I do not mention that .point because of a desire to fill up the cup or to aggravate the argument against my bon. friends, and I furthermore say that I think oppositions very often say what can hardly be supported on grounds of reason or law in opposition to what is done by governments on the ground that they have no mandate. But I do not think the principles which often apply, apply in this case. We have not, it is true, a system of government by delegation. Our governments are not elected to do specific things; that is not the nature of our constitution. We are elected under a very wide system of parliamentary responsibility, and a great discretion is vested in the House of Commons, and in the government which is the executive committee of the House of Commons in connection with the transaction and new business, business which was not discussed when they were before the electors. They may do a great many things that were not discussed when they were before the electors, but they may not constitutionally or properly do everything, and I venture to say that when the fiscal policy of a country has been thoroughly canvassed and settled, discussed, debated and approved in the year 1900, discussed, debated and approved in the year 1904, discussed, debated and approved in the year 1908, that there is no constitutional warrant for the members of the government reversing that policy radically without any consultation and practically without the knowledge of the people. There is a discretion vested in the government, there is a discretion vested in the House of Commons, but Mr. Chairman, it must be remembered that the discretion that is exerciseable by those who occupy important positions under our form of government is not an arbitrary personal discretion, it is a constitutional discretion which must be exercised in accordance with-the principles of the constitution, and the constitutional rights of the people we represent, and I want to say and to say it not as I said simply for the purpose of making another point against my hon. friend, but I want to say that I do not believe, speaking from my own experience and from the experience of many men whom I have met in various walks of life and largely members of the Liberal party, I do not believe that in the recent history of Canada anything has happened which has given to the thinking people of Canada so painful and so sudden a shock as the sudden realization that four or five gentlemen who, by reason of their ability, their years of service and their high position in their party, are in control of the affairs of the dominant political party, can suddenly, of their own motion, without discussion, without debate, without the knowledge of the country, commit the country to a radical change of fiscal policy. That is not, I am bound to say, the doctrine of constitutional government as I was taught it in the Liberal party, and I do not think ihat there could be possibly a more langerous innovation.
Sir, what we are asked to do in these resolutions is to reverse the fiscal policy of the Dominion of Canada. It is interesting to note, although there has been very little discussion of that point, what is the policv which we are asked to reverse and why we are asked to reverse it. The policy was adopted in 1897 after the election which resulted in the right hon. the present leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) taking office. That tariff was described by its own friends, of whom I was and am one, as having first for its most outstanding feature the British preference, second, a readjustment of duties which largely reduce the duties upon articles commonly used by the farming community and, third, a substantial reduction in the duties on the raw materials of manufacturers. Now, it may frankly be said that the system of protection was continued by that tariff. Of that there can be no possible doubt. And it must further be said quite frankly and we can say it without disturbing ourselves particularly at this distance of time-that the tariff of 1897 did not fully implement all the promises or the suggestions which we, the members of the Liberal party, had made in regard to our future policy when we were in opposition. But, Mr. Speaker, the policy which we set forth in the tariff of 1897 was deliberately adopted. All these matters were canvassed and considered before we adopted it. We found, as people generally find when they take office, that there were some things that they thought they could do that they could not do, some things that they intended to do that would do harm to some people, and would not do any good to anybody, and so there were many things that perhaps might have been expected that were not done ; but the tariff of 1897 was deliberately adopted after full and careful consideration, we went to the country in 1900 upon that tariff and submitted it to the judgment of the people wdio had put us in office. We were open to attack then on the ground that we had not fully carried out our pledges, both by our opponents and by our political friends, and, speaking for myself as having conducted largely the discussion on behalf of the government in a very large section of the country which was committed to my charge, I say that no phase of that subject was left untouched. It was discussed and rediscussed at every campaign meeting that was held. We placed the matter before the people, we explained the reasons for the action we had taken, we submitted those reasons to the people, we submitted ourselves to their judgment, and
the result was that their judgment upheld us, and that the tariff was approved. It was my opinion then, whatever that opinion might have been worth, little or much, that it was the best tariff that we could adopt. It was only an opinion but as time has gone on, and that tariff policy has been practically unchanged in any very important particular since 1897, I have become thoroughly and completely convinced that the tariff policy which we adopted at that time, which embraced the principle of moderate protection applicable to all classes of the community, is the best policy that the Dominion of Canada can adopt, a policy that it will be most unsafe and most unwise to radically change. One feature, an especially important feature, of that policy, was the British preference. The British preference has been discussed a great deal. Some of our friends from the opposition side of the House have sought to minimize its effects because we were buying largely from the United States, but I do not think that that argument is a good or a sound argument. The imports from Great Britain under the British preference have grown from twenty-nine millions odd in 1897 to ninety-five millions in 1910 ; the increase has been 320 per cent, and it is no answer to the argument that that preference is an effective preference to say that for other and very special reasons we are importing large quantities of goods from the United States for the benefit largely of our own manufacturers. The British preference is a substantial preference. It is suggested that it is likely to be substantially increased, and on that point, while I am dealing with the general question of policy, I desire to express myself clearly and fully. Nobody was a more enthusiastic supporter of the British preference when it was adopted than I was, but I think that there are limits to the extent to which we can go even in cutting the tariff of Canada in favour of the manufacturers of Great Britain as against the manufacturers of Canada. And I am not disposed to say that I would support a substantial increase in the British preference, made, as I understand it. at the expense of deserving Canadian industries for the purpose of putting back into the hands of Great Britain trade which, by this reciprocity arrangement we are taking away and giving to the United States. I cannot see that there is any sound business wisdom in that operation. I cannot see that there is any possible ground for taking such steps as will result in the closing up of Canadian factories doing business at a small margin of profit, so long as they are furnishing their goods to the people of this country at reasonable rates.
What have been the results of the policy which we are following ? The figures Mr. SIFTON.
which indicate the great progress and prosperity of Canada have been quoted in this House ad nauseam. I should not repeat them here. We know how the population has grown; we know how our public revenue, our foreign trade and the deposits in our banks have grown; we know that in the last twelve or fifteen years the Dominion of Canada has prospered more abundantly than any other country on the face of the earth. We know this, further, that, man for man, the people of Canada are better off than any other population of similar numbers that we can point to. Our farmers are prosperous; our labourers are well paid; thefe is no unemployment in Canada-almost an unknown thing in any country of the extent and population of ours-there is practically no poverty, except what is due to drink, vice, sickness or other cause which does not depend at all upon the prosperity or want of prosperity of the country; we are receiving an enormous immigration; there is a demand for every man who comes in the shape of a labourer, and still an insistent demand for more labour; and there is a rapid development of our resources. And there is one other thing which is of the utmost importance in the condition of our business position, and that is the enormous growth of the home market, which has been built up in Canada during the last tern or twelve years, and which, in my judgment, accounts more than anything else for the steadiness of prices which our farmers are receiving for their products.
_ Now, is this prosperity that we are enjoying, a sound prosperity? Very often the charge is made, when a country is prosperous, that its prosperity is unsound, that it is a hothouse growth; and that charge is almost always made if the country is working under a protective system. And that charge is generally true if the protection is excessive or not properly adapted to the wants of the community. Now, it is possible-by reason of the fact that an exhaustive inquiry has been made of an economic character under the direction of one of the members of the government-to collate a few facts which show conclusively what our position in that respect is. A volume has been issued under the direction of my hon. friend the Minister of Labour (Mr. King), dealing with the subject of wholesale prices, which work I regard as perhaps the most valuable contribution to the economic literature of Canada that I know of. That volume, setting forth the statistics of wholesale prices, enables us to follow accurately the movement of prices which affect the well-being of the various classes of the community. In the consideration of this question, the Minister of Labour and his expert assistants, took as the
basis for comparison, the decade which runs from 1890 to 1899. I find by this report, that, in the year 1909, the prices of the commodities to which I shall refer, have risen by the amount which I shall give as compared with the average of the decade, from 1890-1899:
Grain and fodder, including thirteen selected standard commodities, have risen in value 49-9 per cent; cattle and cattle products, hogs and hog products, sheep and sheep products, fowl and turkeys, have risen 48-6 per cent; dairy products have risen 33 per cent. Now, foT the purposes of comparison, let us make a different division: Crude farm products have risen
37-3 per cent; manufactured farm products have risen 34 1 per cent; average for crude and manufactured farm products, of 35 7 per cent.
This is what the farmer sells. Now, consider what he buys. He buys imported foods, woollen goods, cotton goods, boots and shoes, metals and implements. The average increases of these commodities are as follows: imported goods, decreased 4 per cent; woollen goods increased 23-3 per cent; cotton goods increased 25 per cent; boots and shoes increased 25 per cent; metals and implements increased 2-4 per cent; an average of all these of 14-3 per cent.
Thus, we see that the staple lines of goods which account for at least nineteen-twentieths of the average farmer's expenditure, have increased 14-3 per cent, while the goods which he sells, have increased 35 -7 per cent. There you have an absolutely conclusive demonstration of the position of the two classes of the community. There you have proof of the fact that the urban community is not living at the expense of the farmer, but the farmer himself is getting more than his share of the general prosperity of the community. So, then, we have prosperity, soundness, and- what else ? Independence; an independent market for everything we raise and everything we sell. The local market of Canada takes from 80 to 90 per cent of everything raised in Canada by our farming population. Where do we send the rest? VVe send it to the great, free, open market of Great Britain, from which market nothing but our own foolishness can possibly exclude us. So, we have prosperity, soundness and absolute independence in our markets.
Now, the proposition is made that we revolutionize the fiscal policy under which these results have been attained. And what will be the effect of this proposed revolution in our fiscal policy ? I do not intend to overstate it or to say anything which can possibly be regarded as overstating it. But I am surely within the mark, when I say that there will be a very great dislocation and disturbance of business, that there will
be individuals who will suffer very great loss, and that even if these individuals succeed in rectifying their position, still, the disturbance for considerable portions of the community will be of a very serious character. As to the general progress of Canada, the production of Canada is so enormous, the immigration is so great, the impetus we have received so strong, the development of our resources so rapid, that no'possible mistake of fiscal policy can prevent this country making enormous progress in the future. Nevertheless, the effects will t\e serious. Let me enumerate what I think will be a few of those effects.
Some industries will be destroyed,-there can be no doubt about that. What reason can be given for drawing your pen through an item of the tariff and thereby shutting up an industry which is not accused of combining as against consumers, of charging illicit prices, or of any other evils?- what reason there can be for selecting that industry and wiping it out of existence, I do not see. I am bound to say that; it does not appeal to my common sense. I think that the meat packing industry of this country will be destroyed. I have given that subject a good deal of consideration. I thought when I saw and read carefully the memorial of the packers, that the meat packing industry would be injured, and I am prepared to say now that if this treaty goes into effect, and continues in effect for any length of time, the big packing industry of the Dominion of Canada will be wiped out. There is no more chance of the meat packing industry standing against the beef trust of the United States than there would be of my standing up against this building if it fell upon me. That is precisely the position in which the meat packers will be put.
I shall not say anything about the fruit and vegetable growers. They will be injured. Their case has been stated by men who know vastly more about it than I do. But I call the attention of my friends in the government to the fact that my hon. friend from Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell) made before this House a full and careful presentation of the case of the fruit growers and vegetable growers; no fairer, no better, no fuller case was ever presented to this House while I have been a member of it, and no answer of any kind has been attempted in connection with that subject. You ask me why I do not support this proposition. Surely, Mr. Chairman, if I had the intelligence to hear a case of that kind presented and no answer made, I must come to the conclusion that no answer can be made.
There will be other large industries affected. There is an enormous industry in existence in the town of Peterborough, the Quaker Oats establishment. The president.
of the company has given an interview, and I have taken the trouble to have the interview verified, because it is not always safe to proceed upon what we see in the newspapers, with all due regard to my journalistic friends. I have taken the trouble to verify that interview with the president, speaking on behalf of the Quaker Oats Company, which is one of the very largest factories in C_anada, and one of the largest consumers of farm produce in Canada, consuming, I believe-I speak subject to correction-40 carloads of farm produce per day. This institution manufactures in the town of Peterborough largely for export, the best possible kind of factory for us to have. It takes the farm produce, it grinds it up, ships it to foreign countries, collects the money, brings it back, and it goes into circulation. We can have no better industry for a farming community than the Quaker Oats industry of Peterborough. Now, eighty per cent of the business of this establishment is done for export. The president of the company says that in the conditions that will exist under the proposed changes in the tariff it will be more convenient and economical for them to manufacture in the United States for export. Their operations in Peterborough, therefore, will be curtailed sixty, seventy, or eighty per cent, with the result that the Dominion of Canada will lose accordingly. Now, I do not at all profess to be able to express an intelligent opinion respecting the business of the Quaker Oats Company, but I call attention to this fact, that these people are not Canadian manufacturers kicking about the duty being taken off when they are manufacturing for the home market. It is easy to understand why a manufacturer would object to a change in a case of that kind. But there is no reason for this company saying that this agreement is against them if it is not. They are not unfriendly to the United States, and they are not unfriendly to our negotiations, and there is no possible reason why we should not accept their statement as being given in good faith.
Will this proposition assist in transferring American capital to the construction of factories in Canada, which has been going on in Canada for several years past at a very rapid rate? Surely we cannot conclude that it will. These factories have been established because it was thought that the fiscal policy of Canada was settled, that we had settled down to a definite fiscal policy, and people came along and built factories here and built factories there, thinking they were perfectly safe. I have no doubt that those who are engaged in putting up factories will continue and complete their work; they cannot afford to do anything else. But is it reasonable to suppose that many business men with money to invest in factories will readily decide to Mr. SIFTON
do so unless they get some definite assurance that what has happened in this particular case is not going to happen again? 1 do not see how they can get the assurance; 1 do not see how it will be possible for parliament to prove that what has been done in this case will not be done in every case in which ministers, with the best motives, may see fit to do it.
Take the question of pulp and paper. The province of Ontario and the province of Quebec have decided, in their wisdom, that it is a good and patriotic policy for them to insist upon their pulpwood being manufactured at home. I am aware that some gentlemen who are of estimable character and good information have said that it is not a wise policy, but I do not believe there are many people in Canada who would agree with them. I believe that there is no policy, no item of policy which has been followed by any of the governments of Canada of late years which has mqt with more universal approval than the action of the government of Ontario, and later of the government of Quebec, in deciding upon the conservation of their resources by securing the largest. possible revenue and benefit from the various resources which they possess. Well, that was the position. It is known of all men that the United States people would like to get cheaper paper made from Canadian pulpwood. Now, if there was anything that was perfectly clear in connection with our tariff relations with the United States, _ and if there was anythifig perfectly clear in connection with the paper and pulp question, it was that all the Dominion of Canada had to do was to sit down and wait, and leave the subject severely alone. That obviously was all that ought to have been done. We have not done that. We find this clause introduced into the treaty. What does it say? If it means what our negotiators intended it to mean, it means this, that there is a bonus put upon the abrogation of the regulations which the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario have made. It does not mean that the regulations are abrogated, because this parliament has no power to abrogate them; but it means that we put a bonus upon their abrogation, and that is the worst possible thing that we could do.
Take this question of our perishable products that we send to Great Britain. My hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) dealt with that. He is familiar with the subject, and my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher), who, I understand is to follow me, is more familiar with it, perhaps, than any man m the House. But it is a fact that, for years there was difficulty in finding a market for our perishable products. The country went to work and educated the farmers to prepare their products for the British market, instituted cold storage, under the Depart-
ment of Agriculture, upon steamships, induced the steamship companies to put it in, provided for connections in Great Britain, and did everything possible at great labour, trouble and expense, extending over a period of nearly twenty years, for the purpose of opening up markets for these products' in Great Britain, The policy succeeded entirley. We are sanding those products to Great Britain now, to a great, stable, safe, free market, from which we have never been excluded, a market that is improving all the time, a market in which we are finding fresh extensions and fresh points of advantage every year. What do we propose to do? We propose to ship our stuff to the United States instead and to throw away all the advantage of all the work that we have done, the whole of the cold storage facilities upon the steamships crossing the Atlantic provided for in past years, to break down the business connections we have made, to allow our competitors to go in and take that market, buttress it around in such a way that we can never get into it again, and put ourselves in dependance upon the markets of the United States. How long will they remain open? Nobody knows. It may be one year or five years. Nobody knows. A year ago the United States were brandishing a club over our heads and threatening to impose the surtax upon our goods-only one short year ago. Now, they say that the United States is friendly. Well, perhaps it is. What will it be in a year from now? Does anybody know? Nobody knows. The United States is at the present time, I am told, abrogating the Blaine treaties of reciprocity which were made with the Latin republics a few years ago, without even the courtesy of negotiation or discussion as to the reasons for the abrogation of those treaties. How much better will our position be at any time when an occasion for irritation may arise? There are dozens of things which might happen to cause irritation between the United States, Canada and Great Britain. I could mention to my right hon. friend who leads the government, if I desired to do so, but I do not desire to dd so-it is a matter within everybody's knowledge-some things that might cause irritation between the United States, Great Britain or Canada, not serious enough to have important international consequences but serious enough to make it very desirable for a political party in the United States to court popularity by doing something which might be of an unfriendly character to Great Britain and Canada. Then, when our market is closed, when we have shut ourselves out from Great Britain, what is the position? Sir, we are putting our head into a noose.
What are the compensations? It is 139
said that the farmers will have better prices and better markets. It is very difficult for a private individual to make an exhaustive examination of prices. He can only be expected to go into a limited number of subjects, and his information must necessarily be limited. I have made as careful an examination as I could of the prices of the various staples which the farmers of Canada sell in the open markets, and I have before me the result of that examination. It is not necessary that I should enter into any considerable number of details, but will give you a few of the conclusions which appear to be absolutely established by the facts. First, I will take hogs, one of the most important products of the province of Ontario. The average price in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec is better than it is in the United States. As far as cattle are concerned the prices are variable, and as far as eggs are concerned the prices of the better grades are higher, and of the other grades, lower. It is said that the market for lambs will be good if we get reciprocity with the United States. From the 1st of December up to the present time lambs have been cheaper in Chicago than in Ontario. The best creamery butter sells at a higher price in the United States, but all the lower grades are cheaper, and it seems to be quite clear from an investigation of the market conditions by those who are familiar with the subject, that we shall lose our local market for butter and eggs-in the case of eggs to the United States and in the case of butter to countries like New Zealand, Denmark and possibly Australia. While we may get some advantage by selling a small portion of the higher grade of the product to the United States, we shall lose upon a great portion of the lower grade, which, as everybody knows, is the greater proportion of the product. In poultry the higher grades will be higher and the lower grades will be lower. Hay is one product that is substantially higher in the United States than in Canada. Barley is higher and oats lower. Looking over the whole case, it is not possible to figure out any general advantage to the farmer in getting these markets even if we take prices as they are without having any reference to the general effect upon the market which may take place in other -ways. As -to the quality, everybody knows that there is a perfectly good market for all that our farms produce. There is no glut in the market of Canada if the produce is reasonably prepared, and if it is not reasonably prepared for the market then the United States market will be of no assistance to the man who allows himself to be in that position.
Then, there are some general features of the case which require to be considered.
This, Mr. Chairman, is a conclusion which you cannot possibly escape: Under this
arrangement, which means free trade in farm products, the markets for farm produce will be absolutely dominated by the United States and favoured nation countries. There can be no possible question about that. The meat packing industry will be destroyed. What is happening in some other places? I have taken a clipping from the Ottawa ' Citizen-' of February 25, which has since been confirmed by other information. It is not a political article, but a Canadian press cable, and it is as follows:
London, Feb. 25.-A despatch to the ' Chronicle ' from Melbourne says the federal Minister of Trade and Customs declares that the Australian commonwealth will spare no expense to ' oppose sinister operations of the American meat trust in seeking to control the Australian trade.'
The meat trust in Australia and New Zealand is so sinister in its operations that the government of the commonwealth has to take the field against it, and we are here taking down the barriers and inviting it to come in and dominate the market of Canada. That trust -will oppress pur farmers, it is not a beneficent institution, it is not a philanthropic institution, and when it dominates the market, we will say of Ontario, and any hon. gentleman on this side of the House or on the other side of the House finds that the farmers of his constituency are not getting fair play in the matter of prices, may I ask what that gentleman will do, may I ask what his remedy will be, may I ask how he is going to apply that remedy if he has any? I do not know what the remedy will be. The head office of your trust will be in Chicago or New York, it will be outside of our jurisdiction and there is only one thing we can do, just one thing-"we can put the duty back where it is now and start all over again to build up the local industries which we are threatening to destroy.
The whole tendency of this arrangement (is to induce the farmer to adapt his raw product to the United States market. The whole tendency is to do away with the byproducts which are so essential for intensive farming, the whole tendency is to break down the system of interrelated industries which makes the present prosperity of the province of Ontario and the other provinces. Under that system, Mr. Chairman, brought about by the policy which my hon. friends upon the Treasury Benches have pursued for the last 13 years, the great province of Ontario raised $250,000,000 worth of farm produce last year and nobody heard that there was no market for any of that produce.
Take the province of Quebec-my hon.