January 27, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)


If I can move them, I certainly will do so. I am sorry if I have not shown the hon. gentleman that that is what I am trying to do. And I hope he will speak from his place on this question and that he will implore the Government, as I am imploring it, to take action.
Now, I come to another matter in which Canada stands at a disadvantage with respect to the iron question. Not only on the question of pig iron are we handicapped, but on the question of what is known as scrap iron as well. Scrap iron is used in conjunction with the ore in all the smelters; I have seen it used in Midland, and it is used elsewhere. Last year we imported from the United States no less than 54,000 tons of scrap iron. The duty is only $1 per ton, and as the price is about $14 a ton, the duty is about 7 per cent. I am sorry the Minister of Finance is not in his place tonight, because I should wish to address myself to him particularly in regard to one matter in relation to which the iron duties are of the greatest importance. A few years ago, before the change of Government, in answer to the request and demand of the agricultural implement manufacturers, and at an evil moment for the iron industry in this country, Hon. Mr. Fielding made the concession of reducing the duty on agricultural implements. The duty was reduced on mowers, reapers, harvesters, binders and attachments from 20 per cent to 17J per cent. At the same time, the raw material was admitted free of duty. That was a greater concession to the manufacturer than he had enjoyed before [DOT] in having 20 per cent duty on the manufactured goods. For, while his duty was only decreased 2i per cent, he was given permission to import his materials

duty free. This concession, it was claimed by the iron people, was manifestly to their disadvantage. I am not here to say to what rate these duties should be increased, but I am here to call the attention of the House to the certain important facts. We are bringing into this country the enormous amount of $140,000,000 worth of iron and iron products, as I have stated, and as was shown by Senator Mason. We have iron in our mines; we have coal in our country; we have subsidized railways to all these different mines; and towns and cities have expended thousands upon thousands of dollars in bonuses. It is high time the Government should awaken to the emergency, and high time that both sides joined in backing up the Government in making such changes in the tariff that the smoke may again issue from these smelters, that other smelters may be built in the country, and that all the other advantages may be gained that follow in the wake of this great industry. In Ontario we talk much about the advantages of cheap power. It has been demonstrated in Germany, where they have the coal, and have used that coal to make coke, that the byproducts of the coke amount to enormous sums. Why could not we have this industry with its by-products and all the wealth which would thereby be created? And from gas issuing from the coke ovens power would be produced at cheaper prices than those at which electrical energy can be sold.
I know it will be argued by some persons that if you increase the duties on iron a monopoly will be created. In answer to that, I have only this to say: We have here in Canada laws against combines. If a combine is made in restraint of trade or to unduly enhance prices, let that law be enforced, and that will have the effect of bringing prices down. After all has been said and done, the amount of iron that enters into the manufacture of one of these implements is but a mere bagatelle; I am assured that in the ordinary reaper or mower only about $3.50 worth of iron is used, so that no very great excess of price would be engendered. Take the case of malleable iron. We imported from the United States last year upwards of $2,000,000 worth of malleable iron, paying duty at the rate of 27J per cent. We have malleable iron industries in this country, and they too might manufacture what is necessary for the requirements of

Canada. I do hope the Government will take this matter into their serious consideration, and that such changes may be made in the tariff as will result in the opening up of the iron industry, thus developing the mines, creating traffic for the railways and giving employment to thousands of men who cannot be employed in this country and who must be driven out of Canada altogether unless aid is given to this industry at once.
During the debate more or less has been said in regard to the matter of transportation. My hon. friend the member for West Huron (Mr. Lewis) addressed himself to the House the other afternoon on the question of the losses on the Great Lakes during the past few months. Every hon. gentleman within the sound of my voice knows what happened on the occasions referred to. Two hundred and fifty valuable lives were lost. Insurance companies can compensate the owners of the vessels which were lost, but no power can compensate the families which have been blighted with sorrow and which have had their breadwinners taken from them. I want to say here that a great deal can be done in Canada by the Government of the day in the way of preventing the occurrence in future of such catastrophies. The Government has to-day announced the policy of expending a large sum of money on what is known as the French River section of the Georgian Bay canal. A glance at the map will point out to any hon. gentleman that the mouth of the French river is at the north end of Georgian bay, near Mani-toulin island. A large amount of money- I shall not charge my memory with recalling how many millions-has been expended on enlarging channels north of Manitoulin island, and it would need the expenditure of but a few additional millions to provide a channel from Port Arthur and Fort William through the Sault canal and north of Manitoulin to all Georgian bay ports,. When I tell the House that last year, out of
80.000. 000 bushels of grain-I am referring to wheat alone-which were shipped from Fort William, over one-half that quantity was delivered at points on the Georgian bay, it is fair to argue that by a [DOT] better system of routing, not only 40,000,000, but
80.000. 000 bushels might be taken that way. The Georgian bay ports serve a number of routes. While 80,000,000 bushels of grain may come from our Canadian Northwest and be delivered from Fort William at different points, the bulk of that amount does not by any means go by way of export either through New York or Montreal. A
large proportion, I should say fully 50 per cent of it, is consumed in Canada, and therefore, through the different ports on the Georgian bay which are reached by the Canadian Pacific railway and
by the Grand Trunk railway, this grain could be distributed throughout the different provinces of Canada. In addition to that a large portion of the grain from the north western states goes to the eastern and northeastern states via this route. This grain can be delivered from Montreal to eastern and northeastern states as cheaply as it can be delivered from the port of Buffalo, therefore it should be the object of the Government, by all possible means, to endeavour to divert that trade into the channels to which I have referred, and prevent its going to Buffalo. We are building up in Canada a large marine trade. Hon. gentlemen who do not live near the Grand Lakes have no conception of the immensity of the trade that is done to-day on these lakes; less have they any idea of the size of the vessels engaged in that trade. When I tell hon. gentlemen that in these Georgian Bay ports during the season of navigation they can see vessels carrying half a million bushels of grain of the value of half a million dollars, involving a total investment, including cargo, of $1,000,000, it will be at once apparent to them that a large and increasing trade is being done. If we are to carry that trade through Canadian channels, then the result will be the building up of a Canadian fleet, the giving of employment to Canadians on the vessels, and the grain in turn will be carried over Canadian railways. What avail is it to Canada if forty million bushels of grain are placed in American bottoms at Fort William, carried to Buffalo on American railways, and transported to the city of New York? That is no benefit to Canada at all; it does not leave one cent in the country. But if by the means I have indicated you can transfer that forty million bushels of grain to ports on the Georgian bay, hand it over then to the Canadian Pacific railway and to the Grand Trunk railway, and to their many branch lines and direct connections to New York and other United States ports, you would give to' the Canadian railway companies a large amount of trade. We are handicapped in Canada in respect of this carrying trade. There is no doubt about it that when the port of Montreal is closed we are under the disadvantage of a severe handicap. I believe, as I was informed very credibly a short time ago, that the Canadian Pacific railway

recently made this arrangement : they carried to the Suspension bridge ten million bushels of grain, which was then handed over to the New York Central railway to be carried down to New York for export to England and other European countries. What did that mean? It .meant that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company were better satisfied to have the profit that would enure to them by the carrying of the grain from Fort William to the Suspension bridge than to carry it to Halifax or St. John, N.B. What is to be done to -better these conditions? In the first place, the great handicap exists at Montreal, because the grain trade is not in full force and in full volume until the port of Montreal is on the point of closing up for the winter. The port of Montreal is invariably closed on November 26 or 27, and it is just about that time of the year that the grain is being pushed forward in the greatest volume. The result is that these large United States freighters, capable of carrying half a million bushels, come to Fort William, load up there-because it is no contravention of the coasting laws to ply between a Canadian port and a United States port-go down to Buffalo, tax the elevator accommodation there to its uttermost and those that cannot be accommodated become floating storehouses, until the grain can be unloaded later. Canada thereby lost last year the carrying by Canadian vessels and Canadian railways of the immense amount of 40,000,000 bushels of grain. This Government has now embarked on what to my mind is going to be a damaging project: the deepening of the Welland canal, but that is a matter of Government policy. No word of mine can stay it now, and I only hope and trust that it will not be a mistake. But if the vessels of the United States were able last year to come to our Canadian ports at Fort William and Port Arthur and take 40,000,000 bushels of grain from there to Buffalo, when the Welland canal is deepened to 25 or 30 feet, and will accommodate these large lake freighters, will they not be able then to take another
40,000,000 bushels of grain to Oswego, which i3 a shorter rail haul than to New York from Buffalo? Are we going to build up a merchant marine fleet in Canada? We are trying to do it. My hon. friend the hon. member for West Toronto (Sir Edmund Osier) is one of the owners of a large line of freighters on the lakes. To-day they are building-and I am glad they are doing so, because it gives that much more employment to Canada, and increases Canadian
tonnage to that extent-an immense barge capable of carrying 10,000 tons. In the shipyards at Port Arthur the company commonly known as the Richelieu Amalgamated Company is building a huge barge capable of carrying some 10,000 tons.
And to-day in the town of Sarnia there is a vessel receiving her finishing touches, one of the finest vessels on the lakes, I suppose she will be the Empress of the Great Lakes, outstripping in stability and grandeur anything on the American side as a passenger steamer. While capital in this country is being invested along these lines to build up the trade of the country, why should not Canada, through its Parliament and its Government, take steps to prevent the trade from slipping from Canadian channels and being diverted into American? I believe it can be done but it can only be done- by closing the doors before the horse is stolen. I am not addressing myself to this matter from a local point of view at all. I live in a section of the country which has risen to what was prophesied years ago that an enormous quantity of grain would be carried through that point. Twenty years ago when the late Mr. Hays paid his first visit to Midland, when I went with the mayor to call on him as an act of courtesy, he said that when the Grand Trunk had their line completed through to Montreal with better grades they hoped to be able to carry not only Canadian grain to Montreal but also to carry a large portion of the American grain. And what has the foresight of the Canadian Pacific railway done? Grades were against them, distances were against them from Owen Sound to Montreal. At a cost, of $5,000,000 or $6,000,000 they, without any government subvention, built a line from their own town of Port McNichol across to a point near Peterborough, eliminating grades, making a perfect roadbed, and to-day you can see a train moving out loaded with 60,000 bushels of grain. In consultation with a leading official of the Canadian Pacific railway I was told that they hoped not only to carry through the Canadian channel, by Canadian vessels and by Canadian railways, the grain of the Canadian northwest to an immense extent, but to go right into Duluth and take the grain away from the American vessels and railroads, grain intended for distribution to the eastern States and also all through Canada. What is the handicap at Montreal? I do not live in Montreal so I do not know the facts, but if I am correctly informed, and I think I am well within

the mark, ocean vessels were lying in Montreal for twenty days at a time and Great Lake barges lay there from ten to twenty days at a time. Why? Because there was not sufficient elevator accommodation. I do not believe it is the business of the Government or of the country or that it will ever he the business of private capital to build such elevators simply for the purpose of storing grain but if they could keep a perpetual stream of grain passing through they could make money but they cannot keep them there perpetually or for a great length of time simply for the storage of grain. What to my mind must be done is to secure better ocean rates from Canada to the Old Country. That matter has been placed before the Government. It has had a sympathetic hearing and that is all. Why cannot this Government engage in the institution and forming of an insurance business for lake freight and ocean freight in this country? If our vessel interests on the Great Lakes and on the ocean are unjustly discriminated against by the American and British companies let this Government form itself into a business proposition and give to the vessel interests of this country such rates of insurance that they will be able to compete with the out-going freight on vessels from New York. This matter should commend itself to the Government at the very earliest day. We have great advantages in this country to develop that trade to go by the north shore of Manitoulin island and by these two great railway systems and ports on the Georgian bay. When I speak of these two great railways let hon. gentlemen consider that the Grand Trunk have not only one line of railway from the Georgian bay but two because they own the railway from Depot Harbour, so the Grand Trunk have two lines by which they can carry the grain to the northeastern States as well as to our own Canadian ports or even to New York itself. If there is danger of accident and catastrophe on the Great Lakes, if they occur on the four lakes, Ontario, Erie, Superior and Huron, surely they will be minimized if the trade only has to run the length of one lake and if the danger is minimized surely the insurance can be kept down. If you discuss this matter with a vessel man he will say there is a uniform rate of insurance whether to Buffalo or Georgian bay ports. In the first place Canada has a great advantage or should have over the United States in the matter of insurance in this
that, while I have never seen a compilation of figures, I think I am well within the mark in saying that insurance companies, prior to last year when the catas-trophies occurred on lake Huron, paid more insurance losses for collisions between Sarnia and Detroit than on all the lakes put together. Why is that? Because there are narrow places and you see the huge vessels going up and down-and I think I am within the mark when I say every five minutes a vessel passes up or down-in the fall of the year when there may be snowstorms or heavy fog there are a great many collisions and as a result a great deal of money has been lost by the insurance companies. More than that every vessel that goes to a point on the Georgian bay will make three trips there as against one trip to Buffalo. Surely that is a manifest advantage when you consider the size of a boat carrying 500,000 bushels of grain where the rate may be as high as 3 cents a bushel. There is a saving of two trips. Then there is another question of importance and that is that by our route there is no detention. Reading the vessel reports you will often see a whole fleet delayed at lake St. Clair or some other narrow point by reason of a heavy fog when there is no possibility of moving forward and they all come to a halt for fear of accident. I believe that this country and this Parliament could well address themselves to the task of discussing a matter of this kind. It is not a purely local matter, it is not even a provincial matter, it is a matter of great importance to the whole country. Surely it is a matter of importance to the farmer of the West if he can lessen his freight rates and to the manufacturer in the East if he can carry back his manufactured goods at a lower rate. I wish that hon. gentlemen in this Chamber would visit some of these ports on the Great Lakes and see the possibilities there are there for the development of the carrying trade of the country. The Canadian Pacific railway alone employ over 75,000 men and, taking four per family, that means the up-keeping by that company of a population of 300,000. The Grand Trunk railway must have almost a similar number and therefore it is to our manifest advantage that the railway interests of this country should be advanced so that the Canadian Pacific railway will employ not 75,000 men, but double 75,000 and every other company may be increased proportionately. I am addressing myself to these two matters because they affect the part of the community to which I belong and from which I

come, and the people of my constituency are deeply interested in this whole question. They are vitally interested in the two questions. I think I can fairly say that the iron industry, affecting as it does every province of this Dominion, has made the province of Nova Scotia, and I ask hon. gentlemen where would the province of Nova Scotia have been to-day had it not been for the development of the iron industry? Where would the thousands of young men in this province have been? Certainly not in that province where they have passed into the ranks of mechanics and artisans of a high grade. This industry has affected the development of the whole country. Why, therefore, not develop in New Brunswick, where they have those splendid areas of iron ore, a large iron and steel business? Why not develop these industries in the province of Ontario, where we have large iron deposits? Go into the county of Hastings, and you will find that they have them there, go to Port Arthur and Fort William, and you will find that they have them adjoining those cities. Let us spend our energies and bring our arguments to bear upon the Government in order that this iron industry may be developed. The coming into the Chamber of the hon. member for Welland (Mr. German) reminds me of the fact that within the past year a smelter has been established at Port Col-borne. This should be backed up. The duty on pig iron should be raised to such an extent, in my opinion, whether it should be 55 a ton or $6 a ton, that the Canadian market would be guaranteed to the Canadian producer of pig iron, with the result that this great industry would give employment to thousands of men in this country. Open up and develop the mines and keep within our own borders the wealth that is now going to the neighbouring republic.
I am not going into many of the other questions that have been discussed. They will be discussed, no doubt, on the Budget. I am a believer in this, that we here in Canada have been galloping at too fast a gait. We have had too much' gambling in the Northwest in lands. Go to any town in the province of Ontario, and what is the statement that will be made to you? Men here are hard up by reason of the fact that they have been making payments on land in the Northwest. With all my friends who have come down from the Northwest, it is all one and the same story-they have been indiscreet, they have got property rich, they have been buying lands very freely, and as

a consequence they have not been able to pay their agricultural implement and store bills. But these things are all going to level themselves up. This country is only on the edge of its development. I saw it stated the other day by Mr. Michener, the leader of the Opposition in the Alberta Legislature, that in Alberta only two per cent of the arable land is under cultivation. I have heard the statement made, and I believe it is within the mark, that the province of Saskatchewan has less than ten per cent of its arable land cultivated, and the old province of Manitoba still has large areas of land that have not been taken up. What does it mean to Canada, to us here in Eastern Canada, who have felt the throb of development in the building up of our industries and factories as a result of the settlement in the West of thousands, and hundreds of thousands of farmers? When there comes a production from that western country, not of 200,000,000 bushels, but of ten times 200,000,000 bushels of grain, and when Canada has three great Transcontinental railways in full operation, it will mean everything not only for Eastern Canada but for Western Canada. Let hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House look before them and see what is going on in this country. Look at the railway construction that is being commenced to-day, the branch lines in the Northwest. True, in old Ontario-we are not having new lines of railway constructed such as we had in years past. We are having dry docks built at Vancouver and at Sault Ste. Marie, and there is an expectation of others being built at different points. We are having grain elevators constructed; a new one is being built for the Canadian Pacific railway at Port McNiehol. In the West we see indications that flour mills are to be erected in anticipation of the flour traffic westward by way of the Panama canal. VVe have the ship-building industry that I have referred to before. On all sides we see the prospect of the coming to Canada of thousands of people. Not only from Great Britain and from Europe, but from the United States the tide of immigration has set in for Canada. We are the only country in the world to-day that has unbounded areas of land to give free to the man who wishes to come in and become a citizen of this great country. Let the beacon lights of Canada for years to come be hope in Canadians and faith in Canada.

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