June 2, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Edward Walter Nesbitt



I hope that the minister, as has been suggested by the member for Halifax, will give very serious consideration to this provision before he puts it into effect. As a matter of fact, American consuls in this country who sign these certificates are of no benefit to the trade of

the United States; they do not solicit business. The Americans send their travellers in here just as we send our travellers there. Those travellers know their own goods and can talk their own goods. You could not possibly appoint a consular agent or trade commissioner who was capable of talking all kinds of goods. Everybody who knows anything about manufacturing or about commercial life knows that you have to train men in handling the particular goods they represent so that they will be able to talk the goods. I do not believe, therefore, that we would increase our trade by appointing these so-called trade commissioners. If a man lived in Buffalo, and there was no trade commissioner there and he had to send to Washington to have his invoice certified, that would be worse than a nuisance. The member for Halifax is quite right as to the nuisance brought about by the United States provisions along this line. I agree with the hon. gentleman that the minister might engage his time very profitably by trying to induce the United States to do away with that silly arrangement-because it is silly and it does not help their trade a bit. Now, it has been asked who is going to pay for this. Do you think the United States Steel Corporation, for instance, would not pass on to the customer any charge of that kind? If you do, you have another think coming. The reason is simply that these people sell at rock bottom prices. When you buy at rock bottom prices you have to pay brokerage charges. Take the cotton market; if the manufacturer of cotton buys from the growers or from the Cotton Exchange, he buys through a broker. Do you mean to tell me that that broker pays the $2.50 on these certificates? By no means; he charges it to the customer. In the case of goods bought from England, if there is any wharfage or any other charge of that kind, it is included in the invoice, and so it is with any of these things that we buy. Think of the enormous quantity of coal that we bring into this country, on invoices, maybe, of trainloads, but more frequently of carloads, and those merchants have to send off to some trade commissioner or a British consul to have those invoices certified to. Do hon. members think that the men who are selling the coal are going to pay the cost of having that done? If they do, they have another think and a good long think coming.

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