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


Levi Thomson


Mr. THOMSON (Qu'Appelle) :

I cannot agr'ee with the hon. member for South Renfrew in saying that this clause is evidence of insanity on the part of the draftsman. I think it is evidence, of which we have many other examples, of great shrewdness in increasing the customs tariff indirectly and under cover. That appears to be the main purpose of the financial legislation which has been brought down this year. We have heard boasts from the Prime Minister of deductions in the tariff and of its being lower than it was under their predecessors, and apparently the Government thoroughly realize that the public will not stand any apparent increase in customs taxation. So they have adopted another plan. I do not know whether I would be in order in using the expression, but it seems to me the plan may be aptly described as that of "sneaking in" legislation which will accomplish the purpose under cover and by way of deceiving the people. This is purely an attempt to make a vast increase in the customs tariff without any appearance of so doing. The hon. member I think for Simcoe referred to the plan adopted in the United States where they allowed ten per cent for profit. Well, is my hon. friend going to bind himself to ten per cent? He can make it 100 per cent or anything he likes; his fancy is what settles everything. It seems to me that my hon. friend the Minister of Customs can teach the Americans something about legislation that will accomplish the purpose of increasing protection without apparently doing so. His own little speech showed plainly what he was after; there was nothing but protection in it; in fact, he did not appear to have any idea in his mind except the most extreme protection. I repeat, the man who drafted that clause was not insane at all, he was a keen man on protection and was determined to get all the protection possible for the industries of Canada without any appearance of doing so.

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