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


Fred Langdon Davis



the raw material is obtained in their own country. Therefore, we have nothing to fear from them in textiles, because, in the main, as regards the textiles from which they make their goods, they have to get their raw materials from abroad. When the Minister of Finance spoke of the way in which Germany had been cutting the cost in iron, these very words happened to be under my eye. I am quoting now from the Mining Journal of April 2:
The Germans appear to be afraid particularly of competition on the part of the Belgian works whose prices for iron and steel goods are lower than the Germans and they say the Belgians can beat them in price owing to the modernization of the Belgian plants which the Germans carried through when in Belgium, and which are now in a greater state of efficiency than the Rhenish-Westphalian works.
That does not "gibe" at all with what the Finance Minister told us as to the condition. At present, as has been said again and again to-night, trade conditions are so disturbed that you do not know where you are going to get hit next. For instance, the other day on the Pacific coast Chinese pig iron was offered at better prices than those at which the great United States Steel Corporation could produce it. How are you going to meet conditions like that by such, I am tempted to say, a "fool" regulation as is here proposed?
As regards wages, the Minister of finance said that wages were $100 a week ,in those trades in Germany. This is a ^Mining Journal which makes a survey of ,those lines, and it is worth while looking at the range of wages which are given for some twelve or fifteen different classes of .employees in connection with the 'production of metal. Drillers get from 247 ;to 980 marks per week, and this, I should Say, was in February, 1920. Since then conditions have changed adversely to Germany. No country can long, unless it lives within itself, keep its currency abroad at a different value from what its currency is at home. If I take just the instance which I have now given of the fact that when she has to buy abroad, she has to pay more for her goods, that comes back home, and it at once increases the cost of the goods at home. As that currency works back into her system, her whole costs abroad and at home work to one level. I am using Germany, because Germany is the outstanding example of this. God knows that I have no love for Germany, but we are discussing here questions which affect our relations, not with Germany alone, but with the whole world, and

as Germany is the outstanding example, I am taking her case because it best illustrates the problem. Turners are getting from 318 to 993 marks; iron moulders from 308 to 1,117 marks; brass moulders from 403 to 1,050 marks. Let us go to some of the cheaper kinds of labour. Helpers are getting from 205 to 961 marks. Blast furnace and smelter men are getting from 483 to 1,514 marks. The whole list is here if any one wishes to look at it in order to see whether I have made fair quotations from it or not. These are grades of wages which do not bear out at all what the Minister of Finance is saying about wages being very much lower there than they are with us. Indeed, it is quite possible that Germany, during the time when this question of reparations has been outstanding, has taken every advantage she can. That is the way in which she has been working in national affairs. We have suffered from this before, and in all probability she was doing the same at this time. But even Germany, devilish as she may be, is unable to control economic forces once she has set them at work, and' they are working here to a parity. Eventually, the currency which she has sold abroad in the shape of a demand loan will come back into her own circulation and will bring her prices to one level, and in that case, we are going to try to deal with a passing phase of the business. The same thing has been done in slighter measure by Italy; but there again the same forces are at work and will bring things at length to the same position. In consequence, if we want to trade, we must deal fairly with their conditions. There is no use whatever in putting such a difference in the value of their money as we are here trying to do because, in the long run, it can be beaten by buying through other countries, either under free trade or with smaller duties, and, in the end, these conditions will correct themselves.
Furthermore, what is our duty to-day? There are broad views to take upon this question. We stand to-day a favoured people, possibly 9,000,000 people in one of the world's great empty spaces. These people have suffered from the war even more than we did. They are looking for outlets, for better conditions, even as we' are, and yet with our immigration policy we are restricting them; we are denying them admission; we have almost to deny them for the preservation of our own ideals and the Canadian character of this state which we hope to preserve. Yet we

will go abroad and offend these people in every possible way. We will say: "Although we are better placed than you, go to destruction if you will; it is true that we fought with you as brother to brother, but now there is a dollar in sight, that is all we want." The consequence will be this, that we will gain the ill-will of these people. It is not merely for this day that these things count in connection with the policy of nations.
I take it that one of the ways in which we can now assist is out of the abundance of what we have got to endeavour to help them to make their conditions better. In saying that, understand, I am not appealing at all to generosity, I am trying to combat what is narrow-mindedness. It is not that we should part with it because they need it, but because we should take a broad generous view-the view that in the end will work profit to our own pockets in the matter of trade, besides having a valuable effect upon a world that talks a League of Nations but acts like a disunion of nations.

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