March 17, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not care if the prices have increased. I am saying that the financial giant of the world became alarmed at an importation per capita of $47.22, and immediately introduced the Fordney tariff. Yet the people of Canada, in the year 1920-21, bought at the rate of $145.90 per capita. Mr. Speaker, are we not buying enough? Surely any one who knows the facts will admit that we are. What is the effect of the Fordney tariff upon us? My hon. friend refers to prices. Well, that is of importance, although prices had begun to drop. I have not these figures brought down to date because I have been out of the Finance Department for some time, but for the first four months of this fiscal year as compared with the same four months of last year, or on the one hand with the Fordney tariff in operation and on the other hand before it went into operation, we have the following figures on farm products, such as butter and its substitutes, cheese and its substitutes, meats (fresh or frozen), meats (prepared), potatoes, cattle, sheep, wheat flour and semolina, wool and milk (preserved or condensed), for the four months without the Fordney tariff our exports to the United States amounted to $33,546,000; with the Fordney tariff in operation they dropped to $10,070,000.
What about their exports to us? Always it has seemed to me most absurd that we have such large importations of agricultural commodities into an agricultural country. My figures there I have had put into quantities because you cannot get a
comparison as well with prices. In butter, cheese, mutton and lamb, pork (fresh), bacon and ham, canned meats, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, pears, peaches, eggs and honey, our importations in 1920, before the Fordney tariff was adopted, amounted in quantities to 27,499,000; with the Fordney tariff in operation our importations amounted to 45,124,000 in the like quantity of units. At a time when our sales to the United States dropped from $33,500,000 to $10,000,000, an enormous drop, we increased our purchases of these American agricultural commodities by 63 per cent. And yet some gentlemen think the tariff ought to be left just as it is!
And on this question of agricultural imports the burden thrown on the United States was not very great after ail. I read from their Agricultural Staples Report on the tariff, Series No. 20:
During the four months July to October, 1920, inclusive, imports of wheat amounted to 12,109,217 bushels, valued, at $28,146,296 ; and of flour to 222,002 barrels, valued at $2,535,182. Substantially all of these shipments came from Canada, and were shipped during the latter part of September and in October.
To show what a comparatively small part that plays in the American market, let me complete the quotation:
During the same four months the exports of wheat from the United States amounted to 117,981,296 bushels, or $339,278,520, and of flour to 6,0.55,829 barrels, valued at $70,144,803.
In other words, they exported $70,000,000 worth of flour in that period while they imported from us $2,500,000-a negligible proportion of their export business; and in wheat they exported $339,000,000 worth while we sent them $28,000,000-less than a tenth, and yet we have all this fuss and trouble about it.
One or two opinions I ought to refer to, Mr. Speaker, expressing the American standpoint on the tariff. On October 20th, Congressman John W. Summers announced that he was framing a bill for a tariff on imported wheat, with particular reference to Canada, which he expected to introduce in Congress at the opening day of the next session in December. He did not specify the tariff decided upon, but said it would be a "good stiff duty."
The New York Evening Journal of November 3rd had the following to say on the subject:
During the first two weeks of October, Canadians sent five million bushels of wheat into the United States, competing directly, of course, with American farmers. Rather a nice situa-

The Address

tion for Canada, able to use this country and the farmers of this country as a dumping ground whenever it is convenient, and able In war to get for Canada and "the dear Old Mother Country" wheat raised by American farmers at a price limited by the American government. No wonder many emigrate from the United States into Canada.
It is hoped that Harding, during his administration, will do something to make the buying power of the United States profitable to Americans first, Canadians and other outsiders afterward.
Then let me quote from the American Economist, one of the foremost American papers supporting the Republicans:
It may be set down as final that the Canadian tariff revision will be purely with reference to Canadian interest and not that of the American exporter. That is the way Tariff revision ought to be undertaken. If the Canadian Government were to give first heed to the desires of the American exporter, it would be time for the Canadian people to put the Government on the scrap heap and to select one that could write across the papers of its legislation "Canada First."
I might state for the information of the House that that opinion was written before December 6. And yet we hear it suggested to-day that with our industrial and agricultural markets as they are, Parliament, instead of legislating for the benefit of Canada, should turn around and reduce the tariff, thus further disrupting our industrial situation and ruining the home market of the farmer. An hon. gentleman to my left said the other day that the home market was not much good, and would not be for another fifty years. What market, I wonder, does he think he is going to get under reciprocity? Why, with reciprocity [DOT]-and you have had reciprocity with the Americans-they handle your goods just as long as it pays them to do so, that is, so long as there is a ready sale for them and it merely adds to their exporting surplus and so puts them in a better position to control world trade. It is only when you have a staggered, bleeding and exhausted Europe, unable to buy goods that the United States will refuse your business. What difference has the Fordney tariff made to the price of wheat to anybody? How much higher is the price of wheat today in the United States? Why, the fact is that reciprocity has nothing to do with the price. You all know now that the price of wheat is governed by the Liverpool market. Under reciprocity you give them the business to carry over for you and let them make the profits on mill feed and everything else to the detriment of your dairy herds, or you do it yourself at a time when both you and the Americans can sell.
ISir Henry Drayton.]
But at a time when both have a difficulty in selling, reciprocity or no reciprocity, you will be left just where you were. There are some commodities which can only be marketed at home; practically the whole of the dairy market is domestic. One of the difficulties encountered by agriculture to-day is the collapse of the home market as the result of the lack of buying power and lack of employment; yet some gentlemen think that if you make that condition worse, if you further impoverish the country, you will gain something. Reciprocity with a country which is the ultimate consumer of your products is a splendid thing; reciprocity with a competitor in business very much bigger than yourself is a very dangerous thing.
Reciprocity is not a new thing. We had a reciprocity treaty from 1854 to 1866. My impression is that it was designed to run a specific time, but whether or not that is the fact is not of importance. Our total exports grew during that period from $7,000,000 to $49,000,000. The results were fully felt in the national trade of the year 1868, when our total exports fell to $27,000,000. The reciprocity proposed in more recent years was something which could be abrogated at any time; there was no obligation to maintain it. In view of the one thing which made reciprocity desirable to the American people-the profits in the handling of our goods-and in view of the subsequent collapse of the buying markets of the world, no one can honestly think that reciprocity would have stood up for two minutes against the farmers' bloc in the United States, who are now getting what they want in the way of concessions.
I am honestly and genuinely interested, Mr. Speaker, in such an arrangement of the tariff of this country as will help the people of Canada rather than the American exporter. We have a tremendous amount of unemployment and the solution of that problem ought to be the chief concern of our public men. Many of our artisans, good workmen, men entitled to a job, are out of work, and we are still importing in excessive quantities things that these men could make and ought to have the opportunity to make. It is true that as the result of a campaign carried on last year, the carnival of outside buying has diminished. What are we to say to the workers of this country when the fact is that during the past five years our purchases from the United States have been $1,700,000,000 in excess of our sales to

The Address
them? Are we to say to them that it is our intention so to arrange our financial affairs that that enormous amount shall be still further increased? If any word of mine can have the slightest influence on behalf of the Canadian workingman or can benefit in the least degree the Canadian home, I have no apologies to offer, Mr. Speaker, for the length of my address.
On the motion of Mr. Irvine the debate was adjourned.

Full View