June 7, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)


Fifth class freight. Most of the goods in our line are carried as fifth class freight. The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) told us the other day that the United States would soon be a free trade country. I have not under my hand his exact words, but he ventured to predict that, within a few years, the United States will have its face set definitely against the principle of a protective tariff. I remember reading a speech of Richard Cobden,
and he ventured at one time on the realm of prophesy, just as the new economist who sits in the front row did, and made a certain prophesy. In 1846 Great Britain changed her fiscal policy. Mr. Cobden speaking at Manchester in January 15th, 1846 said:
Europe altogether has been corrupted by the viaious example of England in her commercial legislation. I believe .hat if you abolish the Corn Law honestly and adopt free trade in its simplicity, there will not be a tariff in Europe that will not be changed in less than five years, to follow your example.
And later on in another address he said:
You might as wall tedil me that the sun will not rise to-morrow as tell me that foreign nations will not adoipt free trade in less than ten years from now.
While Mr. Cobden may be as great an economist as our hon. friend from Marquette, he was a mighty poor prophet. For the benefit of the members of the House, particularly some of those on the other side who are in control of the treasury benches, I want to read a word or two from the speech delivered by Mr. Fordney, whose name we hear mentioned a good deal in this House and outside of it. I think his remarks will apply to Canada quite as well as to the United States. In an address before the House some time ago, Mr. Fordney said:
Under free trade we must come to a common level somewhere, sometime, if we are to compete with alii the countries of the world. To-day German labour is paid from 60 to 65 cent per day in gold,-not for 8 hours' work, but for 10 or 12 hours per day. Japanese and Chinese labour is paid from 12 to 18 cents per day in gold for 12 hours-about a cent or a cent and a half per hour. Now, if we have to be placed on a par wiitih those countries, to meet the imports from those countries, do you believe that we can lift those foreign countries up from the standard of living which at present prevails in them? Not at all. We have got to come down to a common level somewhere, and we are not ready to do that, and we are not going to do that.
And yet in the face of all that, we have people in this House saying that the American people are going to do away with their tariff. Well, may be. I have a book in my hand which will be interesting to my friends on my left. It is the Farmers' platform, and I want to read an extract from it and make a few comments on it. Before reading this extract I desire to say that I heard some of the hon. members on my left trying to ease their consciences as much as they could for not voting for a protectionist tariff, and saying that their own policy was one that was going to spread

The Budget-Mr. Chaplin
over a number of years. I wish to remind those hon., members of something I saw in their platform a short time ago. It was to the effect that the principle of protection was morally wrong and economically unsound.

Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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