June 13, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Alexander Kenneth Maclean


Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I was saying, when interrupted, that in this country the tariif question twill be an issue for years to come. There will be exponents of high tariffs and of moderate tariffs, and there will be those who believe in the application of the principle of free trade in our fiscal life; but one thing is clear, that with the diversified interests which we have, with the lack of community of interest which we have in the extremities of this country and as between different sections of the country, it is necessary that in working out the true policy to be applied to the whole country there must be a spirit of compromise on the part of all the provinces. I would say to hon. members of the Progressive party that the present budget presented by the Minister of Finance, whilst not presenting any radical reductions in the tariff, still moves in the direction in which they desire and would have him move. In my judgment, it is a little unreasonable to have expected any greater variations in the tariff at the present time. I do not think that they are justified in reaching the conclusion that the opinions, or principles of the Minister of Finance in the direction of lower tariffs have been absolutely exhausted upon this occasion, and that there is nothing more to be hoped from him in the future. I believe the tendency the world over is in the direction of lower tariffs. Certainly, Europe will never recover her economic strength unless the countries there cease their foolish policies of the last year or two in their efforts to prevent international trading, and the economic recuperation of the most of Europe. If I am correct in my judgment of the future of other countries, namely that the tendency is in the direction of lower tariffs, and greater freedom of trade, as between the peoples of different countries, then I am justified in saying that in this country the people who believe in 'lower taxation upon commodities will look to the future with hope that public policy will continue to move in that direction in the future, regardless of what government is in office in this country.
I did not intend that my remarks should run to such a length. I feel that I am in the position of a man who said he did not have time to write a short letter. Unfortunately, I did not have much time to make preparation for my remarks this afternoon, and I offer that as an apology for

the undue length of time I occupied addressing hon. members of this House.

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