May 16, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)

PRO

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

Progressive

Mr. D. F. KELLNER (East Edmonton):

Not being possessed of a voice like that of the hon. member for East York (Mr. Harris)
I have moved from my customary seat to a position near the centre of the chamber. Like other hon. members who have spoken I would like to commend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) for the manner in which he presented the budget to the House. I understand that previous budgets have received considerable commendation because of the manner of their presentation and I think it would be entirely unfitting if we did not extend the same courtesy to the Minister of Finance on the present occasion. There is one point about the budget which seems to be causing a little confusion. That is as to what is meant by "stability." I would like to be possessed of the same powers of oratory as the hon. gentleman who has just resumed his seat in order to be able to tell you what, in my opinion, this term means. I think that in the West it means "low tariff"; in the East it stands for "protection"; at any rate that is what this term has usually meant in the past and no doubt the same definition will continue to be applied to it.
I discovered in a western paper a characterization of the budget which perhaps, describes it more correctly than I could do. With the permission of the House I will read that article. It says:
Upon the receipt of Mr. Fielding's budget in lake Winnipeg there was tremendous excitement and enthusiasm among the fish. A flounder dashed in with the great news-"the duty on machines for making fish meal had been abolished." A mud fish refused to belierve it and got entangled in acrimonious debate with a catfish. The whole colony of whitefish stood on their ears and wiggled their fins for joy; the suckers received the news open-mouthed, and then proposed that a message of thanks be sent to Mr. Fielding for taking such a burden off the backs of the poor fish in the West. Carried swimmingly.
The foregoing excerpt is taken from the Manitoba Free Press under date of May 14. Mr. Speaker, I have not had the pleasure of hearing many of the speeches so far delivered in this debate; I have been obliged to spend a great deal of my time attending one of the committees. Consequently I hope that in what I say I shall not be threshing over matters which have already been brought to the attention of the House. I have had the privilege of listening to only one or two speakers so far but I would like to make a few comments on some of the statements made by the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) last evening. I must express a little sorrow that the minister, before
giving his speech to the House, did not run t through a cream separator in order that we might grasp its substance more easily. Personally I have not had time to read it all and I am afraid I shall never get that opportunity. The minister endeavoured to impress upon the House that he knew all the troubles that were afflicting agriculture and the remedies for them. He sought to pose as an authority on what kinds of live stock the farmers should keep and he was in no way backward in advising us respecting the manner in which they should be kept, the kind of crops we should grow, and the sort of immigration policy the country ought to pursue. In a word it would take a goodsized encylopaedia to contain all the information and advice which the minister handed out. The hon. gentleman wound up his long address with the bald statement that bad farming is practically responsible for all the ills of the western country. The minister also endeavoured to discredit the amendment moved by the Progressives to the budget, and stated that the reductions in the British preference for which we are asking were less than the government are proposing. I wish to deny that statement most emphatically. The minister gave a table professing to bear out his statement. I have a table which contradicts in some respects the rates given by the minister. Let me quote from it:
Rate under Rate under Present Government Progressive General rate proposal amendment tariff
Per cent Per cent Per cent Per centGray cotten fabrics and fabrics of flax .. .. 12* 124 25Stair linen sheets, table cloths, etc., of cotton or linen 20 18 15 30Woollen yarns. 20 18 15 30

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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