June 10, 1924 (14th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)


If my hon. friend will
excuse me-I am speaking with very considerable difficulty-I ean mention an article on the subject which appeared in a recent issue of the Saturday Evening Post, April 14, 1924, in which he will find the whole subject dealt with,-what the government of the United' States is doing for the western farmer of that country who has not been intelligent enough to keep Mr. Pig and Mrs. Cow and these other accessories which our farmers go in for and which help to tide them over bad periods, bad crops and bad weather. That article deals with the subject much better than I could. I am trying to deal with the problem on a broad basis, and I say that in no country can you have prosperity unless the farmers are prosperous, and the idea of many farmers that the manufacturers are a body of gentlemen with their mouths wide open, wanting to eat up everybody else, is a great mistake. I know many distinguished manufacturers of Ontario whose fathers are farmers in the province of Ontario. Why? Because the farmer on the farm in Ontario produces the best breed of men and women anywhere in the world. They grow up in the fresh air amid healthy surroundings, and come to our great universities. They are splendid men, and they take possession of our cities and manufacturing just as my hon. friends to my left are taking possession of this government to-day.
I want to come back for a moment to what I think might help the situation in this country. I am quite satisfied that the five or ten dollars apiece that the farmers will get out of these tariff changes will not help them very much. There is another question. How are we going to get back into this country almost the one million French Canadians who are in the United States to-day? We want them back in Canada, because there are no better people in the world than these French Canadians, men and women, and there is no more prosperous province than Quebec, and no province that is belter run. We would like to see these people back in this country. What has my hon. friend done in his tariff changes to get them back? He has had three or four members from the province of Quebec get up and tell him what a rotten tariff it is, -and they have not done full justice to it,

Customs Tariff
because they were very diffident, not wishing to hurt his feelings. The whole point, so far as the great provinces of Ontario and Quebec are concerned, is that the farmers are not prospering any more than is the western farmer, but they do not come here in a body and ask us all to get up and work for them, they are trying to do what they can with their farms to make themselves as prosperous as they can. If the western farmer got his free trade policy, it might help him get cheaper products in his home, perhaps, but the farmers of Ontario are perfectly well aware that if the manufacturing industries of this great province are injured, and if our population, and particularly our working men, leave this country for the United States, instead of staying in Canada, there is going to be no prosperity for them. Take the situation in the province of Quebec. You have not heard any of the members from Quebec agitate for free trade. Far from it; they would not dare to go back to their constituencies if they did so.
The policy of the present government seems rather to be one of trying to make friends of the farmers of .the West and retaining power for the time being, rather than of considering the inauguration of a policy that would be of real value to the people of this country. Why, sir, will anybody tell me that the farmers in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec do not need protection on everything they produce? Take eggs for instance. The duty on eggs entering the United States is eight cents a dozen, whereas the Canadian duty on eggs coming in from the United States is three cents a dozen. The disparity there is quite marked, but protection for the farmers of the United States is a marked feature of their tariff. Now, it is vitally important, to my mind, that .the farmers of Ontario and Quebec, in fact the agriculturists of the country generally, should have the same protection, if not more, in the case of products entering Canada from the United States as in the case of products going into the United States from .this country. If that policy were adopted our producers of fruit and vegetables, for example, would be able to sell their products when prices were firm and the demand good; they would not, as at present, have to content themselves with the tail end of the market when most of the demand had been satisfied by the Americans.
The agitation for a lower tariff practically has arisen almost entirely in the West where great delight is felt because there has been a reduction in the duty on agricultural implements. This in itself is unimportant even when taken in the aggregate. Apparently 190
however the western farmer is highly pleased because he has been able to force the government to take a step in the direction of free trade.
What we want in this country is a policy which will not only increase our industrial development but will augment our population. What we should strive to do is to retain our present population and bring back all those Canadians who have gone to the United States. A proper tariff policy would have these results. With all respect, I say that our tariff should be raised and not lowered, so that instead of importing nine million dollars' worth of agricultural implements from the United States, and seventeen million dollars' worth of woollen goods, we shall not import any. My advice to Canadians is: Do not import any of these goods; raise your tariff just as the United States has done. I do not mean to say that we should imitate the tariff policy of the United States in its entirety, but adopt such a policy as will cause to be made in Canada everything that can be produced or manufactured here. By doing this you will be giving real protection to our people.
A great many of our western friends, and other people also, are of the opinion that the manufacturers and the working men will be the only classes to benefit if that is done. Well, I am not in favour of allowing the manufacturers to milk, so to speak, the farmers or any other class of the community. But what I do say is, that any work required to be done in Canada should be done by Canadian workmen, who, in turn, will buy the products of the farmers. So far as the manufacturers are concerned, I am quite satisfied that my hon. friend the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) will see to it that they pay their proper share of taxation; he can be depended upon to see that the manufacturers do not get unduly rich. If all the work needed by Canada is done by Canadians it will mean that the home market will grow and expand. There will be more people for the agriculturists to sell to, and the farmer of the West will get his share in common with the rest. I believe there are about two and a half million Canadians in the United States at the present time, and one of our objects should be to get them to return to their own country. We can get our own people back by increasing the demand for manufactured products, and the best way to do that is by making a judicious use of the tariff, just as the United States has done, and giving the first preference in our markets to Canadian manufacturers.

Customs Tariff
When Sir Wilfrid Laurier came into power in 1896, what happened? A tariff policy was framed which it was thought would work favourably for Canada. In the great constituency which I have the honour to represent a Liberal protectionist was elected at that time, and he was a very 5 p.m. good man. He came down to Ottawa, in company with the Hon. Lyman Jones, at that time head of the Massey-Harris Company, and what did they do? They did not suggest that the tariff on agricultural implements should be lowered -not at all. In the new tariff regard was had to imported materials when used in the manufacture of agricultural implements exported abroad. That provided work for our own people and helped our manufacturers to successfully compete in European and other markets, with the manufacturers of the United States. That was a good thing for Canada, and our people prospered. Any one who examines the Laurier-Fielding tariff of 1897 will have difficulty in finding it to be other than a protectionist tariff under which the country prospered.

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