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


Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)


It is possible that mistakes were made. The present government is making mistakes, and I am showing hon. gentlemen opposite how to correct them. The best thing they can do is to go back to the tariff of 1897. True that tariff underwent changes, but in the main it was a reasonably protective tariff and made provision for the necessities of the country. Not only did industries flourish under that tariff but there was a large influx of population. On the other hand, between 1874 and 1878 the Liberal policy was very much as it is to-day. It was upheld by gentlemen who professed to believe in free trade rather than protection-in a word they were gentlemen who professed what they thought would get them into office. The acting finance minister of to-day is a very able and very fair man, and I have great respect for him personally. It is for that reason I am pointing out these facts to him. When Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the great Liberals of that day succeeded to office they gave the country a somewhat better protective policy than the Conservatives had done. Today we on this side are endeavouring to secure for the country a real protective policy such as the United States has framed for its people. A policy of that kind is absolutely essential at the present time if we are going to pay the interest on our national debt, keep our [Mr. Bristol.!
railways in successful operation, repatriate our people who have left the Dominion, and get more population from other sources.
The province of Nova Scotia has never had fair treatment in the matter of coal. It has an abundant supply. So also has western Canada. There is no reason in the world why we should send out of Canada to the United States every year the enormous sum of from eighty to one hundred millions of dollars for the purchase of coal. Ontario is producing its own electric power. That is what has kept that province alive, as well as the province of Quebec. But Canadian coal, rather than American coal, should be used in this country; there is no reason for spending the large sum I have mentioned in buying American coal when western Canada and the province of Nova Scotia can meet our demands in this respect.
There is one other matter to which I should like to refer. In Canada we have wonderful timber resources, and according to engineers we have also the greatest mineral resources in the world. That is a matter of absolute importance to this country. Fortunately we cannot take our mines and give them away to the United States. For that reason the mining is going on in this country, Canadians are being employed in the development work, and the money is spent in Canada instead of being spent in the country to the south. I advise the Acting Minister of Finance to give this country a real protection, a policy such as will protect the farmers of Canada, give our workmen a chance to earn good wages instead of going to the United States, and retain our population in all parts of Canada at home. If my hon. friend will inaugurate a policy of that kind he will do something which will be of real benefit to the people. I submit that the present tariff is not helping Canadian industries in any way whatever. It seems to be designed chiefly for the purpose of keeping the government in power, which to them is of great importance, of course. Furthermore the government's tariff policy has frightened the industries of Canada to such an extent that they are apprehensive of disaster and do not know what is going to happen from one minute to another. Finally it has put a damper on the country's prosperity.

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