Mr. W. A. HALL (South Bruce):
Mr. Speaker, for the sake of variety may I be palrdoned if I forego the customary congratulations to Your Honour as well as to the mover (Mr. Elliott) and the seconder (Mr. Lacombe) of the Address. The congratulations are perhaps becoming somewhat monotonous, and doubtless you are weary of hearing them.
Being a new member of the House I make with hesitation and diffidence this first attempt at addressing hon. members. However, the new members will doubtless sympathize with me; nay, more, the older members will doubtless be as indulgent as they have been with previous speakers.
I wish first to make reference to some of the things that have been said. In the first part of this session a good deal was said about the manner in which the general election was conducted. We have not heard so much of that from Ontario members; it has been more particularly from Quebec. The hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) gave a very lucid description of the Patenaude campaign as carried on in the province of Quebec, where millions of dollars were spent in support of a certain railway policy looking to the amalgamation of the two systems with the Canadian Pacific railway in control, thus effecting a huge railway monopoly the evil effects of which no one can imagine. Coming from Ontario I can assure hon. members of this House that the same sordid means used in the province of Quebec were practised in the province of Ontario.
Some hon. members opposite have tried to make us believe that the defeat of so many of the Liberal candidates in Ontario was due to two things: first, the bad effects of the Australian treaty; and second, the lack of a sufficiently high protective tariff, especially for the farmers. But such was not the case. An enormous amount of campaign funds was expended by our political opponents in Ontario, abundant evidence of which was seen in almost every constituency in the province. Together with this, a most scurrilous campaign was carried on by some of the Tory papers in Ontario, especially the Toronto Telegram. These no doubt are the Tory tactics which have always been practised. We had another example of it in the first debate this session, but it was a somewhat different case. To hear speakers on the Conservative side talk about constitutional practice and time-honoured precedent being ruthlessly violated by the Liberals would almost make one unacquainted with the political history
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of Canada believe that they were the only body of one hundred per cent pure patriots. But what did this same body of constitution worshippers care for our constitutional practice and time-honoured precedents when they robbed hundreds of thousands of the people of Canada of their constitutional rights in 1917, deprived myriads of Canadian citizens of their votes, gave votes to people who had neither moral nor legal right to them, used the votes of soldiers in Europe to elect themselves in constituencies which would otherwise have rejected them, and then unblushingly stayed in power without a mandate from the electors of Canada to do so?
Still another example of these same constitution worshippers casting constitutional practice and time-honoured precedent to the four winds was the passing of the Conscription Act of 1917, more properly called the Selective Conscription Act of 1917. The latter name more accurately describes the intention and purposes of the act, namely, selection and exemption. Hence, I need not elaborate it; the name is self-explanatory, but the memory of that act will remain as a dark spot in the history of our country. May I add parenthetically, that a book which the whole world could not contain might be written on these two words "selection" and "exemption" as applied to this act of 1917. It should have been indiscriminate conscription, not selective conscription. Wealth should have been conscripted as well as men. and lastly I would add that the Militia Act of 1904, ns amended, should have been used instead of the Conscription Act of 1917.
Mr. Speaker, these are only a few of the many flagrant examples of the total disregard of constitutional practice and time-honoured l>recedent by the Conservative party. Many more might be cited, but these will suffice to show that in this respect they are lacking in loyalty and patriotism to their country, notwithstanding their loud and emphatic protests to the contrary, especially before every election. Many of you will remember the reciprocity election of 1911. You remember how they waved the flag and shouted their slogan, "No truck or trade with the Yankees!'' Needless to say this won the election, to the everlasting disgrace of the Canadian people.
Now turning our attention to what the hon. member for South Winnipeg (Mr. Rogers) stated, that the King government had not reduced expenditure, had not lowered taxation, had not decreased the national debt, and had not increased trade, what are the facts? Before making a comparison may I state that, to be fair, we must omit a consideration of
the railroads during the Liberal administration, as in the comparison they are not included during the Tory administration. Let me give some figures in this connection:
434,000,0001923- 1924 370,000,0001924- 1925
So during the time of the Liberal administration the expenditure was reduced in four 3rears by $114,000,000; in other words, the Liberal government last year spent $3 for every $4 that was spent in 1921-22.
Now let me deal with the question of the reduction of taxation. In 1920-21 the total amount of taxation was $369,000,000. In. 192425 it amounted to $294,000,000. This shows a decrease in taxation of $75,000,000. In other words, in 1920-21 the taxation amounted to $41.99 per head; in 1924-25 it was reduced to $31.38 per head, a decrease of over $10 per capita. How was this reduction in taxation accomplished? It was accomplished by reducing the tariff, especially on agricultural implements and on other implements of production; and by lessening the sales tax or by wiping it out entirely as was done on many household articles, as well as articles of food.
I wish now to deal with the national debt. In the last year of the Tory administration, 1921-22, the national debt amounted to $2,422,000,000. On 31st December, 1925, the total national debt was $2,381,000,000, a reduction of over $40,000,000.
Now I come to a consideration of the trade situation. During 1920-21, the last whole year of the Conservative government, the entire foreign trade in Canada totalled $1,450,000,000 with an unfavourable trade balance of $29,000,000. But under Liberal rule conditions were greatly changed. In the twelve months ending December 31, 1925, the entire foreign trade was $2,161,000,000 with a favourable trade balance of almost $393,000,000. Does not this show a phenomenal growth of trade? How otherwise should we characterize a growth of $711,000,000 in five years and an increase of $422,000,000 of exports over imports for the same time?
Now, Mr. Speaker, turning to the amendment of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen), we notice that he is very solicitous about the welfare of the farmer and apparently shows no concern for his friends, the manufacturers. Doubtless this is a blind. This promise of building a tariff wall brick for brick with that of the American tariff wall, to protect the fanmer, will doubtless be followed by a like structure to protect the
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manufacturer. Has there not been a tacit understanding between the right hon. leader of the Tories and the manufacturers to this effect? Why? Did not the latter contribute large sums to the campaign funds to secure for the Tories the government of this country? But, alas! they failed.
When I read of the right hon. leader of the opposition going over this country telling the farmer that he would build up a high tariff wall around this country and thus benefit the agriculturist in the general price of farm products, I often wonder what he thinks the Canadian farmer is. It reminds me of the expression of Thomas Carlyle regarding the com laws of England, in his work entitled Past and Present, when he said:
Impartial persons have to say with a sigh, that for so long hack, they heard no argument for it, but such as might make the angels, and almost the jackasses weep. [DOT]
But, Mr. Speaker, I shall in a few minutes refer in some detail to various arguments used by the right hon. leader of the Conservative party in his pre-election speeches, arguments that possibly might make the very crocodiles shed tears. I may say that about seventy-five per cent 'of many of the farm products such as wheat, live stock, dairy products, and so on, are exported and sold in the open world markets where the price is fixed for the domestic market. So that no tariff, however high, can increase the domestic price of a product when there is a large exportable surplus of that product. In regard to the fruits and vegetables that come into this country in early spring, much has been said by our Tory friends about this injuring the farmer, but we must remember that these commodities are subject to a tariff of 30 per cent. That I think is sufficiently high.
Now let me say a word or two with respect to the trade treaties. These treaties, although only recently made, with several countries, have already shown beneficial effects on our foreign trade, and this trade has greatly increased. For the twelve months ending December 31, 1925, it was no less than $2,161,000,000. Our exports to many of these countries have also increased very much more than our imports from the same countries. I give these figures to illustrate the increase which has occurred:
To New Zealand exports increased in two
years over $ 4,000,000
To Belgium exports increased in two years
To Netherlands exports increased in two
years about 12,000,000
To Russia exports increased in two years
The trade treaty with the West Indies will be mutually advantageous. The West Indies need the products of Canada-such as wheat, flour, dairy products-as well as Canada needs the products of the West Indies, including tropical fruits, and so on. This treaty will also have the effect of increasing trade through Canadian ports and the business of Canadian railways. I expect the right bon. leader of the opposition will say with respect to this treaty what he has said about the other treaties negotiated by the present government -that it is a disaster to Canada.
And here let me pause to consider what the right hon. gentleman said on his general election tour last autumn. In his many speeches delivered during his trip over Canada, he made a very strenuous effort to convince the farmer that he should have protection, as well as that he was being seriously injured by the shrinkage in the home market caused 'by the exodus to the south. These two points were largely emphasized. Indeed, they were the central thoughts df the right hon. gentleman in every speech, and he practically made the one speech, using the same illustrations and figures. In his speech at Wingbam, Ontario, on September 9, the opening speech of his campaign, the right hon. gentleman said:
When 200,000 people leave Canada, about $100,000,000 of market is lost to the farm producers of Canada.
Speaking at Chatham, Ont., three days later, he said that:
Two hundred thousand people had left Canada for the United States, and this number was consuming $100,000,000 worth of produce. This money thej' were now spending on United States farm products.
Some days later at Charlottetown, P.E.I., he said, as reported in the Charlottetown Guardian:
When Nova Scotia loses 40,000 people that loss means a loss of $20,000,000 of products, part of which we lose in the sale of farm products. Now the American farmer sells them instead.
Notice that he modifies his statement, but maintains the same ratio between the number of people and their purchasing power.
At Calgary, on October 10th, the Albertan reports the right hon. gentleman as having said:
While we don't know how many Canadians slipped over the border, we know that the United States Department of Immigration reports 200,000 Canadians as entering the borders of our southern neighbours during the last year. Not only did we lose this tremendous population; we lost that which they took with them, a purchasing power of $100,000,000 which is being spent on the eggs, butter, honey and other products of the farmers on the other side of the line.
What does the right hon. leader of the Conservative party mean when he tells the farmers of this country that they lost
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a $100,000,000 market last year? Why, he simply means that every Canadian consumes farm products at the rate of $500 a year, or almost $10 a week. In other words a family of six would require $3,000 to keep them in dairy products, flour, meat and vegetables, not including groceries, such as, tea, coffee, rice, sago, and so forth, or manufactured goods, such as clothing.
Let us analyse this further, Mr. Speaker. The net value of everything produced in Canada in 1922, according to the Canada Year Book, 1924, page 184, was $2,950 millions, say $3,000 millions for ease of calculation. On the basis of the calculation of the right hon. leader of the Conservative party, the 9,000,000 people of Canada ate $4,500,000,000 of farm products, in 1922, or $1,500,000,000 more in value than was produced by all the industries in Canada engaged in farming, manufacturing, lumbering, fishing, hunting, trapping-everything. But in 1922 the agricultural products amounted to less than $1,500,000,000; so that there would be a deficit of $3,000,000,000. In other words there would be $3,000,000,000 worth of farm products less than were required for home consumption-a very melancholy condition indeed. The Conservative leader must now realize from this analysis, though dreadful to relate, that the Canadian people consumed all the products produced in Canada and had to import twice as much from other countries. Now what about the poor? The sad tragedy of it all is that the Conservative policy of sky-high protection would so boost the price of farm products that the poor among the labouring classes, amounting to many thousands, mud die of starvation, and this would cause a further shrinkage in the home market. Where would it end? What a vicious circle would thus be established! W'hat a mournful, doleful tale!