February 23, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)


The British preferential tariff has been the means of closing down our mills, I am not speaking from a party or partisan standpoint at aill; I believe this is a great national question and one of vital interest to our farmers. I believe it would be of advantage not only to 'the farmers but to the woollen industry of this country if we had a duty on wool, and if the British preference were lowered sufficiently to allow our manufacturers of textiles and woollens to compete on a fair and equitable basis so that they would not have to compete with the cheap labour of England and in some cases, I understand, with cheaper goods still that are imported from France and Germany through Great Britain which is simply the clearing house. We are suffering from that condition of affairs at the present time. I believe the tariff could be so regulated that we could have in .this country a splendid industry which would be of vast importance to our agricultural 'classes, our labouring .people and our various industries.
Some hon. gentlemen in this House and during the election campaign have endeavoured to make it appear that the policy of the Conservative party is one of high protection. As I understand it, and Os I believe every hon. member on this side understands

The Address-Mr. Geary
it, ouir policy is one of adequate protection whereby the manufacturer, the labouring man and the farmer of 'this country will be protected against unfair competition from other countries. In other words, it is a policy of Canada for the Canadian people. It is the policy that was inaugurated in this country in 1878 and maintained under the regimes of both the late Sir 'John A. Macdonald and the late revered Liberal chieftain, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. That policy has been departed from by the Mackenzie King administration during the last four years and they have made no effort to remedy the conditions and evils from which the people are suffering at .the present time. We believe under a policy of adequate protection we would weld together the people of this Dominion into one great nation, so that we would not have one section west of the Rockies, another in the prairies, another in central Canada and another in the Mar-itimes.
We are free to admit that there are difficulties in the way; there are great problems to be worked out if we are to consummate that unity which we are looking forward to. We in the central provinces also have our grievances, although, as you will notice, we are not complaining much, but we are willing to concede something to our western friends in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We are wiling to concede to them anything that is fair and just and right, and we are also willing to make to the Maritime provinces such concessions as are necessary in order to secure to them the rights to which they are entitled. Having all this in mind, we believe that a strong government with an adequate policy which it would not be ashamed to enunciate to the people of Canada; a government ready to make reasonable concessions in order to promote national unity and to realize that vision which the fathers of confederation had of this country; a government prepared to put into force such a policy as is advocated by the Conservative party, as we on this side of the House understand that policy, would in a short time find a solution for ithe various problems with which this country is faced at the present time and which the government of to-day has failed Utterly to find during the past four years.

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