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


John Gordon Ross


Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Mr. Speaker,
when the House rose at six o'clock I was reading one of the wails of the protectionists in a speech of the Hon. Sir Charles Tupper in the budget debate of 1897: It is quite
similar to the wails that we have heard in this House. I will continue it:
Now, what is the result? The result is that this tariff goes into operation, and the hon. gentleman knows that the industries of this country are already .paralyzed in consequence. While hon. members gloat, vindictively gloat, over the destruction of Canadian industries I was reading the wail, the sorrowful wail, of those industries in the Montreal Gazette where one manufacturer after another declared that their industries were ruined, that their mills must close, and that they saw staring them in the face a return to the daplorable state of things that existed when the hon. gentleman who last addressed the House was in charge of the fiscal policy of this country. I say that a deeper wrong was never inflicted upon Canada.
What happened is a matter of history not conjecture. No sooner had the government passed that budget than industry sprang into life. Canada went forward as never before. But the wail goes on, and the leader of the opposition kicked about every reduction. Then for a while the Liberals did not do much reducing of the tariff. What happened? The ramparts of gold speech from the right hon. gentleman from Portage la Prairie! He was avid for tariff reduction then! My hon. friend kicks at everything. He reminds me of a remark made by a friend of mine in regard to the late Hon. Joseph Martin, a very able man and known to many in this House. He said of Mr. Martin:
He kicks the living and the dead,
He even kicks himself in bed.

One would think that my hon. friend would get weary, but he holds the courage of despair-despair of ever getting into office!
Now there is another matter to which I wish to refer. My hon. friend the member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) said the other day:
Who is being helped by this budget? The Americans largely. I know very little help that is being given to Canadians by it. What we have delivered to us here is simply an American budget.
I shall not follow my hon. friend further in this quotation. At this point he brought in the Pyrenees. When these mountains
come into the hon. gentleman's speech we may step out.
Well, what do we find? A delegation comes down to Ottawa and asks the government to put back the duty on motor cars to 35 per cent. Who comes? Who are the fiancial interests back of that delegation? Mr. Henry Ford will not be here; he is too big to go on his knees before even this government. Besides, he knows better. Mr. W. R. Campbell comes along and tries to tell us that he knows more than Ford. Listen, Mr. Speaker and hon. gentlemen of the House of Commons, to this petition:
I am a maker of cars. You have by means of a high tariff given us a chance to make 82.73 per cent out of you last year. The Liberals are trying to change the rules of the game. Heretofore, I have been able to extract that amount for the benefit of myself and my American friends. Be good, please. Please put back the duty on motor cars to 35 per cent.
That is the plea of these American stockholders. But Ford says that increased production would cause even greater progress under free trade.
And what about General Motors, Limited? The entire stock of that corporation is owned by the General Motors Corporation of the United States. Canadians have no direct voice in its affairs. The American parent concern is one of the great industrial organizations in the United States. Its assets are given in Pool's Manual as over $592,000,000. Its net earnings amount to $71,802,000. It controls eight great manufacturing divisions; fifteen accessory groups; eleven affiliated industries; one hundred and thirteen sales divisions; six accessory sales divisions; eight export and overseas departments. This again is closely linked up with the Dupont powder interests who control also Canadian Explosives and Northern Giant Explosives, Limited. We are told now that the general manager of the United States General Motors, says:
We will manufacture in the United States unless you amend this budget, which lessens by 15 per cent our power to exploit the Canadian people.

The Budget-Mr. Edwards (Waterloo)
Well, I know my answer. I know too the answer of the hon. gentlemen in the front benches opposite. The Duponts and Morgans crack the whip, and the hinged knees of my hon. friends bend! My reply is different. Our ancestors kicked kings from their thrones; manned the tiny ships as the great armada bore down upon England; stood with the martyrs on the fields of death; fought tyrants as tyrants only can be fought-by risk of life and fortune. They would not bow down to the Duponts of New Jersey! I say to our manufacturers: Go back to your factories- devote to business the time now spent on lobbying. You have the capacity and ability for great national service. In Heaven's name do not waste it in seeking for government favours!
My hon. friend the member for Fort William, with all the capacity for mock heroics which fits so naturally on to his ample frame, tells us:
It will not be long before the international boundary line will no longer exist between these two countries.
I yield not so much as the width of one blonde hair to my hon. friend in devotion to my native land, but I say calmly and deliberately and with a full sense of the meaning of the words: if this parliament is to form its budget under the dictation of the Duponts and the Morgans, then the sooner we obliterate that line the better.
One word more and I am through. Before the English occupied Egypt, when that country was under the domain of the Turk, the collection of taxes was " farmed " out to certain gentlemen throughout the country. These men gave the government a certain amount and they squeezed the hapless fellah or peasant of Egypt to the last drop that was in him. We have developed that custom here. We give to certain United States gentlemen the right to exploit the Canadian people by means of a high tariff. They come over here and build branch factories; they squeeze us to the full extent of the tariff protection we have given them, and they send their profits back to the land of their birth. And hon. gentlemen opposite applaud and cheer and say: Isn't it great? Long live Canadians so they may be exploited by their neighbours!" Well, the British came into Egypt. The exploiters were driven out, and they wailed as every protectionist wails. But the taxes came down; good government was established. " We made a man out of Pharaoh," and in that land of oppression prosperity came. We are going to do that in Canada. Liberalism is alive in Canada; it has found its soul. We have been living in the shadows. You have
seen a tree grow up in the woods that way; the foliage is pale and the growth stunted. Then something happens to let in the light and the tree grows; the leaves take on a richer colour, and it reaches out into the sunlight. Above all the others, it stands sun-crowned, a monarch of the forest! Just so with Liberalism. It has had its shadows; there have been dark days when the road seemed hard and the task heavy, but the Liberal spirit has triumphed at last. Its sinews have strengthened; the mists have rolled away from before its eyes; the path before us is plain and straight, and in the light of that clearer vision, not only Liberalism but Canada goes forward to the achievement of a newer and a grander day.
Mr. A. M. EDWARD'S (South Waterloo):
I rise with a good deal of hesitation and [DOT]timidity after the remarks of the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross). Belonging as I do to that very much hated class, the Ontario manufacturers, perhaps I may take from the hon. gentleman some very good advice inasmuch as he has referred to those engaged in the manufacturing industry. The hon. member in speaking this afternoon about the wonderful strides which the agriculture implement industry had made during the past two or three years made the statement that in 1925 the profits of the Massey-Harris Company were something over $1,000,000. That, I believe, is quite correct, but he did not inform the House that whereas, under normal conditions, the company employ from four to five thousand men in Canada, to-day they are employing perhaps only fifteen hundred, although their production is larger and they make more money than formerly. The only explanation that can be given for this, in view of the tariff reduction, is the fact that in 1925 they imported on a very large scale from the United States. Instead of making agricultural implements in Toronto they got them from their factories in Batavia, New York. Last year there were brought into Canada a sufficient quantity of malleable iron castings for the agricultural implement trade to keep 150 men employed 300 days in the year. Surely that employment is worth something to Canada.
Something has been said about the amount of steel used in the manufacture of agricultural implements. It is perfectly true that not much steel is actually used in the implement, but I would remind the House that as our machinery makers have to tender with the branch factories of huge United States concerns, a protection of five per cent does not
The Bridget-Mr. Edwards (Waterloo)
help them to any great extent. The American branches in Canada import their machines from the United States where owing to greater facilities aid better equipment the production is cheaper, so that a tariff of five per cent affords our manufacturers little or no protection.
The hon. member for Moose Jaw referred rather slightingly, I thought, to the huge deputation that waited upon the government to-day, and I inferred from his remarks that he thought they were here at the instance of the manufacturers and who were financing their visit. He spoke particularly about the McLaughlin people. Now this is quite at variance with what I was given to understand this afternoon. In conversation with a number of men from Oshawa I learned that in very many cases where the men in the factories were asked to come to Ottawa they said that they could not afford the trip, but that they would contribute their bit to the expenses of anyone who could come. A collection was taken up and contributions ranging from fifty cents to $2 were made. This does not seem to be in keeping with the suggestion of the hon. gentleman that the whole thing was financed and really initiated by the manufacturers themselves. I think the hon. member will find out, as time goes on, and when it is discovered that a vast army of workmen have been thrown out of employment in Oshawa and elsewhere, that the present budget proposal will come home strongly to the government. It is a serious thing for a man to go to work in the morning and find the door locked; he must return to his family in a very depressed state of mind. Surely it is not the function of a government to contribute to such a situation.

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