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


Alexander McKay Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Waterloo):

I am not
justifying the manufacturers of motor cars, but I must point out to the hon. member that what really happened was this: the doors were closed until a readjustment could be made and the manufacturers could ascertain just where they stood. I know of one dealer who went to get cars and who was refused for the reason that the manufacturers could not fix the price, not having yet made the adjustment. Furthermore, the question of storage facilities had to be considered.
The outstanding feature of the present budget is, of course, the reduction in auto-
EMr. A. M. Edwards.]
mobile duties, a reduction which was made regardless of the facts and, indeed, without any desire on the part of the government to ascertain those facts. It is entirely a measure of expediency submitted to under pressure from the western adjunct of the government, contrary to the pledges of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to the country and also in contravention of the undertaking contained in the Speech from the Throne. I do not intend to quarrel with the amount of the reduction as such, nor do I intend to commend it. Frankly, I do not know what comment it calls for, and I am safe in saying that no hon. member in this House can tell whether or not the reduction in the tariff on automobiles can be justified. On the other hand, perhaps the government has not gone far enough in this regard; or perhaps it has gone too far. One thing is certain, however, no consideration was shown to the motor companies nor to the small stock holders interested in it, and there was an absolute disregard for the welfare of the working people in these concerns. As I understand it, those interested in the motor industry were ready and willing to put all their cards on the table. Therefore I contend that this matter should have been referred to the newly created tariff board, and the tariff lowered or raised, according to the findings of that board. If this was not a case for the tariff board, why was that board created? Surely it was created to be of service to the country, to deal with tariff questions affecting automobiles and other manufactured articles? Or was it simply intended to be a haven for derelict politicians? I would suggest that any industry which may be suspected of making unfair profits under its tariff protection should be brought before this board and investigated. If this were done, I am confident the continual howl that we hear from certain sections of the country would rapidly subside.
The industrial portions of Canada, My. Speaker, have been built up by a policy o.' protection, this policy having compelled large United States concerns to establish branch factories in the Dominion. Is this policy to be ditched now after hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in plant and equipment and workingmen's homes? Or are we to have a sane policy that will give sufficient protection, and sufficient protection only, to all productive enterprises? In the city of Galt where I live there are five factories devoting part of their space to the manufacture of parts and accessories for motor cars. In some cases these factories have been estab-

The Budget-Mr. Edwards (Waterloo)
lished by foreign capital brought in under the policy advocated by our leading statesmen. After listening to these letters hon. members will be able to decide whether or not a slight reduction in the price of Ford cars is sufficient justification for curtailing these businesses and throwing thousands of people out of employment. These communications are in reply to letters I sent out. The first is a telegram:
Letter arrived yesterday, but was off sick, so just received to-day noon. Since changes in tariff we are only operating fifty per cent, also night shift discontinued, *orders cancelled.
Elliott & Whitehall,
Machine Tool Company, Limited.
The next reply is from the Dominion Tack <fc Nail Company Limited:
Replying to your enquiry, quite a considerable portion of our business was from automobile makers. This has been cut off, and will undoubtedly result in a loss to our plant and the release of a number of employees.
Here is another letter:
Thanks for your favour of the 20th instant. Now, with reference to the effect the recent tariff reduction will have upon our output, it is at this moment hard to say other than that it will be of a very serious nature. Taking into account the screws and parts which we make, and which go directly into automobiles, and also screws and parts for automobile accessories, which will be indirectly affected, wi* would say it will affect about fifty per cent of our business.
The main difficulty with this whole matter is that in an endeavour to give automobile manufacturers some redress, there will be an attempt made to further reduce parts and other raw material, which in many cases is somebody else's finished product. In other words, our finished product is the raw material for the automobile and automobile accessory industries. Were we then in turn to seek some redress, we would have to go back at the steel men, such as the Canadian and Union Drawn Steel Companies of Hamilton, which would again in turn affect them. The thing is of such a far-reaching character that if it is at all possible to do so, some supreme endeavour should be made to have this matter referred to the tariff board, which if done would enable not only the automobile manufacturers but all other lines affected would have an opportunity to place their case before them.
This letter is signed by the Galt Machine <fe Screw Company Limited. I have still another letter which I wish to place before the House. It is from the Galt Art Metal Co., Limited, the managing director of which writes:
I am in receipt of yours of the 20th inst., and in reply would say that the change in the duty as proposed in the budget in connection with the automobile industry, will have the disastrous effect of closing that department of our factory.
We have been doing an annual business of around $100,000 in manufacturing automobile parts for various automobile factories, and last Saturday we received instructions to stop all work. Of course we had to let all the men in that department go, some of whom, I am told, have already gone to the United States.
During the dull times, which all business has experienced. during the past few years, we looked around for something additional which we could manufacture
to advantage in order to increase and help out our business. We finally succeeded, after a lot of work and expense, in getting this line going. The result of the change of tariff means that all our labour and expense has been thrown away and we are afraid to go to the expense of taking up anything else, for we cannot tell what will be hit next. Making the change at this-time of the year, just when the busy season was starting, has spoiled the business for this year.
That is the story of how our industries in Galt are affected by this reduction in the tariff on automobiles.
While reading the clause in the budget referring to the tariff on automobiles, the thought came to me as to what would have been done providing even one automobile factory were located east of the Ottawa river. It seemed to me that that would have put an entirely different slant on the situation. Something apparently must be done to chide the great industrial province of Ontario. I would suggest that the government have a care, as there is always the possibility of "killing the goose that lays the golden egg.'' It might not be out of place for me to give a few figures as to what Ontario actually pays into the treasury compared with the contributions from the other provinces. When I state that out of the 225,000 taxpayers contributing to the treasury over 100.000 are located in Ontario, it will give hon. members some idea of what that means in Dominion revenue. Quebec comes second with over 43,000. Following this line I am going to quote from a paper that by the wildest stretch of the imagination cannot be considered to be favourable to the Conservative party-the Toronto Star Weekly. The feature article of last Saturday's issue was on taxation. Before quoting a few extracts from that article, I might state that Ontario's 100,000 taxpayers pay $11,000,000 into the treasury, while Quebec's 43,000 pays $8,000,000. so their contributions are not so very wide apart. It may be suggested that the total for Quebec is accounted for to some extent by the enormous number of big incomes enjoyed by people in the city of Montreal. But that is not the fact. Last year Quebec and Ontario had exactly the same number of people, 355, enjoying incomes of over $30,000 a year. These 355 wealthy men in each province paid in taxes in Ontario $4,122,088, and in Quebec $4,034,776. Of incomes between $20,000 and $30,000 Quebec had 282 and Ontario 480. Let us see how they contribute, taking each province of Canada. In Ontario there are 99,597 taxpayers, paying $11,370,769; Quebec has 43,646 taxpayers, paying $8,352,203; Manitoba, 19,870 taxpayers paying $1,684,154; British Columbia, 19,630 taxpayers paying $1,468,565; Alberta, 14,641 taxpayers paying
The Budget-Mr. Edwards (Waterloo)
$730,510; Saskatchewan, the province we hear so much about, has 14,200 taxpayers paying $615,842; Nova Scotia, 7,134 taxpayers paying $446,085; New Brunswick, 5,743 taxpayers paying $415,126; Prince Edward Island, 479 taxpayers paying $26,914.
Included in this total of 225,000 taxpayers there are 3,061 farmers, who pay into our treasury $162,944 in income. I think hon. members will see that perhaps it is not the wisest thing in the interests of the country to destroy the profitable enterprises of Ontario and Quebec. It will be seen that the unfair position into which the province of Ontario is being forced will have a tendency to react adversely upon the country generally, a result which will not be in the best interests of Canada.
With reference to the income tax, I regret to note that the dividends received from corporations which are not now included in income returns, become taxable. These dividends are already taxed by the municipalities, and the proposal to tax them further will work a hardship on many people depending on income from these sources of revenue for their maintenance. As explained by the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) in his speech on Tuesday last, the widow with an income of $5,000 made up of dividends will now have to pay a tax; under the old ruling she was exempt. She will also have to pay a tax to the municipality in which she resides. The reduction in sales tax, the return to penny postage and the abolition of the receipt tax are very welcome, and very long deferred.
During the speech of the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Sutherland) he quoted from speeches made at the Canadian National exhibition last year, and also from speeches made during the annual meeting of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association at Hamilton. One of his quotations was from the speech of Mr. Fortier, of the city of Quebec. I happen to know Mr. Fortier very weil personally, and any person who knows him-

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