February 7, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


George Taylor MacNutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. T. MacNUTT (Colchester):

Mr. Speaker, I will occupy but a very short time in offering a few observations on the subject matter before the house. For the very eloquent and kindly words expressed by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Jelliff) in his certificate of character and integrity of our honoured leader (Mr. Bennett), on behalf of the members on this side, I extend to him our sincere thanks. This debate has been under discussion now for the past eight days and I am sure we all agree that it has been earned on in a most gentlemanly and kindly manner. As I sat in my seat on the opening day and listened to the eloquent speech of our honoured leader and the reply of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), I wondered if the Christian era had at last reached parliament hill.
So much has been said throughout this debate on many matters which I wished to discuss that I will not tire the house with any repetition. There is, however, in this house a custom that will bear repetition, and that is in hon. members extending to the mover and seconder of the address their felicitations. It is particularly pleasing for me to-night to offer to my fellow Nova Scotian the hon. member for Hants-Kings (Mr. Usley) and to the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Beau-bien) my congratulations on the very creditable way in which they performed a somewhat difficult task. In the great republic to the south of us, we Nova Scotians, or Blue-noses as we are sometimes called over there, are noted for three things: codfish, handsome girls, and college professors. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister, looking around him to select a member to move the address in reply to the speech from the throne, and make a good job of that task, would naturally look towards the little province down by the sea which has such a reputation as I
have indicated and which has given to this great Dominion three of its prime ministers.
Throughout the debate on the address I have observed that there is a tendency on the part of a great majority of members who have spoken to confine their remarks largely to that part of the country from which they come, and I may be permitted to do the same, particularly as the hon. member for Hants-Kings interjected into his speech a distinctly maritime flavour. He volunteered to give this government some advice; he advised his government that down in Nova Scotia they wanted wider markets. The cry of " wider markets " is a very old one. Hansard has been loaded up with it from the day that it was first issued. It is a catch-cry that is used in this house at every session. Wider markets are desired when we produce more than we consume.
The hon. member for Hants-Kings referred to apples, which constitute a very large crop in that portion of Nova Scotia from which he comes. I confess that in regard to markets for apples the hon. member is much better informed than I am. I know, however, that the home market consumes about fifteen per cent of the apples that are raised in that province, while the British and European markets consume the remaining eighty-five per cent. I realize that if the whole crop of fruit from the Annapolis valley were thrown at one time upon the home market, the producers would receive barely enough, if enough, to pay for the package that contains the fruit, but I know further that from now until the new crop comes in next year it is almost impossible to buy in the stores of that province Nova Scotia apples. Our stores are filled up with a highly-coloured, poorly-flavoured apple imported from somewhere else. I would not venture to say that they are from Ontario or British Columbia when I have around me so many hon. members from those two great provinces.
Do we want wider markets for our butter when the province of Nova Scotia does not produce one-half of the butter it consumes? What the farmers of Nova Scotia do want is a policy which will give Nova Scotia products a preference over foreign products in the Canadian market. What we want is increased production to meet the demands of our own consumption. Our farmers cannot meet those demands in the face of the conditions that are confronting them to-day.
I asked a question yesterday in the house regarding the dumping clause, if it was still being applied to butter coming in from Australia, and the hon. Minister of National

The Address-Mr. MacNutt
Revenue (Mr. Euler) informed me that it had not been applied for some time. With butter coming into this country as it is, and has been-only a few days ago twenty-seven thousand packages arrived in Victoria, B.C., averaging about fifty-six pounds to the package-I say, Mr. Speaker, that with such conditions existing, our farmers have no incentive to endeavour to increase their production. Not only does this Australian butter come into the Canadian market at a duty of one cent a pound, but the farmers who produce that butter, the shippers and exporters from Australia and New Zealand are being paid by their own government a bonus of six cents a pound. These conditions, Mr. Speaker, in the province from which I come are driving our dairy farmers out of business.
From the county which I have the honour to represent, during the past seven months 2,000 of the best and highest butter fat-producing cows were shipped out, mostly to the United States, and as I left my home to come here American buyers were at that time loading several carloads more for shipment into their market. Our farmers are being driven out of business. Of course, we cannot stop our American friends from coming into N'ova Scotia and buying our cows if they find they can buy them cheaper there than elsewhere. With a Canadian duty of one cent per pound and a duty of twelve cents protecting the American dairymen it is easy to see why our cows go to the United States. I do say that the government have it in their power to apply the dumping clause to stop the importation of this foreign butter that is driving our Nova Scotia farmers out of business. I have on the order paper a question asking when this dumping clause was applied and when it ceased to operate, and I may have something more to say about this matter in the future.
Do we want wider markets for our farmers? Let me read a resolution that was passed by the farmers of Nova Scotia at the annual meeting of the dairymen's association held in the town of Truro, the seat of the county which I have the honour to represent. This resolution was passed in January, 1927:
Whereas the agreement as negotiated between the Canadian and Australian governments has reduced the customs tariff on butter coming into Canada from 4 cents per pound to 1 cent per pound;
And whereas as a result of this agreement coming into effect October 1, 1925, the price on Canadian butter has been reduced more than the amount of the original duty;
And whereas this reduction has had a detrimental effect on winter dairying in Canada, affecting both the producer and manufacturer; Be it therefore resolved that we, the dairy-
men s association of Nova Scotia in annual convention here assembled, do humbly pray that the Dominion government do restore the customs tariff to its original rated duty of 4 cents per pound or equal to the Australian bonus of 6 cents per pound, at the present session of parliament;
Further resolved that a copy of this resolution be sent to the hon. Minister of Agriculture, Ottawa, and each of the Nova Scotia M.P.'s as well as a copy to the Hon. J. A. Walker, Minister of Natural Resources, Halifax, asking the Nova Scotia government to use their good offices in our behalf.
I will now read the resolution that was passed by the same association in January, 1928:
Be it resolved that the Nova Scotia dairymen s association in annual session assembled in Truro, January 17th-18th, 1928, reaffirm the action of this association in passing a resolution at the annual convention, January 19th-20th, 1927, asking the government to
cancel the clause of the Australian treaty and the order in council which allows butter to enter Canada at the fate of one cent per pound duty and cheese free and restore to the farmer that which was taken from him by the signing of this treaty and the order in council allowing New Zealand butter and cheese to enter Canada at the same rate of duty.
Further resolved that we request that the dumping clause be at once applied to all butter coming into Canada from New Zealand and Australia whether on direct sale or on consignment.
Further resolved that the copies of this resolution with the 1927 resolution attached be mailed to the members of the senate, the Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada; the members of the government; the federal members for Nova Scotia, and the Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. J. A. Walker, Halifax.
Those are resolutions, Mr. Speaker, that were passed at a convention of hard-headed farmers, farmers who are members of the two old political parties in this country. They realize that the situation that exists in that province is for them a very precarious one. In view of these resolutions I do not think that the question of wider markets is receiving much attention from the farmers of that province.
Again, do we want wider markets for our pulpwood, when we have steamers leaving the shores of Nova Scotia almost like ferries, carrying the raw wood across into the American market, to be followed there by the young men of our province who follow the wood to find employment in American mills, working up into the finished product that wood that should have been manufactured at home. What we do want in Nova Scotia is home manufacture of our raw materials, and a fearless determination to develop our own heritage for the benefit of our own people. I

The Address-Mr. MacNutt
could go on and at considerable length mention many more of the products of the farm of which we do not produce in Nova Scotia nearly as much as we consume. I refer to cheese, to eggs and many more products.
So much has been said throughout this debate on the question of coal that I hesitate to venture upon it, particularly in view of the fact that the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald) and the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley) discussed that question this afternoon. I may, however, be permitted to congratulate the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland), upon his very able speech in this house a few days ago. His analysis of the situation in the province of Alberta, having reference to the demand that an out-of-pocket cost rate be given the coal producers of that province, is so similar to our demand from the maritime provinces that I could not add anything to the splendid analysis of that subject which he gave upon that occasion. I might say that my hon. friend robbed me, in that able speech, of a good deal of matter that I intended to present to the house. .
Canadian coal for Canadian people is a slogan that I believe should be sung throughout the whole of Canada. It is a national question. It is a question that can be solved, if it is energetically taken hold of. Give the railways the out-of-pocket cost on moving coal and you will at once bridge the great gulf which is now fixed between the coal producers in these provinces and the consumers in the central provinces. The coal operators of Alberta are demanding this out-of-pocket rate to overcome what is known as seasonal unemployment. During the summer months they have not sufficient market to keep their mines operating at full capacity, while in Nova Scotia, as was stated this afternoon by the hon. member for Pictou, we require this seasonal employment, and this out-of-pocket rate would give employment to our miners after the St. Lawrence river has been closed to navigation. During the summer months our mines are worked to capacity, but with the closing of the St. Lawrence the work automatically ceases and destitution soon follows.
I wish to compliment the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) on the fact that he is always a very good listener when matters pertaining to his own department are up for discussion. He interjected a question when the hon. member for Pictou was speaking, and asked why 700,000 tons of coal were brought from Germany and England into the metropolis of Montreal during the summer months. Why should this coal be brought such a great distance when it could be obtained from the mines in Nova Scotia, which are much nearer Montreal? From the shake of the hon. minister's head I do not think he quite understood the meaning of the remark of the hon. member for Pictou. Let me say, therefore, that during the open season of navigation our mines are worked to their full capacity. The people of the great metropolis of Montreal, knowing that they cannot get coal by the St. Lawrence route in winter, naturally have to store large quantities and keep it on hand, and not being able to get it from the mines of Nova Scotia, they had to obtain it elsewhere. What we ask is that this out-of-pocket cost which the Alberta government and the Alberta operators are asking for, be extended to the province of Nova Scotia. If that were done the necessity for buying and storing such large quantities of foreign coal during the summer months would be immediately eliminated.

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