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


John Ewen Sinclair


Hon. J. E. SINCLAIR (Queens):

It is my pleasure at this time to join with those who have preceded me in this debate in extending congratulations to the mover (Mr. Ilsley) and seconder (Mr. Beaubien) of the address upon the way in which they have discharged the honourable duty conferred upon them by the government. In continuing the debate 1 may be permitted for a moment or two to refer to some of the things that have been touched upon by the hon. member for Colehestei (Mr. MacNutt). In the opening of his remarks he made the statement, with which I can pretty much agree, that we in the maritime provinces are renowned for our codfish, our handsome girls and our college professors. The only amendment we in Prince Edward Island would suggest to that sentiment is this: we would mention the handsome girls before the codfish.
Belonging as I do to the agricultural calling, I may perhaps be allowed to say a word in reference to the statements that have been made regarding the production of butter and other dairy produce in the maritime provinces. It has been claimed by many public speakers throughout Canada that our farmers are suffering as a result of the Australian treaty and that there is consequently no incentive to the butter and dairy producers in Canada. 1 was at a loss to gather, when the hon. member for Colchester was speaking, whether he put himself on record as being opposed to Americans coming here to buy our dairy cows, because I know that in the maritime provinces during recent years, especially since the policy was put into force of bringing these provinces into the disease free area, the eyes of American dairymen as well as of dairymen in central Canada have been turned towards the njaritimes. There is an appreciable movement from the large dairies 'from time to tipfe throughout the year to replenish their stocK^f dairy cows from disease-free areas,, and that is largely the reason why we see so many leading dairymen coming to that part of the country, particularly during the summer season when cattle can be shipped. Further than that, a movement has developed in recent weeks, perhaps I should say months, from the West Indies, for dairy cattle from the maritime provinces. Shipments are now being collected for the West
Indies. This movement is largely due to the fact that tests have demonstrated that the dairy cattle of the maritimes are freer from tuberculosis than the dairy cattle of any other section of the Dominion. I feel that if the hon. members who are interested will compare the prices of butter throughout Canada during the past few years they will find that those prices have not been depressed by reason of the competition of the butter producers in our sister dominions of Australia and New Zealand. If as a member of the empire we are going to advocate inter-imperia.1 trade, how can we ask for a repeal of the Australian treaty and be loyal to our professions in that regard? As an agriculturist in direct touch with the work of finding markets for our dairy products, I am in a position to state that the main result of the importations of Australian butter has simply been to put the speculator in Canadian dairy products out of business rather than to injure the farmer. To-day we have a ready market all the year round in Great Britain for our dairy products. It is in the same market that the dairy farmers of Australia and New Zealand dispose of their surplus product. That market controls the price of butter in the markets of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And undoubtedly the dairymen of Canada are ready to compete wfith the other sister nations of this great Commonwealth in supplying the British market. I cannot let the opportunity pass without saying that I am unwaveringly opposed to the suggestion, made by the hon. member for Colchester that an additional duty of four cents a pound be imposed upon butter. As. to the bonus, New Zealand butter-which I think is chiefly coming into Canada-does not enjoy the incentive of a bonus. The bonus system applies only in Australia, and 1 am not sure whether it is in full operation at the present time or not.
Before proceeding further, Mr. Speaker, let me refer to one or two of the outstanding points in the speeches that we have heard from representatives from the maritime provinces during the past few days. The hon. members for Pictou (Mr. Cantley), Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald), and Colchester (Mr. MacNutt), spoke to-day, and a few days previously we heard from the hon. members for Cumberland (Mr. Smith) and Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst), as well as my hon. friend from St. John-Albert (Mr. MacLaren). In all those speeches the one outstanding feature was their reference to the Duncan report on maritime claims, and each hon. member complained that the government had not fully implemented the

The Address-Mr. Sinclair (Queens)
recommendations contained in that report. But, with some very slight exceptions, all those hon. gentlemen were very careful not to specify any particular recommendation that had not been implemented by the government as far as possible up to this time. Unconsciously they congratulated the government upon the effect produced in the maritimes by the Duncan report. The hon. gentleman who preceded me (Mr. MacNutt) said that it had had a wonderful effect in the maritimes. My hon. friend from South Cape Breton stated that the Duncan report gave new life to the maritimes. But my hon. friend from Pictou was more cautious-he said our thanks were due to the God of the harvest. However, in the latter part of his speech, when associating himself with the Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) in pressing the completion of the Hudson Bay railway and other western projects, he said: "Members from the west should remember our views when considering this dissatisfaction and unrest in the maritimes." As a maritimer, Mr. Speaker, I claim that such reference to the maritime provinces is unwarranted, and is not a true reflection of the spirit of our people at this time.
Now, sir, let us look at the Duncan report and see how far our friends are justified in raising this cry of inaction by the government. Taking the recommendations paragraph by paragraph, the first is that a money grant should be made to each of the maritime provinces. This recommendation has been implemented as far as possible to date, pending a general adjustment as recommended by the commission. The second recommendation is that there should be a reduction of twenty per cent in freight rates on all traffic which both originates and terminates at stations in the Atlantic division of the Canadian National railways, including export and import traffic, by sea, common to that division, and that the same reduction be also applied to the Atlantic division proportion of through rates on all traffic which originates at stations in the Atlantic division, excluding import . traffic by sea, and is destined to points outside the Atlantic division. That has been implemented in full, with the exception of incoming freight by water destined for maritime points and the freight going out to United States points by rail and water originating in the maritime provinces. Our friends opposite claim that this also should be implemented. I am confident that a close perusal of the freight revenue statements that have been made by the Canadian National Railways at the end of each month from July 1 to
December 31, 1927, will show that compared with the same volume and the same period in 1926 the freight earnings on the Atlantic region have shrunk 20 per cent. So that they have given full effect to what has been recommended by the Duncan commission. The figures that have been published bear out that statement to November 30, and the figures published to the end of the year will I am confident show a similar result.

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