March 8, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Charles Benjamin Howard



To complete the argument I was advancing when the house rose at six o'clock I should like to make this statement: We all remember the famous reduction in the duty on automobiles. It is not necessary to review the facts with respect to it except to say that when a fair proposition was made to the manufacturers and they were asked to reduce the price to the Canadian consumer, of cars manufactured in Canada, they refused absolutely to do so. They persisted in maintaining the price at the American retail price, plus the Canadian duty of 35 per cent. Then this government reduced the duty on automobiles and the price dropped to exactly the amount of that reduction in duty. I would suggest again to the manufacturers of automobiles that they cut the price of their cars in Canada 15 or 20 per cent, and if they would do so that we should put back the duty to the original rate of 35 per cent in order to keep out imported automobiles, and yet give the Canadian consumer the benefit of the reduced price. I make that suggestion in the hope that the manufacturers in Canada are willing to play the game with the Canadian consumer, and with the idea that the tariff may be used to keep out American or other competition without increasing the price to the consumer in this country.
During the past two weeks we have heard in this house speech after speech criticizing what I consider a mere detail of administration. Surely in olden days the Conservative party not only indulged in criticism of the general policy of the government but suggested remedies for whatever they considered defective in that policy. The course pursued by the Conservative party to-day in regard to the McConachie case illustrates the straits to which they have descended. Now I view that particular matter in this light: I am not prepared to state that any mistake was made, but I do say this: If the government has
allowed the person in question to enter Canada, I suggest, and I think we are in duty bound to do so, that the whole family be taken *back to Scotland, that their home be repurchased and that they be re-established there.
But in spite of the sympathy I personally feel for the family under the conditions, I am still prepared to say that we must keep up the quality of our immigration regardless of the quantity. I am not surprised considering the speeches of opposition members, that the figures of immigration are not larger than they were during the past year. Only this week the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), for whom I have the greatest respect, made a speech in the city of Montreal, and I wish to read an extract from that speech as reported in the Montreal Gazette of Monday, March 5th:
Canada selling her estate, says Hon. R. B. Bennett.
I do not believe that Canada is selling her estate. I defy any member on either side to prove that such is the case. But I would ask this question: Outside of criticism of a mere
matter of detail in the particular case alluded to, what policies or general suggestions have the opposition made to the government outside of a suggestion that a duty be imposed on coal? I pay this tribute to the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. Church): he at least has the courage of his convictions to the extent that he has placed a motion on the order paper asking the government to go ahead with the deepening of the St. Lawrence waterway; but in spite of the fact that a great many hon. members opposite come from Toronto, or from that section of Ontario deeply concerned in this matter, not one single member on that side has advocated a policy that would mean increasing our immigration and increasing our prosperity.

Full View