Hon. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac-Adding-ton):
Mr. Speaker, I shall not take up very
much of the time of the house in discussing this amendment, but I should like to call attention to the fact that this amendment expresses the opinion that the necessary action should be taken by the government forthwith -not after they have received certain notices and spent several days in consideration of the matters presented to them, but forthwith- with a view to protecting the interests of our producers. The amendment suggests that action should be taken forthwith to effectively control the importation into Canada, either on sale or on consignment, of natural products of a class or kind produced in Canada under conditions which prejudicially or injuriously affect-and I wish to emphasize the next words-or threaten to prejudicially or injuriously affect the interests of the Canadian producer. There are a few people in the constituency which I have the honour to represent who will be benefited by a resolution of this kind, and I would like to present to the house one or two reasons why . action should be taken forthwith not only to protect our producers against the importation of goods now but to protect them against improper importations with which they are threatened.
Let us consider for a moment the advantages enjoyed by producers of these articles in the United States. If you go to the southern states you will find that they have the advantage of cheap Mexican and negro labour, and that the wages they pay are very much lower than those paid by Canadian producers. I am sure everyone will admit that the southern producer has a decided advantage in that respect. Then I point to a second advantage: The Canadian producer must be satisfied with the production of one crop during the year, but the southern producer is able to produce two or three crops, due to the more favourable climate. I have indicated two advantages which seem to me apparent as being enjoyed by the southern producer as against the producer in Canada, but there is still another point which must be considered. The American producer has three markets, two high price markets and one low price or medium price market, while the Canadian producer under existing conditions has only one market, which is a low price or medium price market. In the first place, the United States producer has the advantage of the high price which is paid
Dumping Duty-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)
when he first places his vegetables and fruits on the market. After a time producers in other parts of the United States compete with him and he gets the medium or low price market. The Canadian producer has no opportunity to compete in the high price American market, for the very good reason that Canadian products are not available at that time. When Canadian vegetables and fruits are brought to the Canadian market, and when the Canadian producer should be obtaining the high price which will make his business profitable, his products are thrown into competition with American products which have been on the American market for weeks. So I say the American producer, in addition to the advantages of cheap labour and climate which enable him to produce two or three crops in a season, has the further advantage of a home market in which a high price is paid for fresh products and in which he meets no Canadian competition; he has first entry into our market, securing the highest prices paid here, and therefore has two high price markets and one medium price market while the Canadian producer has to take a lower price for his products.
Let us apply this argument to strawberries. American strawberries appear on the Canadian market before our strawberries are ready, and they command a high price here after having also obtained a high price in their own country. By the time our strawberries are ready for the market the American strawberries have broken the market so that our producers must take a low or medium price for what they have to sell. Again, by the time our Canadian strawberries are ready for the market the American raspberries come in at a high price and compete with the Canadian article, which is absolutely unfair.
One may theorize as much as hr likes with regard to matters of free trade and so on, but there should be something like fair play for our producers. I do not care what party is in power or who makes the tariff; they may theorize as much as they please with regard to the principles of Cobden and Bright, but any government or party framing a tariff for Canada should in all fairness take into consideration the climatic conditions prevailing in this country and in the countries with which Canada must compete. That is a matter of fair play to our Canadian producers, and it does seem to me that eome-* times hon. gentlemen, perhaps with the best intentions in the world, in their theorizing on trade matters, entirely overlook the kind of climate we have in Canada, which places our producers at a disadvantage as com oared
with producers in other countries where the climate is milder.
A number of years ago the Canadian producer had some protection quite apart from the tariff; the difficulty and expense of transportation afforded him some protection, but to-day distance is not measured in miles but in minutes or hours. We do not say it is so many miles to Winnipeg; we say it will take so many hours to go there. Transportation facilities all over the world have so improved and cold storage appliances have been so perfected in recent years that in so tar as trade is concerned the advantage of distance has been practically overcome.
I do submit, on behalf of the people in my own constituency who are engaged in producing these vegetables and fruits, that in all fairness to them I should enter my protest against existing conditions and express my approval of an amendment which has as its object giving our Canadian producers fair play and a decent, reasonable opportunity to compete with their own produce in their own home market.