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

PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Rosetown):

Tariff
legislation, Mr. Speaker, seems to be going up and up, step by step, and I am surprised that a Liberal government in power can apply a measure of this kind to the food of the people. This measure was applied last summer and raised the price of certain natural products to a valuation somewhere about two or three hundred per cent above what any of our growers got for them. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said, the government still has the power, and they have applied it this year to the very limit. The hon. gentleman sa-id a word or two about the rights of parliament. I want to say right here that this measure, known as the dumping act-call it what you like- has rendered parliament practically a nonentity. No one knows at present what duty is going to be paid on any of these natural products. No one knows what valuation the appraisers will put on these articles, and the duty is collected accordingly. They say that it is only put on during emergent conditions. Emergent conditions, sir, are a matter of opinion only. It has a very wide meaning, something like what our Conservative friends used to call "adequate protection." No one knows what it means, where it begins, or where it stops. Anyway, parliament has been rendered practically a nonentity during the application of this measure. The government still has the power, and it has used it to the detriment of every consumer in this country. They say it is a producers' measure. It is not a producers' measure, and I do not think it was meant to be a producers' measure. It was meant only to be a distributors' measure, and they are the only class that has so far been profited by it. _
Last year, I say, this measure was applied, and the result was -the raising of the prices to those who had already filled their warehouses. The prices paid to the Canadian producer were similar to what has been paid in years gone by. Take British Columbia apples; there is about 600 per cent difference

Dumping Duty-Mr. Evans
between the valuation on a box of apples and what the consumer pays for it. From 50 to 80 cents was the price paid this last year for British Columbia apples. Boxes valued at that price, have been selling in the retail stores in Saskatoon-I have taken particular notice of it-at something between $3.25 and $3.75 each. If any further dumping is needed on the food of the people, I do not know of it. The first anti-dumping order on vegetables and fruits was put into effect on July 14, 1926, during the short time that the Conservative party was in power, and tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, onions, potatoes, 'beets, spinach, cauliflower and so on were in some cases raised two hundred per cent in valuation over the cost price. Peaches and raspberries actually went up three hundred per cent. This was long before the Canadian growers of these commodities came forward asking for any concession or any seasonal tariff, but it was done, I say, by the Tory party during the short time they were in power in 1926. The first order that was imposed on July 14, 1926, was to all intents and purposes imposed after the importers got stocked up on some of these main lines. A week or two later plums, prunes and so on received attention and as regards most of these articles it seemed that the new duty was to be permanent.
The Liberal government after it took power rescinded this order on most varieties of fruits on October 5, 1926, but it was left on certain of the vegetables until February 8, 1927, so as to prevent importations that would spoil the price, not for the growers, but for the importers, packers and dealers who handle the stuff. Hardly any of this stuff is brought out by the farmer later than the end of November and the fact that freer trade existed after those dates did not help the consumer at all. It is on apples that the greatest incongruity of all these manipulations exists. On September 2 an anti-dumping order was issued which fixed the value for duty purposes at 300 per cent higher than the price the growers received that year, and the special duty was maintained by the Liberal government until February 23. when the big dealers announced that they could not buy enough Canadian apples to supply the demand. Therefore, while the duty was removed the price to the consumer remained the same and no one except the dealer was benefited by the putting on or taking off of the special duty. Surely these figures go to show that the man who needs *the benefit does not get it. The tariff is an incongruity in all its phases. It is an economic fallacy from the beginning. As I say,
TMr. Evans.]
the one who needs the benefit never gets it. If the duty was removed the price to the consumer remained the same so' that no one benefited but the dealer.
Boxes of apples were valued as follows:
Extra fancy, medium and large.. .. $1 80
Smaller sizes of same 1 50
Fancy in small sizes 1 25
Combination fancy and C grade 1 35
Unwrapped jumble pack 1 20
Small, fancy and C grade in baskets.. 1 20
I have under my hand a letter from the Minister of National Revenue under date of November 18, 1927, with a letter attached giving full information as to the price of apples, in regard to which I was at the time seeking information. The attached letter is signed by Mr. A. Fulton, Chief, Markets Extension Service, and is dated October 17, 1927. I find that the figures that I have given are just about the same as his, but I want to say that the price of Macintosh Reds to the consumer in Saskatoon was $3.25, on January 6, 1928. The price to the retailer when they were shipped by freight was 15 cents higher. Mr. Fulton in his letter states:
It is impossible at this date to state what prices the producer will procure for his apples until they are all finally shipped. Last year's average price to the producer averaged between 50 to 80 cents per box according to variety.
This is an authoritative statement showing that the value for customs purposes was fixed at 250 per cent higher than the price the grower received. No one cares for the producer. I have said in the house before and I do not mind repeating it that it looks as if this was done for the benefit of those who can bargain with the government or with politicians. I -have yet to hear a better reason why the interest of the consumer is traded off in this way.
On January 6, 1928, fancy apples were retailing in Saskatoon at $3.25 or 400 per cent above the price that the grower received during the time the anti-dumping act was in full operation under both the Liberal and the Tory regimes. On June 1st last a new set of orders were issued reviving the anti-dumping duty, and on this occasion the length of time that the duties were to be in force was specified. Let me take as examples: asparagus. 10 cents per pound from April 15 to June 30; lettuce, a duty of 3 cents per pound all the year round, and strawberries, 10 cents per pound from June 1 to July 31.
Again on June 14 another order was issued covering other fruits and vegetables. Onions and lettuce are covered for the whole year by the anti-dumping duty. It covers a long list of fruits and vegetables on which the

Dumping Duty-Mr. Anderson (Halton)
duty will now be about 75 per cent to 100 per cent in some cases, higher than before, although most of these were protected by a high duty before the seasonal tariff was imposed, and they were very profitable before to the big dealer and importer. The value for customs purposes of these foodstuffs will henceforth bear no relation to the price the grower in a foreign country may receive from the Canadian importer; it will be guaged entirely by the need of the importer, and l think as well by the campaign election fund of the party. During the session of 1925 the Conservative party declared that what they needed was an elastic tariff. This was also mentioned at the Winnipeg convention, I remember. Well, here we have it. They used to work hard on a "brick for brick'' policy, but I think they found that Uncle Sam could sling brickbats just as well as any Canadian. It seems now that elastic is safer than bricks and it can be stretched and manipulated to meet all kinds of conditions.
I am in favour of keeping the cost of living as low as it is possible to get it, and if Canada is to be an exporting nation, if wo are to prosper, we must keep down the cost of living in this country so that it is in line with other countries. Then, too, I believe that the worker has a perfect right to all these succulent foods which now only the rich can buy. I think it is time the government considered abolishing an act of bondage of this kind. Dumping legislation was first of all enacted by the Canadian government. It seems that we have led in acts of privilege, at least since 1878, and since 1896 still more It was 1904 that saw the introduction of this measure, and it has been nothing but a measure of bondage ever since. It was put on for the benefit only of those who can make a bargain with the party that is in power at the time.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DUMPING DUTY
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