October 21, 1932 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Duff



I admit that, and my hon. friend from Long Lake agrees with me. Of course that is not much of a compliment either to me or to him. However during the past forty years I have had some business experience. I have imported goods into Canada and paid the duty and have exported goods and paid duty on them in other countries. My experience is that when world prices have to be met, the person shipping free of duty does not receive one cent more, but he who pays the duty receives less. If there is a

surplus it must be shipped into some market, and that is exactly what is going to happen in the fish, the apple or any other business.
I need not deal further with fish, but I should like to draw the attention of the house to another danger. If Norway and Sweden, countries having a large fish business with Great Britain, if the United States, having an extensive apple business with Great Britain, or if the Argentine or other countries selling wheat and other commodities to Great Britain must submit to duties on their produce, what are they going to do about it? Are they going to lie down and let Great Britain impose taxes on their products; are they going to say nothing about it? I say if such duties are imposed retaliatory measures will be taken. Ever since the United States began it, we have had a tariff war. Countries throughout the world have had economic war with each other.
Let us take the United States as an example. Certainly that country will not lie down and without saying anything, allow the British government to impose a prohibitive duty on a barrel of apples. They will not stand for any such nonsense, but will treat us accordingly. The result will be that our products going to the United States will be subjected to duties heavier than those now existing. What effect will that have on the fish business? At the present time about 35,000,000 pounds of halibut is being shipped yearly from Prince Rupert to various points in the United States. Some years ago when I first came to this house I had the idea that I would have some influence, and with that in mind suggested that the duty be taken off fish coming from the United States to Canada. Yearly only about 500,000 pounds of fish come from across the boundary line. They send us fish only when their own market becomes glutted, which happens only four or five times a year. But some of my good friends said to me, "That will never do; if you take the one cent duty off fish coming from the United States to Canada you will glut the market and hurt our eastern fishermen." I did not agree. However, leaving for a moment the Atlantic coast line, let us go to Prince Rupert from which point 35,000,000 pounds of halibut are shipped yearly to the United States. About 20,000,000 pounds of that total quantity consists of Alaskan or American fish going through the port of Prince Rupert, and the remaining 15,000,000 pounds are Canadian fish. What happens? Those fish are sold on the Chicago market. We will suppose, Mr. Speaker, that you are a Canadian offering 100,000 pounds

United Kingdom
of fish for sale, and that I am a United States citizen offering the same quantity. I hope I may be excused for placing the proposition in this manner. The price in Chicago is 12 cents. You get 12 cents and I get the same, less the duty. If I ship my fish in free, without having to pay that duty of 2 cents per pound, I receive exactly the same as you receive; you do not get any more. I know that sometimes we are not very friendly to one another; we like to see the other fellow go down and out, but if you cannot get any more for your apples, wheat, fish or bacon in the English market how does it help you to compel other people to take less. Do you not thereby run the risk of having them start a trade war with you? Do you want the United States government to raise the duty on fish to three or four cents instead of two cents. For instance, on apples we have this duty of 4s. 6d. Let us suppose the United States government comes to the Canadian government and says, "Look here; we ship a good many apples into the English market and we do not like the idea of paying this duty. We would like to make a new trade arrangement with you." I have read this trade agreement, but I am not sure whether what I am about to suggest could happen, though a greater man than I am says it could be done in spite of this agreement and all this ballyhoo about a ten per cent preference on fish, 4s. 6d. on apples, so much on wheat and bacon and so on. Sir John Simon is reported as having said the other day that Great Britain could make an agreement with the United States. If that should be done, and the United States should stipulate that the first thing to be done was to remove the duty on apples going into Great Britain, or we will increase the duty on fish from two to four cents, how then can our friends opposite say that this duty is a preference as far as apples are concerned and would not the inferential result be futile? The Montreal Star of September 23, 1932, states:
The reports which have disturbed Ottawa statesmen are to the effect that the British government takes the view that-it is free to extend to foreign countries the general free entry into the British market which the dominions now enjoy under the Import Duties Act.
That is pretty clear. As I said a moment ago, I am not an economist and I do not pretend to know anything about economics, but according to the Montreal Star and Sir John Simon this may mean that the United States could go to Great Britain and make a new bargain, and that one of the provisions
of that bargain could be the reduction of duty, whether on frozen salmon from Seattle or on apples from Virginia. Therefore I say, sir, that this agreement is not worth the paper on which it is written until people see what it really means and agree that it means a benefit to the producer.
Why do I say that? It is a well known fact, Mr. Speaker, that this agreement was drawn up during the last twenty-four hours the conference sat. No agreement of this importance could be drawn up properly in that very short time. It will be noticed that in the speech from the throne a number of matters are mentioned, such as redistribution, the Railway Act, unemployment, the Bank Act and other important measures, and it is suggested that we should leave those matters until we assemble in January. Let me suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this agreement is just as important as these other matters, if not more so, and if seems to me that in order to give the country a chance to express its opinion this house shall not be asked to pass the motion of the Prime Minister at this time. I think we should discuss the question in parliament and then adjourn, in order to give our constituents a chance to study the agreement and instruct us as to how we should vote.
Lumber is another commodity that has been mentioned; some people think the government did a great thing when they secured a ten per cent preference on lumber under this agreement. Where does Great Britain get her lumber? It is true that Canada supplies a certain proportion of her requirements, but the United States sends lumber there also. If the United States shippers of lumber have to pay a ten per cent duty do you mean to tell me that they will not approach the government of the United States and raise a howd about it. What kind of howl will they raise? They will say to the government of the United States, "If the British government, aided and abetted by the Canadian government, intends to continue this ten per cent duty on lumber we want you to further raise the duty on all goods coming from Canada to the United States." That is what probably will happen.

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