Mr. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):
Hon. members may laugh. These agreements are achievements, and possibly the greatest step in the direction of consolidating this empire than anything that has yet been accomplished. I think all will agree that the stabilization of the business of this empire will do more to rebuild the world's economic structure than anything else that can happen. In proof of that I quote from an article in a paper to which I think the opposition will not object, the Toronto Globe, which on October 15 said:
If these trade agreements do nothing more than shock the world and get it out of its somewhat fatalistic submission to depressed conditions, it will have accomplished more than any other possible agency. If they show the need of exercising industrial ingenuity and dexterity, or. as in the case of South American nations, lead to concerted action to meet the new contingencies, the benefit cannot help being far-reaching. In the meantime they have begun a new epoch in intra-Empire relations, in both unification and trade, which, it is to be hoped, means increasing helpfulness and development which the rest of the world can challenge only by adopting more liberal policies than now prevail.
In an issue of a later date the Toronto Globe says that it regrets Canada did not do what New Zealand has done, namely, pass these trade agreements promptly and without parliamentary debate.
I quote also the Winnipeg Free Press, which hon. gentlemen opposite will surely agree with me is not a great friend of this government. The Winnipeg Free Press calls these trade agreements " a definite step in the right direction." In Great Britain, parliament within a very few days of convening passed several
Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements
resolutions preceding the treaty and from a report in the press I notice that they are now on the second or third reading of the bill. I quote from a Canadian Press report of October 20 last:
By overwhelming majorities the House of Commons this evening passed a series of resolutions preparatory to ratifying the imperial trade agreements. . . .
The United Kingdom does not wish to stop trading with Russia, Mr. Baldwin said, but in the future Anglo-Russian trade must be on a more even balance than it has been in the past.
Crushing government majorities were recorded on the divisions on four financial resolutions which give legislative effect to tariff provisions inherent in the agreements concluded at the imperial conference. The majorities ranged between 350 and 400.
That is the businesslike way in which they are proceeding to pass these agreements at Westminster.
Right here I think I might well consider the main objections put forward by the right hon. leader of the opposition. He it was who put up the main barrage, and he made his greatest argument against the five year term of this agreement. Surely time should be the essence of this agreement as of all others, whether between individuals, governments, or nations. I claim that if the agriculturist of western Canada or any other part of this country is to avail himself of the real benefits that we believe will accrue under this agreement, he must have a chance to change his methods in order to increase his production to the point that will be necessary. It will mean an increase in the production of hogs, cattle, dairy products, lumber and many other items. This cannot be accomplished within a year or two, and I think that any term shorter than five years would be worthless. Any hon. member of this house who heard the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens), or the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Man-ion), deal with this phase of the argument put forward by the leader of the opposition must acknowledge that they answered it fully, and particularly when the Minister of Trade and Commerce pointed out that the treaty with the West Indies was for a term of ten years. But I do not ask the house to take simply the arguments presented from this side. I am going to quote an imperial authority, Sir John Simon, a Liberal member of the national government in Great Britain, who speaking in favour of the five year term in the House of Commons on October 20th is reported as follows:
Sir John Simon, speaking in the House of Commons today in the debate on the Ottawa agreements referred especially to the constitutional point taken by Sir Herbert Samuel over [Mr. E. E. Perley.l
the five-year term in the Anglo-Canadian agreement.
Sir John declared he had consulted responsible permanent officials of both the Foreign office and the Board of Trade on the question, and had been informed that the five-year terms was no innovation. The practice for trade treaties to cover a minimum period of years after which they might be terminated by either side on given notice was an accepted one.
Sir John made particular point of the Anglo-French treaty of 1860 which was concluded by Cobden and approved by Gladstone. This treaty was for ten years and the opposition then raised the objection now raised by Sir Herbert Samuel, he declared. Both Cobden and Gladstone had swept the objection aside.
What better argument could we have than that in favour of the five year term?
I wish to give some figures to the house which will I think show the importance of the five year clause. They are taken from the 1930 report of the United States statistical branch, and given in dollars the value of the 1930 exports of the first ten primary products from the United States to Great Britain:
United States Exports to Great Britain, 1930
Wheat flour 8,500,000
Pig products 28,300,000
Leaf tobacco 75,000,000
That is a total of 8195,000,000 of primary products exported from the United States to Great Britain in that year. The figures do not include the exports of fish and dairy products, condensed milk, butter and cheese. If we add those to the figures I have just quoted it will be found that we are being given a preference in a market which the United States supplied to the amount of 8225,000,000 in the year 1930. Will it not then be generally agreed that it will take time for Canada to develop that market? There is this further fact. If we add the exports of wheat and beef from the Argentine, of wheat and lumber from Russia, of pig products from Poland and Denmark, the figures reach a total of some 8500,000,000, and we are being given a ipreference in that great market for our primary products-the products of the farm, of the forest and of the mine. The point I wish to make in that connection is that it would have been far better had the term of this agreement been made ten years instead of five.
I would also draw the attention of the leader of the opposition to this fact, that the strongest argument brought against the reci-
procity pact o-f 1911 was that it was to continue for only one year. That is what defeated that pact, and we know what happened to the Liberal party on that occasion.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we come to the second objection raised by the opposition, and particularly by the leader of the opposition, namely, the possible increase in tariff. Hon. members who listened to the Minister of Trade and Commerce will agree that he answered fully the objections raised and gave good and sufficient reasons why a tariff is necessary so that we may enjoy a preference in empire markets. I draw the attention of hon. members opposite to the fact that in the Dunning budget of 1930, in order to give a preference to Great Britain, provision was made for an increase in the rates on thirty-eight items. I believe article 12 of the conference agreement, providing for the constitution of a tariff board, to adjust and settle any disputes in matters appertaining to the application of tariffs, will act as a safety valve. In my view this is a wise and just provision which will obviate any unnecessary misunderstandings as to tariff operation.
Up to the present time I do not believe any valid reasons or sound arguments have been put forward which would justify any hon. member in voting against the agreement. At this point I should like to refer briefly to the speeches of the hon. member for York-ton (Mr. McPhee) and the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher). As I have endeavoured to point out, the first named gentleman is inconsistent, because in one breath he uses the term "magnanimous agreement" and in the next the term "iniquitous agreement." He quoted certain figures to show the exportation of wheat from Canada during the years 1930 and 1931, and to those figures I now direct the attention of the house. At page 505 of Hansard the hon. member is reported as follows:
In 1930 we exported 207,000,000 bushels, and of this quantity we sent 77,000,000 bushels to Great Britain, and 129,000,000 bushels to foreign countries.
Concerning the year 1931 the hon. member said:
We find that in that year we exported 194,000,000 bushels, of which 63,000,000 bushels went to the United Kingdom and 131,000,000 bushels to foreign countries.
Had the hon. member been fair in his argument he would have said there was a possibility under this agreement of supplying Great Britain with the 131,000,000 bushels we had shipped to foreign countries. This agreement seeks to make possible the sale of that
great amount of wheat in a sheltered market under the protection afforded by this agreement.
Then the hon. member made reference to barbed wire. In my view if there is any commodity the opposition should keep clear of, it certainly is barbed wire. I hope hon. members opposite will not forget what happened to the barbed wire industry in the year 1897. At this point I should like to make a personal reference, for which I ask the special indulgence of the house. I have no doubt the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher) will bear out my statement. For many years he resided in my home town, and during that time held a responsible position in the town council. Further than that, his brother was employed for some years on what is known as the Perley farm. I am proud to say that due to the tuition he received on that farm he has since developed into one of the best farmers in the constituency from which my hon. friend comes. I venture to say that the hon. member knows my farm almost as well as I know it. On that place there are about thirty miles of barbed wire fencing. The fences consist of cedar posts with four strands of barbed wire. In other words there is one strand of wire 120 miles long. Twelve miles of that was built in the year 1896, the year the Liberal party came into power on its policy of free trade. Binder twine, barbed wire and coal oil were the three items mostly under discussion in western Canada. Before the Liberal party took office there was a high tariff against barbed wire, and it cost S2.90 per spool of eighty rod. The remainder of the fence was built when barbed wire was placed on the free list. Under that policy within two years the price of that commodity had doubled in price, and I know whereof I speak. That is a concrete example of how free trade actually operates. Many hon. members know what happened to coal oil and binder twine.
Probably I should give another concrete example. In the year 1918 and 1919 when the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen was leader of the government, to stimulate an increased production in western Canada tractors were placed on the free list. At that time there were twenty-two concerns in Canada manufacturing tractors or parts thereof. We know what has happened. Tractors were placed on the free list with the result that today with the exception of the small machine built by Ford, there is not a single tractor concern manufacturing in Canada. That is what happened the tractor industry under a policy of free trade.
Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements
I claim that the trade agreements constitute the foundation of imperial preferential trade. The Prime Minister put it well when he referred to the vision of Macdonald and Laurier. But, sir, it took the courage and vision, (he businesslike and statesmanlike ability of our Prime Minister, to put the preferential policy into force. Hon. members may call it bargaining if they wish, but certainly it is not one of conciliatory approach. That is the policy of the right hon. leader of the opposition. I well remember that in 1931, during the debate on the address in reply, the hon. member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine) asked the right hon. leader of the opposition what his method of approach would have been had he attended the conference of 1930. The right hon. gentleman replied that he would have made a conciliatory approach. We know the Liberal party under its present leader has always had its eyes turned toward Washington, and never more so than in the years 1927, 1928 and 1929. In 1930, in desperation the Dunning budget was introduced, by which one eye was turned towards London, the other remaining on Washington. They did give some preferences to Great Britain, namely on cut flowers and cast iron pipe.
I should like to go back a little further and place on Hansard a quotation to indicate the policy of the party opposite, and to show that not only has their policy been conciliatory, but, when dealing with tariff matters, it has been one of fear. I will quote from the speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition when he was Prime Minister in 1929, speaking on the budget. This can be found on pages 1403-4 of Hansard of that year:
I say that with the knowledge which we have before us at the present time, were ire to do what hon. gentlemen opposite by their amendment apparently wish us to do, namely raise the tariff, we would be creating in the minds of the American people the very sentiment which would cause them to raise their tariff higher perhaps than it was ever their intention to raise it. We do not intend to take any action of that provocative character.
May I say to my hon. friends opposite, in the other corner of the house, that were we today to take a step along the lines of increasing the British preference to a greater degree than exists at the present time that step also might be misconstrued, for we know that there are people on the other side of the line who are just as anxious to be trouble-makers as certain people on this side of the line.
That is a policy of do nothing. He is appealing to those south of the boundary, and also wants to make some slight appeal to the British. But it is within the memory of hon. gentlemen here that the Hawley-Smoot tariff came into effect shortly afterwards, which
[Mr. E. E. Perlpv i
closed the gates-the term he used the other day-closed the gates completely to the importation of our primary products into their market.
I could quote figures, sir, at considerable length to show how our trade with the United States under the Hawley-Smoot tariff decreased in 1928, 1929, and particularly in 1930, 1931 and 1932, right to the present time, owing to the tariff that closed the markets to us. Now we have the policies of the two parties, and I am going to propound to hon. members of the opposition and to the country a question which I think a reasonable one: Which do you think is the safest man to guide the affairs of Canada, one who approaches great questions with cringing and fawning and fear, or one who, like our Prime Minister, has the courage of his convictions and comes with a businesslike and sound proposition to lay before a conference, such as the proposition which formed the basis of these agreements? Which do you think is the safer man? There is only one reply. I will ask another question: Which do you think would command the greatest respect from the delegates assembled around this table in July 'last? Again there is only one answer.
Every part of Canada is anxious that we get down to business and pass these agreements. We want to get into the market in which we have the preference with our wheat, our flour, our cattle, bacon, ham, butter, cheese and many other items.
I would refer briefly to wheat, which is so important to the majority of farmers in western Canada. Many of the speakers opposite would have it thought that we expect an immediate increase in price. That is not the case; no one ever suggested that. What we do expect is a market for our wheat, a sheltered market, in which to sell in the neighbourhood of 150,000,000 bushels more than we are now selling annually. We admit, and it is recognized the world over, that supply and demand will always regulate prices; they have in the past and always will. But what we do expect is a market for more of our product. The opposition have argued that these preferences are useless. I would like to propound to them a question: What would they say if Great Britain should give Russia a preference of six cents a bushel, and place an embargo against our product? What would they say if she should give Denmark a preference on butter and bacon? What would they say if she gave Norway and Russia a ten per cent preference on lumber? We know what they would say; we know the howl that would go up. What dops this
preference mean to the average farmer in Saskatchewan who produces say 5,000 bushels of wheat. It means that when that wheat is delivered at Liverpool, c.i.f., he would have an advantage of $300 over wheat from Russia or any other country. If that $300 is absorbed by a dumping process, then Great Britain has agreed to put in force an embargo against the dumping country. That possibility of an embargo, I claim, is the main strength of these agreements.
If I had time I could refer to bacon and ham and dairy products. The possible increase in hogs alone in western Canada is important. If, for instance, 300,000 farmers in the west increase their hog production by only ten each, it would mean a possible increase of 3,000,000 hogs, and that would be our quota. I want to make this point clear. We in western Canada-I know whereof I speak, and I think the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher) will bear me out-can market our coarse grains and wheat in the form of hogs and steers and average sixty cents a bushel if we can obtain five cents a pound on the hoof for the hog or the steer. That is what we want.
My time is short; I cannot deal at length with these items, but I want to say that the removal of the cattle embargo is a wonderful thing for the ranchers in western Canada, and to the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) we must give the credit for that. We know that in 1930 we exported in the neighbourhood of 30,000 head, within a year after he came into office. I would ask the hon. ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) how many were exported in 1928 and 1929 when he was in office? Not one.
I was going to dwell a little on what we have offered Great Britain, but I shall not take time for that. Let me say, however, that these agreements may be the means of causing the farmers in western Canada to change their system of agriculture. They may lead to smaller farms and intensified farming, which will be a good thing, tending to more stable husbandry and happier and more contented homes.
I will only refer briefly to the possibilities of diversion of trade from the United States to Great Britain, amounting to some $50,000,000. The Prime Minister referred to that, and we know it would be a tremendously good thing. These agreements work to the interest of the producer. The Prime Minister and his associates went to this imperial conference well prepared, and I think the results reflect great credit upon them. We have reason to be proud of the Canadian delegates, and of the
experts and statisticians who assisted the work of the conference. We cannot estimate the benefits that may accrue to every man. woman and child through the trade which will take place under these agreements, which were drawn up on the basis of mutual consideration by those delegates who assembled here while the empire was facing a crisis which, while not quite similar to that of 1914, was nevertheless extremely serious. Here in Ottawa, under the shadow of the peace tower, those serious minded delegates, representing one quarter of the world's population and area, gathered around a conference table and decided to take this step in an endeavour to save the empire.
I had intended to speak for a few moments on the currency problem, but I will not take up that question beyond saying that it is a problem with which all countries are wrestling today. Many policies have been suggested; some of them are very good, especially those which would stabilize the pound and the dollar, yet I think we must agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to be weighed before any serious step can be taken.
In conclusion let me say that the farmers of Saskatchewan, who for the last two or three years have been passing through trials, hardships and privations which they will not soon forget, want us in this House of Commons to stop-I was going to say this claptrap, but since I criticized an hon. member opposite for using a similar term I will not do so-this debate and get down to business. Let us give the farmers of western Canada a chance. I venture to say they are not downhearted, and I am sure they will continue to show the courage and fortitude that has stood them in good stead in the past, and will endeavour to play their part in building a bigger and better Canada and a bigger and better empire.
Mr. ST-PERE (Hochelaga) (Translation): Mr. Speaker-
Subtopic: IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE