Mr. J. W. KENNEDY (Glengarry and Stormont):
Mr. Speaker, in following this debate as it has proceeded day after day, I have been very much struck by the fact that there exists, in this House such a great variety of opinion on such an important and oft-debated subject as " The Tariff."
One would naturally expect that on a question such as this, one that has been to the fore almost constantly during the last forty years, there would be laid down certain distinct lines or principles, and that hon. members would have by this time .made up their minds where they stand on those principles. Such does not seem to be the case, however, and there seems to be as much variety of opinion as there -are members who speak on this subject.
First, we have the spectacle of the hon. member for Queens and Shelburne (Mr. Fielding), an avowed' free trader, making a protectionist speech and submitting an amendment, which demands a lowering of the tariff. Then we hear the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Ballantyne) making a .protectionist speech, insisting that his opponents have always been and are now inconsistent. He declares that he is and always was a protectionist, but insistently declares that he is a moderate protectionist. He places much stress on that word' '' moderate," and would have the country believe that at this time he is particularly moderate. He, however, is unfortunate in .qualifying the word " moderate " by saying that by moderate protection he means " such as we have bad in this country since 1867, which ranges anywhere from 15 per cent to 45 per cent (.page 2618). " Moderate protection with favour to none and justice to all" (page 2607)-is another rather paradoxical way in which he sets forth his position on this very important subject.
Again, we hear the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen), who has always been an ardent protectionist, laying particular
stress on the " moderateness " of his views. He argues valiantly for protection, mercilessly denounces free trade, and1 then points with pride and words of commendation to the action of the present Administration in reducing the tariff on many goods to the point where protection is almost eliminated and placing many other articles on the free list. (Pages 2780, 2781 1
It was surely a noteworthy acrobatic feat to extol the merits of protection in one breath and praise the free trade tendencies -little though they are-of the present Administration in the next; it was a feat for which his mental acumen is particularly well fitted. 'It was with a great deal of satisfaction that I noted the applause from the Government benches, which greeted every point he made in respect to reductions in the tariff. When he pointed out that the Administration which had killed1 reciprocity in 1911 and imposed an additional per cent tariff during the war, in spite of the oft-repeated assertion that the tariff was too sacred to touch during war time; when he pointed out that this same Administration had' reduced the tariff on certain articles to as low as 12 per cent, and placed many more on the free list; when he showed that the present Administration had gone even further than reciprocity, the enthusiasm of his followers and the satisfaction which they showed would almost lead one to believe that at this particular time they would like to have the country believe that they are the free trade party after all.
Then we have the venerable Eight Hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), whose whole political life has been devoted to the suppoit of a protective policy, asserting that after all the indirect method of taxation is not the best for the country, but that there should be along with it certain forms of direct taxation. I have no doubt that the right hon. minister was speaking what he had learned in his own long experience, and that out of the richness of that long experience he is gradually approaching the position which -we hold and the policy which we advocate of a greater measure of direct taxation substituted in part for our present indirect system.
There are those who believe in a high protective tariff and who. have no hesitation in saying so. They would surround the country with a tariff wall as high as Hainan's gallows; keep out foreign goods and smother our trade; their idea is that Canada should be a self-contained country, independtent of other nations and developing her activities within her own borders.
To all those, I -would' simply say that nations, like individuals, must live and grow and develop by producing and trading, and to throttle a nation's trade is to strangle her life at its most vital spot. They are the extreme high protectionists, and although they are at present being kept in the background, I feel that we have too many of them yet in this country. It is quite obvious that the high protectionist is being kept in the background, but it is equally obvious that he is with us yet, and that his hand still guides the fiscal policy of the present Administration, as it has guided the policies of every Administration for the last forty years.
Much is toeing made of the fact that the 7J per cent duties imposed in 1915 are now being taken off. Much is also being made of the fact that all the benefits of the reciprocity agreement of 1911 have been granted, but nothing is said of duties which still remain at 30 per cent and 35 per cent, and which bear heavily upon many of the necessaries of life. Nothing is said of those duties except another of the annual promises of tariff revision, and although we are given to understand that the revision will be along the line of moderate protection, there is nothing to indicate that the coming revision-if it ever does oome-will be downward.
Now, what are we to understand by moderate protection? That expression has been oft repeated by members of the 'Government and their supporters. It is a very indefinite term, I have no doubt purposely indefinite, intended to assuage the fears of the consumer that further burdens may be added to the things he must buy; he is given the cold Comfort that those burdens, whatever they may be, will be moderate and on the other hand, it is intended to inform the protected interests that their welfare will be looked after and moderate protection granted them; moderate protection which means " such as we have had since 1867 ", which runs all the way from 15 per cent to 50 per cent.
Time was, and not so very long ago, when the tariff as it exists in this country was called a high tariff or high protectior . That was when our industries were in their swaddling clothes; when they were infant industries. In this connection, it is well to note that an industry which has been in the infant -class for forty years and has not yet learned to -stand on its own feet, should be given some more heroic treatment than to be fed on pap. Those indus-
tries considered the protection afforded them years ago as high protection. Politicians refer to it as high protection; the people regard it as high protection. Now that they have grown great and prosperous, it i-s only a moderate dose and we are given plainly to understand that the same policy of protection is to be adopted toy this Administration in the future as they have followed in the past.
Now, it is well to have the issue plainly before us. This House has a right to know, and'the country should be told in plain language, the issue that is before us and the issue that must be decided upon by the country at no distant date. It is the question of continuing the policy of protection, call it " Moderate " or " High ", as against the policy of reducing our tariff taxation until the point is reached where the protective principle may be said to be eliminated and the tariff designed for the production of revenue.
I'Ee Minister of Marine -says that -the question is quite clear. Moderate protection versus- free trade; if by free trade he means the entire elimination of all- tariffs so that no revenue will be collected in that way, then he is quite wrong in his statement of the case. The question of the future will be a tariff designed to produce revenue and not hamper trade, as against a tariff designed to protect our giant infant industries and enable them to continue to fatten -and prosper at the expense of the Canadian people. Protection. is to be the policy of the present Administration and you may call- it -moderate which means all the protection, you can get away with and impose on a patient and long-suffering people.
This, as I understand it, is the issue before the Canadian people at this time. It is not, as hon. gentlemen opposite would have us believe a moderate tariff versus no tariff at all. I am somewhat amazed to find how very moderate indeed hon. gentlemen have become in respect to their profession of belief in the tariff. They have no doubt been keeping their ear to the ground and have discovered a strong definite public feeling in the country demanding lower tariff duties. That may explain why they fairly tumble over one another in their haste to explain all that they stand for now, or -ever did stand for, or ever will stand for, is a moderate tariff. They would appear to be very moderate indeed in everything except their language of denunciation of the farmers and labourers of this country.
It has always been the policy of those who wanted to secure tariff favours to obscure and camouflage the issue if possible. This policy has been consistently followed in the past and in this debate we see the beginning of another campaign of the same kind, but if we are ever to arrive at any definite solution of this question, there is nothing to be gained by evading the real issue. We must face it squarely and decide it in the light of conditions that obtain in this country at the present time.
Many hon. members have wandered all over the continent of Europe and America for facts and figures and conditions that would substantiate their contention. That, of course, may all be very instructive and interesting, and it is quite 'true that there may be much to learn from the experience of other nations and yet it is quite obvious [DOT]that deductions drawn from those statistics and conditions that obtain elsewhere may be very misleading. In fact several different and opposing deductions may sometimes be drawn from the same figures. To illustrate what I mean, let me refer to the speech made in this debate by the hon. member for Fort William. He was quoting figures to show the wonderful development of the United States during the last forty years. He told us how production had increased enormously along certain lines. He was quoting the figures of the development of certain industries in the United States in an endeavoui to show how the fiscal policy of that country had developed production in United States industries and agriculture. The remarks to Which I particularly want to refer will be found on page 2632 of unrevised Hansard. I will not make a long quotation, but will simply direct the attention of the House to these figures-the increase in the production of certain articles in the United States from 1880 to 1917:
increase of lead, from 100,000 tons to 600,-00i0 tons ; of copper, from 27,000 tons to 840,000 tons ; of cement, from 2,[DOT]000,000 barrels to 91,[DOT]000,000 barrels. The production of corn increased from 1.700,000,000 bushels in 1880 to
3.000, [DOT]000,000 bushels in 1917; of cotton, from
6.000. 000 bales to 11,000,000' bales; cotton manufactures, from $192,000,000 in 1880 to $701,000,000 in 1914 ; production of phosphate rock, from 200,000 tons to 2,500,000 tons; of zinc, from 23.000 tons to '584,000 tons. The export of manufactured cotton amounted from $10 -OOO.OOO in 1880 to $136,-0'0>0,000 in 1917. The production of wheat nearly doubled in the same period.
Now, that, I take it, is a fair indication of the development which Would be produced by a protective tariff policy, and the conclusion the hon. member wished to draw
from these figures Was that that policy was a good thing for the United States because it produced that kind of development. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the increase in the production of manufactured articles, such as cement, cotton goods exported, and so forth, was anywhere from ten times to- in the case of cement-forty times what it was in 1880, whereas the increase in corn and wheat wts not quite double. Now that is just exactly the kind of development that would he produced by a protective tariff. I quite agree with the hon. gentleman. But I would just like to draw this other conclusion from his own figures, that that is not an all-round well balanced development of the various activities on the other side of the line; and I submit that that onesided development is 'a main reason for the present very high price of commodities- in other words, the high cost of living.
And the same condition obtains in this country. Canada is of such vast extent ,and possesses such immense agricultural possibilities that we have as yet hardly touched the fringe of those possibilities; and in addition we have incalculable natural resources in our mines, forests and fisheries. Looking at the statement made by the Minister of Finance in his Budget speech, we find certain figures of the values of our manufactured articles and of the products of our farms, forests, fisheries and mines. In that connection I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that those figures demonstrate that the products of our manuf actories exceed the combined products of our farms, mines1, forests and fisheries. That, I submit, is the kind of development that has been encouraged by the protective tariff principle, and in my opinion it is not a well balanced development of our national activities. To be building up large enterprises in a country like this at the expense largely of the consuming public and to the discouragement to a large extent of our basic industry, agriculture, is not conducive to our national welfare.
Now, my opinion is not a mere theory, it is borne out by the facts. The idea of a protective tariff is not to produce revenue but to protect industry and to build up large industrial establishments; and that is just exactly what it has been1 doing. It has made certain industries profitable largely at the expense of certain other industries, with the result that both labour and capital have been drawn away from those industries which cannot be protected by tariff and have been attracted to those industries
which are protected and are thereby profited. Our census figures hear this out and show that for the last forty years, particularly in the greater part of Eastern Canada, theTe has been a steady flow of our rural population into the large urban centres. The reason is that the farmers cannot compete with those engaged in other industries for the labour that they require, and they cannot use capital to the same advantage.
In order to further bear out that assertion I would like to place before this House a few figures in relation to the dairy farming business in Ontario to show the rewards offered to the dairy farmers of this province during the last few years of high prices. I have here the report of a survey made in the county of Oxford by the Ontario Department of Agriculture under the superintendence of Professor Leitch, Professor of Farm Management of the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph. For the year beginning March 1, 1917, and ending February 28, 1918, ia survey was made of 437 farms in the county of Oxford, the object being to cover the . whole financial operations for the year:
(1) To determine the true financial condition of the dairy farming business.
(2.) To determine the cost of production of milk.
(3) To discover the features of the business that have the greatest effect in raising- or lowering farm profits.
(4) To give suggestions for the most profitable organization of the dairy farming business, based on the conditions found on the farms which showed the greatest financial returns.
These are some of the findings:
The cost of producing milk in the county of Oxford during that year-
And let me remind the House that this county- is perhaps the banner dairy county of the province.
The cost of producing milk is a subject over which there is a lot of different opinions even amongst producers. As a matter of fact there has never been until the present any organized effort to find the exact cost of the product on a variety of farms. The information collected from the farmers in this survey gave the look-ed-for opportunity for an investigation into the cost of milk produced during each month of the year. These farms were devoted to the production of milk as their main business, therefore, each farm was treated as a manufacturing unit for producing milk. The cost of production, therefore, was made up on each farm of the following items: current expenses (labour, repairs, seed, feed bought, taxes, etc.), depreciation on buildings and machinery, interest on investment at seven per cent and $5-00 for the labour of each farmer himself.
That was the labour income allowed to each farmer in counting up the cost of producing his milk during that year.
Prom this total was deducted the amount received for crops, hogs, poultry and other miscellaneous sales. The difference was the cost of producing the milk sold. Of course, in many instances there were considerable profits from the sales of hogs, etc., but the effect was to reduce the cost of milk produced.
This is what they found:-
The farms which were not strictly dairy farms had slightly smaller labour incomes than the dairy farms. Therefore their milk cost them a little more to produce. We are safe in assuming therefore that the cost of producing milk in Oxford- county during the year ending February 28, 1918, was $2.20 per hundred pounds. This just equalled the selling price which averaged $2.19-1 per quintal.
During 1917-1918, a year of high prices for dairy products, the farmers in the banner dairy county of Ontario were producing milk practically at cost, only being allowed in figuring that cost a labour income of $500 a year.
A little later on a similar survey was carried on at the other end of the province, in the county of Dundas, another excellent dairying county. I would like to ask the House to notice the rewards that were being offered to the dairy farmers that year on 278 farms. The average labour income for the whole year for the farmer himself and his wife and young children was $903, and out of that reward for his labour he had to live and to finance any improvements necessary to his farming operations. The cost of producing milk during that year on 194 farms was $2.30 per hundred pounds, and the farmers who sent their milk to the cheese, factories received $1.85 per -hundred pounds. The farmers, however, who sold their milk to the condensers or shipped it to Montreal received $2.44 for the milk, and it cost them in the neighbourhood of $2.30 per hundred pounds to produce it. In this case $500 was the labour income allowed each farmer for his own labour and that of his wife and young children. I might remind hon. members that those farmers did not work six or eight hours a day but closer to twelve and fourteen hours a day. And their wives also play a very important part in carrying on the work of these dairy farms.
a l-ater survey was made in the county of Oxford in the year ending February 28, 1919. I will just read a couple of the conclusions reached by Professor Leitch:-
Despite the increased prices of farm products during the last few years, six per cent of the farms in the surveyed area of Oxford county had labour incomes of less than nothing for the year ending February 28, 1919.
Another of liis conclusions was " that the average cost of production of milk on 139
Oxford county farms during the year ending February 28, 1919, was $2.64 per hundredweight, and that during the same period and on the same farms the average selling price was $2.36 per hundredweight," 28 cents less than the cost of production. These are the financial rewards offered in these times of high prices to the dairy farmers of the province of Ontario. We are urged to increase production, the production of our farms particularly; yet we are discouraged by the fact that we cannot go into the labour market and compete with other enterprises in this country which can offer to labour a far higher wage than we can pay or obtain for ourselves.
I have simply placed these figures before the House in order that hon. gentlemen who are not well acquainted with farming conditions in this country-and I am speaking now only of Ontario; I am not speaking of farming conditions in the West- may have an opportunity to compare the financial rewards being offered at this time of high prices to the dairy farmers of Ontario as compared with those offered to other enterprises and other industries in this country. I ask hon. members to decide whether a policy which encourages industry largely at the expense of agriculture and which produces this one-sided, ill-balanced development is a proper policy to be longer continued in this country.
Many figures have been given to the House to show the magnitude of our agricultural products. These figures are given in values and are liable to be deceptive. I should like to refer particularly to the cheese industry during the last few years. The amount of cheese exported in 1916 was, in round numbers, 168,000,000 pounds. In 1917 it had increased to 180,000,000 pounds. In 1918 it dropped off to 169,000,000 pounds, and in 1919 it dropped down further to 152,000,000 pounds, a decrease in these last three years of 28,000,000 pounds, or 16 per cent. Now, the cheese industry in this country is a very important industry so far as Ontario is concerned, yet during the last few years it has been declining very rapidly and I think that the figures which I have just quoted show why that condition has existed. I may say that this decrease coincides largely With the period of price fixing in respect to cheese.
I have noticed that officials of this Government have gone over the country claiming that the price of last year for cheese, 25 cents, was a profitable price for the producers and that the producers knew it. Well, the producers knew perfectly well
that it was not a profitable price. They know what they are making and they know fairly well when they are making a profit and when they are not. The figures of the survey in the county of Dundas, where the farmers were selling their milk at $1.85 per hundred pounds, when it cost them $2.30 to produce it, are a very effective answer to that contention. That is one of the things which is producing unrest and discontent in this country. Moreover, it is producing a feeling of discouragement among the farmers of Ontario, who feel that they are not being treated fairly. It has been said that this particular group in this House are agitators and have been agitating-this was applied particularly to the United Farmers of Ontario-and stirring up discontent and unrest throughout the country. I would like to remind hon. gentlemen that this discontent and unrest existed long before our organization was brought into existence. Our farmers' organizations were not formed primarily for political purposes; but the people, being discontented, used this organization to show their discontent and we are here largely as a result of that discontent and not as its cause.
The hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) also mentioned the fact that in the agricultural estimates $5,000,000 was being granted to agriculture and he said that this was a direct aid to the farmers of this country. He likened it to the bounties which have been paid on iron and steel. I would not have thought so much of his statement that this $5,000,000 was direct aid to the farmers if he had not likened it to the bounties on iron and steel. In that comparison he is absolutely unfair and absolutely wrong, because this $5,000,000 is not paid to the farmers. We are not paid a bounty on our wheat, on our milk, on our butter or on our cheese. This $5,000,000 is not paid to the farmers; it is expended in educational and investigational work. Although the farmers do appreciate it and do receive some benefit from it, let me remind hon. gentlemen that we cannot be altogether selfish in the matter of the benefits which we reap from it because we cannot use all the wheat, all the butter, all the cheese and all the milk that we pro-*ylce,' there is an added production on the farms of this country as a result of the expenditure of that $5,000,000, that added production adds to the wealth of every other class in the country.
Now in respect to the Budget speech of the hon. Minister of Finance, I wish to say
that it embodies in itself a very serious criticism of the course followed by the present Administrator during the last few years. It calls upon the country to exercise thrift and economy and yet it indicates clearly that the Government has not been practising thrift and economy.
When war broke out in 1914, it should not have required any very far-sighted statesman to foresee that the cost of the war would he enormous and that it must eventually be met by the people through taxation. It would have been the part of wisdom to have immediately made some provision for paying part of the cost of the war out of the revenues of the country. When the people were keyed up by their patriotic fervour, they would have welcomed taxes which they will find burdensome in times of peace and which may be very burdensome if times of depression come. Moreover, unprecedented amounts of money were flowing into the country and boosting industry and business in every direction. This would have been a proper time for the Government to increase the revenues with a view to applying part of them to defraying part of the cost of the war. This course was not followed, however. The cost of the war was met by borrowing, and notwithstanding the fact that our revenues have increased enormously, the fact remains that until now, over one and one-half years after the armistice was signed, no serious attempt has been made to defray the cost of the war by means of taxation.
There are some features of the Budget which I desire to commend. First, there is the frankness andi lucidity with which the minister Iras placed the actual financial condition of this country before the people. It is a good thing to trust the people. In a democratic country, it is a good thing for the Government to take the people into their confidence, and I can assure the minister that the people of Canada will appreciate and respond to his frankness.
Then there is the increase in direct taxation. This is something which the people can understand. They know that there is an immense debt to be paid, and if the charges on that account are levied equitably, the people are willing to pay. I would like to commend the minister for thus extending the principle of direct taxation. The tax on luxuries is a good thing, in so far as it is a tax on real luxuries. In this respect, I feel that the proposals embodied in the Budget are open to a good deal of criticism and revision, both in their inci-
dence and operation, but that can be done in committee.
I would also criticise that feature of the Budget which makes it evident that the future policy of this Administration is to be the same old principle of protection which has been embodied in their fiscal policy of the past. I have already spent some time on the subject and will not refer to it again beyond saying that the fiscal policy of the past forty years has not encouraged a well-balanced, all-round development in the various enterprises in which our people are engaged. It has encouraged industry at the expense of agriculture, and it is not a policy which should be followed longer in a country which has vast undeveloped natural resources and whose agriculture possibilities are still to a large extent waiting to be developed.
Topic: THE BUDGET,