Joseph Pierre TURCOTTE

TURCOTTE, Joseph Pierre, K.C., LL.B.

Personal Data

Quebec County (Quebec)
Birth Date
May 21, 1857
Deceased Date
January 6, 1939
author, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Quebec County (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 6)

November 25, 1909


(Translation). Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a few remarks in regard to this Bill. Were such a proposal to carry, its effect would be to entirely do away with mortgages. While I do not deny that grievances may exist, I do not think they can properly be dealt with by this parliament. It does not behoove us who represent the general interests of the Dominion to enact a law with the object of doing away with grievances which, I admit, may at times be excessive on the part of the creditor by opening the door to downright abuses on the part of the debtor. I do not think it is our duty to state in our statute-books that henceforth the debtor shall no longer be left at the mercy of his creditor, but rather the

creditor who shall be left at the mercy of his borrower.

This Bill provides that whenever a sum of money has been obtained under deed of mortgage for a certain fixed period, that sum may be paid back at any time after maturity, notwithstanding the fact that there mav be in the deed a covenant whereby the parties have agreed that such payment should not be effected at any date after maturity, but only at the expiry of a term of two, five or ten years. According to the provisions of the Bill, the borrower would have the right by giving a month's notice or paying one month's interest, to terminate the mortgage.

This is what occurs as a matter of fact. Take the case of a small capitalist or of an estate. The sum of $10,000, let us say is loaned for a period of ten years, and it is covenanted in the deed that, if at the expiry of ten years the sum borrowed has not been paid back, the borrower will have to keep it for another period of five or ten years more. That clause is inserted because, as everybody knows, it is at times a difficult matter to find a good investment, ami also because the rate of interest varies from year to year. It may happen very likely that the borrower finds it more difficult to borrow at the expiry of ten years than to-day; or, on the other hand, the creditor may experience greater difficulty in finding an investment at an equal rate of interest. The creditor when negotiating a loan at a rate of interest of 6 per cent per annum, to be paid back at the end of a period of ten years, covenants that if ten years hence the amount is not reimbursed, the loan will run for five years longer as a means of providing against the ups and downs of the money market. The lender, who had the 'assurance of drawing 6 per cent on his capital during fifteen years, will have to be content with drawing 6 per cent during the first ten years; after which, if he is bound to accept payment of the principal, according to the provisions of this Bill, he may not be able to secure more than 3 or 4 per cent. It was in view of such a contingency that the lender covenanted in the deed that should the borrower fail to repay the principal at the expiry of ten years, then the loan would run for five years more on the same terms. It must be admitted, therefore, that the provisions of this Bill interfere with the fundamental principles underlying contracts, the agreements entered into being actually as law to the contracting parties.

In the province of Quebec we have been in the habit on considering agreements as something which should not be broken, something which should be lived up to, provided they contain nothing contrary to morals or public interest. Well, an agreement such as I have outlined above, would

be entirely lawful, and to my mind it would be undue interference on the part of this parliament to cancel the agreement entered into by the contracting parties.

My hon. friend referred to the grievances which occur in the province of Ontario. Of course, excesses will happen. But one of two things must be admitted: either those arguments are lawful or they are unlawful, and remedies other than the proposed legislation are available. True, it often happens that a borrower puts himself in the hands of his creditor; but that is the outcome of circumstances over which this parliament .has no control.

I am satisfied the principle of this Bill is antagonistic to the spirit of legislation in the province of Quebec, and for that reason I am bound to oppose it.

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April 19, 1909

Mr. JOSEPH TURCOTTE (Translation).

Mr. Chairman, I am a member of the Private Bills Committee, and when this Bill came before the committee the principle of it had been discussed at length. The result of the discussion was the following: Mr. FISHER.

We gathered information as to whether any injustice would be done or not through the renewal of this patent. We desired to know if this patent, delivered a few years ago- in 1900, I believe-had' not, one way or another, become a public property, that is, if other companies or individuals had not availed themselves of the same invention, and put similar articles on the Canadian market. We were answered that nobody had taken advantage of the fact that this patent had become a public property. Consequently, nobody could suffer from this renewal. Under these circumstances, we have deemed this renewal to be equivalent to an original application for the patent. Advantage being taken by nobody of this invention and no similar products having been put on the market, we have considered this second application as an original one. We had contradictory discussion. The hon. member for St. Antoine (Mr. Ames), who is now in his seat, will be able to give information to the House if he is willing to do so, because he took part in this discussion. It has been decided that this application for renewal was bona fide and that it should be granted under such circumstances, because there was no objection whatever to it. Subsequently another application of the same kind was made, but then it was about explosives and we answered : * This very patent the renewal of which you are now asking for, is now on the market, and we would cause considerable damage to those who are working this patent if we granted the same privileges.' That is all the difference. Accordingly, we have granted the application in one case and refused it in the other.

Bill reported.

Mr. PROULX moved the third reading of the Bill.

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April 13, 1909

Mr. TURCOTTE (Quebec County).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, at this late hour of the night I do not wish to detain the House very long, but I have promised to my hon. friend from Wentworth (Mr. Sealey) that I would say a few words in support of his remarks. I think that the

time is well chosen, principally fox a member who represents an agricultural county, when a question like this pertaining to agricuture is being considered by this House, and the least he can say is to vindicate the rights of the farmers. It is important that the country should know how the people's representatives look after their interests in the House and after all that pertains to the farm.

We are confronted with the question of principles. We have been discussing tonight theoretically free trade and protection, and naturally both parties took up arms. I don't want to enter on this ground, but if I was obliged to do so I would take side with the Liberal party in favour of free trade, whose battles we have fought for so long a time. We all know the struggles of the Liberal party for the triumph of the free trade principles. These principles have been discussed before the people, and the people had approved them. I think that the constant development of the public wealth in Canada proves that it is in the true interest of the people not to resist to the utmost against the foreign industry because, in the long run, it is the poor people, the large class of consumers who pay the protective duty. These are the people who are paying the toll-gate of the customs. Being so, we believe that it is in the interest of the people that these duties should be the lowest possible. The true theory, the theory adopted by our party, is a revenue tariff, giving the means to administer decently public affairs, and I think we should not go beyond that.

I will, therefore, avoid using the words free trade and protection. I will confine myself to figures that will show a lamentable state of things. The * Yearly Book ' of last year shows us the difference there is between the exportations of Canadian pork to the United States and the importations of American pork into Canada. This is what I have noticed, and which seems to be very extraordinary. During the years 1904-5-6-7, that is five years, we have exported to the United States only 489,757 pounds of pork, which represents a sum of $64,912 during these five years, and we have imported during the same period 34,192,107 pounds, or for the sum of $2,521,436. In the last year, 1907, we have imported from the United States 7,500,848 pounds of pork, representing $615,000. We must remark that these figures cover only the nine months of the fiscal year 1906-7; when we have exported during the same period only 84,518 pounds of pork, representing $13,493. This is an enormous difference. These are facts which indicate that, for one reason or another, the pork which is eaten in Canada or put in tins or transformed into bacon and ham comes for the greatest part from the United States.

Subtopic:   THOS. DELWORTH,
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April 13, 1909


This is a subject of humiliation for our national pride, because we have in our country all what is necessary for the raising and fattening of these animals. How is it that the production of pork is so small in our country? This is a state of things which deserves the attention of the government. The proposed remedy might not be adequate. It is possible that if we raise the duties on pork from 2 to 4 cents a pound we would not protect the farmer sufficiently to increase his power of raising pork, but, nevertheless, it is a question worthy of consideration.

It might be the same for meat pork as it is for some manufactured products. We all know that when there is over-production in some line of goods, the manufacturers of the country combined themselves to dump in Canada a large part of this overproduction at low prices in order to create a disastrous competition to Canadian industries. We know also that measures have been taken by the government to' protect us against this way of killing our industries.

I have reason to believe with the hon. member for Wentworth that the same means have been adopted in this case, and that at certain times the over-pToduction in meat pork in the United States is sent to Can ada in the same condition; that is to say, in a way to make disastrous competition in our own industry. I think that the time has come to put a stop to this illegitimate and disastrous competition to our farmers. But most of the members of this House who are sent here to study the economical conditions of the country are not able, in a case like this, to discuss this question with the same knowledge of professional men. We have to guide us the resolution adopted by the Pork Raisers' Association of Canada and other associations of the same kind. These resolutions have been adopted after a thorough investigation of the grievances and a complete study of the remedies that could be applied. We have thus a congregation, a collectivity of farmers, of men of experience, who come and say to us: It is necessary to bring afloat this industry which is essential to the progress and to the wealth of Canada. We ask our legislators to give us the means to fight this disastrous competition from the States. It is proposed to Taise the duty from 2 to 4 cents per pound. It might be a good way; it might not. I know that the hon. members opposite will not say that it is bad, because it is in accord with their protectionist principles.

As for the Liberal party, I fully agree for my part with the hon. member who has spoken before me, that this is not really a question of protection. Protection, as we generally understand it, has for its object | to prevent competition in manufactured I goods and in arts. I do not think that we

can assimilate the pork industry to manufacture. There is no similitude, and consequently we cannot apply, when speaking of the products of the farm, the same reasoning as we do to the industry.

I think that the government, who has its eyes open upon all which might contribute to the development of the resources of the country, will note the remarks which have been offered to-day upon this question, principally upon the figures which have been brought to the attention of the House, and which show an abnormal state of things. If we import in one year from the states more meat pork and for a larger sum than we have exported during a period of five years, and we have there an economical phenomenon absolutely disastrous and humiliating for us. It is for the government to study this question, and I know that the ministers are able to take the necessary measures to have a stop put to this state of things.

I have received from the farmexs of the county of Quebec verbal representations and letters in which they point out to me the absolutely disastrous competition suffered by those who take up the hog industry. Those farmers supply some of the pork-packing establishments of the citly where laree quantities of pork are used for the production of hams and bacon. Now the manufacturers, the dealers of that city cannot successfully compete with the products from the other parts of the country, and even from abroad, because they cannot obtain the necessary Taw material under such conditions as to permit of their carrying on their industry on a paying basis. But I may be told, and this is the capital argument advanced by our opponents : ' Why, if your Quebec friends cannot produce raw material as cheaply as the similar product coming from abroad, and you have no right to complain, the less so as the consumer will no doubt ultimately pay less for his food.' Quite true, but matters have to be considered from a different standpoint. As I just stated, that meat being imported from abroad does not enter here in the most normal conditions; it is the surplus which is fraudulently -dumped into the country. It is not the regular trade, as those who aTe conversant with the matter know perfectly well.

At any rate, as matters stand nowadays, seeing that tariffs are being readjusted all the world over, the United States protecting itself against Canada, and as commercial treaties are negotiated between two or three countries in order to protect themselves against foreign competition, I say that in commercial matters, as on every other question of vital importance for a nation, there is no cast-iron rule or theory that can be applied. Principles have to be more or less mitigated.

Now, I say that if ever there was an occasion upon which the rulers of a country or those who are at the helm were bound to mitigate those principles it is at a time when we are called upon to deal with the interests of the farming community in this country, which will be one of the great factors in making of this Canada of ours one of the leading nations of the twentieth century. Such are some of the grounds upon which I hope the government will take such steps as they may think proper for coming to the assistance of the farming community, for which service the country will owe the government a well-deserved debt of gratitude.

Subtopic:   THOS. DELWORTH,
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April 2, 1909

Mr. J. P. TURCOTTE (Quebec County).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I request a moment's hearing. I have made up my mind to vote independently of all party prejudice; and I am even willing to close my ears to anything that has been said by members on this side of the House and to rely solely on the remarks made by hon. members on the opposition side. But there is one circumstance that is somewhat annoying to me. I would like to know from the leader of the opposition whether he intends starting a new inquiry into the Marine Department in case the amendment carried. I am waiting for an answer.

I want to know from the leader of the opposition if, in case the amendment is adopted he will be ready to begin over again the investigation in the Department of Marine and Fisheries?

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