Mr. THOMAS DONNELLY (Willow Bunch):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak
briefly in favour of this motion now before the House to reduce the tariff on automobiles and motor trucks. My chief reason for speaking in favour of this motion is because of what it costs the people of Canada to have this automobile industry in this country. The hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) quoted statistics this afternoon showing that in the year 1924 it cost the people of Canada something like $20,000,000 to have this automobile, industry in Canada. Now $20,000,000 is a lot of money. Twenty million dollars would complete the Hudson Bay railway twice over. Twenty million dollars would pay one-half the deficit on the Canadian National Railways; it would pay also the interest on the bonded money it would take to deepen the St. Lawrence waterway. That is one reason why we are asking for a reduction in the tariff. We are told, however, that if we reduce the
Duty on Automobiles
tariff on automobiles we will have to reduce the tariff on many other articles that enter into their construction; the tariff items are so inter-related that when a change is made in one an adjustment of others becomes necessary. This only goes to show that a protective tariff is like a malignant disease. When it once becomes rooted in the country it spreads and permeates other lines of business, with the result that every industry except the farming industry begins to ask for protection. Now, in the case of a human being the only way to get rid of a malignant disease is to cut it out, and cut it out early. So I say that in the case of a protective tariff on automobiles, or any other industry, the only way to get rid of it is to cut it out root and branch- cut it out early and do away with protection.
But I wish to refer particularly to the manner in which the automobile industry affect? the constituency which I have the honour to represent, the constituency of Willow Bunch This constituency extends for something like 106 miles along the northern Montana boundary line. Twenty years ago it was nothing but a bald prairie; it was not even surveyed. In the year 1908 it was opened for homestead entry but not until about the year 1911, that is 15 years ago, did the cultivation of the land begin. Now we have two lines of railway traversing this constituency. We have our little towns, our churches, our schools, our hospitals, and our telephone lines radiating throughout the country; and for the last five years this constituency has exported more wheat and better wheat than any other electoral district in western Canada. We also have 100 miles of railway traversing the constituency, and this stretch of railway ships more wheat from the producer than any other line of equal extent in the world. I simply mention these facts to show the House that the soil of Willow Bunch is fitted for the growth of wheat, and that the climatic conditions are ideal for the growth of good wheat. The people who live within fifteen or twenty miles of the railway have mostly all the land under cultivation, and a few years since- some seven or eight years ago-when we were told by our Conservative friends that the farmers in the country to the south were prospering, many of our settlers left their farms ?-d went down there. Unfortunately, as a result, they went broke. Some of their neighbours here in Canada are helping to bring them back. They are coming back again now. The stream has turned northward. Now we have immigrants Coming into our country and settling there. Just in this connection I may say that at one of our meetings in the last
election we heard from Conservative orators how hard up our farmers were. Seated in the audience were eight of these people who had returned from the south, and how they must have laughed when they heard how prosperous the farmers were in the country from which they had just come. As I say, these people are returning to that district and trying to make homes there. The settlers who remained during the last three or four years are going ahead and becoming a happy, prosperous and contented people. That is the best asset that any country can have.
There is, however, another portion of this constituency which lies twenty, thirty, forty, yes, sixty miles away from the market along the boundary line of Montana. Things are different there; the settlers are too far away from the market. These people went into that country some fifteen years ago and settled there. The promise was made to them that a railway would be built right away. The war broke out and they did not get the promised railway. In 1923 a bill was introduced in this House to build what was known as the Fife lake extension of the Canadian National railway. We know what happened to that bill. It was defeated in the Senate, and the settlers did not get the much looked for railway. In consequence of the defeat of this bill the Canadian National have given up the idea of building into that section. The Canadian Pacific, however, are beginning to show signs of extending a line into the district, -and the people are anxious to see progress made with it in the hope that they may have a railway in the near future. Originally the people who live at that distance from the railway started to raise cattle, as the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins) said this afternoon. But when they did that 99 per cent of them went broke, and of recent years they have gone into raising wheat. Nevertheless anyone who is engaged in farming knows that men cannot farm and raise wheat twenty, thirty, forty, fifty and even sixty miles from a railway; it is impossible to do it. They are making a 'living and getting along, -but it is most essential that these people should have motor trucks in order to be -able to haul their wheat to market. We find as we travel from one of these towns to the south that we will meet probably twenty, thirty, forty, and even one hundred motor trucks hauling wheat to the town. But these people come into contact with American farmers and they find that a truck which costs $800 in the United States cannot be bought for less than approximately $1,200 in Canada; and an automobile which costs -in the neighbourhood of $1,500 in Can-
Duty on Automobiles
ada can be obtained in the United States for $1,000. Is it any wonder that these people begin to say, "the automobile industry is against us, the railways are against us, yes, every man's hand is against us" and they are almost inclined to give up hope of ever obtaining any relief in this country.
Topic: LIST OF CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS AND OTHERS SUPPLYING MATERIALS TO