And tell that in foreign countries. We wanted to get the cost in the United States of this coal that we have been inquiring about, and it is certainly very negligent on the part of that committee that it did not call those officials of the Customs Department to give it that information. That is a simple matter compared with what you are attempting at this time. The other day I stepped into one of the largest stores in Ottawa, and I happened to run across an old acquaintance who is now in charge of purchasing in that store. He showed me piece of goods after piece of goods which were selling a short time ago at from $7 to $11 a yard. They are selling the same goods to-day for $3, $3.50 and $4 a yard, and he told me that they were making more money on them now than they did when they were selling them at from $7 to $11 per yard. That just illustrates the condition of trade with which you are endeavouring to deal at the present time. Values are going down, are changing, because of the change in the cost of raw materials, and I think, Mr. Minister of Customs, you will have to have a very much more extensive staff than you have yet persuaded this side of the House, at least, that you have the command of, to keep in touch with that and not to work unjustly to the genuine importer of such goods.
While I am on my feet, I want also to comment on the next clause which has to do with this 50 per cent on exchange. I have just secured the latest quotations with regard to Italian exchange. At par it should be 19.3 cents for the lira. It is now 6.24 cents. Therefore, you would put a value of 9.6 or 9.7 cents on goods that have cost 6.24 cents; you will rate your customs upon the higher value, and the consequence is that, with a 20 per cent customs tariff, you have a 75 to 80 per cent duty. In the present state of trade, when there is a possibility that we shall not be able to sell to the United States in the measure that we have sold to that country in the past, due to their unfriendly, if I may so call it, customs, we want to find other markets, and if we find markets to sell in,
we have to take goods back. One of those prospective markets is Italy. Our trade in the past with that country may not have been very great, but this measure is distinctly designed to kill that trade. We cannot take goods from them; they cannot afford to sell us goods on which we have to pay a duty of 75 or 80 per cent, and that is what this means. When I spoke on this question the other day, I was somewhat concerned as regards France and Belgium whom I felt we should not turn our sword against at this time. With the German indemnity, their exchange is up around 9.77 cents, which is just 11 p.m. over the half way mark, so that they will probably not be touched, because I think, with the continuance of the payment of that indemnity, their condition will be improved, and they will be out of reach of this most unfriendly measure. But with regard to Italy and other European countries, to which, it will be understood, we must look for increasing markets for our produce, you are going to make it impossible for them to exchange goods with us.
Topic: REVISED EDITION. COMMONS