Mr. A. S. GOODEVE (Kootenay).
The Minister of Finance must be highly gratified at the reception his Bill has received at the hands of the members of the House. From the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) who spoke first for the opposition, to the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) who spoke last, all of them without exception have stated that so far as the Bill itself is concerned, they have little or no fault to find with it. Nearly all the arguments on the opposite side of the House have been based on the supposition of some sinister motive which they fear will be brought into the administration of this law and in regard to the appointment of the commissioners. The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) made only two points in connection with the Bill, and in support of one of them he quoted the following from a speech made by the right hon. the Prime Minister:
Mv idea of a tariff is one which would give the industries of this country a fair chance and more than a fair chance perhaps, to stand up against competition in countries where it may be the standard of living among the labouring people is lower than in Canada and lower than it ought to be anywhere. That is a reasonable proposition. A permanent tariff commission if established would be
the most fitting authority to decide on this point.
Now, if there can be found anywhere a clear cut clean statement of principle in regard to the protection of all the labouring classes of this country, it is to be found in that statement, and yet we find the hon. member (Mr. Guthrie) leaving out the true application of these words and endeavouring to make them apply only as between the producers and the consumers of this country. Later on, the hon. member (Mr. Guthrie) said:
If they can have more than a fair chance somebody is going to suffer; it is at the expense of somebody else. At whose expense is it to be? Certainly at the expense of the great consuming masses of this country.
Now, that is a most unfair deduction from the words of the Prime Minister; no greater misstatement could be found anywhere than is to be found in that paragraph, and yet it is upon them that the hon. member (Mr. Guthrie) based almost his entire argument.
The right hon. leader of the government clearly and distinctly said that in his opinion the people of Canada, in competition with nations having a lower standard of living and a lower wage scale, should have fair protection and a fair chance to build up their industries; and yet the hon. member deliberately misquoted the application of the principle so. clearly laid down. If there is one reason more than another why at this particular time I give this Bill my unqualified support, it is that hon. gentlemen opposite have played with skilled fingers on the instrument to produce discord between the various classes and portions of this Dominion. They have over and over again endeavoured to set the manufacturer against the farmer and one province against another. If there were no other reason, that reason alone would more than justify us in introducing this Bill, because when it comes to be thoroughly understood throughout the length and breadth of the Dominion that there is a commission appointed by the government of Canada, with full authority and power to act independently, to gather statistics of fact, and to collate them, not on behalf of the manufacturer, not on behalf of one class or another, but in all their relationships with each other, it will I believe do more to do away with that feeling of mistrust than any other thing that could pcssibly be conceived by this government. If there is one thing about which I have had a feeling of disgust since I became a member of this parliament, it has been this, that day after day, as we open our post office boxes, we find there special pleading for certain Bills that are asked for in this House, and that we find our corridors filled with lobbyists making special Mr. GOODEVE.
pleas on behalf of some concessions which they desire to obtain. I venture to say that if we have this independent commission appointed, it will to a very large extent check that practice, because every member of this House will have placed in his hands accurate information on which he may base his judgment. When a member on this side of the House ventured to ask the hon. member for South Wellington whether he was in favour of protection or not, his answer was: 'A tariff for revenue only.' That is not a new term in this House or throughout this country, and for a moment or two I would like to say what I conceive to be the meaning of a tariff for revenue only, and compare it with what we call a protective tariff. The principle of a tariff for revenue only is something like the principle applied at the Donnybrook fair, where-ever you see a head hit it-wherever you see a dollar, grab it. If I understand the distinction between the two parties, it is this. While both parties agree that we shall raise the revenues of this country by means of a tariff, those in favour of a tariff for revenue only are men who, disregarding all other interests, disregarding what the effect may be on the industries of the country-on the producer, the consumer, the mechanic, the labourer or the artisan-are prepared to get revenue at any cost and under any conditions, whereas those of us who are protectionists go further and say that it is our duty, in taxing the people, to see that the tariff is laid down equitably as between all classes of the community, and is so applied that every industry in the country is amply protected and nurtured in order that it may increase and grow and prosper.
If I understand it aright, that is the cardinal difference between onr friends in opposition and our friends on this side of the House. For that reason we believe that we should give careful consideration to the probable effect of every duty imposed. Knowing the intricacy of making a tariff, probably the most intricate of all the duties of a government, we believe that by gathering all the facts bearing upon the relations between the producer and the consumer, the relations between the trade of this country and the trade of foreign countries, the freight charges between the east and the west, how they apply and modify or increase the amount of protection on any particular article, we should have a thoroughly scientific tariff. The assertion made by hon. members opposite that to say we are in favour of a protective tariff means that we are in favour of an increased duty, can easily be shown to be not in accord with the facts. Over and over again the present Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Foster) has shown in this House that in the actual amount of taxes taken from the people of Canada
there has been less than one per cent of difference between the so-called revenue tariff and the tariff as applied for protective purposes under the Conservative government. So that, taking the facts as they are, we find that we can give a reasonable protection that will build up our industries and develop our home markets without increasing the amount of taxes taken from the people of the Dominion. This is our reason for earnestly desiring that we should have placed in our hands all the facts hearing upon the framing of a tariff. The hon. junior member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) said: You are appointing a commission in order that you may do away with responsible government, and in order that this commission may stand between the Finance Minister -or the government and the people. I venture to say that in that, as in his other arguments, the hon. gentleman was far astray. He spent a, large portion of his time in reading extracts to show what the duties of a Royal Commission were.
Let me ask the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean), what is the attitude of all railway corporations throughout the world to-day? Each of these corporations has a bureau for collecting statistical information. If you were to ask the president of any railway company on what the company is guided in its conduct of the road, he will tell you that it is largely guided by the facts furnished by its statistical bureau. Surely no one in this House will venture to say that the staffs of these bureaus of statistics appointed to collect the facts, are the men who are really managing and regulating the policies of these railway companies.
Another argument advanced is that by the appointment of this commission, we are doing away with constitutional government, and making these Tariff Commis-missioners the real framers of the tariff. Let me give another illustration to show the fallacy of that argument. I had the privilege of listening the other evening to Sir Edmond Byron Walker when he gave a sketch of the operations of the large financial institution of which he is the head. After he had placed before his hearers very clearly some salient facts in connection with the progress of that institution, he said:
If there is any gentleman present who at any time, when any trade question arises, would like to avail himself of the information possessed by our bureau of statistical information he is welcome to it. By simply sending word we will be pleased to place at his disposal all the facts connected with trade questions.
What was the important point brought out by that statement of Sir Edmond Walker, who is at the head of one of the 86
largest financial institutions in Canada? Sir Edmond realized that no institution could act promptly or formulate any policy with regard to trade unless the facts were in its possession, and he ventured to say that the Bank of Commerce had at its* disposition one of the best means of ascertaining all facts in connection with trade and commerce that could be found in the Dominion, but would anybody venture to say that because these banking institutions have each a bureau for gathering statistical facts to enable them to better administer the funds entrusted to their care, the directors were delegating to the men they appointed to collect those statistics the management of these institutions? 1 do not think any hon. member would have the hardihood to make any assertion of the kind, but hon. gentlemen opposite do not hesitate to take that ground when it enables them to criticise a policy of the government. All that these Tariff Commissioners will be appointed to do is merely to collect and collate all the facts in connection with the various industries of this country. They_ will then place these facts before the minister, who in turn will submit them to the government and the House. There is a clause providing that, under certain conditions, the members of the commission may withhold secret confidential information obtained by them in the course of their investigation. ' Every hon. member will realize the necessity of a provision of that kind. Hon. members will see the necessity of reporting the facts to the minister who administers the revenues of this country, and who will use his discretion and judgment in giving these facts to the House. In my opinion this Bill is a step taken in advance legislation, and I am glad that the government have had the courage to implement the promise made in this connection by the right hon. the First Minister. The bringing down by him of this Bill will be a great factor in restoring business confidence throughout all portions of this Dominion.
In the late campaign, I was able, owing to the very unusual and peculiar circumstances to give a unique illustration of how this tariff will work out under certain conditions. It was largely owing to these peculiar iconditions that I gained the great majority which I did in the last election. Hon. meanbeTS wtho were here last session will remember that in the discussion on -reciprocity, the hon. member for Nanaimo and the hon. ex-Minister of Inland Revenue took the position that the proposed reciprocal tariff would be a great advantage to the coal mining industry throughout the Dominion. I took exception to that position, and owing to very unusual and peculiar circumstances which
Subtopic: APPOINTMENT OF TARIFF COMMISSION.