Mr. A. E. MacLEAN (Prince):
Mr. Speaker, in case there might be some little misapprehension regarding the manner in which the treaty is received in the province of Prince Edward Island and in the county I represent. I wish to take this opportunity of making a few observations on the motion now before the house.
It is a real pleasure for me, representing a rural constituency in that province, to be able to say that the treaty has been well received by the people of the province and of the county which I represent. A day or two after the press release was given out I met on the street a friend of mine; although he was strongly opposed politically to me we were always personal friends, and his first observation was: "This time we shall have nothing to fight over; we have not a word to say- the treaty is all in our favour." I believe that that represents pretty well the attitude of people in general. I make that statement for this reason: The United States has always been the natural market for the maritime provinces, and more particularly, possibly, for Prince Edward Island. If we look back over the history of Canada and study the situation of our province before we came into confederation. it will be found that at that time we had a wonderful trade with the people of the United States; we had control of our own customs laws; we had to sacrifice a good deal when we came into confederation, and ever since our people have looked longingly towards the markets of the United States in the hope that some day we might have a better entry into those markets.
While speaking of confederation, I do not think it will be out of the way for me to remind the house at this time that on July 16 of this year the seventy-fifth anniversary of confederation is being celebrated in the province of Prince Edward Island and the city of Charlottetown. A well balanced program has been arranged for the five days
of that gathering. Invitations are being sent out to the Prime Minister and the members of his cabinet, to the premiers of all provinces, to the leader of the opposition, and to all hon. members and senators. We sincerely hope that a large number of people across the dominion will take advantage of the occasion and attend this celebration in the city of Charlottetown.
The people of Prince Edward Island were not altogether satisfied with what happened after they came into the union. We were promised that we should have the central markets of Canada as an outlet for our products. We regret that that has not worked out in just the way that we had hoped. One of the difficulties is that the central provinces grow the same agricultural products that we do, and therefore it is simply impossible for us to find in those provinces a ready market for our surplus products. Another reason is the long haul and the exceedingly high freight rates. Our close proximity to the United States and the fact that we have waterborne traffic makes it much more economical for the shipper to send his products into the United States. Naturally, therefore, in all these years they have been looking at that market with longing eyes in the hope that the time again might come when they might have freer access to it.
I remember distinctly the disappointment of the people of Prince Edward Island when the reciprocity agreement of 1911 was defeated. It was defeated, I am sorry to say, by the attitude of our friends opposite, and I am really surprised to see them taking the same attitude at this time towards the treaty now before us. The fact that the United States came to the assistance of our friends, both with money and with the influence which they could bring into the campaign of 1911, goes to prove that the agreement was a splendid one; had the agreement not been entirely in favour of Canada, United States money would not have been put up, nor would the fight have been made which was made then to defeat it.
As the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said the other day, when the treaty of 1911 was first introduced into this house, hon. gentlemen opposite did not know jvhether they were for it or against it. They were so completely overwhelmed by the wonderful offers made to Canada at that time that at the outset they did not like to oppose it, but afterwards, getting assistance from outside, they plucked up courage and determined to put up a fight against it. As the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Thompson) said
Canada-United States Trade Agreement
yesterday, the 1911 treaty would have made Canada an adjunct of the United States-so at that time they started waving the old flag, shouting "No tmck or trade with the Yankees", and declaring that if we entered into that agreement with the United States we would immediately lose our national identity and become a mere adjunct of the republic to the south. Of course that suggestion was perfectly ridiculous, and it is just as ridiculous to-day as it was at that time. Still, a good many people seem to fall for it.
The Prime Minister said the other day that he remembered Sir Wilfrid Laurier stating that it might be twenty-five years before another opportunity offered for us again to put through an agreement of that kind, and events have proved that Sir Wilfrid was right. We feel in the maritime provinces that our progress has been practically held back for twenty-five or thirty years owing to the fact that we have not had better trade relations with the United States. As has been pointed out on different occasions in the course of this debate, nine-tenths of our export trade is with the United States and Great Britain. One thing that our friends opposite cannot grasp is that you must be willing to buy before you can expect to sell; they think that trade is a one-way street. Unless they get rid of that idea they will never change their policy of high protection. To my mind, reciprocity is exactly what the word implies; it means that you must be willing to trade both ways.
The other day the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) said that the Prime Minister had made the statement that this was a peace pact. Well, I listened carefully to what the Prime Minister had to say, and the impression I got was that this was not a peace pact to protect us from aggression on the part of the United States or any other country, but that it was an object lesson to the whole world, teaching that the two great democratic countries could be drawn together in a policy of neighbourliness. It is not a peace pact to safeguard us from attack from any other country, but it is what the Prime Minister said it is-an object lesson to the world at large to show what can be done among the democratic nations. Our friends opposite are drawing largely on their imagination when they try to put any other construction on the treaty.
Let me read briefly some extracts from the British press and other British organizations to show what the opinion over there is. We all know what an influential body the British board of trade is. In reference to the agreement, the British board of trade summarizes it as an:
important and significant step in the efforts of the United Kingdom and the United States governments to reduce trade barriers and so contribute to world peace and prosperity.
The Manchester Guardian says:
The people of the United States and the United Kingdom will welcome the treaty, "not perhaps for the increased trade it will actually bring so much as for its political significance.
. . . Two great democratic countries are able, in a time when self-sufficiency and state regulated trade seem in the ascendent, to set the example of economic disarmament that the world so sadly needs."
The Financial News, independent, states:
The agreement marks a substantial throwback to sanity and adds: "The agreement in sum is standing testimony to the efficacy of human determination, aided by Anglo-Saxon genius for compromise."
I could read a great many more testimonials of the same sort. For example, the Yorkshire Post, Conservative, says:
The pact represents the first decisive step towards liberation of international trade the postwar world has achieved and is most valued not only for what it is but for what it promises.
And to quote the Daily Telegraph:
The goodwill the dominions have displayed in this matter merits particular recognition.
If it were not for the goodwill shown by the dominions it would have been difficult to put the treaty through.
These quotations from the British press are significant, and they bear out exactly what the Prime Minister said the other day, that we are not afraid of aggression from the United States or any other country but that the treaty is an example to the whole world of what democratic nations can do when they sincerely desire to get together.
After listening to our friends across the way in their speeches on this treaty I am led to ask this question: Where do the leader of the opposition and the Conservative party stand in relation to the treaty? Are they for it or against it? The leader of the opposition stated the other day in the closing part of his speech:
Time alone will tell, but my belief is that the ill effects of the treaty will be very much greater than the good effects.
I submit that if the ill effects of this treaty are greater than the good effects it is up to the leader of the opposition and his party as a whole to vote against the treaty on the floor of the house. But I shall watch very carefully to see whether they will venture so far. They are taking a great deal of time condemning the treaty and they will try to prejudice the minds of the public against it, but I doubt whether they will go the length of voting against it. [DOT]
Canada-United States Trade Agreement
I cannot see how any farmer, any member representing a farming constituency in this house, in fact any member representing almost any constituency except a thoroughly industrial one, can oppose this treaty. Hon. gentlemen opposite will remember the time when the Robb budget was introduced. Industrial people from the cities in this vicinity paraded in front of the public buildings with placards on their breasts and backs, declaring that their industries would be closed down and that they were facing starvation on account of that Robb budget. Mr. Robb quietly told those gentlemen to go home and just take their time and see whether the budget would not work out for them a great deal better than they expected. The result was that the automobile industry in this country never had such a period of expansion as it had under the Robb budget.
Topic: MONTREAL CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY AND EQUIPMENT LIMITED-SHELL MANUFACTURE
Subtopic: DEBATE ON MOTION FOB APPROVAL SUBJECT TO REQUIRED LEGISLATION