Mr. ELLIOTT (Dundas):
If the tariff
commission that is appointed is an absolutely independent and efficient tariff commission- I do not mean a tariff commission that will be sent broadcast all over this country such as we have had in previous years-but a commission formed of experts in the different departments, and we have men in the departments here who are quite capable of handling any question pertaining to trade in any line in this country, and if the people who are engaged in any industry come to that commission and show why they should have protection, I will be willing to see that our industries are not pushed off the map; but go further I will not.
I have some more choice gems here. I have one here from the Minister of Public Works for New Brunswick. The question has been raised here to-night as to how the revenue should be raised. The hon. member for Parkdale said that his policy was to increase the tariff. The hon. member for East Calgary (Mr. Irvine) the other day, in a very clever speech, showed that the tariff at the present time was between the two extremes for the purpose of raising almost as much revenue as it was possible to raise. Everybody knows that if the tariff is raised to an extreme point it performs the same function as an embargo, and that if you carry it down to the bottom you get less revenue. This question of raising the revenue came up at the Liberal convention, and the Hon. Peter J. Veniot, Minister of Public Works for New Brunswick, answered the question how they would raise the revenue in this way:
There are some who contend that the lowering of the tariff will injure the industries of the Dominion. There are some that contend that the lowering of the tariff will reduce the revenue of our country, and that having regard to the conditions brought about by the war and to the fact that Canada is in need of a large revenue, it would be disastrous to reduce our tariff at the present time. There are even some Liberals who hold that view, and to those especially allow me to say a word. Allow me to take them back in imagination to 1896, the time of the introduction of the Fielding tariff. Notwithstanding what our Conservative friends may say as to there being very little difference between the Fielding tariff and the National
Policy, we know that there was a considerable reduction in the tariff of 1896 as compared with that of previous years.
That is a question. He goes on:
Notwithstanding that reduction, ladies and gentlemen, the revenues of Canada increased by leaps and bounds; so much so that when the Liberals were defeated in 1911 the revenues of Canada had soared to such a figure that the like had never been known before in the history of our country.
That, Mr. Speaker, is the Liberal solution of the problem of raising the revenue. I have a number of other extracts that I am not going to weary the House by reading at this late hoiir. I have brought these in for the purpose of explaining why I was going to vote against the budget. I believe the mandate that was given to the present government was to lower the tariff, and had the tariff been lowered the people in this comer I believe would have supported it. It has been said that this present budget is a stand-patter, but I think it is a rock-a-bye, for it goes backward and forward. For that very reason I am not going to submerge my own personal convictions on the question of the tariff by supporting any budget that is not along the lines laid down in this platform. I do not care what the consequences are, and if it means an election should the Progressives in this corner stand out against the budget, the sooner we have it the better, and let the people decide whether the pledges given to them by this present government have been put into effect.
The discussion of this budget, although it has been long, has been very amusing and educative as well. I am going to refer to a statement made by the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Raymond) the other day in this House. Someone from the official opposition asked him if he had advocated a low tariff during his campaign. His answer was that he did not know where they advocated low tariff, but it was not in his riding. Now that goes to prove that in the present House there are some who did not believe in the platform which their party adopted in 1919, and it would be very easy for me to name some more of them.
Many statements were made the other day by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Marler), who spent considerable time explaining the system of bookkeeping that this government followed in bringing down the budget. I venture to say this, that the present budget would be similar to the Speech from the Throne in that it would be prepared and placed in the hands of the Acting Minister of Finance by the officials in the de
partment, who would probably be the same as under the late government, and I expect that
The Budget-Mr. Elliott fDundas)
their system of drawing up the budget would be the same that was followed in previous years. But I would like to draw attention to this: The man in the street does not care a
rip what system of bookkeeping the government follows so long as they pay their way.
The sum and substance of the budget, as far as I can see, is this: When we take every expenditure into consideration, including the advances or loans to the railways, we find there is a deficit, which means that that deficit is added on to our national debt which means :n turn that the taxpayer of this country has to provide more interest in other years. That, to my mind, is of greater importance to the people of this country than the system of bookkeeping that is followed by the government.
Another thing that came up in the House the other day was the disclosures, if I might use the word, made by the hon. member for Chambly and Vercheres (Mr. Archambault). 1 need not recall, because you will all remember, the charges he laid against the official opposition of profiteering that went on during the war, of the money wasted in building the merchant marine after the war was over, and a number of other things I need not go into. But those things are over. I am not saying that the Conservative government of that time was guilty of chicanery or anything like that, but I do say this: As the time is not far distant when we are going to have another war. if ive are to judge by what we see in the papers from day to day, the duty of the government at the present time is to bring down measures which will prevent anything of that kind taking place again in the future. That is the lesson we should learn from the speech of the hon. member for Chambly and Vercheres. The one regrettable feature in connection with that expenditure is this: If it was reckless, it is passed on to the men who fought to save this country, and they will be carrying that burden till their dying day. That is one of the hardships which those people have to suffer. Surely if it is in our power to prevent such a thing as that happening again we should not hesitate to do so.
There is one more matter I wish to discuss before bringing my remarks to a close-a question that has been brought before the House in many different ways-and that is the condition existing at the present time in Cape Breton. The situation there has been referred to as a strike. I do not think the word "strike" is appropriate; I think it should be regarded as a "crisis." I do not wish to cast any discredit on the corporation that is operating there, but it looks to the public at large
in this country as if that corporation cannot carry on. If such is the case there is a duty devolving upon this government, and that is to provide for those people in Cape Breton who are starving. I am not trying to introduce this matter in a political sense at all; I do not care who is right, whether it is the employees or the corporation, but what I do say is this: That we should not in a country as rich as Canada allow women and children to exist in the conditions which prevail in the Glace Bay district to-day. No matter what the cause of the controversy may be, I say it is a blot on the name of Canada to allow those conditions to exist. If we go back only a few years when the war was on we found thousands of those miners enlisting. When this country was in need those people responded to Canada's call. To-day they are in need and what is this country doing in their behalf? We have heard different sides of this question presented in the House. But I had the pleasure to-day of listening to the superintendent of relief conditions in that district, and I understand that he is to address the members qf this House to-morrow afternoon. I think there is enough human-itarianism among hon. members to go and give that man a hearing. I venture to say that after hearing his statements hon. gentlemen will adopt an attitude towards that community very different from what they do today. We have been told by the Prime Minister, and I do not dissent from his statement, that technical questions prevent him from stepping in and taking some measures for the relief of the miners and their families. But technical questions did not prevent this country from granting relief at the time of the earthquake in Japan, at the time of the Halifax catastrophe, of the earthquake in San Francisco and many other emergencies. Now surely if the Canadian government was justified in spending money of the Canadian people in relieving distress outside our own boundaries-as was the case in two of these emergencies at least-are they not more justified in meeting the necessities of our own people in a case such as the present?
I listened very attentively to the remarks of the hon. member for Chambly and Vercheres (Mr. Archambault). In his closing observations he appealed for national unity. I think his appeal should be listened to by everybody in this country. If Canada needs anything it needs unity because we have in the Dominion people of different races and different religions. I think if hon. members would study intelligently all the troubles and problems of the people of Canada, no matter
The Budget-Mr. Lovie
in what district they may be found, national unity would be achieved very much more quickly than is likely to be the case from the way we are proceeding.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE