ELLIOTT, Preston

Personal Data

Dundas (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 1, 1875
Deceased Date
January 12, 1939

Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Dundas (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 6)

April 28, 1925


Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) on his very short speech-extending over two hours. If there is one man in the House who has criticized members in this corner for long speeches I think it is the hon. member. I do not intend to detain the House at any great length at this late hour, but I desire to touch very briefly on some of the things mentioned by the hon. gentleman. In speaking of the home market he emphasized the fact that the truck gardeners near our cities must depend entirely on that home market. Then why should he need protection? Who is to oppose him in that home market? There cannot be any opposition if he is depending entirely on that market. Who is sending in anything to compete with him? If that applies to the Canadian truck farmer, it will also apply to the American.

We were very sorry to hear the hon. gentleman bid us good-bye. We expected that Tory Toronto would still remain true to the hon. member, and that he would be back again next session, but we regret to hear that he does not expect to be a member of the next House of Commons.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I dislike to prolong this debate, but I do not wish to give a silent vote on this budget or on the amendment. I do not intend to support the latter, for the following reason. I was elected on a platform entirely opposed to the proposition contained in the amendment. As I understand the speech of the hon. ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton), I cannot see how any man in this country to-day could support his amendment. He takes into consideration our imports today and places them at $892,000,000, and of : bis total he would bar out $700,000,000, as representing goods which could be manufactured in Canada. Apparently he would bar out everything with the exception of a few raw products, such as silk, wool, coal, crude rubber and so forth. The net result would be that our only imports from Great Britain would be coal. This means that the Conservative party intend to cut off entirely any tiade with Great Britain, with the exception of coal, and yet expect her to furnish a market for our own products. Britain is not in a position to pay in gold for what she buys from us to-day, although the Baldwin government have just declared that the country will return to a gold basis at once. Therefore she must exchange her goods in payment for what

she buys from us. Now, if Canada will not exchange goods with Britain, Britain will look somewhere else for a market. There is this further objection to the purpose of the amendment. If we are shipping goods to Britain, and are taking nothing back in return, we must bear an overhead expense greater than if we were bringing back return cargoes. No doubt this is the considered policy on which the official opposition intends tc appeal to the country. 1 would go a little further. We have been fed on protection for fifty years, and Canada is in her present position in spite of - I think I am within bounds in using that ph'-ase-in spite of our tariff policy, or the old National Policy. Our friends to the right speak as though they considered nothing of any importance in this country today but the industrial structure-the development of factories and financial institutions. They do not take into consideration the fact that the producers of this country are of some importance. The production of the necessaries of life is an essential function, but the necessaries of life are not all manufactured goods. The real measure of the prosperity of a country is the amount of happiness and prosperity that is found in the average home. In this country to-day that prosperity is not prevalent throughout the rural districts, and for that reason I am going to oppose the amendment proposed by the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton). As I said before, I was elected on a free trade platform, and I am going to read one or two planks from the platform on which the present government was elected:

That a revision downwards of the tariff should be made whereby substantial reductions should be effected in the duties on wearing apparel and footwear, and on other articles of general consumption (other than luxuries), as well as on the raw material entering into the manufacture of the same.

That the British preference be increased to 50 per cent of the general tariff.

Part of their resolution has been carried out. Concessions were made last year so far as agricultural implements were concerned which resulted in a saving to the farmer, as one hon. member has put it, of 83 cents on a 150 acre farm. Now, we acknowledge that we have received some benefit from that, but I do not believe we should come here and advocate something for ourselves alone; we are in favour of giving the poorer or the labouring people of this country some benefits. The tariff platform as laid down and adopted by the Liberal Convention of 1919 called for what I have just read. But I would like to go a little further and make reference to the fact that the platform received its blessing

The Budget-Mr. Elliott (Dundas)

from the present Minister of Agriculture (Mr Motherwell). Let me read some statements taken from his speech on that occasion:

Whatever conclusions are arrived at here in regard to the platform, the leadership, or anything else, when we go forth to our respective homes we must stand by these conclusions to the last ditch. There is no use of coming here, harmonizing our differences and then going away and everybody having a platform and a leader of his own. Do the best you can to impress your views upon the great body of this convention and, having done that, stand by the net result.

Further he states:

There is another thing I would suggest and that is that no platform, no matter how good it is, will carry itself into effect.

And further:

It is necessary that we should have full confidence in our own platform and leader if we are to instill similar confidence in other people. We must if necessary sound forth a clarion note, even from the housetops, and then people will stop and listen because they will see, that we, ourselves are in earnest.

Full View Permalink

April 28, 1925

Mr. ELLIOTT (Dundas):

The present

Minister of Agriculture. He says further:

I have talked so much since I left home that my voice sounds almost like a buzz saw.

If the present Minister of Agriculture would stand-up now on the floor of this House and make these remarks, what would be the effect? But he was not alone in calling on the Liberal convention or the Liberal party to stand by their pledges. I am going to quote from the remarks of another hon. member on this occasion the present Minister of Customs and Excise (Mr. Bureau).

He said:

If we are to have a great nation, it is not the platform of the party that comes first; there is no use in having a platform if you have not the men with the heart to put that platform into practice. First, we must be united. Let us be Canadians; let us be Liberals; and we shall have a great country, progressive, prosperous and happy.

I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the last plank in that tariff platform that I read has never been touched. Now, I do not want to pick out one or two members of the present government and throw ail the responsibility on them. Our friends here to the right are talking of an election, but I think they want an election least of any in this House, because with the policy they have to go to the country on, they will never come back. I am going to read now from the speech of Mr. Duncan Marshall, who I understand, is at present engaged as Liberal Organizer throughout this country: He said:

The Dominion government should take from off the backs of the farmers of Canada the burden of the protective tariff. If governments will do these two things for the farmers of our country then the farmers will take care of themselves.

He said further:

We are willing to go as far as anybody will go along the lines of free trade; personally, I should be glad to burn every custom house between Canada and the United States.

I would like to ask whether this man is preaching the same doctrine to-day. If he is, what right have the people to pay any attention to him?

The statement has been made from the right hand corner of this House that the people of the province of Ontario are all for protection. The hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Arthurs) made the following statement the other night:

I think that the average man in Ontario, whether farmer or manufacturer or labourer, is a protectionist on principle, and the man in the west should have some sympathy for their viewpoint, which is just as honest as the free traders'.

In the last election in 1921 there were twenty-four Progressives elected in Ontario, and they were elected on a low tariff platform. There were also elected from Ontario twenty Liberals who subscribed to the tariff policy which I have just read. I submit that these men have not been true to the promises they made to the people of Ontario. I intend to vote against the present budget for the very reason that it does not conform to the platform which I advocated and which I promised the people I would try to carry into effect.

Full View Permalink

April 28, 1925

Mr. ELLIOTT (Dundas):

I am willing to admit that concessions were made along the lines of agricultural implements and other machinery used in well drilling and the like.

I will concede that, but what I contend is that this plank in the Liberal platform, which apparently was to look after the poorer classes of the people in this country, has been entirely disregarded. The duties on the necessaries of life, such as boots and shoes, clothing and so on, have not been touched.


The Budget-Mr. Elliott (Dundas)

Full View Permalink

April 28, 1925

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.

Full View Permalink

April 28, 1925

Mr. ELLIOTT (Dundas):

I would answer

in this way: I am a farmer, and I have to

compete in the markets of the world against everybody. I do not believe in handing out special privileges to anyone.

Full View Permalink