Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Weyburn (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 9 of 33)

April 21, 1925


If I buy an imported

car the price I pay is the actual market value, plus duty, and I turn a few hundred dollars into the federal treasury. Would that not be a more patriotic thing to do than to buy a car from a Canadian multi-millionaire and turn the tax into his private coffer? I find the idea spreading considerably in the west that if we cannot get the tariff duties lowered in any other way we shall have to start a propaganda in favour of buying imported goods in preference to the home made,

thereby helping the Finance Minister to balance his budget.

The United States have put a tariff of 42 cents against Canadian wheat for home consumption, but they admit it free of duty when used in milling for export purposes. Our wheat is required to be blended with the United States wheat for home consumption. That makes it expensive for the American consumer, and it is also a hardship on the Canadian producer. A restriction of this character injures both parties. Would the matter be improved any by Canada putting an export duty on wheat, thereby curtailing the ability of the American millers to compete with Canadian flour in the world's market? Would it not be a much better plan for Canada to send an ambassador or a high commissioner to Washington, accompanied by a competent staff, in order to keep American public men properly informed as to Canadian conditions instead of trying to fight them? I believe that if we had had an ambassador or a good Canadian representative, at Washington the Fordney tariff would never have been imposed against us. If we had had such a representative at Washington the Chicago drainage canal would never have come into use, and our interests and the interests of shipping on the'Great Lakes, both Canadian and American, would have been protected. Figures have been submitted to the House showing that millions of dollars annually are lost through the lowering of the levels of the Great Lakes. A great deal of this loss is passed on to Canadian manufacturers and Canadian farmers; as a matter of fact we all have to share it. Had we had a representative at Washington to present our case properly this loss might have been averted. It is much better statesmanship to make provision in advance and prevent a possible injury from being done than it is to try and devise a cure after the event has happened. The United States has been our best customer and Great Britain second. Our trade with the United States last year was over $900,000,000. Yet some people say we should have no truck or trade with that country.

The budget, I think, should be clarified by the Acting Minister of Finance. The estimates of ordinary expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1925, amounted to $381,949,379.67. If we deduct the appropriations for railways, amounting to $56,000,000, it would leave $325,949,379.67. Now on page 32 of the Canadian National railway report we find that the amount of $8,491,553.57 was loaned to the system by the government. The

The Budget-Mr. Morrison

estimates for the last fiscal year as they passed the House amounted to $329,086,395.97. The Finance Minister estimated the expenditure for the same period on February 28, 1925, as $319,700,000, the amount saved or unexpended would be $9,386,305.97. The latter amount is an apparent saving on the year's expenditure, but the Acting Minister of Finance gives no explanation of the manner in which so large an amount has been saved or unexpended, and takes no credit for what is, if actually achieved, a remarkable performance. If this amount had not been saved or unexpended, instead of a surplus of $1,820,000 there would have been a deficit of $7,500,000.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask: How can Canada properly balance her budget? To this question I reply: By increasing production per capita; by increasing her population; by decreasing public expenditure; by getting nearer sound business methods for conducting the public business. I have obtained figures from the Bureau of Statistics as to yields of wheat in nine European countries and find that the average yield per acre for five years, from 1917 to 1921 inclusive, for the countries mentioned is as follows:


per acru

Germany 26.4

Austria 15.4

Belgium 35.6

Bulgaria 13.4

Denmark 43.9

France 19.9

England and Wales 31.2

Norway 24.6

Czechoslovakia 20.8

This is an average of 25.8 bushels per acre. In those same years the average in Canada was 12.8, just half the yield per acre of these European countries. The average acreage in Canada in this period1 was 18,546,000 acres. At thirteen bushels extra per acre, this would mean 241,098,000 bushels. Other grains would double this total! of increased wealth. Acreage can and I think would be doubled1 if indbee-ments for profitable farming were held out in Canada. I would like our protectionist friends to consider what such production of wealth from agriculture would mean to industries generally. Suppose that they merely get their share of it, in the open competitive market, would it not be better for them to take a smaller margin ,of profit on a maximum output and keep their factories running to capacity? Would that pay our railroads to operate to maximum capacity? Would it not be better for our financial institutions and for all the people generally rather than that

restrictions should be put on the basic industries so that there is no inducement for people to work at these industries. The basic industries of the country have to be on a properly sound basis before real stable conditions can. be obtained for the dependent industries. It would be also better for labour. There would' be much work in the country. Our protectionist friends are very solicitous for the poor working man, especially coming near election time; but if we had: a maximum production and1 smaller profits, with a maximum turnover, there would1 be no idleness in the country. These poor yields of Canadian farms are not because the soil is poor or because Canadians are poor farmers, but there is a real cause for that How yield and I consider it is the excessive cost of farming ;n Canada. It is often impossible to farm profitably. Lumber and building materials generally, farm materials and farm supplies of all kinds are much too costly. It is a physical impossibility for men to carry the burden of somebody else and do their best in business. The same thing applies to industry. If an industry is burdened it cannot do its best. Every time tan unfair burden is imposed on a man you decrease his productive ability and the same thing applies to an industry.

At a meeting of the Brantford Board of Trade, held on March 14, 1911, the following resolution, proposed by Mr. Harry Cockshutt, at present Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was adopted:

Resolved,-Our (1) material, (2) national and (3) empire interests will be best served by keeping entirely free of reciprocity entanglements with the United States at the present time. Carried 53 to 49.

About two years after this I was in Minneapolis and I saw the Cockshutt implements there selling in competition with American implements. I was in a wholesale implement warehouse., and I asked the manager how those implements compared in the amount of sales with the American implements and he said, "Oh they get their share of the trade" I was surprised to learn that the, prices of Cockshutt implements in Minneapolis were very much lower than they were in Winnipeg. Unfortunately I did not take down the figures and cannot quote them, but they were very much cheaper in Minneapolis than in Winnipeg. It shows that when the Canadian manufacturer wants to compete with the American he can do so. Some people think that the Canadian manufacturer pays the duty on his implements going across the line, that he is handicapped and prevented from getting into the American market. There is

The Budget-Mr. Morrison

no handicap whatever. But the American is handicapped by the tariff in getting into our market. The Canadian manufacturer has that one hundred and ten million American market on the same terms as he has the Canadian market. He has the drop on the American manufacturer to that extent. The Brantford people are really high protectionists. I do not know why they send a gentleman down here posing as a Liberal. The hon. member who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Raymond) was finding fault with the Conservatives for their indefiniteness in their statements about the tariff. I do not agree with my Conservative friends about their customs tariff, but I must say that they come out and say where they are at. They state what they believe with regard to the tariff and our Liberal friends are disappointing the country. They have a good policy. They have one policy to preach at election time, to get into power. They appeal to the public on a low tariff policy, and when they get here it would take a magnifying glass to find out the difference between a Liberal and a Conservative when it comes to the tariff. It cannot be done. It is all popycock. About three weeks ago Lieutenant Governor Coekshutt toured western Canada as an emissary for the high protectionists. He handed out a lot of fine stuff about a "get together spirit" between the east and west, just what the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Raymond) shot across the floor of the House a little while ago. He says "Let us get together, in a spirit of conciliation and good will"; but back in 1911 he did all in his power to take our natural markets from us. He has the same spirit yet, though he is a Conservative, exactly as the hon. member for Brantford is a good Liberal-no difference at all. I want to tell my hon. friend how we can have a good spirit of unity without going out west and waving the flag. That trip out west was only an admission that down in their hearts they realized that something is really wrong. The right way to overcome all this illfeeling which is growing, and this difference between east and west, between urban and rural, is just to give the common fellow a square deal, and there would be no need for flag-waving. The common people get no favours, and they should no longer be imposed upon. They are not satisfied to sit still and be imposed upon.

With reference to the tariff board which my hon. friend talks about, to advise the government as to what duties should be put on the different implements, I ask, has any manufacturer gone to any government, Liberal or Conservative, asking that duties be imposed on competitors, where the government have re-

plied, "All right, sir, put all your cards on the table and we will look into the matter?" Did hon. members ever hear of that? I .never saw it. It is time they got someone to inform them. I do not believe a tariff board in the hands of such gentlemen .would be anything more than something to hide behind. Certainly they will put on the board men who believe in a protective system, and they will get the report from these men and say, "Here is what is recommended' to us." They will make them the goat, and we will be the burden-bearers as usual.

A lot of this inability to compete with outsiders is due to difficulties of the home-made variety. For instance, not long ago I cut a clipping from a Montreal paper with reference to the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company having watered stock. They watered the stock in that company four times the amount they actually put in, and then they charged rates to pay dividends of seven per cent all these years. Here is the dope that the Montreal manufacturers swallowed. Their employees were charged four times the rate for their light bill, and it made living in Montreal very expensive. Whenever a new company started to supply heat, power and light, the old ring would get after it and give a good inducement to it to come into the combine. This was done until they got a combine capitalized at something like 1164,000,000. This was over capitalization all tacked on to the cost of the product of the factory, because it makes living expenses higher and the companies accordingly have to pay higher wages. Then they keep their competitors out with a tariff wall and the}' say: Charge it to the farmers of the

west; they are making money; they can pay it. A few years ago when a Toronto manufacturer was trying to shake me on this tariff question, I asked him: "Why do you not even sell us your goods for the same price plus extra freight charges, at which you sell them to the Ontario and Quebec farmers?" He said: "Look here, Morrison, you know the way business is done-all that the traffic will stand. You fellows are making more money and you can afford to pay more than the Ontario farmers can. We have got you farmers down where we want you and we are going to make you pay. If the position was reversed, you would do the same." After talking about two hours, he got impatient, finding that he could not get away with his guff, and so he spoke out the truth.

Employers who enjoy special privileges either by protection, or bonus, can give a better inducement to labour than the farmer can, but they do so only at the demand of the labour unions. Their bonus is the farmer's burden,

The Budget-Mr. Morrison

as we cannot compete in the labour market. The result is that Canada's output per acre of farm products is only one-half of what it would otherwise be.

Canada needs more workmen to work and develop her basic industries, and care should be exercised in getting immigrants. Better inducements will have to be given in order to keep people on the land. To start immigrants farming the first year they are in Canada is a Serious mistake, because such a practice results in their losing their money. Then, of course, the country is knocked, and efforts at immigration abroad are undone. A man should be in this country for at least one season and acquire some experience, before he invests his little bit of money. It should be an easy matter to compel every immigrant to have in his possession as a part of his passport, a document in his own language, furnished foy this government, setting out clearly Canadian conditions, and the Canadian immigration law. This would do away altogether with the old cry of deception which so many immigrants put up when they lose their harvest earnings in a poker game. People coming to us from the British Isles are particularly faulty in this regard. This could easily be set right if some one seriously minded was interested.

Experience on Canadian farms is necessary, for one year at least, and settlers should be established or domiciled within already improved municipal areas, which now have railroad, roads, schools, churches and post offices, It is folly to put them away back too far from these conveniences. Conditions would be too bad for them and many of them would become dissatisfied. It is unnecessary to provide more public utilities to take care of the increased population until those municipalities which have those conveniences and have to pay for them are better settled. Conditions have changed much for pioneers within the past twenty-five years.

We need an agricultural credits' system as is recommended by Dr. Tory in his report. On page 12 of Dr. Tory's report, he states:

I have discussed the problem with many business men in the east and in the west, men who know the difficulties associated with the building up of successful enterprises and I have not met one who would say that he believed that any business-farming or other,- which did not have the advantage of a protected market, or of patent rights, which in some measure gave a monopoly, could continue to prosper, paying 8 per cent or 10 per cent for capital, and a like amount for current borrowings. With this opinion my own judgment is in complete accord.

Capital and labour must learn to cooperate and fairly to recognize their inter-146

dependence. Western Canada needs more of both, working harmoniously. Wasteful competition of our two big railway systems must cease. We can no longer pay rates to maintain public-utility corporations overlapping and duplicating services. Our banks, retail coal companies, retail lumber-yard companies, newspaper publishing companies, and others, are all meeting the new conditions by getting together, one firm closing in one town, their rival closing in another town. They have been forced to co-operate or perish. Let our railways do likewise, and cut down their unnecessary overhead costs, instead of moving heaven and earth to get higher rates. This country cannot prosper under higher rates. I have been enumerating some of the industries that have closed some of their branch offices, and I would submit that some of these institutions are amongst the 2,000 that have closed their doors in the last few years. I believe there will be a few more that will close on the same basis, but business is improving with it all.

Those of us who have to pay freight charges, Largely both ways, are very much interested in getting better rates. We have to pay the freight on our purchases of implements, twine, lumber and coal, and again we have to pay the freight on our live stock and grain going out. We are intensely interested in seeing efficiency in railway management.

I am going to mention a matter that is not altogether federal, but something will have to be done to remedy the situation. Last fall a taxation conference was held at Ottawa and the Dominion and provincial governments sent representatives. The object of the conference was to define more clearly the respective spheres of taxation, and to eliminate all unnecessary duplication. I do not know what measure of success attended their efforts, or whether they accomplished anything to benefit the heavily taxed citizen. I am about to cite a case in dispute between the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia and this case is typical of many others. A farmer from Saskatchewan moved to British Columbia where he died three years later. He had sold three farms on agreements of sale. The British Columbia government collected succession duties on those agreement-of-sale contracts, and to-day the Saskatchewan government is trying to collect succession duty on the sarnie agreements of sale. I am not accusing the Saskatchewan government nor excusing the British Columbia government. I know all the parties concerned, and I know it is very hard on the widow and

The Budget-Mr. Morrison

the children to have to pay -the succession duty twice. Succession duties on bequests outside of a province come doubly high at any time, but to have to pay them twice is very unfair. The federal government should call another taxation conference as soon as possible at which all the provinces should be represented. As regards any matters on which they cannot agree, let them decide at this conference that they will split the difference fifty-fifty until they get -from the Privy Council a decision on the matter. I spoke to our Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) who, I know, is not responsible in any measure. Hie told me that he could no nothing and he advised me that they could take the matter to the Privy Council. What a privilege! The widowed mother would have a fat chance to take her case to the Privy Council. She would have no chan-ce at all. She will have to pay the duty twice if those men will not compromise and go fifty-fifty on this tax. I do not think that the governments of these provinces should be allowed to demand the tax a second time; that is getting down pretty near to what we might call tyranny.

On page 4690 of Hansard, volume V, 1924, the following question by the hon. member for Brant (Mr. Good), together with the reply by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), is reported:

On the Orders of the Day:

Mr. W. C. Good (Brant): Would the Prime Minister give the House an assurance that the Alternative Vote bill, which had already received its first reading, will receive consideration early next session, and further that there will be no election, as far as he can guarantee that, between now and then?

Mr. Mackenzie King: In reply to the first question, I may say that if we are all here when parliament re-assembles, certainly this alternative vote measure will be one of the first to be brought before the House.

I wish the Prime Minister were in his seat to tell us why this matter has not been brought before the House. It is very necessary if he intends to bring it down that he should move quickly, if he does not want to put all the blame, in the event of its being deferred, upon the poor old Senate. The Senate has its own burdens to bear. I think the Prime Minister should have lived up to his promise and brought down this legislation.

On page 1475 of Hansard of the present year the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) in introducing his budget gave notice of the following resolution with regard to the Special War Revenue Act.

Resolved, That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend The Special War Revenue Act, 1915, and to provide:-

1. That "cheque" shall be further defined to include any document or writing, not drawn upon or addressed to a bank, in exchange for which a bank

makes payment of a sum of money, except a coupon and a document used solely for the purpose of settling or clearing any account between banks, and that such a cheque shall be liable to the stamp tax imposed on cheques by the said act.

That I contend is singling out a certain class of people in the country for another extra burden-I refer especially to the creameries. We farmers know that when a man sends his can to the creamery he gets a receipt or ticket, and according to this proposed legislation he will be taxed on a dollar or two dollars receipt. We would not object if everybody were treated alike and if this provision read, " 'Cheque' shall be further defined to include any document for $10 or over." We do object, however, to being singled out for a tax like this, especially in view of the fact that the Acting Minister of Finance took care to retain the good will of those gentlemen who are fortunate enough to have the pleasure of clipping coupons, which are exempt from taxation. That is rubbing it in with a vengeance, and the government cannot expect Progressives, who are largely representatives of farmers, to stand for additional burdens. It is not a square deal; all should be treated alike. Why exempt the rich man and- tax the farmer engaged in the dairy business?

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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April 7, 1925


Does not my hon. friend understand that the tax is so high that the people in the United States will not buy the goods? The tax is prohibitive.

Topic:   REVISED
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April 6, 1925

Mr. JOHN MORRISON (Weyburn):

I hold no brief whatever for the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton), but I do not think that justice has been done him in the way the answer has been given to this question. Sir Henry Drayton, it appears, gave his services in connection with this inquiry at a time when he was on his holidays. He is now back in political life, and that has a bearing on the matter. If a man did that much gratis, for his country, I think he has the right to get the credit for it, or at least it is only fair that the public should know on what conditions he gave this service. But by making the statement that he was drawing his salary as a railway commissioner, as the answer does, it implies that during this inquiry he was serving his time as railway commissioner and getting paid for it. Technically, perhaps, the government has answered aright, but I think there is a further explanation coming to Sir Henry Drayton. I think there is more in what has not been said in the reply, than in what was said. I think the explanation should have been fully and impartially given. The answer that was given was a biased answer, in my opinion. I do not think justice was done to the hon. member.

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March 13, 1925


Does the minister mean to tell us that the manufacturers of Great Britain have no particular interest in low ocean rates? Have they not just as much interest in securing low rates as the shipping companies have in maintaining high rates?

Ocean Shipping Rates

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March 12, 1925


Does my hon. friend

know that the tramps charged more for carrying wheat from this side to Liverpool during the last year than the liners?

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