Donald Alexander MACKINNON

MACKINNON, The Hon. Donald Alexander, K.C., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Queen's (Prince Edward Island)
Birth Date
February 21, 1863
Deceased Date
April 19, 1928
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Alexander_MacKinnon
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=a7e51c0d-8966-4959-a4a4-78a3f3a64fa7&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer, teacher

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - February 11, 1901
LIB
  East Queen's (Prince Edward Island)
March 20, 1901 - September 29, 1904
LIB
  East Queen's (Prince Edward Island)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
LIB
  Queen's (Prince Edward Island)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 13)


April 7, 1925

Mr. MACKINNON:

They were made in Ottawa, I think. That is not the sort of thing that Canada wants. In addition to this importing and exporting business, the workmanship is a thing we should1 look after. Everything we make should be as perfect as it can be made. We should have the very best leather, and the boots and shoes we make and everything we send abroad should be of the very best workmanship, for you can send an article with a good name into the markets cf the world, I care not to what part of the

The Budget-Mr. Mackinnon

world you send it, and you will get a good price for it and carry on a good trade there.

If we look at the other nations we have been dealing with, we find that about $664,000,000 of our trade is with the empire, with the different dominions and Great Britain. This is over half our trade with the United States. We carry on trade amounting to about six hundred and sixty-four millions. I think it is a good thing to promote that trade as much as we can; it will develop among us a spirit of co-operation and if we develop each other's trade it mil be a splendid thing for the empire as a whole. France, Belgium and Germany do a trade with us of over

320,000,000. We also find that a large trade 'S developing between Japan and this country. I think we should have sympathy for the Japanese who have experienced such tremendous losses by earthquakes; we should feel glad that they are reanimated and are continuing to do business with this country in such a satisfactory way and with such good results.

I feel very much surprised at the action of the Mother Country in putting into force an embargo upon the export of potatoes from this country to Great Britain. I was going to say that I almost feel ashamed of the Mother Country in view of the reason for this embargo,-the presence of the Colorado beetle. Why, for fifty years the Colorado beetle has been after the potato plant and the remedy used against it is Paris green. I repeat that for fifty years the Colorado beetle has been extending its territory, and yet because of this pest, the Old Country is to-day placing this embargo against potatoes from the United States and Canada. The embargo comes at an inopportune time for us because our people have entered, in a systematic and scientific way, upon the development of the potato trade. During the past year millions of bushels of potatoes of the best quality were shipped from the Maritime provinces to outside markets, such splendid varieties as the Irish Cobbler and the Green Mountain. They were highly apreciated wherever sold and very appreciative notices appeared in the public press in London with respect to them. To show you the excellent quality of our potatoes, demands are made by Virginia upon our province for seed potatoes. The growers there buy about half a million bushels for planting. And here is an extraordinary thing that occurs: I go to Toronto and I find the people there buying the potatoes from Virginia produced from the seed we send down from Prince Edward Inland. It is an illustration of the curious route that trade sometimes follows.

For the Mother Country to adopt such a strange course with respect to Canada is verv surprising, personally I am at a loss to understand it. The Colorado beetle is not found on the potatoes that go to England. The pest lodges on the plants; it does not stay on the potato itself, and the plants are not shipped to England. If the bug remains on the potato top what happens to the potato? It does not develop at all, and we get no potatoes. Some of the growers in our province have eighteen to twenty acres given up to potatoes; some of them as many as eighty acres. As soon as the bug appears on the plant Paris green is liberally used and the pest is destroyed. Then the plant has a chance to grow and produces a healthy and well developed potato. During the past year I saw many acres of potatoes in Prince Edward Island covered with vigorous and healthy plants without any sign of disease. These potato fields are all carefully inspected by inspectors sent down by the Department of Agriculture. Last year when those inspections were made everything was found to be all right, and shipments made to the Mother Country were consequently free from the Colorado beetle. I have looked into this matter somewhat. I found in the Parliamentary Library a work by an expert in Paris dealing with potato diseases. This work was published in 1923 in French, but I took the liberty of translating it for myself. According to this authority there are 150 species of potato bugs in Europe to-day and not simply one species, the Colorado beetle. When I read that I was more than surprised and felt that the Mother Country was not treating us quite nicely. Great Britain is importing potatoes from other countries in Europe where the potato bug exists, and yet she has blocked our trade in potatoes on the ground of the prevalence of the Colorado beetle. I can see no reasonable excuse for this action on the part of the Mother Country. I do find some excuse for the United States because that country put an embargo on shipment of potatoes from Ireland as far back as 1909. The latter country was shipping potatoes to the United States and competing successfully with the American growers. However, we shall be inspired by this experience to turn to other markets and it may have the result of developing greater initiative amongst us. Never-the less it has been a costly experience during the past year. That is about all I have got to say with respect to the embargo. I speak upon this question with a great deal of feeling because I did not look for this treatment by our own kith and kin, toward those

The Budget-Mr. Mackinnon

who have been struggling to make a living after their European experiences.

One of the other questions which greatly affects our prosperity is that of transportation. I take it as an axiom that neither Canada nor any other country can prosper without cheap transportation. When I came up here in 1922 I did my best with the Minister of Railways to secure better treatment. He referred me to Mr. Hanna who at that time was at the head of the management of the National railways. He took up the matter with other officials but for some months no headway whatsoever was made with the matter. I do not say this for the purpose of censuring Mr. Hanna; he was a great financier and was devoting himself to making the railways pay. Later on, Mr. Dalrymple, who was in charge of freight matters for the Canadian National Railways under Sir Henry Thornton took action in the matter and we had reductions made. Some of you perhaps have heard of the appeal "Have a heart, Maggie" addressed to the old lady when she was spilling the beer in the coal scuttle. I think, perhaps, Sir Henry Thornton is of a sympathetic disposition. He has a heart and if he carries that feeling with him it greatly helps in the treatment of difficult questions. I think he has been managing the National railways in a very creditable manner, and that those railways are now going ahead due to the earnest desire of the officials, who are strongly interested in the progress of the country and in seeing the National railways prosper. I am not criticizing those officials in the past who found it impossible to do anything for us. They held office at the time of a great crisis and perhaps it was impossible for them to pursue any other course. At the present time it is very gratifying to note that there is a favourable balance in the operating of the National railways for the past year of over $17,000,000. I hope it will be possible to reduce the transportation rates at a very early date and still manage the railways with success.

It has been urged that immigrants should be brought into the country, and the argument is that they would help to pay the railway debt of the country and other indebtedness. I count that as nonsense. I think it is a very foolish proposition to advance, and it is a peculiar proposition for any public man to discuss. The point is, can an immigrant live well here, and is the country worth living in and worth fighting for? If a man can come here and earn a livelihood, it is a good country to live in. We think it is as good as any country in the world. A man can get

along here on his merits. We do not want him to come in and bear the burden. We can shoulder our own burdens if it does take a long time to discharge them. We do not want people to come in for any such purpose; we want them to come in if they feel like coming, if not, we can get along without them. I desire to point out that from what I have observed, there is no doubt that a great many people have been going away from Canada. If we adopt a tariff as high as you like to make it, we would not prevent people leaving the country. But I think this is what persuaded them to leave. After the war, in the United States, there was a great fever for building. Hundreds of millions of dollars were expended throughout the United States in putting up buildings. For this purpose they obtained men from other countries. Men from Ottawa and from different parts of the country went to the States to work on buildings, putting roofs on buildings and so on. Many contractors and carpenters went down there. What took a great number of people from our country for a few years back was the expenditure of a large quantity of money which the government of the United States and the people of the United States had and it was used largely in the work of construction and in work and industries. Hundreds of millions were spent. But we find a change has taken place, and now many of the people are coming back to live in their own country. It strikes me that that is the reason for the great unrest and change which we have experienced. Matters became acute down in the Maritime provinces for this reason; when t'he tariff was imposed on our people and this National Policy was adopted, the people said: "Let this go through, we will try and get along if it is for the good of Canada." Some people say the same thing to-day. They say: "If you want an increase on this article of five per cent, or thirty per cent, all right; if it is for the good of Canada, we will suffer down here." That continued until conditions became acute. That policy centralized the factories and the capital, and then what occurred? If transportation had been cheap between the Maritime provinces and the central places where the factories were located, the trade would have gone on as usual, but when transportation became expensive we had to pay for the transportation of goods from the factories to the provinces, and the transportation of produce to other parts where it might be sold, and the condition in the Maritime provinces was rather acute. But the country is progressing. We have over a million people. We have industries

The Budget-Mr. Chaplin

in the three provinces that produce $135,000,000 and we are not very badly off. We can carry on more industry and if we were able to ship goods to places throughout the world, the Maritime provinces would be able to carry on as well as any other part of Canada. In agriculture the production of the Maritime provinces realizes about $88,000,000 and the fisheries about $14,000,000. They have a very good field there. I think the fishermen will appreciate the removal of the duty on gasoline engines. This change will help them, and they deserve it, because it will help to build up the fishing industry.

Dairying is carried on in those provinces on a splendid scale and I think the cattle produced there are of a very good class. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) has been taking a great deal of interest in Prince Edward Island, and he has decided to assist the industry of dairying in that province and to establish accredited herds in a restricted area. I am glad he settled that matter. I hope the House will approve of his proposition when the matter comes up, because it is a small province and the number of cattle is not very large. When the cows are tested there it will improve conditions in that area, so that the island will become a most healthful spot. I think it is the greatest blessing the Minister of Agriculture could bestow on that island, because it will do a great deal towards improving the health of the people. Sheep raising also deserves special attention. There are 83 million fewer sheep in the world than before the war, so that this field for development is attractive. The other minister who is going to assist in the improvement of the island is the Minister of Justice.

We have more to do with the Minister of Public Works with regard to the construction of works down there. We have very few public works to be put through on the island, on account of the economy that is being practised. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries has a great deal to do in looking after the coast. I mention these matters specially on this account, in order to show that they are acting economically. If in any other branch of the public service the ministers were too lavish, the country of necessity would not prosper as it has been doing.

In closing I may say that I think that the material success of the country is not in such bad shape. We have a good deal of interest in it, and we would all like to see every man and woman in Canada in a prosperous state, no matter on which side of politics they might be. If every one would lead a comfortable life we would all be happy, and it is our duty

to do all we can to that end. We would like to progress, not only in our material interests, but in other respects. Hon. members must observe that in Canada we produce men of intellect, and their powers are not confined to our country alone. They are exercising an influence throughout the whole world in this way: that with the changes which are brought about we are going to see more daylight in the future, and what we -have to do is just to clear the way.

There's a fount about to stream,

There's a light about to beam,

There's a warmth about to glow,

There's a flower about to blow;

There's a midnight blackness changing into gray;

Men of thought and men of action, clear the way I

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
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April 7, 1925

Mr. D. A. MACKINNON (Queens):

Mr. Speaker, the problem of finance is always an important one in Canada, and it is getting more complex as the amounts involved become increasingly larger than those of olden times. I think the proposal of the minister who is chargeable with the finances of the country, having to do'with methods of obtaining revenue, is a very good one, namely, to have the assistance of a board of experts who will be able to take up the different items that compose the imports of the country, go into them carefully, and, if they are men of ability and experience in handling tariffs, come to sound and reasonable conclusions. Such men should not be hard to find. In fact, the minister no doubt has in his own department men of ability and experience, but the volume of the work has increased so much that I think it would pay the country well to have such a commission as is proposed by the minister.

I have taken the trouble to look into some of the items of import with a view to understanding the matter thoroughly. I examined the figures with respect to entries for horses and I found that in one case there were $9,000,000 and in another $99,000. It might be thought from these figures that horses could be taxed very heavily and that quite a revenue could thus be provided, but I found upon investigation that most of these horses came in only temporarily, for exhibition purposes and for races, and had gone out of the country afterwards. In fact, the $99,000 was represented by only 123 horses, so that it would not be possible to obtain much of a revenue from an item like that. I mention this only to emphasize the fact that if a commission of, say, three men go into these matters item by item they will know where to recommend an increase and where to recommend a decrease in the duty without resulting disadvantage to any part of the country.

We may have different ideas. There is a school of thought very strongly for free trade, and there is a school of thought very strongly

for protection. We have these two schools, and they are both entitled to their opinion. If the school for protection had had their way last year and had made the duties very high, so that we would have had, say, $100,000,000 of a surplus last year due to protection, it would of course be a great thing to reduce the public debt by that amount, but that burden would have had to come on the people in some way or other, and I think they are not able to stand $100,000,000 more being taken from them through higher tariff duties at the present time. But this board could consider, for instance, the question whether it would be advisable to have free trade within the empire, and propositions of that kind which might help us a great deal in working together. It might take up the proposition whether the tariff should be increased in any one item or another, or reduced. They could take up all these questions and advise the minister and the government on the matter. I need not say anything more on that subject. I think it is a good idea to have this board appointed, for it is a killing business for the Minister of Finance to undertake all this work alone as the head of the department, and we could not long expect to get good men to undertake all this work if the entire burden was left on their shoulders.

I think the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) is also entitled to a great deal of credit in connection with the handling of some of these loans. He had made a saving of 82,500,000 in interest in the loans he has floated, and I think he is to be commended for that. I observe, however, that the loans are floated for short periods, some for so many months, and some for so many years. I would submit with all respect that in Canada to-day, or as soon after this as we can do, a loan of $1,000,000,000 at 3-J per cent should be floated for a term of fifty or sixty years. I think that loan would be taken up. A loan of that kind over a long period would shift the burden, as only the immediate interest would have to paid and there would be a provision for repayment of the principal of the loan in half that period, if need be; but I think we should look ahead and have a long-term loan made by our Finance department in Canada. I think it would be a great help to this country. We are now paying a large amount of interest on our loans, and it is too much for the country to do that and to keep the other necessary works of the country well in hand. In floating a loan like that, it may be a little difficult to find the money, and it will be more difficult still if we go round decrying the country.

The Budget-Mr. Mackinnon

Canada, is destined to be a great country and, I think, is fundamentally sound, if you compare our situation with that of the other nations of the world. Canada is no longer the small colony she was a few years ago. She stands to-day-such was the statement made by a noted man who is well up in finance-seventh amongst the nations of the world in wealth. I think his estimate was put at twenty-two billions of dollars. That is a very good standing for this country amongst the nations of the world, when we have been a nation for only fifty or sixty years. The wealth of the country is the first thing I look at, for in floating a large loan over a long period the wealth of the country would need to be looked into. During the past year we have heard people saying that the country is going back, that business is going back. Let us look at the trade of the country during the past year. I think you will find there is an increase in the totai trade of about $205,000,000 over the year before, and of about $450,000,000 over the year before that. That is very satisfactory. It does not show the country is going back if the trade is increasing. Our trade is up now to almost two billions of dollars, and a country that is doing two billion dollars of trade is no mean country. It is a great country, and it is a country we should do our utmost to clear the way for so that it will advance in commerce more rapidly and more clear of the difficulties which are in the way to-day, and to which I am going to refer a little later. Our imports and exports amount in round figures to $1,900,000,000, or almost $2,000,000,000. It is, I think, very gratifying that our trade should amount to such an immense sum. Not only that, but look at the different places where we carry on trade. We look first to our neighbours across the line, the United States. Some people do not like to deal there. I have heard some speakers express the view that they live within themselves over there. President Coolidge has said that they could produce enough within the country itself for their own needs. But that is a very selfish and limited life. We are going in for a larger life in this northern country, if that is their idea in the United States. If you look at what our people are doing to-day, and have been doing in the past year, you will find' that we are dealing not only with the United States but with all the different parts of the world, with China, Japan, the countries beyond the South Sea Islands, with every continent, with Asia, Africa, and South America as well as Europe. It is wonderful the way our trade has ex-

panded.' I think it is a great proof of the shrewdness and ability of the business men of Canada. And the work of these business men .is being helped to its utmost by the Minister of Trade and Commerce in this government.

Now look at our trade with the United States. I look upon them as a very fine people to trade with. Canada did break their windows at one time, about 1911, when they looked through for reciprocal trade, and I think by their Fordney-McCumber bill they retaliated and put their tariff a little bit higher than they might otherwise have done. You find that three and a half millions of the people across the line are Canadians or descendants of Canadians. I saw a precise statement as to the number some time ago, and I think it wonderful that so many of our people should be over there. They hire good people to deal with, and they have not gone over there within the last year, but they have been going over continually ever since that country became a republic. The statement of which I have spoken gave the numbers of the people coming into the United States from all the countries outside, from Japan and the different countries in Europe. The people over there are our nearest and friendliest people to deal with, not only the American-Canadians but the Americans themselves. They are sympathetic in their dealings with us, and we are dealing with them to the extent of about one-half our foreign trade, to the amount of almost one billion dollars. We should do everything to make that trade grow. We should do everything to maintain fair and reasonable relations with them. We should take care that everything we send them is of the best workmanship, the very best our manufacturers can put up. We do not want shoes or boots to go across the line with their heels made of paper, as I heard one man down the street say the heels of a pair of Canadian boots he purchased the other day were.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

April 6, 1925

Mr. D. A. MACKINNON (Queens):

Mr. Speaker, the motion before the House is to go into committee of Ways and Means. I take that to mean the ways of spending money, and the means of obtaining money for the purpose. During the course of the debate all sorts of theories have been put forward and I hope they will be helpful to the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). By increasing the duty on slack coal from 14 cents to 50 cents he will increase the revenue without making the tariff strictly protective on this commodity, because the coal is sold at $11 or $12 a ton, and 50 cents on that figure is a very small percentage.

While we are looking into means of increasing the revenue, I am going to offer a suggestion. Every year we import approximately $10,000,000 worth of bananas and oranges. Last session in the committee dealing with the National Railways we were told that it was almost impossible to look for trade from the West Indies to the Maritime provinces because the United Fruit Company was carrying the West Indian fruit to New York. I have been thinking this over, and my suggestion is that a 20 per cent tariff be imposed upon these fruits with a 10 per cent preference for those entered through Canadian ports either on the Pacific or the Atlantic. I think this would help solve the trouble we have in the Maritime provinces. Next session when the Acting Minister of Finance announces an addition to his surplus of $2,000,000 from this source, no doubt he will pass a volte of thanks to me for my suggestion. That is the only suggestion I would

Topic:   EDITION
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April 6, 1925

Mr. MACKINNON:

That was not the

way the minister put it; he said that the debt would be reduced by $5,000,000. And that is right. If the hon. member will look into the accounts for the year 1921 he will see at the beginning that the entry is cash so much; and the same applies to the year 1924. In 1923, the accounts for which appeared last

The Budget-Mr. Mackmnon

year, there was an entry, " by cash " $45,000,000. Under this are the Imperial loans and loans to foreign countries, Roumania and Greece. All these are set forth in the table, not as a cash balance but merely by way of a statement of the situation; and a certificate of the auditor brought from the United States when the hon. .member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) was Minister of Finance appears printed in the statement with these items included. The whole thing shows where the country stands; it is a statement of the capital debt in 1921 just as it is a statement of the balance of capital debt in 1925, and the situation could not be properly set forth unless this $4,000,000 were included as going to the reduction of the amount of the debt. Anyone who understands figures will appreciate that. As to the words " cash surplus ", I do not think the minister used that expression.

Topic:   EDITION
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April 6, 1925

Mr. MACKINNON:

They began to come in in iarge numbers, not in 1901, but later. They came in in hundreds of thousands in 1907, 1911 and 1912.

Topic:   EDITION
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