Well, you would find our sea trout unexcelled. We would like to have some of you make a visit to the island during the summer in order that you may enjoy a healthy dip into the breakers on the north shore. It is a country that will go ahead; the production was better last year than it had ever been, but what is missing is an adequate price for our products. Our position is something like that of the West, where there was a very large yield but not enough realized because the price was wrong and freight- rates were too high. We are in the same fix. It is not the fault of the present government, mind you. It was under the former government that the freight rates were made so high; it was under the former government that the Crowsnest pass agreement was changed and the rates put up. You remember how we were criticized in respect to the Crowsnest pass agreement the year before last; we four members from Prince Edward Island were denounced for voting for the legislation then introduced. But what has
The Budget-Mr. Mackinnon
happened? The return to the Canadian Pacific since the restoration of the old agreement has been better than if was during the period when the suspension was continued. It is well that we should have these facts in mind, because we have been accused of losing to the Maritime provinces $17,000,000 by our vote in favour of the restoration of the Crowsnest pass agreement. Men like Mr. Beatty and Mr. Hanna predicted that they would lose millions by the change, but it turned out the very opposite; their judgment did not happen to be right.
I have referred to this matter of freight rates because it affects us a great deal. We pressed very hard to get the freight rates reduced, because our people were carrying their goods with horses owing to the fact that they could not afford to ship by rail. The railway returns in the Maritime provinces have not been good, simply because the people are .too independent to ship by rail when they have to pay such high freight rates. The new board made some reductions very soon after their appointment, and the situation improved accordingly. But we cannot hope to have the country prosper unless our workshops are kept going and unless we have easy and cheap means of conveyance from one place to the other both for goods and for people; I think that goes without saying. These are the greatest drawbacks that affect us down there. Special rates for tourists would be appreciated.
I wish the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) were here. I had intended to bring a matter to his attention, but perhaps the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) will do it for me. We have a good many people leaving our province. It is proposed to spend a considerable sum for immigration. There were two little branch railroads proposed and agreed to both by Liberals and Conservatives in this House as far back as 1911, the New London and Rustico branches. Plans were prepared and sites allotted for buildings and so on, but the work was never gone on with. In New London we have people whose fathers or grandfathers came from Scotland a hundred years ago, and in Rustico we have the descendants of French Acadian settlers. It is two hundred years since the first settler went into the Rustico district. What I ask the Minister of Railways, through the Minister of Justice, is that while he is providing for the settlers in the new districts in the West by twenty-six branch line resolutions he should not forget the descendants of the old settlers in the districts I mention, who have been there for 100 and 200 hundred years. Let him give us these branch lines this coming summer so that
we may have a celebration and the return of our own people.
Yesterday a man well known in public life who came from Prince Edward Island passed away in the person of the late Chief Justice of Canada, Sir Louis Davies. He was highly honoured in the province and in Canada as a whole; his career was long and honourable and an inspiration to the young men of the province. Undoubtedly his field was larger than it would have been had he remained in the province and practised law, but his illustrious career is only one instance. Go to another room in this building and you will find Sir Robert Falconer and the Reverend Doctor Pringle who came from Prince Edward Island, fighting on one side of the church union question, and on the other side the Reverend Doctor Fraser and one or two others. Doctor Pidgeon is a descendant of the Pidgeons of New London, Prince Edward Island. I mention these simply as instances of men now in the struggle who came from the province by the sea. Had they remained down there they probably would have worked at farming or something of that kind, but their education was good and they have gone out to other parts of the continent. You find them from California to Massachusetts and all through our western country-workmen, clergymen, doctors, lawyers and judges. I could give you the names of many who have gone out and have attained eminence in different parts of the world. I will mention just two others, if you will permit me; one is J. Gould Schurman, who grew up on a farm in Prince Edward Island, was president of a university in the United States and to-day is ambassador for the United States in China. Another was Franklin K. Lane, who was a distinguished member of the cabinet of President Wilson during the war.
I do not mention these things in a spirit of boasting; I am simply pointing out that although the place is small it is turning out .men who have proved their worth in other parts.
We have fewer people there by ten thousand than we had when we entered confederation, but we are not inclined to secession; we believe in standing by the union; we believe in Canada going ahead. But we cannot get population without industries. There is a splendid opening for industry in Prince Edward Island if the capitalists would, instead of concentrating their activities in large centres, establish branch houses in other parts of the Dominion. I admit that the practice of concentrating in the large centres
The Budget-Mr. McConica
is good from the point of view of foreign trade, but it is ruinous for our local industries. Many of our sons have gone out to the world, so that part of the intellectual force of the island has been spent in other provinces and countries, and although we do not have the benefit of it, I think it is well spent and that we have no reason to regret it.
Mr. T. H. MeCONICA (Battleford): Mr. Speaker, I have no disposition to prolong this discussion, but there are a few observations that I should like to make. To my mind this budget and the amendment offered by the hon. member for Kent (Mr. Doucet) raise a very important issue in Canada today, the question whether the future fiscal policy of Canada is to be a tariff for protection or a tariff for revenue. That, it
seems to me, is the issue. That is where we stand to-day as a parliament and as a country. Now, for my part, if that issue is fairly joined, I would take my position in favour of a tariff for revenue. We have had a good deal of talk about free traders, but there is no use discussing this question except as it stands. I do not think any one in this House to-day is in favour of putting this country under free trade at any time in the near future. We believe in a revenue tariff, with such incidental protection as that affords.
Now what is a protective tariff? It is a tax levied for the purpose of protection. It is levied for the purpose of taxing the many to protect the few. It taxes the money out of the pocket of one private individual into the pocket of another private individual, and I do not think that is the proper function of government. I deny that a government has the moral right to say to one man: I will 'help you, and I will do so by hurting your neighbour. That is what protection is when you reduce it to its final essence. Now what excuse is there for this proceeding? What good end is obtained by this discrimination between our citizens, for that is what it is? It is taking from one and giving to another, for what purpose? Why, the hon. gentleman says, we will be able to build up the home market; that is the great desideratum. Well, in the first place, can we do it? In the second place, what does it amount to if we can do it? So long as the price is the same, I cannot see that it makes any difference to the man who sells whether he sells in the home market or abroad. There may be some sentimental reason why he would prefer to sell at home; perhaps he would like to bring in people to associate
with him and to whom he could sell, but so far as the money that goes into his pocket is concerned, I cannot see that there is any difference between the home market and the foreign market. So far as bringing relief, for instance, to t'he wheat grower of the West is concerned, there is no difference.
Take our wheat. Our price is fixed in Liverpool, and the Canadian consumer pays the Liverpool price, less the cost of sending the wheat to Liverpool. The producer in western Canada realizes exactly the same price in both cases, and it makes no difference to him financially whether the wheat stops in Ontario or goes on across the water. So as far as relief is concerned, the home market is not of any particular consequence. Suppose we bring people in here. Well, the price of our wheat is fixed by the world price, and if we could transport enough people to Canada to eat our wheat, they would not eat any more wheat here than they would if we left them in Europe, would they? Not a bit; perhaps not quite as much, for there I understand the ration is a bowl of soup and a loaf of bread, while over here we have meat and potatoes, vegetables and fruit and everything else, so I think they would eat rather more wheat on the other side of the water. So far as a market is concerned, this home market is a myth.
Another thing: We are raising about 300,000,000 bushels more wheat than we consume. We raised last year 470,000,000 bushels, and we eat about 50,000,000 bushels or a little less than that. A man eats between five and six bushels of wheat a year, or about
50,000,000 bushels for eight and a half million people. We also sow about 50,000,000 bushels a year, or a little less than that. We have at least 300,000,000 bushels of wheat to ship abroad. Now suppose we tried to consume that wheat at home; 300,000,000 bushels divided by six means 50,000,000 people to bring in here to consume that wheat, and not one of them would be raising wheat. What would they do? That is the question. If we build up this home market they talk about, what are we going to do with these 50,000,000 people? Are they going to manufacture? Where will they sell their stuff? The hon. gentleman says that we should be self-contained; we should live on what we produce. Now we can produce enough to keep ourselves and still have a large surplus. What are we going to do with it? Send it abroad? We are self-contained, we are raising what we need and we should send our stuff abroad; load a shipload of our products, send it to the markets of the world and
The Budget-Mr. McConica
sell it, and bring back a shipload of money; then load another ship and bring back another shipload of money. But how long could we keep that up? We would not get three cargoes out of this country till they would say: We
will buy your stuff if you will b.uy ours; our money is all gone. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we must depend for our foreign trade on our ability to buy foreign goods. There is no other way of doing business, and we cannot build up a foreign market unless we buy abroad. Fifty millions of people brought into Canada and engaged in manufacturing or any other vocation you could put them at would not eat a bit more wheat than if they had stayed in Europe. We would not have a market for an additional bushel.
The hon. gentleman says we are producing too much wheat. Well, they are buying all we send to them; they take all we produce. He also says the price is too low. But the price is not going down; it is as good this year as it was last. That is not saying much for it, but that is the situation. He also offers very good suggestions as to how we can relieve our farmers. They should not produce so much wheat, he says, and they should sell at a better price. But how are you going to get a better price? Then he says we must go into other lines of farming. Now what other line, I would like to know? I am a farmer and I am ready to shift to some other line. I have shifted to other lines, and it does not pay. There is nothing else that can be suggested for a farmer in the West to engage in. Talk about the dairy business-we cannot compete writh eastern Canada in that. Why Our cows are practically all dry fed for ten months in the year. We have a little fresh grass for feeding purposes along about the beginning of June, and then it dries up and our cows are practically fed on hay for the balance of the year; they give scarcely any milk. We cannot manufacture dairy products and compete with the farmers of Ontario and Quebec, even if we were as close to the market as they are. We are told to go into some other line, go in for raising cattle. I have raised cattle; I am raising cattle now. It takes ten acres of our prairie grass to keep a steer. That ten acres will cost $200. At 8 per cent that is $16 a year. You can summer the steer on that ten acres but then you have got to winter him. Sixteen dollars a year for three years. That is $48 and you will do mighty well if you can sell him for $30. That is the cattle business. We are told to go into some other line. I want to say to you that the other lines are worse than wheat, and I have tried
a good many of them. We are told that the aggregate reduction in the price of agricultural implements is not going to help us much. The reduction will not help us a whole lot, but it will help some. The hon. gentleman to my right (Sir Henry Drayton) told us that we would only save about $750,000 by this tariff reduction on agricultural implements.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE