AVe produce in this country
certain commodities which we want to sell; Australia produces certain commodities which she wishes to sell, and the bargain is to effect an exchange of commodities which will be beneficial to both countries.
It happens that I was for some years interested in the principal lines of production on the Pacific coast. I refer to the products of the forest and the sea. Having divested myself, after entering the house, of any interests directly or indirectly in those industries, I think I am in a position to speak with a knowledge which may be interesting to the house. In the presentation I propose to make with regard to the products of the sea and the forests of British Columbia, and the possibilities of extension of trade in those great industries, there can be no charge of personal interest. There are in the schedule many items which will no doubt be discussed, but for my part I prefer to confine my remarks to the two industries which I understand.
AVe have heard a great deal about newsprint as connected with the Australian treaty, and I wish to state that the figures I shall quote are for the calendar year as furnished by the export associations and they will no doubt differ somewhat from the figures for the government fiscal year. The export of newsprint to Australia reached a rather low ebb, during 1908 it amounted to only 52,767 tons out of a total of, in round figures, 160,000 tons, imported by that dominion. I was under the impression, as I know most hon. members are, that the newsprint item in the treaty was largely for the benefit of the Pacific coast. On looking the matter up however I find that the Pacific coast is shipping only 40 per cent of the exports from Canada to Australia and that ti e remaining 60 per cent comes from eastern Canadian mills. It is interesting to note that at the present time we divide the Australian market with Great Britain, Canada furnishing about one-third and Great Britain the other two-thirds of Australia's requirements.
I would not like to agree with the hon. members to my left in the sentiments which they expressed yesterday showing their lack of interest in our exports to Australia. I am sure that the farmers of my province and also the farmers of the province of Quebec, who benefit directly from the paper mills, will not agree with those sentiments. One company alone in the province of Quebec last year purchased $450,000 of farm products direct
Australian Treaty-Mr. McRae
from the farmers of that province, and if you add to these purchases, semi-manufactured farm products, canned goods and such like, the purchases of farm products of that one paper mill company alone were in excess of $1,000,000 last year. I mention that to illustrate to hon. members who have shown so little interest in our industrial development just how important these industries are.
Further, the paper industry, as is well known, pays to labour in this country in excess of 40 per cent of the returns they receive for their finished product. That is an important factor at the present time; it is always an important consideration. How far can our newsprint business with Australia be increased? That is a fair question. It is a question that should be considered when this treaty is being revised. Under the present treaty the British preference gives us free entry, an advantage of three pounds per ton, and we are supplying about one-third of Australia's requirements. It is not too much to expect that at the present rate of increase we will eventually supply one-half of Australia's requirements, thus dividing the Australian market equally with Great Britain. Let me express in figures just what that means. It means that our newsprint business with Australia is capable of development to the extent of at least $2,000,000 a year, bringing our present exports to Australia, which last year aggregated $4,220,250, up to approximately $6,000,000 annually.
It is interesting to note the extent to which the mills of my province profit by the Australian treaty at the present time. I have it from the association that the value of our paper exported from British Columbia to Australia last year was $1,150,000, which again is but 40 per cent of the exports from Canada. So much for newsprint.
I come to the question of lumber. The lumbering industry is undoubtedly one of the outstanding industries of the Pacific coast. As yet it has received no advantage whatever from any treaty that has been negotiated with Australia. There is as hon. gentlemen probably know a present import duty into Australia on what is known as Oregon pine, being what we call in Canada Douglas fir. This import duty is 8 shillings per thousand feet and applies to hemlock as well as fir, whether it comes from the United States or from Canada. It is interesting to note where the Canadian lumberman is getting off in this competition. In 1922, Australia imported 159,000,000 feet of fir. I will ask hon. members to include in that, hemlock; probably few of them will know the difference.
Topic: SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE