Mr. L. P. BANCROFT (Selkirk):
Mr. Speaker, I was particularly interested in the very able speech delivered during this debate by the hon. member for Yegreville (Mr. Luehkovich). He is the first Canadian of Ukrainian descent to sit in this parliament and he and his people are to be congratulated upon that .fact. There are many Canadians of Ukrainian birth or extraction in my constituency, and I had hoped that this speech would contain some message to them of what Canada, through its government, is doing to make them proud of their new home. My hon. friend has a great opportunity, because probably his speeches are translate and printed in the Ukrainian papers. It is regrettable that my hon. friend did not present a true picture of what is being done by the present government. He ihtimated that the tariff reductions made by the Liberal party-were confined to soft soap, false teeth and cocoanuts, whereas he could have told them of the list of tariff reductions, which are matters of record, to be found in Hansard of March 13, 1928, beginning at page
The Budget-Mr. Banerojt
1360. This list, which covers 19 pages of Hansard, shows the reductions made between 1922 and 1928. This is the greatest list of reductions that can be shown for any similar period since confederation. He could have told them that, this government inaugurated old age pensions, which have been of immeasurable benefit to many of his peopie. He could have told them that because some of his people had been placed on poor land when arriving here as immigrants this government amended the Homestead Act so as to allow them to take up a second homestead. He could have told them that this government brought down an amendment to the Naturalization Act, which would have removed much of the difficulty and expense which his people now encounter when seeking naturalization. He could have given many enlightening facts to his people in that portion of his speech which he devoted to nursery rhymes and bedtime stories.
I wish now, Mr. Speaker, to deal for a few minutes with the amendment moved by the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) which lays down the Conservative policy on the tariff. This amendment appears on page 758 of Hansard of March 7, 192), as follows:
This house regrets that the financial proposals of the government make no provision for reasonably safeguarding and protecting the interests of those "engaged in agricultural pursuits or in industrial" employment in Canada.
In the course of his speech the hon. gentleman said-and I am quoting from page 757 of Hansard:
...We must introduce into the tariff of this' country, to protect our own people, that element of protection which the Canadian tariff does not now afford.
It looks as though we were going to have a repetition in this country of the United States tariff campaigns of 1920 and 1921 in which the cry was " protect the farmer." Hon. members will recall that deflation in prices during 1920 left the farmers in a serious condition. In the United States this condition was to be remedied by protection on farm products. A great protectionist campaign was waged, and the farmers swallowed it hook, line and sinker. The sinker turned out to be the most effective part of the equipment.
This campaign was followed by the passing of the Emergency Tariff Act, May 1921, and the Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act of 1922. The latter was supposed to be the last word in protection for the farmer. But Mr. Speaker, the condition of the United States farmer grew worse after the passing of the
Fordney-McCumber tariff bill. Why? When the Fordney-McCumber bill was before the United States senate, Senator Underwood of Alabama said-I quote from page 27 of "Farmers Tariff Studies"-
Where the fallacy of this argument comes is that under the guise of doing something to help the farmers in some particular item, their support is asked for a bill of which, as a whole, it seems that for every dollar the farmers may derive from the bill, they will pay $100 in taxes for the benefit of somebody else.
What did he refer to in that statement? I have under my hand the following items from the Fordney-McCumber Act of 1922:
Pig iron 2.2 raised to 41Bar steel 13 raised to 27Structural steel 10 raised to 25Cast iron pipe 10 raised to 20Wrought pipe 20 raised to 27Builders hardware & locks 20 raised to 40Wire 26 raised to 41Stamped ware 20 raised to 40Sanitary ware-bath, sinks & lavatories 20 raised to 40Nails free raised to 16Sewing machines free raised to 15& 30 if over $75 valuation Gas engines 15 raised to 30Pumps 15 raised to 30Windmills 15 raised to 30Hosiery & knit goods.. 36.9 raised to 66.6Cotton thread 15 raised to 35Aluminum 21 raised to 45Salt free raised to 30.3Leather gloves 13.7 raised to 50Window glass 9.6 raised to 28
These are just a few items selected from the bill. It can readily be seen that the campaign of protection for the farmers was just a scheme to get the farmers' support for an increased tariff on manufactured goods. The increased tariff on manufactured goods affected the farmers' cost of production and left him worse off than he was before the passage of the Emergency and Fordney bills. The United States farmer got 42 cents a bushel protection on wheat, 12 cents a pound on butter and so on all along the line. These duties were put on to make the farmers feel that the tariff was framed in their interests. But the farmers of the United States have learned that these high duties on agricultural products were just fakes put there to keep them quiet while the tariff on manufactured goods was being boosted to the limit.
Senator David R. Walsh of Massachusetts reviewed the first year's operation of the Fordney Act, and I have here an editorial from the Manitoba Free Press of February 4th, 1924, which condenses the facts brought out in his speech: increased profits to manufacturers accounted for by higher prices-
The Budget-Mr. Bancroft
increased cost of living-no increase in wages paid to industrial workers-the farmers in sharp distress. I may be permitted, sir, to read the last paragraph of the editorial:
In short, the big manufacturers have benefited a great deal, the wage earners are about where they were before the law was passed, the general public are finding it harder to make ends meet and a large percentage of the farming population are in sharp distress. The high duties on agricultural products have proved a delusion and a snare. Since the passage of the emergency tariff bill in May, 1921, placing a duty of thirty-five cents a bushel on wheat (reduced to thirty cents in the Fordney-Mc-Cumber Act and raised to 42 cents in 1923) four hundred thousand farmers in the fifteen wheat-growing states have gone into bankruptcy.
Some might say that 1924 was too soon after the adoption of protection for the farmer for its benefits to be reflected on the farmers condition. During the congressional session of 1926, Senator Arthur Capper of Indiana, speaking before the United States senate on the plight of the American farmer, said that:-
the first five years of protection for farmers saw inore farm foreclosures than the preceding twenty years.
Further evidence of the failure of this policy can be seen in the attempt, during the last three sessions of congress, to pass the McNary-Haugen bill-a bill which attempts to bonus the American farmer by artificial means.
Perhaps the worst condemnation of the policy outlined in the Conservative amendment is found in the fact that this very month, April, 1929, eight years after the United States Emergency Tariff Act and seven years after the passage of the Fordney-MoCumber tariff bill, a special session of congress is being called to consider the plight of the American farmer. The policy adopted in the United States in 1921 and 1922 has practically ruined the agricultural industry in that country.
The amendment is held out as a bait to the Canadian farmer. In the same speech the hon. member for South Wellington advocates an increase in the tariff on agricultural implements and woollen goods, and asks for an element of protection which the Canadian tariff does not now afford. Other prominent members of his party followed, asking for increased tariffs on coal and steel. Since the Winnipeg convention they have advocated increased duties on farm implements, binder twine, automobiles, clothing, boots and shoes, and practically everything that enters into the cost of agricultural production. Then to cap it all the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Ladner) in his
speech tells the people of Canada that increased tariffs do not mean increased prices.
The Canadian farmer is neither blind nor stupid. He will be able to see through this amendment and the speeches that accompanied it. He will recognize in this policy the same gallows on which the American farmer was hanged. The hon. member for South Wellington used the term "gold brick" several times during his address. Well, the proverbial gold brick was at least attractive on the outside, while his policy has nothing about it to attract anyone. No one can blame the Conservative party for going to the United States for a policy. That is their right. But we can attach a great deal of blame to them for bringing forward a policy that has proven a dismal failure in the country from which they imported it.
Political parties may well turn their attention to agriculture. Agriculture is Canada's basic industry. The estimated agricultural wealth of Canada for 1928 is over eight billions of dollars and the estimated value of agricultural production for the same year is $1,731,805,000. We hear a lot of idle talk about worn out soils, wheat mining, and suggestions that the supremacy of agriculture is just a passing phase in our history. But, sir, soil does not. deteriorate if properly farmed; it becomes more productive under scientific tillage. The wheat yields of Canada are increasing. There has been a decided increase in the yield per acre during the past fifteen years. Agriculture is, and will continue to be, the greatest source of wealth production that wp have. But, while agriculture is in a much better condition today than 1921, it is well known that the farmers generally are not enjoying the measure of prosperity that is found in other industries. It is because of this fact that I suggest that all political parties should turn their attention to this great industry.
What is wrong with agriculture? In our endeavours to build up industries in Canada, we have ignored our greatest industry. We have pampered and bonused our secondary industries at the expense of our agricultural industry. Agriculture must be considered with all our other industries if we are to have a properly balanced nation. The farmers are justified in demanding that their industry be placed on an equality with other industries.
What is the foundation on which our manufacturing industries have been built up? The right to buy their raw materials in the best markets. No government would interfere with that right. No government would dare to tax the raw materials of the textile in-
The Bridget-Mr. Bancrojt
dustry, the paper industry, the farm implement industry, the rubber industry, or the automobile industry. The question then arises: Can we afford to give different treatment to the greatest wealth producer of all, the agricultural industry?
Whait are the raiw materials used in agricultural production? Building materials of all kinds, including hardware and cement, household equipment, stable equipment, farm implements, fencing materials, tools, including blacksmith and carpenters' tools, clothing boots and shoes and harness. These are some of the raw materials used in this industry and they are all taxed from 6 per cent to 35 per cent for the benefit of secondary industries.
The prices of agricultural products are fixed in the world's markets and cannot be increased at will to meet high costs of production. It will be readily seen, therefore, that the agricultural industry is working under a serious handicap when compared with other industries. In my opinion, this is the chief reason why the prosperity that is fairly general through Canada has not reached the home of the farmer. The Fordney-MoCumber tariff act failed because it increased the cost of the farmer's raw materials, and gave him little or no benefits in return. The policy laid down by the Conservative party has all the earmarks and brands of the Fordney-Mc-Cumber bill. They admit that all is not well with agriculture, and they advocate an increased duty on butter. Butter costs the consumer in Ottawa 48 cents a pound to-day. How much will that price have to be increased to make the farmer prosperous? They w'ant an increased duty on onions. Ontario grown onions are selling for 7i cents a pound in Ottawa. They advocate an increased duty on fruits. Apples cost us in Manitoba, this winter, $3.85 to S4 a box for table use, and $3 to $3.25 for cooking apples. These boxes contain about 35 pounds of apples. They tell us that the apple growers are being forced out of business at these prices. The question naturally arises: how much must these prices be increased to make the grower prosperous, and what effect will that increase have on consumption?
The Canadian farmer knows more of economics than the farmers of any other country that I know of. He knows that increased tariffs on his products will not solve his problems. He knows that any policy which will be detrimental to the consumer will react against him, for the farmers make up more than half of the consuming public
of Canada. He sneers at tariff walls, before which he must sell his products and behind which he must buy his raw materials.
We hear a great deal of talk about saving the home market for Canadians. Saving the home market for Canadians means, if it means anything, an embargo on imports. The farmers must export a large portion of their product; 38-5 per cent of the total exports for 1928 were made up of farm products exported in their raw state. This being true, we must receive imports in payment for these exports; for in international trading over a period of years goods are paid for with goods. If the demands of our Conservative friends for increased restrictions on imports are satisfied, the ability of Canada to export must be seriously curtailed.
Hon. gentlemen demand the exclusion of imports of the goods in which they happen to be interested. If their demands were satisfied, Canada would be reduced to ruin. It is only because the Canadian people refuse to permit embargoes on imports that we can go on selling our products abroad. So much for the amendment.
Now, my hon. friend from Battle River (Mr. Spencer) moved a subamendment which reads:
That the amendment be amended by striking out all the words after "house" and substituting therefor the following:
"urges upon the government the consideration of an immediate and substantial increase of the British preference as a step towards freer trade relations between Canada and other nations."
You will note, Mr. Speaker, that this subamendment urges upon the government the consideration of these things. Well, the government being in the act of considering them, I suppose the hon. member has all he asks for in the subamendment, because we find in the speech of the Minister of Finance that the government has been considering and is now considering this very matter. At page 5
It is gratifying to note the steady development of inter-empire trade. Canada, the pioneer of the British preference, looks on empire trade as the key-stone of its external trade policy and desires in every way to foster closer trading relations throughout the British commonwealth of nations.
Further down on the same page I find the following:
Many new trade channels within the British commonwealth are being opened and, in addition, the ever-increasing number of countries with which Canada exchanges most-favourednation treatment assists Canadian business to establish permanently "made-in-Canada" goods on the markets of the world.
The Budget-Mr. Boulanger
Further on I find the following:
In so far as we have a fiscal problem, our task would appear to be that of readjusting, as necessity arises, our customs tariff schedules tc meet new conditions, of removing inequalities where inquiry proves such to exist, of encouraging greater and more economical' production of quality products, of assisting in the utilization of domestic resources and, other things being equal, of favouring those countries which favour our products. In applying these principles, availability of supplies, transportation costs, and the proximity of markets are factors which roust be considered if all are to benefit and the Dominion prosper.
From this I gather, Mr. Speaker, that the government are considering the matters my hon. friend in his amendment asked them to consider. That fact, coupled with the fact that the subamendment is equivalent to a vote of want of confidence in the government, is sufficient reason why I should oppose the subamendment.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE