Mr. M. E. MAYBEE (Northumberland, Ont.):
Mr. Speaker, Canada to-day is in
urgent need of some solution to our economic conditions that will bring about an industrial and agricultural awakening. This' fact is forcibly brought to my attention by the condition in my own constituency.
The county of Northumberland, which I have the honour to represent, is engaged in various industrial pursuits as well as mixed farming. I regret to have to report that various industries have been compelled to close their doors owing to unfair competition from imports, and others are struggling on, holding by a mere thread. For instance, we have a shoe company located in the town of Campbellford of fifty years' standing, and in this connection I desire to read a letter addressed to me, dated March 7, 1925:
M. E. Maybee, Esq., M.P.,
Dear Sir,-In view of the depressed condition of trade through Canada, and the increasing importation of shoes from Great Britain, we are writing to ask you to use your influence for the purpose of attempting to remedy this condition of affairs.
We have been in business for 50 years and up until a couple of years ago our factory was run continuously without loss of a day's time. During the last two years, however, a change has been necessary, and particularly during the year that has just passed, we have only been able to give employment to our help for four days a week, and sometimes not even that.
You will easily see that this not only makes our help dissatisfied but also makes the cost of production very much greater, as instead of having steady production and a full week's time to carry our wages and overhead expenses, we are compelled to divide it over the four days in which we are working, and conditions are such that it seems impossible to make any headway.
We assure you that none in the shoe business is making excessive profits. During the past two years there have been a larger number of failures, we believe, than at any previous time. We, ourselves, lost more money during the past year than ever before.
We believe that if something can be done to remedy the present conditions so as to enable our workmen to work full time instead of losing time, as is being done at present, it will be a benefit to the workmen, to ourselves, and the general public, as things can then be produced at lower prices than they can be produced under present conditions.
Perhaps there is no necessity for us to write this to you as there is no doubt your influence would be exerted in the right direction in any case, but there will probably be no harm in keeping you informed as to the real conditions in the shoe trade.
Richard Weston for
Weston Shoe Co. Ltd.
This is a striking illustration of the condition of the shoe industry. The statistics show that the quantity of shoes imported from Great Britain has increased 355 per cent in two years and 155 per cent in the last twelve months; a large quantity was also imported from Germany. Twenty more shoe factories have failed since the 1st of January, 1924. The wages paid to employees in Great Britain and Germany are much less than those paid here, and that consideration almost offsets the fifteen and three-quarter per cent preferential tariff on goods coming from Great Britain.
Another instance of the failure of industry in my constituency is that of the Cobourg Felt Company. The Cobourg Dye Company and the Cobourg Matting Company have been seriously affected by outside competition. Then, in the town of Trenton, adjoining my constituency, a very fine fertilizer plant has had to suspend operations due to the reductions in the duty on fertilizer. The Dominion Combing Mills in the same town have also had to struggle against the import of tops. Tops were imported during the year ending March 31st, 1924, according to the last trade returns available, to the amount of $4,047,674, and these came in free of duty. This concern is of great benefit to the farmers
The Budget-Mr. Maybee
of this community who are engaged in the production of wool. The closing of these industries or the reduction of their output ha3 had a great deal to do with the unemployment situation in my county and is also seriously affecting the home market for our agricultural products.
With respect to agriculture we have one of the finest counties in the province of Ontario. We have a varied production, including dairying, fruit growing, bacon hogs, poultry' products, vegetables, and beef cattle. Much interest is taken in dairying; our county has a good reputation in connection with the manufacture of butter and cheese. I think it would be preferable to have the cheese inspected and graded in the factories, from the point of view of the educational feature if for no other reason.
A great many dairy products are imported into Canada. According to the latest available trade returns the following milk products were imported during the year ending March 31, 1924:
Milk and cream $ 30,570
Milk, condensed 45,907
I consider that the tariff on butter and cheese should be increased until it is at least equal to that of the United States, which is eight cents a pound on butter and five cents a pound on cheese as against four cents a pound on butter and three cents a pound on cheese coming into Canada.
Many of our herds are being tested for accreditation and are making a good showing. We have many splendid herds of pure bred cattle, and I regret the action of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) in lowering the scale of compensation.
Our county is one of the foremost in the province in the production of apples, as well as of numerous small fruits, having secured a wide reputation in many international exhibitions. Here again we are labouring under a decided disadvantage, owing to climatic conditions, especially in small fruits, as the United States growers, under natural conditions, can produce fruits much earlier than we can and by the time our fruits are on sale the markets are surfeited with United States fruits and our growers never get the top prices. According to the trade returns for the fiscal year
ending March 31, 1924, the imports of fruit during that year were as follows:
Value of Import
Apples (fresh) $ 878,415
Apricots and quinces 105,443
Wild berries 13,393
Other fruits 89,235
The total imports of fresh fruits from the British Empire was valued at $169,153, and of fresh fruits from foreign countries, $18,084,294. Total fruits including dried and canned fruits from the British Empire amounted to $774,683, and from foreign countries, $25,760,319. A great many of these fruits we ourselves can produce. A sufficient duty should be imposed to safeguard the Canadian market until Canadian fruit is available. I believe the fruit growers of Northumberland and Durham, as well as other organizations, have made representations to the government for relief, and I trust that these will be acted upon.
As a sideline with dairying, bacon hogs are being produced in considerable quantities in Northumberland. I think in this the grading system is producing beneficial results and while not yet perfect no doubt it will eventually attain success. We can produce just as good bacon as Denmark, and while the education of our producers may be slow, it will eventually be completed. Another sideline with dairying is the development of poultry products. Some are specializing in this line. Here again we are under a great handicap, accentuated largely by climatic conditions and lack of protection. Recently seven car loads of eggs arrived in Montreal on one day, and the effect was immediately felt in our market. While we are producing poultry under winter conditions, these products are being shipped in here from the south where they are produced under summer conditions. We impose a tariff of only 3 cents per dozen against them, while they charge 8 cents per dozen against ours. We find at the same time that eggs were imported for consumption to the value of $1,975,707, which includes $12,679 worth from Hong Kong, China. Adequate protection should be given the production of
The Budget-Mr. Maybee
day-old chicks. I believe that something over
1,000,000 of such chicks came into Canada last year. Rigid inspection should take place at the border for not only the European fowl pest but for all contagious diseases affecting fowl. The grading of eggs is imposing considerable hardship on the producer. Many local dealers are refusing to handle them altogether, due to the extra labor entailed, thereby curtailing the local market, and as the salaries of the inspectors for the last fiscal year were $42,112, some real advantage to the producer should be shown.
A great many potatoes, vegetables and garden stuffs are produced in Northumberland, and here we find unfair competition from United States imports, due to their climatic conditions, American products flooding our markets much earlier than we can produce the vegetables. I find for the same period that I quoted before we imported the following vegetables:
Cabbage $ 273,933
Onions dutiable 362,358
Onions free 31,220
Other vegetables 1,586,603
The total value of fresh vegetables imported from the British Empire amounted to $154,375, while from foreign countries our imports reached the huge total of $3,777,881. All of these vegetables could have been grown in Canada. Total vegetables during the same period including dried, canned and pickled vegetables from the British Empire to the value of $574,816, and from foreign countries, $4,904,884. While the grading of potatoes generally may be advisable, I see no reason why a market gardener, selling produce on a local market direct from producer to consumer, where the buyer can see what he is buying and in most cases knows the seller, should be obliged to grade and tag the commodity, thereby entailing considerable labour and expense.
The conditions existing in the county 1 represent apply very largely to Canada as a whole. There is a general demand throughout Canada for a consistent application of the tariff; first, for the raising of revenue, thereby obviating the necessity of objectionable direct taxation; and second, sufficient protection to stabilize our industrial and agricultural activities. A policy to develop our own natural resources is urgently required. From the port of Cobourg alone in my constituency, according to an answer to a ques-
tion I placed on the order paper, in the fiscal years 1922, 1923, 1924 and 5 p.m. up to February 28, 1925, 264,239-cords of pulpwood were exported. At $10 per cord this represents a value of $2,642,390. If we had exported this pulpwood in the form of newsprint, we would have received $18,496,730, and at least $13,211,950 would have gone into the pockets of Canadian workmen.
We would not know of the excellent conditions prevailing in Canada if we had not been told by the Prime Minister and his colleagues during their meanderings up and down this country. We do not require any novel ideas for constructive legislation today. Conditions are very similar to those-of 1878, when the citizens of Canada decided by their franchise to inaugurate a National Policy to protect the industries and the people of this country. If they were wise in 1878, it does not take a great deal of acumen to see what would1 be wise in this present day. The depreciation of currency; the low cost of labour; the ruin of Europe-these things have exposed our markets in all directions, whether industrial or agricultural, to a competition that cannot survive under ordinary conditions. The question confronting us to-day is, what does Canada need to establish an atmosphere of confidence and prosperity? Something to encourage the investment of capital, primarily. Undoubtedly we need more population to assist us in our expenditure and produce commodities for railway transportation, but what folly to expend huge sums for immigration when we are unable to assimilate newcomers. British and American investors are awaiting the opportunity of consistent investments. But When thousands of industries have recently closed their doors, they do not appeal to these investors as consistent investments.
The present government is like a weather vane, constantly changing front according to the wind, promising all things to all people. As some of the people can be fooled all of the time, they have succeeded to that extent; but I believe the citizens of Canada are waiting for the opportunity to rise up in their might, as they did in 1911, and demand a sane policy for Canada. I do think that the situation in Canada at the present time is one which demands the most careful and earnest consideration of all classes of the people. I think we all agree that it is a grave one. There is a vein of discontent and of pessimistic feeling which is quite apparent as one travels through the country or listens to speeches made in the two Houses of Par-
Topic: S, 1925