Mr. EOOH LANCTOT (Laprairie-Napier-ville).
(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to take part in the debate at this late hour of the night, but the hon. member for Maskinongd (Mr. Bellemare) has just -given me the opportunity of making a few remarks. He stated, first, that the present government is well disposed towards the farming community. I am glad of it, and I would like the government to show what they can do.
The hon. members who have preceded me addressing the House in English, have dealt practically but with our financial situation. I would like to say a few words about reciprocity. It has been said that reciprocity was now a dead issue. I assert the contrary. I maintain that reciprocity is a live question at least in the countv of Laprairie-Napiervi-lle which I represent here.
In the last electoral contest the electors did not vote on reciprocity, but on the navy question which our opponents took advan-Mr. BELLEMARE.
tage of everywhere. The electors would say: Well, we are in favour of reciprocity, but we must first decide this famous navy question.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, our opponents said that should the Laurier government be defeated the navy would be nomore a question. But' I see that it is a question to-day just as it was before, and I am very much afraid that it shall grow too big and that the electors of the province of Quebec shall find it more dreadful in the future than they did previous to the 21st of September,
- It was evident that reciprocity would have been profitable to the farming community, and I say so without -fear of being *contradicted. I-n all the public meetings ivdhich were held during the last general elections our opponents said-in order to scare the people-that the farming community would have to compete on the local market against the natural products of twelve nations which were favoured by the treaties. And they added: you have the English -market, then you have no need of the United States market, send the surplus of your products to England. We are perfectly awa-re of the fact that the natural products of all the countries in the world are admitted in England duty free. For my part, I fail to see why we should have dreaded the competition of those twelve favoured countries on our own market, since we would have had to compete with them on the English market.
As the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt), has said, we are not afraid to compete with any other country or on any market in the world, with respect to our agricultural products. To my mind, all the difficulty arises from the fact that the foreign markets are difficult for us to reach owing to customs duties which, in many a case, are practically prohibitive. It is admitted that the farmer nearest to a market is the one who derives the most benefit from it, provided there is no such obstacle as -customs duty. For instance, the United States government, by imposing $4 duty per ton on Canadian hay, keeps it away -from the market of that country; and those $4 -duty _ must be added to what it costs for carrying that hay to destination. All this contributes to keeping us away from that market.
During the last electoral campaign T [DOT]happened to make a comparison which seemed very clear to ine. I took, as an illustration, a Manitoba, a Saskatchewan or an Alberta farmer who shipped a car load of oats to the '.Montreal market, and I compared his case with the case of a farmer in any country who also shipped a -carload of oats to Montreal. In the first instance the cost of transportation should be $150, whereas in the second instance it would amount to $12 only. Then I asked
my auditors; is it mot true that western farmers could not compete witlh the farmer in Laprarie ? Therefore, the quality of the product being the same, the only question is the cost of transportation; the producer who is nearest to 'the market is the one who derives the most benefit from it.
The United States government, by imposing $4 duty on hay, keeps us away from the Boston and the New York markets and from the New England markets so as to *favour the farmers of the 'Western States. That duty then, keeps us away from those markets,. although we have the advantage of distance. I say, therefore, that this or any other government must, one day or other, make that reciprocity treaty which the farmers of any county, and I might say, of the whole country, are loudly asking for.
When the hon. member for North Toronto, now the Minister of Commerce (Mr. Foster), criticised the budget speech last year I listened to him with close attention. He said that it was almost a crime for the government of Canada to levy $72,000,000 as customs duties, which represented he said, $10 to $11 per head of the population. In fact, that was a good deal of money. And great was my surprise when I heard that same member declare later on, when he spoke against the reciprocity treaty in this House, that everything was satisfactory and that we should let well enough alone. If it was a crime to collect $72,000,000 as duties last year I say that the late government intended to remedy that evil by reducing the duties on our imports from other countries. In fact, is it not true that by a reciprocity treaty with the United States, the farmers of our country would have made a gain of about $5,000,000 which they pay over to the United States to-day as duties? The duties paid on goods imported into Canada or on those of our products which exported to the United States mean no profit for anybody except for the public chest of each of the two countries
It is stated that the duties are paid by the -consumer. Su-ch is -not always the case. In many instances-, the vendor has to suffer because the price of the products that he ships is affected not only by the cost of transportation, but also in proportion of the duties imposed. Having done business with people in New York for the last twenty years as a dealer in hay, I have some notions on this subject. When I ship a carload of hay to New York I must calculate, first, the cost of transportation, then the customs duties and, finally, my agent's commission. I would be in a position to pay a higher price to the farmer had I no duty to pay, and that duty would exist no more if we had had reciprocity with the United States. Such is the case with all the ordinary business of this life. To reach Montreal the inhabitants of my
-county -pass on the Victoria bridge. Formerly, they used to pay 80 cents for every carriage, to-day they only pay 25 cents for a two-horse carriage and 15 cents for a one-horse carriage. Shall a farmer who goes from -my county to Montreal
with a load of -potatoes, of tomatoes *or other vegetables, i dispose of his products at a higher price because he paid to cross the riv-er on the bridge or on a boat, while the farmer who lives on the Montreal Island-in Laval or in Jacques-Cartier, for instance-has paid nothing and will come and take a place right at his side at the market, with the same kind of products for sale? Certainly not. When he is back at home in the evening he calculates the result of his journey, deducting, of course, from the amount received, -all he had to pay on the bridge or on the boat, and for his dinner, whereas the farmer from Laval will have to deduct nothing but what his dinner may have cost him. . j; -| |
In the last campaign, especially in La-prairie, the reciprocity question was not decided on its own merits. My opponent who called himself a Liberal, talked of the navy, but very little.did he say about reciprocity. Since the elections people ask me every day: shall we have reciprocity? No, I reply, the party that was in power and that wanted reciprocity has been defeated.
Who Mr. Speaker, has fought reciprocity most vigorously? The great financiers, millionaries and important manufacturer,s, some of which opponents, I regret to say, *are to be found in the ranks of the Liberal party. Why were manufacturers opposed to reciprocity, when we asked for a reduction of duties on natural products without-touching manufactured articles? It was feared that- the agricultural population, having tasted the siweets of reciprocity, would want unlimited reciprocity as devised by the Liberal party twenty-five years ago. The manufacturers decided that the idea must be nipped in the bud and in such a manner that it might never come up again. In my opinion the manufacturers were mistaken. The 'agricultural class representative of the population who have paid duty since 1878 on 'all they buy, is it not time that the burden of taxation should be reduced for them, especially as .they are the majority. Is if necessary that the government should favour the manufacturers to the detriment of the masses and mak-e them millionaires of whom it may be said after their death: so aind so was worth so many millions? When men lived eight or nine hundred years as in the time of Methusatem, -such fortunes might be useful, but to-day life is too short, and if a man accumulates millions in the short span alloted to him the people must suffer for it.
The_ day -will come when the mistake committed on the 21st September last will be recognized, people's eyes will be opened and we will obtain the reciprocity we desire.
It is objected that reciprocity with the United States is a step towards annexation. For my part, I traded in hay with the United States since twenty years and that has not made an American of me. However a dollar is just as useful to me if if comes from New York as if it came from London or Liverpool. I may add that if we had access to the American market, we would have three markets instead of two and reap greater commercial benefit in consequence.
It is all very well to .speak of the local market, but a large population is needed to consume all we produce and much time is required to increase that population. There is no race suicide amongst us, it is true, but the best each family can produce is one child a year and it required twenty years to make a man of him. 1 am of opinion that we should consider ourselves to some extent and not think exclusively of our children yet unborn.
I say that reciprocity must come, that the day of its coming is not far off and that when if does come it will benefit the agricultural population' and the consumer.
Mr. PAQUET (iL'Islet), Mr. 'Speaker, the hon. Finance Minister laid down very clearly yesterday the true principles of good financial administration.
The budget of 1913 comes to us as one of reform and progress, marking a new stage .on the road to financial restoration.
Laisne once gave to Mr. Villele some advice under a rough form:
A financial minister, he said should be a watch dog, lying on the national strong box.
The finance minister is following this advice and he will show us results worthy of the admirable vitality of the Canadian people.
On the evening of the 21st September some of our opponents felt anxious on account of Mr. Fielding's absence, but we know now that not only has the present finance minister (Mr. White), succeeded iMr. Fielding; he has replaced him.
Montesquieu once said: 'Certain things are accepted by the people only when unseen; as soon as they appear the people re ject them.'
During the last two sessions, on the questions of the navy and of reciprocity, the Liberal majority demonstrated the truth of the French philosopher's words. That majority, forgetful of the rights of the people, acted as if they had a general mandate and relied upon the acceptance by the public of the accomplished fact. Under Liberal rule, national representation had given way _ to uncontrolled dictatorship. The sovereignty of the people had become Mr. LANCTOT.
a farce. Our opponents thought that they had obscured the national conscience. But on the 21st September, militarism, imperialism and reciprocity went down before the rights of the people and the national policy. It was the awakening of the spirit of the nation to the necessity of protecting our national resources, our industries and our agriculture.
The lightening of the naval tax is deeply significant; the government was thus enabled to adopt manly, resolutions, and to turn earnestly towards the improvement of' agriculture and of our national highways.
The hon. member for Napierville (Mr. Lanctot) was bemoaning a moment ago the fate of the farmer. In reply to his observations I will remind him that the first words of the present right hon. Prime (Minister were: ' Now it is the farmer's
turn ' whereas the former premier required fifteen years to say such great words.
The people require commercial and financial reforms adequate to the wants and aspirations of the different classes of society. Among the nations we perceive a progressive wealth of brilliant commercial institutions. In all those countries to which extend our industrial and commercial activities we require commercial agents properly trained and informed as to our resources and our economic situation. We have such agents in several countries, but progressive Canada should insist upon more complete commercial representation in this respect. Our universities and our great commercial schools, so interested in our material and intellectual development, might furnish proper agents for this commercial and consular service. They are in a position to accomplish this national work. The Department of Trade and Commerce, now administered by a distinguished man, should be in a position to collect all useful information for the development of our trade and manufactures.
This missi dominici would transmit to the central administration a mine of accurate information. In trade with the east, with France and South America, we have not obtained our full share. I cannot sufficiently impress upon our new government the importance of opening new markets to Canadian products, while preserving to the full our administrative autonomy.
Speaking of the .commercial progress of Canada, I can never sufficiently insist upon the importance of the report of the United States immigration commission. During the fiscal year 1908-1909, 17,121 French Canadians emigrated to the United States. Odp cannot see without concern thousands of Canadian workers in the shops and factories of the United States. Their labour and their talents add to the wealth of our neighbours instead of enriching Canada.
In order to accomplish our mission in
this Canadian land, to foster the strength, prestige and power of the ancient races who civilized Canada, we need to preserve all the members of our great family.
In the interest of Canada we should keep our people here- and encourage the return of the French Canadian population so important on account of their traditions and its attachment to the faith of their ancestors.
Our new government will meet our wishes by the development of our industries fostered by a tariff policy framed to meet our needs, while favouring at the same time our agricultural progress. As a Canadian author has said: ' It is impossible to imagine a more favourable situation for the organization of a great industrial movement according to enlightened and scientific methods.'
I am gratified to find that the 'government has given its first thoughts to the farmers and the tillers of the soil, to those patriots who increase the national domain. Proper protection of the agricultural interest will diminish the exodus of farmers towards the United States and the cities.
AiS I said a moment ago, it was only after fifteen years of power that the liberal government adopted the slogan: It is now the farmers' turn.
The Conservative government seeing the depopulation of the rural districts and the deserted condition of many 'constituencies, desires to remedy the evil and render farming .attractive. The joint action of federal, provincial and municipal authorities will secure, I hope, efficient agricultural reforms. By co-operating with the provinces in the promotion of agricultural progress, the government will accomplish a work of national importance.
The administration resulting from the vote of the 21st September 1911 will be doing national work by contributing to the building of roads-, to the development of agriculture and also by extending to the older provinces the benefits of immigration.
Allow me to make a few observations con-coming the requirements -of the southeastern region of the province of Quebec. During the two last years, work on the Transcontinental in our region has not been carried on with sufficient celerity. I call upon the government in t'he interests -of colonization, of agriculture and of forest industries to hasten the termination of the construction work between Levis and Moncton. ,
Quebec is an agricultural market. On the prosperity o-f the city of Quebec -depends in a great measure the prosperity of the Eastern portion of our provinces. '
Under the active, skillful and prudent direction of the hon. Postmaster General, the interests of Quebec and of our District will be safe. I
The government, I am sure, will hasten to provide some efficient mode of communication between Quebec and Levis in order not to p-arlayze the efficiency of the Transcontinental.
I thank the government for wishing to make of Quebec a really national port. In doing this the iGonse-rvative government responds to the wishes and requirements of ,the population of our district.
I have no intention to claim for Quebec anything detrimental to the other large -cities of this country, but I want to see the city of Champlain compete with other Canadian cities in the commercial and industrial fields.
. Mr. N. MARTIN (St. Mary's, Montreal). (Translation). Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to take part in the debate, especially at this late hour, but I think I would be failing in my duty a>s one of 'the representatives of Montreal-the commercial metropolis of 'Canada-if I did not say a few words on the subject.
This evening when I was in the cars coming from Montreal, I learned by the papers that the hon. Minister of Finance had stated to the House that he has a surplus of 39 millions. He has had better luck than his predecessor, who, when taking office in 1896, found only -an -empty coffer and -even a deficit of $330,000.
In my division, I carried the last campaign almost exclusively on the question of reciprocity with occasionally some remarks on the naval policy.
In what condition was this country in 1896 and in what condition is it to-day? The country, and Montreal in particular, was in a lamentable state. The manufactories were closed, and the men were leaving for the United States. What was the jcause of all those disasters? For my part, I say that the real cause was the policy of protection inaugurated 'by the Conservative party in 1878 and that policy was that the farmers of this country should not produce any more than was required for home consumption. A time .came when the farmer having no market to which he could export his products, found himself with an over production that he was obliged to sell at any price. I remember the time when the!, 'farmer in ,'the province of Quebec was obliged to exchange his products against the country merchant's goods and at the end of the year when the time came to settle accounts there was almost nothing coming to him, that is why the sons of our farmers were leaving for the United States, their fathers being unable to give them a start at home, as they are doing to-day. A great number of our farmers were compelled to leave their farm to find work in the American manufactories during the
winter ,season to pay the mortgages on their property.
To prevent such a deplorable state of affairs the only remedy in my judgment was a policy of protection for the manufacturers and a policy of exportation for our natural products. Before 1896, the manufacturers had to curtail their output six months in the year, and to leave without employment a large number of men who had to leave the country.
That is why we had in the city of Montreal 27,000 untenanted dwellings. The building industry was paralyzed and all classes of the population suffered by it, from the lumberman in the woods to the banker in his office. Since the return of prosperity, that is to say since about fifteen years, the population of Montreal has increased by about three hundred thousand inhabitants.
What do we see to-day? The number of the manufactories are continually on the increase, the building industry is in full swing and we can see properous banks at the corner of nearly every street. Everybody seems to be in comfortable circumstances, the day labourer who earned from 80 to 00 cents a day receives to-day two dollars and $2.25 a day. The man with a good trade easy earns four and five dollars a day. I maintain that if the government persists in a policy of protection on natural products, before ten years we will return to the conditions we were in in 1896, and that will endure so long as the country produces enough to maintain a population of two or three hundred millions that we have not.
As I have said, we must have a policy tending to promote exportation of our over production in natural products, because we have not enough population to consume all that the farmers have to sell.
I do not intend to make a speech, but I can say with mv hon. friend from La-prairie, that reciprocity is not buried, it is not even dead.
If the question had been judged on its merits by the electors, if men like Messrs. Bourassa and Lavergne and their Nationalist friends had not misled the people on the naval poilicy, the Liberal party would again be in power to-day, and reciprocity would have carried the day.
As to the naval question, I didn't speak much about it to the electors of St, Mary's division. I merely went to the trouble of explaining that all those clauses that Mr. Bourassa was giving as binding clauses, were only optional. I told the electors that if the Conservative party had been in earnest on the naval policy, they would have resorted to the same tactics as they resorted to on the reciprocity treaty, that is to say, they w'ould have blocked the estimates and Mr. MARTIN (Montreal).
forced the government to go before the people on the naval policy.
To-day the electors of the province of Quebec must perceive that they have been duped. We had the proof of it when the Minister of Public Works himself told us that they had ' played the game.' I expect that before long, at the next election no doubt, the Liberal party will be returned to power. The stand taken by the government on the question of reciprocity, on the Manitoba school question, on the ' Ne Temere ' decree, has been nothing but a sham, and the electors will soon discover that the Conservatives carried many counties by false representations.
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic: TRADE AND SLIDING SCALE.