The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.
Very well. The hon. gentleman does not require any question to be asked. I have read what the hon. member for Peel has said In regard to certain articles coming from the United States, of which he holds that not a single dollar's worth should be allowed to come into the country, and he says that is in accordance with the principle of the amend-
ment which the hon. leader of the opposition has moved. Therefore we are forced, in view of the vagueness of the language of the hon. leader of the opposition, to learn the meaning of this adequate protection from the speeches made by his supporters in the House.
Then, the hon. member for Halton is one of the old members of the House, one of the staunch old Conservatives. He told us in his speech last night:
But we say we will put a Chinese wall right round this country, and we will not allow these Americans to come in here and monopolize the markets of this country.
That is what he understands by adequate protection-a Chinese wall around this country that will admit none of those products.
Thus we have arrived at the real meaning of adequate protection ; we have learned what the policy of the Conservative party under the leadership of the hon. gentleman is to be. If not, it must be denied. It is not the old national policy ; not at all. It is to be an adequate policy that will exclude everything from this country. It is to be a prohibitive tariff as interpreted by the speeches of hon. gentlemen who are following the hon. gentleman in the House, one of whom at least in his presence has reiterated his belief that that is the true meaning of the term.
But why go to the trouble of framing a tariff with hundreds of items in it to accomplish their purpose of prohibiting the Importation of foreign goods ? Why not at once pass a simple Act and say : It shall be illegal from this time henceforth to introduce into this country any goods of which a like kind are produced in Canada. They have not thought of revenue ; there is no expression in the resolution with reference to revenue. The only thing is protection- adequate protection-which is defined to be protection high enough to exclude everything, even if it should require a duty of 100 per cent.
Well, I am glad that we have been able to have this discussion. My remarks have been a little broken up by the friendly interruptions which we have had, but I, of course, must share the responsibility of that. The hon. leader of the opposition was courteous enough to give me an answer when I asked him a question, and I endeavoured to return a like courtesy when any questions were asked of myself. I have my views on the tariff, and perhaps, like some other members in this House, I may not get what I think the very best duty on every one of the 600 or 800 items in the tariff. I am quite sure that when the hon. gentleman forms an administration in the far distant future, he will find among his supporters, possibly among his colleagues, a difference of opinion on some items, because of different interests, and so on. But we are now getting down to a principle. Hon. gentlemen Hon. Mr. PATERSON.
are not fighting for the old national policy. What they are fighting for is away beyond that. It is for a prohibitive tariff that will shut out everything, while we on this side stand where we always have stood, for a revenue tariff, and a revenue tariff is what is now enacted. It is the kind of tariff that we were instructed to frame by the great Liberal convention in 1893. We were to raise our revenues by means of a tariff, and in arranging the tariff we were to take care to do injustice to no class. We have endeavoured to do that. It is a mere play upon words to talk about protection and free trade in this country. Where you have a tariff with'hundreds of items produced in the country, where you have a constant tariff on these items, you of necessity have protection as an incident of that tariff. It cannot be otherwise, unless you put a corresponding excise duty upon the articles manufactured in the country, which no one has ever proposed. What we have contended is, that under that tariff so aranged, we had to care for every interest. We have secured a tariff for revenue. We have obtained money from the people which I believe the people have not felt the burden of to any great extent. You do not hear murmuring in the country. We are carrying on the public business, developing this country at a rate never before known. The manufacturing and farming industries especially are prospering under the operation of that tariff, as they never prospered before. And this is the time, when the country is in that prosperous condition, that you are solemnly asked to declare that it is the bounden duty of the government to have a thorough revision and readjustment of the tariff, and to have it this session.
As the hon. Finance Minister has said, under the operation of the tariff, under changing conditions, which change very fast in our time, not shutting our eyes to what is being done in the course of legislation in other countries, tariff changes may be necessitated. When the time comes when, in the opinion of the government, those changes should be made, they will be made, I believe, in such a manner, as will promote the best interests of the people of this country ; and I think the vast majority of the members of this House, and the majority of the people of this country, will feel that when the revision of the tariff becomes necessary, either in whole or in part-I believe the manufacturers themselves will feel so-that it will be safer to leave that revision in the hands of the men who completed the last revision, than to entrust it to the hands of men whose only policy, as enunciated in their speeches, is to put the duties so high as to shut out every article the like of which is produced in this country. It would be ruin to the manufacturers as well as to all other classes in the country. Every person conversant with the intricacies of a tariff levied on such a vast multi-
tude of articles as our tariff comprises, knows the interdependence of trade, the relation of one article to another ; and in-the framing of that tariff it is necessary not only to provide for securing revenue, but to see that you are not crushing out one class of manufacturers, while unduly helping another class. It is no simple matter, and I venture to express the belief that the manufacturers of this country would feel that it would be safer to have the revision of the tariff, when the time comes for it to be made, whether in whole or in part, accomplished by the men who six years ago, with the aid of their supporters in this House, put in force the tariff that has stood from that day to this, without any material change ; and during those six years there has been such prosperity in this country as never existed in it before.
I have not spoken about that prosperity. It has been alluded to ; but every one knows the prosperity of this country. 'Our Conservative friends admit it, and claim credit for admitting it. What credit is due for admitting that the times are good ? Do we not know that hon. gentlemen opposite are men of truth, and being so, how could they say anything else, than that times are good? We could not have maintained that character if we had said that the times were good when hon. gentlemen opposite were in power.
The hon. leader of the opposition has told us that we have not done a single thing to promote the prosperity of this country-that this prosperity is outside and beyond anything we have done-that it is simply an incident cf the prosperity of the world at large. Well, if my hon. friend, the leader of the opposition, thinks that the policy of a government has nothing to do with the prosperity of a country, if that is his view of the action of government, why does he want any change ? Why does he propose any change of policy ? But the very fact that he proposes an amendment to the policy of the government, of necessity indicates that, in his opinion, a change of policy would produce greater prosperity and advancement, otherwise his resolution is meaningless. If it be true that under our present tariff policy, the country is prospering, as it never did before, surely some credit is due that policy. But if governments have nothing whatever to do with the prosperity of a country, then my hon. friend is singularly inconsistent in advocating a change of policy. When pressed to explain what really his amendment meant my hon. friend sheltered himself very jocularly, on one or two occasions, behind what other hon. members had said. He was evidently unable to explain what the word ' adequate ' in his resolution means. He has replied more than once by saying : Well the Minister of Public Works' (Hon. Mr. PrSfontaine), down in Montreal, said that he was in favour of legitimate protection. He seemed to think
that * legitimate ' and ' adequate ' are synonymous terms, and that we must ask my hon. colleague the hon. Minister of Public Works to explain them. Well, I do not agree with my hon. friend. I do not consider the two expressions synonymous.
' Adequate protection,' as defined by the speeches of the lieutenants, as I have pointed out, and as one of them re-affirmed in his presence, means a tariff that will exclude from this country the importation of every kind of article that is manufactured in it.
I would call that illegitimate protection. That is a protection which the government have no right to [DOT] impose. Legitimate protection is not my phrase, but I accept it as a very good one. It is such a protection as, by a judicious' arrangement of the tariff, gives the requisite encouragement to our industries and at the same time furnishes the revenue required to carry on the business of the country. Such a protection we now enjoy, and if my hon. friend's predictions should be true, and we should have an election this fall, the issue will be between legitimate and illegitimate protection. If that be the dividing line, I am for legitimate as opposed to illegitimate protection. I am for a tariff so adjusted that it will secure the requisite revenue and give every legitimate industry in this country the assistance it requires, as opposed to a tariff prohibitory in its nature, and which would exclude every article of foreign manufacture from the country.