The MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE.
I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. I was quoting Sir John Macdonald's speech in Halifax.
I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. I was quoting Sir John Macdonald's speech in Halifax.
You were in good company once in your life.
We used to hear much about the exodus. The hon. gentleman (Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) himself used to talk about the exodus until you would think he belonged to the children of Israel.
Yes, Sir, you would think he was Moses himself. Now let us see- that exodus is going on unfortunately. According to his own books last year there were $1,538,186 worth of settlers effects went out of this country. There were a good many times that came in, but if you turn to the returns, that was the case even when the minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) was saying that everybody was leaving the country. What are the facts V The facts are simply these : That the people of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and Quebec largely go to the United States when they leave home instead of going to our North-west, and the population of Ontario, if it is depleted any has been depleted by the removal of the people from Ontario out to our western country. Now, the hon. gentleman (Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) used to take that as an argument against the policy of the government that he was opposing in these days. What has he got to say in .justification of the policy that his own government has adopted. If what he said then was true ; it is certainly true yet.
I want, Sir, to look this matter squarely in the face. What do we find ? We find that notwithstanding what we are told the Minister of Agriculture and the government are doing for the farmer, that when the boy grows up he leaves the farm. I would be the last man to propose to proscribe the boy's liberty in that respect, or to check his ambition, but I say this : That if there
is one economic question for this country Mr. BRODER.
more important than another, it is the question of keeping the people on the soil. The policy of the present government has not had that effect. There are less men on the soil to-day in Canada than there were when they came into power. We know that when people go into the towns and cities, they become more restless ; more likely to leave the country or to change their position ; and what we want to do and what the government should do, is to try and grapple with this question. I throw out the hint that the Department of Agriculture should take up questions of this kind ; they should try to make the home of the farmer more attractive to the boys. Perhaps that more than anything else will cause the boy to stay at home on the farm if he finds there comforts suitable to his desires. The Minister of Agriculture should try and make the farmer's home more comfortable. I suppose the Minister of Agriculture does not know much about family affairs, but he ought to or he should not be a minister.
It is serious to relate that enough people are scarcely staying upon the soil in Canada to attend to the ordinary avocation of agriculture. The tendency in this country is to send the boys to the professions. Perhaps the well to do farmer is anxious to have one or other of his boys in a profession, and having a little spare money, and that sort of thing, he wishes to educate his boy, and that leads to some extent to the present condition of things. But what I want to say is this : That if
the Department of Agriculture takes up this question, and through an educational process makes the farm home more attractive, there will be less young men leaving the farm. We look too much at the farmer from the standpoint of whether everything pays or not. But there is this I will say on his behalf : There is no class of people who are as sure of employment for themselves and their families as are the farmers. That is the first great consideration. There is no other profession in which employment is so sure. And while our friend (Mr. Grant) yonder was talking about the farmer's income from his investment, and the manufacturer's income from his investment, he lost sight of this very significant fact: that when the balance of the account is made up the farmer has lived about the best of any man in the community. He and his family have lived well ; they have had the best butter and eggs and cheese and bread, and the best of everything-they sell you fellows the rest.
That is a consideration that is too often lost sight of by our hon. friend and others. The farmer has had his living, and we cannot take that away from him. That is a very important matter, but
still we want to make the farmer's home more attractive. Encourage the boys to stay on the farm. The Department of Agriculture professes to instruct the farmer how to raise oats and wheat, and potatoes, and turnips, and cattle and all the rest of it, and when a farmer comes here and goes to the Experimental Farm he finds that our Experimental Farm looks just about as bad as the one he left at home. The drains are not much better, the cattle are not much better. The outcome of this is, that the old farmer begins to say : What does this
mean ; the government at Ottawa do not know very much more about this business than I do. I say to the government: Don't send a man among the farmers who does not know his business. There is no class of people in Canada that will find out his weakness as quickly as the farmers will. That is a piece of advice I am giving especially to the premier.
Now, I want to touch up our reciprocity friend a little. Last year he was after the Americans with a club in his hand; now he is after them with a feather. Last year it was retaliation, tariff against tariff, away up high ; now he is waiting for reciprocity. Does any man pretend to say that under the conditions described by the hon. gentleman who took his seat a few moments ago (Mr. Grant), with the farmer and everybody else worse off in the United States than in Canada, reciprocity with such a people would be of any advantage to this country ? You have to trade with somebody better off than yourself if you want to get any advantage. If there ever were conditions which would favour this country for reciprocity, they were those which prevailed under the reciprocity treaty from 1854 to 1866, because there was a war going on in the United States at that time, and enormous prices were obtained for agricultural products of all kinds. Yet what occurred ? During the twelve years of the reciprocity, under the most favourable conditions, we traded with the American people to the amount of $150,000,000 more than they traded with us.
Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.) We would do so again.
Oh, I dare say jmu would make mistakes all your life.
In 1874, when there was a proposition made to bring about reciprocity with the United States, the late Hon. George Brown went to Washington, where he found American statesmen, no matter how prominent they might be, so ignorant of Canadian affairs that he undertook to give them some instruction, and he compiled a lot of figures from their own records, which were published in London, England,
and I have a copy of the document in my possession at home-showing that during those twelve years we traded with the1 Americans to the amount of $150,000,000 more than they did with us. And in the black days of 1857, when our commercial interests were bound up with the American people, when the crisis of the year came in the United States, this country suffered beyond measure; and we should never be put in that position again.
The hon. gentleman is talking reciprocity because he sees a break in the clouds; he is likely to go to Washington again and have a bit of a time with the Americans. Well, Sir, you will not make any bargain with them unless you give them the best of it. These hon. gentlemen went over there before, and they were like the boy whose father sent him off to do business and learn something. He was a good-looking, well-preserved boy, and his father was well off. I am an advocate of a boy making some of his mistakes while his father is with him. We let our boys grow up and leave them to make their mistakes after we are gone. I am afraid that is the way with our hon. friends. This gentleman sent his boy away to look after a bit of business, and gave him some money. The boy was gone for several days, and the old gentleman got very uneasy looking for his return. The boy came back at last, and the old gentleman said to him, ' Well, my son, what have you brought back ? ' ' Nothing,' answered the boy, ' but I had a good time.' ' Well,' said the old gentleman, ' it costs a good deal of money, but if there is one thing I am glad of, it is that you did not do any business.' That is just the position of the Joint High Commission. The country had not entrusted them with any business before; it was the first business they had attempted to do. They went to Washington, where they were well cared for, and had a good time, and spent a good deal of money; and when they came back the people of Canada said, 'If there is one thing for which we are thankful, it is that you did not do any business.' Now, the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) is blowing his horn-he wants them to come to dinner again.
It is time we left this American business alone. Canada for the Canadians in the fullest sense of the word. Instead of letting any of our boys leave this country to better their condition in the United States, as hundreds of our boys have done who have been brought up by poor parents fighting the battle of life as best they could, and who are better fitted for the climate and conditions of Canada, let us spend a few dollars in keeping our own boys in the country instead of bringing out Doukhobors. There are many families in the north country who have followed the lumber business over the rocks and the sand hills, whose wages are now gone, and who are unable to get
away from that part of the country. The j government had better help these men to go to the North-west and to create a Canadian sentiment which will aid in assimilating the masses of foreigners coming to our shores, and help to make this country what it should be, a country for Canadians to live and prosper in.
Mr. D. C. FRASER (Guysborough).
Perhaps it will not be inopportune for me on this occasion to say that, having listened to a number of the speeches of hon. gentlemen opposite, it does strike me as rather extraordinary that, with the weakness of the present government, the state of feeling in the country which these hon. gentlemen describe, and the desire of the people at once to oust them from office, hon. gentlemen spend so much time discussing the ways and means of the present government. One would suppose, from what we have heard, that the country is now so instructed and so determined that when the time comes there can be only one result, the complete destruction of the government. Yet, day after day we have heard from these gentlemen, talking in dolorous tones, until the rather farcical effort of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Broder), who has just left the House- an attempt to give a backwoods, everyday election speech in the House of Commons, to provoke a laugh, when they could say nothing else.
Well, we heard something.
The hon. gentleman would laugh if there was not much to laugh at, if it was a party matter.
That is why I am laughing at you.
I think it was rather unkind to the member who preceded him for him to say that North Ontario might have sent here a better man. I think a modest man would have said that he is a good man, at any rate. If I am not mistaken, the hon. member himself went to North Ontario to try to defeat the hon. gentleman and failed; and it is a commentary on the present state of the opposition that the ablest man in their ranks on financial questions, or if you believe them, on anything else-
Mr. HUGHES (Victoria)-was buncoed out of the election.