January 26, 1912

?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I said Washington, and I am sorry I made the slip. We did send a commissioner to Washington and we failed.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER (Toronto).

It lies heavy on. yonr heart.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I am not sorry we did so, but I am sorry that the people of Canada did not view our efforts in what we consider the proper light. If we are to send a commissioner to Australia I do not know any better man than the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who is qualified by his position as head of the department and still better qualified by his enthusiasm in the work and the information he has with regard to it. I would even trust 'him with the light wines of Australia, and I therefore think that if the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) were to go to Australia and associate Mr. Ross with him there might be a possibility of bringing back a trade treaty with our fellow-subjects. But the great difficulty about that arrangement is that both parties to the negotiation would be protectionists, and it is very difficult, for a protectionist in one country to convince his fellow-protectionist of another country to make way for him by lowering the tariff.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER (Toronto).

How was it at tih-e Washington Conference?

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

There, we exchanged natural products for natural products. One of the difficulties in that ease, and it will be ia difficulty in the present case also, is, that there would have to be secret negotiations. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) has suggested that they should sit around the table 'and consult with each other, and that is an excellent way of doing business and the only proper way to do such business, .but last year that procedure was characterized as secret negotiations and as dangerous negotiations. The Minister of Trade and Commerce put that objection most eloquently last year, but let him not be afraid of his own arguments then, let him have secret negotiations^ with the Australian government if be will, and if he can bring us back a good trade treaty we will approve of it. The Labour party in Australia is composed of protectionists to a large extent, the Fusionist party was composed one-half of protectionists, and it would be difficult for the Minister of Trade and Commerce to persuade the protectionists of Australia to give ( annai an manufacturers a preference m their market.^ They would be something like the protectionists in this country who are ready to give Great Britain a preference. on manufactured goods provided the British manufacturer does not compete 64

with the Canadian manufacturer. My hon. friend will find the Australians most patriotic, but I feaT he will find them ready to trade with Canada on such conditions as will not let the Canadian manufacturer compete with the Australian manufacturer in lie Australian market. However, let him try his hand at the job, and if he succeeds in bringing us back ia good 'arrangement we will be most anxious to approve of it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Halifax).

I desire to express my feelings of satisfaction at the remarks made by the hon. member for Montreal (Mr. Ames), which were exceedingly interesting 'and which lucidly put before the House the possibilities of Canadian trade with Australia. I rise to suggest to the Minister of Trade and Commerce that at the conference which is to take place in Ottawa in March next with the representatives of the West Indian Islands, the Canadian government should invite to be present 'those who are interested in the steamship business between St. John, N. B., Halifax, N. S., and the West Indian islands.

The question of trade between Canada and the West Indian islands is largely one of steamboat transportation, and it is a very difficult question. In some of the recommendations made by the West Indian Commission respecting the steamship service between Canada and the West Indies they are obviously in error. Some of those recommendations are impossible to carry out. I wish to suggest to the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce that a steamship service between Canada and the West Indies which departs from Halifax is very much hampered by reason of the fact that the steamers are obliged to call at the port of St. John, at which port they secure very little traffic, which traffic the steamboat company could carry as readily by absorbing the increased railway rates between St. John and Halifax, which they are willing to do, thus making Halifax a port of departure throughout the whole year. It might, however, be possible to secure for the port of St. John another steamboat service which would be as much to its advantage as the present one. I rose merely for the purpose of making the suggestion that the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce avail himself of any information he may secure from persons in St. John and Halifax who have been for many years interested in our trade with the West Indian Islands.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. S. MIDDLEBRO (North Grey).

Mr. Speaker, I would not have taken part in this debate but that 1 happen to have received a letter from one of my constituents which illustrates the desirability of larger trade between Canada and the Aus-

tralian colonies. In the town of Owen Sound we have a company, the North American Bent Chair Company, Limited, which manufactures nothing but chairs. My information is that last year that company shipped to Australia and New Zealand $171,000 worth of chairs, and they tell me that if we could obtain a preference in the Australian markets and an increase of the preference that obtains in New Zealand, they could double that exportation, bringing it close to $400,000 a year. This is one illustration of what Canada might accomplish if we had a preference in the Australian markets.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Can the hon. gentleman tell me through what ports their shipments to Australia are chiefly made?

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

I cannot say, but I think it is likely through Atlantic ports.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Through Canadian ports or through New York?

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

Most likely through Canadian ports. I am glad to know that the hon. Minister of Traae and Commerce has already taken steps to have a conference on the subject. I agree very largely with the remarks of the hon. ex-Minister of Public Works, with the exception of his attempt to show that the action taken by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce with a view to obtaining a preference for Canada in the Australian market is at variance with his opposition to the late government's reciprocity measure, I think I can show that it was strictly in accordance with ins previous attitude in that regard, because had we adopted the reciprocity pact, we would not to-day be discussing the possibility of better trade relations with Australia; we would have been deprived of the onlv weapon we have for obtaining preferential trade with Australia, namely, the aouny to give them something in return for what they may give us. If that reciprocity arrangement had passed, Australia would have been able to send to this country free of duty every article which, under that arrangement, the United States could have sent in free.^ I say that the present policy of the Minister of Trade and , Commerce is strictly in line with the position he took on the reciprocity measure. That policy has in view reciprocity within the empire, which is a very different thing from reciprocity with a foreign nation.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

What I was quoting from was a declaration of the Prime Minister made at a banqudt in New York to the effect that the Conservative party are unalterably opposed to the framing of tariffs by diplomatic action, and he gave as a reason for that conclusion the dissatisfaction whidh had occurred among the British possessions in South Africa; and what I Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

said was that I was not able to reconcile the present demand of my hon. friend the Minister of'Trade and Commerce for reciprocal tariffs between Canada and Australia and between Canada and the West Indies, framed by diplomatic action, with the declared policy of the Conservative party as thus stated by the Prime Minister.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

It may be that the Prime Minister is not correctly quoted, but even if he is, my hon. friend will not deny that in the course of his speech he said that he was surprised that the Minister of Trade and Commerce should now be attempting to extend the trade relations of this country when he rejected the opportunity of having reciprocity with the United States, and he maintained that his present action was inconsistent with the position lhe took with reference to the reciprocity pact. I say that it is entirely consistent, because now' he is able to negotiate a trade arrangement with Australia which he would not have been able to do had the reciprocity pact passed.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. B. McCURDY. (Shelburne-Queens).

Mr. Speaker, I regret to observe a disposition on the part of some members of this House to belittle the possibilities of trade between Canada and the West Indian Islands. It is common knowledge that for many years a large and profitable trade has been done by Halifax merchants with those islands-that the foundations of many substantial Halifax fortunes were made in that trade. That was particularly in the days of wooden ships. Although under modern conditions the steamship service is not, in my opinion, adequate, yet it is a fact that a business of considerable and increasing magnitude and financially satisfactory, exists to-day at Halifax, and it can be largely extended. The West India steamship service is a more difficult one than some of us are aware, because it is not a question of ocean-going boats running from a port in Canada to a port in the West Indies, but it necessarily includes a sort of coasting service. A boat suitable for carrying mails from Halifax to Kingston, Jamaica, for instance, is not qualified to call at the small ports of the Windward Islands. There must be either a central depot in the West Indies to which large ships Vould go, with coasting vessels of lighter draught to go from there to the smaller ports, or else vessels of lighter draught to do the combined services, which would mean a slow service for mails and unsatisfactory aeefommodation for passengers. Export trade with the West Indian Islands, consisting of flour, fish and general produce, has been largely controlled in the past by New York and West Indian houses with large financial resources.

Controlled, as it has been, by old-established New York houses with large financial resources, it can only be diverted with difficulty. But, even with the inadequate transportation system we have had, that trade is being diverted and it is a matter of interest to know that large New York houses have found it necessary in order to retain their trade, to establish branch houses in Halifax or St. John, and ship Canadian exports of flour to the West Indiesi via Halifax, using the steamship service that is subsidized by this government. When the matter of steamship subsidies was before the House recently, I took occasion to Suggest to the Minister of Trade and Commerce the possibility and advisability of the Canadian government railway system taking up this portion of the steamship service, and either acquiring existing lines or putting on a new service. I have been glad to note here to-day, that the hon. minister was prepaied to go.to the extent of recommending a larger subsidy if necessary, in order to provide an adequate service. The Intercolonial railway carries a large part of the produce destined for the West Indies via Halifax and then hands it over to the steamship company. It might be possible; it should be possible;- it would under business control, though the government operations of this kind may toe carried on at some disadvantage compared with private business-to have the railway see that freight through to its destination. I am convinced that if the Intercolonial railway does not take up that service, some other railway will, and will take it up because of a prospective profit. If the Intercolonial railway is to continue in business and is to continue to accomplish the purposes for which it should exist, it should avail itself of every opportunity for profitable expansion of its business. The West India steamship service, in my opinion, is such an opportunity. But if this is not possible, then such a subsidy should be available as will provide a service to place our exporters in a position to compete without a handicap with foreign firms. The present steamship service, we know, i3 not satisfactory. The present operators of the steamship line have built up a large business and, considering the subsidy, has given perhaps as good a service as could be expected. But the trade can be facilitated and much enlarged, and I am satisfied that if better steamship service is provided-preferably as I have stated by an Intercolonial railway-steamship service-the results will be totally satisfactory, both to the railway, the export merchants, and consequently to the producer and manufacturer in Canada 64i

Conditions, I take it, have been imposed upon the steamship company which have been objectionable. Calls were required at ports where insufficient cargo was available to make these calls profitable. So, as the junior member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) pointed out, it would pay the steamship company better to absorb the railway rate on outgoing shipments than to make calls where small quantities of freight only were to be had.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

My hon. friend must be misinformed as to St. John. They had a trade going from St. John to support one line of steamers.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McCURDY.

The subsidy is conditional upon a call at St. John once in every twenty-two days, but I am informed that the total amount of freight collected for each trip in St. John does not average much more than $1,000. And any person with experience in shipping can figure out for himself whether or not a quantity of goods that pays $1,000 of freight would justify the service.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

But while a call is made once m twenty-two days in St. John, a call is made once in eleven days at Halifax. Is it not true that large quantities of freight are sent from St. John by ran to Halifax for shipment, because the goods cannot be kept waiting? Such goods went through bt. John when we had the same service as Halifax has now.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink
CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McCURDY.

change was made?

How long is it since the

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

About eight months. At the termination of the contract, Messrs. Pickford & Black insisted upon giving a reduced service stating tiiat tney would not continue to give the same service for the subsidy they were receiving. A temporary arrangement was made which still exists, under which they give a service every eleven days at Halifax, and every twenty-two days at St. John. I am informed that it is by reason of this inferior service that goods are sent forward by rail to Halifax Tather than await the call of the steamer at St. John. The arrangement is unfair to the port of St. John. '

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
Permalink

January 26, 1912