I bow to your ruling, Sir. Well, then, there is the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell), with his [DOT] potato and hay industry, and the hon. Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) with all bis friends of the big trusts and corporations of the city of Toronto that have been 'bleeding the country since 1911. He, also, I am told, has no children. There, too, is the hon. the Secretary of State (Mr. Burrell) with his fruit business in Western Canada, I think; and I might also mention the hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Sifton) who is a brother of the astute politician and millionaire of the West. Shall I mention another? There is the hon. Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder) with his big pull that can attract millions, not to mention his great experience and ingenuity. The hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) is, I understand, another minister who is rich, who has no children. The hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Reid) seems to have made a good deal since the beginning of the war-
and I might ' refer particularly to the legislation passed last year in connection with certain farm tractors; while the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) is a pensioner of the state and also a director of many big trusts and corporations in Montreal. Then, last but not least, we have that other hon. gentleman who is on his way to millionaire fame-the astute Mr. Meighen from the West.
I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen). Now, Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to see in the Budget the ideas propounded by the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) given more prominence, and I think that they would certainly have tended to a betterment of social conditions in this country. Protection, as has been said in this House during this debate, no doubt tends to corrupt politics, and, Sir, you know very well that our politics are corrupt since 1917. Protection creates a set of privileged and anti-social classes, and it cannot be denied that we have them to-day. Protection raises the cost of living by levying a tribute whien ultimately is borne by those who are unable to shift it-the salaried and wage earning classes, and farmers exporting their products. I will go further and say that protection fosters international jealousy and prepares a seed bed for war. And speaking of incorporated business concerns I want to say that most of the high cost of living is due to over capitalization and watered [DOT] stock in such companies. Big trusts and corporations are making immense profits out of the sweat and blood of the labourers. As I say-I may be going too far, but 1 have no doubt what I am about to say is true-a certain part of the high cost of living is due to over capitalization, and there is watered stock in many concerns, and what ought to be done to allay the national unrest that prevails at present is to revise our corporation and commercial law so as to make it an offence adequately punishable for any company or board of directors controlled by a few to issue securities away above the value of the equity that really exists in properties owned by these companies and forcing the common people to pay interest and dividends on watered stock.
Turning to another point, Sir, with regard to the conduct of the Government last year, I expressed my opposition to the undue use of Orders in Council. This year I find that in a great deal of legislation
that is proposed to he passed by this House, there is a certain intention or desire, under cover of help being extended to the different provinces, to centralize authority and to interfere with the autonomy of those provinces. That tendency can be found, for instance, in the Prohibition Act, the creation of the Board of Health, the Highways Act, the Housing Act, and the Technical Education Bill which was presented last week. It is very difficult, when money is offered to us, to refuse it, but at the same time I think it is necessary that we should be on our guard. Otherwise, the provinces will awaken some day and find that they are in the hands of a centralized administration, the federal power, to whom they will have to come to obtain whatever they need and without whose consent they can do no act.
Another weakness which I find in the Budget is that it does not contain any intimation whatever of an intention on the part of the Government to reduce its expenditure, notwithstanding the fact that we are face to face with a big debt. They are still maintaining many departments organized as war necessities whose usefulness no one at the present time can see. Let us take the press censorship. In England this was immediately done away with as soon as the armistice was signed. The office and staff are still being kept up in Canada, although the chief censor sent out a notice to the newspapers several weeks ago telling [DOT] them that they were no longer under supervision, and he also reported to the minister that there was no longer any need for this department to exist. He was told, however, to hang on to his job until the Government got ready to move.
The Department of Public Information, to which I have already referred, is another useless appanage of the war that could be done away with immediately, seeing that it is spending money to no good purpose. The Newsprint Paper is another thing that might be done away with. Great Britain did away with it immediately the armistice was signed, but it is still going on in Canada. The salaries of the controller and of the members of the Paper Control Tribunal, consisting of High Court judges, are still being paid, while other expenses in connection with this service are being incurred. In these matters the Government has shown no disposition to study and practice that economy which it has enjoined upon the people. There are scores of other instances in which public money is being ill spent, if not wasted. The hon. the Finance Minister tells the people of this
country that they must work harder and hoard more. " Produce and save " is their motto-produce and save so that the Government will have more to grab. "Tax and spend" would be a more appropriate motto for the Government to-day.
Trading the war duty on bituminous coal to the railways for lower rates on farm appliances shipped from eastern to western Canada is an indefensible piece of class legislation for the sole benefit of a certain section of the country. Would the Government undertake to grant the railways a rebate in tariff duties as a quid pro quo for reduced freight rates on grain from the west for the benefit of the wheat consumer of the east? What is to prevent the Americans, whom the new deal is supposed to circumvent, from meeting the situation with a cut in their freight rates? They admittedly are better able to make one, on account of the shorter haul they enjoy from Chicago to the Canadian, west. If they do, will the Government be asked to dicker still more with our railways for a lower rate?
What effect will the enforced lower freight rate have upon the financial condition of our railways, admittedly now in a very bad way, with the exception of one road-the Canadian Pacific. I think that what is going to happen is that you will see the railways coming before the Board of Railway Commissioners asking for an increase in the rates on certain other articles because they are not able to stand the arrangement as proposed in the present Budget. In the United, States we find that the roads which are better provided than we are have difficulty to keep up with the requirements. Here is what we find in the speech of the hon. the Minister of Finance himself:
It must be borne in mind, that although, as the above schedule indicates, the rates for equivalent distances in the United States are higher than in Canada, notwithstanding a greater density and diversity of traffic, combined with a lower fuel cost, the United States operations, as indicated by the reports made by the United Railroad Administration, are now being carried on at an operating loss.
If the American railroads, with all their advantages, cannot make ends meet, what excuse i.s there for hampering our own railways, merely to please a single section of the country?
The minister takes credit for having increased the "ordinary revenue" of the country from $163,174,394 in 1914 to . $310,000,000 in 1919 and you have to allow that he is an adept in taking money from the peoples' pockets. But he ignores
the fact that "ordinary" expenditure as he calls them-"extraordinary" would be a better word-have kept pace with the increased revenues. They were $127,384,473 in 1914 and $240,000,000 in 1919. Had the Government kept down its expenditures, while increasing its revenues, the minister might have had something to boast about. But, that was not the case; the expenditures have been increasing right along and the revenue has been falling short.
The minister reports total receipts on income tax account for 1918-1919 as $10,000,000 and estimates next year's receipts at $20,000,000. Ten million dollars seems like a very low return if the tax had been fairly imposed and collection universally enforced.
What has the Government to say about the universality of the application of this tax? We do not hear a word from them about it. There is a feeling, Sir, in this country that many persons who should have been assessed have escaped their share of the tax either through their own contrivance or because of negligence upon the part of the collectors. The virtue of a personal income tax lies wholly in the universality of its application to all the people. This becomes even more urgent in view of the increases now being proposed. What is the Government going to do to ensure that the tax will be more equably imposed and more promptly collected in the future than in the past? I do not think that in the Budget there is any special reference to these features to which I have called attention.
Coming now to war loans, the Budget announced that; this year possibly a new war loan will be issued. Will the bonds, as in Mie case of former issues, be free of income tax? That we do not know. But if they should, what bearing will it have on the country's $340,000,000 deficit? Are the rich escaping by means of past war loans their due share of the income tax? The minister emphasizes that of Canada's total national debt at present $1,584,000,000 securities for $1,510,000,000 are held in Canada. The bulk of these securities are tax-free war bonds. The Government imposes a tax of 4 per cent upon workingmen's income of $1,000 and proposes to impose not only the regular tax but a surtax varying from one to sixty-five per cent additional upon all incomes above $5,000 in amount. But a man whose sole income is derived from Government war bonds, upon which a liberal interest is paid, may escape taxation altogether be his income $1,000, $10,000,
Administration. The hon. gentleman spoke for an hour and a half, and in the course of that time he found absolutely nothing whatever to commend in the Government or in the Budget which has been presented by the Finance Minister. In that respect my hon. friend has followed the road blazed by the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) and has failed to appreciate, as the hon. member for Brome failed to appreciate, that gross and persistent exaggeration does not help in the presentation of a case.
I do not intend to argue the point raised by my hon. friend from Charlevoix-Mont-morency (Mr. Casgrain) as to the reasons why the enlistments from the province' of Quebec were not in proportion to the population. He has presented excuses why the enlistments were not greater from that province. I repeat, I do not intend to follow him along that line; but I will give myself the pleasure of endorsing his tribute to those men who did go from Quebec and who fought on the battle front in Flanders and in France. My only regret is that there were not more from that province to fight alongside the men who showed themselves equal to the best that any country can produce.
My hon. friend has expressed some concern about the returned soldiers of this country and the treatment that they are receiving at the hands of the Government. I venture the suggestion that the returned soldiers will be far more content to let their future rest in the hands of a Government which stood by them when they faced the foe in France than to place it in the hands of men who refused to stand by them or to grant that assistance.
My hon. friend (Mr. Casgrain) accused the Finance Minister o.f playing politics and trying to fool the farmers in the Budget proposals which he has brought down. That assertion is excusable because of my hon. friend's youth and his lack of political experience. Had he been longer in politics, or had he given even the slightest attention to past political history, he would not say that- hon. gentlemen on this side of the House were playing politics and trying to fool the farmers. Has my hon. friend forgotten that the assertion which he made was the stock-in-trade argument of the party which he supported during the fifteen years that they were in power and the eighteen years before they got into power?
The hon. gentleman has said that prices are high in this country. That is true. He quoted an article to show that prices are
[Mr. Edwards. 1
lower in Great Britain than in Canada. I say that the prices of the necessities of life are lower in Canada to-day than they are in Great Britain, except on certain things the price of which has been fixed by the Government of Great Britain, that Government bearing the loss. Moreover, prices generally in Canada have been lower than prices obtaining in the United States.
I pass over my hon. friend's remark with regard to the members of the Cabinet being wealthy men, and also his allusion to the regrettable fact-which, I am sure, no one regrets more than the ministers themselves -that some members of the Cabinet have no children. That is their very great loss. But with regard to his suggestion that the Finance Minister is connected with trusts and wealthy corporations, I submit that no man who ever occupied a position in any Government of Canada has kept his record cleaner in that regard, or has made greater personal sacrifice in doing so, than our present Minister of Finance. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Casgrain) himself not very long ago showed a very kindly interest, by his attitude, in this House, in certain organizations which might be characterized as trusts and combines. He still evidently has a very kindly and generous feeling towards the shipping interests, with which, I believe, some of his immediate friends are closely connected.
The Finance Minister told us that the debt of Canada on March 31 of this year was $1,950,600,000; that the interest charges amounted to $115,000,000, and pensions to between $30,000,000 and $40,000,000. I note, in passing that the total customs revenue collected in 1913, the year before the war, would just pay our interest charges to-day. I want to submit one or two figures in support of an argument which I shall present very briefly.
Our total trade in 1918-19 amounted to over $2,169,000,000, 66 per cent of which was done with United States and about 20 per cent with Great Britain. In 1913-14 our total trade amounted to a little more than $1,000,000,000, over 61 per cent of which was done with the United States and 25 per cent with Great Britain. I mention these figures to show that Canada is more dependent upon these two countries in the matter of trade than it is upon any others. These figures have this lesson for us; this is not the proper time for a general revision of our tariff. Great Britain and United States have not yet dealt with post-war conditions so far as their fiscal policy is concerned, and our Government should not
make a general revision of the tariff until Great Britain and United States have arranged their fiscal policies to meet the new conditions arising out of the war. Conditions in Canada to-day are in a state of flux; wages, prices, freight rates and the like must be taken into consideration if we are to deal intelligently with our fiscal policy. In my judgment, therefore, the Minister of Finance would have been justified in making no tariff changes at this time. He has chosen to take a different course; in regard to that I shall have some remarks. to make a little later.
We are facing a very large expenditure, which we cannot get away from; interest charges must be paid, and our pension list must be attended to. These items will take up about $140,000,000 or $150,000,000, which were not required previous to the war. The question naturally arises, how is this money to be raised? That is something to which we must all give due consideration.
One thing that struck me in the speech of the member for Brorne (Mr. McMaster) was the fact that his very first word was one of thanks to the Finance Minister for allowing him to delay the Budget for four days, and his second word was one of complaint because the Budget had been delayed. That, however, is not an isolated instance of inconsistency on the part of the member for Brome; he has furnished numerous examples on previous occasions.
During the course of his speech the hon. gentleman (Mr. McMaster) referred to the duty on linen, woollens, fur caps and mitts, boots and shoes, and so on, and apparently wished the idea to go out that he was and always had been opposed to the imposition of duties on these articles.
What was the hon. member referring to when he spoke of the rate of duty on linen and woollen clothing, boots and shoes, leather, harness, and so on? He was referring to the rate of duty fixed by the Laurier Administration in 1907. Although my non. friend was not a member of the House at that time, he was a well-known supporter of the Liberal party, and he then considered it a very sound principle to impose a duty of 35 per cent on woollen and linen clothing and all that sort of thing. If he did not, and he shakes his head, then for a number of years his feelings have been dammed up by political expediency, and it is only now the dam has burst and my hon. friend is giving vent to his real sentiments on the tariff.
My hon. friend says he never was satisfied with his party, and, of course, I accept his statement. I can sympathize with him to a certain extent for having held his real feelings in leash all these years; he never gave expression to them, so far as I know, during all the time his party was in power. No, to him, Laurier was the right man for Prime Minister, and 35 per cent on woollens and boots and shoes was the proper policy. The hon. member may shake his head to indicate he did not approve of those duties, but my point is that he kept beautifully silent ail those years, or if he raised his voice in protest he did not do it loudly enough to be heard throughout this country, and now when he makes profession, as he does, of free trade principles, after having endorsed for the greater part of his life a protectionist policy I for one am disposed to take his free trade profession with a liberal supply of salt.
The hon. member for Brome sa>s that he accepts the reciprocity pact. What does he do in his amendment? He has proposed an amendment which contradicts itself. I claim that if you vote for the last clause of his amendment, you repudiate what is contained in clauses 2 and 3, and if you vote for clauses 2 and 3, you repudiate what is contained in the last clause, namely, the reciprocity pact. My hon. friend says in his amendment: I am not content with free food, sweep the duties off manufactured articles as well. Further on, his amendment asks hon. members to vote for the reciprocity pact. Now if you accept the reciprocity pact, does that mean you abolish all the duties on manufactured articles? Not at all.
If you accept the reciprocity pact you abolish the duties on food stuffs, but the only duties on industries you affect are the duties on agricultural implements, and these are not made free; they would still be taxed 15 per cent. So in one breath my hon. friend urges us to sweep away these iniquitous duties which are robbing the people of this country, and in his next breath urges us to accept the reciprocity pact, which leaves those duties on. That is another evidence of his beautiful consistency.
The hon. member for Brome in his speech said that protection - was responsible for driving men from the country into the cities and towns. That remark had scarcely been taken down before he said that in
Great Britain free trade was responsible for the drifting of the rural population into the cities and towns. Another example of his beautiful consistency.
Last year my hon. friend from Brome in discussing the Budget was not so positive as he is this year. Then he said:
I am sure the Acting Finance Minister (Mr. Maclean), who has not yet had time to dissipate the sound economic views which he held on this side of the Chamber, will agree that no national policy could possibly be followed in the absolutely artificial financial conditions which confront the country at this time.
That was his position a year ago. Are the conditions of this country to-day less artificial than they were a year ago? He speaks of the " sound economic views " which the Acting Finance Minister held. Is it a sound economic view for an hon. gentleman to cry for free food and yet raise the duties on food stuffs, because that is the policy which my hon. friend (Mr. Maclean) supported when he supported the Budget brought down in 1907 by the present member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding)? That Budget increased the duties on certain vegetables, and for what purpose if not to protect those engaged in gardening? It increased the duty on beans ten cents a bushel, potatoes, five cents a bushel, and pease five cents a bushel and there was no uproar at that time. That Budget was supported by the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean), who, according to my hon. friend from Brome, has not been on this side of the House long enough to dissipate his sound economic views. He therefore admits that the hon. member for Halifax in holding those views in 1907 held sound economic views, and he cannot deny that the hon. member for Halifax supported that Budget, and in the election of 1908 supported the party which imposed those duties. How does the hon. gentleman square himself in this matter of the tariff? He attempts to square himself by quoting from the President of the United States, who says:
The direction in which a party or individual is moving is a matter of principle. The speed with which the movement takes place is a matter of expediency.
Oh yes, my hon. friend says, if you take 2i per cent off the duty on agricultural implements, after considering the matter for eleven years, you are following beautifully along the line of principle, you are getting rid of the duty; but-it is a matter of expediency if you do not take all the duty off. So my hon. friend has followed the course of expediency in politics in the past.
I have only this to say to my hon. friend, in the words of Montaigne, " No wind serves him who has no destined port."
My hon. friend, so far as tariff matters are concerned, has not had any destined port in politics, and I doubt very much if he has one yet. In his speech lie said he would ask the Government to consider the advisability of buying, at prices which would encourage production, such great staple necessities of life, as flour, bacon, oatmeal, etc., and distributing them at reasonable prices. There would, he said, be a loss, but it would have to be borne by the State. Now, my hon. friend in that made a suggestion which had a purpose. Of course, he would not be guilty of playing politics, and that suggestion is not intended to catch the ear of those who are complaining of high prices at this time. Not at all! We will assume that lie was perfectly sincere in 'the matter, but he should have gone a little further and suggested at what prices the Government should fix these foods. He could not do that very well, but still he found fault with the Government for not doing it. He admits his own inability in this respect, but censures the Government for not doing what he himself is unable to do.
My hon. friend (Mr. McMaster) has derived some comfort out of events that have transpired in the last few days. The light which was placed in the window in the early part of the session by the leader of the Opposition (Mr. McKenzie) and which spluttered and burned without apparently attracting any from this side has, I presume, long since gone out. But my hon. friend from Brome (Mr. McMaster) rejoices in the fact that the former Minister of Agriculture the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) failed, in the time he occupied on this side of the House in the canary cage of government, to learn the song as perfectly as the canary. My hon. friend is authority for the statement that 'the hon. member for Marquette still belongs to the feathered family of bobolinks, of which, I suppose, he is the chief bobolink. He refers to the member for Marquette in rather doleful numbers, it seems 'to me, in this strain:
Bird of the wilderness, blithesome and cumberless, .
Oh, to abide in the desert with thee.
Well, Mr. Speaker, so long as my hon. friend holds the somewhat .promiscuous views which he does on tariff and other matters relative to the government of the country, I think he may rest as-
sured that he will still abide in the wilderness; and if the ton. member for Marquette elects to go with him into that wilderness and join the family of bobolinks, why, that is my hon. friend's and the country's loss. " O, to abide in the desert with thee!" Well, good-bye! Fly away, bobolinks, whether it be to Mount Carmel or some other place. Fly away, and Godspeed. I do not think you will find any regrets expressed on this side of the House.
Mr. Speaker, the_hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) gave us a very carefully prepared speech the other day, and in the course of his remarks he made some reference to the province of Ontario, which remarks I and many others from that province rather resent as being inaccurate. He says:
It is a fact that nobody oan deny that agriculture has gone back in Ontario since the introduction of the National Policy in 1879.
I repeat again that agriculture has been going backward in Ontario instead of forward, and the evidence of that lies in this, that the value of agriculture products produced in Ontario under normal conditions-I am not speaking of the higher values that appertain as a ire-suit of war conditions-are less to-day than they were thirty years ago. Furthermore- and the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) knows it-he can travel through Ontario as I have travelled through it, and he will find not hundreds but thousands of abandoned farms in the province.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say, as one who I think is fairly well acquainted with conditions in Ontario, that my hon. friend in making that statement has depended upon sources of information which are absolutely and utterly unreliable and incorrect, and I shall prove my statement. The figures which I am about to give are taken from the official records prepared by the Government of Ontario. In regard to the decrease in population, let us take the population of the townships, that is farms. I believe my hon. friend used the word "townships" in that connection, and I think he will agree that it refers to the rural populations and excludes cities, towns and villages. The farming population of Ontario in 1914 was 1,011,708; in 1915, 1,031,536; in 1916, 1,027,220; and in 1917, 1,003,664. The reduction in population is more than accounted for by the enlistments in the year 1917 from the province of Ontario. But let us consider for a moment what Ontario has done, and I would like my hon. friend from Marquette to take a note pf these figures, which I repeat are official and absolutely reliable, and say whether or not they indicate that there has -been any
retrogression in Ontario so far as the rural population .is concerned. In 1916 the assessed values of farms in Ontario was over $23,500,000 more than during the three years before. From 1909 to 1914 the increase in value of live stock on hand was over $66,000,000. The live stock sold and slaughtered had increased by over $28,500,000. The increase in land assessed in 1914 was 228,651 acres more than in 1910, and land cleared was 271.590 acres more than in the four years before. I want to go further. My hon. friend (Mr. Crerar) made a comparison between conditions in 1913, or before the war started, and conditions as they existed thirty years previously. Let us take the average for the ten years 1892 to 1901. The average production of wheat and various other articles for these ten years- which will take us back fairly near to the thirty years to which the hon. member re-ferred-makes a striking comparison with production in 1914. 1 find that in 1914 there was an increase of $1,680,000 in the production of wheat, $6,603,000 of an increase in barley, $24,335,000 of an increase in oats, $969,000 in beans, over $1,000,000 of an increase in rye, and over $2,000,000 of an increase in buckwheat, while there was -an increase of over $13,500,000 in corn and over $5,500,000 in potatoes*-all in comparison with the average for the ten years from 1892 to 1901. Does that indicate that there has been any falling off in -agricultural production in -Ontario? The increase in 1914 over the average for the ten years 1892-1901 is $51,787,000. But let me carry -it a little farther. There were increases in the year 1914 over the average of ten years as follows:-
All Held crops 93,000,000
Cattle. . . .
30,000,000Sheep an-d swine.. .. .. 4,700,000
The following statement shows increases in values in the province of Ontario in 1914 as -compared with the average for the preceding four years:
Farm lands $90,5*00,000
Farm buildings 40,80-0,000
Implements ! 10,000,000
Live stock 56,000,000
Or a total increase in the four years of [DOT] over $197,000,000. I want to carry this a little further. My bon. friend said that there were abandoned farms in Ontario. I am sure that my hon-. friend is wrong, but I do not say, nor do I wish to be understood as saying, that my hon. friend made a wrong statement kno*wing it to be wrong because I do not think he would do that.
yet able to obtain no more than one meal a day. Last year Canada exported over 5,000,000 pounds of butter, over 168,000,000 pounds of cheese, over 5,000,000 dozen eggs, over 200,000,000 pounds of bacon, over 86,500,000 pounds of beef, over 8,000,000 pounds of ham, and over 8,000,000 pounds of pork. If you look at the customs returns you will find that at least 80 per cent of these commodities were exported to Great Britain and to France. They were sent out of Canada, not because the prices here were not high, but because the prices were very attractive and the needs very great in the countries which were making an insistent demand for them. There you have a legitimate reason for the high cost of living. I believe that in many cases the high cost of the necessaries of life is due to the unreasonable charges made by the middleman. I was told by the member for Macdonald (Mr. Henders) of a case in point. A gentleman engaged in the boot and shoe business, on the occasion of a visit to Ottawa, happened to see his own product in a "store window. He went in and asked what the price was, and he was told $14 a pair. He asked if that was not somewhat high, but the usual excuse was given-the war, high wages, and so on. But the manufacturer of those boots said that he had placed them on the shelves of the retailer in Ottawa for $6. I was given another instance by' the member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin)-I cite this merely as an illustration. Pick-axes sold at $3.25 a dozen, f.o.b. St. Catharines, retailed at $9 a dozen. There is strong reason for a commission or committee to inquire into these things.
But what is the position taken by the member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar)? As Minister of Agriculture, the hon. member was for the last year and a half in control, so to speak, of the food of this country. Take the case Of flour. Wheat and flour are free; the millers have been allowed a profit of 25 cents a barrel on their flour. I will not say whether that is too much to allow them or not; that could be determined by the output. But this I do say: The Minister of Agriculture was in a position, more than any other man in Canada, to exercise control over matters of food. If his statement is correct that the high prices were due to profiteering and to hoarding, he, more than any other man in Canada, is responsible for not exercising control in that respect. Now, I do not charge the hon. gentleman with not having tried to exercise this control, for I believe he did try; I merely mention this to make
good my assertion that the high prices were not due, as hon. gentlemen have alleged, to the tariff.
The member for Marquette referred to the profits made by the Dominion Textile Company and the Monarch Knitting Company. I am not going to attempt to justify those profits. The assertion is made-and I do not question its correctness-that this company and other companies in Canada made enormous profits, which came out of the pockets of the people. It seems to me that we have to accept that as true. But the hon. member, in directing the attention to the exorbitant profits made by the Dominion Textile Company, the Monarch Knitting Company, and other companies to which reference was made, took very good care not to refer to another company or t(he profits made by it. There is in Western Canada a company known as the Grain Growers' Grain Company. There is another company out in the western country known as the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Grain Company. I believe that the president of the first-named company is or was the member for Marquette, and I am told that the president of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Grain Company is the member for Maple Creek (Mr. Maharg). The Grain Growers' Grain Company is a pretty big affair. It has, I am told, some 36,000 shareholders, farmers in the W'est. It owns and operates over 300 elevators. It has a large terminal elevator at Fort William of a capacity of 2,500,000 bushels. It owns its own timber limits, runs its own saw-mills, prints its own journal. Of course, that is not to the discredit of the company; it is rather to its credit. But what I would likq to know, and what a great many people in this country would like to know, is, what profits have been made by the Grain Growers' Grain Company and by the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Grain Company?
The Saskatchewan Cooperative Company-is that the name 6f it? Well, I do not suppose it matters very much; it seem to me that that is quibbling. There is in Saskatchewan, at all events, a company composed of the farmers and grain growers of that province; whether it is called the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Grain Company or the Saskatchewan Cooperative Company makes no difference. . I say that there is such a company, that it
carries on a very extensive business, and 'that its president is the present member for Maple Creek. Aim I right- in stating that? My hon. friend can be silent when he wishes. Perhaps my hon. friend who is so well-acquainted with the name of the company, and probably with its operations, would be good enough to tell this House what salary is paid to the president, the Vice-president, and the principal officials of that company. Again my hon. friend is silent. '
in his pocket a copy of one of those financial statements I should be very much obliged if he w'ould pass it to me, and then I will give the House the information he seems very loath to give. Perhaps my hon. friend or some other hon. member from the West can tell me what salary is paid to the president, the vice-president, and chief officials of the -Grain Growers' Grain Company. I do not know what the salaries are, but I have heard rumours that they run all the way from $15,000 to $20,000. It has been asserted, and I believe the assertion is correct, that these companies are making enormous profits. Just as the Dominion Textile Company, the Monarch Knitting Company, and other companies are making enormous profits at the expense of the pockets of the people, the same is true of the Grain Growers' Grain iCompany, no matter who is at the head of it- If certain gentlemen connected with these textile companies are making exorbitant profits out of the people, the same is equally true of the grain companies to which I have referred. There are a number of hon. gentlemen from the West in this House who do not appear to be very well versed in the emoluments and salaries of those who
are running these organizations out West.
I venture to prophesy that the time is not far distant when the farmers of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta will have their eyes opened as to the exact operations of these companies, and will insist on a showdown so that they may know where their money has gone in the past and where it is to go in the future. I have been informed that the Grain Growers'Grain Company makes hundreds of thousands of dollars- out of
overage. This has been charged against other companies time and again in (this House. They credit the farmers with so many bushels, sell out so many bushels, and the excess or over-age goes into the coffers of the company. That is the charge that is made -against this grain company, which was and I believe still is, under the control of the ex-Minister of Agriculture, the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. -Cre-rar). These big monopolies in the West handle all kinds of 'machinery except binders. Of course, they do not handle binders because they would have to send a man out to set them up, and they do not want that trouble. But these companies handle all other kinds of machinery, such as mowers and rakes, and also fence posts, and co-al and live stock, and do an enormous and very widespread business. These companies ought to issue a statement showing to the thirty thousand farmers who hold the stock just exactly what salaries are being paid ' to the chief officials.
I wish to place on Hansard some figures that may be of interest to members from the West, and possibly to members from the East. I have in my hand some information which I have obtained, and .which any other member could have obtained from the -department. It shows the amount of customs and excise revenue paid by provinces for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1918:
Customs and Excise Revenue of Canada by Fiscal year ended (March 31, 1918 Provinces.
If you take the census figures of 1911 and divide them into the amount of customs and excise collected, you will see that there was collected in customs and excise $33 per head of population in Ontario; Quebec, $30; Manitoba, $30; Maritime Provinces, $9; British Columbia, $28; Alberta, $11; Saskatchewan, $8.
Does the hon. member think that is a fair way of ascertaining how much each individual paid in customs and excise taxes? Does not my hon. friend know that millions of dollars' worth of goods are landed at Montreal and that ithe duties are collected there, and the goods .afterwards sold to the Maritime Provinces?
That is quite correct. I was on the point of mentioning that when the hon. gentleman asked his question. It is true that the figures cannot be taken as representing accurately the amount that was paid per head in each province, but I maintain, and I think my hon. friend will agree, that we can fairly conclude that the western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are not paying more per head of population than the other provinces. I think we may fairly come to that conclusion, that a lot of customs and excise duties are collected in Winnipeg on goods that are sold throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta. 1 believe, even then, that the Prairie Provinces are not paying customs and excise duties in excess of what other provinces in Canada are paying; in my judgment, they are not paying as much as is being paid by Ontario and Quebec, for instance.
Now I want to refer more particularly to the tariff, but before doing so permit me to give a little explanation of certain figures I put on Hansard before six o'clock in regard to deposits in the banks. We are indebted to the hon. member for North Grey (Mr. Middlebro), who put a question on the Order Paper some time ago, for the figures I have already put on Hansard and certain other figures I have here. When speaking of savings deposits in the banks I was referring not to Ontario alone, but to savings deposits in all Canada. I believe that most of these deposits were deposits of farmers. I believe that, because business men make their deposits on current account and withdraw money from time to time for business purposes, while the farmers put what they have in savings account. That, however, is something on which I cannot speak with absolute certainty.
Now, Sir, just a word or two in regard to the tariff proposals., in connection with which I desire to refer to past history.
[iMr. Edwards. ]
There are certain gentlemen in this House who, judging from their remarks, stand in need of information in regard to past history on tariff matters. When the Finance Minister in 1912 cut the duty in two on cement in order to bring to time the cement combine in Canada and in order to give relief particularly to the men of the West who were clamouring for cement, the late Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier made these remarks, which will be found in Hansard, 1912, page 30:
We derive our revenue from a customs tariff. There are many people who believe that a customs tariff is not the best method of raising a revenue. For my part I say frankly, I do not believe that it is possible now, or will be for many years, to raise our revenue in any other way. But whether we approve of that system or not, whether we are free traders or protectionists, we are agreed that once a duty has been imposed that duty should not be lightly interfered with. In the first place, a duty should not be levied except after ample consideration as to the amount of revenue that it may produce, and the effect it may have; because the effect of any customs tariff, even if it be for revenue only, is to create a different atmosphere and' therefore likely to produce very serious consequences. For that reason I say that no changes in the tariff should be lightly made.
I quote that for a reason which will be more apparent as I proceed. The late Sir Wilfrid Laurier in these remarks laid down a principle, speaking for himself and in behalf of the Liberal party of this country. Many hon. members in this House who-sat in PaiTiament at that time and gave their support to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, endorsed that principle, namely, that you could not do away with customs tariff and that a duty once imposed should not be lightly tampered with. I want to quote a few more statements in connection with this tariff question in its relation to past history. In 1907 there was a general revision of the tariff known as*the "Fielding Tariff." On that occasion the present member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) who was then Minister of Finance, made this statement, which I earnestly commend to hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House as well as to some on this side. The statement will be found in Hansard of that year, page 5621. The hon. gentleman said:
By a careful calculation we are advised that the drawbacks we allow are somewhat less than the disadvantage under which the manufacturer is placed by the reduction of the
tariff Even suppose for a moment
that he got everything free and1 had a duty of 17J per cent on the implement, would that be an extravagant duty as things go in this country ?
That was in 1907.
I believe this proposal of the hon. member for Souris, if adopted, would do an injustice to an established industry.
To make his point clear he specifies a particular industry.
My belief is that if this motion were passed- and I am glad to know that it is not going to be supported even by all the hon. gentlemen on the other side-we would strike a severe blow at one of the great industries of the country. I believe the International Harvester Company would find it to its interest to close up its business in Hamilton, at least so much of it as is devoted1 to mowers and1 binders, and have them made at the American branch and bring them from the United States. The factory in Hamilton is an American concern. With a moderate duty we have induced American capital to come into Canada and to establish that great industry, and after we have brought it in and established it in Canada I believe that if we were to pass this resolution the company operating that industry would find it profitable to close the Hamilton factor-and bring in goods which they made in the United States.
That statement was made on the motion of the hon. member for Souris, now Senator Schaffner, which was as follows:
That the committee reconsider item 445, and that it be amended- by striking out the figures 1TJ per cent in the general tariff and inserting in lieu thereof the figures 10 per cent.
There was a definite, proposition to reduce the duty on agricultural implements to 10 per cent. It -was proposed -by one of the western members, and iwe have a definite statement from the then Minister of Finance that if that motion carried it would strike a blow at that industry in Hamilton and put it out of business, and he opposed it for the reason he gave. The Hon. William Paterson, -also, speaking on the same occasion, said-(Hansard 5882):
I do not disguise the fact that we propose to give -these people-
That is the manufacturers-
[DOT]-nearly the amount of reduction in duty, that has been made. For it must be remembered that 17-j per cent is no more than a revenue tariff.
Let me quote one or two more hon. gentlemen in this connection. The then member for Moose Jaw, Mr. Knowles, now, I believe, a member of the Saskatchewan Government, on- that occasion put himself on record ip -these words:
I shall give the Government hearty support, for I believe that the policy of the Government is in the interests of -the country.
The then member for Assiniboia, now Hon. -Senator Turriff, used these words:
The tariff commission got information all over the country and I do not think the farmers to
the West, at all events, asked for a great reduction such as is proposed' by this resolution on agricultural implements. They -asked that the duties be left alone. I shall give the Government hearty support on this question.
Now, some of these gentlemen to-day are advooating free trade in agricultural implements. I believe Hon. Mr. Knowles was recently down here advocating the entire removal of the duty. Several members in this House at present were also members in 1907. One hon. gentleman (Mr. M-cKenzie) who was a member at that time is now leader of the Opposition, and he endorsed the policy of . the Minister of Finance of that day in keeping the duty on agricultural implements at 17) per -cent. The present Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell) is anothetr who endorsed that policy. Every Liberal member of the House at that time, whether he came from the East or from the West, agreed that 17i per cent on agricultural implements was a proper duty, and western members stood up and said that the western farmers did not ask for a reduction at that time. I would -ask you particularly to note, Mr. Speaker, the words of the Hon. Mr. Paterson :
I do not disguise the fact that we propose to give these people nearly the amount of reduction in duty, that has been made.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, and how was it done? -and done -with the acclaim of hon. gentlemen who were supporting the government at that time. The previous duty on agricultural implements had been 20 per -cent. That was the Tory duty,-which of course w>as "robbing the farmers" and "grinding them under the heel of the oppressor," to use the words of -those who opposed it. The valuation of a binder under the Tory administration was fixed at $80, and the ad valorem duty of 20 per cent represented $16 -additional. It is true that the Liberal party reduced the rate of duty from 20 to 17i per cent, but they immediately raised the valuation on the binders for duty purposes to $100, collecting $17.50 duty as against $16 previously. That is the way in which this matter was dealt with at that time
Yet we have hon. gentlemen saying in this House that this tariff proposal made by the Finance Minister is merely playing polities and is designed to fool the farmers. Hon. gentlemen, I think, now appreciate what I meant when I said that if they had been longer in politics, or had made a more careful study of the political history of Canada, they would not have ventured the assertions which have been passed across
population in 1914. On the higher prices of articles in 1918, leaving off the war tax, it would amount to $1.30 per head of the population. Mr. Speaker, are we to suppose at a time like this, when this country is disturbed from one end to the other, when there is such a state of unrest as we have never known in the Dominion of Canada from Confederation down to the present time, that men, no matter how _ strongly they hold their principles or views in favour of free trade, are to further disturb the country by perhaps putting out of power the present Government and forcing an election on the people for the matter of a few dollars of duty per head of the population?
I am not saying that the duties should not be reduced* I speak for a farming constituency-perhaps the most thoroughly farming constituency in the Dominion, a constituency which has not within its bounds one single incorporated village or town;-that is about as agricultural a constituency as you can get-and I say this, in regard to agricultural implements for instance: 1 believe that a company such as the Massey-Harris Company is able to compete with any similar industry in the United States, or any other place in the world, and while I think they should have a certain amount of protection, if you wish to call it that, which will at least equalize the freight rates and enable them to reach their principal market, the market of the West, as cheaply as their competitors on the other side of the line, beyond that for protective purposes, in my judgment, they do not stand in need of any protection at all. I view the question of what the tariff shall be in connection with manufactured articles of that kind, as not being one of protection. As regards firms of that kind I would eliminate that entirely, because I do not believe they need it. It is a question of revenue. It is a question of whether it is advisable to impose a certain duty as regards the manufactures of firms of that kind for the purpose of raising revenue, and that alone.
I think, Sir, that this House could very well endorse the resolution which was moved in 1907 by Mr., now Hon. Senator, Schaffner for a reduction in the duty on agricultural implements, to ten per cent. Every member on the Conservative side of the House at that time voted for that resolution. They put themselves on record as in favour of that resolution, and they are in a position, it seems to me, to play
the game logically by supporting a reduction to the extent I have mentioned.
There are certain gentlemen in this House who have pronounced themselves in favour of free trade. I have already intimated that I am doubtful of their sincerity in that regard, with one notable exception. There is a gentleman in this House who, since he came here, has consistently advocated free trade, I refer to the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark). I do not agree with that hon. gentleman, his views and mine are not alike, but I believe he respects me in the views which I hold recognizing that I am sincere in them.
any hon. gentleman who professes to be in favour of free trade; suppose you are a western member and you are to go back to your people, which party ought you to support? Are you not in a better position going back to the West, if the West is for free trade in agricultural implements, if you guide your course by the facts? We had a party known as the Liberal party, which up to 1896 declared that they would cut off the head of protection and trample on its body -they were actually going to wade in gore in order to do away entirely with protection. So far as agricultural implements are concerned, after being eleven years in power, they reduced the duty ostensibly by two and a half per cent and actually raised the amount of duty which the farmer would have to pay in the West. That is the paity which is coming again to you to-day under the free trade banner. Compare their record with the record of the other party that never professed free trade principles. That party, if you like, have been a protectionist party, but. nevertheless, in 1894, they reduced the duty on agricultural implements from thirty-five to twenty per cent. They followed tliat up when they again came into power by reducing the duty on agricultural implements from seventeeen and a half per cent-and the reciprocity pact only proposed to make the duty fifteen per cent-they reduced the duty from seventeen and a half per cent to twelve and a half per cent where it stands to-day. Now I ask any man who, for instance, favours a reduction in the duty on agricultural implements, which party can you rely upon-the one that cut off two and a half per cent after eighteen or twenty years of promises, loud and many, or the party that reduced the duty twice that much in three years after coming into power? That is the situation. And further:
take what the Finance Minister is offering to-day in his tariff proposals. Am I not right in saying that the present Government have made more concessions to the farmers in respect of things which the farmers need, in respect of articles upon which the farmers have been claiming the duties should be reduced; have they not made more concessions in the few years they have been in office than were made by the Liberal Government on the same articles during the prolonged period in which they administered public affairs? The record is there for whoever wishes to examine it. I repeat this is not in my judgment a proper time to make a thorough revision of the tariff. I said in this House two years ago that I did not believe there was a man living in Canada at that time who could lay down a tariff or a fiscal policy for this country that would apply, and apply justly, when the war was over. I said at that time that I thought that when the war was over we would have to adjust our fiscal policy to meet the changed conditions obtaining, not only in Canada, but in the United 'States, in Britain, and in the other countries of the world with which we do business. I repeat that statement now. The Finance Minister has declared that the time for revision of the tariff is overdue, and the only thing that holds him back at present is the state of unrest which every person admits exists in this country. I think, Mr. 'Speaker, that the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Cre-rar) 'lost one of the greatest opportunities that was ever presented to a member of Parliament or ito a cabinet minister when he resigned from the Government. The Finance Minister had promised that a commission composed of members of the Government, responsible to the people of this country, would carry on an .investigation. Who would naturally have sat on that commission with the Finance Minister? Is there any doubt in anybody's mind that one of the persons to compose it-the person above all most likely to be chosen, because he was Minister of Agriculture and because of his association with the farming interests of Canada-would have been the member for Marquette, now the ex-Minister of Agriculture? Had he stayed with the job at that time, instead of handing in his resignation, he was in a position to do things and to influence matters in favour of the West, as I do not think he can do in his position as a private member.
Mr. Speaker, in the general elections of 1917 the people disregarded party lines, and whv did they do so? Because they felt that
Canada could only do what it should do in this great war by a union of the two political parties. I venture to say, Sir, that there has never been a time, since the war was' declared, when conditions were as serious'-in Canada as they are' in the present year. If it was in the interest of Canada, and in the interest of the part which it was to take in the great war, that the two parties should lay aside party differences and unite, I maintain that at the present time there is even greater reason why the people of this country should forget party for a while longer at least and pull together in order that we may reach normal times once more. This, Sir, is not an opportune time for making a vital issue of this question, and it is a mistake to try to make an issue of it. The West is not starving; the East is not starving; there is nothing going to smash because of the tariff; there is nothing requiring immediate and pressing attention along these lines. Stick, if you wish, to the principle of free trade, or go in the direction of free trade. And, again, I say to those who hold that view: You must concede that this Government have taken steps in that direction which are deserving of your approval. As for myself-well, perhaps it is needless to say that I shall vote against the amendment of the hon. member for Brome because: it does not get you anywhere; it is contradictory; it asks you in one clause to approve of and endorse the Reciprocity pact, but if you do, that Reciprocity pact says: "Keep your hands off all these industries except agricultural implements." How can you vote for that? If you vote to endorse the Reciprocity pact, then the Reciprocity pact says: "We will leave the duty on boots and shoes and on woollen and linen clothing." For that is what the Reciprocity pact did. But in another clause of the amendment you are asked to wipe out all duties. One statement conflicts with the other. Fancy the hon,. gentleman, and a lawyer at that-and lawyers always profess to be logical above all things-advocating in one breath the sweeping aside of all duties on boots and Shoes and on woollen and linen clothing, on, all that a person wears, whether socks, boots or anything else, and in the next breath saying: "The thing you ought to do is to endorse the Reciprocity pact," which left the duties on every one of those things that he enumerated in his previous argument.
Mr. Speaker, I have already occupied more time than I thought I would when I rose to address the House. I thank hon.
members for the very kind attention they have given to me.
Mr. EMMANUEL d'ANJOU (Rimouski) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, the budget
which has been laid before this House and the country by the hon. Minister of Finance, implies indeed, the heaviest burden that has ever been put on the shoulders of the Canadian people.
I do not purpose discussing all its points. First, I want to try to show the reasons Why the country is at present facing bankruptcy. I think myself that the grevious financial situation of to-day has been caused mainly by our foolish and wanton contribution to. the war which has just ended.
In 1914, when war was declared, the country and the Government went mad. : At a public meeting, the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) declared that if it were necessary in order to save the Empire Canada would become bankrupt. Well, the declaration of the hon. Minister of the Interior has come true. Canada to-day faces bankruptcy.
I must say that I have never 'been very enthusiastic about our participation in the wars of the Empire, or in the one that has just ended. On the other band, owing to the extreme importance of the European conflict. I would have favoured a fair and rational participation in that war, within the bounds of our population and financial capabilities.
If I have the honour to represent in this House, to-day the electors of the constituency of Rimouski, I owe it chiefly to my acknowledged anti-conscriptionist principles. I have been sent here to oppose conscription and everything connected with it.
At this session and at the last, every time that I have spoken in this House, I have declared that my policy had not changed since my election as the member for Rimouski. I have been returned as an anti-conscription-ist, and an anti-conscriptionist I have remained.
Our participation in the war is the main cause of our bankruptcy, but it is not the only one. We must not forget the extravagance and squandering of all kinds by .the Government of the day. Let me mention the destructive railway policy and the many commissions appointed by the Government to transact the business of the country in their stead. All that represents enormous sums of money which added to the war expenditure have helped to increase our present budget. .
This budget, as has been stated by the exMinister of Agriculture (Mr. Crerar) is a protectionist budget, in favour of the manufacturer as against the consumer.
It is quite natural, Mr. Speaker, that this budget should contain nothing good for the people, the consumer, the poor man, since, as my hon. friend the member for Charlevoix (Mr. Casgrain) stated this afternoon, the Government is made up of millionaires, of friends of the trusts, who, consequently, are blind to the misery of the people.
They live in luxury; they could afford buying butter even were the price to reach five dollars a pound, but they forget that there are in all parts of the country families, women and children, who suffer for want of money to provide the primary necessaries of life. The people are taxed and millionaires go scot free. The old saw " the back is made for the burden," still holds good. But the fact should not be overlooked that during the war just ended it was mainly the poor man in this country who made good with bis blood and his resources.
Where do we find those who crossed overseas to fight for liberty and civilization? Mainly in the home of the poorer class, among the workmen, the mechanics,, the farmers, the [DOT]humbler classes. They are the ones who did not hesitate to enlist, not in compliance with an act of conscription, but voluntarily, and who went overseas to defend their ideals of liberty and democracy.
But the Government who carried the last elections by means of extravagant promises to the soldiers, by giving them to understand that on their return home fortune would drop into their mouths, has to-day nothing to offer to those noble defenders of the country and the empire, as he terms them; neither is there anything for their families.
This year the income tax has once more been raised; but the millionaires who purchase war bonds escape taxation, because those bonds are exempted, while the poor man, the father of a family of ten or twelve children, is called upon to pay at the increased rate. Sir, the Government evidently do not forget those who supported them and made them what they are to-day, and they are working in their interest so as to secure their influence for the next elections and thereby remain in power.
Is it then a matter for surprise that there should be so much unrest throughout the country? We are living on a volcano; we are on the threshold of a revolution. There are strikes going on everywhere. No wonder, since the people suffer and the destitute
are clamouring for bread. It is because the people are hungry that they are up in arms against this government of oppressors and high livers; it is because the fathers of families see their wives and children suffering, debarred of the primary necessaries of life, in the shape of clothing or food, while they realize that we are ruled over by a government of autocrats, of millionaires who scour the country in their limousines at the country's expense, occupy sumptuous mansions and live high. Meanwhile, the people a*e enduring all kinds of hardships. The cost of living is no doubt the main cause otf t'he unrest which is now prevalent in Canada. Yet the government is doing nothing to bring down the cost of living.
While butter was selling here at 70 cents a pound, it appears that it was selling at 50 cents in England. And why so? Because there were to be found in cold storage warehouses millions upon millions of pounds of butter stored there by profiteers, by the very men who are plundering the consumer of this country, men like Flavelle and other favourites of the Government, who after fattening on public misery, on the sweat and blood of the people, after speculating on the food of our soldiers were rewarded by being knighted. Thanks to God, during this session there were enough independent members to be found in this House to oast their votes for the abolition of such titles. There is no room in this country for such a caste of, aristocrats. We are living in a democratic country, and we mean to keep it so. No such social discrimination should exist here. We should all be on a footing of equality and the ballot which the poor man drops into the ballot box is worth as much as that of the millionaire who often sells his vote.
Among other causes of the prevailing unrest, I might mention the misuse that the Government have made of their powers. In 1914 and subsequently, the Government called to the colours all our young men, appealing to them to go overseas and fight for liberty and civilization jeopardized through the* invasion of Belgium and Rumania and all the smaller nationalities. And meanwhile, here in Canada the liberties and freedom won by our forefathers and preserved in 1837 and 1838 by the men who fought for them, those liberties, I say were snatched away from us; responsible government was at the last gasp, we had a government by order in council and parliament was no longer consulted except on most important measures. This Government even carried their audacity
to the point of passing Orders in Council, while parliament was sitting in a regular session and all the representatives of the people were in their seats. What did they do, Mr. Speaker, two or three years ago, when 1 was not yet a member of this Parliament? They appointed what is commonly known as the gag, to prevent the representatives of the people voicing their opposition to the policy of the Government; they gagged the Oj>position which is representing here the interests of the people, because they wanted to pass abominable laws such as conscription and other similar legislation.
The War-time Elections Act is certainly one of the worst iniquities ever imposed upon a country. The Government were convinced that if they went before tire people with the ordinary Election Act, and if the vote were taken according to the old provincial lists and with those made out by the municipalities, notwithstanding their appeals to prejudice and their millions, they would be defeated, if the people were given the opportunity of going to the polls to register their votes. They realized it so well that they did not hesitate to disfranchise thousands and thousands of Canadian citizens. In fact, Mr. Speaker, we must not forget that these people were Canadian citizens; they had been induced to come to Canada and had been given certificates of naturalization. In assuming our obligations they were also assuming our rights, among which is the right to vote. The Government, though pretending to have the support of the people on their policy of conscription, were so sure of the unpopularity of this nefarious and iniquitous legislation that they passed a measure by means of which they could select the voters, that is the people whose support they were sure to get.
In the speech from the Throne, which was delivered at the opening of the Session, the Government announced that we would soon have-perhaps during this Session-a new Election Act. Undoubtedly it will be modeled -on the War-time Elections Act and the Government will exhaust all means to pass a law by which they may retain the poweT- the power of robbing the election. But I trust that the Liberal Unionist members, particularly those who sat in this House in J917 and fought against the War-time Elections Act, will have the courage of their convictions when the new legislation is submitted, that they Will remember they vere once Liberals and that all liberties in Canada as well as in other countries in the world, were granted by the Liberal party, including the ballot which was instituted
by the Liberal Party in order to give every' citizen the right to cast his vote freely and to enable the poor as well aa the millionaire to go and vote secretly without being intimidated and without being forced to abdicate his principles. I trust that these members, if their Liberalism is not quite dead, will remember the principles- for which they have so consistently and so courageously fought during ten years under the leadership of our late lamented chief, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and that in the face of the iniquity of the Government, they will cast their vote to defeat the new legislation.
We have also before Parliament at the present time a Bill intended to disfranchise 'the defaulters. I think that on the eve of the signing of the peace treaty and the termination of this war, the Government should realize the uselessness of persecution, but ought to grant now, since they have not done it yet, a general amnesty to all defaulters. In France we saw Premier Clemenceau pardon his assailant, and we heard Lloyd George say that we should be lenient towards the Germans. I think that if the Government realized their responsibilities in view of the unrest which prevails now in this country, they would not pass a measure of that kind. Again, I say 'that we live on a volcano, we are threatened with a revolution; and that would not cause any surprise after the Government has abused their power as they have. Therefore, I hope that the Bill relating to the defaulters will remain on the Order Paper and will not be pushed beyond its present stage.
I would like also, Mr. Speaker, to say a word about the sending of our troops to Siberia. This subject has been referred to very eloquently by hon. members who preceded me, but, I think that the sending of these troops to Siberia is the worst attempt ever made against the autonomy of this Dominion. Was any one consulted as to the sending of these troops over there? Was Parliament consulted? Were the people consulted? No. Nobody was consulted. The twenty members of the Government assembled around the table of the council conferred with each other and decided that our soldiers were to go and fight in the snowy mountains of Russia. And; what purpose did it answer? What had we to do in that expedition? The country had already furnished its quota of 500,000 -men for the European War. The war being over, it seems to- me that the Government had not the right, especially without consulting the people or its representatives, to send our troops over to go and fight in Russia.
There is a class of people considerably talked about just now in this country. They are the profiteers. Indeed, these people are also one of the causes of the unrest prevalent in Canada to-day. They have made during the war exorbitant profits; they have ground down the people and caused every family to undergo hardships and even after the war is over they are still endeavouring to pocket enormous profits. I think the Government should not have increased tne income tax imposed upon the heads of families, but rather have taxed all those profiteers who have piled up vast fortunes during the war and since the armistice, out of the sweating of the Canadian people.
As I stated in my opening remarks, the Government care little about protecting the people; they prefer to help along their friends, those who in election times can fill up the electoral till.
I mentioned a few moments ago that I had been returned for Rimouski county as an anti-conscription-ist. I consider that I had the right to combat that nefarious Act and that the province of Quebec, whatever may be said about it, was justifiable in being opposed to its imposition.
Besides, Mr. Speaker, were we the only ones to oppose that coercive Act?
Australia, one of England's most important colonies, next to Canada, whose population is composed of Englishmen in the ratio of four to five, voted down conscription at a general election.
We have seen Ireland and every other British colony, except Canada, object to having a law of conscription imposed upon them.
In this House, since the opening of this session, several members sitting on your right, antagonistic as they are to the province of Quebec and to everything French Canadian, have attempted to show that we had not done our duty.
Let us take as granted, Mr. Speaker, that the French Canadians of the province of Quebec did not enlist in a body to go and fight for Europe; I must declare, for my part, that 'they were not wrong in so doing, because we of the province of Quebec did not have the same incentives as our fellow-citizens of Ontario and of the other provinces. And, besides, who are the soldiers who enlisted in Ontario? Men who came over from England, because the "wages" are better here, and that is the reason why it is attempted to pretend that Ontario has done more than the province of Quebec, considering the size of population. I re-
peat it, to go and fight either for France or for England, that did not appeal to us to a great extent. Those who did go voluntarily, believing they were going over to defend liberty, have done right; for any part, I consider that we should not think so much about France or England, but rather of Canada; that our only country is Canada. We are the descendants of this country's first inhabitants; the (province of Quebec is our birth place; we are Canadians first and last.
Our country is Canada; we love it, and if ever our country's frontiers were attacked I trust we should not be the last to go and defend them; there would be no need of coercion.
Is it not a fact that before conscription had been enforced in Canada there (were already from the province of Ontario, near Detroit, young men who crossed the border, for fear of that law?
We, of the province of Quebec, did not act likewise. We opposed conscription, because we believed we had the right to do so, and for our country's interest. I consider we do not deserve the reproach cast upon us. As far as I am concerned, I do not regret the stand I have taken upon this 'question, a stand that I still maintain.
As for our soldiers who went overseas to fight for liberty, what will they ask the Government when they come back? They will be entitled to tell the Government: What have you done with Canadian liberties, what have you done with responsible government in this eountry, what have you done with the Canadian constitution?
It is the Government that have asked them to go and fight overseas. Those soldiers left, trusting that the Government, as guardians of our rights and liberties, would respect them, and I am satisfied that they will exact a severe account from this Government which has so badly managed the country's business iand which has 'Shattered the Canadian constitution.
In the course of the present session, several members on the Government side who, as I was saying a moment ago, are always finding fault with the province of Quebec, our clergy and the French Canadians, have raised a debate with a view to launching an attack against us. We have heard in this House not a few speeches about the Guelph affair. If so much was made of it, it is because the Jesuits of Canada were concerned. I am sure the hon. member who started that debate would not have done so, had not an Orange lodge been interested therein.
Mr. Speaker, the Jesuits need no defence. They are one of the most respectable orders to be found, not only in Canada but in every country where they are established, and I consider hon. gentlemen have no grounds whatever to warrant their attacks.
It has been sought to infer that the Jesuits had tried to prevent young men in their institution from enlisting; that they had secreted them and, consequently, that they had not done their duty.
Well, I must state here that the Jesuits, as the members of other religious orders, of this country and especially of France, during the last war, have done their duty, thousands and thousands of these men, of French missionaries, have shed their blood for the defence of France, of England and of all the countries that were attacked by Germany.
Why attempt to' cast discredit upon these religious orders, why try to load them with abuse? Simply to give a certain satisfaction to the lodges of the country and to make political capital in view of the coming elections.
The name of venerable Cardinal Begin has also been brought into the discussion upon the National schools, an attack has been attempted against him, some have made attempts at mud slinging. Well, Mr. Speaker, that mud has bespattered those who handled it, and those who did launch such mean and cowardly attacks against that respectable churchman are certainly not fit to untie his shoe-strings.
Since the very inception of the session, almost every member who has spoken has declared that, the war now being over, Canada should stand united, that all Canadians, irrespective of creed and nationality, should work together, hand in hand, for the progress of the country. There is a way to bring about such a consummation. It is a very simple one. It is up to our fellow-citizens of the other provinces to put an end to their attacks against the province of Quebec, against the Canadian clergy and against all that is French in this country. Let the rights of the French Canadians be recognized in Manitoba as well as in Ontario; cease persecuting them, give them the schools guaranteed them by the Canadian constitution. Let all take a leaf out of our book, and remember that, in the province of Quebec, we do respect the rights of the Protestant minority, as the hon. member for Huntingdon (Mr. Bobb) so eloquently stated a few days ago.
We want our rights to be respected. We do not go down on our knees to beg for justice. It is not a question of justice, it is one of actual rights. We do have rights that are guaranteed to us by the Canadian constitution and we want our fellow-citizens in the Confederation to respect them, if they wish Confederation to last. As stated by the expresident- of the Senate, Hon. Senator Landry, the question is whether Confederation was an infamous trap or an Act 'passed for the benefit of all Canadians.
We want justice. We want our rights recognized in all 'the provinces; wherever French Canadians and Catholics are to be found. We want them to be respected, just as we do respect the Protestant minority, the Irish and other Canadians in the province of Quebec.
Once we have reached that goal, once we shall have put an end to those racial and religious dissensions which have lasted too long, once it is understood by all that 'before being French Canadians, English Canadians, Irish or Scotch Canadians, we are simply Canadians, inhabiting the same country, 'bound -to- work out our destiny together, to work for the prosperity and progress of the same fatherland, then, Mr. Speaker, shall Canada soar aloft-, Canada shall set forward to her noble destinies, Canada shall fill the part decreed for her by divine providence.
As for us of the province of 'Quebec, we are doing our utmost to respect the rights of our fellow-citizens, our spirit of toleration is unbounded. There are in our province, Protestant schools as plentiful as they want them. We do not care to know whether our neighbour is a Protestant or a Catholic, whether he is of the same creed or origin as ours, rw-e mind our own business, but we want to be Tespeeted in the other provinces, we want to be returned like for like.
We will not be considered as outcasts in this country. We have the same rights as the people of the other provinces, and we want those rights to be respected throughout the whole Dominion.
The war is over, thank God, whatever may be said to the contrary by hon. members on the other side of the House who would have liked to see i't la^t twenty years, if it had been possible. The war is over and the time has -co-m-e when we must take steps to place our country in the best possible financial condition. It is difficult to do so with the budget as presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. The future does not look very rosy and we anticipate some hard times.
Why -should a man say that- he must remain in the Union Government not only for
the period of the war, but also during demobilization and t-hat we should not deal with the business of the country until all our soldiers have returned. I consider that during four years of war the business of the country has been so 'neglected that it is about time we should look after it.
The hon. member for Marquette, ex-minister of Agriculture (Mr. Crerar) certainly deserves to be congratulated by all right thinking Canadians upon his act of patriotism. He considered that his task was over and that it was time for him to assert the principles in which he had faith and to leave the Government. Thus the hon. member for Marquette proved that, though a politician,' he was first and always a Canadian, that he loved his country above all and that he could not possibly give way on a question of principle.
On the other side, you see the hon. minister of Colonization and the hon. 'minister of Customs who come and say that the war is not over. The hon. minister of Customs -says: "The war is not over, it might break out again and there are still fifteen or eighteen wars going on" and therefore he contends that his task i-s not finished yet. So it is because the war is not over yet that the hon. minister of Customs, who is certainly not. a free trader, puts his principles into his -pocket, to please the members of the Union Government, and to strengthen the administration which the people want to do away with as soon as possible. The hon. minister of Colonization follows the same example, he who was one of the most outstanding Liberals of Saskatchewan, and the first lieutenant of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Here he -comes to-day and states that 'by reason of patriotism, he must abdicate his political views and his principles as regards the tariff. Allow me to add Mr. Speaker, with a great Canadian: "Patriotism is often the last refuge for scoundrels." To say that the war is not over and that we must leave aside the -most vital interests of this country is but a pretense. We must undertake reconstruction in this country and establish a tariff which will help the poor man and by which the cost of necessities may be reduced in letting the necessities enter free into Canada. That is what the minister Should understand. I mean a minister who is thoughtful of the interests- of the country and who realizes that he is first of all a Canadian and that 'Canada needs all his qualities- and energies.
I have, only one more remark to make, and that is about the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards). In the course of his speech
the hon. member endeavoured to iprove that the Liberal party had never interfered with the tariff, and that it was just as protectionist in character as it was under the Conservative party. Then why did Sir Wilfrid Laurier, in 1911, with his reciprocity agreement, put the very existence of his government at stake? Why did the hon. member for Frontenac, and all hon. members who sit on the Other side of this House, and who state that the Liberal party has never done anything toward reducing the tariff, why, may I ask, did hon. gentlemen not support the policy of reciprocity? Why did they fight against it? Why did they try to frighten the people of Ontario with the annexation bugbear? Why did they rais j the cry "No truck, no trade with the Yankees?" The same men to-day, in order to deceive the people of this country, and to gain the sympathy of the voters, aTe endeavouring to show that the Liberal party has done nothing in the way of tariff reform.
In conclusion, I wish to express the hope that Canada with its inexhaustible resources may be able ito come out of the rut into which it has fallen.
In my judgment, 'the class of people which the Government should encourage in preference to all others in this country, and which will enable us -to carry the burden resting on our shoulders to-day, is the agricultural community.
So the Government should manage to give to that class every possible advantage they can give, in order that it may produce on a still greater scale, because, as you are aware Mr. Speaker, the earth is the great fostermother, and when the farmers are prosperous, so is the rest of the community.
, Therefore, I ask the Government to give all the encouragement possible to the farming class and by so doing they will work in the best interest of Canada and they will ensure to this country a splendid future, notwithstanding the enormous budget which is brought down to-day.
Mr. Speaker, if I were not as anxious as the other members of the House that this debate be brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible, I think that on account of the hour of the evening and the extreme heat in the Chamber, I would move the adjournment of the debate. But rather than do that I am going to make now the few remarks I have in mind in connection with the Budget.
First, I should like to refer to the assertion that has been made on several occasions during the debate, that this is an inopportune time to deal with the tariff, owing to the unsettled conditions in the country and also to the fact that this Parliament was elected primarily on a war policy. But if I interpret correctly the view of the member for Brantford (Mr. W. F. Cockshutt), the war will never end, peace will never be declared, an armistice would never have been signed, so far as any change in the attitude of the protected industries of this country towards .the tariff is concerned. As to the unsettled conditions, they are due to the reconstruction period. While it is true that the Government and those who were elected to support it were sent to Parliament largely to support a policy that Was thought to be necessary having regard to the war, nevertheless the war is virtually over, and we are now in the reconstruction period. I wish, therefore, to refer to the tariff as a factor in the reconstruction period.
If this Parliament intends to continue during the reconstruction period, then we ought to be courageous enough to deal with reconstruction; and if the tariff has anything to do with reconstruction, then we should apply the tariff to that reconstruction. I submit that the tariff, in two or three respects at any rate, is extremely important in the reconstruction period. We have heard a good deal in this House during the present session about the high cost of living. I assume that the high cost of living relates not only to the war, but also to the reconstruction period, and that we should attempt to deal with it; and if we can deal with it through the tariff, we should adopt that means of doing so.
Now, what has the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White), proposed in his Budget? The changes that he proposes are confined almost wholly to the removal of the war tax on foodstuffs, clothing apd implements. I take it for granted that this war tax was removed from these particular items because the minister thought he would be able to provide some relief to the people. In my judgment, however, the removal of 7J per cent from foodstuffs, clothing and implements is not sufficient; my criticism of the Budget is that it should have gone further in order to deal with present conditions. We could have dealt with them more effectively, I am quite sure, either by wiping out the duties on the real necessaries of life, or by making a far more marked reduction in the tariff than has been made.
It is frequently argued that the tariff has no relation whatever to the cost of living.
are new methods of taxation which we could very readily adopt in this country. I have found some speakers criticising the proposals put forward, hut we all recollect that the proposal of an income tax at the beginning was not very kindly welcomed by the Finance Minister. He did not think it was feasible or practicable in this country, as it would be too expensive to operate. He adopted the income tax, however, and now we find he is increasing it, and I expect to see the time come when some finance minister in Canada will adopt the inheritance tax and taxation of land values, because we have had many converts to the idea of a reduction in tariff, income tax, and other methods of taxation. While I am discussing the question of income taxation I would like, as kindly as possible, to suggest to the Finance Minister that the Act if properly administered should produce far greater returns than have been yielded up to the present time. The figures I am about to quote may enable some member who is not in sympathy with tariff proposals to argue that the western farmer is wealthy now and not that there should not he a removal of the tariff, because he is in a good financial position. But I do not look at the matter in that light. The figures I am going to quote look very much as though they were made to fit an argument of that kind, but I am satisfied that the result which you will see is due to lack of efficiency in the operation of the Income Tax Act. A question has been asked in the House concerning the number of farmers who have been assessed and who have paid income tax, and we find that in Ontario- from which prov-'nee I came and in parts of which I knew there were a great many prosperous farmers-only 396 farmers were assessed for incomes, of whom 342 paid; and in the province of Alberta 2,826 were assessed and 1,325 paid. Now, I am satisfied that there is something absolutely wrong in this disclosure, and I am not expressing my personal opinion when I say that I believe that there are some counties in Ontario where that number of assessable farmers could be found. I have the opinion given through the press of a gentleman who says that in his own county-Simcoe, I think,- nearly that number of farmers could have been discovered who should pay income taxes. I call this fact to the attention of the Minister of Finance for his information. I do not object to the farmers of the West who have incomes subject to taxation being called upon to pay taxes, but if the income tax is to be satisfactorily rMr. Buchanan.]
operated-and it is our desire that it should -we must insure that persons in one part of the country will not have any justification in complaining that those elsewhere are not bearing their share of the burden of taxation because of improper administration. I ibelieve that if the Act is properly administered we will obtain more revenue. Those who believe in the Income Tax feel that a proper administration of the Act would yield larger returns. Now, I said I wanted to refer to this matter in a spirit of kindness, because I will admit that the administration of this Act is a new matter, and probably experience will show the discrepancy in its operation and remedies will be provided. But I do think that up to the present the Act has not brought the returns that proper organization and administration could have provided.
If I may go back to the West for a moment and depart from my statement at the opening of my remarks that I was going to endeavour to speak from a national standpoint, I want to give a warning and it is because I desire to see a united Canada that I wish to give that warning. We are told that the farmers of Western Canada are unreasonable and that there they are extremists. Well, I think that if any one visited the West he would probably hear the opinion expressed there that the manufacturers of the East are unreasonable and extremists. It may be that there are extremists in both sections of the country. As a citizen of the West I feel that the farmer there has a strong claim to be relieved of many of the burdens he has to bear at this time. I do not think he has a right to be relieved of these burdens and not bear the common burdens of the country; but at the same time I do not think that he should be called upon to bear burdens which, in my judgment, are the means by which other people throughout the country can grow rich. * I do not think that there should be a form of taxation that will give some people protection and enable them to become wealthy at the expense of the man who toils every day upon the farms in the Canadian West. Now, my warning is this: There will come a
time, after the next redistribution, when there will be in this House forty-five or fifty men from the Prairie Provinces supporting one idea-a reduction in the tariff, and as complete a reduction as possible. Forty-five or fifty men from the western provinces determined to carry out a policy of that kind will be a fac-
tor in this Parliament, and the mistake that the manufacturers of Eastern Canada have made is that they have taken a determined stand not to yield to the farirf-ers of the West and have put those farmers in the frame of mind that when they get a chance they will deal with the manufacturers. Now in my judgment, it would be conductive to unity if the manufacturers were- willing to yield something at any rate to the demand of the agriculturists of the West, and I am satisfied that if they had been reasonable and had had a round table conference that meant something a few years ago, we would have had satisfactory reductions in the tariff and many of the grievances of the West would have been removed. If this had been done I do not think there would have been any very marked difference between the East and the West on the fiscal policy. Another matter to which I wish to call attention, particularly of the hon. member for Brome (Mr. Mc-Master), is the fact that we have had party platforms enunciated in this country for as long a time, at least, as I could read the newspapers. During all that time I have always found that these party platforms were very rarely carried out to the letter.
I would advise not only the party which my hon. friend from Brome speaks for, but any other party, that this is no time to frame a policy which it is not the intention to carry out, because the people of the country are in real earnest, and whatever party lays down a platform, the people will expect them to carry it out. Otherwise they will put that party out of power at the first opportunity. The people are determined that party platforms and pledges by party leaders will not be disregarded with impunity.
Now, as to the amendment which has been proposed by the hon. member for Brome. I am, in some respects, in entire accord with it; in others, I am like the hon. member for Bed Deer (Mr. Clark), I would like to have it fully interpreted. There is one clause in that resolution which appears to me very much like temporizing. It reads:
To take oft or substantially reduce, as speedily as may be expedient and just to all interested, the duties upon all other necessaries of life.
When will it be expedient? It may be a thousand years from now before it wou,d be expedient to do that.
Expediency is merely an excuse sometimes. It will be expedient prior to an election and I would imagine it would be very expedient that we should do it as soon after the election as possible. Then, if returned to power, the expediency would not be so great. Then they talk about it being just to other interests. When you are dealing with the tariff what other interests are you going to be just to? I would imagine that the only interest that the framer of this amendment was thinking about was the protected interest. That is the only interest that benefits from the tariff. Consequently, if you are going to he just to "all other interests," you are going to be just to the protected interests. And this is in connection with the necessaries of life. As far as the necessaries of life are concerned, speaking as the representative of a constituency in Western Canada, we want these duties removed now, not when it is "expedient" and not when it is "just to all other interests." Under the folds of that clause of the amendment,
I am quite satisfied the most ardent protectionist and the most wild-eyed Bolshevik could get together and be perfectly content that what they wanted .was going to be cared for by the adoption of a resolution of that kind.
I have nothing further to say. I have tried to put forward certain views which I hold on the Budget briefly. I am not going to pose as a hero in differing from the proposals of the Government. I am not a hero by any means, but what I intend to maintain is that I am consistent in standing at this moment for what I have stood for since the beginning of my service in the House of Commons. I am not attempting to demand from the Government something that I consider unreasonable or something that should not be adopted at a time like this when conditions are unsettled, but .I do maintain, and I believe that I am taking a logical position in doing so, that in the reconstruction period the tariff is an important factor and that it should be applied to the relief of the unsettled conditions that exist in this country. If it had been applied more equitably by the removal of the duties on food, clothing and agricultural implements the country would have been satisfied. Moreover, the country would have been benefited if we had adopted the bold, courageous policy of removing the duty on agricultural implements in order to encourage production and develop wealth.
Keference was made by the hon. member for Bed Deer (Mr. Clark) yesterday to the question of independence. I have been charged with being independent on two or
three occasions during the short time I have been in public life. It is not because I have been anxious to differ from the party that I have been elected to support, but I want to try and follow, if I can, an absolutely consistent course during the time that I am in public life. That is the reason, and the only reason, why at this moment I criticise the proposals that have been brought down by the Finance Minister.
Mr. Speaker, I may say that I was very much disappointed in the Budget that was brought down by the hon. the Finance Minister (Sir Thomas White). I expected that the war tariff that was imposed in 1915 would have been entirely wiped out and that the British preference would have been extended to at least fifty per cent. Although the Government need revenue, I submit that revenue could have been provided otherwise than is proposed by the Budget; that there should have been a reduction in customs taxation, and that the needed revenue should have been got by an increase in the income tax and by the imposition of an inheritance tax.
I agree with the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) in this respect. It is true that the ^provinces already have an inheritance tax, but it is not very heavy. People who amass half a million, or a million, dollars do not always accumulate that money as a result of brain work, but they take advantage of the resources of the country and the skill of the workmen whom they employ. It is only right that the community should get a portion of these large estates. These estates sometimes go to persons who squander them; they are not an advantage but rather a detriment. Many millions of dollars could have been collected by an inheritance tax.
I would also approve of a tax on unimproved land. We have millions of acres of unimproved land. Large areas of land are held by corporations who keep them for speculation, and if these millions of acres of land were taxed they probably would be sold, improved and put under cultivation. Some of this land would be sold to the returned soldiers. The Government has a large programme on hand with the object of putting returned soldiers on the land. The Government will have to pay big prices for some of this land. If a tax was put on unimproved lands it would conduce to the putting of these lands on the market and it would help the returned soldiers to get them on reasonable terms.
The hon. the Finance Minister made a comparison of the situation with that of Great Britain, and said that our situation Was much better than theirs. I cannot see it in that light. It is true that the national debt of Great Britain is much greater than ours, but you must look at the national debt in proportion 'to population. The interest on the national debt in Great Britain will absorb only 15 per cent of the revenue, while the interest on our national debt will absorb 41 per cent of our revenue. We have to borrow 60 per cent of our expenditure. The Minister of Finance proposes to collect 40 per cent by tariff proposals. Our debt per capita has gone up to $240, and he proposes to borrow this money by loan.
There have been a great many loans since the war began, some of which were necessary; but now that the war is over I think we should endeavour to pay off more of the principal of our national debt and not resort to so much borrowing. These loans are very costly. The last Victory Loan bore interest at five and a half per cent, but when all the expenditures connected with the floating of that loan are considered I think it will be found we are paying over six per cent. Advertising and commissions have cost the country an enormous amount.
I was surprised the other day when reading a return which has been brought down to see the big brokerage commissions which have been paid out to brokers, especially in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. One firm in Toronto received as much as $51,060; a second, $48,993; a third, $47,339; and others respectively $12,288, $10,093, $12,980, $15,000, and so on. Altogether there was paid to brokers in Toronto the sum of $380,440 as commissions for raising the Victory Loan. The payments to brokers in Montreal amounted to $134,149.63, excluding the sums which were paid to brokers elsewhere. The next Victory Loan will probably be floated in the same manner and the country will not only have to pay the interest, but large amounts for advertising and commissions. The Minister of Finance stated that the redeeming feature in connection with the Victory Loan was that the money came from the Canadian people, and not from outside. That is true, but the money has to be repaid, and it is needed for industrial purposes. If this money was not absorbed by the Government bonds it would be available for the needs of agriculture and for the promotion of industrial development in Canada. Another feature which is not so reassuring and which was pointed out by the hon. member from Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark)
yesterday is that these bonds are exempt from taxation, which results in an injustice to the poorer classes. Some poor people subscriDed for bonds, out the most of the bonds were purchased by wealthy persons. Many have got into the hands of rich persons since they were floated. And on this part of their wealth these persons are free from taxation.
I have said that I would welcome a greater reduction in customs taxation. I approve of the amendment before the House because it goes far to reduce customs taxation and to entirely remove the duties on food and other necessaries of life. I would like to see that reduction go still further, to the extent suggested by the member for Red Deer yesterday, and removed entirely on agricultural implements, and all machinery that is used for the production of food, clothing, and other necessaries. I do not see the necessity for a tax on food. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) said . the other day during the discussion upon the prevailing industrial unrest in Canada that if the taxation on food were removed he did not believe food would be any cheaper in Canada than it is at present.
I differ from the Prime Minister in that view, and I would like to see the Government make a trial by removing those duties. If it will result in reducing the cost what is the necessity for maintaining these duties?
Now, if we are to wipe out any part of the national debt, the Government will have to economize, a thing which it certainly has not done during the war. There has been much waste in some expenditures; but now the war is over I would like to see the Government practise economy. This advice was given to the Government the other day by one of its chief newspaper organs, the Montreal Gazette. That newspaper said that the British Government had recognized the necessity of economizing and that this Government should also appreciate that necessity. I think there are many ways in which there could be economy. I would not like to see the Government economize merely for the benefit of certain classes; we should not have economy which will be to the detriment of certain classes and to the advantage of others. Beyond all question we have spent money in the past which was entirely unnecessary. The expenditure on registration cards, for instance, amounted to over $100,(100; while the registration system carried out last year cost the country $651,000. I never could see the necessity for either plan, or that any advantage resulted from it. We have also had a large
expenditure in connection with the Canada Food Board. While -the operations of that board have resulted in some benefit to the country, I do not think the benefit has been at all commensurate with the expenditure incurred.
Another matter in which the Government could economize would be in the use oi private cars by ministers. I think there are altogether too many of these private cars. Not long ago there were as many as three of them attached to the one train in a trip from Toronto to Ottawa; in fact, some of the ordinary passenger cars had to be detached; they could not be carried because there were too many ministers' private cars in the train. Now it is, perhaps, legitimate for a minister when he makes a prolonged trip to travel in a private car so that he may promptly transact public business, but surely in a short journey such as that from Ottawa to Montreal, or even to Halifax, there is no great necessity for his using a private car. The Pullman cars that are provided on trains are very comfortable, and good hotels exist in the majority of our towns and cities; therefore, where is the necessity for ministers to travel in private ears? In my opinion, it would be better if the members of the Government travelled in ordinary cars and rubbed shoulders a little more with the common people. They would then be better able to keep in touch with public opinion, and could acquaint themselves with the needs of the masses. Indeed, they might then even perhaps learn some means of removing the industrial unrest which exists to-day. I am quite sure, for my part, that the sight of ministers travelling in private cars, and of wealthy people speeding around the country in limousines, must arouse a feeling of envy in the minds of those who have not the means of enjoying the same luxuries, and certainly must be conducive to that industrial unrest which is so prevalent to-day in Canada.
My hon. friend from Brome (Mr. Me Mas ter) advised the Government to economize in certain respects, and, among other things, to refrain from spending any money on, good roads. I beg to differ from him in this regard, for I believe that this is one of the most productive expenditures that we could undertake. Good roads are conducive to the improvement of agriculture and to the keeping of the people on the land. Bad roads are a great drawback to the farmers; they want good roads to get to the markets in the towns and villages. Therefore, I would advise the Government
to go on with their proposition and appropriate money for good roads. Each province has a system of road making in cooperation with the municipalities. the province of Ontario has already built many miles of good roads, and has a big roadbuilding programme in hand to-day. The province of Quebec has also built many miles of good roads and is continuing the work. The Maritime Provinces also have built good roads. The western provinces do not, perhaps, feel the need of good roads to the* same extent as the eastern provinces; but the western provinces must remember that we have spent and are to-day spending much money for the building of railways in the West.
I will conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying that I am pleased to support the amendment proposed by my hon. friend from Brome. As I said before, I would like it to go a little further. But next year, when the expenditure will not be so heavy, this Parliament, perhaps, will be able to make further reductions in customs taxation, and I hope in a few years we will be able to adopt the programme of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, which I believe to be the ideal programme for this country.
I think the customs taxation should be reduced gradually, and that in a few years' time we should have free trade in all the necessaries of life-in fact, I would like to see free trade in everything, for I think it is the ideal policy; and if it is not possible now, I hope that it will be possible in the very near future.
Will my hon. friend permit me a question? He is a very old friend of mine. I want to ask him if he thinks it is quite in accordance with his usual fairness of mind to represent the railways as purely western concerns? Are they not for the benefit of the whole country?
ties to the Government of the day to the effect that as the Dominion Government were borrowing money on which they were paying interest much in excess of 3 per cent, the province of Saskatchewan was entitled to some increase in the rate of interest paid. The present Minister of Finance, I understand, at that time promised to invest these funds in Dominion Government stocks and bonds, which the Act gives him authority to do. My information is that out of the $6,185,000, $3,891,000 has been invested, and on that amount the province is now receiving interest at the rate of 5 per cent, but the balance, $2,294,000, this Government continues to use and on that it is paying the province only 3 per cent interest. In view of the fact that these lands were set side for the purpose of creating a fund and assisting the province in financing their educational matters, and that this Government allows purchasers of these school lands to run away in arrears in their payments', it seems to me only a fair proposition that the province should receive a higher rate of interest. I understand that some $26,000,000 worth of these lands have been sold, and that $6,185,000 has been paid in, so it must be obvious that if the Government had looked after the payments from the purchasers more money would have come in and the provinces would have received a greater amount in interest.
If this Government chooses to allow purchasers of school lands to let their payments run in arrears, I think they should undertake to pay the province of Saskatchewan interest equal to the rate that province has to pay for its borrowings to cafry on its educational work. This year the province proposes to spend $1,243,800 in educational work, and the provincial treasurer estimates that the province will receive $588,000 from this Government, which leaves a balance of $655,000 to be made up by the province out of provincial revenue. This is a matter that is agitating the people if our province, and something should be done by this Government to remedy the situation.
Another thing that we in the western provinces believe would be of great value to us is the early completion of the Hudson Bay railway. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Proulx) claims that western Canada is getting too much attention and too much money along the line of railway construction. I would point out to him and the House that Western Canada is a new country of great areas and must have railway transportation. We
believe that with the early completion of the Hudson Bay Tailway the transportation of our grain to the European market would be very much cheaper.
Another very important matter that has been engaging the minds of our people, and has done so for a great many years, is the customs tariff. It is not my intention to deal with this question at any length, because it has been discussed from almost every angle already. I should like to say, however, that it is a very live issue in the western provinces, and while I can not agree with all that has been said as to the dire results that will follow if something is not done, because the people of the western provinces are just as loyal as the people of any other province in the Dominion, yet the issue is there, and I believe that this Parliament and this Government and the manufacturers would be well advised to give very serious consideration to this matter at an early date.
I should like to say a word in connection with the characteristics of our people in the western provinces. There seem to be many good people in the eastern provinces who have come to believe that a westerner, more especially if he terms himself a grain grower, is a product of that wild and woolly country who is always wanting something and persists in wanting that something all the time. In this connection I should like to draw the attention of the House to the enlistments from the province of Saskatchewan for overseas service in the great war. I think our record in that respect can ' be pointed to with pride by every resident of the province. The hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) some few weeks ago pointed out that the western provinces had not done nearly as well as the old province of Ontario in subscribing to the Victory Loan. That is a fact, but I will be frank with my hon. friend and tell him the only reason for it is that we did not have the money. While on this point, let me say that in my opinion a man did not need to be overflowing with patriotism to loan money to his country at 5i per cent, more particularly when the income from the bonds was not taxable. When it comes to contributions, not loans, the province of Saskatchewan gave $3 per capita to every dollar given by the next highest province in the Dominion of Canada, and I hope the hon. member for Frontenac Will read that statement when he has time.
In respect to the non-taxation of the Victory Bonds, I feel very strongly upon that matter. I believe it is noth-
[DOT] ing short of a national mistake, and to be frank with the House I did not. enjoy trying to place those bonds last year. It was a different thing with the first few loans this Government raised. Then it was a new thing, and nobody knew how the people of this country would take to it; but as regards the 1918 loan, surely the Minister of Finance had had every proof of the patriotism of our people, and this loan should certainly have been made taxable. The statement was made yesterday by an hon. member that very few of these bonds were changing hands. I disagree with that statement. In my province-and I believe what is true of that province is true of almost every other western province-just as soon as many of the people got the bonds in their hands they were selling them. Step by step these bonds will come into the coffers of the men who are not needing money in their business and are going to sit tight with their money out of use, and let some other person pay the war tax. That is the opinion of a great many people in the province of Saskatchewan.
Another characteristic of the people of Saskatchewan is that they never do things by halves. I would point out the result of the election in 1911 in that province. Saskatchewan returned ninety per cent of its representatives to this House in support of a certain measure in opposition to the party that was then led by the same hon. gentleman who was leader of the party at the last general election. 'And what was the change in 1917? We returned one hundred per cent under the leader we had opposed at the previous election. I think this will show that when the people of Saskatchewan undertake to do anything they carry it through.
There are a number of other things to which I would like to call the attention of the House, but as the hour is late I shall briefly touch upon only one or two. As I have said, in Saskatchewan we do not do things by halves, and we realize that in this Dominion for the last forty years both political parties have been adhering rather closely to one policy. When we think of the wonderful natural resources of this country-and no one will dispute the fact that we have wonderful resources-and the great energy and ability of the Canadian people to carry through any undertaking successfully, it seems to me, on the face of it, that something has been radically wrong with the policy we have pursued. In view of our resources and the progressive
characteristics of our people, and with a population of only eight millions, the question actually is: What is the trouble? As a Canadian, and I hope with the best interests of our Dominion at heart, I am quite willing and prepared to embark on new lines and try out a new policy that gives promise of an improvement in conditions. I believe that the trouble that exists to-day can be directly traced to the protective tariff that obtains at the present time. We have built up beautiful towns and cities and have been able to surround the people there with every modern convenience, but I contend that all this was done at the expense of the real producer of wealth. For that reason, under existing conditions, with the present high cost of living and the unrest that prevails, and with the cry that is made on every hand in the country, of " Back to the land," it seems to me that if we are to make any progress in the right direction there must be a marked change. What is the condition in my province to-day respecting the people on the land? We have fewer actual farmers in Saskatchewan to-day than there have been homesteads entered for. Some will say that many of these homesteads were taken by people who never intended to occupy them. Well, in reply to this assertion, I will ask: Was it ever known that people ran away from a good thing? I never knew any one who would do so, and I will tell you, Sir, regardless of what may be said by gentlemen in eastern Canada who seem to be better informed about farming conditions in the West than the people who are actually engaged in that calling there, that the people as a whole are not prosperous. I believe that the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) made the statement the other day in this House that in a certain county in this province there were abandoned farms.
I do not know anything about that, but one thing I do know, the same conditions prevail in Ontario as in Saskatchewan, and there are fewer rural residents in Ontario to-day by many thousands than there were ten years ago. We must get at the cause of this condition of things, for, as I have remarked, no one will reject anything that is to his advantage. In my opinion, the first step towards a solution of our difficulties would be to make Canada a cheap country to live in. If we can accomplish that, you will get the people on the land and increase your production, thereby reducing the cost of living. This may take some time, but it must be done. The hon. member for Frontenac referred to a resolution which was