June 19, 1919

CON

Richard Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

No, not finished. Article 444 that I called the hon. member's attention to admits free of duty mould boards, shares or plough plates, etc., when they are cut to shape, but not moulded, punched, polished or otherwise manufactured. That is the plain sheet.

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UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

With no purpose whatever to retard the item, I would like to say one word with regard to a remark from my hon. friend from Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt). There was not a syllable I uttered which would indicate in regard to the matter before the House that I spoke for any one else than the farmers of the entire Dominion. I have as much sympathy with the difficulties, and especially the early difficulties, which were enormous, of the farmers of Ontario as with those of the farmers of the West. I think my hon. friend from Brantford will find that the point I tried to raise in a perfectly courteous and parliamentary way, drawing my illustration from the West, is interesting the farmers of Ontario to-day just as much as it is the farmers of the West. I am no sectional man in this matter: I believe-we all believe, that agriculture is the basic industry of the entire country. I just wanted to say that in a perfectly courteous but firm way to my hon. friend. I do not understand what good purpose he wanted to serve in calling my attention to the rather elementary fact in Canadian history that there have been roots taken out of the soil in Ontario.

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L LIB
UNION

Alfred Thompson

Unionist

Mr. ALFRED THOMPSON:

I have a

matter that I would like to call to the attention of the Minister of Finance, although I am not quite sure that I am in order in doing so. lit is in regard to the admission of machinery into this country for the development of new industries. If there is one thing more than another that we should encourage at the present time and for many years, to come, I think it is the development of new industries. I am advised that we have very large deposits of shale in this country from which oil of a very good quality may be procured. I am also advised that there is a duty upon the machinery which would have to be imported for the treatment of the shale. If that is so, and I believe I am correct, it seems to me that It would be the part of wisdom for the Finance Minister

and the Government and the people of Canada generally to encourage this industry, which is hardly established in our country, by absolutely removing the duty on any machinery required to reduce the shale from which oil may be procured.

I will give you an' instance, Mr. Chairman, of what occurred in the territory which I represent in regard to dredging. Many years ago dredging was in its infancy in the Yukon; to-day it is a highly developed branch of the mining industry. When w7e were looking around for capital to invest in the gold dredging industry of the Yukon to mine our low grade gravel, we found that one of the obstacles to the investment of capital was the duty on gold mining dredges. There were practically no gold mining dredges in Canada at that time, or at least very few. I went to the then Finance Minister, the predecessor of my hon. friend, and explained the situation to him. He removed the duty. The immediate result of that was that we succeeded in establishing in the Yukon a very profitable industry in the way of gold dredging, in which to-day I think we have invested probably $4,000,000. We have two of the largest gold dredging machines in the world, machines that will dredge 14,000 cubic yards per day.

'We have many minerals in the Yukon besides gold. We have tungsten, which is to-day a very valuable mineral; but in order to mine it successfully in competition with the other countries of production we have to have machinery, and that machinery is not now manufactured in Canada. Therefore I think it would be wise for us to permit machinery of that kind to come in free. We have antimony, copper, tin, and platinum-all these require a certain quantity of machinery to mine successfully.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Are the machines you speak of made in Canada?

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UNION

Alfred Thompson

Unionist

Mr. A. THOMPSON:

No. That is the point I am making, that these machines are not manufactured in Canada. If the minister cannot see his way clear to put these machines on the free list now, I hope he will do so when the tariff is being revised, as I understand it is likely to be within the present year. I am satisfied, from the experience we have had in the Yukon, that any legislation of that kind will bring excellent rewards.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I would like to say a word along the line of my hon. friend from the Yukon. In the constituency which I represent we have, perhaps, the largest and

the purest deposits of feldspar in the Dominion. Most of that feldspar is mined and sent in the crude state to the United States,-where it is ground into the finished article, and that ground feldspar is then shipped back to Canada to be used in processes here. A few years ago one of the companies operating in my county undertook to put up a plant for grinding the feldspar locally. I made representations to the Department of Customs and asked that the machinery for that purpose, which was not made in Canada. be allowed to come in free of duty, for the reason that we were endeavouring to start an entirely new industry. That request was acceded to and the new industry was established. I think that is a step in the right direction. I entirely concur with the remarks of my hon. friend, though I do not see the necessity, perhaps, of putting the item on the free list. A remission of duty might be made to those desiring to introduce machinery for the purpose of establishing new industries.

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UNION

John Frederick Johnston

Unionist

Mr. JOHNSTON:

Before we leave this item, I would like to refer to the matter in this light. The hon. minister, I believe, said that if the rate of duty had been reduced beyond the point herein outlined many of these manufacturing concerns would have had to close down, necessitating workmen, being laid off.

thorn the other standpoint, we must take into consideration, as pointed out by the hon. member for Maple Creek (Mr. Maharg) and the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. M. Clark), the fact that the plough is the one implement every man going on to the land must have. That is the starting point, and if he finds that this implement is costing him more than he can afford to pay, that is likely to keep many people from going on to the land. As pointed out by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Henders), there are in Canada few manufacturers of ploughs. A manufacturer is manufacturing ploughs and has to have a tariff of 17j per cent, and yet at the same time he is manufacturing cultivators and harrows and is getting along with a tariff of 15 per cent on those articles, I cannot understand why there should be these different rates. If he can get along with a tariff of 15 per cent on cultivators, I think, as pointed out by the hon. member for Red Deer, the tariff should be reversed and the 15 per cent duty charged on ploughs.

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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

We have got into a general discussion on the tariff, and I am not going away from the actual question

before the committee now, but I wish to say this, in connection with these reductions on agricultural implements for the benefit of the people of the West, that I am a firm believer in a national policy and the encouragement of industries of all kinds in Canada. But I want to tell the manufacturers of Canada that there will be much greater agitation for still further reductions if they as a body throughout this country, endorse the resolution that was passed in Toronto the other day against public ownership - of railways. If that is traced back to the so-called reconstruction organization in Toronto which is dealing *with tariff questions, there will be more demand in this country for tariff reductions of this kind than there ever was in the past, and that will all come out of this fact, that the manufacturers of Ontario, from their association assembled in Toronto the other day, called upon the Government to go no further in the matter of public ownership of railways. Perhaps they were trying to prevent the taking over of the Grand Trunk. It will get very rapidly into the minds of the people of the West, as it will into mine, why the manufacturers should step aside from their special mission in order to warn this Government and this Parliament, which has the jurisdiction in this case, that they must not go any further in the matter of public ownership of railways.

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Mr. P ED LO W@

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Is my hon. friend's idea that they should all be subject ito a duty of 17) per cent?

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Mr. P ED LO W@

No, I think they should all be subject to a duty of 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 15 per cent.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

The reason why I asked that question was because my hon. friend apparently last night was willing to let them stay at 20 peT cent. I do not understand how he can advocate a reduction now and say he wants them all reduced to 15 per cent. He certainly put himself on record as being opposed to the reduction which is being made.

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Mr. P ED LO W@

If would be well for the hon. member to explain how he arrives at that conclusion.

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CON

Richard Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

The variation in duties is not peculiar to this partial revision of the schedule. ' The variation has existed foT many years.

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Mr. P ED LO W@

Why?

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CON

Richard Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I explained a few moments ago, I think, pretty fully as to why. My predecessor, the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) had, under his tariff of 1907, a duty on binders of 17) per cent, and upon cultivators, ploughs, harrows, etc., of 20 per cent. (I am quoting the general tariff.) Upon hay loaders, potato diggers, fodder or feed cutters, etc., the duty under his tariff was 25 per cent.

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L LIB
CON

Richard Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

No, it is not twenty-two years ago, if I may correct my hon. friend; it is twelve years ago, but many modifications have been made since then. For example, we have been able to reduce the duty on binders to 12) per cent, as I stated a little while ago. Many facts must be taken into consideration. In the first place, there is the question of market, and of volume of business capable of being transacted. For example, the Massey-Har-ris Company, which is one of the largest concerns in the world, has an immense overseas trade, and I need not tell hon. members that the cost of production depends upon the volume of business. In the case of the International Harvester Company and the Massey Harris Company in connection with a standard article like

binders, the duty required after taking into account the duties on raw materials, is not as high as upon an article like a plough which is subject to highly competitive conditions in this country and where the export volume is not as great as in the case of the other article. All these facts have to be taken into account by a Minister of Finance in adjusting the tariff. We might as well make a plain statement about the matter. I think the previous Minister of Finance would say, as I say, that, if today, without taking the duty practically off everything that enters into production, we should substantially reduce those duties say five or ten per cent, wg would close up those plants. Hon. gentlemen might say: Close them up. There are $70,000,000 invested in those plants, and they employ thousands of men. I will give to the Committee an example that I have in mind at the moment. A year or so ago, in the interest of increased production, we put tractors valued at $1,400 and under upon the free list. Those engaged in the business suffered an immediate and very heavy loss last year, and a great part of the machinery which was manufacturing before is still closed down to-day, and many men have been thrown out of work. The condition of that industry is at present precarious in the extreme, and we can bring all those others to the same condition by just taking the duty off, but I submitted to the House yesterday and I submit to the Committee to-day: Is it in the national interest to do so?

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UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. M. CLARK:

I should be very sorry to admit that the minister has, in the last utterance we have heard from him, exhausted the statesmanlike wisdom of which he is capable on this question. I do not believe that the men who are making ploughs are of such weak fibre as my hon-friend represents. I refuse to believe that. I have a personal acquaintance with some hon. gentlemen who are engaged in the plough business and those of them that I know are very, very strong men, men of good fibre. I am sure they would not be put out of business so easily.

There is another side to this question about putting men out of business and throwing men out of work. Is my hon. friend aware that 4,000,000 people have come to Canada since the year 1900? I have heard that phrase " national policy " thrown about here this morning, as if we were not in favour of a national policy. I am tired of hearing that phrase, as if it were the exclusive possession of one particular school of political thought. I believe in a national policy, beginning from the farm upwards, beginning from the coal and the steel and the iron, which we have just had an illustration of in one of the schedules which we passed this morning. Four million people have come to Canada since 1900, but our total population has not appreciably increased in that time-Would it not be a true national policy to find out what is sending these men out ot the country almost as fast as they are coming in? That is the other side to this question, and I submit to the minister, rather more emphatically than I need perhaps. but I can assure him that I speak in emphasis and not in anger, that it is worth looking into. I do not like to be personal in this matter, but I should like to ask my hon. friend from Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) if he really believes that the people who are engaged in the plough business are such weak specimens of Canadians that the taking off of the 2* per cent necessary to put ploughs on the same level as manure spreaders, harrows, drill0, and other implements would put these great manufacturing concerns out of business in Canada. I do not believe it, and that is pretty straight talk. I do not believe for a moment that it would put them out of business; I am too good a Canadian to believe it, I believe that Canadians have a little power of competition in them. They were able to compete on the battlefield, and I shall believe in their power of competition in the plough factory, until it seems they are not of the same type of Canadians as competed elsewhere.

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June 19, 1919