May 22, 1923

LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

Therefore perhaps I can speak with a little more freedom in this regard than can some of the hon members who were present at the convention.

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The Budget-Mr. Maclean (Halifax)

The tariff policy enunciated at that convention is not before me at the moment, but in general terms it declared in favour of an increase in the British preference and for substantial reductions on specified articles. I do not hesitate to say that it is unwise for any party convention to write a tariff schedule. It is not their business and they cannot do it; and I should say very frankly and emphatically of the Liberals who were gathered together at that time-I know them, and I do not want to say anything that is not inspired by kindness so far as they are concerned-that they could not possibly have been in a position to write a tariff schedule then. It was their duty to declare themselves upon matters of policy and nothing else. I say the same thing, too, about the policy, the platform, of hon. gentlemen opposite; they were equally foolish. If those hon. gentlemen came into office to-morrow they could not carry out their programme; and if I were to lead them through that door yonder, one by one, I am sure they would agree with me in that statement. I should hardly expect them to do so collectively before the piiblic, however. I have not the slightest doubt that in regard to their policy pretty nearly every hon. gentleman opposite me disagrees emphatically with one or more of the planks of their platform; I have too high an opinion of them individually and collectively to believe otherwise. At the same time I am not criticizing the main principle running through their platform, and I repeat that political parties are perfectly within their rights and are only performing their duty by the public in a proper manner when they declare themselves on certain principles in relation to public policy. But they have no right to deal with details, and if they do so they are bound to find themselves in serious trouble later on.

I might say more about hon. gentlemen of the opposition. There is not much use in their declaring before the public that they have been always consistent either as regards their general programme or in respect of its details. Take the tariff declarations of the Liberal-Conservative party, called the National Liberal and Conservative party; you could put anything into it or take anything out of it, and probably it was designed to facilitate operations of that kind. At the same time, however, it is only fair to say that the Conservative party have been consistently strong protectionists. Now, is it not easy to discern a distinction between the tariff policy of the Liberal party, say, and that of the Conservative party in Canada?

fMr. A. K. Maclean.]

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I know that my hon. friends who say, "no", do not mean it, but they cannot provoke me away from my argument by such an interruption. The Conservative party have been consistently protectionists, except for slight variations and departures at certain times when it appeared politically advantageous to them to make a detour. They use very old-fashioned arguments in support of protection and if I were supporting a tariff policy I would find a better ground on which to advocate it. Last evening an hon. gentleman in the Conservative ranks spoke somewhat in this way: "If we buy goods in a foreign country we send our money away to help build up that country." Well, that is the idea of an antediluvian; I could make a better protectionist speech myself, or at least I could give more convincing arguments in favour of protection. That is absurd, because we do not send money away. If we send goods away we have to get goods back; the imports and exports must in the main balance. We must have trade; and a lot of this loose thinking is perhaps due to the fact that it is not countries who buy and sell; it is only people who do so. Why, the leader of the Opposition during the general election in 1921 had prominently exposed upon his political literature a statement attributed to Abraham Lincoln, that if you buy from abroad you have the goods, but you have lost your money; but if you buy at home you have your goods and you have your money too. As a matter of fact, Lincoln never said so, because he was always too wise and too well informed upon economics. I only refer to this to show that the Conservative party are- I was going to say poor thinkers. But they are pronounced protectionists now, and if their statements are to be believed they expect to remain so, because they do not think it is wise for us to trade with the people of other countries, or perhaps, speaking more accurately, they do not believe in the people of Canada doing business with anybody else; for that is what it gets down to.

What is the position of the Liberal party? It may be quite true to say that while Liberal ministries have been in power we have had an element of protection in our tariff. Hon. gentlemen opposite say if they came into office there would still be an element of protection in the tariff. They have said that time and again. It is in their platform. Even in their amendment to the budget they recognize the probability of that element being continued; but they say protection

The Budget-Mr. Maclean (Halifax)

should not be granted unless the applicant comes before a parliamentary committee and makes good his request for protection. That is simply the tariff board idea. They have it in the United States, and it is, I think, a pretty good way of perpetuating protection. I would hardly agree to it myself. At the same time, I think I am well within the mark when I say that Liberal governments have from time to time reduced the tariff, that they have always expressed the view that the principle of protection is wrong and that it should be the aim and purpose of the people of every country to some day reach a free trade basis. It is a mental outlook if it is nothing else.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Mr MACLEAN (Halifax):

A man may believe in the efficacy and soundness of free trade or low tariffs and yet find it impossible of accomplishment by reason of the past economic policy of his country, or by reason of conditions of one kind and another which are beyond his control. There is no occasion for my hon. friend opposite to laugh. I am not propounding any new philosophy; they themselves believe in it. For instance, during the past few weeks I was surprised to find so many hon. gentlemen among the Progressive group urging that we should carry coal from Alberta to Ontario. I have not much faith in the proposal myself, although I think it is well that it should be studied so that in the event of a recurrence of conditions such as prevailed last year in relation to our coal supply the government would be ready to meet the situation. The average member from Alberta to-day, I suppose, would support the policy of taking coal from Alberta to Ontario, but at the same time he and his colleagues know it can only be done by adding to the railway deficit and taxing the people.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

The hon. gentleman makes the statement that members from Alberta know coal could not foe transported to Ontario without adding to the railway deficit. How do they know? The question is open for discussion. The hon. gentleman is assuming that members in this quarter of the House are willing to grant a bonus to the railways for the carriage of such coal; but he has no information to that effect.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I would think that pretty nearly every hon. gentleman opposite knows-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

You do not know what they know.

191 i

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Mr MACLEAN (Halifax):

I hope my hon. friend will not take offence at my remarks, they are not intended to offend him. I am ascribing to him a measure of intelligence which I hope he will not refuse to acknowledge. I want to say it must be common knowledge that it is not possible to carry coal from .Alberta to Ontario except at a rate which would be unprofitable to the railways, and that this loss would have to be made up in some way or another by the people of Canada generally. I regret that such is the fact. I am not criticizing my hon. friends opposite I am only attempting to show that they are only human and think much like the rest of us do.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Daniel Webster Warner

Progressive

Mr. WARNER:

Have you read diligently the evidence given before the coal committee?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I have not read it diligently, I have not read it at all, and 1 do not expect ever to do so; but I have read some of it and have discussed the matter wuh men who hold very practical views in regard to it, and their views were of much greater assistance to me than would be a perusal cf all the evidence.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Daniel Webster Warner

Progressive

Mr. WARNER:

Do you think it would be a good idea to withhold criticism until after the conference at Winnipeg and until the committee have made a report?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I think after that conference and everything else is closed my hon. friend will agree with me that I am a pretty accurate prophet in respect to this particular matter.

Now, taking the record of the Liberal party and going back to the year 1896, I submit to this House and particularly to hon. gentlemen opposite me, that it supports the view I was expressing a few moments ago, namely, that very important reductions of the tariff generally have been made while the Liberal party were in office. In 1897 the preferential tariff was brought into effect. That

9 p.m. was a tremendous change in the tariff policy of the country. The opponents of the Liberal party of that day said this preferential tariff would have a disastrous effect upon our industries. This important and substantial reduction would never have originated from the Conservative party. It still continues, and I think it should be regarded as evidence of the desire of those who believe in the greatest possible freedom of trade to bring it about as time, conditions and circumstances permit. Then came 1911 when the Liberal party of that day committed themselves to a policy of a

3010 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Maclean (Halifax)

trade treaty with the United States. Surely that was evidence of a desire on the part of the leaders and parliamentary supporters of the Liberal party to encourage the greatest freedom of trade possible between Canada and the United States. Some hon. gentlemen sitting directly opposite me opposed that move on the part of the Liberal party. I understand that the new member who came to us recently from Moose Jaw (Mr. Hopkins) -who spoke last night and whom we were all glad to hear-was one of those who in 1911 opposed the trade agreement with the United States.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

That is one of the inaccurate statements that were widely spread over the constituency during the recent campaign. I want to say, on the personal authority of the hon. member, that he did not vote against reciprocity.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. ANDREW McMASTER (Brome):

Mr. Speaker, before I enter upon the remarks which I have prepared to address to this House this evening there are some matters which have cropped up during the debate to which I would like to devote a very short period of time.

I am sorry the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) is not in his place, because I propose to direct a few observations in his direction. He has always treated me, since I have been a member of this House, with distinguished courtesy, and I would desire to return courtesy with courtesy; and the criticism I offer to a few of the remarks he made this afternoon is criticism directed in that temper. But I was sorry for something the right hon. gentleman dropped this afternoon. It was his remark concerning the highly esteemed and regarded member for Queen's (Mr. Sinclair), the minister without portfolio. It is true that that

hon. gentleman's voice is not often heard in the debates in this chamber, but those who have sat by him day after day in the no less exacting and, perhaps, important work of committees know how sound is his intelligence, how wise his discretion, how limitless his industry.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

In the absence of the leader of the Opposition I think I should say that my hon. friend is entirely

mistaken.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Oh no, he is not. We all heard him this afternoon.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Perhaps the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) will reserve his comment until I have concluded my explanation. He is entirely mistaken. What the leader of the Opposition was referring to was the imputed position in which the free trade members of the government, those gentlemen that believe in a low tariff, found themselves-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, no.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

May 22, 1923