May 5, 1926

LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I thought I had dealt with that question. I will say, just in reply to the question, that I do not think there was any doubt in the minds of any member of the ministry as to what ought to be done in connection with the tariff on automobiles. I believe the reason the question was not referred to the Tariff Advisory Board was because the consensus of opinion within the ministry was absolutely and unqualifiedly in favour of reducing the tariff instead of referring the question to a tariff board and thus wasting time and mulcting the people of the country of millions of dollars.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

The reason it should have been referred is because the Prime Minister made a pledge that it would be, and officially confirmed that pledge in the Speech from the Throne.

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I did not understand that he did, but if he made a pledge he would certainly be man enough to carry it out.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

If he could.

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I believe the tariff cut on automobiles had to be done at once. It should have been done a year ago. The

The Budget-Mr. McIntosh

feeling of the ministry was that it was useless to waste another year; why not tackle the problem at once and have it settled? If this tariff cut is not fair, if it is against the true interests of the automobile industry of Canada, the facts in relation to that industry can be investigated later on and if the results are going to be as our hon. friends say, namely, the ruination of the industry, it will be possible to take action in that connection. I do not however think it will be necessary to do so.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Has the hon. gentleman ever learned the reasons why the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and their colleagues have changed their minds since last year?

Mr. McINTO'SH: I would like the hon. member to inform me on that question. I am always ready to learn.

Mr. CAHAN; I do not know. I have been waiting to find out some reason why they have changed their minds. I am asking if my hon. friend knows.

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

It is not very important in any case. The important thing is that the tariff is cut and the people are going to reap the benefit. I believe the Tariff Advisory Board will be an important department. I do not say it is going to be the saviour commercially of the people of this country, but I believe it is worth while experimenting with it. The success of the tariff board will to a large extent depend upon the way in which its members will carry out their duties. If they go at their work with a will, investigate in a national way every question that comes before them and do their best by the industry and the people of this country, they will do a great deal of good and will justify the establishment of the board from year to year.

I have in my hand an article which I am not going to read, but which I would like to place on Hansard. It is from the pen of Mr. Alexander Smith, "Barrister at Law, Ottawa. This opinion is taken from a publication entitled "A period of New Beginnings for Liberalism." It was written in 1921 and the statements which follow are important because they are in line with the pronouncements of the present government and because they contain facts which are important to the customs tariff and other methods of public taxation. The article is in accordance with the appointment of a tariff board and in line with any government taking action toward the adoption of new methods of meeting public questions and meeting them successfully.

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CON

Ernest Frederick Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton):

Does the hon. gentleman understand that the article is prepared by a man who was the chief organizer of the Liberal party for many years?

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I understand that fully.

I was looking at the question from the standpoint not of any particular organization but of the product the man brought out. I was looking upon it from the standpoint not of what party he belonged to or of what he had done for any party, but of a pronouncement of a citizen of Canada. The article is as follows:

As far as possible taxation should be direct and unconcealed so that each taxpayer may know what he is doing and may be able, by his style and scale of living to dictate the measure and ratio of his taxation:

The customs tariff, the largest source of revenue, should, before being submitted to the judgment of parliament, be immediately and searchingly revised line by line, word by word, and rate by rate by fair and open-minded men (not by a partisan minister and officials coached by special cliques and interests) with a full and clear understanding of all essentiail facts pertaining to each industry, so that in the framing of the new rates the 'interests of the revenue should be paramount, and that incidentally all round justice be Tendered, in a spirit of compromise, .which is the true basis of wise 'legislation where there are conflicting interests.

Immediate efforts should be made to reconcile any divergent views of the east and the west, and thereby improve -the path to united national effort.

The day is gone when any sect, clique, interest, class or body of men, east or west, can be permitted to impose their uncompromising will on the rest of the people.

In the framing of measures for securing revenue special attention should be given to the wealth created for individuals by the involuntary co-operative methods of communities, and not by the efforts of the individuals themselves.

The Ottawa Citizen makes the following comment on this opinion:

The publication of this pamphlet and the discussions which took place generally on the matter of a tariff board have helped .the government to gauge public opinion and appoint a board such as anticipated.

In conclusion I w'ould like to deal with the question of the British preferential tariff. The British preferential tariff was introduced in 1897; in 18198 it was increased from i to 215 per cent and in 1900 it was increased to 33^ per cent. That tariff to-day is wrapped up with the fiscal policy of Canada, the motherland and other parts of the empire. The Liberal party of the day in making a move in the direction of a preferential tariff took an important step forward in the history of Canada or the British Empire. Not only did it link up Canada more successfully with the United Kingdom and other portions of the empire, but it developed in this

312G

The Budget-Mr. McIntosh

country a greater power not only in productivity but in introducing a competition that benefited the people of Canada by millions of dollars, made us a great exporting nation, and gave us a new viewpoint in the way of trade between ourselves, other portions of the empire and foreign countries.

I said before that the Conservative party had mooted the question time and again but that they did not take action upon it. The Liberal party took action and I believe this preferential' tariff which has been a great means of regulating prices in this country, has helped to place Canada since 1913 in the position of making the greatest gain of any country in the world in the way of trade. This success has been based upon three factors : first, the continuance of the British preference; secondly, the fact that the Conservative government after the war did not dare to raise the tariff; and, in the third place, the fact that the Liberal administration since 1921 has been moving in the direction of a fair tariff for all Canada. These are the three factors which have contributed to the upbuilding of our foreign trade and the development of our industry, and to reinforce this argument I should like to place on Hansard the following series of figures. The first table, taken from the trade returns, shows the imports from and exports to Great Britain, including the period since the adoption of the British preference:

Great Britain

Year Imports Exports1S6S $ 37,617,325 $ 17,905,8081818

37,252,769 45.917,6931883

51,679,762 47.011,1801896

32,824,505 66,689,2531911

109,934,753 136,962,9711922

117,135,343 300,363,1931925

151,083,946 397,168,048

It will be noted that the imports in 1868 and 1878 are almost the same there being a decrease for the latter year approximating half a million dollars. Exports show an increase of $28,000,000 odd.

The following table shows the percentages of increase or decrease in imports and exports from 1878 to 1925:

Imports

1878-1883 show increase approximately 46 per cent.

1883-1896 show decrease approximately 36 per cent.

1878-1896 show decrease approximately 10 per cent in 18 years.

1896-1911 show increase 240 per cent.

1922-1925 (3 years) show increase 33 per cent.

Exports

1878-1883 show increase 46 per cent.

1S96-1911 show increase approximately 100 per cent.

1922-1925 show increase 33| per cent.

The following table shows the total imports and exports, all countries, for different fiscal years between 1878 and 1926:

All Countries

Year Exports Exports

1878.. .. $ 79,154.678

1896.. .. .. .. 105,361,161 116,314.5431911.. .. .. .. 452.724,603 290.000,2101922.. .. 753.927,0091925 .. .. 796.932,537 1,081,361,6431926.. .. .. .. 927,000,000 1,330,000,000Approximate Approximateincrease increase17 per cent 23 per cent

All Countries-Canadian Manufactured Goods Exports

Iron and its products, all 1922 1925countries

Iron and its products, to $28,312,272 $57,405,940United States

Iron and its products, to 4,693,020 5,063,148United Kingdom

Included in item of and its products to iron all 4,758,888 6.689,169

countries are vehicles, such as automobiles, railway cars, bicycles and parts,

tractors, etc 12,113,847 31,401,839

Agricultural implements,

mowers, binders reapers, hay rakes, cream separators, cultivators, harrows, drills, ploughs, threshing

machines 5,345,308 11,342,712

Textiles and textile products such as cottons, woollens, linens, hemp, etc., gloves hats, caps, mitts, binder twine, underwear, clothing,

Literature-books etc 622,501 1,030,930Leather 406,585 682.714Rubber and its products.. 4,061.809 11,358,456Hardware and cutlery.. .. 1,253,124 2,150,475Machinery excepting agricultural (Calculating machines, lawn mowers, typewriting, washing machines) 2,581.018 5,043.581Stoves of all kinds 62,108 128,775All other iron and steel pro- ducts 516.649 1.104.277Aluminum and its products.. 1,571,913 5,910,547Brass and its products.. .. 355,784 907,149Copper *<6,329,105 12.722,677Lead 1,718,967 10.36S.130Electrical apparatus 485,321 1,585.511Total fertilizers 2 213,351 4,196,201Musical instruments 354.339 687,936Binder twine 431.128 1.562.942Pneumatic tires 2,721,819 6.183,491Inner tubes 1,012,130Imports Fertilizers 1.881,805 2.387,970Rubber and its products.. 3,325,006 3,248,042Raw rubber 18,952.465 34,386.858Pneumatic tires, tire casings.. 940,267 550,146Inner tubes 114,846 64,670I am placing these figures on Hansard to prove that Canada, far from being commer-

The Budget-Mr. Slansell

eially decadent, is developing more and more into a great exporting nation, and that under the benign influence of the preferential tariff and the wise policy of the Liberal government she will attain to still greater proportions commercially as the years go on.

Before I conclude I feel it my duty to discuss for a moment the vital question of Canadian unity, and in this connection I want to offer this opinion to the House and to the country, that there should be neither east nor west in Canada. I am reminded of a story once told by Abraham Lincoln. He said that he had heard of a certain bridge committee having been appointed to construct a bridge across a deep, wide and dangerous river. Contractors and architects were heard before the committee and after a certain number of meetings of the committee one member named Brown expressed the opinion that they had not made very much progress. He suggested that a certain friend of his, one Jones, be consulted, for Jones, he said, could build a bridge over any river. Jones was called upon and asked whether he could build the bridge across this particular river, and he replied with assurance that if necessary he could not only build the bridge in question but could also build one from there to the infernal regions. Upon his withdrawal from the meeting, Brown, on being interrogated by one of the members of the committee, expressed the view that if Jones said he could build a bridge to the infernal regions he could no doubt carry out the undertaking, but he, Brown, was doubtful about the abutment on the infernal side. Abraham Lincoln, applying the story to the subject he wgs discussing, said that he had been in touch with public men from all parts of the country and had tried to get their views upon the great question of securing the union of the northern and southern wings of American democracy. He said he was of the opinion that it could be done, but he was rather doubtful about the abutment on the southern side. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that is pretty much the way it is in Canada. The people of the east feel that unity is quite feasible but for the difficulty of the abutment on the western side. Similarly the people of the west are doubtful about the abutment in the east. Now we must get together and devise some means of bridging east and west, and before this can be done we must banish all sectionalism. Only in this way can we build up a great and united Dominion.

Perhaps I might venture to put in the form of a parable the position in which any gov-14011-1995

ernment of the country would find itself under conditions such as prevail at present. Suppose any hon. member in this House had sold all his earthly possessions and had committed the gold he got in return to the care of some man, who, having it upon his person, was given the task of crossing the Niagara gorge on a tight-wire. While that man was balancing himself on the wire would we proceed to badger him, to rock the wire and advise him to bow a little to the east this time, then a little to the west, next a little to the north, and then a little to the south, to stand up straight, to go a little slower or a little faster? I do not think so. We would do our best to encourage him until he had reached the other side in safety. That, Mr. Speaker, is somewhat like our position politically to-day. We have got practically to bridge a political gorge, we have to do that wisely and well, and I believe we shall do so if we remember the substance of the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier when standing by the bier of Sir John A. Macdonald, the greatest father of confederation:

Let not our grief be anxious grief. Let us rather give to confederation, the instrument which Macdonald brought info existence, our love, our admiration and our solid support. If we do that Canada shall and will live forever.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that if we can unite in such a way as to do our best for the national welfare we will bridge the gorge between the east and the west, and by doing that we will ensure a still greater future for this Dominion, we will make it a still more splendid part of the British crown, and in the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, we can rest assured that Canada shall and will live forever.

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. L. STANSELL (Norfolk-Elgin):

Mr. Speaker, the opening part of the speech of the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. McIntosh) reminds me of the practice of promoters of certain wildcat companies in seeking to use the name of an eminently respectable man as an honorary director so that his reputation may inspire confidence in the public to buy the worthless stock placed on the market by those wily gentlemen. The desperate effort of the hon. member to couple the name of Providence with the acts of this government, however much it might, under certain circumstances, increase the use of would not tend to increase the reverence in which that name is held.

While I cannot congratulate the Minister of Finance upon all the provisions of his budget, I can offer him my sincere congratulations on the practical and brief form of its presentation. I go further, Mr. Speaker, I would welcome

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

a change in the rules of this House to limit the speeches of private members to thirty minutes except by unanimous consent. The result would be beneficial in every way, it would expedite the sessional work, and would increase the respect in which this House is held by our people from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and last, but not least, such a rule would be of distinct benefit to the member himself whenever he had occasion to state his views. If the ideas contained in most of our speeches were compressed into thirty or forty minutes instead of being stretched out over two or more hours-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Sometimes five hours.

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

-those speeches would not so much remind us of the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Before touching on the budget proper, Sir I desire to review briefly the general situation m this House. I do not propose to enumerate the platform pledges of the government and its supporters when the last parliament was dissolved; they are common knowledge. We were told that problems which pressed for solution could only be dealt with by a government commanding a strong majority in the House. We all know after the new parliament was convened why changes were made in the Speech from the Throne. We may take it for granted that the results of the election were a distinct disappointment to the Prime Minister, who selected his own time for appealing to the country, and who named the issues which made the election necessary. He himself was defeated as were most of his ministers. With the calling of the members together to decide which party should be given the responsibility of government, I have no fault whatever to find, but I do criticize the methods adopted to secure that deciding vote. We well know that in the speech which was put into the mouth of His Excellency the Governor General certain issues were included that were not before the country in October, but it was believed that they might be acceptable to certain groups in this House, and they were incorporated in the hope that a sufficient number of votes would be secured to enable the defeated party to carry on. Even that was not considered sufficient to ensure support ; we were told by the Minister of Customs and Excise (Mr. Boivin) that voting for the Address itself would not be construed by the government as a vote of confidence! Under those conditions a small majority was secured by the government which now occupies the treasury benches.

_ It is possible to make water run up hill only in limited quantities, and by paying the price.

I submit to you, Sir, that under the conditions which prevailed when we were called together early in January there was only one precedent that this House should have established-that the group having the largest number of members should be given an opportunity to form a government. I know it was frequently stated by members and supporters of the present government that there was no way of harmonizing the views of the Conservative party with those entertained by other parties in the House. Well, the only proof was to make the effort. I assert without hesitation that, regardless of party considerations, when there are a number of groups in the House, the only sound and logical course to pursue is to give to the largest group the first opportunity to form a government. Then if that largest group in the Speech from the Throne enunciated a policy that failed to secure the approval of a sufficient number of hon. members, the second largest group should be given an opportunity to see what they could do, and in case of their failure we might appeal to the country again. But in giving the second largest group control we are attempting to make water run up hill, and for this unnatural action we must pay the price.

A part of the price in this instance will be the practical annihilation of the Progressive or Independent party. Like myself, Mr. Speaker, you were here during the sessions of the last parliament; we well know how often and how ably members of the Independent group to my left contributed to the work of the House and frequently offered constructive criticism. But let me point out to you, Sir, that during this session the proverbial oyster is a shrieking siren as compared to the silence in that corner of the House. The charge has frequently been made in the past that the Independent or Progressive party are nothing more than camouflaged Liberals. I was never inclined to adopt that view, but rather gave them some credit for being an independent party. From one end of Canada to the other to-day, however, you would have difficulty in making people believe that that is not so, and that is a part of the price the Progressive party will pay for the mistake made early in January. But, Sir, what concerns me most is the price the people of Canada must pay for the lack of business administration, the disturbance of industry and the general uncertainty prevailing at present, which will continue to obtain while this government, with its present policy, retains power.

It is impossible to speak in this budget debate without referring to protection. I am always interested in the arguments adduced

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

on both sides of the House, and it is sometimes wondered why this argument never ends, and why someone does not establish which side is right, I think the reason is self-evident. When a man, for various reasons, has grown up imbued with free trade or protective ideas, he approaches all arguments of this kind looking only for proof in support of his own belief, and for that reason rve are never enabled to come to a sound conclusion. I think, however, that we can well afford to look at a few essential facts which do not admit of argument. Let me say at the outset that I believe protection is the settled policy of Canada, and in spite of arguments made in this House, in spite of the personal beliefs of other hon. members,

I believe Canada wull continue to maintain protection as a settled policy. The time has arrived when it is vitally necessary to announce that policy to the world in general, in order that everyone may know what is our policy. We have only to look at some of the highly protected countries to realize that in those countries there is very little unemployment, wages are comparatively high and goods are cheap. We have only to consider our nearest, neighbour for proof of those statements, and when we accept those essential facts we must surely realize the futility of advocating free trade for a country such as Canada. As proof of that we have, I submit, the determined requests and repeated arguments on the part of those who profess to believe in free trade for a lowering of our tariff barriers, in order to permit cheap goods produced under high wage conditions to enter from the United States. That shows, I submit, how foolish is the argument that protection increases prices. I admit that that is so under certain circumstances, but it is not always the case. Those countries which have consistently pursued a policy of protection find themselves to-day almost without exception with very little unemployment, with a satisfactory scale of wages and the ability to produce cheap goods in large quantities. So much is that the case with our neighbour to the south that we look upon her with jealous eyes, and some of us advocate a reduction of duties in order that we may purchase these cheap goods, produced in a highly protected country.

Having declared that protection is the settled policy of Canada, or that such should be the case, our main concern must be to see that, so far as it is humanly possible, it is equally and fairly distributed. This has not always been the case in the past, but let me say that the policy of the Conservative party, as I conceive it, is not one applying to individuals or separate interests but one which considers rather the protection of Canada as a whole, and we should approach discussion of this subject in that spirit only.

Why should we have a protective policy at all? Let me remind hon. members of this well known fact, that there are certain expenses incidental to all methods and forms of government. We pay certain municipal taxes, school taxes, direct or indirect provincial taxes, as well as federal taxes. These comprise our contribution to the expense of government, to the overhead necessary to run the business of this Dominion. The man who comes to Canada and invests his capital in Canadian enterprise or industry, whether in a farm, a factory or a mine, assumes his share of that overhead and pays without complaint his share of the expenses of the country. In return for that payment he receives, or should receive, the privilege of supplying goods to the home market. The producer of similar goods in any other country who gains possession of our market pays nothing in taxation and does not carry one ounce of the load of taxation; that market to him is a free gift. I say without hesitation that the average protection Canada should have, the very least under which she can exist, is a protection sufficiently high in favour of the home worker and producer to enable him to carry that burden. Then and then only, is he placed on a parity with his competitor from outside.

It has been calculated that the total amount of our overhead, including all forms of government, is about 17 per cent of our production, and therefore the least possible protection Canada should have must average about 17 per cent. As a matter of fact we do not have more than that at present. When we consider the question in this light we realize that all through the past years Conservative and Liberal governments, no matter what their policies or professions were, when faced with the responsibilities of office have kept the measure of protection at about that level. That explains why the Laurier-Fielding government, which was largely elected on a policy of free trade, not onfy kept the average at that level, but in certain particulars raised it, so in the general result the average during that period was fully as high as, if not higher than under the Macdonald tariff. .

I venture to assert that if the Progressive party or my friends from Saskatchewan who profess to believe in the merits of free trade were suddenly faced with the responsibility of government, knowing all the facts of the case they would not have the courage to re-

The Budget-Mr. StanseU

duce the tariff very much below its present level. As I said before, there may be certain cases where the tariff is a little too high, but there are many other cases, and these apply particularly to farm products, where the level is ,too low. I believe that a measure of protection should be extended fairly to every industry and every class of production in this Dominion. Until we realize and announce to ourselves-it may be necessary for some of us first to convert ourselves-that protection is necessary, and until we announce to the world that protection fairly distributed is the settled policy of this country, Canada will never enjoy the prosperity and progress to which she is entitled.

I know that very frequently we are met with the argument, in support of reductions in taxation, that we must have trade, that we cannot sell unless we buy. I want to ask my friends from the west this: Is not trade between Saskatchewan and Ontario or between Manitoba and Quebec just as valuable ,to the provinces concerned as trade between those western provinces and any states in the American union? And is not this inter-provincial trade of infinitely greater benefit to Canada as a whole? These are questions that I think should be considered; these are facts that I think cannot be disputed. If Canada is made prosperous by a protective policy such as that, if we announce to the world once for all that Canada is a protective country and will look after the interests of the men and women .whom we hope to attract to our shores, if we assure those who have capital to invest that they will be fairly treated and their interests safeguarded if they invest in this country, our problem of immigration will be largely solved. We can spend millions trying to induce people to come to this country, but so long as we have a government that from the ambush of cabinet secrecy snipes here and there at the various industries of this country, and with none knowing where the blow will next fall, there will always be an element of uncertainty and distrust which will drive Canadians to seek employment elsewhere and be disastrous to us in our national progress.

If this prosperity and progress comes to Canada as a result of a protective policy, let me say to my friends from the west who have not the same faith in the protective policy that some of us have, they can rest assured that a certain measure of that prosperity will accrue to them. They have since coming to this House, particularly the members from Saskatchewan, shown that they do not lack in aggressiveness, and that quality I am sure will enable them to get their share of the

prosperity that will come to Canada by the adoption of a sound fiscal policy.

This budget has been proclaimed by some sections of the press as a "poor man's budget." It has been said that it is a popular budget. Of course it is a popular budget; it was intended ito be. A government that had to attain power by methods such as were resorted to by this government, and knowing the danger in which they stand from hour to hour, realizing the necessity, perhaps I should say the advisability, of an early election, has skilfully prepared this budget with the idea of securing votes and popular support in the country. This explains why many provisions of this budget which were strongly opposed and voted against by members on the other side of the House, including cabinet ministers, last year and in previous years are now being strongly supported by them. The hope is that this budget will be so popular that in the event of the necessity for an election, it will enable them to get back on the treasury benches once more.

Now what are the provisions that make this budget popular? Reduction of taxation is always popular. The methods pursued by this government remind me of those followed by a municipal council, which in a desperate effort to make itself popular will strike a lower tax rate than it should in the hope that prosperity may come in some degree next year and thus prevent an unfavourable showing. There is just one sound reason, Mr. Speaker, for a reduction in taxation, and that is a corresponding reduction in expenditure.

One thing that is designed to make this budget popular and a poor man's budget is the reduction in the income tax, but I would point out that there are a lot of poor men who did not have to pay any income tax, and whom this reduction will not affect. There will be the feeling in the back of their heads that the necessary taxation to make up for this reduction will have to be provided by someone somewhere, and if the man who is wealthy enough to pay income tax is to have his load lightened, somebody somewhere must make up the deficit.

We have been told that this budget is popular because the receipt tax has been abolished. I wonder who put that receipt tax on. This government itself is responsible for that annoying tax, and surely credit is not to be given them now because they are taking away an injustice that they themselves put .upon the Canadian people.

We are also to have a reduction in postage. The Post Office Department is one government department that is shown to be in a fairly healthy condition. But the postage is one

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

form of taxation that people were not complaining loudly about. I wonder who is going to profit by this reduction in postage. Is it the poor man who writes a couple of letters a week, or is it the wealthy man or the business man who buys his postage by the hundreds or by the thousands of dollars? If this reduction 'is for the benefit of the wealthy, and it certainly is, someone somewhere must make up the deficit. Would it not have been wiser to have kept the postage, which people were not complaining about, as it was, and then use any surplus that might have accumulated to extend rural mail delivery to the outlying sections where farmers are denied that privilege to-day? There is nothing that does more to make life pleasant on the farm in isolated surroundings than the boon of rural mail delivery which enables the farmer to have his daily paper delivered at his door to keep himself and his family informed in regard to all the great questions of the day. Many parts of Canada are still suffering from lack of this convenience.

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LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

Is the hon.

member opposed to the reduction of postage?

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

I was stating my views

very plainly. I know there are a few members in that corner of the House who are anxious to make records for themselves as champion questioners, but I do not see why I should assist them in that respect. I said that the reduction in postage was of the greatest benefit to the wealthy man and wealthy corporation, and was not of such great advantage to the poor man. I stand by that statement. I said that if the postage had been left as it was any surplus that accumulated might well have been used to extend rural mail delivery to the outlying sections which have not this privilege to-day, and any excess might be used to lower taxation in other directions.

These are some of the features that are supposed to make this a popular budget and " a poor man's budget ". But as I have pointed out in not one instance can it be shown that it is favourable or beneficial to the poor man. On the other hand there are some distinct failures in the budget. For years past, as I stated in my introductory remarks, the farmers have suffered under a disability, and this applies particularly to the dairy and fruit farmers as I have them in my constituency; they have suffered from a lack of adequate protection. They have not had the measure of protection afforded them that has been accorded to other industries. Since the present government came into power it has taken away the greater part of the protection that these farmers enjoyed, particularly by the negotiations of certain treaties. The results are already manifest, and will become more serious as the months go by. Supporters of the government argue that dairy products, eggs, fruit, vegetables, and so on are admitted to Canada when we do not have a surplus of these commodities ourselves, but that is not the real difficulty encountered. The difficulty consists in this: Because of an earlier season our farmer competitors on the other side of the line are enabled to take the cream of our market. That is they get the benefit of high prices, while the Canadian producer of fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products, and so on, receives the low prices which rule when the market has been demoralized by the importation of products raised where earlier seasons prevail. How can you expect the farmers to be contented under such conditions? How can you expect men to invest money in farms in Ontario or elsewhere in 'Canada? They know that the government that taxes them for the privilege they enjoy is going to admit products of the kind referred to from another country exported by competitors who pay no taxes to this country and are free, or comparatively free, from payment of duty. That competition is unfair and unjust and should not be allowed to continue. But instead of providing a remedy the present government has actually made the situation worse.

Let me also say that if the government had been anxious to reduce annoying taxes they might very well have turned their attention to the tax now in force on notes and cheques. The tax on notes particularly is an unjust form of taxation. There are many farmers throughout the length and breadth of this country, many of them in the province of Ontario, who find it necessary to get assistance from the banks because they have insufficient capital. So far as my observation goes this assistance has been extended fairly freely and at a fair rate or at least not an excessive rate, of interest. But when a farmer thus situated, or for that matter a business man, secures an advance from the bank for a short time, he must plaster the note with stamps, and if he follows business methods and pays by cheque, the cheque also must be similarly plastered to the extent of two cents for every $50. This is an annoying and exasperating form of taxation in the case of men of small means who are obliged to 5 p.m. conduct their business on borrowed capital. If the government were anxious to bring down a "poor man's budget" that is one matter to which they would have devoted their attention.

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

Another serious criticism I have to make of the budget is this: Canada is possessed of wonderful natural resources, sufficient, if they were properly developed and manufactured and the products sold in a finished form, to go a long way towards reducing the national debt if not actually wiping it out. Nothing whatever is done to carry out a policy of that kind, in fact the opposite course is pursued. Encouragement is given to the export of our raw material, and supporters of the government then claim credit for the extent of that exportation, consisting as it does largely of raw materials that should be manufactured and sold in a finished form in Canada.

Now I come to the reduction of the duty on automobiles. We are all familiar with what the government has done; we are all familiar with certain incidents that have happened in recent weeks. Surely the first thing that should have been considered was whether we as Canadians desired to have an automobile industry in this country. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat referred to what he though was a desirable form of protection; that protection, he considered, should be high in the case of a new industry, and be gradually lessened as that industry established itself. Let me remind the hon. gentleman that the automobile industry is one of the newest industries we have. Such being the case why should it be singled out for persecution when other industries that have enjoyed the same measure of protection for years have not been touched? I notice the Minister of Finance was careful to see that nothing was done to injure the milling industry in the budget. The Minister of Justice, too, was careful to see that boots and shoes were not touched, although that industry enjoys an equally high protective tariff. Furthermore, one of the prospective ministers has been careful to see, or at least someone took the necessary steps in his behalf, that nothing was done to prejudice the furniture industry. And only the other night the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Howard), who criticized the protection formerly enjoyed by automobiles, said the tariff was all right as far as the industries in his own town were concerned. The industries I have enumerated have been left alone, but one of our newest industries has been singled out for persecution, if not annihilation, without being granted a hearing in its own behalf. Are we as a Canadian people to return to the dark ages when things of this sort could be done, when an individual, a city or an industry could be condemned and sentenced, without any oppor-

IMr. Stansell.]

tunity to make a defence? Now, it seems, we have a Tariff Advisory Board. The creation of this board is one of the few promises fulfilled by the government during the last four or five years out of the number which it made. That board has been in existence for some time, but it has not been given anything to do. Why was not the case of the automobile industry referred to this board for investigation, instead of bringing down suddenly a reduction of duty in the budget? Why did the government not make use of the machinery which it had created itself?

The question is whether we want an automobile industry in Canada or not. Will any hon. gentleman admit that we cannot have such an industry in view of the wealth of our natural resources, many of which could be utilized in connection with this industry, and the extent and population of this country? There can be only one answer to that question. Having admitted that we should produce automobiles for our own people, is it not reasonable that we should grant protection to the men engaged in that industry and the money invested in it? After all, what is it the Canadian buyer really wants? Is it a reduction of duty or the opportunity of being able to purchase the articles which he needs at a reasonable price? Surely if we can produce automobiles in Canada at a reasonable price there is no justification for a reduction of duty. These are questions that should have been duly weighed and considered. The manufacturers of automobiles have been deprived of the opportunity of presenting their case. Personally I am not concerned with the question of whether the protection is thirty-five, forty-five or fifty per cent. I am willing to afford the manufacturer of any legitimate industry in this country a protection sufficient to ensure him the Canadian market provided that in return he does not charge the people of Canada an unfair price on the goods which he produces.

Someone on the other side of the House will immediately say: That cannot be done..

A short time ago we were told that this government in the exercise of its power could go out upon the high seas and control international shipping rates. A government able to undertake a task such as that should surely be able to control the price of an automobile in this country. I have reason to believe that if the automobile manufacturers had been approached in a reasonable spirit, if they had been given the Canadian market for a standard make of car, they-

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

would have been willing in return to reduce the price substantially this year and to follow that up by further reductions. The real essence and need of protection is that we protect the home market. All we want in return is a fair price and it can be given in some other manner than that adopted by the government of the day. If we are going to build automobiles, let us build them in Canada. We may not be able to build them as cheaply as they can be built in other countries; but let us build them as cheaply as we can and build them in our own country. The same thing applies to any other legitimate industry which is or could be established in Canada.

We have a Tariff Advisory Board. I am reminded that a short time ago a deputation came to Ottawa protesting against a reduction in the duties on automobiles without having the question referred to the board.

I listened carefully to the presentation of their statements; I observed the able manner in which they presented their case to the cabinet, and I heard an eloquent speaker on behalf of the veterans, many of whom were employed in that industry, say to the Prime Minister: "Mr. Prime Minister, when you were in Oshawa shortly before the election I, as a supporter, was invited to your platform.

I heard you say that no act of yours would De injurious to any industry in Oshawa; I heard you say that before any reduction in duties would be made there would be a reference to the new tariff board that would be created, the fullest right would be given to them to present their case and a decision would be made on the merits of the case. All I am asking to-day, Mr. Prime Minister, is not that you restore the duties to their former level but that you refer this question to the board that you have appointed; in other words, that you keep the promise you made to the electors of Oshawa before the election." Was that not a reasonable request? It was presented in a most fair and gentlemanly manner.

Has public life in this country reached such a level that a deputation of 3,000 people must come here to ask the Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada to keep a promise that he made a few days before the election? Yesterday we had a debate on the merits of which I do not intend to touch in any way ; but it was a simple request on the part of a citizen of Canada, who claimed that he had suffered an injustice, to present his case to the House. A point of order was raised by the Prime Minister and an attempt was made to prevent that petition from being

received. Have things come to such a pass that a citizen of this free country, complaining of an injustice done him by one of the officers of this House is not to be allowed to present his case? The only defence, or substance of a defence, was summed up by the hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Elliott) who said in effect that this petition should be rejected because the government before they received it had decided that they did not intend to grant it. Those were not the words but that was the effect of his explanation.

If there is anything that we should cherish in our parliamentary institutions, it is the pledges and promises that we as public men make when we appeal to our electors for support. Time after time during the past four or five years have mushroom promises been made to be almost immediately and callously broken. So we have the spectacle of almost daily occurrences such as I have cited and the government, guilty of this, appealing to the House and the country for continued support on a policy of expediency instead of on a sound, business policy in the best interests of this Dominion.

We have the admission of the government when the duties were reduced on automobiles, that this was done in response to sentiment. We have the further admission to-day from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) that that sentiment was supported by newspaper clippings that he had before him on his desk. This fully substantiates-I do not need to look for anything further-the charge I have made that this is a government of expediency, determined to cling to office by any method at its disposal instead of on sound, business principles. When the automobile deputation were told that sentiment was of no value; that the only requisite was argument and solid facts a principle was laid down, but when the government wants to take action, sentiment or newspaper clippings or prospective votes, or anything in the world will suffice. What this country needs most of all is change of government and an announcement to the world that we intend to think and act as Canadians; that we intend to safeguard and protect our citizens and our industries; in a word, a true National Policy. This and this only will restore confidence and hasten national progress and prosperity in Canada.

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

Wilfrid Girouard

Liberal

Mr. WILFRID GIROUARD (Drummond-Arthabaska) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker,

the hon. member for Norfolk-Elgin (Mr. Stansell), and previous to him, a number of members of the opposition spoke of the in-

The Budget-Mr. Girouard

terest and friendship they have for the farming class. It is always somewhat shocking to hear them express feelings which are grossly in contradiction with the deeds and the past policy of their party. In order to judge of their lack of sincerity we have but to verify the attitude taken by the Conservative party, between 1911 and 1921, towards the farming class of this country. What benefits did the farmers derive during the ten years of their administration? You are aware, Sir, that the paramount question at the general election in 1911, was the reciprocity treaty that Sir Wilfrid Laurier had succeeded in concluding with the United States, and for which the farming class had been clamouring for years. This treaty so highly advantageous to the farming community was rejected. However the Conservatives will not readily forget that the crisis they went through was principally due to the fact that the American market was closed to them. As early as 1912, the farmers bitterly clamoured for new markets for their products. We are aware that the Conservative government of that date did nothing to help them, not only did they do nothing, but they attempted to cripple the development of the dairy industry, by allowing margarine to be imported. I must say, Sir, that the farmers of my riding are very thankful to the King government for having prohibited the imports of this product. A further instance, which establishes well the lack of sincerity of the members of the opposition, is the following: At the time the King government cut down the duty on farming implements; when they wished to help the farmers so as to allow them to purchase at lower prices the articles of first necessity of which they were in need to work their farms, we witnessed the opposition having recourse to every possible means in order to prevent the farming class from benefiting by legislation which was all in its favour, and even more, we saw the hon. leader of the opposition state in this House that should he be returned to power, he would re-establish the high protective tariff. That is, the Conservative party, through the mouthpiece of its leader, undertook to abolish the advantages and favours which the King government was granting to the farming class.

Another very important feature for the farmers, the importance of which the Conservative government of the day did not understand or did not care to understand, was the necessity for the farming class to get new markets, in order to sell its products at profitable prices. The King government immediately dealt with this necessity endeavouring especially to revive the prosperity which the

farmers enjoyed previous to the Tory government of 1911. Moreover, Sir, we have as an instance of the government's desire to help the farming class, we have as an instance, I say, the last treaty they have just concluded. I mean the West Indies treaty which the King government presents to the farming class with the firm belief that this treaty will benefit them, because it guarantees to the farming class an almost absolute monopoly on the products of the farm, such as butter, cheese, potatoes and other products. Behold then, Sir, these same gentlemen who, when they were in power, could have done something to help the farming class, yet they stirred not, and they come, to-day, in this House, shamming a friendship and an interest which their deeds belie.

The budget speech, Sir, was, especially this year, anxiously awaited. There is no question, I think, which interests so much the public as the discussion of the various measures which appear in the budget. We'have the patisfaction and joy to note, ini pending this speech, that our financial situation has considerably improved. There is one thing which nobody can deny and which I may be allowed to emphasize: it is that the budget speech has had on the Canadian people a great and beneficial effect which has in some way brought sunshine and hope where hon. members of the opposition would, perhaps, like to see but despondency and misery. This budget is a proof that our country, after struggling courageously, has finally emerged from the difficult situation caused by the economic disturbance brought on by the Tories from 1911 to 1921.

From the outset of the Liberal administration, we were made aware of what would be the policy followed. In order to better appreciate the various measures announced in the budget speech, it is well to glance rapidly over the past, for it is necessary that the people of this country should everlastingly remember what was the financial and economic conditions existing when the King administration came into power in 1921.

The Conservatives contend that our debt is enormous. They never miss an occasion of proclaiming that the taxes are heavy; but why, Sir, do they not also proclaim that they are responsible for such a state, and that if we have taxes, these have become necessary because of their administration. Do they expect to make us forget that they needed but ten years to increase our debt to more than two billion dollars. I think that, if the opposition wished to be sincere, they would admit that when they assumed power in 1911,

The Budget-Mr. Girouard

the country was prosperous and when they retired, we were on the verge of ruin. It seems to me that this has some weight. However this is not all. After being returned to power, the Conservatives began to spend, without the slightest thought of economy, and'one fact shows us clearly in what manner we were governed. During the fifteen years of the Liberal rule, under Laurier, the government had only increased our debt by about $40,000,000. The Conservatives possessing, no doubt; a great aptitude for lavishly spending money, increased, in the first three years of their administration, this debt by more than $80,000,000, and I want you, Sir, to pote that this was but an inkling of what was threatening the country. A crisis, often referred to in this House, succeeded to happy days. This was so evident that the government of the day, at the outset of the session of 1914, put the following words in the mouth of His Excellency, the Governor General, in the Speech from the Throne: "that business is at a standstill owing to a financial crisis." The Conservatives acknowledging, at the time they were in power, that business was at a standstill, we can easily conceive in what difficult situation the country found itself at that time, we can without fear of being in error, state that bad times were coming. In the midst of this, war broke out.

It was, Sir, as you know a period of extravagant expenditure. We then were ruled by a government that seemed to have lost its head, an administration that seemed to do its utmost to bring ruin upon us. The ratepayers of this country had hoped at least, that once the war over, this orgy would cease. But nothing of the sort happened. The debt unceasingly increased, and the people, who in 1917 were unable to give free vent to their opinions took their revenge in 1921.

The King government assumed power, becoming heir to a much involved estate. In 1911, the country's debt amounted to about $335'000,000. Under the Tory regime it had increased two billion dollars. What the people expected from the King government, in 1921, was the balancing of our finances, and this we have succeeded in doing to-day. The budget speech cleariy shows that we have at last emerged from the difficult situation created by the Tory government. And, by the way, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that, if there is one thing which should command our sympathy, it is the anxious desire shown by our ministers to realize, for the people of this country, the hopes which they put in them. This trust

was well placed. Thanks to a strict economy, foresight and a business knowledge which had been found wanting during ten years, thanks also to the honest desire to give to all citizens legislation which suited them best, Canada has risen from its ruins and our administrators, after having met the heavy obligations which were an aftermath of the war, after having provided for the other needs of Canada, present, to-day, to the people of thi3 country a budget which shows a substantial decrease in the public debt and a cutting down in the taxes, relieves the ratepayer and tends to increase among all the hope and confidence which a few years of Liberal Tule have imparted. That hope, Sir, each year sin'ce 1921, the ratepayer feels, is growing in him. No doubt everybody understood that uuder these circumstances, the task was a difficult one for the government, and everyone equally saw, each year, that there was an improvement. The ratepayer understood that it was easier to demolish than to rebuild, that it was impossible for the King government, in so short a time, to rebuild and restore what the Conservatives had taken ten years to destroy; yet, our leaders immediately tackled the task, with the result that after but a few years, the government had succeeded beyond the hopes of our people. they had realized the dream which all cherished, that is of at last seeing the balance of our finances re-established.

Most of the hon. members who have spoken on the budget have discussed at length the duty on automobiles. I have no intention to broach that subject, however, I shall remind them that the budget also discloses a great number of measures which are equally beneficial to the public. Why do hon. members of the opposition oppose the budget? The member for Norfolk-Elgin (Mr. Stansell), a few moments ago, admitted that it was a popular budget; yet we shall see that he will be one of the first to vote against it; They, who are responsible for our financial difficulties, should be the first to applaud at the relief it brings to the ratepayers of this country.

I intend, Sir, to enumerate a few only ot the measures which have been disclosed by the budget speech. First, we note a decrease of $25,000,000 in the taxes, and at the same time the public debt is reduced by $22,3a3,000. What a difference, Sir, there is with that of the Tory administration! To cut down the taxes, decrease the public debt and obtain at the same time a substantial increase in our revenues, that seems to me what may be called good financing, a thing, perhaps, that

The Budget-Mr. Girouard

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

Alexander Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. D. CHAPLIN (Kent, Ont.):

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

END OF VOLUME III.


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May 5, 1926