March 1, 1927

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

How will increased protection on coal improve the steel industry in Canada?

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH ('Cumberland):

The steel industry is linked up with the coal industry, particularly in eastern Canada, to such an extent that it is almost impossible to separate the two. We have information to the effect that in Nova Scotia-and this applies to the rest of Canada-it takes four tons of coal to produce a ton of steel, so that whatever you do for the benefit of coal will assist steel, and vice versa.

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

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Is the hon. member aware

that the member for Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald) at a meeting in Sydney a few weeks ago said that his experience on committees of the House and in the House itself had convinced him that the members representing central Canadian constituencies were solidly against an increase in the duty on coal?

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

I am not aware of that; I am surprised to hear it.

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

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

He was so reported.

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

People are

often misreported. The hon. gentleman is here in person and can correct the statement if it is wrong.

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

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacDONALD (Cape Breton):

What I said was that it was doubtful whether we could hope for an increased duty on coal, as Ontario and the west would probably be against it, but it was not at all hopeless.

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

That is quite a different construction ^rom the one placed on those words by the hon. member for Kings-Hants (Mr. Ilsley). I was going to say, Mr. Speaker, that possibly the Minister of Finance might say that this is properly a question for reference to the Tariff Advisory Board, and in connection with that board let me say a few words. I know nothing of its personnel but I do know that it has no power; in my opinion it has not even enough power to be self-respecting. There is a saying which I used in the House last year which seems to me particularly applicable to this board; it has powder in its canister but no shot in its locker. It has no power to make a finding, can only make a recommendation, and it appears to me to be a vehicle for the shelving

780 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Smith (Cumberland)

of troublesome questions when they are such. Last year, however, after the Tariff Advisory Board was constituted, a tariff matter was absolutely taken out of its hands in connection with the reduction of duty on automobiles. If this board is to be something worth while is it the policy of the government to place before it questions of a troublesome nature in order to escape responsiblity, and on the other hand to take any political advantage possible through a popular reduction in the tariff by using their own judgment without referring the matter to the board at all?

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

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

Was the tariff board inaugurated at the- time the automobile duty was removed?

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

The tariff

board was properly constituted before the duty on automobiles was dealt with last year, and I do not believe that to be a fair proposal to the industries of this country. If the board is to be made something worth while and something which will function properly, certainly it must be used in a proper way and not as a means of sidetracking troublesome questions. It should be used to secure all the information available and forward it in their findings to this House.

The question has arisen, Mr. Speaker, as to whether or not the coal industry in Canada is worth while. Last year in Nova Scotia we produced 6,300,000 tons of coal, slightly more than in the year previous; one-fifth of the population of that province is directly dependent upon the coal and steel industries and one-twelfth of the revenue of Nova Scotia is secured from royalities on coal. In the Dominion of Canada we have invested about $150,000,000 in coal mining, and1 the coal business in Canada has attained a value of as high as $80,000,000 in one year. I say, Mr. Speaker, that it is an industry which we must protect. If the coal industry in Nova Scotia is allowed to go by the board and disappear, there will also disappear from the province of Nova Scotia one-fifth of its population and one-twelfth of its revenue, and chaos will be created in the business of that province. But someone will say that there is no danger of the coal industry in Canada disappearing; I say there is a very grave danger unless something is done to properly protect it. Last year we imported from the United States about 17,000,000 tons of coal, of which 13,000,000 tons were of the very grade we produce in Nova Scotia. It has been said that some day anthracite coal in the United States will be exhausted, and when that time comes we must look elsewhere for our hard coal, or for

a substitute. We should be independent of the United States with regard to bituminous coal as well as anthracite, because we do not know when we may be cut off from this supply. A war, a strike, or any other contingency may at any time stop the importation of American coal into Canada, and we have no way of looking ahead and guarding against these things, except by developing our own industries. We should be prepared to meet such conditions, and that can only be done by becoming independent of that country in relation to coal.

On the Canadian National railways last year we used 5,000,000 tons of coal, 3,000,000 tons of which came from the United States. It does not seem to me that we are treating our coal industry fairly; it certainly deserves something better than that. We are not asking for high protection, as some hon. gentlemen opposite would like to make people believe; we are asking for a moderate, adequate protection, something that should be granted readily because the duty to-day is practically the same as it was in the eighties while the protection is less than half as much, for obvious reasons which need no elaboration. We are asking for an adequate duty to protect this industry, and as soon as it is found that proper protection is given, the duty if need be may be very readily lessened. Some may say that this will have a tendency to increase the price of coal in Canada; in that connection I have here some of the remarks of Mr. Cronyn, which are very pertinent, but with which I will not weary the House. It does seem to me, however, that if the output of coal could be doubled in Canada there would be an appreciable difference in the cost of production, more than enough, I believe, to offset the increased duty. I believe that duty should be $1 per ton, and I believe if that duty is granted, with the coking plants which we hope to see established and with the freight reductions which are promised, we can establish an all-Canadian coal supply for an all-Canadian market.

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

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Has the hon. gentleman

given consideration to the statement of the fuel board that it would take a duty of $6 instead of a duty of $1 to make us independent of foreign supplies?

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

The other'

evening I listened to the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) when he read the report of the fuel board. It appeared to me then that it was a theoretical treatise, a sort of historical document dealing with the deposits of coal in the world, with no practical application to the coal trade of Canada. The

question was not treated in a practical way, and I am not aware of the information which the hon. member has just stated, whether it came from the fuel committee or whatever its source; and it sounds absurd.

Another thing, Mr. Speaker, is that we have a reserve of' coal in the province of Nova Scotia to the extent of ten billion tons. It seems to me that this government should protect this basic industry in one of the old struggling provinces of this Dominion.

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

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

May I ask the hon. gentleman a question?

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

Yes.

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

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Is he aware that a duty of

a dollar a ton, which is double the present duty, would practically put out of operation ail the coal mines in British Columbia?

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

Put out of

operation all the coal mines in British Columbia?

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

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Yes.

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

Why^ the

total Canadian export of coal to the United States and to all foreign countries is only slightly over ia million tons annually. Does the hon. gentleman mean to say it will work hardship to the coalfields, or the coal miners or coal operators of British Columbia? It may work hardship to the extent of a million tons but the rest of Canada would be relieved to the extent of the hardship represented by sixteen million tons.

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

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I hope the hon. gentleman's

Conservative friends from British Columbia will note that statement of policy on their behalf.

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

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

It is not a

statement of policy. I am not claiming that action taken to properly equalize things might not result in some slight disadvantage 'to the rest of the Dominion. There might perhaps be a slight increase in the cost of coal until the question could be properly adjusted and worked out on a fair business basis. It might work some hardship to the coalfields of British Columbia-I am not maintaining that, nor am I admitting that it would-but I say the question is one which will have to be further developed by those who are more familiar with the coal trade in British Columbia than I happen to be. .

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am going to leave the question of coal and speak about two other industries in the province of Nova Scotia that are Very severely affected by the customs tariff. Last year I brought to the

1, 1927 781

The Budget-Mr. Smith (Cumberland)

attention of the House and of the Minister of Finance a languishing shoe industry which happens to be located in the town from which I come. That shoe industry was languishing last year. This year it is dead. It has gone into liquidation and is now in the hands of a receiver, due to unfair competition coming mostly from the old country. That industry was established away back in the year 1867. It has progressed almost^ every year down until about 1921. But to-day it is in the hands of a receiver. Why we should allow unfair competition to interfere with any legitimate industry in this country is more than I can understand. The Prime Minister has made the statement in this House and out of it, that no legitimate industry in Canada would suffer through his fiscal policy. This industry is certainly legitimate and it is surely suffering from the policy of inadequate protection. This applies not only to the shoe industry in the. province from which I come but to the industry all over the Dominion to a very marked degree. Why, Mr. Speaker, the boot and shoe manufacturers have to pay from fifteen to thirty-five per cent duty on the raw material that goes into the manufacture of some of our boots and shoes in this country, whereas in the old country, they get their raw material free. Last year there were imported into the Dominion 809,483 pairs of shoes to the value of two million odd dollars. We exported from Canada during the same period -these are figures for the year ending January, 1927-110,337 pairs. I have a lot of figures here but I am not going to weary the House with them. It is sufficient to note that we are steadily increasing the importations of boots and shoes,-and leather goods manufactured and unmanufactured, into the Dominion. It certainly is not a healthy sign. It shows very positively that there is something radically wrong with the tariff and its application to this business, and the government at least should recognize the fact that it requires a little more consideration and a higher degree of protection.

I spoke also last year with regard to the woollen industry. We have a woollen mill in the' town whence I come which is boarded up, due to unfair competition from abroad. The textiles and fibres which were imported into this country during the year ending January, 1927, amounted to a little uader $200,000,000-1184,000,000 odd. We imported in 1926, $181,000,000 odd, and in 1925, $163,000,000 odd, showing a steady increase in the importations of textiles and fibres into Canada. Look at our exports. During the same period of

The Budget-Mr. Smith (Cumberland)

1925 when we imported $163,000,000 odd, we exported nine millions odd. In 1928 we exported but nine millions odd, and in 1927, a lesser amount of seven million dollars odd. We imported from the United Kingdom last year to the extent of $72,000,000 odd, but we exported to that country only $844,000 odd. These figures are for the year ending January, 1927. We imported from the United States $69,000,000 odd, and exported to that country $3,000,000 odd. I think these figures speak in no uncertain tones as to the position of the textile industry in this country and what it requires. It has been said in this chamber that Penman's are doing much more business than they did previously, that their bonds are high. Penman's may be progressing, but the smaller mills in the Dominion are the ones that are suffering. The smaller mills all over the Dominion are unable to meet that unfair competition; they are unable to compete with the wage rate, lower to the extent of one-half, that is paid in the old land, and with other unfair conditions. They certainly cannot meet that competition on anything like a fair basis unless some further tariff protection is granted.

I am going to conclude by stating that in the maritimes to-day there is one matter transcending all others in importance, and that is the implementing by legislation by this government of all the recommendations contained in the Duncan report. We have passed the stage of trifling in connection with this matter. We will discuss the issues dealt with in the report later. It will not be amiss, however, for me to state now that all the people of the maritime provinces are of one mind on this report, namely, that it should be speedily implemented in toto by legislation by this parliament.at this session. Anything short of that-any delay, amendment or mutilation-will meet with such hostility from eastern Canada that I hesitate to mention in this House what sort of revolution will take place.

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

March 1, 1927