that has been that the National Dairy Council has been able to continue its propaganda against the Australian treaty, and has enlisted the sympathy of hon. friends opposite, and between them they have stirred up a political agitation against the Australian treaty, and against the importation of New Zealand butter, the result of which has been the introduction of the amendment by the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn), in the hope that by so doing they would, perhaps, be able to increase the duty on butter.
My hon. friend can explain to his own, constituents, perhaps, exactly what his position is on this matter, but in the meantime we are discussing butter. When I was first elected to this house a friend wrote me a letter in which he prophesied that my bitterest disappointments would come from within the ranks of my own party when I found that some of its members would not be willing to stand up and fight to carry into effect the principles for which this party is supposed to stand. I am afraid my iriend has not been a true prophet. The bitterest disappointment I have experienced since coming into this house occurred only the other day during the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, when the leader of the party over in the corner forgot all the policies he had been advocating and all the principles for which his party has stood during the years they have been here and advocated protection for the farmer and asked for the abrogation of this treaty in so far as it applied to New Zealand, after having taken the position for years that protection could be of no benefit to the farmer. I say it was a disappointment, because one wonders if the hon. gentlemen really have any faith in the doctrines they preacih. However, some of us on this side of the house still believe in those principles, and we are not afraid to stand up and fight for them on the floor of this house.
Now let us consider the question of butter. Why does the world produce butter? Butter is produced in order that we may eat it on our bread, but some hon. gentlemen opposite would seem to think that the object in producing butter is to produce butter, and that the consumption of butter is of no consequence whatever. I have said in this house something which I wish to repeat and which should be repeated every time any of these economic questions is under discussion; that is, that all economic questions should be studied from the standpoint of the consumer, for the interests of the consumer are the interests of the human race.
Yes, and it is as consumers that their interests must be studied. It should be the first duty of a government to see that all the people of this country have butter for their bread; that is the prime consideration. The complaint has been made that last year we imported some
33,000,000 pounds of New Zealand butter, but have you noticed that the consumption of butter in Canada has gone up? To-day in Canada we consume more butter per capita than any other country on the face of the earth. Our per capita consumption is 30 pounds and a fraction per annum. On the other side of the line the per capita consumption is something less than 20 pounds per annum. In Canada we consume 120,000,000 pounds of butter more than a similar number of people consume in the United States; we consume nearly one hundred million pounds more than we ourselves consumed not many years ago.
Yes, it is a good home market. My hon. friends are always talking of developing the home market. We have developed the home market to the point where we can hardly supply it, and immediately they begin to complain; they say we should not be supplying the home market now; we should not be eating the butter ourselves but should export it. They want the government to increase the duty on butter in order that the price may increase in this country, and they say the result will be that more butter will be exported.
Let us see how that will work out. Hon. gentlemen opposite complain that they cannot meet the competition of New Zealand butter in Canada. If that is the case how in creation are they going to meet that competition outside of Canada? If they cannot compete with New Zealand when New Zealand ships butter to Canada, how are we to compete with that country in the London market or the market anywhere else? The price of butter in Canada to-day is 2 cents per pound higher than in the United States, where there is a duty of 12 cents per pound.
Hon. gentlemen opposite are asking that the duty on butter be increased to 4 cents per pound: the dairy council also ask that the rate of 4 cents per pound be applied. Are
Australian Treaty-Mr. Young (Weybum)
they going to be satisfied if they get that rate? I think not; in fact, they say so themselves. They say: "After we get the 4 cent rate we will ask for a rate of 7 cents." Does anyone suppose they will be satisfied if they get a 7 cent rate? Of course they will not; then they will come and ask for a 10 cent rate, and so it goes on. That is the worst of this protectionist system; it is never satisfied. The protectionist knows only one word; he can only say "more".
starving to death and now you would raise the price of butter beyond the reach of the people and starve them also. I have a question I should like to ask some of my protectionist friends. What adjustment will you make in the Canadian tariff which will have the effect of increasing the export price of butter? You want to put butter on an export basis; you want to raise the price of it by so doing. What adjustment will you make in the Canadian tariff that will have the effect of increasing the export price of butter?