March 26, 1930

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

And that is highly manufactured flooring.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

My hon. friend was not too

particular in making those discriminations when he lodged his argument.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I do not intend to allow my hon, friend to refer to one item and then switch to another in order to make a false argument.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

My hon. friend is just as

capable of switching tactics as anybody in this house. The very fact that he accuses me of it is proof as to his capability. I read the number of the item before I read the text of it.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Read items 503 and 504.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

I have read 505.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Hansard will show what

you said, anyway.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Anyway, I was not attempting to make a point out of my reference. My allusion to the item was merely incidental.

Now we will come to .the question of who pays for this privilege. We cannot put blood into a system of trade that has been made anaemic by a false policy without taking it out of the veins of something else; you cannot subsidize one class without robbing another. Where did the price of this treaty come from; who paid for it? Who paid to help our automobile manufacturers supply the Antipodeans with Ford cars? Who paid for it? In this case the white man's burden fell upon the poor raisin user.

My hon. friend from Vancouver Centre said last night that it was a petty kind of argument to bring in the 'case of the raisin consumer to offset great questions of national policy. Well, I am not afraid of being accused of using petty arguments, if that is one, because my hon. friend's remark proves what anyone who has watched the proceedings of this house will have seen long ago, that the right of the humble individual Canadian consumer always is forgotten in these generous gestures of national policy, these attempts on the part of this or that party to aggrandize Canada, to build up a nation, to make Canada look big in the eyes of the world, to increase our exports, our imports, our bank clearings, our car loadings and all those indications of material prosperity which make a nation seem big in the eyes of people who have no other

understanding of bigness. This quantitive theory of progress loomed so large in the eyes of my hon. friend that he said, in effect: "Bleed the poor raisin user and the poor consumer in order that Canada might be big." I protest against any such doctrine. We have had too much of that on both sides of the house. Unfortunately our newspapers are behind both governments and oppositions in holding up such an ideal of material prosperity, while the homes of Canada are just about where they were thirty or forty years ago.

V hy are the raisin consumers made to carry this load? Well, there is no raisin consumers' association, but there is a manufacturers' association, and when I have said that I have explained a lot. I am not blaming the government for taking the line of least resistance; all governments do that. The fact that manufacturers are concentrated, well organized and politically powerful, tells a tale, and the fact that consumers are scattered, not organized and without a press tells a tale also.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Why not join our organization?

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

I am coming to the consumers' league.

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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

You had forgotten Mr. Deachman.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

I had forgotten him, and I want to apologize for having done so, but it is easy to forget the consumers' league, which has not yet stamped itself so indelibly upon the consciousness of the Canadian people that it has become easy to remember it on all occasions. My hon. friend has mentioned the consumers' association. Where is the consumers' association to-day? My hon. friend from Lisgar (Mr. Brown) was its spokesman yesterday on this very question, but did he denounce the policy of taxing the consumer to help the manufacturer? No; he tried by a logical effort to prove that the consumer was not hurt at all.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

I simply tried to prove in one case that our fears in that particular had not been fully justified.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

I do not wish to enter into any personal give and take with my hon. friend, since he is too good a friend of mine for that, but he built his whole argument upon an assumption. He was too fair-minded to do his cause any good whatever; in fact he was so fair-minded that he proved entirely the opposite to what he desired to prove, which was that the consumers of Canada had not been penalized.

Australian Treaty-Mr. Bird

This is a symbolic thing. I do not think we are going to ruin Canada by putting a tax on raisins; a million a year will not bring actual distress into the homes of the people, but I am trying to establish the principle. It is one thing after the other that prevents the Canadian home from developing into what it should be. During this session we have heard a great deal of talk about the Canadian home. This is the sort of thing that is disintegrating the Canadian home, this piling on of expenses little by little until you drive Canadians out of their homes into conditions which we can hardly honestly describe as homelike. We have only to refer to our every-day knowledge of what is going on in Canada to know that while our natural resources are being exploited and our exports and imports growing by leaps and bounds, the home is practically disappearing as an economic unit. Why is that the case? Because every privileged class is sapping the vitality of the home, which basically is an economic matter.

Instead of conceding the point of view of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre, I would elevate the raisin into a position where it will become symbolic for the consumer in Canada. I would direct the attention of the home maker to the fact that this is what goes on all the time, that this process of erosion is a constant menace to the stability of the home. Think for a moment of the old English plum pudding-and we all know that plum pudding is the old English name for raisin pudding. On the table at Christmas time, and in fact at nearly all family festivals, the raisin figures very largely. Somehow or other this little object has become symbolic in the home, and at Christmas time when the plum pudding appears it is the symbol of good will. Under this treaty, however, the plum pudding becomes the symbol of a very insidious form of oppression; sitting at the table is the unwelcome guest, the silent participator in the meal, the preferred classes daily partaking of the hard-earned fare of the cottager.

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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

It is good will to the

Australian farmer.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Yes, and it is very good will to the Canadian manufacturer, but very bad will to the Canadian consumer. An hon. member of the house seems to have a great enthusiasm for a Canadian flag, as appears from his notice of motion, but I do not think, so long as we have raisin pies in Canada,, that we need a national flag. A raisin pie would be sufficient for a national symbol

because you find it in every home in Canada. This product of common consumption has been attacked in order to benefit the pampered manufacturers of Canada, to help them gain a small benefit through the sale of cars and newsprint to Australia.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Where does the tax go?

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

The tax goes to the government in part, but the unseen tax goes to the manufacturers who benefit from it.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The tax on the raisins?

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Yes, on the raisins.

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March 26, 1930