March 26, 1930

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

But there is a change of front this year. We have had from the opposition many tributes to the treaty, and similarly from the Conservative press of the country and its various organizations.

Some reference has been made to the National Dairy Council of Canada. I have been reading the reports of their meetings during the last few years, and if my recollection serves me correctly, the council went on record two or three years ago as being opposed to the Australian treaty and demanding its abrogation in unequivocal terms. This year, however, they have taken a different stand. They are favourable to a continuation of the treaty with some mild revisions, just as the hon. member for Vancouver Centre is. I refer to the report of the eleventh annual meeting of the council, held at the Royal York hotel, Toronto, on October 18 and 19, 1929. At page 51 of the

Australian Treaty-Mr. Ilsley

report the chairman, Mr. Robinson, who was also the president said:

There is some chance that the Australians might repudiate the agreement. I am convinced that that would be an unfortunate thing, especially in view of the attitude of the United States toward this matter.

On the next page I find he said:

It is probably well known that council members met at a certain conference on the Pacific coast last year with other interests that have a stake in the trade agreement. The other people were the pulp and paper people, and the fish people, but they were interested solely in the trade agreement because their business was largely increased, and they are enjoying such benefit that they do not wish to see the whole treaty scrapped. They are interested in seeing that we stop rocking the boat, but they are ready to pick up any suggestions we may make provided we can adjust the treaty so that it will go on. We can have the help of these people if we adjust it in that way. The lumber interests are in the same position as ourselves. They wanted some new provisions in the treaty, and they -were trying to get a freight subsidy for the lumber export to stock up against the American interest. They got a freight subsidy, but they haven't got as yet a preferential adjustment of the duty from the government of Australia, but there are some indications that they may get that in the near future.

The pulp and paper and the fish industries are perfectly agreeable to our proposals and have stated more than once that they see no objection to the treaty being amended.

We cannot afford to forego too many trade agreements with the people to the south. The present balance of trade with Australia is about six and one-half to one, and that ought to be favourable enough to satisfy the most fastidious.

Australia is perfectly willing to carry on the treaty on the basis of four to one, but they do think that six and one-half to one is too much.

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre in the very moderate speech he made last night started out by saying that the treaty as such discriminated against Canadian agriculture, and I waited during the remainder of his speech for some facts that would justify the assertion. I did not hear anything from him subsequently that would justify it, and I think I am safe in saying that nothing imported from Australia in a large and substantial way enters into competition with Canadian farmers, and that the objection which has been voiced to a considerable extent throughout the country is to our trade relationships with New Zealand, not with Australia. The hon. gentleman also said that there were certain lines of goods which we might purchase from Australia instead of from the United States.

I think one of the largest items was hides. Certainly I am not qualified to discuss the tanning business or the importation of hides, but I was under the impression from the debates I have heard in this house and from reading Hansard that we cannot talk about

hides as if they were of uniform quality or kind, that we import certain kinds and qualities from the United States that we cannot very well import from any other country, and that the placing of a higher duty on hides from the United States with the idea of diverting the business to Australia would simply mean that the tanning interests of this country would continue to purchase from the United States but with an additional burden on their business and on the ultimate consumer.

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre also voiced this complaint, and it was his chief complaint against the Australian treaty: He said we did not import enough from Australia under the treaty, that our imports were too small in proportion to our exports; and yet almost immediately afterwards he attacked the French treaty on the ground that our imports from France were too high in proportion to our exports to that country. So it is very-difficult to make a treaty that would be at all satisfactory to our friends opposite. The [DOT]fault with the Australian treaty, according to them, is that the volume of exports from this country' to Australia is too high in proportion to the volume of imports from Australia to this country.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

A too favourable balance of trade.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Yes; and then he attacked

the French treaty on the ground that the balance of trade is not favourable enough.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

An adverse balance.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Yes; if it is adverse. It is

very difficult to know upon what basis we should attempt to conclude trade treaties with other countries. As a matter of fact the treaty with Australia has resulted in an enormous expansion of our trade, and I want to put on record some figures in support of this statement. That treaty came into effect on the first day of October, 1925. The year which ended September 30, 1925, was the last before the treaty became effective. These are the results flowing from the treaty:

Canada's Trade With Australia (Years ended September 30, 1925 to September 30, 1929.)

Years Imports from $

1925 2,762,959

1926 4,285,351

1927 6.610.579

1928 4.928.080

1929 3,174,761

That is to say -

Exports

(domestic)

to

12.578.531

17.213.321

18.558.471

14,670.738

19,623.593

Australian Treaty-Mr. Ilsley

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

Is that the year ending

September 30, or the fiscal year?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB
CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

What about the imports under the New Zealand order in council?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I dealt with the New Zealand order in council before the hon. member came in.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

Did you give the figures?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

No. Let us consider some of the particular items of trade that appear in this treaty, because as the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. McRae) has stated, this treaty is not only of interest to British Columbia, it is not only of value to that province, but it is of considerable value to eastern Canada also. While the Conservative members from the maritime provinces have spoken frequently, I have yet to hear one of them say a kind word for this treaty as it affects conditions in the maritime provinces, and I have come to the conclusion that if anybody is to speak from that point of view it will have to be someone from this side.

To begin with, let us consider iron and steel products. I must say at the outset that many of these iron and steel products are not those of the maritime provinces. They are Canadian products, however, and are of

tremendous importance. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 1929, we sent to Australia $10,350,204 worth of iron and steel products. That represents nearly as much as our total exports to Australia before the treaty came into force. The exact figures are:

Pipe . .. $ 362,165

Wire . .. 59,592

Farm implements.. .. .. . 1.487,313

Razors . .. 375.513

Nails . .. 17,971

Needles and pins . .. 37,175

Machinery . .. 78,124

Tools . .. 5,093

Automobiles . . . 7.204.967

Parts . .. 714.581

Bicycles . .. 7,710

These are the figures for iron and steel products to Australia, and at this point I would like to take the time to read some press notices which may be of interest to hon. members.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
UFA

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KELLNER:

Would the hon. member quote the rate paid on those steel products?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

It would take too long to do that, but they are covered by the treaty.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
UFA

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KELLNER:

That is the trouble.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I am afraid it would take too long to read the rates, and I should not be able to finish in the forty minutes allotted to me. I wish to read the following press notice:

A Sydney man was reminded by experience the other day that if New Zealand ships butter into Canada the trade between the two dominions is not one-sided. Having bought and used a box of New Zealand butter, this citizen, with due regard for the virtue of thriftiness, set about chopping up the box for kindling. By chance he stopped between blows to look at a nail which his hatchet broke out from the wood -and, lo and behold, every nail used in the box was found to have come from the Sydney steel plant. He had known that Disco shipped some steel products to the Antipodes but here was the proof of the trade before his own eyes in his own cellar.

The hon. member for Vancouver North has mentioned the item of canned fish, and I must say the exports of that product have increased very materially during the years of the treaty. In the fiscal year 1925 we sent to Australia $1,126,000 worth; in the fiscal year 1929 we sent to that country $1,969,000 worth. Not much of that came from the maritime provinces, but the trade is beginning in that section of the Dominion.

I wish to read a letter sent by the president of Connors Bros. Limited, oanners and packers of St. John, New Brunswick, dated March 13, 1929:

We notice some of the members in parliament are criticizing the Australian treaty. We might say that Australian buyers placed orders

Australian Treaty-Mr. Ilsley

with us last year for all the fish we could supply them with. This year we are already in receipt of a $50,000 order, and the same buyers have offered to tender us with orders for double this amount, just as soon as we are in a position to accept them.

If we can fill the orders, we expect our shipments to Australia and New Zealand this year to amount to between $150,000 and $200,000. A good portion of this money will be paid out among the fishermen and to those who labour in the industry. This export business would not be possible were it not for the Australian treaty.

We are to-day handing this information to the Associated Press, and thought we would pass same along to you.

The production of newsprint is now increasing very rapidly in the maritime provinces. During the calendar year 1928 the production in those eastern provinces amounted to 65 tons a day; in 1929 the capacity of the mills was increased to 130 tons, and in 1930 it will be much greater because of the opening of the large paper mills in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There is no part of the Australian treaty which has been more beneficial to Canada than the item relating to newsprint paper. The value of that article exported to Australia in the fiscal year 1925 was $51,000; the value in 1929 was $3,627,000, representing a very rapid increase indeed in the value of newsprint paper sent to Australia. I was quite surprised to learn that a large part of the newsprint did not come from British Columbia, but from eastern Canada. In all, newsprint to the value of $896,432, was shipped to Australia in the fiscal year 1929 from maritime province ports.

Generally speaking, shipping from the ports of Halifax and St. John has benefited very greatly under the Australian treaty. I have been unable to obtain the figures for 1925, but I have obtained from the Department of Trade and Commerce a statement of the value of the principal commodities exported from Canada through maritime ports in the fiscal year 1929, and I find a total of $4,144,000. That represents the principal commodities only, and if we added other less important commodities the value would doubtless reach about $5,000,000, or nearly one quarter of the total exports of Canada to Australia. That trade is handled chiefly by the ports of Halifax and St. John. I tried to get the value of the produce of the maritime provinces, taken separately, that was annually shipped to Australia, but was unable to do so; I was told that no statistics were available.

I believe, however, that the facts and figures I have been able to give the house show conclusively that the Australian treaty has been a success from a commercial and industrial standpoint. It is possible that it might

be improved upon in some respects. The hon. member who represents Vancouver North said that certain industries about which he has special knowledge would benefit if there were some preference on their products when they entered the Australian market. Doubtless that is the case; but the important point which he overlooked entirely and did not touch in his speech was: what shall we give Australia in return? Until that point is covered in some way by the opposition it seems to me that they have not made out a prima facie case for revision of this treaty. We are talking about an imperial economic conference which is soon to be held in London, and certainly there would be no objection on the part of any member of this house or any citizen of Canada to our taking up then the matter of the revision of this treaty. But certainly no steps should be taken which might have the effect of terminating the very satisfactory, profitable and successful treaty which we have with our sister dominion of Australia.

Mr. L. .7. LADNER (Vancouver South): Mr. Speaker, the Australian trade treaty is a matter of great importance to Vancouver and British Columbia. The facts with regard to the exchange of trade have been well placed before the house, and this question of trade with the other dominions and with Great Britain is one which for many years has received consideration in this parliament. The question was first taken up in an aggressive way by Sir John A. Macdonald in 1884, when it was put into effect through the medium of preferential tariffs. That policy was also followed by Sir Wilfred Laurier, and subsequent legislation was evolved to further the exchange of commodities between the different dominions of the empire.

To-day we are confronted with some difficulties in connection with our trade treaties with our sister dominions owing to the fact, as I pointed out in some observations which I made in this house on March 7, that under the dictation of our free trade friends from the prairie provinces the government worked out a treaty on the basis of law tariffs and free trade, to the injury of the products of this country, instead of on a protective basis under which they could have established the preferences and at the same time protected Canadian industries.

Now we are considering a proposal by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner), the leader of the Progressive party, to abrogate the Australian trade treaty. By way of amendment my colleague the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) has moved:

Australian Treaty-Mr. Ladner

That all the words after the word "house" be struck out and the following substituted therefor:-

"the operation of the existing Australian treaty, indicates that the fullest development of trade between Canada and Australia has not been achieved by either country and the government should endeavour as soon as possible to secure a revision of the treaty, to the mutual benefit of both countries."

I submit that the purpose of the subamendment is to have the terms of the treaty reconsidered in order to bring about a further exchange of commodities which will be advantageous both to Australia and to Canada. The facts and figures which have been submitted by other hon. members would amply indicate the soundness of that contention, and Mr. Speaker, in considering this question it is my opinion that the Australian trade treaty has been of advantage to this country, but not perhaps not to the maximum advantage. This question involves something more than merely the Australian trade treaty; it involves the whole question of entering into arrangements with our sister dominions, with the crown colonies and with Great Britain; and just here we might consider some of the matters which are of concern to our friends in Great Britain to-day. Lord Beaverbrook started a movement in Great Britain looking to the economic union of the empire but based, in my judgment, upon the fallacy of a free trade theory and without due regard to the control of the self-governing dominions over their fiscal policies. That was the popular impression of Lord Beaverbrook's idea, but his actual words were:

The dominions control entirely their own fiscal systems, and it can only be in cooperation with us that a tariff wall can be built around the dominions and Great Britain.

Now I should like to direct attention to some of the enormous resources possessed by our sister dominions and the crown colonies, which would be made available to Canada through an exchange of commodities. First there is the American non-self-governing colonial empire. In the West Indies we have Trinidad, Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados and British Honduras; in British Guiana we have products of the forest and aluminum, and in the semi-tropic islands we have sugar cane, cocoa and rice. Then we have the West African colonies; there is the Gold Coast, with a population of 2,500,000 which exports one-half of the world's requirements of cocoa. Then we have Nigeria, with a population of

19,000,000; there is Gambia and Sierra Leone and the Sudan, with its great wealth in cotton of a valuable type now being exported to the United States. Along the east coast of Africa there is Uganda, Nyasaland and Kenya. Then

we have northern Rhodesia, where in five or ten years the supply of copper ore will be sufficient to accommodate the needs of the whole empire twice over. In Asia there is Ceylon, which exports great quantities of tea to the United States; there are the Malay States, which supply half the rubber of the world and which contain tin in great quantities, and there is also the colony of British North Borneo.

It is significant that France has a fiscal union with its own colonial empire, and that is also the case in the United States. Great Britain alone remains without such a union. To-day we are faced with a higher tariff wall in the United States, which will exclude much of our goods, and apparently no really effective steps have been taken by the government to counteract that situation. It is also of interest to note that the United States sells 45 per cent of its total exports to Great Britain. With regard to wheat, we find that during September of 1929, as compared with September of 1928, ten times more Argentine wheat was imported into Great Britain; the same condition applied in October of 1929, as compared with October of the previous year, while during December of 1929, the importations of Argentine wheat were five times as great as those during December, 1928. Lord Beaverbrook has pointed out that East Prussia has subsidized wheat to the extent of thirteen shillings and sixpence per quarter, while France subsidizes the export of flour to Great Britain to the extent of twenty shillings per 280 pounds.

The point I wish to make, Mr. Speaker, is that the Australian trade treaty has established a basis for the exchange of commodities which can be greatly improved, and' the same principle could be put into operation with regard to the other dominions and colonies of the British Empire. I make that suggestion because of the fact that within the nations of the empire you have a spirit of cooperation which cannot and dtoes not exist with regard to foreign nations. In my judgment it would be a desirable course to extend preferential trade arrangements to the other self-governing dominions and the colonies of the British Empire in order to export our products to the maximum degree. The Australian trade treaty at present does not include lumber, and there are otheT items which could be included to the advantage of Canada and without injury to Australia. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that- the amendment moved by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre is one which is calculated to, and which will, if carried out properly, bring results favourable both to Australia and to Canada.

97S

Australian Treaty-Mr. Speakman

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ALFRED SPEAKMAN (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, I do not think any apology is necessary for taking part in this debate. The subject itself is so tremendously important, so intricate and so difficult that it warrants very careful consideration and might warrant a somewhat prolonged discussion. It brings into review the whole question of international and world trade, of which inter-empire trade is a phase. It is obvious at this time that every civilized1 country in the world, and by civilized I mean every country which is now adopting or which has adopted modern commercial and industrial methods, is straining every effort towards one objective, the pursuit of markets in all parts of the world. To that end they are ransacking every nook and corner of the globe to find markets to dispose of their surplus production. They seek also another objective, that of selling in the markets of the world more than they are prepared to purchase.

This question of international trade has become much more difficult and much more intricate during past years. Not so many years ago the world was divided practically into two distinct types of countries. There were the old world countries, densely populated, highly industrialized, which were bending their whole effort toward manufactured production but which were dependent upon the newer countries for their foodstuffs and their raw materials. Then there were the newer countries which were sparsely populated and which had not made any considerable effort at that time toward industrialization, but which had for sale both at home and abroad large quantities of food and of raw materials. In those days world trade was a comparatively simple matter. The two classes of countries interchanged their goods to their own mutual advantage and1 very little domestic or internal irritation arose. But since that time and during the past few years a very great change has taken place. The newer countries have become industrialized, and of those newer countries Canada is a very outstanding example. Canada is no longer a mere purveyor of foodstuffs and raw materials to be manufactured by other countries, but she has developed her manufacturing industries to a very great degree and is now in the position not of affording a ready market for the manufactured products of other countries but of being forced to seek a market in which to dispose of her manufactured products.

There is another very significant change which has taken place in the world during the past few years, and that is the tremendous speeding up of production, both in manufacturing and agriculture. The adoption of newer and more up to date methods, the utilization

of machinery to a degree unheard of and undreamt of a few years ago, has placed production upon an entirely different basis. Overproduction is a constant possibility and as a matter of fact is a constant menace to the newer countries such as Canada.

To complicate the matter further, the tariff walls of the different nations have been raised again and again. These countries are faced by the menace of over-production and a constant effort is being made by means of tariffs to conserve their own home markets and to keep out the goods of other countries which might have surplus products to dispose of. I hardly need state the result to the house for it to realize the obvious absurdity and impossibility of such a situation. In order to meet this situation trade treaties have been negotiated, and, speaking for myself, I heartily approve of such treaties particularly as they may apply to those countries comprising the British Empire. I do not approve of the principle of protection as it is generally applied and I see in these trade treaties an obvious attempt to modify the effect of the protective policy as we know it. Each treaty seeks to lower the protective wall of some individual country against some particular article to favour the country making the treaty, and I think it is safe to say that each treaty is an attempt on the part of a country to modify the effect of the high tariffs which may prevail in other countries.

Believing as I do that unrestricted trade between all countries is beneficial to everyone concerned, I welcome the attempt being made, by treaty or otherwise, to eliminate, partially or wholly, some of the obstacles which this and other countries have raised. In making these treaties a very definite principle should be always observed, and that is that the benefits accruing therefrom should not only be mutual as regards the two countries entering into the arrangement, they should be reasonably advantageous to the country but they should not be hostile toward any part of the population of either of the two countries concerned. Upon consideration of this phase of the matter, I find myself in opposition to the present Australian treaty.

When I speak of that treaty I mean the treaty in its largest sense. It is useless to discuss the New Zealand situation as being apart from the working of the Australian treaty, for the benefits of that treaty are simply extended to the kindred dominion of New Zealand. When I speak of the treaty I speak of it as it applies to Australia and to New Zealand alike. While I am in sympathy with and in favour of the negotiation of these treaties when they may be beneficial to Canada as a whole, I recognize in

Australian Treaty-Mr. Speakman

the present treaty an obvious disability which applies to one and a not unimportant section of this country. To that end I propose to address my remarks.

It has been stated with apparent truth that in taking the position we do we are acting in a manner inconsistent wtih former protestations made in the house and the policies which have always been believed in, always been advocated by the organization which nominated us and which was instrumental in sending us here. But I think that objection is founded upon two misapprehensions. The first is this as to the attitude of the farmer, the western farmer included, towards tariff and protection. I have heard in the house during the last few days a great deal of loose talk concerning the attitude of the farmer towards protection. I have heard it stated on the one side that he is unequivocally opposed to protection of any kind. I have heard it stated on the other that he is himself rapidly becoming a protectionist. I have heard it stated that no form of protection on any class of farm goods can at any time or under any circumstances be of advantage to him. If such were the case, naturally no objection could be taken to the discrimination displayed in this treaty.

To my mind we have to analyse the situation a good deal more closely than that. The farmers' organization to which I belong, the farmers throughout western Canada, so far as I know, have taken and do take ground, which I have taken and still hold, that as regards the system of protection as a whole the disadvantages accruing to agriculture very greatly overbalance any possible advantage that might be derived from that system. I also take the ground, which I think is borne out by the obvious facts, that a tariff placed against the entry of farm products, when farm products of a similar nature in this country are upon a definitely export basis, such as wheat, for example, can be of very little value to any Canadian farmer. But I have never heard it successfully argued that a tariff placed against the entry of farm goods the production of which in this country is not upon an export basis, but is wholly consumed in Canada, can have any other effect than that of advantage to the Canadian farmer. That is why I say that we must analyse the situation, take each particular phase of it by itself and consider it on its merits. In that way we are neither compromising nor departing from our belief that, taking the protective system as a whole, its disadvantages are greatly in excess of its advantages so far as the farmers of this country are concerned. We are not departing from our formerly expressed opinions when we state that no tariff placed

upon farm goods when farm goods of a similar nature in this country are on an export basis, can be of any value, but we state-and as I say I think it is borne out by the facts-that a protective tariff upon farm goods that are not upon an export basis, that are not produced in such sufficient quantities as to meet the full requirements of the home market, must of necessity be of advantage to the Canadian farmer. That is the position taken in regard to protection by the farmers of this country. I am not saying at this moment that because of that fact the farmers either should ask or are justified in asking for that protection. But we should analyse the situation and confine ourselves to actual facts when defining protection as it affects the farmer. .

I have been a member of the farmers' organization in Alberta for well over twenty years, ever since its inception, and I presume I can speak as well as any other man for the principles of that organization and for the motives which led to its formation. I have one definite fact in mind, a fact which formed the basis of all our arguments when our organization was first constituted, a fact which is as dominant and true to-day as it was then, namely, that the great impelling motive which drew the farmers of the west together in this organization was that they found in the laws, the fiscal policy of this country, the farmers were not placed on a basis of equality as compared with those engaged in other industries. They resented that and they banded themselves together in order that they, together, could accomplish what they could not achieve singly, namely, place themselves on that basis of equality as regards fiscal policies, commercial business, finacial position and legislative influence. That was why they came together and for that purpose they were organized.

If we bear that in mind, in what position do we find ourselves to-day in relation to the Australian treaty? Can any hon. gentleman, no matter how he may support this treaty, no matter how beneficial he may find it in respect of Canada as a whole-and I admit at onlee I am glad to say it is beneficial to Canada as a whole-say that in its very basis, its very terms, its very nature, the treaty is not an application of unequal policies as regards farming and other industries in this country. In its very terms, its very basis, it violates the policy of equality for which we banded ourselves together and sets up the very policy of inequality which we were determined to eradicate. I can see no inconsistency in our position in that regard.

We find ourselves faced with a new set of conditions. Everyone in this country knows,

Australian Treaty-Mr. Speakman

and is sorry to know, that agriculture to-day as regards its marketing conditions is not in a sound and healthy position. We look at our great production of wheat, the mainstay, the staple of our export trade, the staple of the lives of tens of thousands of Canadian families, and how do we find it? Just as I indicated a few minutes ago when I stated that we are always on the verge of the menace of over-production, we find that we have reached that point in regard1 to wheat and that through all these new methods of production, through the bounty of nature throughout' the world, the market for wheat has crashed and the farmers of this country in common with those of others-tout in this I am speaking for the farmers of Canada and . particularly of western Canada-are facing a future that is devoid of a great deal of hope so far as their main crop is concerned. We assume, and I think we are safe in assuming, that for years the marketing of wheat will be on a somewhat uncertain and doubtful basis. Why do I say that? We find that four years ago there were, as there are to-diay, four chief countries engaged in the export of wheat, namely, the United States, Canada, Australia and the Argentine. In those four years from 1925 to 1929, the increase in wheat acreage in those four countries amounted to something like 20,000,000 acres, an amount equal to the total acreage of western Canada four years ago. We find that the warehouses of the world are full and that wheat is apparently unasked for, uncalled for, unconsumed, certainly not because it has lost its value as a food product, tout for two reasons: first, the amount of wheat in the world, and, second, the inability, the incapacity of the men, women and children in other countries who formerly consumed our wheat to purchase it to-day. Conditions of penury in many families in Europe have reached such a point that these people cannot maintain the standard of living to which they were accustomed and which was embodied in the consumption of our wheat. Not only do we find them bending every effort to raise in their own country sufficient, wheat to meet their own needs, but they are driven by the force of circumstances to mix that stuff down, to adopt cheaper substitutes, to use an inferior brand of flour. In every way we see the per capita consumption of wheat decreasing, while production has gone on unchecked. So I say that from a wheat point of view the future of the farmer of the west is not a very bright one. We find that he has been struggling against these adverse circumstances. We find that his income has been reduced, while his cost of living has remained where it was, and now he turns his eyes in every direction seeking relief.

[Mr. Speakman.1

Naturally, as has always been the case-it is not a matter of legislation, not a matter of oratory, but simply a matter of common sense and common knowledge-just as soon as the wheat market becomes uncertain, the farmers turn their attention more and more to mixed farming. We speak of the fluctuations in the price of butter as though that were something to be deprecated, but from my point of view the price of butter and the volume of production of that or any other dairy product is a direct barometer of the condition of the wheat market. When there is a profit to be made in wheat, when crops and prices are good, what farmer will enslave himself to the job of milking cows seven days a week and fifty-two weeks in the year? They will not do it, and the consequence is that the dairy business remains stationary or goes down, while the energies of the farmer are directed to a more profitable and easier means of making a living. But when the wheat market falls off, they go back to the old sure but slogging methods of mixed farming. That is why I say that there has been a lot of nonsense talked on all sides in this house about the fluctuations in butter prices and butter production. Butter production is a barometer to test the prosperity of the western farmer, and we find to-day that the barometer needle is swinging the other way and that the farmer is turning his thoughts to mixed farming.

Then what do we find? The farmer sees that the market in which he should have a prior claim is laid open to importations from other countries, with no adequate return to himself in the provisions of any treaty. I am not saying that were this treaty abrogated, and the tariff put back upon its former basis, it would bring to the farmer any lasting advantage. That I think will be the answer to the question raised by the hon. member for Nelson (Mr. Bird) when he foresaw danger to the farmer in the very accentar of his demand by this country. Why do I say that? There is no danger to him morally or economically in keeping the whole Canadian market to himself, thus gaining a better price for his products and a better living for himself and his family. I am not one of those who subscribe to the idea that protection and free trade are moral principles. I look upon them both as being economic policies to be applied in the fairest and most just manner for the benefit of all the people. They are not moral principles at all, and I say that there is no lack of morality in the farmer seeking through any legitimate means to increase his income and improve his standard of living so that he may give to his family some of the benefits to which he feels they

Australian Treaty-Mr. Speakman

are entitled. There is no moral question involved at all. There is, however, the question of actual results as tested by the great touchstone of common sense. We are receiving in this country to-day for our butter and other dairy products prices greater than the export price, and we have for some years been receiving that better price. Assuming that the Australian treaty were abrogated, and that the tariff went back to where it was, it would result I believe in a temporary advantage to our farmers, but if through that advantage, through the encouragement thus given, through the relation to the wheat market to which I have just referred, our production of dairy products were increased ten or fifteen or fifty per cent, and thereby exceeded by a wide margin the domestic consumption, the farmer would find himself back on an export basis so far as the price of his butter and other dairy products was concerned, and he might in the long run realize less money than he is receiving to-day. There is the danger I see, as suggested by the hon. member for Nelson, and not any danger to the moral standing of the farmer, no danger to his prospect of future salvation as might be suggested by some people.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Then why abrogate the treaty?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

For two reasons. I do not say abrogate the treaty because I am against treaties, I am perfectly willing to see a new treaty negotiated and our people get all the markets they can, so long as they do not climb over the tariff walls of other countries on the shoulders of our farmers. But I do not want to divert my thoughts from the point I have in mind at the moment, which is the treaty itself. Why do I say, abrogate the treaty? In the first place, because it would undoubtedly be an immediate advantage, which is so sorely needed. In the second place, I am not at all certain that the reestablishment of the old tariff would be any material factor in increasing butter prices. I am rather inclined to believe that in view of the condition of the wheat market, butter production will increase anyway, and butter prices improve, and the farmer might as well get that little bit of advantage out of it while he can.

There is another point of view. I have always fought everywhere as well as I could for fair and equal treatment of farmers with other people. I believe that, not in the question of free trade or protection, but in the far more vital question of equality, lies a real moral principle and a real moral obligation, and for that moral principle and that moral obligation I stand to-day. The very reverse

and contradiction of that is exemplified and typified in the treaty that I am to-day asking to have abrogated. There is my reason.

It has never been and it is not now my custom to impute motives in this house. I think I stand clear of that in the eyes of every hon. member. I have never criticized nor attacked any man in this house for the position he has taken on any matter, but when I am attacked, when a member points the finger at me and says that I am guilty of the great apostasy, that I am inconsistent in my principles, then, Mr. Speaker, I think I have a right to examine, indeed, I think that that member has invited some examination of his own position in this house. What do we find? A little earlier in this debate the question of apostasy was very fully discussed and the dictionary definition of that word was enunciated. I too looked in the dictionary and among other definitions given of apostasy I find this-the abandonment of party, the abandonment of old associates and colleagues in the house, of old fellow warriors and fellow fighters lined together in the same regiment fighting for a common cause. As I stand here and think back over the years that have gone, the years when I and others entered this house full of optimism, full of hope, full of courage, as I look along this line and think of the stalwart champions who have fought side by side with us here, and then look across the floor and see some of those stalwart champions facing us from the opposite side, fighting those things which together we advocated and supporting those things which together we denounced, can I do anything but deprecate and lament the change?

A statement was made yesterday by the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown)-and I know he appreciates that there is no personal ill will in my references; we have always been friends and I can only regret his present position-as a matter of fact two or three statements were made by him. One was that neither he nor his present associates had ever been heard to advocate the principle of protection for farmers. It is true, Mr. Speaker. But in that regard I think of a certain gentleman of old of whom it was said that what he did so thundered in the ears that it rendered inaudible iwbat he said. It is not what the hon. gentleman has said to which I might take exception. He has at all times to the best of his ability denounced with verbal thunder and verbal pyrotechnics the principle of protection and all those who uphold that principle. I repeat, it is not what the hon. gentleman has said to which I might take exception; but actions speak louder than words, and his actions have failed to second

Australian Treaty-Mr. Neill

those verbal thunders. Again, it was suggested that by our refusal to follow him and his associates across the floor we repudiate and refuse responsibility; and the hon. member for Lisgar suggested that he and his associates -for all of whom I have the utmost regard- were prepared to accept that responsibility. Well, are they prepared to accept responsibility for every action of the government, for all its policies?-which actions and policies differ not one tittle from the policies and actions which those same hon. gentlemen denounced when they sat with us on this side of the house. And yet if we follow the hon. member's argument to its logical conclusion what other interpretation can we pass upon his statement as to responsibility? Politics, he said, makes strange bedfellows. Well, when I see my friend in close communion with and sharing the responsibilities of those whose gods are not his gods, I think again of him when he spoke of the husks for which the farmers would wallow in the trough if they adopted protection. I think there is a good deal of truth in his remark. But, sir, when I think of him running free in the green pastures of independent thought and action on this side of the house, and look at him as he now sits opposite, cribbed, cabined and confined with those whose gods are not his gods, I think I detect a touch of regret, a touch of pathos as he realizes too late the fact that all he has received in exchange for those green pastures are but husks-husks neither nourishing nor palatable.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Aliberni):

Might I be allowed, Mr. Speaker, to move the adjournment of the debate?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUSTRALIAN TREATY AMENDMENTS TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE
Permalink

March 26, 1930