May 13, 1930


The house resumed from Monday, May 12, consideration of the motion of Hon. Charles A. Dunning that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, the amendment thereto of Mr. Bennett, and the amendment to the amendment thereto of Mr. Fansher (Last Mountain).


CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, in the forty minutes at my disposal I do not intend to offer any useless compliments to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) in regard to his budget, but I will say this, that in bringing down this budget he has done a service to the Canadian people, because by it he has rung down" the curtain on the last act of the farce which the present government has been presenting before the people of Canada for the past nine years. A farce is usually funny, but in this case it has been somewhat of a tragedy for the Dominion and it is well that the end is near. In the minds of most thinking people everything is over for the government but the election. For nine years the government by its un-Canadian policy has to a serious extent been doing damage to all our industries, the cattle industry, the dairy industry, the fruit and vegetable industry and the manufacturing industry, and by damaging those industries it has driven our workers and wage earners to the United States instead of providing work and wages for the people of Canada.

To prove that fact, all one has to do is to quote the figures of importations from the United States since the present government came into power. If hon. members will look

CMr. Ernst.]

them up they will find that the first year the government was in power we imported from the United States $516,000,000 worth of goods and last year we imported $869,000,000 worth, or almost double the former figure, an increase of nearly $400,000,000, 60 or 70 per cent of which could have been produced in this country had we had a proper Canadian policy. Our attitude throughout those nine years has been that we should have such a policy. This attitude we have put on record by resolutions moved in the house, by amendments moved to the budget, and by our leader in speeches that he has delivered before the Canadian people. Our attitude in short is one of "Canada first," one by which we shall produce in this country all those commodities which we can economically produce, utilizing in the process our own raw materials and bringing them to the finished product here instead of elsewhere, at the same time giving work and wages to the Canadian people instead of to people in foreign countries.

The reply of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) last year was the final summing up of the attitude of the present government when he assumed the position that we must "do nothing to provoke Washington." That was merely the final summing up, because for some years the government had been taking the same attitude. In the last three elections hon. members will find, if they look up the preelection proclamations of the government, that they have been proclaiming a free trade or low tariff policy. The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart), who spoke yesterday, made that great proclamation of the "death-knell of protection." The Prime Minister not once but dozens of times in his speeches has emphasized the fact that the tariff is a tax on the people and therefore should be reduced. He has said in many speeches that a tariff fosters trusts, combines and mergers. He has bewailed what he called our "brick for brick" tariff policy. He has declared that the Tories try to shut out imports and in his Edmonton speech he said that imports do no harm. The Minister of Railways (Mr. Crerar), the late Minister of Immigration, Mr. Forke, and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) are all out-and-out free trade supporters. But no later than this session when we introduced our amendment dealing with the New Zealand order in council, the government repeated its attitude, and its followers, notably the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) and the hon. member for West Elgin (Mr. Hepburn), took the position that the order in council should stand, that it would do no good to change it. The government finally moved a want of confidence motion in them-

The Budget-Mr. Manion

selves and carried it, making this want of confidence in the government almost unanimous throughout Canada.

The Minister of Finance at Regina as late as February 6 last, or about three months ago, emphasized the fact that he was "a low tariff man." He said:

I stand for a tariff as low as possible having regard to the interests of consumers, producers and industry generally.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Some hon. members say " hear, hear." As everybody belongs to one of those three groups and nearly everybody belongs to all three, this means merely having regard to the interests of everybody, but having regard particularly to the interests of the government. That was the real object of the speech.

In 1920 things became bad and a climax was reached by conditions brought upon us by the government. Industry became so depressed and unemployment so rampant that demands came to the government for assistance. Deputations waited upon the Prime Minister and the members of the government asking for relief. The only answer, however, that they got was a petulant statement by the Prime Minister that they were exaggerating conditions, and some hocus-pocus about unemployment insurance which he recanted as soon as he came into the house. When the session began with business depressed and unemployment rampant, there was an opportunity for the government to show some of that great statesmanship which they so modestly admit they possess, but everything that came up in the house was negatived by them.

The hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Kellner) introduced a resolution in regard to highways, but the government voted it down. Then the hon. member for Yegreville (Mr. Luchkovich) introduced a motion in regard to technical education, and while it did not come to a vote the government turned it down. The hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) introduced a motion relating to unemployment insurance, but in the classical words of the Prime Minister, not one five-cent piece would be given. The opportunities were great, but the government was small. It was as useless and helpless as a ship without a rudder or an engine or a pilot or a captain. The members of the cabinet were not those statesmen that they boasted they were. They were merely effigies of statesmen. They claimed prosperity, prosperity, when no prosperity existed in the country. They seem to think if they cried it loud, often and long enough, the hungry would think their stomachs 2419-128

were full and the idle would think their hands were busy. They showed no leadership, no policy, no courage and no Canadianism.

The people began to get tired of the fact that Canada was being treated largely as a hinterland of the United States and of a government which on all policies dealing with the United States, acted like an offshoot of the Washington government. They began to realize what a miserable failure the government had been. In other words, the government had been found out, and the people were getting ready to turn them out, the government themselves and many of their followers admitting defeat in private conversation. They decided they had to do something radical, startling, spectacular, or they would not have a chance at the next election. So they put their heads together and concocted this budget scheme, or budget hoax, caring nothing for past principles which they had espoused in the years gone by, caring nothing for the rather awkward and somewhat humiliating attitude of standing on their heads so far as their tariff policy was concerned, and caring nothing for the indecent recantation of policies for which they had stood in other days.

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LIB

Mitchell Frederick Hepburn

Liberal

Mr. HEPBURN:

What did the hon. member stand for in 1911?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I was under thirty years of age in 1911 and I have gained a little sense since then, but I do not think my hon. friend has.

So they worked up 'this budget scheme; they took a few of our proposals which they had previously opposed and ridiculed strenuously and hilariously in the house; they took a few countervailing duties to please the agricultural section; they put some protection on iron and steel and then, fearing, apparently, that these three changes might help Canada, they introduced, or at least so they claimed, an extension of the British preference as a sop to the low tariff men of the west. Then making a complex rearrangement of all the items so that ndbody could understand the budget anyway, they added a lot of humbug and hurrah and they offered that as a policy for Canada. There is in medicine an unscientific type of practitioner who when he does not know how to diagnose a case takes ten or a dozen drugs, jumbles them together in a prescription and offers it to the patient, hoping that if one therapeutic bullet does not hit the disease, another may. That is what is sarcastically called a " gunshot " prescription. This budget is a "gunshot " budget, the government hoping that if one political bullet does not bring down what I may call the prey, another bullet may do so.

The Budget-Mr. Manion

They lack the intelligence to work out a scientific Canadian tariff, and they lack the honesty to admit that they lack the intelligence. So they have brought in this budget, and they hope to keep the people from choking and gagging as they swallow it by giving them free tea with which to wash it down.

There are three outstanding features of this budget with which I intend to deal very briefly in the short time at my disposal, those being the iron and steel duties, the British preferential duties, and the countervailing duties. In regard to the iron and steel tariff, we imported last year, largely from the United States, about $340,000,000 of iron and steel products, sixty or seventy per cent of which could be manufactured in Canada under a proper tariff. I am giving the figures of the Minister of Finance himself, who unfortunately is not in his seat. He said with respect to these iron and steel items that he had increased the rates under the general tariff on forty items and reduced the rates on sixty-six items; that under the intermediate tariff he had increased the rates on twenty-four items and reduced them on eighty-six items, and that under the British preferential tariff he had increased the rates in eight cases and decreased them in one hundred and fifty-two cases. Adding them together, he has increased the duties on seventy-two items and decreased the duties on three hundred and four items, or more than four times the number of increases. So if you take it mathematically, and that is about the only way one can take it, you do not find much encouragement in this budget to the iron and steel industry as a whole in this country. How much less iron and steel shall we import from the United States under these new rates, and how much more shall we import from Great Britain? What will be the general effect of these changes? Nobody in the world knows what the general effect will be, and least of all the Minister of Finance himself. In the last forty-eight hours, an outstanding business man, the president of a big business in Canada, stated within the precincts of this building that his company had built a $1,500,000 plant in this country which had not yet been opened, and due to the increases in the British preference made in this budget that plant would never turn a wheel. In this budget, tariffs have been raised and lowered in such a way that nobody can tell for a year or two at least what the general effect will be. That is probably one of the reasons why the Minister of Finance did not make an estimate of his income for the coming year, and a second reason was probably that any accurate estimate would have to show a deficit.

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LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

Why talk of

something you know nothing about?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have as much right to

speak on what I know nothing about as this government has to legislate on what it knows nothing about.

The second feature of the budget with which I wish to deal is the countervailing duties. There is a list of sixteen items on which the budget places a fixed duty, and then there is a provision that if the United States or other countries, but it is largely the United States, raise their tariff on any of these items, we shall raise our tariff accordingly, and if they lower their tariff on any of these items we shall lower ours accordingly. As my leader said, we are taking that part of the tariff from Washington. It is another version, I suppose, of the Prime Minister's " Don't provoke Washington" tune.

Let me examine these sixteen items a little more closely. Our imports of these items last year amounted to between nine and fifteen million dollars. I have heard various estimates. I estimate it myself between twelve and thirteen million. But I will take the highest figure that I have heard and assume that we imported fifteen million dollars of goods under these items last year. That is a mere bagatelle compared with our imports last year from various countries. Suppose that this budget keeps out S10 000,000 of those imports, which is very unlikely by the way, and that the increase in the iron and steel duties against the United States will keep out another $40,000,000 worth of iron and steel products, which is still more unlikely, because most people estimate that they will not keep out five per cent of the present importation, which would be only half $40,000,000. Adding those together, we get $50,000,000. Suppose, on the other hand, that the increase in the British preferential duties on agricultural products and iron and steel lets in $40,000,000 worth of those goods from the British Empire. That is only an estimate, but one guess is as good as another, and you can only guess in regard to this budget. That would leave a credit balance of $10,000,000. Suppose you double or treble that amount and say S20,000,-000 or $30,000,000. Compare that with the $900,000,000 worth of imports that we got from the United States last year, or with the $1,270,000,000 that we got from the whole world. Where is the work and wages for the Canadian people in that budget? Where is the increased prosperity for this country in that small change? What the government has done is to give with one hand and take away

The Budget-Mr. Manion

with the other, and what the effect will be nobody in this world knows. They have attempted to mix in the same budget free trade and protection, which are just as mix-able as oil and water. A business friend of mine, after reading this budget, said to me, ''I have carried on under protection in Canada, and I might be able to carry on under free trade, but I cannot carry on under both free trade and protection at the same time." Why did not the government take the courageous Canadian attitude and adopt a made-in-Ottawa policy, placing Canada first under all circumstances, instead of bringing down this weak, puerile imitation of a tariff which, even if it were conscientiously carried out, has little or nothing in it for the workers of this country? With the exception of a few items which this government has taken from us and incorporated as their own, after ridiculing and opposing them in this house, there is no resemblance in this budget to a real Canadian policy such as has always been advocated by us.

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LIB-PRO

John Millar

Liberal Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

How did the government

come to get a Conservative budget from Washington?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I did not say that they

nave a Conservative budget. I do not consider that they have. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that at the next election these western free trade members, such as my hon. friend, will find it more difficult to get votes than the government will find it difficult to get anything from Washington.

Let me show how differently the United States government has dealt with its tariff since this government came into power in 1921. According to the Commercial Intelligence Journal of April 26 last, a publication of the government here at Ottawa, the United States imported from Canada in the six months of the fiscal year ending March 31, 1921, agricultural products or products manufactured from agricultural commodities to the value of 8130,000,000. Then the United States put up the Fordney tariff and other tariffs. They did not impose countervailing duties. They were not worrying about what we were going to do. They put on straight duties of their own, with the result that for the six months ending March 31 last they imported from us, not $130,000,000 worth of these goods, but $24,000,000 worth, or $106,000,000 less in the short period of six months. They are now increasing their tariffs against us to keep out another $70,000,000 or $75,000,000 worth of agricultural products. That is the American method of legislating for themselves. Let us 2419-1281

be Canadians, just as they are Americans, and let us treat them in the same businesslike way that they treat us.

I wish for a few moments to deal with the British preference. I would not like to pass that up, for in this budget which consists of a great deal of make-believe there is more fakery, sham, and eye-wash in the British preference section than in any other part. What kind of mentality must the Minister of Finance and the government have when they give a long list of 589 free items which they boast of as furthering British preference when, not dozens or scores, but hundreds of these items will not make one bit of difference in the imports that we receive from the rest of the British Empire. To make the whole thing still more obscure the Minister of Finance has rearranged the whole classification in a complex way, changing ad valorem duties to specific and specific to ad valorem, and taking percentage rates and making them dollar rates, and vice versa, to prevent, I suppose, the unravelling of this strange patchwork of economic humbug. What will be the result? No one knows, least of all the Minister of Finance. I can assure this house and our western friends particularly that the results will be far from what the Minister of Finance claims so far as the British preference part of the budget is concerned. There will be little resemblance to the pretense. These British preference reductions were put in for the purpose of appeasing the west and humbugging them into getting their votes. That was the whole purpose, and it is an insult to their intelligence.

What must one think of a government which adds scores, yes hundreds of items to the free list, useless free items, and pretends to western Canada that that is free trade, and then puts a tariff of 42 per cent on furniture, which one of its own cabinet ministers manufactures. To avoid being told that I am mistaken, I hold in my hand the order by which the tariff was raised from 30 to 42 per cent. It was tabled at my request the other day by the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Euler). It is signed by R. W. Breadner, Commissioner of Customs, and was issued no doubt upon the order of the minister. This is the order:

Ottawa, April 28, 1930.

Subject; Importations of Furniture

Sir.

All importations of furniture from North Carolina, Virginia and other southern states are to be appraised at an advance of not less than 40 per cent on the invoice value, without dumping duty, pending investigation and further instructions from the department.

Yours truly,

The Budget-Mr. Manion

In other words, they raised the valuation of the furniture 40 per cent, which makes the duty 42 per cent.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

By order in council?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Not even by order in

council, but by a circular issued by the Commissioner of Customs on instructions from the Minister of National Revenue.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

For the benefit of the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I do not say it was for

the benefit of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, but it has a rather strange appearance 1 must confess.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Does the hon. gentleman say ihat the rate on furniture has been increased?

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I say the valuation has

been increased 40 per cent, which absolutely increases the duty to 42 per cent.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Surely my hon. friend does

not pretend that the rate should not apply on the proper value. That is all we are trying to establish.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I do not know what the

minister is trying to establish; but the fact is obvious that the duty on furniture at this moment is 42 per cent.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not question that there is something good in this budget; it would be a strange budget that did not contain some good items. The good items in this budget are the proposals which we have made for years past and which the government ridiculed as worthless. What is good in this budget I support. What fosters empire trade I support, so long as it does not damage Canadian industry of any kind; but, sir, when it does damage Canadian industry I shall just as strenuously oppose it. The Canadian working man who loses his job to a British or a West Indian working man is not any happier for having so lost it than he would be had he lost it to a working man in the United States or some other foreign country. Canada is just as much a portion of the British Empire as is Britain or the West Indies- and charity begins at home. Just as a chain is no stronger than its component links; so this empire is only as strong as its component parts. Canada being one of the outstanding parts of this empire, the best way for us to build up the empire is to build up Canada into a prosperous Dominion. When I am forced, as I am in this budget, to choose between my land and its people and some other land and its people, I unhesitatingly align myself with my own country and my own countrymen.

But, sir, to deal with the general question of preference, this Liberal party has been claiming for years that they were the only simon-pure advocates of the British preference. They have been boasting throughout the country that they were the ones who were giving the preference to Great Britain as against all the rest of the world including of course the United States. We on this side have learned never to accept any statements by this government without proper investigation, because they are the greatest bunch of boasters and braggarts that ever got into power in any country.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

May I ask the hon. gentleman, who is a very able parliamentarian, not to use the word "bunch" in speaking of any party. I heard it employed yesterday.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

If I used the word I made a mistake, Mr. Speaker, and I substitute for it the word "group." I say, sir, that they have been claiming since the 1890's that they were the only simon-pure advocates of the British preference. But I made it my business to look into this and I find that their claim is not in accordance with the facts. For example, I find that on the total imports for the year 1928-1929, both free and dutiable, the average duty on United States goods was 14.1 per cent as against 20.6 per cent on United Kingdom goods, or a difference in favour of the United States of almost 50 per cent of the duty on American goods. Where is the preference in that, I should like to ask, for Great Britain? In case some hon. gentlemen may say that the United States imports into Canada include iron, cotton, oil, coal and a lot of other free goods, which is true, I also took the average on dutiable goods only, and I find that on our importations from the United States the average duty was 23.4 per cent, as against 25.9 per cent on dutiable goods from the United Kingdom, or more than 10 per cent higher against the United Kingdom than against the United States. The more you investigate, Mr. Speaker, the worse it becomes for I find also that between 1911 and 1921, when the Conservatives were in power, there was not one year in that decade when the average rate of duty on goods coming from the United Kingdom was so high as during the last two years under this government. I find that the rates during those ten years averaged from 15.3 to 19.6 per cent, except in 1915 when they touched 20 per cent. Comparing those percentages with the average percentage during the last two years of 20.6, I should like to ask this government and its followers, where is the great British preference over the United States

The Budget-Mr. Mnnion

in that form of treatment? What has brought this about? I do not know, nor do I know whether it was done consciously or unconsciously, but I do know that on practically every occasion when this government deals with the United States the Prime Minister seems to have a slant favourable to that country and he drags his followers along behind him. To ensure the accuracy of my figures I checked them up with the report of the Department of Statistics for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1929, and it absolutely bears out the facts that I have brought to the attention of the house.

We cannot trust the statements of this government with regard to past preferences to the United Kingdom. Therefore it is very difficult to trust their statements with regard to future British preferences. I would warn my low tariff friends in the west whose opinions have been so flagrantly flouted by this government, in spite of their having kept it in power, that they had better look out or they will be handed another gold brick by this government which for the last nine years has bamboozled not only the west but the whole Dominion. I am sorry that I have not much more time to investigate the budget, because the more it is investigated the more sham, deceit, and humbug you find it contains. This budget is a queer mixture of free trade and protection, of British preference and American preference, of tariff stability and tariff imbecility, and it is offered to the people of this country by the Minister of Finance. He is smiling at it. I do not blame him.

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May 13, 1930