October 20, 1932

LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. JOHN VALLANCE (South Battle-ford) :

Mr. Speaker, I am in receipt of further telegrams, which I do not propose to read, dealing with the matter to which I referred yesterday. I should like to aSk the government if they have any announcement to make in this connection. I think probably the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) and the other western ministers are receiving these communications as well.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

In the absence of the Prime Minister no further statement can be made in that connection to-day.

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MONTREAL POSTAL TERMINAL


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (St. James):

Mr. Speaker, I understand that a large amount of money is included in the estimates for the current year for the erection of a postal terminal in Montreal. May I inquire either from the Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) or the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) what is being done in the matter?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. A. STEWART (Minister of Public Works):

In reply to my hon. friend, who is greatly interested in this matter, I can only say that there is not much prospect of this work being proceeded with during the present-fiscal year.

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IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE


The house resumed from Wednesday, October 19, consideration of the motion of Right Hon. R. B. Bennett (Prime Minister) for approval of the trade agreement entered into at Ottawa the 20t)h day of August, 1932, between representatives of His Majesty's government in Canada and of His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom, subject to the legislation required in order to give effect to the fiscal changes consequent thereon.


CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. MAURICE DUPRE (Solicitor General) :

Mr. Speaker, in his very eloquent speech the Liberal leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) stated that the British representatives had agreed to this treaty because they had been compelled to do so. I ask the people of my province, my friends of Le Devoir and the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) what they think of that argument advanced by my right hon. friend, when for years we Conservatives have been aocused in the province of Quebec of being too much pro-British. This is simply one more inconsistency on the part of our Liberal friends. They have two monopolies, the monopoly of inconsistencies and the monopoly of constitutional questions. As the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) said the other day in his picturesque way, they are expert at constitutional shadowboxing- My friends opposite from Quebec will remember a word quite commonly used in our colleges, "des sparages." _ Well, I think the Liberal leader will go down in history with his constitutional sparages. It is what we call in French "un tic nerveux." May ^ I direct the attention of my right hon. friend-oh, very respectfully-to the words used by the hon. member for Labelle, who said:

I hope he will allow me, as an old man to tell him that there is something childish in his reiteration that there should be no bargaining between Canada and Great Britain.

Across the way I see my friends from the province of Quebec, the hon. member for Oharlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain), my hon. friend from Belleehasse (Mr. Boulanger), my hon. friend from Beauce (Mr. Lacroix), my hon. friend from Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot)

and others, and to them I say this: I challenge you to come to my province and repeat what you have said here, that the Conservatives have been too hard on the British, that we have been too anti-British. What have we done? We have increased the British preference, which-the Liberal leader says-was introduced by the Liberal party. This agreement is for five years, while other agreements brought about by the Liberal party were for four years and on up to twelve years. Even the Anglo-German agreement was for five years, with twelve months' notice of abrogation. By article 23 a safeguard is provided to care for unforeseen complications. That article reads:

In the event of circumstances arising which, in the judgment of His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom or of His Majesty's government in Canada, as the case may be, necessitates a variation in the terms of the agreement, the proposal to vary those term* shall form the subject of consultation between the two governments.

It is a sort of safety valve:

The freedom of parliament is not imperilled: every parliament of the empire

is at liberty to ratify or not to ratify the agreement-; and it will not cause unfavourable reaction in the other markets of the world. But the Liberals say that we arc wrong. Of course we are wrong. Wrong also is Ramsay MacDonald, wrong are Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Lord Hailsham, Sir John Simon and all the Simonites who belong to the Gladstonian school; wrong also the parliaments of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the Irish Free State, Rhodesia, and all the other dominions who will ratify the agreements; wrong also four-fifths of the British House of Commons who will ratify the agreement by an overwhelming majority. But right, quite right, are Mr. Scullin, Mr. Lans-bury, Sir Herbert Samuel, the Liberal leader, and the two spokesmen of yesterday for the Liberal cause, the ex-Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) and the hen. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot). Here are the eighty just judges of the Bible. As my colleague, the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manien) said, we are the wicked Tories. Hon. gentlemen opposite are condemning this agreement and asking what it means. Well, it means larger markets and preferences for our farmers, our fishermen, our lumbermen, our miners and manufacturers. It means, in the words of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, that the forthcoming world economic conference could not have been held had the Ottawa parley failed. It means, in the words of Mr. Chamberlain, a solid foundation for empire prosperity that

Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

would be reflected throughout the world. It means that in line with this agreement with Canada the British government has already given notice that it will abrogate its most favoured nation trade pact with Soviet Russia. Will t.he farmer, the manufacturer and the lumberman complain if the Ottawa agreement has caused Great Britain to abrogate her trade pact with the soviets?

At the beginning of the conference, during its progress and at the closing, our opponents were repeating-rather, I should say, they were hoping-that the Prime Minister and his party would not succeed in the endeavour bo have Great Britain abolish her trade pact with the soviets. Thanks to clause 21, which has been laughed at by our opponents and declared unworkable, this has been done; and on that count, Mr. Speaker, as on many other counts, I think that my right hon. leader was right in saying: "we have dene well."

When the Liberal party has a bad cause or a lost cause to defend, it has recourse to a very eloquent voice; the voice of a man whom I admire more than I trust his prayers. It is the voice of my distinguished friend from Quebec East. He is a sort of idealist, and his theory is this: Give everything but do not exact anything in return. But when Great Britain gave to my leader the answer for which Sir Wilfrid Laurier had been waiting since 1897, I think that my hon. friend from Quebec East should have congratulated the Conservative Prime Minister.

There is one point which I think should be cleared up today. In his speech the hon. member for Quebec East took strong exception to our policy of protection. After having quoted the Prime Minister, he said, in one of his most beautiful periods, and with his clenched fist in the air, "We belong to another school." To what school does the ex-Minister of Justice belong? To the school of free trade? The hon. gentleman denounced protection before making this declaration. But I do not see why, because the Liberal party has never, under the great Laurier or under its present leader, dared to apply squarely the doctrine of free trade in this country.

"We belong to another school," says the exMinister of Justice. Let us believe him for the sake of argument; and he added, "I, for one, am opposed to this treaty and to the agreement." I reply, let us suppose that the agreements were drafted in such a way as to please the so-called school of the exMinister of Justice. What would happen? The tariff would be lowered to the detriment of all Canadian products, and the first in-

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dustry to suffer would be the boot and shoe industry of Quebec city, where the electors of the hon. member for Quebec East and my own electors earn their daily bread.

In his speech the day before yesterday the ex-Minister of Justice, deeply moved, with tremolos in his voice and in the orchestra around him, exclaimed, Ministeis of the crown have resigned in Great Britain because they could not accept these agreements." If the treaty between the Dominion of Canada and the United Kingdom had been drafted on the principles of the so-called school of my hon. friend from Quebec East and based on free trade, I, for one, would not have accepted it; I would have disagreed with my colleagues and tendered my resignation to my right hon. leader; because I believe that if these agreements were based on the doctrine of the free trade school the industries of my constituency and of my country would have gone on the same rocks on which the Liberals wanted the conference to be wrecked. Surely the ex-Minister of Justice was not serious when he suddenly let us think that he was ready to sacrifice the industries of his own constituency and I am surprised that the statue of the great Sir Wilfrid Laurier did not fall from its pedestal when his spirit heard the language of his beloved disciples.

If Sir Wilfrid could come back I know he would take his two friends, the leader of the Liberal party (Mr. Mackenzie King) and his principal lieutenant, the member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) by the hands and in his suave voice and grand manner say to them: " My dear Ernest, my dear Bill, when you talk about protection and free trade please use the soft pedal and do not make it too thick. Remember, my dear friends, when I succeeded Blake I advocated free trade but after 1896, when I came into power, I realized that this doctrine could not be applied because it would have proved to be dangerous to the life of this country." Taking them by the arm Sir Wilfrid would add: "Do not forget that in 1911 when I lost power the tariff duties were higher than they were when I came into power in 1896." Then the grand old man would take his two friends to the Hansard room and say: "My dear Ernest, my dear Bill, look at what the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) said when speaking on Tuesday last." He would open Hansard and in a quiet voice read to his friends the following words of the hon. member for Labelle:

I do not want to be disagreeable, but perhaps it would be more prudent on the part of the right hon. gentleman-

Sir Wilfrid would add: "That really means you, Bill and Ernest"-

-not to speak too much of principles and doctrines in matters of tariff. I have had close connections with the Liberal party for many years past, and the conclusion is forced upon me that the only fiscal policy to which that party has adhered during the last forty years is to advocate free trade when_ in opposition and to practice protection when in power.

During the past two years the word "humbug" has been hurled at us across the floor. During these attacks we remained cool and undisturbed because we were convinced that sooner or later our day would come. Twenty-two months later that day has come; and the right hon. gentleman from Great Britain who originated the word was one of the first to say before he left the capital city of this dominion that the conference had been a success. Let us read the oratorical and well-scanned sentences of the speech of the leader of the Liberal party; let us go through the eloquent sentences of the former Minister of Justice; let us peruse the high sounding phrases of the former Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret); let us glance at the "bon mots" of the hon. member for Temiseouata (Mr. Pouliot), and what do we discover? We find that all this opposition to the proposed agreement is nothing but humbug. This opposition is brought about by the fact that we and not they have succeeded.

During the sombre days of 1914 when we were passing through a political crisis the then leader of the Liberal party offered the services and cooperation of his party to the then Prime Minister. He did that for Canada and for the empire. Today we are facing an enonomic crisis and I submit that the present leader of the Liberal party should repeat the patriotic gesture of his former chieftain. We are building for the generations to come and we want a spirit, not of destruction, but of cooperation-we do not want malignant criticism.

I shall make my last appeal to hon. friends opposite and to the men and women of goodwill of this dominion, whether Conservative, Liberal, Progressive or Labour, and say to them: Let us be patriots, let us forget about politics and think more of our country.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Shelburne-Yar-mouth):

Mr. Speaker, in order that the points to which I want to refer particularly may be before the house and the country, I beg to

United Kingdom

move, seconded by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie) the following:

That all the words after "that" be struck out and that the following words be inserted instead thereof:

1. In respect of the trade agreement entered into at Ottawa the 20th day of August, 1932, between representatives of His Majesty's government in Canada and of His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom, this house -welcomes such terms of the agreement as propose the reduction of existing duties, as well as those which in any way tend to increase the possibilities of greater demand for Canadian products.

2. This house emphatically condemns the features of the agreement which show increases in an already unreasonably high tariff.

3. This house disapproves in the strongest terms of the effect of the agreement whereby the present government has precluded Canada from exercising the right which is vital to prosperity of the dominion of making trade agreements for the marketing of her products abroad.

4. The house learns with greatest concern that the agreement gives no definite assurance that regulation by order in council imposing arbitrary and wholly unwarranted restrictions on tra.de will be abandoned.

5. That this house reaffirms the principle of British preference which has been the policy of the Liberal party since 1897 and is convinced that had the tariff provisions of May 1, 1930, prevailed Canadian products would have enjoyed advantages in British markets immeasurably greater than any which they can hope to obtain under the proposed agreement.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does any hon. member

wish to speak on the point of order that I understand has been raised?

There is no doubt in my mind that under standing order 48 this motion can be amended. The original motion before the house approves the trade agreement entered into at Ottawa 20th August, 1932, between representatives of the government of Canada and of the government of the United Kingdom. The amendment proposed both approves and disapproves of the agreement. It is out of order for the following reasons:

Paragraph 1 expresses approval of the agreement and is already covered by the main motion. It suggests no change in and does not alter the main motion. It is not an amendment.

Paragraphs 2 and 3 are direct negatives of part of the main motion and so are not in order. Authority for this may be found in May, thirteenth edition, page 286.

Paragraphs 4 and 5 affirm general principles which cannot be moved as amendments to motions of this sort but which could be moved on other occasions. May, Bourinot and Redlich indicate that the only motions upon which amendments declaratory of prin-

53719-25J

eiple may be moved are motions for an address in reply to the speech from the throne, motions to go into committee of ways and means and supply and for the second reading of public bills. This will be found in May at pages 173, 390 and 525; in Bourinot at pages 97, 504 and 419, and in Redlich, third volume, at pages 89 and 108. I therefore find the amendment to be out of order.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

As regards

paragraph 1, I am not sure whether I caught Your Honour's words correctly, but I understand Your Honour is ruling the amendment out of order because, among other reasons, paragraph 1 expresses approval of the agreement. If that is what Your Honour alleges, I respectfully beg to differ. The amendment does not express approval of the agreement; it expresses approval of certain clauses, certain terms of the agreement, but not of the agreement.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Perhaps I should have

said that it approves part of the agreement.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is right.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

If my hon. friend (Mr. Dupre) who has just sat down will excuse me, I shall not attempt to follow him in his discussion of the motion, my principal reason being this, that it seems to me what the country needs at this time is to understand what is in the agreement, I have noticed that, generally speaking, hon. gentlemen opposite have kept about as far away from the contents of the agreement as they possibly can. They have talked about local matters, discussed personalities, I mean in a good humoured political way, but they have kept clear of the real implications of the agreement, which, I submit, is the purpose of the motion which has been made by the Prime Minister.

We are indebted to the Prime Minister for a very exhaustive review of certain features of the agreement. I with others regret most sincerely that he saw fit almost from the opening sentences of his remarks, in contrast with the appeal which has just been made by the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) for cooperation, to do all the damage he could to an appeal of that kind by boasting that they had succeeded where we had failed; that he would not attempt to deride this party, although that of course is exactly what he intended to do, and generally speaking he endeavoured to leave and did leave the impression, at least m his own mind, that he had succeeded in doing something and that there had been complete failure on this side of the house. I shall not take time to read what I think my right hon. leader has already read in the house of

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the opening remarks of the leader of the government. What I want to say to him is this, that if it be failure to forebear to tie hand and foot this country and render it unable to negotiate trade agreements for the next five years in respect to two hundred and twenty-three items of the tariff schedule, then we have failed and my right hon. friend is entitled to any credit he cares to take for what success he may have had. If it be failure to decline to put on the backs of the people of this country any further tariff impositions, we have failed and my right hon. friend is welcome to that satisfaction also. If it be failure to forebear to enter into arrangements or discussions which result in such head lines as I see in the English newspapers before me, one or two of which I want to put on record, then we have failed and there my right hon. friend again is welcome to any credit he claims for what he has done. I have many of these headings, but these are a few. This is a heading which appeared in the Financial News in England on August 10. This is with regard to a conference between sister nations of the commonwealth, a conference where all was good will and where peace and harmony was supposed to reign. This is the heading:

Canada blocks the way at Ottawa. Other dominions ready to help British trade. Indignation among delegates.

This is from the Star of August 17:

Mr. Bennett's bluff called at long last. Ottawa ends at noon on Saturday. Useful lessons learned by the British. Canada foiled. Somersault show that did not amuse. In conference circles most people agree with me that the British made a mistake in not calling Mr. Bennett's bluff earlier.

If the Liberal party failed to put Canada in that position in the daily press we confess failure. If the Prime Minister is proud of provoking newspaper references of that kind, then he is entitled to the satisfaction he may get out of so doing. I do not know why my right hon. friend said that. One minute he is appealing to high sentiments of patriotism; in the next moment he is descending, as I really think the Prime Minister did, and appealing to party passion, and the next moment again he addresses an appeal to us to cooperate with the government. He has had his fling. We shall take him in his Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character. Le us look at him from the point of view of Dr. Jekyll and examine this agreement in the cold grey dawn of the morning after, where the tumult and shouting has died, and after the press reports have gone out. He has certainly had a splendid press. Let us look at the agreement and see what is in it. What .is the

[Mr. Ralston.1

achievement which my right hon. friend is supposed to have attained?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Apples.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

My dear friend, nobody

is sore. I do not know' of anybody Who has tried to keep away from the conference any more than my hon. friends on this side under my right hon. leader, and what hon. gentlemen opposite are disappointed about is that the Liberals never opened their mouths about the conference from start to finish. They just let the government go on in its own way.

Let us look at the agreement for a moment. Taking it in the spirit of give and get, the spirit of bargaining, which is supposed to be the up to date method, what do we get? Article 1 provides that free entry is guaranteed to Canada of the goods which are mentioned in the Import Duties Act. Note this, Mr. Speaker, that article 1 guarantees a continuance of free entry of the articles on which duties were placed under the Import Duties Act, but what I do note is this: Article 1 does not guarantee to Canada a margin of preference in respect of the goods on which duties are imposed against the outside world under that act. It simply says: You are entitled to free entry. I have read the Prime Minister's speech from end to end, and I cannot find anywhere that the Prime Minister has suggested or has made the statement that Canada is to have the margin of preference represented by the difference between free entry and the amount of duty imposed against the rest of the world. I think the house and the country is entitled to have the Prime Minister or some member of his government say w'hether or not there is, outside of this agreement itself, any understanding of any kind on which we can rely, with anybody who is in a responsible position, that Canada can depend that the present duties being imposed under the Import Duties Act against the rest of the world on these goods, will be continued. Or is it possible that Great Britain, although admitting Canadian products free, is at liberty to admit the same products from any other part of the world free, thus

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destroying the preference? I understand that that contention is being made in at least some of the newspapers in Great Britain. I think it is most important that we should know just what the fact is in that regard. I do not see how we can possibly go on and consider what is really in this agreement until we know that. I am not treating the agreement in the strictly legal sense that every "t" has to be crossed and every "i" dotted, although a great many eminent lawyers came over to the conference and the agreement was pretty well buttressed up in one way or another. I do not know whether there has been any slip here, but I think we are entitled to know. The question is: Is Canada entitled to a preference in respect of the goods mentioned in article I? If not, if Great Britain can lower or cancel the duty on the goods mentioned in article 1, there is precious little benefit for Canada in the whole of that article. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister put on Hansard the other night a very long list of articles which he said would go from Canada to Great Britain under the provisions of article 1. That list will be found at page 116 of Hansard. For instance, can the 20 per cent duty be struck off wire and wire nails as against the outside world and thus destroy Canada's preference? And so with respect to the other sixty or seventy odd items on pages 116 and 117 of the Prime Minister's speech. That is the first point. What do we get in this article? I do not know. We get the guarantee of free entry of these goods. Is anybody going to suggest that we would not have got it anyway, supposing the Dunning budget had been in force? Do you think Great Britain would have imposed a duty against the Dominion of Canada after the preferences that have been extended year after year and after the way Great Britain herself has acted in giving us preferences from time to time as she put duties in force? Certainly not. But my friends consider that they should be credited with a great achievement because they have got Mr. Chamberlain solemnly to sign a document declaring that we shall continue to have free entry for goods for which we have had free entry right along.

Following that out, have we any guarantee that Great Britain will keep up the duties? Looking at article 3, we find that there is a provision that the duties on certain goeds specially mentioned therein shall not toe reduced. What is the obvious inference? That on the goods that are not mentioned in article 3 the duties may be reduced, that Great Britain may cancel the duties upon those

(Mr. Ralston.J

goods at any time. I point again to the fact that the right hon. Prime Minister in a written statement was most particular never once to state that there was any obligation on Britain to maintain its duties against the world on the goods mentioned in article 1 except the commodities specified in schedule C.

As far as article 2 is concerned, that has to do with some special commodities. There is an intimation that certain duties will be imposed against goods from outside, goods which Canada produces. Included in them are wheat in grain, apples, copper, condensed milk and other things. There again, strangely enough there is nothing in that article to intimate that, parliament having been invited to put on the duty, is bound to keep it on for five years. And when you come to look at the clause which indicates that duties cannot be reduced, you find article 3, which only deals with goods enumerated in schedule C, and which is the only clause which expressly provides that Great Britain shall not reduce duties.

But what happens with regard to Canada? Look at article 9. There is no doubt about Canada having to maintain the margin of preference. It is right in the book. Our friends in Great Britain knew my right hon. friend, they had done business with him, they said, "We are going to have this in the document, if there are agreements they are going to be in the bond, no gentleman's agreements."

Article 9 provides:

His Majesty's government in Canada will invite parliament to pass the legislation necessary to substitute for the duties of customs now leviable on the goods specified in schedule F, the duties shown in that schedule, provided that nothing in this article shall preclude His Majesty's government in Canada from reducing the duties specified in the said schedule so iong as the margin of British preference shown in that schedule is preserved or from increasing the rates under the intermediate or genera! tariff set out in the said schedule.

There is no doubt about that. Where will you find that same clause regarding Great Britain's undertaking respecting our goods going in there?

But, Mr. Speaker, let us suppose it is for five years, I ask again, is there any hon. gentleman in this house who will suggest that Great Britain would not have given that preference had the tariff schedule of May 1, 1930, been in force at the time this agreement was made? What would have happened is, I submit, that there would not have been a clause in the Import Duties Act restricting the preference to November 15,

United Kingdom

1932. Automatically we would have received a preference at the time the Import Duties Act was passed.

Now those are two of the things which we get; article 1, a general blanket clause which says that all goods coming from Canada to Great Britain under the Import Duties Act shall continue to come in free; article 2, which undertakes to impose imposition of certain special duties on certain goods.

Now my hon. friend here mentioned apples.

I want to deal with a couple of items which are mentioned in schedule B in respect of which article 2 provides that certain duties shall be imposed. I want to say, and as I go on I think I will be able to convince even my hon. friend-he is pretty hard to convince with an argument against his own government-that if this is some good for the apple growers of this dominion it is only a very thin sugar-coating on the pill-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Something over a

million dollars.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

If my hon. friend will

permit me, neither the apple growers nor anyone else in this country can get this piece of bait without taking the whole hook. I want to indicate to them what the hook is, so that the people of the dominion may know what is in this agreement. In regard to apples, does my hon. friend claim any credit for having procured an agreement by Great Britain to put a duty of 4s. 6d. on apples? Does he know it was agreed to away back in 1923? Does he know that this government in Great Britain is the first government that has not been pledged against food taxes? Does he know that the apple grower in Great Britain, the apple importer in Great Britain, was insisting that a duty should be put on, and the Canadian gets the benefit of that duty just the same as anyone else in the empire? Does my hon. friend know that? No, he does not.

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October 20, 1932