That action by the council of North Bay was simply expressing the concern that is felt by many Canadians about the extent to which inflation has destroyed the savings of the people of this country. Certainly this is a problem that affects many nations; certainly it is not a problem that is peculiar to Canada alone. But this government has ways in which it can tackle that
problem. This government has ways in which it can tackle the problem, without any artificial devices of any kind. It can tackle the problem, first of all, by stopping overtaxation and, secondly, by cutting non-defence expenditures, which it has not attempted to do in any serious way up to this time.
Now we come to the situation with which we are confronted in regard to trade. After all, there is not a member in the house who is not aware of the fact that Canada, in proportion to population, has resources unequalled by those of any other country in the world. Hon. members in the house, of all parties, are convinced of the great future that lies ahead of Canada. But there are members in the house who do believe that some of the figures of export trade at this time are misleading, and that some of the figures of export trade at this time contain very dangerous implications.
We have had reason to know over the years that the safest and steadiest market for Canadian products was in Great Britain. The reason for that was a straight matter of business. Do not let anyone suggest that this is merely sentiment. By all means let us not forget the value of sentiment; but at the same time let us recognize that this is a straight business proposition.
Great Britain, a world trader, needs the things we can produce. On the other hand the United States produces most of those things we produce, with the exception of certain specialized raw materials such as nickel and asbestos. Over the years the United Kingdom has been the market to which we have sold our wheat. Over the years that has been the market to which we have sold our cheese. Over the years that has been the market to which we have sold our agricultural products of all kinds. That is the country which has offered a steady market, one which has not suddenly imposed barriers, until very recently. It has not imposed barriers such as those we encountered some years ago which prevented making sales south of the boundary of many agricultural products upon which great herds in this country had been built up.
Let us see just what has been happening. In 1921 our exports to the United Kingdom amounted to $308,866,000 while to the United States they were $323,101,000, or very close to the same amount. Then, in 1926 our exports to the United Kingdom amounted to $459,223,000 and to the United States $457,877,000. In 1931, to the United Kingdom they amounted to $170,597,000 and to the United States $240,196,000. Then, in 1936 our exports to the United Kingdom were valued at $395,351,000 and to the-
United States $333,916,000. In 1941 the exports to the United Kingdom were $658,228,000 and to the United States $599,713,000. In 1946 the exports to the United Kingdom were valued at $597,506,000 and to the United States $887,940,000. That, it will be noted, was the first year in which the great spread came. In that year we find a spread of nearly $300 million.
Then, let us see what happened in 1950. In that year the exports to the United Kingdom amounted to $469 million and to the United States $2,020,987,000. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) said: Yes, but last year, in 1951, exports to the United Kingdom increased from $469,910,000 to $631,460,000.
That is true; but the exports to the United States increased as well, and we are seeing this constant increase taking place. In 1950 exports to the United States were valued at $2,020,987,000, while last year they were $2,297,674,000.
One point that must be examined in regard to these exports is the extent to which they are made up of resources that are not in manufactured form. True, we can sell the rich resources of this country, just as any person with a hoard of gold can continue for some time to live at a very high level. We are selling not only resources in a great many cases at their lowest possible figure, but we are selling future employment in this country.
Already we have statements of experts in many lines that new discoveries are not catching up with the exhaustion of our resources. The time has come to examine these exports carefully, and to realize that many of them are not sound in their ultimate effect upon Canada. Rather, we should encourage the greater manufacture of the products from those resources right here in this country of ours.
But, above all, we are now confronted with the impact upon Canada of the barrier imposed by the United States because of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. We are confronted with its effect upon the export of livestock and animal products to the United Kingdom. Those products are of immense importance to the people of Canada. Yet, at a time when we are confronted with a loss of these markets in the United States, we find the government of the United Kingdom announcing that it has been compelled to cut further the imports of products we would wish to sell there.
We are also confronted with the fact that, as every hon. member who read the press of yesterday will know, the dairy industry in
The Address-Mr. Drew this country is seriously threatened by the effect of that barrier which has been placed against the export of animals and animal products to the United States. At this very time we are also in a position where, because of the difficulties they are encountering in the United Kingdom in purchasing requirements from us, we are unable to sell these same animals and animal products to them.
That brings us to the suggestion that was made the other day, a suggestion that has been made over and over again, that this government should take the steps that are necessary to convene a commonwealth trade conference in order to find some way in which to open up those stable markets, particularly now that we find the markets for these particular lines closed in the United States. Much though we might hope that it would be otherwise, it is most difficult to expect that there will quickly be a change in the situation. Unless steps are taken without delay to find other markets a very serious situation may be created in this country which will affect people other than farmers once the impact is felt right across the country.
I am supporting this motion, not merely because it puts forward a sound proposition as I see it in regard to the encouragement of production and the marketing of our products but because I read into the motion an opportunity to say to this government at this time that one of the ways to encourage production and provide markets is to have a conference of the commonwealth countries so that we may find some way of opening up the markets of the United Kingdom and other nations of the commonwealth. Yes, and if we do that, markets in other sterling areas as well.
A few days ago a question was asked in the house as to whether the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) would initiate such steps. The minister said he would refer it to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) as he had just been over to London. The Minister of Finance then dealt with the financial conference he had attended. He was then asked whether trade matters had been discussed at that conference. He did not say that trade matters as such had been discussed; in fact it will be recalled that when the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) suggested that that was the reason why the Minister of Finance was going to London, according to press reports the Minister of Finance stated in London that that was not the reason he was there, that he was there to discuss financial matters. Consistent with that he made it
The Address-Mr. Drew clear the other day that that was the reason he was in London. When he was pressed he simply said that to the extent-
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