March 4, 1936 (18th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph-Arthur Bradette


Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (Cochrane):

Mr. Speaker, there are times in the fife of a person and in the life of a nation when there are unmistakable signs of rejoicing, and one of such times came last fall when it was announced throughout the country that the government intended to bring about a trade agreement between Canada and the United States. I believe I am voicing the sentiments of the people of my constituency, if not of the whole of Canada, when I say that every citizen who has studied the question must realize the wonderful benefits that will come, not so much from reciprocity, but from freer trade between the great neighbouring nation to the south and this dominion. There is nothing clearer than that, and I believe the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) might well take some of the credit of the agreement to himself, but sopietimes man and nature are incomprehensible to the ordinary man. For me it is hard to comprehend the attitude of the leader of the opposition to-day when during the last election everybody was under the impression that not only the Liberal party but the Conservative party was in favour of freer trade between Canada aud the United States.

Canada-U. S. Trade Agreement
Before I proceed further I want to compliment most sincerely the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) upon the wonderful work he has done in bringing about this agreement and upon the splendid presentation of the case which he made to the house only a few days ago. We now hear coming back to this house the echoes of the voice [DOT] of the Canadian people. A voice heard throughout the length and breadth of this land in favour of the freer trade policies inaugurated in this agreement between Canada and the United States.
Freer trade between Canada and the United States is not a new question; it is an old one. It has been advocated in our national life for the last seventy-five years. I am sure that everyone who has read Canadian history must be fully seized of this fact, that every time we had freer trade with the United States we had prosperity in this country. Every student of our history knows that prior to 1846, before the repeal of the corn laws in Great Britain, we had great prosperity in Canada because we were allowed to buy American wheat, grind it into flour in this country and ship it to Great Britain, paying practically no duty at all. Then in 1846 Great Britain repealed her corn laws, and that was the beginning of a period of misery and depression for Canada. There followed in this country an agitation deeper than that of 1837. We all remember reading in our history books of the burning of the parliament building in Montreal, and, unlike the previous insurrection of 1837, it was not burned by French Canadians but by people of British descent. One of the leaders in that movement was J. J. Abbott, who afterwards became Prime Minister of Canada. There was talk at that time of annexation to the United States, and a good many of our Canadians had to go to the United States to seek work. Anyone who reads our history cannot escape the conclusion that freer trade between the two countries has always brought a period of greater prosperity for the United States and Canada.
We also remember the depression which this country suffered when Great Britain imposed upon us certain laws that struck at shipping on the St. Lawrence river. Again an agitation followed for a number of years, and then in 1856 our trade recovered when the United States allowed us freer access to their market. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that anyone, be he Liberal or Conservative, who reads our history with an open mind, cannot escape the conclusion that in those periods when we had freer trade between Canada and the United States we had a period of greater prosperity.
[Mr. Bradette.l
In 1866 the freer trade agreement that we had with the United States was abrogated because, I believe, the American people thought that we were in sympathy with the south, and again we had hard times in Canada. Again the question of freer trade was revived, and an agitation was carried on for a number of years, eventually coming to a head in 1911, when Mr. Fielding brought down his reciprocity agreement in the House of Commons.
I was living in the suburbs of Montreal at that time, and I vividly remember reading in the press of Montreal a report of what happened in the House of Commons when Mr. Fielding brought down his trade agreement and on the floor of the house enumerated the different items shortly before the general election of that year. I remember reading of the cheers that came not only from the Liberal but from the Conservative benches. The two major parties then-and I believe there were only two parties at that time-were absolutely in agreement in thinking that freer trade would be advantageous to both countries. In the discussion that followed I remember that when one Conservative asked Mr. Fielding what he would do about American wheat, he replied that it would be put on the free list, and there was applause from all sections of the House of Commons. But unfortunately for Canada and the United States -that agreeement did not go through-and it must be remembered, Mr. Speaker, that no trade agreement can operate to the exclusive benefit of one country alone. Some indiscretion was committed either by Mr. Champ Clark or by Mr. Taft, and in the election campaign the Conservatives fought against the trade agreement. They must have long since deplored their action, realizing that they had not been fair to their own country and to the great leader of the Liberal party, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
It is all very well for the leader of the opposition to say to-day that the reciprocity pact of 1911 was defeated by the electorate, but I say no, Mr. Speaker, the electors in 1911 did not have a chance to get a clear vision of what the reciprocity pact meant. Those who come from Quebec will remember what happened in that province in 1911. There was no discussion of the reciprocity pact. Instead, the Conservative party was accusing the then Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, of being untrue to the British connection in regard to the naval bill. We all remember that vividly. The Conservative party knew that the reciprocity pact would be a good thing for Canada, but the accusation was made that

G'anada-U. S. Trade Agreement
we were being sold to the United States. We should remember matters like this when we are discussing this resolution.
I think it was a good thing for Canada when on October 14 last the people spoke so distinctly. The decision was in favour of this pact and politics should not be instilled into the matter. When the people of Canada went to the polls they were satisfied that all parties were in full agreement that we needed freer trade with the United States. There is no avoiding the fact that the verdict of the people was clear. I do not believe the Conservative party is being true to its principles. When we go back into history we find that whenever they were on the government side they were in favour of a reciprocity agreement and freer trade with the United States. Along with the great majority o.f the Canadian people I find it hard to .make that fine distinction made by the leader of the opposition and some of his supporters, that the Liberal party is not playing fair with the country. As the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) said so well yesterday, no Liberal or anybody else in this country has to take a back seat to any Conservative. Our loyalty to Canada and to the British empire is much greater than mere treaties. That loyalty is what we carry in our souls and in our hearts. I am gl'ad that for four years our Conservative friends will not have an opportunity of again raising the old tbogey, of again poisoning the minds of the Canadian people by trying to make them believe that the Liberal party is ready to sell this country body and soul to the United States.
We are fortunate in being a neighbour of the United States. I do not doubt for a single moment that Australia would pay much for similar access to the American market to that which we have. I do not think the leader of the opposition is really sincere when he pictures the United States as being a monster ready to devour every little Canadian. Surely he must realize that the matter was one of bargaining and of playing fair. I could go into the elections of 1911 in greater detail, but I shall not take up the time of the house. In making the references I do I am speaking *not as a Liberal only, but as a Canadian. Only a few months before the elections the Conservatives in the house were pounding their desks with both hands when Mr. Fielding announced a reciprocity pact between the two nations. It must be admitted that the Americans were partly to blame for what happened afterwards.
Every hon. member remembers the Wilson-Underwood tariff which gave access to the primary products of Canada to the American market. Prosperity reigned in this country. Then that tariff was withdrawn to be replaced with the Fordney-McCumber tariff. I could never understand why this tariff was put into effect in view of the great benefits which had been derived by both countries from the Wilson-Underwood tariff. Then I was dumbfounded and astonished later on when the Hawley-Smoot tariff was put into effect. This tariff was put into effect at a time when Canada was buying millions and millions of dollars' worth of goods from the United States. Even the American people found fault with the Hawley-Smoot tariff and I do not believe they were wholly behind it. Many of them realized that it was unfair, not only to Canada but also to the United States. Nearly 500 newspapers in the United States have spoken against this tariff, and I should like to give one or two quotations to show the feeling in that country. The first article is headed, "A Dangerous Tariff" and is from the Phoenix, Arizona, Republican, an independent progressive paper. It reads:
If the advocates of general upward revision could have their way we should shortly be commercially isolated. The exports of the United States have come vastly to exceed our imports. Our markets have been extended and enlarged throughout the world, and to hold them we must maintain a friendly commercial attitude towards those whose business we enjoy. Otherwise not only we may, but we almost certainly would, provoke the retaliatory tariff legislation which would drive us out of many of our markets.
The next quotation is from the Columbus Despatch. It is headed, "An Example of Greed," and reads:
The Hawley bill more than neutralizes its farm increases by heavy increases on many articles of which the farmers are almost universally buyers, not producers and sellers. Building materials, shoes, leather and harness are examples.
The bill is one of the most striking examples of tariff boosting greed in all our tariff history and threatens a harmful interruption of world commerce, and business in general, unless saner counsels prevail before it is finally passed. President Hoover wTas right in advising only limited revision.
Perhaps this is why the nations of the world are beginning to realize that intensive nationalism does not pay. This principle which applies to Canada, applies just as forcibly to the United States. I can remember reading statements by great American writers to the effect that the United States could live within itself; that it was such a wonderful unit with such climatic conditions and1 everything else that it did not need any export

Canada-V. S. Trade Agreement
trade. I believe that country has paid dearly for that philosophy. This applies equally to Canada.
I come from a section of Canada which is always penalized by tariffs. Northern Ontario is a producer of primary products which must find an outside market. At Iroquois Falls is one of the largest newsprint mills in Canada, large enough to supply the newsprint requirements of this country. A few moments ago the hon. member for Lanark (Mr Thompson) was saying that we should deal only within the British empire, but for his information I would tell1 him that the only market for newsprint is in the United States. It is all very well for hon. members opposite to refer to industries in their constituencies employing 100 or 500 men; this mill at Iroquois Falls employs 3,000 men in the mill alone, while thousands of men are employed in the fruitful occupations of lumbering, driving and so on. Yet our Conservative friends want to check any trade we have with the United States.
It was a wonderful sight five years ago to see going from the town of Iroquois Falls trainloads of newsprint manufactured on this side of the border. And where did that newsprint go? It was not manufactured for the Canadian market, which was saturated; nor was it manufactured for Great Britain. By the way I shall always be in favour of trade with the mother country; indeed, I am in favour of the British preference, because I believe it was the most wonderful thing we ever had between the two countries, Canada and Great Britain. But I can tell hon. members that every pound of that newsprint coming from one mill-and there are three in my riding-found its way thirty-six hours later to New York. We were satisfied to get American money in return for that Canadian product, the product of Canadian labour. These are facts which we must always bear in mind.
In our section of the country we are writing Canadian history in large letters. We are developing normally, and I maintain that within twenty years there will be found in northern Quebec and northern Ontario hundreds of thousands of people whom twenty-five years ago we should not have dreamed of having. In our part of Canada we are neither easterners nor westerners. We sympathize with the wheat growers of the prairies and we sympathize equally with the industrialists in the east; but at the same time we do not want to pay through the nose for the sake of supporting some mushroom industry. We are logical enough to realize

that sometimes, during the infancy of an industry, a certain amount of protection is needed, but if you have too much protection it defeats its own purpose. I am absolutely in sympathy with the industries I mentioned a few minutes ago, but when we find that we have to pay forty cents a gallon for high test gasoline, then we know there is something wrong somewhere. And let me say that in this matter my sympathy does not extend to people driving motor cars for pleasure; I am thinking more of the farmers and those poorer people who use trucks in order to earn their living. The same applies to many matters I might mention.
We have been lobbied during the present session by some of the fruit and vegetable growers, and my sympathy goes out to them, but it has been too often an excuse for making us pay exorbitant prices in northern Ontario. As I listen to some of the members representing Toronto constituencies I wonder whether their vision ever rises above the horizon of Toronto. Do they ever come to our section and study our problem? We do not want to see them suffer hard times in their industries, but surely in a discussion of this kind it ought to be possible for us all to take the broad national point of view, so that everyone may be prepared to make some sacrifice in order to promote the general well-being. Coming to the question of a seasonal tariff on fruit and vegetables, I am in favour of this to some extent; but so far as our section is concerned, I can say that we have never been able to buy our requirements at reasonable prices during the winter or even in the summer. The only time we have some relief is when they begin to dump commodities from the Niagara peninsula.
I suggest that we should envisage Canada as a whole, concentrating neither on eastern nor on western Canada. There are some other matters I should like to discuss, but I do not think I have the time before six o'clock. I wish, however, to refer to some prophecies made by the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe). No doubt he was sincere, and I do not for a moment question his sincerity. But he prophesied that within a few years the people would realize that this trade agreement had not been fair to Canada. I believe it was in 1930 that the hon. gentleman, discussing the New Zealand trade agreement- this was at the time of an election-tried to pit one section of the empire against another. He tried to make out that if we had not bought from New Zealand as much butter as we had, there would have been millions of cows and bulls in Canada. Well, his party

Elections and Franchise
abrogated the New Zealand agreement after the election of 1930 and I have yet to see that wonderful parade of live stock. If the hon. gentleman is as true in his prediction of yesterday as he was in that prophecy, then I am not worrying much about the effect of the present agreement.
The leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) also made a statement which seemed to me to be rather far-fetched. At page 622 of Hansard, speaking of the population of Canada and the United States respectively, he put our population at 11,000,000 and that of the United States at 127,000,000, and he observed:
Ah. more; for we were buying from them $28.86 worth per head during the year before while they were buying from us $2.23 per head.
Surely the leader of the opposition could not have intended to create the impression that for every dollar's worth of goods we buy from the United States they should buy from us the equivalent in ratio. Let us look at the figures for a moment, taking the two respective estimates of population. The ratio of 11,000,000 to 127,000,000 is as 1 to ll%i, and the ratio of buying, S2.23 to $28.86, is as 1 to 13, so that according to the hon. gentleman's argument, if the United States bought from us in the same ratio as we bought from them, they would have to buy $3,665,-
220,000, or more than we produce. Surely the right hon. gentleman never intended to make that statement unless it was for effect.
I will give the total exports in the year to which the leader of the opposition alluded. In 1932 the total exports were $501,000,000, in round figures, and in 1933 $537,000,000. But under the trade agreement with the United States, the leader of the opposition wants to create the impression that, in order to be fair to Canada, the United States must buy from us at the very least approximately $3,665,000,000 worth of goods.

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