March 24, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Thomas Osborne Davis



I suppose they will have both, but it will be a long time before they have a chance of interfering with the tariff in any way. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) told us that the Conservatives were not able to get settlers in the Northwest and Manitoba because of the speeches made by Sir Richard Cartwright. If the hon. gentleman looks at the record he will find that there was immigration to a certain extent when the Conservatives were in power, but when the census of 1891 was taken it was found that these people had evaporated, and the reason was, not because of the speeches of Sir Richard Cartwright, but because they were starved out under the Conservative policy and had to leave the country. The hon. gentleman from Pictou (Mr. Bell) tried to dispute the

statement of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, that the census of 1891 had been padded, and he took up the voters' lists of Ontario to prove this. But the hon. gentleman forgot that In the meantime that beautiful franchise Act under which the Conservatives got votes from the graveyards and from the United States had been done away with, and that the names of the Indians had been taken off the lists, which would account for the decrease in numbers in 1901 as compared with 1891. And now as to the tariff. How remarkable is the change of front these hon. gentlemen have made with regard to the tariff ? When the Finance Minister (Hon. Mr. Fielding) brought down the tariff in 1897, Sir Charles Tupper, then leader of the Conservative party declared that it would ruin the industries of Canada although there was then only a 121 per cent preference. A11 his lieutenants backed him up in this declaration. Next session these gentlemen raked up the old stock arguments about hard times and soup kitchens, but when they found that their prophesies did not turn out, then the next session they declared that we had adopted their national policy, had stolen their clothes, and the Hon. Geo. E. Foster declared that the Liberal government had only reduced the Conservative tariff to the extent of one sixteenth hundredth of one per cent. Others of these gentlemen opposite said that we had given no preference but that what we did was to put up the tariff and then to reduce it by the preference to the level of the Conservative tariff. Again this year these gentlemen have a new cry and they say that some of our manufacturing industries are going to be ruined, and we have the leader of the opposition moving a new resolution in favour of what he calls ' adequate protection.' Coming as I do from the west where we are perhaps more interested in the tariff than in any other part of the Dominion, I would like to have a statement from the hon. gentleman as to what he means by 'adequate protection.' For my part I think we have ' adequate protection ' now. The hon. member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Brock) who represents the woollen industries in this House no doubt thinks that 50 per cent would be ' adequate protection ' on woollens, whereas some of his farmer friends behind him might think that 15 per cent might be adequate enough. I would like the leader of the opposition to come down off his perch and tell us exactly what he means. Does he mean to repeal the preference that is given to Great Britain ? He has not said anything at all about that, although he has skated all around the water-hole, and spoken of a number of industries that are in danger of being ruined. I would like him to tell us also whether he advocates increasing the duties on agricultural implements or on the other necessaries of life if he had the opportunity of doing so ? The hon. leader of the opposition says nothing about his in-56
tentions in these matters. I would like to know what he means by adequate protection ? That might mean a great deal or it might mean nothing at all; it is beautifuUy indefinite. What the people of the Northwest Territories would like to have from the leader of the opposition is a definite statement of exactly what he means. He reminds me of a Yankee pedlar who had only one suit of clothes in his pack. If he called at a house where there was a big man, he said it would suit the man, and if he called at a house where there was only a boy, he said it would fit the boy. This policy of the leader of the opposition is something like that suit of clothes; it is big enough for any man and small enough for any boy; but that Is not what the people of the North-west want.
Mr. Speaker, as it is rather late, and as I want to make a somewhat lengthy address, I would move the adjournment of the debate.

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