July 26, 1911 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHARPE (Ontario).

I am inclined to believe that it was not present to the minds of the ministers when they negotiated the treaty, basing that view as I do on the lack of information the ministers had in regard to these matters, and their reluctance to disclose this phase of the question. It showed that their consciences bothered them in connection with this matter, and that they were trying to conceal the import and effect of this agreement as they knew it would be a serious matter to the farmers of this country to subject them to the competition of the twelve favoured nations in addition to the farmers of the British Empire, and those of the United States.
As I have pointed out the object of this agreement, as announced by the govern-Mr. SHARPE (Ontariol.
ment, was to secure a market where there w'ere higher prices, but it is shown conclusively that the average prices for the majority of the staple products of the farm are higher in Canada than in the United States, and consequently the whole purpose and object of the agreement falls to the ground. This is the strongest economic objection to this agreement. This information was not present to the ministers because they had not taken the trouble to secure information, they had not sent experts around the country as the United States did. The United States took time by the forelock and sent out experts to prepare lists of comparative prices on the two sides of the line. The United States did not publish these lists until after they had got the two representatives of Canada to sign and attach their signatures to this agreement. If they had done so, these gentlemen would not have signed the agreement because the disadvantage of the agreement from the point of view of the Canadian farmer would be thus shown. We have been unable to extract information from the ministers. Either the Minister of Customs and the Minister of Finance had not the information when they went to Washington or if they had they were afraid to produce it to the House because it would conclusively prove that the prices of Canadian farm products are higher than the prices on the other side. What a parody on the quality of Canadian statesmanship, and the manner in which this treaty was negotiated by our representatives ! Let me read an extract to show how carefully and diligently the plenipotentiaries on the American side, how President Taft zealously sought information before attempting to negotiate a treaty of this importance and magnitude.
On page 113 of the document No. 849 on reciprocity with Canada that was issued by the experts of the United States government, speaking on the importance of the sheep industry, they say:
Coming to sheep we approach a phase of agricultural production that has for several months past been the subject of a painstaking inquiry at the hands of the Tariff Board. Representatives of the hoard have visited some 700 typical farms in the leading sheep-tieeding sections of Ohio, Southern Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Vermont, obtaining facts and figures concerning cost and prices. The method pursued in obtaining first-hand information as to the cost of keeping sheep was through schedules filled out by expert agents who personally visited the farms studied.
Will the Minister of Customs give the House the names of the experts who were sent out by the Canadian government to ascertain the comparative prices of farm products in Canada and in the United

States? The minister does not answer. They never sent out an expert or an official to ascertain whether the prices of sheep on the Canadian side were , higher or lower than the prices on the American side. What a parody of statesmanship is exhibited by the gentlemen who negotiated this treaty on behalf of Canada as compared with the statesmanship and foresight of the President of the United States! The latter says that for several months past the raising of sheep has been the subject of a painstaking inquiry at the hands of the Tariff Board. Representatives of the board visited 700 representative farms to inquire into this industry. I would like to ask the Minister of Customs whether any of our representatives visited farms to ascertain the cost of raising sheep in order to compare it with the cost of raising sheep on the United States side?

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