April 18, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Charlton



The International Nickel Company will issue $12,000,000 in common stock; $12,000.000 in preferred stock, carrying six per cent dividends, non-cumulative, and $10,000,000 in1 five per cent bonds haying 30 years to run. Of the authorized capital stock $9,000,000 common and $9,000,000 preferred will he issued at once to acquire the properties named below. The remaining stock will he reserved for future use. . . .
The properties in which the new company will own1 a controlling interest-if not, the whole-are those of the Canadian Copper Company in Canada and the United States ; the Orford Copper Company, with extensive reduction works at Bayonne, N.J. ; the Anglo-American Iron Company and the Vermillion Manufacturing Company in Canada ; the American Nickel Works of Joseph Wharton in Camden, N.J.; the Nickel Corpors.tion, Limited, and the Societe Miniere Caledonienne in New Caledonia.
The Societe Le Nickel, with its extensive properties in New Caledonia and its reduction works In France, is not included in the combination. It is intimated, however, that the International Nickel Company has already a full underslaiding with the French Company. It is believed that a community-of-interest plan has been arranged which will regulate production, prices and a division of the markets.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we see here not a proposed but an actual formation of a great nickel trust, with a capital of $24,000,000, with bonds of $12,000,000, associated with the Steel Trust of the United States with a capital of $1,000,000,000, the avowed purpose of which is to acquire the nickel properties and control the nickel business of tbe world. Now the question is whether Canada is advancing its own interests in promoting the continuance of the policy which has hitherto prevailed with regard to the nickel industry. The question is whether it is in the interest of Canada to promote the exportation of nickel in its lowest prepared form, that is, in concentrated ore, to be refined in the United States, and to submit to the policy of the United States which imposes an enormous import duty upon refined nickel and admits the matte free. The result of this policy has been that we have never refined a ton of nickel in Canada. This great company has purchased the Copper Cliff property for $4,375,000, payable in stock partly, and partly in cash ; it has purchased other properties in Canada on conditions of a similar character.
The significance of the launching of this scheme, the significance of the formation of tliis trust, the fact that a great nickel iron company, in concert with the great Steel Trust of the United States, has been formed, is one which I think the government of the day is called upon to take into careful consideration. We have an interest in this matter, England has an interest in this matter. If the plans of this great international nickel corporation can be consummated and carried into effect, it will liave a very serious influence upon England's interest in the matter of acquiring armour plate ; it will liave a very serious influence upon England's interest and upon our own in the

matter of nickeliferous pig iron and the manufacture of .nickel steel for the various purposes that that metal is adapted to. Our interest in this matter, the interest of England in this matter, the scope and character of this combination or corporation, are matters to which, in my opinion, we are called to give careful consideration. I do not see, Mr. Speaker, why it is not possible to refine the nickel that is mined in our own country;
I do not see why, with the adoption of a proper policy, Canada cannot only control practically the nickel supply of ore, but also the nickel supply of the refined article. The government has in its own hands power to deal with this question, and it is unnecessary to introduce legislation. We have in the statutes, 60 and 61 Victoria, chapter 17, powers given with reference to the imposition of export duties which will enable the government, by a simple Order in Council, to meet the policy of the Americans by the imposition of an export duty upon nickel matte that will give us a chance to secure at least our share of the business of refining this metal in Canada.
In connection with tin's matter, while I am on my feet, there is another one which I wish to refer to, another case in which our respected and highly esteemed Uncle Samuel is a little too smart for us. When the United States acquired the Philippine Islands. I believe there was an explicit understanding or agreement with the English government that the policy of the United States with reference to the Philippines should not discriminate against other countries. I see that this matter lias been made, the day before yesterday, the subject of a parliamentary inquiry in the British House of Commons. Now, Sir, there was, during the Spanish occupancy of the Philippines, an export duty levied upon manilla of $7.50 a ton, or 37 cents per hundred weight. The imposition of this export duty has been continued by the Philippine government, and the tariff which embodies this provision among its other provisions, has received the sanction of the United States government. Manilla, under this tariff, pays this export duty of $7.50 per ton, and when it is imported into the United States, that export duty is remitted, and this provision places the American manufacturer of cordage in a position where he has the advantage over the manufacturers of cordage in other countries ; it is practically giving him a bonus of $7.50 per ton upon the cost of his raw material. Now the United States government are debarred by constitutional limitations from the imposition of an export duty, but they have taken a course which enables them to avail themselves of this export duty levied in the Philippine Islands as efficiently and completely as if it were levied by the United States government The Canadian importer of manilla cannot go to the United States and purchase manilla without having it subject to the export duty, he has got to pay an export duty, whether he buys manilla in
the Philippine Islands and imports it direct, or whether he buys it in the United States of the American importer ; and paying this export duty he is placed at a disadvantage with his American competitor in the sale of cordage in our own market.
Then with reference to manilla binder twine, this is admitted free. Now the Canadian producer of binder twine cannot compete with the American producer, because the American producer has the advantage at the outset of $7.50 per ton in the cost of the raw article. It has been supposed that there is reciprocity between the two countries in the exportation and importation of binder twine ; but an examination of the American tariff will show that the binder twine we can export to the United States free of duty must not contain manilla fibre, and if it does contain manilla fibre, then it goes under the head of unenumerated articles and pays 20 per cent. Now this is the condition in respect to this article, where we are placed at an unfair disadvantage. The imposition of export duties which are made to serve the purpose of the United States manufacturer by reducing the cost of his raw material to the extent of the export duty as compared with the cost of the raw material to all other countries, is a matter which, in my opinion, requires the attention of the government ; and this thing can only be met by countervailing duties. If we were to impose a specific duty of half a cent a pound upon cordage and upon binder twine, then we would equalize the conditions. and put our manufacturer upon the same footing with the American manufacturer. But unless we do this, the American manufacturer has the Canadian manufacturer at a disadvantage, and I hold. Mr. Speaker, that it is the duty of the government so far as it is able to do this, to protect our own interests. I place those facts with regard to these industries ; with regard to the nickel industries and with x-egard to the manufacturer of cordage and twine before the government for its consideration.
The MINISTER OP FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding.) The hon. gentleman (Mr. Charlton) has called attention to two matters of importance, both of which have somewhat engaged the attention of the government. With regard to the export of nickel, the House is aware that several years ago the government took power in the Customs Act to levy export duties on nickel, but after very full consideration of the question it was not deemed to be in the best interests of the mineral development of Canada that these export duties should at the time be imposed. The hou. gentleman (Mr. Charlton) represents that some new conditions have arisen through the creation of a great monopoly in the nickel industry, and so far as that presents any new aspect of the case the government would be bound of course to give it due consideration and will do so.

The other question to which my hon. friend has referred was brought before us recently both through notice in the public press and through representations made during the past few days by gentlemen interested in the business affected. It is a very curious condition of affairs ; I think unlike anything in connection with our tariff matters which has ever been presented to the House before.

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