June 14, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


George Perry Graham



I think it is a good idea to have these commissioners trained in the language of the country to which they are
sent, although it might be considered an intrusion on bi-lingualism. I get the bulletins regularly, and read them very carefully. They contain a lot of useful information for the public, particularly for the manufacturers and business 4 p.m. men interested. I have made a point during the past few years of having these bulletins reproduced in the newspapers, in order that they may reach as many people as possible. ,1 have met several of these trade commissioners, and I believe they are doing *a good work. Of course, their viewpoint will have to change, and their methods .also, on account of the war. I suppose that the war will disarrange a lot of business, -and it will rearrange a lot of business also, some to our advantage and some to our disadvantage. It ought to be impressed upon our manufacturers that it will be necessary for them to be ready to giapple with conditions that may exist -after the war. A great many of our industries, small -as well -as large, have been devoting almost their entire attention to the manufacture of munitions, at the request of the Munitions Board, Consequently, they have allowed their staple trade to slip away from *them-and, of course, the demand for their -staples has decreased. But when the war is over-and we hope it will be over very soon-these manufacturers ought to be in a position, not only to look after the .staple trade they had before, but also to secure trade that they have never had up to this time. The trade commissioners, I -assume, -are and will be very useful in this connection in keeping the department informed as to the new conditions and the requirements of markets which our manufacturers can reach. It is absolutely necessary not only that this information should be given to the department, but that it should be made known to the industrial centres and captains of industry -all over the Dominion. I presume that this is done. If I have a word of advice to the minister, it would be to increase efficiency in this respect and to see to it that all such information is placed before the manufacturers. The majority of the trade commissioners with whom I have discussed affairs, are hopeful of a -constantly increasing trade-of course, war has unhinged business for the present. But they have found this difficulty, that our manufacturers have not been ready to adapt their output to the requirements of the market. In Australia, let us suppose, the -people are in the habit of -purchasing certain patterns of goods in certain lines,

these goods being made elsewhere than in Canada. Some years ago, at any rate, our trade commissioners found it difficult to induce the Canadian manufacturers to change the style of their (output to -meet tlhe demand of the market in such a case. If our industries are to meet the new situation and to secure trade that they have not yet had our producers must accommodate themselves even to the whims of their customers. I have found that in some countries-and I suppose the minister is aware of this condition-goods of Canadian m<giufacture are used but those who use them are not aware where they are produced. For one order, I suppose it does not make much difference so long as the manufacturer sells the goods; but for future trade and the development of our industries I think the trade commissioners do good work by keeping as nearly as possible a straight line between the Canadian manufacturer and the foreign consumer. I found, in travelling in Europe, that Canadian goods were becoming better known as such than in former years, largely, I suppose, through the work of the trade commissioners. People there were beginning to learn that these goods were from Canada and were not the product of the distributors from whom they were bought. I approve of this vote for the trade commissioners and would not object to putting on more steam in this service, if it were shown to be desirable. We do not know what is ahead of us; we can conjecture, but we do not know. It may seem discouraging at this time to put on more steam; but we do not know how soon the circumstances may change, and we ought to be ready to take advantage of conditions, whatever they may be, so as to regain any trade we may have lost, to retain what we have, and to secure the trade that will develop under the new conditions. The remarks I wish to make on the other points I reserve until the minister (Sir George Foster) has made his statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Full View