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


George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)


The remarks of the hon. member (Mr. Graham) are very pertinent to the subject in hand and to the circumstances of the time. In the present dearth of ships and all the confusion resulting from a state of war, it may seem of little use to have trade commissioners in -some of the countries in which our commissioners now carry on their work. But I find that there is a very fruitful field to which I am directing their attention and to which they are giving a large part of their time. In other countries, as in our own, great changes are taking place. It is

gratifying to know that our manufacturers, large and small, are more and more getting the idea that more things can be made in Canada, and made profitably, and marketed outside of the country as well as within our own borders. There are numerous new industries springing up in Canada to make things which we have not made before. The pressure and discipline of war work have given an impetus to the making of things along new lines. The organization of plant, the extreme nicety of the work that is to be done, has been a drilling and disciplining of our mechanics and our employers as well, and has taught them that they need not despair of being able to produce alongside the manufacturers of any other country. When the workman has a piece of work which he has to get down to the thousandth part of an inch, or perhaps the two-thousandth part of an inch, the completing of that, work is an invaluable training.
There are two things that it is of great importance for the manufacturers and artisans of the country to realize: One is that time is always of the essence of the contract, that when a contract is made it should be filled on time; and the other is the necessity of accuracy of make. Many people think: Oh, if this will do the job, no matr ter whether it is accurately fashioned or not, it will serve. It is an invaluable training and an invaluable aid to our workmen to have instilled into their minds every day the idea of accuracy and of finish, of making an article absolutely according to specification. In this respect changes are taking place in our own country and in other countries, and an important part of the work of our trade commissioners to-day is to watch and follow up these changes and to bring information of them to our own people, with warnings and advice as to changes and means of taking advantage of them. I would not have my hern, friend forget that in addition to our trade commissioners appointed from Canada we also have, under a system recently adopted, the benefit of the services of the Intelligence Department and the Commercial Department of the British embassies in all countries where it is of advantage to us to secure information of this kind. It has been peculiarly satisfactory to see the hearty and enthusiastic way in which these branches of the British Embassies in different parts of the world have taken up this work with regard to Canada. They have given the most valuable information, and have given it with a freedom and a fullness that are all that could be desired. Thus

we must always add a plus to our Canadian trade commissioners when we think of the extension of foreign trade-we must add to our own service the Intelligence Department and the Commercial Department of each British Embassy.
Trade Commissioners, bounties on lead and crude petroleum, to cover expenses in administration of the Act, $5,000.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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