April 30, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Duncan Cameron Fraser



At the risk of repeating myself, I wish to state distinctly again, in order that it may be answered by hon. gentlemen opposite, the difference between the present tariff and the tariff of the past. Is the present tariff the same as the tariff of the late government ? Is it less or is it more? If it is less, would the Conservatives bring it up to where they left it, or would they advance it further ? It is no use talking about what this man or that man on either side may have said ; it is the existing tariff that we are discussing now. Reference has been made to the United States, and surely if there is any country in the world which might indicate that prosperity can spring from a high tariff the United States would be that country. But here is a curious condition of things. What is the condition of things in the New England states, the home of manufacturing on this continent. I hold in my hand a monthly paper called the ' New England Illustrated,' published by George H. Chapin, of 257 Washington street, Boston. It gives a description of farms that are for sale in New England, the home of the highest protection that any country ever had. I will read this choice description of a farm which is ' No. 22,472 ' and the numbers go | up to 40,000. Hqre it is :

Quarter mile lake front ; 160 acres ; 1,000 cords wood ; cuts IS tons hay ; 150 apple trees; 25 varieties grapes ; pears ; plums ; cherries ; cranberries; aqueduct spring water ; good seven room house, newly painted and papered, piazza ; barn 40 x 40 cellar ; open and box stalls, double boarded ; carriage house ; blacksmith shop with bellows, anvil and tools ; good repair ; high location ; 400 sugar trees ; salmon and trout fishing ; could sell lake front cottage lots.
What do you think all that cost in the chosen home of protection ? Why $900 part cash. If there is any country in the world where you would expect farms to sell well, it is in New England, but the heading on this list is ' Abandoned Farms.' Where is the home market ? I may be told that the growth of the western part of the United States has made it impossible for New England farms to keep up, and there may he some truth in that, hut in the older provinces of Canada the same rule would apply, for we are now being fed from the west. But do you think you can get a farm like that in any part of Canada for $900. Now what is the condition of the labourers in the United States ? John Burns, who is the highest authority on the question of labour iu Great Britain, has recently described the industrial conditions in the United States as ' hell with the lid off.' Is that where the hon. gentlemen opposite want to go ? John Burns knows more about the labour question in Great Britain, and I think in the world, than any other man, and that is his idea of the industrial conditions in the United States. Every one knows who has read about the strikes, and the industrial wars and the trusts that there exist conditions in the United States which have made thoughtful men fearful of the future, and some of them have predicted that within a quarter of a century or less there will be such an industrial war as can be wiped out only by blood. We do not want such conditions in Canada.
The position which I take on reciprocity, Sir, is the position taken by this government. I believe that reciprocity would be a good thing under proper conditions. I am not going to seek reciprocity from the United States, or make them think by word or deed of mine that we need it more than they do. The truth of the matter is that the question of reciprocity is up to the Americans now. I remember being in Boston last fall addressing tbe lower province men's society, at which there were three members of Congress and two senators present, and I took the opportunity of telling them that they need not expect to have Canada, because we would not go with them, hut that they could have reciprocity. I speak for the lower provinces when I say that we want reciprocity, but. we do not want their wretched fiscal system which hon. gentlemen opposite want to copy. They forced ns into looking for markets in other parts of the world by their treatment of our products, and now we have, by the British Mr. FRASER.
preference, these markets, and so they have to come to us looking for reciprocity. The hon. member for Dundas (Mr. Broder) talked about our going to Washington to get a banquet. Well, two reciprocity delegations went from Canada to the United States, Joseph Howe, the brightest man that Nova Scotia ever produced, and probably one of tbe brightest men that Canada has ever produced, spoke in reference to the very thing the late government did as a ' comedy of errors.' Then, Sir John Thompson went The hon. member said that the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) was going to a dinner. When the late leader of the Conservative party went there, he did not stay long enough to get his dinner, because he was only there three minutes.
One of the most amusing features of this discussion was brought out by the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Hag-gart), who joined protection and transportation together. Now, that is something that I cannot understand. How are you going to have very much transportation if you are going to exclude foreign goods ? You spend millions in providing the best means of transportation in the country to take goods out ; what are you going to bring hack ? Are you going to bring back a shipload of money ? Every one knows that money will not come back ; every one knows that goods must be exchanged for goods. If you put a tariff wall high enough, nothing will come in, and if nothing comes in, nothing will go out. One of the most absurd ideas possible is to join protection and transportation. What is to become of tbe great granary of the west, which is to be Britain's future granary, be our transportation facilities ever so good, if we put up a tariff wall high enough to keep all foreign goods out ? Transportation goes with a moderate tariff ; transportation and a revenue tariff will go together, but never transportation and protection.
I need scarcely say that I was very much pleased with the speech of the hon. Minister of Finance. I was pleased with it for a number of reasons. I felt proud that lie was able in so lucid a way to place tbe financial condition of the country before us, favoured as be was with conditions such as have never existed in Canada before I was proud of him as a Nova Scotian. I was proud of him as Minister of Finance, instead of having to apologize, as the late Minister of Finance had to do for our little business capacity, be was able to show what splendid things this country was doing. I may say also that my pride in him was increased by the fact that when our opposition friends found themselves in a dilemma, they had to go to Nova Seotin to get a man to save them from utter ruin, though I do not think that the high standing of even that hon. gentleman can prevent that ruin.
We are spending more than we did before -why ? Because we can' afford it. Hoes any man blame the farmer whose condition

is twice as prosperous this year as it was last year, for spending more ? Is he not going to have a better house, provided with all those appliances which will make it a more comfortable home for his wife and family ? The merchant who makes 20 per cent this year, where he only made 10 per cent before, can make an addition to his house. As it is in business, so it is in the country. While we are spending more, the people can pay that much more easily than they did the lesser amount that was paid under the late government. The people know that, and they do not feel it ; and when the increased revenue is being applied to the building of great public works and to the reduction of the debt, the people are willing to contribute. But even while we are getting a greater revenue which we are spending in the interests of the country, the taxation which is producing that revenue is 10 per cent less than it was before, taking one article with another. The late Minister of Finance himself said that the tariff was only reduced one per cent, from 19 per cent to 18 per cent. That is not a fair way of putting it. The tariff rate was reduced from 18 per cent to 16 per cent, a reduction of two in the rate of duty, which is really a reduction of nearly 10 per cent.
It may not be out of place for me to say something about the present conditon of the country and the condition in which it was left by lion, gentlemen opposite. The marvel to me is that these hon. gentlemen do not consider the changed conditions. The present government found the country with deficits and almost in the throes of a revolution-class against class, religion against religion, and everything that would make for the worse condition of Canada rather than for its better condition What happened ? We are to-day exporting nearly $100 per head for all the people of Canada, besides living much better than we did before. These are the conditions that exist to-day, and every man sees them. I was told by a manufacturer not long ago, one who only wants what is fair, living in a city of 40,000 or 50,000 population, that he actually cannot get men to work. Is that not a state of things for which everybody should be grateful.

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