May 4, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. L. J. LADNER (Vancouver South) :

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that even at this late hour it would be out of place for a member from British Columbia to say just a word on this extremely important question. I must say, as I have said on previous occasions, that hon. members on my left have a tendency to take a more or less sectional view with regard' to some great national questions. It may be said that the Government is dilatory in its conduct, but so far as our friends on my left are concerned, they tell the House and the country that they want the Crowsnest pass agreement enforced because it means, primarily, cheaper rates on wheat. But I would ask hon. members to raise their vision from the tops of the wheat growing on the prairies to the tops of, the forest growing on the hillsides of British Columbia

and remember that when they return to the agreement and thus improve their own position, they deal a far worse blow to the lumber industry in British Columbia than it has ever before received. The rates on wheat would be out of proportion altogether to the rates on lumber, fruits and fish.
We in British Columbia have for years been working under a great handicap. The extremely high freight rates on lumber have closed many of our mills, with resulting unemployment and stagnation of industry, which includes the business of supplying lumber to the farmers who require it on the prairies. If in no other way, I suggest that the farmers of the prairies could profitably use that lumber to cover the immense quantities of agricultural machinery that we see scattered across the plains from the Rocky mountains to Fort William.
The point I rose particularly to make, Mr. Speaker, is that we expect from a party which calls himself Progressive a larger and broader outlook on great 'national questions of this kind. Hon. gentlemen come here and in many of their speeches emphasize the desirability of foresight and breadth of vision on the part of public men. During the debate on the Address we heard many splendid speeches, idealistic in their character, from my friends to my left. Now, here is an opportunity for my hon. friends to put those principles into practice, but instead of doing that they say to the people of Canada: No matter what happens to the industries of the rest of the country, we are going to have the restoration of that agreement; we are going to have cheap ra'es on our goods, and that finishes it so far as we are concerned.
But it may be that hon. members to my left are, as a whole, in accord with a general reduction of freight rates. I believe they are, Mr. Speaker, because the people of the country demand such a revision. The heads of the railway corporations have assented to it, and the Government have expressed their own concurrence in that view. Surely the speeches which we have heard from our friends of the Progressive party represent the views of only a portion of them; surely they would not take a course which would have the effect of deciding a great question like this without regard to the needs of the other provinces. British Columbia has laboured under greater difficulties in regard to freight rates

Crowsnest Agreement
and greater handicaps than any other province, particularly as regards the immense sawmills there, the great salmon canneries and other fishing industries, and the fruit industry. Those who have spoken from the ranks of the 'Progressive party have not said that when they get the rates reduced on Wheat they will, in the national interest, extend their policy so that the various economic factors throughout the whole country, industry, commerce and agriculture, may receive fair and equitable treatment. I think the course proposed is one which is inimical to the best interests of the country.

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