March 28, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


Angus McLennan


Mr. A. McLENNAN (Inverness).

Mr. Speaker. While we must admit that it is now difficult to bring into this debate anything new, interesting or original, I feel that, representing as I do, a very important constituency and coming from a portion of this Dominion which has prospered to so great an extent under the policy of the present government; I feel I would be recreant to my duty if I did not offer a few observations on the subject before the House. I was somewhat surprised, coming from the same province as the hon. leader of the opposition, to find that hon. gentleman submitting to us a resolution in opposition to that policy which has brought such an unprecedented degree of prosperity to that province. As an indication of the Improvement which has taken place during the past four years, I might point out that that portion of the

government railway, which runs through the province of Nova Scotia, and which formerly moved very slowly and leisurely along during the daytime, is to-day and has been for the past two or three years utilizing every hour of the twenty-four, so great is the demand on its resources for the carriage of freight. Some idea may he formed of the immense improvement in traffic when I state that over that portion of the Intercolonial Railway which runs through the Island of Cape Breton, the revenue for the year 1900 was $500,000 in round numbers, as compared with $125,000 in 1899, and that a small sleepy town in eastern Nova Scotia, which four years ago had a population of 3,000 or 4,000, is to-day a city of 10,000 or 12,000.
There are many points to which I could call the attention of the House, hut as we are all anxious to have this debate brought to a close, I shall limit myself to very few. Referring more particularly to the county I have the honour to represent, let me inform the House that it possesses the only undeveloped coal properties east of the Rocky Mountains, and these properties remained undeveloped until the present government came into office and furnished an opportunity for capital to take hold of and develop them. The present administration voted a very handsome subsidy to that enterprising firm, Messrs. McKenzie & Mann, who have constructed a railway from the Strait of Canso to the Inverness coal properties, four in number, and I would ask the attention of the House while I submit a few figures showing the extent of these properties. These figures are taken from the report of an expert mining engineer sent out by an English company, and this is what Mr. Ross has to say with regard to them :
One hundred and eighty million tons ol coal at Port Hood, twenty million tons of coal at Mabou, over one hundred million at Broad Cove, and two hundred and forty million tons at Chimney Corner.
All these properties are about being touched by the railway built by McKenzie & Mann, and thus prosperity is not only brought to the working people of Inverness, but a market to the farmers as well, for the county of Inverness is one of the finest agricultural counties in this Dominion. In view of these facts, I cannot understand now any representative of Nova Scotia should show any disposition to go back from the present era of prosperity to that era of paralysis of trade and of every line of industry which prevailed in that province during the eighteen years of the so-called national policy. [DOT]
It has been charged that the present administration is expending money beyond its means. But these hon. gentlemen who make that charge forget the policy of their late honoured leader, Sir John A. Macdonald. In the year 1890, Sir John A. Macdonald addressed a large meeting near the city of Halifax, at a place called Prince's Lodge, and at which were present delegates from all parts of the maritime provinces. The elections of 1891 were then-approaching, and the Conservative leader was gathering his friends from all parts of the provinces. He there declared that his policy was to give the people their own money to expend upon their own public works. As an instance of the wisdom of this policy, he cited the fate of John San-field Macdonald, once premier of Ontario, and the success of. Sir Oliver Mowat who had succeeded him. Premier Macdonald, he told his audience, thought he was doing wonders when he husbanded the people's resources and locked up the people's money in a strong box, but the people grew restless and wanted their money. While they admired that characteristic of Mr. Sanfield Macdonald, which induced him to thus husband the resources of the province, yet they found that their public works were being starved out, and they rose in their might and hurled him from power and elected Sir Oliver Mowat in his place. And from that day, for twenty years, Sir Oliver Mowat went on expending the people's money upon the people's public works, and by this means kept himself in office by meeting the public requirements of his province. That policy, Sir John Macdonald declared he approved and intended to follow. This country, he said, was a comparatively new country and our public works needed money, and so long as he led the party the people of the Dominion would get their own money to expend on their own public works. And then, he said, ' when my successors come to power, they will find very little after me to spend.' This was the language of the late Sir John Macdonald, the leader of the Conservative party, and this was the policy he advocated in his palmy days.
And while, as Sir John Macdonald truly said, this is a comparatively new country, with various and pressing wants, a progressive government certainly could not fail to apply the people's money to the people's wants. It would not, indeed, be a matter of surprise to see a resolution of the character of this which has been introduced by the leader of the opposition brought into this House, if this parliament had been here for years, with the trade of the country paralyzed, with revenues falling and the public works of the country starved out. If we had had a. condition of that kind year after year for several years, then, indeed, it would not be a matter of surprise if the leader of the opposition and his party should suggest an alternative policy. But,, at a time when the present government and parliament are fresh from the people, when the people of Canada have pronounced their judgment as to the government's policy of the past four years, and that only four

months ago, it is difficult to understand why lion, gentlemen opposite find it advisable, or even justifiable, to bring in a resolution condemning a policy which the people of Canada have approved in a manner not to be mistaken by the opposition or anybody else. There was a time when the majority of the people of Canada approved of a somewhat high tariff. Indeed, I was one of those who thought that, while the industries of Canada were in their infancy, while they were under severe competition from the older industries to the south of the line, a fair amount of protection was necessary until those industries should be, as it were, self-sustaining. And, as is well known throughout the country, the original intention of the national policy was, that it should be a temporary affair, that these heavy duties should not be maintained beyond the period during which these industries might fairly be called infant industries. But, the trouble was that the high tariff was kept up to such an extent and for such a time as to render the manufacturers of the Dominion almost independent of the government, in fact the masters of the government at last, so that they could defy that government to touch their interests by the threat of swooping uown upon them at an election. I compare the mistaken policy in that regard with the mistake which this government would make if they continued the bounties on iron and steel. The iron and steel manufacturers would, like other pampered manufacturers, become masters of the situation. Suppose that plants like that at Sydney and Sault Ste. Marie were established at Montreal, Halifax, St. John, Toronto, and other places, and the present bounties on iron and steel were continued until these institutions became so well planted that they would actually become the masters of the situation, the administration would then learn their mistake, and so would the country. But. the present administration evidently saw this danger, and they drew the line at seven years. We will back you, say the administration to the manufacturer of iron and steel, for seven years ; if you are tnen able to walk without support, you can walk, but if you cannot, we are through with you anyway. This encourages the manufacturer of iron and steel in the meantime, but. when these establishments are self-sustaining, the people will be relieved from further supporting them. I heard it stated by the hon. member for Dundas (Mr. Broder) that the present government made no effort to secure trade, that they had not opened any new channel of trade. Well, there is one tiling to their credit, and that is, that if they have not opened up any new channels of trade, they have clearly demonstrated to the people that they were capable of developing, widening and deepening the channels that already exist. To demonstrate this, let me quote a report from an Ameri-Mr. Mclennan.
can consul reporting to his government. This is a quotation from the report of Mr. James Boyle, American consul at Liverpool :
The statistics of the British blue-book on trade for 1898 presents two striking facts-that the notable increase in American Imports last year was chiefly in manufactures, and that Canada is the leading competitor of the United States in forest and farm products. This Canadian competition in the British market is now keener than it ever was, and American farmers and shippers would be wis^ to appreciate the fact that the outlook is that it will increase. That there should be competition is inevitable, owing to the similarity of the natural and farm productions of the United States and Canada and the equidistance of the two countries from this market. But during the past two years

That is two years of Liberal administration. -the Canadian trade has been given a great impetus through the operation of a system of government supervision and subsidies. Possibly influenced by the Canadian example, Russia is shortly to introduce the experiment of subsidizing sold storage service on ships bringing dairy produce to Great Britain, and already Russia sends enormous quantities of these products to this market (Liverpool).
In the annual for 1899 of the British Co-operative Wholesale Societies (which do a yearly business of $60,000,000) there is a long article on Canada and its productions, from which is taken the following statement of the official efforts that are being made to increase the sale of Canadian products in Great Britain.
Government Enterprise.
It is a government enterprise, and is unique in the history of governmental connection with trade. The plant for two years past has been worked from the Department of Agriculture at Ottawa. Its object is not only to increase the demand in Great Britain for Canadian cheese, butter, eggs, poultry and fruit, but to so improve the means of transportation by rail and sea that these Canadian products shall be sent into market in the best possible condition and in the most attractive form. The scheme even goes beyond this, for another of its aims is to steadily improve the grade of all produce sent to Great Britain, and thus secure for Canadian produce a good and abiding reputation.
To secure these advantages, the Department of Agriculture, in the first place, sent out its experts to aid in the establishment of creameries.
It goes on to give figures with regard to the
exports of Canada, to Great Britain during the same years. It starts in this way :
The exportation of Canadian butter to Great Britain has greatly fluctuated. It reached its highest figures in 1881, when the value was $3,333,419; from then, against European competition (particularly Danish), It gradually declined until 1889, when the value was only $174,027 ; after 1889 the trade revived, but has not had a regular growth. Its present development dates from 1897. when, under the stimulus of governmental instruction in manufacture, shipment, &c., and subsidized cold storage steamers, it jumped up to $1,912,389, as compared with $893,053 in 1896. In 1898, the value was $1,915,550.
The Canadian cheese trade has been one of steady growth. In 1868 the value of the exportation to Great Britain was only $548,574 ;

in 1880, $3,772,769; in 1897, $14,645,859, and in 1898, $17,522,681. These figures, both as to butter and cheese, are taken from the last report of the Canadian Minister of Agriculture, covering the fiscal year ended June 30, 1898.
From the same authority is taken the following table, showing the rapid growth of Canadian farm products exported, and, speaking roundly, over 90 per cent of these exportations were to Great Britain:-
Articles. 1896. 1898. p.c.Wheat $ 5,771,521 $17,313,916 200Flour
718,435 5.425,760 655Oats
273,861 3,041,578 1,010Oatmeal
364,655 554,757 52Pease
1,299,491 1,813,792 39Cattle
7,082,542 8,723,292 23Cheese
13,956,571 17,572,763 25Butter
1,052,089 2,046,686 94Pork, bacon and hams. 4,446,884 8,092,930 82Eggs
807,086 1,225,304 55
Following is a table which shows the value of the leading Canadian importations into Great Britain, with the value of the same kind of products from the United States, for the years 1S94, 1897 and 1898.
He then gives a comparative statement for the two countries, Canada and the United States, by which it will be observed that just as American exports decrease Canadian exports increase :

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