April 4, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)


James Lorimer Ilsley



Consider the Conservative
party in Canada at present; we find one group from the maritime provinces which probably would be in favour of a higher duty on coal; we find a group from Ontario which would certainly be against a higher duty on c:oa!l, while the third group from the province of British Columbia would also be against it, because in that province they depend very greatly upon their export trade. As my hon. friend knows, a market ior 50 per cent of the output of the

C.N.R.-Eastern Freight Rates
Crowsnest pass mines is found in the United States, and about 10 per cent of the output of the Vancouver Island mines is marketed in that country. The United States has a countervailing duty; that is, the duty there is equal to the Canadian duty on coal. As the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) said the other night in the course of another debate, a duty of SI on Canadian coal would automatically raise the American duty to $1, which would put out of business a great many of the coal mines of British Columbia. I suppose ry>
man in the House better knows the sentiment of the country with regard to the question of coal than does the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald), who represents a coal mining constituency. In the Halifax Chronicle of February 5 he is reported as follows:
On the general trade policy recommendation of the report, and its lack of tariff recommendations, Mr. MacDonald said candidly, "With regard to duties on coal I am not hopeful."
He said his experiences on the coal committee of the House last year had convinced him that central and western Canada are immovable in their opposition to such relief for the east.
That question was raised in the House, and his answer corroborated rather than contradicted that statement, because he said it was probable that central and western Canada would be against it. It is well known, so why do my hon. friends opposite tell the people in the coal mining constituencies that if returned to power they would raise the duty on coal? That is absolutely impractical as a political proposal, and I venture to say that hon. members on the other side of the House know it.
To come back to the argument from which I was distracted, I was about to say that I agree to a large extent with the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) and the hon. member for Roeetown (Mr. Evans) as to the fundamental causes of the decline of the maritime provinces. I think the Canadian tariff is probably the greatest cause, and that next in importance comes the American tariff. That is particularly true with relation to the fishing industry; twice in the history of Nova Scotia our fish have had free access to the American market, once between 1854 and 1866 under the old reciprocity treaty and again between 1873 and 1885 under the Treaty of Washington. ^During both of these periods the fishing industry was prosperous, reflecting a great deal of prosperity upon the province as a whole. We rejected a third opportunity in 1911, for which the great majority have been sorry ever since.

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