March 26, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Lorimer Ilsley



I am afraid it would take too long to read the rates, and I should not be able to finish in the forty minutes allotted to me. I wish to read the following press notice:
A Sydney man was reminded by experience the other day that if New Zealand ships butter into Canada the trade between the two dominions is not one-sided. Having bought and used a box of New Zealand butter, this citizen, with due regard for the virtue of thriftiness, set about chopping up the box for kindling. By chance he stopped between blows to look at a nail which his hatchet broke out from the wood -and, lo and behold, every nail used in the box was found to have come from the Sydney steel plant. He had known that Disco shipped some steel products to the Antipodes but here was the proof of the trade before his own eyes in his own cellar.
The hon. member for Vancouver North has mentioned the item of canned fish, and I must say the exports of that product have increased very materially during the years of the treaty. In the fiscal year 1925 we sent to Australia $1,126,000 worth; in the fiscal year 1929 we sent to that country $1,969,000 worth. Not much of that came from the maritime provinces, but the trade is beginning in that section of the Dominion.
I wish to read a letter sent by the president of Connors Bros. Limited, oanners and packers of St. John, New Brunswick, dated March 13, 1929:
We notice some of the members in parliament are criticizing the Australian treaty. We might say that Australian buyers placed orders

Australian Treaty-Mr. Ilsley
with us last year for all the fish we could supply them with. This year we are already in receipt of a $50,000 order, and the same buyers have offered to tender us with orders for double this amount, just as soon as we are in a position to accept them.
If we can fill the orders, we expect our shipments to Australia and New Zealand this year to amount to between $150,000 and $200,000. A good portion of this money will be paid out among the fishermen and to those who labour in the industry. This export business would not be possible were it not for the Australian treaty.
We are to-day handing this information to the Associated Press, and thought we would pass same along to you.
The production of newsprint is now increasing very rapidly in the maritime provinces. During the calendar year 1928 the production in those eastern provinces amounted to 65 tons a day; in 1929 the capacity of the mills was increased to 130 tons, and in 1930 it will be much greater because of the opening of the large paper mills in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There is no part of the Australian treaty which has been more beneficial to Canada than the item relating to newsprint paper. The value of that article exported to Australia in the fiscal year 1925 was $51,000; the value in 1929 was $3,627,000, representing a very rapid increase indeed in the value of newsprint paper sent to Australia. I was quite surprised to learn that a large part of the newsprint did not come from British Columbia, but from eastern Canada. In all, newsprint to the value of $896,432, was shipped to Australia in the fiscal year 1929 from maritime province ports.
Generally speaking, shipping from the ports of Halifax and St. John has benefited very greatly under the Australian treaty. I have been unable to obtain the figures for 1925, but I have obtained from the Department of Trade and Commerce a statement of the value of the principal commodities exported from Canada through maritime ports in the fiscal year 1929, and I find a total of $4,144,000. That represents the principal commodities only, and if we added other less important commodities the value would doubtless reach about $5,000,000, or nearly one quarter of the total exports of Canada to Australia. That trade is handled chiefly by the ports of Halifax and St. John. I tried to get the value of the produce of the maritime provinces, taken separately, that was annually shipped to Australia, but was unable to do so; I was told that no statistics were available.
I believe, however, that the facts and figures I have been able to give the house show conclusively that the Australian treaty has been a success from a commercial and industrial standpoint. It is possible that it might
be improved upon in some respects. The hon. member who represents Vancouver North said that certain industries about which he has special knowledge would benefit if there were some preference on their products when they entered the Australian market. Doubtless that is the case; but the important point which he overlooked entirely and did not touch in his speech was: what shall we give Australia in return? Until that point is covered in some way by the opposition it seems to me that they have not made out a prima facie case for revision of this treaty. We are talking about an imperial economic conference which is soon to be held in London, and certainly there would be no objection on the part of any member of this house or any citizen of Canada to our taking up then the matter of the revision of this treaty. But certainly no steps should be taken which might have the effect of terminating the very satisfactory, profitable and successful treaty which we have with our sister dominion of Australia.
Mr. L. .7. LADNER (Vancouver South): Mr. Speaker, the Australian trade treaty is a matter of great importance to Vancouver and British Columbia. The facts with regard to the exchange of trade have been well placed before the house, and this question of trade with the other dominions and with Great Britain is one which for many years has received consideration in this parliament. The question was first taken up in an aggressive way by Sir John A. Macdonald in 1884, when it was put into effect through the medium of preferential tariffs. That policy was also followed by Sir Wilfred Laurier, and subsequent legislation was evolved to further the exchange of commodities between the different dominions of the empire.
To-day we are confronted with some difficulties in connection with our trade treaties with our sister dominions owing to the fact, as I pointed out in some observations which I made in this house on March 7, that under the dictation of our free trade friends from the prairie provinces the government worked out a treaty on the basis of law tariffs and free trade, to the injury of the products of this country, instead of on a protective basis under which they could have established the preferences and at the same time protected Canadian industries.
Now we are considering a proposal by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner), the leader of the Progressive party, to abrogate the Australian trade treaty. By way of amendment my colleague the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) has moved:

Australian Treaty-Mr. Ladner
That all the words after the word "house" be struck out and the following substituted therefor:-
"the operation of the existing Australian treaty, indicates that the fullest development of trade between Canada and Australia has not been achieved by either country and the government should endeavour as soon as possible to secure a revision of the treaty, to the mutual benefit of both countries."
I submit that the purpose of the subamendment is to have the terms of the treaty reconsidered in order to bring about a further exchange of commodities which will be advantageous both to Australia and to Canada. The facts and figures which have been submitted by other hon. members would amply indicate the soundness of that contention, and Mr. Speaker, in considering this question it is my opinion that the Australian trade treaty has been of advantage to this country, but not perhaps not to the maximum advantage. This question involves something more than merely the Australian trade treaty; it involves the whole question of entering into arrangements with our sister dominions, with the crown colonies and with Great Britain; and just here we might consider some of the matters which are of concern to our friends in Great Britain to-day. Lord Beaverbrook started a movement in Great Britain looking to the economic union of the empire but based, in my judgment, upon the fallacy of a free trade theory and without due regard to the control of the self-governing dominions over their fiscal policies. That was the popular impression of Lord Beaverbrook's idea, but his actual words were:
The dominions control entirely their own fiscal systems, and it can only be in cooperation with us that a tariff wall can be built around the dominions and Great Britain.
Now I should like to direct attention to some of the enormous resources possessed by our sister dominions and the crown colonies, which would be made available to Canada through an exchange of commodities. First there is the American non-self-governing colonial empire. In the West Indies we have Trinidad, Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados and British Honduras; in British Guiana we have products of the forest and aluminum, and in the semi-tropic islands we have sugar cane, cocoa and rice. Then we have the West African colonies; there is the Gold Coast, with a population of 2,500,000 which exports one-half of the world's requirements of cocoa. Then we have Nigeria, with a population of
19,000,000; there is Gambia and Sierra Leone and the Sudan, with its great wealth in cotton of a valuable type now being exported to the United States. Along the east coast of Africa there is Uganda, Nyasaland and Kenya. Then
we have northern Rhodesia, where in five or ten years the supply of copper ore will be sufficient to accommodate the needs of the whole empire twice over. In Asia there is Ceylon, which exports great quantities of tea to the United States; there are the Malay States, which supply half the rubber of the world and which contain tin in great quantities, and there is also the colony of British North Borneo.
It is significant that France has a fiscal union with its own colonial empire, and that is also the case in the United States. Great Britain alone remains without such a union. To-day we are faced with a higher tariff wall in the United States, which will exclude much of our goods, and apparently no really effective steps have been taken by the government to counteract that situation. It is also of interest to note that the United States sells 45 per cent of its total exports to Great Britain. With regard to wheat, we find that during September of 1929, as compared with September of 1928, ten times more Argentine wheat was imported into Great Britain; the same condition applied in October of 1929, as compared with October of the previous year, while during December of 1929, the importations of Argentine wheat were five times as great as those during December, 1928. Lord Beaverbrook has pointed out that East Prussia has subsidized wheat to the extent of thirteen shillings and sixpence per quarter, while France subsidizes the export of flour to Great Britain to the extent of twenty shillings per 280 pounds.
The point I wish to make, Mr. Speaker, is that the Australian trade treaty has established a basis for the exchange of commodities which can be greatly improved, and' the same principle could be put into operation with regard to the other dominions and colonies of the British Empire. I make that suggestion because of the fact that within the nations of the empire you have a spirit of cooperation which cannot and dtoes not exist with regard to foreign nations. In my judgment it would be a desirable course to extend preferential trade arrangements to the other self-governing dominions and the colonies of the British Empire in order to export our products to the maximum degree. The Australian trade treaty at present does not include lumber, and there are otheT items which could be included to the advantage of Canada and without injury to Australia. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that- the amendment moved by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre is one which is calculated to, and which will, if carried out properly, bring results favourable both to Australia and to Canada.


Australian Treaty-Mr. Speakman

Full View