When the house rose at six
o'clock, Mr. Speaker, I was showing that whenever the Liberal party had made changes in the tariff policy of the country, disastrous results had followed. I had given one or two examples to show that depression had always followed changes in the tariff policy by the Liberals. I cannot quite understand the mentality of the Liberal party. They do not seem to be able to get it into their heads that it is possible for a high tariff to mean lower prices to the consumer. Hon. gentlemen opposite smile at that, but those of us who have lived in this country quite a number of years know that when we had a protective tariff on agricultural machinery amounting to about 33 per cent, we were buying our machinery for just about the present prices. Of
course, there are none so blind as those who will not see.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that good results are already in evidence following the tariff increase last September. Only the other evening an hon. member on this side of the house mentioned that a mill which had been lying idle for something like six years was now operating at full capacity and employing some two hundred men as a direct result of the tariff increase which was made last September.
I would like to give another instance of disastrous consequences when the Liberal party made a change in the tariff policy. I refer to the trade agreement made between Australia and Canada in 1926. You will remember, sir, that the Conservative party of that day opposed the agreement, pointing out to the then Liberal government how injuriously it would affect the dairying industry of Canada. But our representations, of course, went unheeded, and the Liberal government put through that agreement. Subsequently its provisions were extended to New Zealand. Speaking on the agreement, the then Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell), as will be seen at page 860 of Hansard of 1926, characterized the speeches of the Conservative members against the trade agreement as mere propaganda. He said that they were trying to make the people believe that if the treaty passed, an avalanche of butter would descend on Canada. Well, Mr. Speaker, that avalanche of butter did descend on the Canadian people, and it put a good many of our farmers practically out of business. Not only that, but the avalanche of butter which
descended upon us almost put the late Minister of Agriculture out of business politically, and certainly it smothered a number of hon. members who supported the treaty in 1926.
In opening my remarks I said that the speech from the throne this year was read under rather unusual conditions, read at a time when depression existed not only in Canada but throughout the world. The duty of governments of the day, not only in Canada but all over the world, is to find solutions for the problems which are facing the world generally. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the depression was created by over-production in all lines of commodities. It was impossible to sell our commodities in the markets of the world, consequently the depression through which we are now passing followed. It is the duty of government, I say, to find a cure for the prevailing world-wide depression. We know the cause; what is the cure? Doctors of economy are prescribing various remedies for the cure of our present ills. Some tell us that the acreage that is being sown to grain of different kinds in this country must, be reduced. Others tell us that we must decrease the cost of production, and still others that we must go into diversified farming. All this advice is very good in itself, but whether it will bring about the results hoped for, we cannot say.
With respect to reducing the acreage, I myself cannot understand how that can be done to any great extent by the farmers of Canada. In former years, when they were farming only from two to three hundred acres, they were able merely to make a living at the good prices that prevailed. How, then, would it be possible for them to make a living at present prices if they reduced their acreage? I say that that would be a dangerous experiment; and I do not think it would be wise to go to extremes in attempting to carry it out.
I am a firm believer in diversified farming. I believe that diversified farming has been the salvation of the province of Manitoba, where it is very largely engaged in, with the result, I believe, that conditions are better in that province to-day than in any of the other western provinces.
With respect to lowering the cost of production, it is to a certain extent beyond the power of the individual farmer to accept and act on that advice. The only chance we have of cutting down the cost of production-I am satisfied that we shall be able to do it through the policies of the present government-is by getting cheaper machinery, lower freight rates, and cheaper money-although I am not a very great believer in the latter, but it might
The Address-Mr. Ilsley
help to some extent. These, Mr. Speaker, are some of the remedies prescribed by doctors of economy in this country. Whether they will effect the cure that is predicted of them, we cannot say. I do, however, wish to reaffirm my belief in the protective policy of this government, because I believe that it will bring about prosperity.
Now, what is needed at the present time is a cure for our economic ills. Of course, no one can be expected to formulate a cure offhand. I believe that a considerable measure of relief would be afforded by the formation of a world credit association whose function it would be to arrange credits for the nations needing them.
Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that in Manitoba generally, and particularly in the constituency which I have the honour tio represent, our people of various nationalities are working together in harmony in an endeavour to bring about a prosperous and united country, and I firmly believe that only in this way can we hope to see Canada fulfil her glorious destiny.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS IN REPLY