Robert Knowlton SMITH

SMITH, Robert Knowlton, K.C., LL.B.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
December 28, 1887
Deceased Date
October 26, 1973

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 50)

November 24, 1932

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

I was paired with the hon. member for Antigonish-Guys-borough (Mr. Duff). Had I voted I would have voted to sustain the Speaker's ruling.

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November 10, 1932

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

Would my

hon. friend object to a competitive rate from the lower lake and Georgian bay ports to the Atlantic seaboard, to meet the rate from Buffalo to New York?

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November 10, 1932

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

An equal rate.

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November 3, 1932

Mr. R. K. SMITH (Cumberland):

Mr. Speaker, it is now fifteen minutes to six o'clock, and, as I purpose concluding before six the few remarks I have to make, I am not making the usual request. Thereby I avoid challenging the accuracy of the clock, not to mention the veracity of authority in this chamber.

Until last evening I 'had not intended speaking in this debate but on account of some observations made by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) I feel in duty bound to say something of a very brief character on the question of wheat preferences and this country's violation of the east and west statutory trade obligations in order to keep the records straight and to remind this honourable house that maritime province Atlantic seaports are part and parcel of Canadian confederation and do not intend to be starved by a continuation of the iniquitous policy of routing Canadian grain over foreign steel and through United States ports.

Time and again maritime members have placed on record the confederation commitments respecting the flow of Canadian trade over Canadian railways and through Canadian ports, and I do not purpose crowding Hansard by repeating them in this debate.

Has this house and this country forgotten the statutes of 1903 and 1904 when the Transcontinental railway project was before parliament? Written into the very constitution are the pledges that if the Transcontinental were built we would no longer have to tolerate the use of American railways or United States ports for the outlet of our grain. Those who wish may read the utterances of a great Canadian statesman, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and examine the bond incorporated in the statutes of 1903 and 1904 and also refresh their memories by examining the pre-election pledges of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and others in the election campaigns of 1904 and 1908.

The Transcontinental railway was built at a cost to Canada of upwards of $300,000,000, constructed with low gradients and easy curvatures for the special purpose of routing Canadian trade through Canadian ports. Notwithstanding the colossal cost, the railway is not being used; the bond has been violated; the statute disregarded and the pledges unkept. I ask this honourable house whether now, under the 6 cents preference granted by Great Britain on wheat moving on an allempire route, when a golden opportunity presents itself of rectifying the wrong-in which the mother country is directing the course-we intend to sit idly by and allow American railways and American ports to continue to reap the harvest which, by every spoken and written bond and on every constitutional and patriotic ground, belongs to us.

The east and west routing of Canadian trade means much more to Canada than at first might appear. It has been conservatively estimated that as high as $20,000,000 in a single year has been paid out to American elevators, railways, railway employees, port-workers and others in the storing, transporting, handling and elevating of Canadian grain alone. What an outrage for a self-respecting people to contemplate! Think of the employment we are giving our American neighbours on this policy alone.

The hon. member for Macleod complains that there will be increased cost to the Canadian wheat grower if any change is made in the present policy of routing Canadian grain via Buffalo and New York to the motherland. I want to tell him that there is in existence today a 6 cent rate on the movement of grain from the lower lake and Georgian bay ports to Saint John and Halifax, which is a competitive rate with Buffalo to New York, and, further, I hold the view that we can secure an equally low ocean rate from Halifax and Saint John to old country ports with New York if given the business. Let the flow of

United Kingdom

grain move to Halifax and Saint John and you will find adequate ocean tonnage congregating there, anxious and willing to transport grain to the old country at as low a rate as from New York or anywhere else; in fact, they are doing that today and have been for some time past.

May I add that Canada has spent many millions of dollars in equipping Canadian ports for the special purpose of handling Canadian grain. Are these expenditures, as well as the Transcontinental railway costs to be overlooked and forgotten, as has been the railway itself, and hon. members to hold their hands up in holy horror if any change is suggested whereby Canadian ports may benefit?

It may be argued that we in Canada have not adequate elevator equipment to dispose of all of our grain in the winter months. Even if we have not, I hold that we are entitled to at least a sufficient quantity to utilize our own elevator handling and storage capacity, and if some grain must, on account of present inadequate facilities, move through New York it can be stored in elevators on the lower lake or Georgian Bay ports and consigned direct to the mother country via New York on a through bill of lading and still enjoy the preference under the present British ruling.

Empire agreements mean empire trade, empire trade means increased business to empire nations, transportation and shipping as well as others. Canada constructed at tremendous sacrifices the Transcontinental railway, and, in addition, has made huge expenditures on our ocean ports, and I maintain it is a betrayal of trust to deprive the splendid Atlantic ports of Halifax and Saint John of their constitutional right to a fair share of the grain business by handing the benefits over to Buffalo and New York. The British government, by the preference regulation, has shown the way to develop empire ports, and surely Canada, after all the betrayals of the past in this regard, will not be the first to paint the dollar sign on the union jack.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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November 2, 1932

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

The hon.

member has been speaking about freight rates. What guarantee has he that there will be any increase in the event of the grain moving through Canadian Atlantic ports?

Topic:   R3719-48J
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