William SMITH

SMITH, The Hon. William, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Unionist
Constituency
Ontario South (Ontario)
Birth Date
November 16, 1847
Deceased Date
January 22, 1931
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Smith_(Canadian_politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=790af30c-6f5a-4c27-9611-f1717541e81d&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
breeder, farmer, importer

Parliamentary Career

February 22, 1887 - February 3, 1891
CON
  Ontario South (Ontario)
February 20, 1892 - April 24, 1896
CON
  Ontario South (Ontario)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Ontario South (Ontario)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Ontario South (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 6 of 14)


February 18, 1916

Mr. WILLIAM SMITH (South Ontario):

This question is one which affects me as' an Ontario farmer who is deeply interested in the welfare of the western farmer. I take it that this Bill has been introduced because representations have been made to the Minister of Finance that there was a demand for these changes. The farmers of the West have been giving these matters very serious consideration, and which has been increased by the demand for mixed farming, and by the fatet that between forty and fifty thousand cattle have been shipped out of the Northwest to the United . States markets. That fact to a certain extent should be deplored, because many of these cattle were in -an unfinished -state, and many of them were females which were needed badly in our western provinces. Two parties are deeply interested in this question: the man who wants to sell his stock and the man who wants to buy. The man who wiants to sell needs to raise money in some shape or form -and one of the easiest forms in which he can raise it is by disposing of his cattle. He can easily find a neighbour who wants to buy, but unfortunately that neighbour, although he may have the

feed, has not the money to pay for the cattle. The one has the feed but not the cattle; the other has the cattle but not the feed. Under this Bill the man who may be forced to sell for want of money should be able -to raise the money- easily. It is true that the banks have not been -as popular with the farmers in years gone by as they might have been, but to my mind, a big change has come over the feelings of bankers during the last four or five years, and they are beginning to realize the fact that farmers are, to a very large extent, business men, and that if they are helped, it will in turn help the business prosperity of this country.

This matter, perhaps, has taken more pronounced form from the fact that in some states of the Union subsidiary companies have been formed which lend money to the farmers and become bondsmen, as it were, to the hanks; or the banks lend the money and these companies become sureties for the payment. But. while I think that great good can be accomplished by these companies, I am a little afraid of their operation. They are generally backed by the packers of the large cities, and taking these men generally they are more deeply interested in speculative prices than -anything elsfe-to a certain extent they live upon speculative prices.

I take it to be scarcely possible that the western farmers would be opposed to the propositions of the Minister of Finance, for those propositions will be to their interest. It is true -that many of them have been able to procure money upon their own notes in the past, but many others have not been able to do so. If the conditions can be made more liberal in the days to come than they have been in the past, so much the better for them. It has been said that the trouble was with short credits. I agree with that statement. I think that was one of the mistakes the banks made. The money was often loaned for three months, and at the end of that -time, on account of trade conditions, they wanted the money back. I need scarcely say the farmer could not finish the cattle in three months, and he needed the money for the longer period. If I understand the temper and feeling of the bank managers to-day,- they favour making credits longer than three months. If the animals have to be sold at the end of three* months, the profits are so small, that nothing accrues to the feeders. The time should be extended so that the cattle ^may go out in a finished state. If this is done, instead of these animals going to

the markets to the south of us, the chances are that many of them may drift to our eastern provinces._ While it may be said that this would not do the consumer any good, I believe that the effect would be to so regulate prices in the eastern provinces that the consumer would be better off in the end, while the producer in the West would be none the worse. I cannot take any -other view of this Bill than that it will help the western farmer, and in helping the western farmer it will be just as sure to do good to the farmer in the East.

Topic:   BANK LOANS TO FARMERS.
Subtopic:   BANK ACT AMENDMENT.
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May 15, 1914

Mr. WILLIAM SMITH (South Ontario):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened very patiently to the speeches of hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House upon perhaps one of the most important questions that has engaged our attention this session. I do not propose to talk about millions or about bonds to-night, because these are things outside of my knowledge. I may be allowed to express some little surprise at the position taken by the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt). He was in this House last year when the legislation authorizing the granting of $15,000,000 to the Canadian Northern railway was before Parliament. And what did the hon. member do? If my memory serves, me rightly, he walked out of the House rather than vote on the question.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY AGREEMENT.
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May 15, 1914

Mr. SMITH:

The hon. gentleman will

not find his name upon the record in connection with that matter. I propose to discuss this resolution to-night from a standpoint different, perhaps, from that which has been taken by any of the previous speakers. I happen.' to be only an ordinary farmer, and I am inclined to ask this question: has this railway ever done anything for us? If it has, then it seems to me that the proposition now before the House is one which is in the interests of Canada generally. If not then I may be taking a wrong position.

This railway company started a number of years ago by building one hundred miles of railway out of Portage la Prairie to the north, practically through a virgin territory. It then commenced to open up the valley of the Saskatchewan river, where the settlers naturally drifted in. The land was somewhat rolling, slightly wooded, and naturally adapted for mixed farming. I made a statement to the House in the Budget debate that the hope of the Northwest was in mixed farming. Settlers naturally followed the building of this line. Homesteads were taken up. Men were able to perform their homestead duties and work upon the railroad, and out of their savings they purchased implements and live stock, and many of these men became the principal agriculturists of the great Northwest. I believe that not only the Dominion but provincial governments have asked the company to continue their building, because it would be in the interests of the farmers of Canada. The people of the Northwest, especially in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, have reaped considerable returns from the building of this road. This was pointed out, I think, admirably to-day by the hon. membeT for Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol), who said tnat $15,000,000 had been saved to the farmers of the Northwest. In Alberta they reduced the rates upon live stock and grain 15 per cent, and in Manitoba 7i per cent, and 3 cents per 100-lbs, on their rate to the head of the Great Lakes.

An advantage has also been secured to the people of the Northwest in the competition which was afforded by this railway. We all know what that means. We know what it means in the older portions of our Dominion, and we know what it means to the success of our Northwest territory. The new line which they are building from Edmonton to Vancouver will afford to the farmers of the Northwest great opportunity of sending their -grain and livestock into that province, while the railway will bring back lumber, fish and fruit from [DOT] British Columbia for their use. The Canadian Northern railway last year handled 30 per cent of the grain and 70 per cent of the livestock of the Northwest.

One of the great difficulties in the building of the railroads has been the municipal aid which has been given io them. This is one thing which I think has been overlooked to a great extent in the building of the Canadian Northern railway. Outside of Port Arthur and the Parry

Sound district, where they received in the neighbourhood of $70,000, as far as I know not one single dollar has been given by any municipality in aid of the Canadian Northern railway.

Coming to the Canadian Northern railway in the older parts of Ontario, the hon. member for Calgary last night skipped over from Montreal to Winnipeg very lightly. He seemed to forget that there were hundreds of miles between Montreal and Winnipeg. The great province of Ontario was practically forgotten. This line from Toronto to Ottawa and then east passes through the richest portions of the province of Ontario. It passes through the county that I have the honour of representing, and I may say from my own experience and knowledge, running as it does between the Grand Trunk to the south and the Canadian Pacific railway to the north, it is doing a splendid work for that portion of the province of Ontario. The Canadian Northern railway will run away to the north in the newer portions of the province of Ontario. The land, I understand, is admirably adapted for settlement. It will afford great opportunities for our young men, who instead of having to go to our Northwest or to the country to the south, can go on that land and still remain in the province of Ontario. That land will be admirably adapted for mixed farming. The Dominion Department of Agriculture has been doing splendid work. They have been developing the live-stock interests especially in the Peace River district, in British Columbia, and in other portions of the Dominion. It is here that the Canadian Northern railway will play a considerable part in being able to market the produce of the work which has been done by the Agricultural Department. I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, in the older and more settled portions of Ontario, the Canadian Northern railway has been doing splendid work. We find that where it has perhaps been impossible for them to continue their steam road, they have been building electric lines as feeders to the main line. These are doing splendid work for the farmers of Canada. I believe that the farmers of Canada fully realize this fact, and when the time comes, and this party and this Government need not hesitate to say when it shall come, that the farmers of Canada will rally around the Government and say: You did wisely and 2421

well when you came to the assistance of the Canadian Northern railway.

1 have listened to the hon. gentlemen who have spoken on both sides, and whilst we may have difficulties upon our side, I venture to make this statement, that when the vote comes to be recorded, we will be able to point out that our oppnents too have their difficulties. I listened to the hon-member for Pictou as carefully as I could to-night. I listened to his speech, forcibly given as it was, and I could not help drawing a contrast between his speech and that of his leader. But it seemed to remain for one of the principal lieutenants of the party to propound their policy. What did the right hon. leader of the Opposition say the other night? He said he was in favour of assisting, in some form or other, the Canadian Northern railway. That was repeated by his lieutenant, the hon. member for South Renfrew, and yet the hon. member for Pictou comes and says: We will do that in six months or later if possible. Mr. Speaker, these gentlemen to be honest, if that would be parliamentary, should remember their record of 1903 and 1908 and 1911, when they came to the assistance of this railroad.

Are they going to let this almost transcontinental Toad go down? Are they going to ruin the prosperity of this country by not coming to the assistance of this road? Or, on the other hand, shall we adopt the policy propounded by the right hon. the Prime Minister the other evening? Have we not security for the proposition that we make? Can any hon. gentleman put his finger upon one single thing that we could have done more than we have? We have practically tied up the road in every possible way.. To-day, the people of Canada are looking to this Parliament because they believe that part of the prosperity of Canada depends upon what shall be done in connection with this third transcontinental railway. I do not say that it was absolutely necessary that this road should have been started, but if any one is to blame because the Grand Trunk Pacific came in between, it is hon. gentlemen opposite. We have these roads, and to-day we cannot do without them. They touch so many vital points not only in the older portions of this Dominion, but in the newer territory as well, that it would be suicidal for this Government to allow these roads to go down. I have an abiding faith that the Canadian Northern with all its difficulties, and despite all its trials in the past, will come out all right,

and that it will play a very great part in the carrying of the products of this country in the years that are to come.

On motion of Mr. A. K. Maclean, the debate was ajourned,

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY AGREEMENT.
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May 8, 1914

Mr. SMITH:

If I understand the policy aright the department would not send a horse to a section where there was already an imported horse.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
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May 8, 1914

Mr. SMITH:

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
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