Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).
Mr. Speaker, I wish to say a very few words on this motion. The proposition to impose an export duty on logs going out of the country has been a live question in which I have taken a warm interest for very many years.
There are one or two ways in which we can remedy the evil. One is in the hands of the local government and the other in the hands of the Dominion government. One remedy consists in the changing the regulations, under which timber is allowed to be cut in the province of Ontario, and by this means compel the cntting of it to take place in this country. The other consists in the placing of an export duty on logs, which will accomplish the same purpose.
I have always been of the opinion that the proper remedy is to change the regulations, but we never could get the Indian Department here to do so with regard to the timber cut on our Indian lands, and ns the Ontario government refused to change its regulations so as to compel the cutting of the timber in Canada taken off Crown lands, we were obliged to do the next best thing, and press for an export duty on logs to stop them being taken out of the country before being manufactured into lumber.
At last, however, the provincial government did move in the direction desired, and the regulations were changed, so that today all pine timber on the Crown lands of Ontario must be sawn in this country. This did away with one of the great evils for which we sought a remedy. But there is a large portion of our lumber still going out of the country not manufactured. Last year over 25,000,000 feet of logs were taken off the Indian reserves in the Algoma and Georgian Bay districts, principally on the Manitoulin Islands, and sawn in the United States, and a vast quantity of lumber in the log is still going out from those districts without restriction. This resolution seeks to have an export duty imposed, but I do not think that is the best way to prevent this
evil. I think the Department of Indian Affairs, which has the power to change the regulations, just as the Ontario Crown Lands Department did, should change the regulations in such a way as to compel millowners to saw the logs in this country. The department could do this at any time. It reserves the right to change the regulations in the leases at any time. By changing the regulations, we would avoid the danger anticipated by my hon. friend from Bast Sim-coe (Mr. Bennett), namely, that the Americans might bring into operation that portion of their Customs Act which provides that when any country imposes an export duty on logs going into the United States, that clause of the American Act will at once come into force which doubles the duty on sawn lumber brought into American territory from that country. I would, therefore, urge the government to apply this remedy of changing the departmental regulations as soon as possible, and thus prevent a vast business which ought to be done in this country being transferred to the other side.
Topic: EXPORT DUTY ON SAW-LOGS.