Clifford SIFTON

SIFTON, The Hon. Sir Clifford, P.C., K.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Brandon (Manitoba)
Birth Date
March 10, 1861
Deceased Date
April 17, 1929

Parliamentary Career

November 27, 1896 - October 9, 1900
  Brandon (Manitoba)
  • Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (November 17, 1896 - February 28, 1905)
  • Minister of the Interior (November 17, 1896 - February 28, 1905)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  Brandon (Manitoba)
  • Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (November 17, 1896 - February 28, 1905)
  • Minister of the Interior (November 17, 1896 - February 28, 1905)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Brandon (Manitoba)
  • Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (November 17, 1896 - February 28, 1905)
  • Minister of the Interior (November 17, 1896 - February 28, 1905)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Brandon (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 132)

February 28, 1911


friend the Minister of Agriculture is going to follow me, I believe, and he of course knows infinitely more about farming in the province of Quebec that I do-but I am going to ask him to address himself to one question in connection with this agreement, because I have not been able to get any light on it in favour of the treaty, and if there is any light to be thrown on it I would like to get it. The province of Quebec has bright prospects before it at the present time. Our transportation system is growing so enormously; the city of Montreal is growing so enormously; the prospects of the pulp and paper industry are so good that unquestionably in the province of Quebec in a few years there will be an enormous home market-perhaps the largest home market of any province, in the Dominion. The province of Quebec is not very well farmed at the present time-there is good farming in some parts of it, there is poor farming in a good portion of it, and moderate farming in other portions of it. The agricultural problem of the province of Quebec is to induce the farmer to keep his hay at home and to follow a system of intensive farming. That is the agricultural problem of the province of Quebec. Lately we had the Deputy Minister of the Department of Agriculture for Ontario at Quebec; he came there at my special request to deliver a carefully prepared address upon the subject of the improvement of agriculture in the province of Ontario, explaining at great length and with great care the magnificent system of agricultural education and improvement which has lately developed in the province of Ontario as the result of 20 or 25 years of laborious work, which is now approaching its period of fruition in that province and beginning to make its influence felt. We wanted it explained in the city of Quebec, and we had it explained and we are printing thousands of copies of Mr. James' address in the French language and circulating them in the province of Quebec for the purpose of getting the authorities of the province of Quebec to undertake an aggressive movement for the improvement of agriculture. What happens-comes along this treaty and puts a bonus on poor farming by inducing the farmers of the province of Quebec to ship their raw products to New England, and deplete the fertility of their soil.

Take the prairie provinces-I am perfectly aware of the fact that there are a great many people in the western provinces who think that this treaty will be a great thing for them. I have before seen premature conclusio'ns arrived at in the course of 23 years in public life during which I have had an experience that not many members of the House have had because I have had the honour of representing to-day in this House the same people who elected me

first as a young man to the legislature of Manitoba, and in the legislature or in this parliament I have been their representative ever since. During that time I have seen a good many questions of this kind come up as to what was going to benefit the farmer and as to what would be in his interests, and I am not so sure, when this question comes to be discussed, that the farmer of the Northwest will be impervious to reason and common sense and good judgment when he gets the case put before him. It was first said: Well, but the farmer of the Northwest is going to get more for his wheat; the price of wheat south of the line in Dakota is higher than it is in Manitoba. That is true. It is a little higher; it always or nearly always rules a little higher, and they said: If the farmer can get into that market he will get more for his wheat. Now comes along Mr. Hill, the president of the Great Northern railway who is a great advocate of reciprocity and a very fine man and in a way a friend of my own, and he says: The

duty does not make any difference; it is true the Dakota farmer gets a little more for his wheat but it is not on account of the duty, it is on account of the local circumstances. Now, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Hill is either right or he is wrong; there are just two ways to look at it. If he is right and the duty does not make any difference, then the Manitoba farmer will not get any more for his wheat when the duty is taken off. That's clear. If he is wrong and the duty does make a difference what is going to happen? Why, what is going to happen is this: That so soon as the immense exportable surplus of the Canadian Northwest is let into the Dakota market then the Dakota man's wheat goes down to the export level, and the Dakota man gets less, but the Manitoba man does not get any more. There is no doubt about that; it has happened already. Here is the New York ' Evening Post ' of February 16, and as everybody knows the New York ' Evening Post ' is a most reliable paper, and this is what it says, speaking of wheat:

As matters stand now values are off over 24 cents from tlie season's top. The range on May wheat tliis# season has been from $1.15 to 90| cents, the highest price having been made November 4. With the adoption of the treaty there would be about 13,000,000 bushels of Canadian wheat now in sight which would be available for moving into the United States provided it is needed. This, with the 43,000,000 bushels in the United States, visible supply would make 56,000,000 bushels available. Part of the Canadian wheat has already been hedged by sales of futures in the different markets and considering the drop of 12 cents in a month, it would seem as though any possible effect of the treaty on values had been largely discounted.

Of course nobody would suggest that it went down all of 12 cents by reason of the" 139}

difference between the markets on the two sides, or by reason of the difference between the Dakota price and the export price, but every one knows that when the price of wheat gets a shock in that way it keeps on going down on account of the panic on the market.

There is, however, another factor to be considered in the shape of a surplus of 133,000,000 bushels in the United States that must be taken care of. This means that values must go to an export level at which a liberal disposition of the wheat can be made. With the adoption of the Canadian treaty it is expected that the prices will be kept on an export level most of the time.

There is no doubt about the position so far as the price of wheat is concerned. I say here that I deliberately give it as my opinion, representing a constituency of Manitoba farmers and having represented them for 23 years, that the Manitoba farmer will get less for his wheat in the long run as the result of this agreement.

Now, what have we been trying to do for years past in regard to this question of wheat? We have been trying to keep the wheat of the Manitoba farmer pure. We had an Inspection Act-upstairs in the House of Commons here we laboured for weeks, yes for months to get that Inspection Act into good order so that the wheat might be properly inspected and properly graded with the object that it should be kept pure and placed upon the English market in a pure condition. And why? Because we know that if the Canadian wheat is put upon the English market in a pure condition it will bring on an average of from three to four cents per bushel on the higher grades, more than any other wheat in the world. A few years ago we revised the Inspection Act, and the result was that our wheat was put upon the market pure for a year or two, but somebody found out how to get around the Act. and the grades began to go off, and the grades have been off for several years past, and the farmers have been complaining and properly complaining in regard to the condition of things in the terminal elevators. These terminal elevators have been in the hands, to some extent, of men who-.are themselves buying and selling grain and handling millions of bushels of other people's grain, while they were buying and selling their own. What happened-grain mixed, grades have gone down, and the farmers have lost and lost very heavily, and they have a just and proper right to complain. Now, the government has introduced in the Senate a Bill to appoint a commission for the purpose of taking charge of that wheat, and I believe the government policy is good. And if the commission takes charge of this business as they ought to there is no reason why they should not keep control of that wheat. And, Sir, they

can only solve the trouble by taking control of the elevators first, not owning them, but controlling and inspecting them properly and keeping control of the wheat right through until it gets to Liverpool. There is no other way. It is not difficult; it is not half as difficult as it looks; it can be done by a competent commission of men .without any trouble at all. And in addition to that, if that is done the commission in the working out of the* system by which they can do that, can give a very substantial preference to the Canadian routes so that we will get advantages in that way as well, and they can give advantages to the Canadian routes without it costing any more to get the wheat to Liverpool. Here is the position in which we are. If we keep control of that wheat *md that market, we shall be able to get for the western farmer, by_ a proper system of handling, a better price than he will get in any other possible way. More than that, with the increase in the volume of business from the Canadian Northwest, our railroads will in a short time be in such a position that we can reasonably ask to have the rates substantially reduced on export grain; so that instead of the Canadian farmers getting a bonus of three cents a bushel for sending their wheat by the eastern Canadian channels, as was tentatively suggested by the hon. member for St. Anne if the inspection and transportation matters are properly handled by the commission which is to be appointed by the government, and the question of the freight rate is dealt with, we will secure for them within a reasonable time, not three cents a bushel, but six or seven cents a' bushel more than they can get in any other possible way. But if that is to be done, you -must keep the control of the trade in your own hands, otherwise you can do nothing.

Now, what is to happen ? I wonder if my hon. friends of the government have thought' of that, in connection with this treaty. The Grain Exchange has met in Winnipeg and has passed a resolution to the effect that the Inspection Act must be changed. What must be done under this treaty? We must change the Inspection Act, and we must make the grades the same as the American grades; that is, we must permit of mixing; and to all intents and purposes, we must hand the control of our grain market over to Minneapolis. That is the position. To get a better price ? No.

Then there is the question of cattle and that is one question in respect of which there is no doubt that the western farmer will get a benefit under this agreement, for the present at least. There is no doubt that the market for the second grade of cattle in the prairie provinces, is a poor market at the present time-why ? Because it is a new country. It is only a short time since Mr. SIFTON.

the country was sufficiently settled to have a sufficient production to organize this business. In fact, we have hairdly got to that point yet. The result is, that there is at the present time a very poor market for cattle in the western provinces. But that is no reason for throwing the country away, or for considering that we can never have a market. That is a Teason for taking up the subject and dealing with it in an intelligent way. The farmers' delegation, which came here recently, said to the government ;

We wish also to draw attention to the danger we are in while we leave the opportunity open for the United States meat interest to capture and control the export trade from our country.

What are they going to do now ? They will capture and control all the cattle of the Northwest-(the very last hoof will be controlled from Chicago. What I say is, that we should establish a chilled meat industry. It has been done in Australia and New Zealand. Dr. Rutherford has reported in favour of it. There would be [DOT] no great difficulty in the government doing this, and it would be worth while taking the trouble when you have a country like the Northwest of Canada. We could afford to hire ten mein at $10,000 a month rather than lose this business. The members of this House know that I am an enthusiastic friend of the Northwest. The best years of my life were given to the settlement of that country, and I cannot tell you how I feel about that great country being made a backyard to the city of Chicago. I have differed with my friends in my own constituency, and I do not know, but that there are many men who have supported me for years, who differ with me on this subject; but I take the liberty of thinking that I know as much or more about it than they. I have studied these questions all my life with the object of learning the way in which the affairs of that country should be organized so as to be of some benefit to themselves and the rest of the country, and I say that we should organize that country in a business way. If we do, we shall have duplicates of the stock yards of Kansas City, Omaha and Chicago in our own . Northwest.

What is the general effect of this treaty? The general effect .is, that we put the Dominion of Canada on an absolutely free trade basis, so far as farm products are concerned. The farmers of Canada are on a free trade basis for what they sell and on a protective basis for what they buy-protection for the purchaser, free trade for the seller. Do you think they are likely to stand that for any length of time? I do not. I tell you, that if you have had delegations from the Northwest, you will have them again if this

treaty goes through. After it has been in force for a few years, I venture to say that there will not be any question of the duty on agricultural implements or on any other manufactured goods, for we shall be compelled to take all those duties off, and have practically commercial union with the United States. As men of common sense, let us apply to this question Jhe same business rules that we apply to~any otheT business matter. We open our market to the world. Read the list of favoured nations along with the United States, and if there is in that list of countries of production anybody who can raise any one of the commodities in this list, cheaper than it is in the Canadian market, a commodity unsaleable and unmarketable, it can be shipped and dumped into the Dominion of Canada. I cannot conceive of what our friends in the government were thinking of. I leave this question of markets and prices, and record my conviction, that if ever a government made a monumental mistake, if ever a government got in wrong on a subject from first to last, my hon. friends have got in wrong on this subject. The House may think that I am very much in earnest about it. Sir. I would not break away from the political party with which I have acted for 23 years, practically all my life, if I were not in earnest about it.

What is the commonest phrase in the mouths of the people of Canada ? We hear it in the speeches of public men, we read it in the editorials of newspapers; we even see it in the compositions of our school boys-what is it ? Binding the scattered provinces of Canada together. I would like to know if this treaty is intended to bind the scattered provinces of Canada together. It binds, but it binds the other way; it binds British Columbia to Oregon and to Washington and to California; it hinds the provinces of the Northwest to the states immediately to the south of them; it binds Ontario and Quebec to the states south of us; and it binds the maritime provinces to the states of New England. And we are expected to believe that, a policy of that kind is a broad national policy, one to promote a broad and strong nationality. What have been the main features of our transportation policy ? We have spent scores of millions of dollars for what purpose ? What has been in our mouths at all times, Liberals and Conservatives alike, on every platform? Send our goods through Canadian channels, from one province to another, and from the eastern provinces across the sea. What did Sir John A. Macdonald mean when he nailed his colours to the mast and said that the Canadian Pacific railway must be built around the north shore of Lake Superior, and appealed to the people of Canada on that policy and got their support ? My right,

hon. friend the leader of the present government later came before this House and said: We shall build another line of railway from ocean to ocean, every foot of it on Canadian soil, and he appealed to the people of this country for their support, and they supported him in doing it. They, said: Yes, we believe in that policy. Why should we turn from that policy now?

If it does not make any difference which way the traffic goes, why spend $50,000 or $60,000, or $133,000 per mile to build a railway from Quebec through to Moncton and duplicate the Intercolonial, which we had before? Why do that, if it does*not make any difference whether or not the traffic goes over Canadian soil? For my part, I can see no reason. What is the reason for the right hon. gentleman's change of view? I could take the ' Hansard ' and read to you the strong words of the right hon. gentleman when he said, in this House, that of all things in connection with the policy of Canada as related to the United States, the one thing we must do is to be independent of the Americans. That is a policy, Sir, which I believe in. He never said a word in the whole course of my close association with him with which I agreed more fully than I did with that statement, but the difference is that I believed it then and I believe it now, and so long as I have the honour to have anything to say about the public affairs of Canada in the most humble capacity I shall continue to support what I believe to be the loyal policy that the people of Canada desire to have followed. We know why it is that the other policy is being supported. We know why the milling trust of St. Paul and Minneapolis ara in favour of this proposal; it is because they want to get the hard wheat of the Canadian northwest without paying duty and drive our millers out of the export market. That is just as easy as adding two and two together. The northwest miller of the United States gets $2 or $3 a ton more for his offal than the miller in Canada, and that makes the difference; the Canadian miller has no chance in the world in the competition which is brought about in this way. The northwest miller of the United States would get the wheat free now if he could. The meat trust would get meat free if they could. We have often been told that they might take the duty off if they wanted to, but they cannot take the duty off, because they have a population of farmers who do not propose to permit these gentlemen to manipulate the duties to suit themselves. But we understand why the milling people would want this arrangement in regard to transportation, why the meat trust would want it and why the United States Steel Corporation want to get into our markets. We can understand why the Chamber of Commerce in New York, always in favour of reciprocity, should

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February 28, 1911


Mr. Chairman, I agree with what has been said by members of the House who have preceded me respecting the very great importance of the question we are now discussing. I have found it the most important question which has come before this House since I have had the honour of being a member of it, and when I say frankly to the committee that the result of my investigation has been to lead me to the conclusion that I cannot follow the leader of the party with which I have been identified practically all my lifetime it will be very evident that to me at least it is an extremely important question. A difference with the political party with which I have been associated all my lifetime must necessarily be of an extremely painful character. With the members of the government I am and always have been upon the best and closest possible terms politically and socially. Some of the members of the government I regard as my closest personal friends. And, away back in the county of Brandon there are a great many men who for 23 years have been my supporters, who, I am quite satisfied, will find great difficulty in understanding why I find it necessary to vote against the party with which they and I have been identified so long. It will be readily understood, Sir, under those circumstances, that my convictions upon the subject are extremely strong. Twenty years ago the Liberal party had as its policy a policy of unrestricted reciprocity. As a young man, young in public life at that time, I followed the leaders of my party; I took an active part in that election. There are I think some gentlemen in the House here against whom I spoke in that campaign, anci to the best of my ability I endeavoured to convince the electors whom I addressed that the policy of my party was a wise and a prudent policy. I am free to say, Mr. Chairman, that almost before the campaign was over I had succeeded in convincing myself that we were wrong. From that time on my views have undergone, perhaps a gradual, but a steady and a certain change. When the tariff was revised in 1897 I was satisfied that the tariff as we adopted it at that time represented a good policy for the Dominion of Canada and possibly the best policy we could adopt. And, ever since 1898, when under the Joint High Commission efforts were made to secure some kind of reciprocity with the United States, my conviction has been strengthening in that direction. A couple of years ago I had the honour of Mr. BUREAU.

delivering an address in New York in the Chamber of Commerce of that great city, and I indicated pretty clearly at that time, though to a somewhat hostile audience, what my views are.

Now, I am well aware, Mr. Chairman that it is a matter of possibly small concern as to when and how my opinion has been arrived at, but I will ask the House to pardon me for mentioning the facts which show that my opinion on this subject is not a spasmodic or suddenly formed opinion, but is the mature conviction which comes to me as the result of something over twenty years of pretty close contact with the affairs of Canada. Some of my newspaper friends have intimated that there was some mystery about my opinions upon this subject. I have not sought to make any mystery of them. I have perhaps avoided discussing the subject with my political friends because I did not desire that any of them should feel that I was endeavouring to induce them to adopt my opinions, and I did not desire to say anything to any of my Liberal friends except what I was prepared to say in the presence of the members of the government and in the presence of the House. But what I have to say about that is this. We have in the Dominion of Canada pretty strong party ties. We do not leave our party for small reasons. We do not leave our party because it happens to do something that we do not at the moment approve of-because it builds a bridge or a court house or a public building or even a railroad that we do not think necessary at the time. We have a pretty strong idea with regard to party allegiance, and my conviction is that it is a good thing and contributes to the stability of government that we have that idea. But it must be remembered nevertheless that, the reason why we adhere to a political party is that party in general represents the principles that we think ought to be applied to the government of the country; and when one's party is led to apply principles which are of fundamental and far-reaching importance, affecting the whole national structure, and one feels that he cannot conscientiously adopt or follow those principles, then, Mr. Chairman, his party allegiance is necessarily dissolved, and if he desires to retain his own self-respect, it becomes absolutely necessary for him to decline to follow that of which he does not approve. That is the position in which I find myself to-day; and, however, painful the process may be, I take the only course which I can take and retain my self-respect.

Getting away from that subject let me say a word or two in regard to the conduct of the debate by the government. I think the House has a little fault to

find, justifiably, with my hon. friends who have charge of the debate for the government. There has never been, since 1879, so important an alteration in the tariff as proposed in these resolutions; and when alterations of an extensive character are made, it has always been customary to make very thorough and complete inquiries of the most expert and detailed character. Otherwise it is impossible that those who are acting should really know what they are doing. When other countries undertake work of this kind, such inquiries are made. I wonder if the House is aware of the fact that when the last German revision of their tariff was made, 20,000 experts were employed for the purpose of collecting and collating information for the benefit of the government and for the -benefit of the parliamentary body which subsequently had to act upon their report. In England the Board of Trade experts act. Here we have generally had a collection of detailed information which was available when the debate came on in the House, and which the ministers in charge gave for the benefit of the members of the House. Now, I think we should have had the information which is necessary for the discussion of this question given us by the government. I think we should have had a full and clear statement as to the effects of this treaty upon our relations with the favoured nations. Members of the opposition have, by questioning, elicited from our hon. friends a good deal of information; but I venture the opinion that there is not a single member of this House outside of the government who now knows whether he is in possession of the whole information or not. Then, we should have had, I think, some comparative statements of prices. This whole question relates to markets and to prices. It would have been a comparatively small matter for a body of experts employed by the government to have got for us a comparative list of the prices of the principal commodities, in the United States, in Canada, and in the other countries concerned. But we have not received it. Neither have we the information, unless we dig it out of the blue-,books for ourselves, with great labour, and sometimes with the liability to make mistakes, as we have had evidence of once or twice in the debate already, with regard to the production of the various commodities by the countries concerned. Generally this has been done by the government and generally some member of the government has made it his business properly to place before the House the case for the government for the proposals that are made. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance never speaks except with that ability and cleverness which we all admire, and it was quite as much in Mr. SIFTON.

evidence in the address that he gave us in introducing these resolutions as it ever was in this House. But I do not think my hon. friend would claim that in that address he undertook to argue the merits of these proposals in detail. Neither did my hon. friend the Minister of Customs. If the committee desires to know just what I mean by this criticism, let them look at the speech which the Finance Minister delivered on the Grand Trunk Pacific resolutions, or at one of the speeches which my hon. friend the Minister of Customs has often delivered in this House in the budget debates, and they will see the kind of a case which our hon. friends can make when they desire to do it and have the material. I would conclude that either our hon. friends in the [DOT] government have not made the investigation and do not possess the facts, or else that the facts do not bear out the contention which they put forward.

Before going into this question of prices, I desire to say that I dissent altogether from the proposition that everybody in Canada has been in favour of reciprocity with the United States for the last forty years. I do not know of any warrant at all for the statement that both the parties, or that one of the parties, for the last forty years has been in favour of reciprocity. There can be no doubt that the Liberal party was in favour of reciprocity twenty years ago; there can be no doubt that in the platform of 1893 there was what might be called a look at reciprocity; and there .can be no doubt that later on, I think it was in 1898, under the Joint High Commission, the right hon. leader of the government attempted to get some measure of reciprocity from the United States. But there is equally no doubt that when the Joint High Commission ceased to act, the right hon. gentleman expressly made his position clear, and that in the general election of 1900, in the election of 1904, and in the election of 1908, there was no mention whatever of reciprocity by either of the parties. As a member of the government in the first two of those elections I should be credited at least with having a general idea of the policy of the government of which I was a member, and I dp not think there would be any individual in Canada more surprised than I if I had been told in either of those elections that it was a part of the policy of the government to seek reciprocity. If there was anything that was clearer than another in connection with the policy of the two political parties in those three successive general elections, it was that neither of them made any claim to advocate the policy of reciprocal trade relations with the United States.

I agree with what has been said that

the government lias no mandate to make these proposals. I do not mention that .point because of a desire to fill up the cup or to aggravate the argument against my bon. friends, and I furthermore say that I think oppositions very often say what can hardly be supported on grounds of reason or law in opposition to what is done by governments on the ground that they have no mandate. But I do not think the principles which often apply, apply in this case. We have not, it is true, a system of government by delegation. Our governments are not elected to do specific things; that is not the nature of our constitution. We are elected under a very wide system of parliamentary responsibility, and a great discretion is vested in the House of Commons, and in the government which is the executive committee of the House of Commons in connection with the transaction and new business, business which was not discussed when they were before the electors. They may do a great many things that were not discussed when they were before the electors, but they may not constitutionally or properly do everything, and I venture to say that when the fiscal policy of a country has been thoroughly canvassed and settled, discussed, debated and approved in the year 1900, discussed, debated and approved in the year 1904, discussed, debated and approved in the year 1908, that there is no constitutional warrant for the members of the government reversing that policy radically without any consultation and practically without the knowledge of the people. There is a discretion vested in the government, there is a discretion vested in the House of Commons, but Mr. Chairman, it must be remembered that the discretion that is exerciseable by those who occupy important positions under our form of government is not an arbitrary personal discretion, it is a constitutional discretion which must be exercised in accordance with-the principles of the constitution, and the constitutional rights of the people we represent, and I want to say and to say it not as I said simply for the purpose of making another point against my hon. friend, but I want to say that I do not believe, speaking from my own experience and from the experience of many men whom I have met in various walks of life and largely members of the Liberal party, I do not believe that in the recent history of Canada anything has happened which has given to the thinking people of Canada so painful and so sudden a shock as the sudden realization that four or five gentlemen who, by reason of their ability, their years of service and their high position in their party, are in control of the affairs of the dominant political party, can suddenly, of their own motion, without discussion, without debate, without the knowledge of the country, commit the country to a radical change of fiscal policy. That is not, I am bound to say, the doctrine of constitutional government as I was taught it in the Liberal party, and I do not think ihat there could be possibly a more langerous innovation.

Sir, what we are asked to do in these resolutions is to reverse the fiscal policy of the Dominion of Canada. It is interesting to note, although there has been very little discussion of that point, what is the policv which we are asked to reverse and why we are asked to reverse it. The policy was adopted in 1897 after the election which resulted in the right hon. the present leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) taking office. That tariff was described by its own friends, of whom I was and am one, as having first for its most outstanding feature the British preference, second, a readjustment of duties which largely reduce the duties upon articles commonly used by the farming community and, third, a substantial reduction in the duties on the raw materials of manufacturers. Now, it may frankly be said that the system of protection was continued by that tariff. Of that there can be no possible doubt. And it must further be said quite frankly and we can say it without disturbing ourselves particularly at this distance of time-that the tariff of 1897 did not fully implement all the promises or the suggestions which we, the members of the Liberal party, had made in regard to our future policy when we were in opposition. But, Mr. Speaker, the policy which we set forth in the tariff of 1897 was deliberately adopted. All these matters were canvassed and considered before we adopted it. We found, as people generally find when they take office, that there were some things that they thought they could do that they could not do, some things that they intended to do that would do harm to some people, and would not do any good to anybody, and so there were many things that perhaps might have been expected that were not done ; but the tariff of 1897 was deliberately adopted after full and careful consideration, we went to the country in 1900 upon that tariff and submitted it to the judgment of the people wdio had put us in office. We were open to attack then on the ground that we had not fully carried out our pledges, both by our opponents and by our political friends, and, speaking for myself as having conducted largely the discussion on behalf of the government in a very large section of the country which was committed to my charge, I say that no phase of that subject was left untouched. It was discussed and rediscussed at every campaign meeting that was held. We placed the matter before the people, we explained the reasons for the action we had taken, we submitted those reasons to the people, we submitted ourselves to their judgment, and

the result was that their judgment upheld us, and that the tariff was approved. It was my opinion then, whatever that opinion might have been worth, little or much, that it was the best tariff that we could adopt. It was only an opinion but as time has gone on, and that tariff policy has been practically unchanged in any very important particular since 1897, I have become thoroughly and completely convinced that the tariff policy which we adopted at that time, which embraced the principle of moderate protection applicable to all classes of the community, is the best policy that the Dominion of Canada can adopt, a policy that it will be most unsafe and most unwise to radically change. One feature, an especially important feature, of that policy, was the British preference. The British preference has been discussed a great deal. Some of our friends from the opposition side of the House have sought to minimize its effects because we were buying largely from the United States, but I do not think that that argument is a good or a sound argument. The imports from Great Britain under the British preference have grown from twenty-nine millions odd in 1897 to ninety-five millions in 1910 ; the increase has been 320 per cent, and it is no answer to the argument that that preference is an effective preference to say that for other and very special reasons we are importing large quantities of goods from the United States for the benefit largely of our own manufacturers. The British preference is a substantial preference. It is suggested that it is likely to be substantially increased, and on that point, while I am dealing with the general question of policy, I desire to express myself clearly and fully. Nobody was a more enthusiastic supporter of the British preference when it was adopted than I was, but I think that there are limits to the extent to which we can go even in cutting the tariff of Canada in favour of the manufacturers of Great Britain as against the manufacturers of Canada. And I am not disposed to say that I would support a substantial increase in the British preference, made, as I understand it. at the expense of deserving Canadian industries for the purpose of putting back into the hands of Great Britain trade which, by this reciprocity arrangement we are taking away and giving to the United States. I cannot see that there is any sound business wisdom in that operation. I cannot see that there is any possible ground for taking such steps as will result in the closing up of Canadian factories doing business at a small margin of profit, so long as they are furnishing their goods to the people of this country at reasonable rates.

What have been the results of the policy which we are following ? The figures Mr. SIFTON.

which indicate the great progress and prosperity of Canada have been quoted in this House ad nauseam. I should not repeat them here. We know how the population has grown; we know how our public revenue, our foreign trade and the deposits in our banks have grown; we know that in the last twelve or fifteen years the Dominion of Canada has prospered more abundantly than any other country on the face of the earth. We know this, further, that, man for man, the people of Canada are better off than any other population of similar numbers that we can point to. Our farmers are prosperous; our labourers are well paid; thefe is no unemployment in Canada-almost an unknown thing in any country of the extent and population of ours-there is practically no poverty, except what is due to drink, vice, sickness or other cause which does not depend at all upon the prosperity or want of prosperity of the country; we are receiving an enormous immigration; there is a demand for every man who comes in the shape of a labourer, and still an insistent demand for more labour; and there is a rapid development of our resources. And there is one other thing which is of the utmost importance in the condition of our business position, and that is the enormous growth of the home market, which has been built up in Canada during the last tern or twelve years, and which, in my judgment, accounts more than anything else for the steadiness of prices which our farmers are receiving for their products.

_ Now, is this prosperity that we are enjoying, a sound prosperity? Very often the charge is made, when a country is prosperous, that its prosperity is unsound, that it is a hothouse growth; and that charge is almost always made if the country is working under a protective system. And that charge is generally true if the protection is excessive or not properly adapted to the wants of the community. Now, it is possible-by reason of the fact that an exhaustive inquiry has been made of an economic character under the direction of one of the members of the government-to collate a few facts which show conclusively what our position in that respect is. A volume has been issued under the direction of my hon. friend the Minister of Labour (Mr. King), dealing with the subject of wholesale prices, which work I regard as perhaps the most valuable contribution to the economic literature of Canada that I know of. That volume, setting forth the statistics of wholesale prices, enables us to follow accurately the movement of prices which affect the well-being of the various classes of the community. In the consideration of this question, the Minister of Labour and his expert assistants, took as the

basis for comparison, the decade which runs from 1890 to 1899. I find by this report, that, in the year 1909, the prices of the commodities to which I shall refer, have risen by the amount which I shall give as compared with the average of the decade, from 1890-1899:

Grain and fodder, including thirteen selected standard commodities, have risen in value 49-9 per cent; cattle and cattle products, hogs and hog products, sheep and sheep products, fowl and turkeys, have risen 48-6 per cent; dairy products have risen 33 per cent. Now, foT the purposes of comparison, let us make a different division: Crude farm products have risen

37-3 per cent; manufactured farm products have risen 34 1 per cent; average for crude and manufactured farm products, of 35 7 per cent.

This is what the farmer sells. Now, consider what he buys. He buys imported foods, woollen goods, cotton goods, boots and shoes, metals and implements. The average increases of these commodities are as follows: imported goods, decreased 4 per cent; woollen goods increased 23-3 per cent; cotton goods increased 25 per cent; boots and shoes increased 25 per cent; metals and implements increased 2-4 per cent; an average of all these of 14-3 per cent.

Thus, we see that the staple lines of goods which account for at least nineteen-twentieths of the average farmer's expenditure, have increased 14-3 per cent, while the goods which he sells, have increased 35 -7 per cent. There you have an absolutely conclusive demonstration of the position of the two classes of the community. There you have proof of the fact that the urban community is not living at the expense of the farmer, but the farmer himself is getting more than his share of the general prosperity of the community. So, then, we have prosperity, soundness, and- what else ? Independence; an independent market for everything we raise and everything we sell. The local market of Canada takes from 80 to 90 per cent of everything raised in Canada by our farming population. Where do we send the rest? VVe send it to the great, free, open market of Great Britain, from which market nothing but our own foolishness can possibly exclude us. So, we have prosperity, soundness and absolute independence in our markets.

Now, the proposition is made that we revolutionize the fiscal policy under which these results have been attained. And what will be the effect of this proposed revolution in our fiscal policy ? I do not intend to overstate it or to say anything which can possibly be regarded as overstating it. But I am surely within the mark, when I say that there will be a very great dislocation and disturbance of business, that there will

be individuals who will suffer very great loss, and that even if these individuals succeed in rectifying their position, still, the disturbance for considerable portions of the community will be of a very serious character. As to the general progress of Canada, the production of Canada is so enormous, the immigration is so great, the impetus we have received so strong, the development of our resources so rapid, that no'possible mistake of fiscal policy can prevent this country making enormous progress in the future. Nevertheless, the effects will t\e serious. Let me enumerate what I think will be a few of those effects.

Some industries will be destroyed,-there can be no doubt about that. What reason can be given for drawing your pen through an item of the tariff and thereby shutting up an industry which is not accused of combining as against consumers, of charging illicit prices, or of any other evils?- what reason there can be for selecting that industry and wiping it out of existence, I do not see. I am bound to say that; it does not appeal to my common sense. I think that the meat packing industry of this country will be destroyed. I have given that subject a good deal of consideration. I thought when I saw and read carefully the memorial of the packers, that the meat packing industry would be injured, and I am prepared to say now that if this treaty goes into effect, and continues in effect for any length of time, the big packing industry of the Dominion of Canada will be wiped out. There is no more chance of the meat packing industry standing against the beef trust of the United States than there would be of my standing up against this building if it fell upon me. That is precisely the position in which the meat packers will be put.

I shall not say anything about the fruit and vegetable growers. They will be injured. Their case has been stated by men who know vastly more about it than I do. But I call the attention of my friends in the government to the fact that my hon. friend from Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell) made before this House a full and careful presentation of the case of the fruit growers and vegetable growers; no fairer, no better, no fuller case was ever presented to this House while I have been a member of it, and no answer of any kind has been attempted in connection with that subject. You ask me why I do not support this proposition. Surely, Mr. Chairman, if I had the intelligence to hear a case of that kind presented and no answer made, I must come to the conclusion that no answer can be made.

There will be other large industries affected. There is an enormous industry in existence in the town of Peterborough, the Quaker Oats establishment. The president.

of the company has given an interview, and I have taken the trouble to have the interview verified, because it is not always safe to proceed upon what we see in the newspapers, with all due regard to my journalistic friends. I have taken the trouble to verify that interview with the president, speaking on behalf of the Quaker Oats Company, which is one of the very largest factories in C_anada, and one of the largest consumers of farm produce in Canada, consuming, I believe-I speak subject to correction-40 carloads of farm produce per day. This institution manufactures in the town of Peterborough largely for export, the best possible kind of factory for us to have. It takes the farm produce, it grinds it up, ships it to foreign countries, collects the money, brings it back, and it goes into circulation. We can have no better industry for a farming community than the Quaker Oats industry of Peterborough. Now, eighty per cent of the business of this establishment is done for export. The president of the company says that in the conditions that will exist under the proposed changes in the tariff it will be more convenient and economical for them to manufacture in the United States for export. Their operations in Peterborough, therefore, will be curtailed sixty, seventy, or eighty per cent, with the result that the Dominion of Canada will lose accordingly. Now, I do not at all profess to be able to express an intelligent opinion respecting the business of the Quaker Oats Company, but I call attention to this fact, that these people are not Canadian manufacturers kicking about the duty being taken off when they are manufacturing for the home market. It is easy to understand why a manufacturer would object to a change in a case of that kind. But there is no reason for this company saying that this agreement is against them if it is not. They are not unfriendly to the United States, and they are not unfriendly to our negotiations, and there is no possible reason why we should not accept their statement as being given in good faith.

Will this proposition assist in transferring American capital to the construction of factories in Canada, which has been going on in Canada for several years past at a very rapid rate? Surely we cannot conclude that it will. These factories have been established because it was thought that the fiscal policy of Canada was settled, that we had settled down to a definite fiscal policy, and people came along and built factories here and built factories there, thinking they were perfectly safe. I have no doubt that those who are engaged in putting up factories will continue and complete their work; they cannot afford to do anything else. But is it reasonable to suppose that many business men with money to invest in factories will readily decide to Mr. SIFTON

do so unless they get some definite assurance that what has happened in this particular case is not going to happen again? 1 do not see how they can get the assurance; 1 do not see how it will be possible for parliament to prove that what has been done in this case will not be done in every case in which ministers, with the best motives, may see fit to do it.

Take the question of pulp and paper. The province of Ontario and the province of Quebec have decided, in their wisdom, that it is a good and patriotic policy for them to insist upon their pulpwood being manufactured at home. I am aware that some gentlemen who are of estimable character and good information have said that it is not a wise policy, but I do not believe there are many people in Canada who would agree with them. I believe that there is no policy, no item of policy which has been followed by any of the governments of Canada of late years which has mqt with more universal approval than the action of the government of Ontario, and later of the government of Quebec, in deciding upon the conservation of their resources by securing the largest. possible revenue and benefit from the various resources which they possess. Well, that was the position. It is known of all men that the United States people would like to get cheaper paper made from Canadian pulpwood. Now, if there was anything that was perfectly clear in connection with our tariff relations with the United States, _ and if there was anythifig perfectly clear in connection with the paper and pulp question, it was that all the Dominion of Canada had to do was to sit down and wait, and leave the subject severely alone. That obviously was all that ought to have been done. We have not done that. We find this clause introduced into the treaty. What does it say? If it means what our negotiators intended it to mean, it means this, that there is a bonus put upon the abrogation of the regulations which the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario have made. It does not mean that the regulations are abrogated, because this parliament has no power to abrogate them; but it means that we put a bonus upon their abrogation, and that is the worst possible thing that we could do.

Take this question of our perishable products that we send to Great Britain. My hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) dealt with that. He is familiar with the subject, and my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher), who, I understand is to follow me, is more familiar with it, perhaps, than any man m the House. But it is a fact that, for years there was difficulty in finding a market for our perishable products. The country went to work and educated the farmers to prepare their products for the British market, instituted cold storage, under the Depart-

ment of Agriculture, upon steamships, induced the steamship companies to put it in, provided for connections in Great Britain, and did everything possible at great labour, trouble and expense, extending over a period of nearly twenty years, for the purpose of opening up markets for these products' in Great Britain, The policy succeeded entirley. We are sanding those products to Great Britain now, to a great, stable, safe, free market, from which we have never been excluded, a market that is improving all the time, a market in which we are finding fresh extensions and fresh points of advantage every year. What do we propose to do? We propose to ship our stuff to the United States instead and to throw away all the advantage of all the work that we have done, the whole of the cold storage facilities upon the steamships crossing the Atlantic provided for in past years, to break down the business connections we have made, to allow our competitors to go in and take that market, buttress it around in such a way that we can never get into it again, and put ourselves in dependance upon the markets of the United States. How long will they remain open? Nobody knows. It may be one year or five years. Nobody knows. A year ago the United States were brandishing a club over our heads and threatening to impose the surtax upon our goods-only one short year ago. Now, they say that the United States is friendly. Well, perhaps it is. What will it be in a year from now? Does anybody know? Nobody knows. The United States is at the present time, I am told, abrogating the Blaine treaties of reciprocity which were made with the Latin republics a few years ago, without even the courtesy of negotiation or discussion as to the reasons for the abrogation of those treaties. How much better will our position be at any time when an occasion for irritation may arise? There are dozens of things which might happen to cause irritation between the United States, Canada and Great Britain. I could mention to my right hon. friend who leads the government, if I desired to do so, but I do not desire to dd so-it is a matter within everybody's knowledge-some things that might cause irritation between the United States, Great Britain or Canada, not serious enough to have important international consequences but serious enough to make it very desirable for a political party in the United States to court popularity by doing something which might be of an unfriendly character to Great Britain and Canada. Then, when our market is closed, when we have shut ourselves out from Great Britain, what is the position? Sir, we are putting our head into a noose.

What are the compensations? It is 139

said that the farmers will have better prices and better markets. It is very difficult for a private individual to make an exhaustive examination of prices. He can only be expected to go into a limited number of subjects, and his information must necessarily be limited. I have made as careful an examination as I could of the prices of the various staples which the farmers of Canada sell in the open markets, and I have before me the result of that examination. It is not necessary that I should enter into any considerable number of details, but will give you a few of the conclusions which appear to be absolutely established by the facts. First, I will take hogs, one of the most important products of the province of Ontario. The average price in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec is better than it is in the United States. As far as cattle are concerned the prices are variable, and as far as eggs are concerned the prices of the better grades are higher, and of the other grades, lower. It is said that the market for lambs will be good if we get reciprocity with the United States. From the 1st of December up to the present time lambs have been cheaper in Chicago than in Ontario. The best creamery butter sells at a higher price in the United States, but all the lower grades are cheaper, and it seems to be quite clear from an investigation of the market conditions by those who are familiar with the subject, that we shall lose our local market for butter and eggs-in the case of eggs to the United States and in the case of butter to countries like New Zealand, Denmark and possibly Australia. While we may get some advantage by selling a small portion of the higher grade of the product to the United States, we shall lose upon a great portion of the lower grade, which, as everybody knows, is the greater proportion of the product. In poultry the higher grades will be higher and the lower grades will be lower. Hay is one product that is substantially higher in the United States than in Canada. Barley is higher and oats lower. Looking over the whole case, it is not possible to figure out any general advantage to the farmer in getting these markets even if we take prices as they are without having any reference to the general effect upon the market which may take place in other -ways. As -to the quality, everybody knows that there is a perfectly good market for all that our farms produce. There is no glut in the market of Canada if the produce is reasonably prepared, and if it is not reasonably prepared for the market then the United States market will be of no assistance to the man who allows himself to be in that position.

Then, there are some general features of the case which require to be considered.

This, Mr. Chairman, is a conclusion which you cannot possibly escape: Under this

arrangement, which means free trade in farm products, the markets for farm produce will be absolutely dominated by the United States and favoured nation countries. There can be no possible question about that. The meat packing industry will be destroyed. What is happening in some other places? I have taken a clipping from the Ottawa ' Citizen-' of February 25, which has since been confirmed by other information. It is not a political article, but a Canadian press cable, and it is as follows:

London, Feb. 25.-A despatch to the ' Chronicle ' from Melbourne says the federal Minister of Trade and Customs declares that the Australian commonwealth will spare no expense to ' oppose sinister operations of the American meat trust in seeking to control the Australian trade.'

The meat trust in Australia and New Zealand is so sinister in its operations that the government of the commonwealth has to take the field against it, and we are here taking down the barriers and inviting it to come in and dominate the market of Canada. That trust -will oppress pur farmers, it is not a beneficent institution, it is not a philanthropic institution, and when it dominates the market, we will say of Ontario, and any hon. gentleman on this side of the House or on the other side of the House finds that the farmers of his constituency are not getting fair play in the matter of prices, may I ask what that gentleman will do, may I ask what his remedy will be, may I ask how he is going to apply that remedy if he has any? I do not know what the remedy will be. The head office of your trust will be in Chicago or New York, it will be outside of our jurisdiction and there is only one thing we can do, just one thing-"we can put the duty back where it is now and start all over again to build up the local industries which we are threatening to destroy.

The whole tendency of this arrangement (is to induce the farmer to adapt his raw product to the United States market. The whole tendency is to do away with the byproducts which are so essential for intensive farming, the whole tendency is to break down the system of interrelated industries which makes the present prosperity of the province of Ontario and the other provinces. Under that system, Mr. Chairman, brought about by the policy which my hon. friends upon the Treasury Benches have pursued for the last 13 years, the great province of Ontario raised $250,000,000 worth of farm produce last year and nobody heard that there was no market for any of that produce.

Take the province of Quebec-my hon.

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April 6, 1910


My hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller) has brought my name into this discussion and has intimated that it is my duty to assist him in conserving the morals of the people of Canada. I have to sav to my hon. friend that I am perfectly willing to join him in dome anything that will promote the moral well-being of the people of Canada if my judgment accords with his in Tegard to the measures to be adopted to that end. Since something like 22 years ago I was first elected in Canada as the representative of some of mv fellow citizens, I have never consciously failed to vote where I had the opportunity for any measure which seemed to me to. be designed to promote the peace, welfare and good government of the Dominion of Canada or that part of it with which I had to do. In speaking of a measure of this kind, there are a great many considerations which are pertinent to the subject. There are a good many other considerations which may be dragged into the debate which are not really pertinent to the subject. There are a great many points of view from which the subject should be looked at, if a careful examination is to be made and an intelligent conclusion is to be reached. And let me say that, in the very few words which I wish to address to the House upon this subject, I speak with a full sense of my responsibility not onl5r as a member of the House, but as a citizen, and as the father of a family of sons, some of whom have reached years' of manhood, and whose welfare in the future is much more important to me than anything elsp that can possibly happen in this world. Therefore I think I have as complete a sense of responsibility in speaking of this question as it is possible to have. The measure which has been brought before us has been brought in a somewhat peculiar way. It is promoted by an association or collection of gentlemen whose avowed object is to promote moral and social reform in the Dominion of Canada. There have been some things said of a somewhat unkind character in regard to these gentlemen and their efforts. I do not desire to be understood as endorsing any gibes or attacks which may have been directed against these gentlemen. It may be that in some respects their methods are not all that they ought to be. It may be that sometimes they are injudicious. Nevertheless it seems to me that the work which they have in hand of endeavouring to promote moral and social reform in the Dominion of Canada is a laudable and praiseworthy work. They have been before this House asking for legislation on a former occasion. They came some sessions ago with a proposition that we should pass legislation respecting the observance of the Lord'3 Day. On that occasion they were able to convince the government that it was the duty of the government to stand as the sponsor of the legislation; and I think that the spirit in which the government and the members of the House on both sides met those gentlemen^ in connection with that legislation wasj highly creditable to the House, and showed that the sympathies of the House were almost unanimously with these gentlemen in their endeavours to promote moral and social reform in Canada. Thev have not on this occasion apparently been able to convince the members of the government that the government should stand as sponsor for the legislation which they propose. For my part, I regret that they did not succeed, at least to some extent, in impressing their views on the government, because we think that some legislation is necessary, and it would have been more satisfactory to us if the. government had been able to see its way clear to introduce a moderate measure which could have commanded the general assent of the members of the House. That, however, did not come about, and they have adopted what is their undoubted right of getting their legislation introduced by a private member, who has devoted himself zealously and with praiseworthy capacity and industry to promoting the object he had in hand. The Bill has been brought before us, and it has gone before a committee for investigation, and the committee has held what appears to have been a very thorough and impartial investigation. We have heard the evidence discussed from various standpoints since the House

met to-day. My hon. friend from Grey has given us a very full and thorough review of the evidence. If I were to say anything with regard to that, it would be to suggest to my hon. friend that possibly a more unbiased review of the evidence would have been more convincing to the House. I do not suggest that my hon. friend was consciously unfair; but one could not listen to his discussion of the evidence without feeling that he was laboriously extracting those portions of the evidence which tended to support his con-[DOT] elusion without giving due and proper effect to the evidence of a contrary character. We had a review of the evidence from another standpoint given bv my hon. friend from Northumberland (Mr. Mc-Coll); and again my hon. friend from Regina (Mr. Martin) has gone pretty extensively into the evidence. I have no intention of following them in such a review. I only desire in a very few words to express what seems to me, as an unprejudiced onlooker, to be the effect of the evidence given before the committee, and I think I approach the question with as little prejudice as it is possible for any one to have on the subject. I can hardly be accused of any undue sympathy with gambling. I have been in the habit of attending horse-races for the last 30 years or thereabouts, and of taking my family when they desired to go; I. never could see that it did them anv harm. I have never bet a dollar on a horse-race, have never bought a pool, have never been interested in a race to the extent of a copper; I have never played a game in which a dollar was at stake; so that I am as free from any sympathy with gambling as it is possible to be. I cannot plead that my freedom comes from any deep-rooted feei-ing that gambling is immoral. It has rather seemed to me to be an exhibition of stupidity, and I have not felt it necessary to indulge in that particular form of stupidity.

There are some things which, it seems to me, have been very clearly proven by the evidence before the committee. I am not going to discuss the evidence but- simply to point out what appears to me to have been conclusively proven by it. In the first place it appears to me to have been proven conclusively that the English thoroughbred horse is the basis of the improvement of all light horse breeding throughout the whole world. It has been shown that in every portion of the world where a systematic or intelligent attempt is made to improve light horse breeding, that has been done by the importation of English thoroughbreds, the product of racing and racing alone. Then I think it has been shown, not only that racing has developed the English thoroughbred, but that racing Mr. SIFTON.

alone will keep him in his present condition and quality. It has been shown further that the stoppage of book-making upon Canadian race tracks will have the effect of doing away with the conduct of racing by reputable men who engage in it as a sport and expend their means for that purpose. Racing, as the hon. member for Grey (Mr. Miller) truly says, will not be stopped, but racing conducted by men of means will be stopped. It will get into most disreputable hands and the last stage will be worse than the first. I think it has been shown that if the Bill should pass in its present form, the importation of high-class thoroughbreds from Great Britain to Canada will be practically stopped. Further, that our present position which has lately resulted in a very large number of thoroughbred horses being placed for service throughout the Dominion practically free of charge, and without any assistance from the government, will be totally destroyed if racing be put an end to.

But, leaving the horse breeding question to one side, there are other things w'hich appear to me to have been very clearly shown. In the first place, it has been clearly shown that tipsters' advertisements and the advertising of information and the soliciting of betting and wagering is a source of great evil ankfi ought to be stopped. I think it has been further shown that the pool-rooms conducted away from a race-track are a serious evil. Also that the hand-book- betting is a serious evil, which comes within the general -definition of gambling not as an adjunct of sport, but in itself pure gambling, and I am of the opinion that the general' sentiment of the House would be to put a stop to that. I think it has been shown conclusively that when racing is permitted to be carried on for a considerable length of time, for such a length of time that the races cease to consist in real trials of speed, but are simply devices for the purpose of furnishing gambling facilities that constitutes a generally admitted evil and ought to be stopped.

These are therefore four distinct evils which I think have been exposed clearly before the committee and which I think the general sentiment of the House will agree, ought to be prohibited by legislation. I wmuld have thought that that having been shown and there being evidently a clear and definite opinion on the part of almost all members of this House that legislation for the prohibition of those evils would receive a general, an almost unanimous assent, the promoters of the Bill would have seen the desirability of accepting legislation which would do away with these admitted evils and let the matter stand for the present. I am quite satisfied that if I had been in the place of my hon.

friend from Grey (Mr. Miller), if I had been promoting this legislation, if I had been on that committee and had seen the evidence produced, proving that these evils existed, and had seen that the House was ready to accept legislation which would be of the most drastic charactec and do away with those evils, I would have thought that that was enough for one session and would have advised a trial of that legislation to be carried through with the unanimous consent of parliament. It seems to me beyond doubt that that would be the common sense, reasonable and moderate course to adopt.

Going a step further, has it been shown before the committee that in racing, carried on in what we may call the best possible way, as for instance, during the first week of racing at the Woodbine track- has it been shown that the betting on such occasions is such an evil as to demand drastic legislation by this parliament for putting an end to it. I submit there is not a scintilla of evidence before the committee which shows any such thing. I believe it can be said by any reasonable man that when you undertake to take out from the general body of evidence anything applicable to that class of'racemeeting such as I have described and endeavour to make out great evils resulting from the conduct of such races, you have utterly failed to prove any such thing. But admitting for a moment that I am not entirely correct in that, and that there is reasonable ground for difference of opinion upon it, then what is the proper course for this House to adopt? What is the principle upon which criminal legislation, under the British system is based. The principle of all our criminal legislation is this, that it is the crystallized or, if you may so call it, the sanctified common sense of the community. It is the expression of the general assent of the community that such and such an Act ought to' be condemned. Therein lies the strength of our criminal law. The strength of our criminal law lies in the fact that, under the British system, what we may call freak legislation is unknown. It never has been admitted that it is the duty of a British legislature to decide moral questions for the British people. It is the right of the British people to settle moral questions for themselves, and for 150 years they have never admitted the right of any secular body to settle moral questions for them, or to regulate their conduct. It is the right of the individual, the liberty of the individual, and the only way he can develop character is by exercising the right to decide moral questions for himself. If you look through our criminal law during the last 150 years, you will not find in a British colony or

the British parliament itself, any case in which a certain act or certain class of acts, commonly indulged in by a large and reputable section of the community, has been declared criminal by an Act of parliament forced through by a narrow majority, and in the face of strong opposition. I do not think you will find such a case. Now this same question has been before the British parliament within the last few years. What was the method adopted to ascertain what would be the best way of dealing with it? It was sent to a special committee, and the matter was carefully examined into. We too have done that. But when it came before the House for legislation, wa.s any attempt made to pass a law which would confiscate private property, or declare to be criminal acts not recognized as being criminal by- a large section of the community? Not at all; the legislation proceeded upon careful and conservative lines. An Act was drawn by Lord Davey, perhaps the greatest lawyer whom England has produced in the last hundred years. I have a copy of the Act, and in clause 3 we find it expressly provided:

Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to any ground used for the purpose of a racecourse for racing horses or adjacent thereto on days on which races take place.

That is the principle upon which the British parliament, after careful and thorough consideration on the part of a special committee, arrived at as a sound principle for British legislation. They do not think it safe or judicious, by a majority if it could have been got, to declare that that which was being done constantly by respectable, reputable citizens of the country, and in regard to which they recognized no moral culpability whatever, should it be branded as a crime without general consent on the part of the community to such a declaration.

What is the basis upon which the administration of the criminal law must rest? The general consent of the community that an act which is forbidden by the law is an act which ought to be forbidden by the law. And if you depart from that principle what results? The result is that you bring the law into contempt. And I put it to the House, and I put myself in the judgment of every member of the House whether in favour of the Bill or not. If this should, be made law, would not one law of the parliament of Canada, at least be brought into contempt with a large section of the community? They would not respect the legislation, they would not regard it as legislation, which the circumstances called for or which parliament had passed in the exercise of due wisdom, and due care; and the result would be that that support which all good citizens give to the law would not

be given to the law passed under these cir

eumstances. I do not know that it is necessary for me to elaborate that argument, but I desire to follow it just far enough to point out that if you once lay down the principle that because any particular section of the community regard a particular act as being morally objectionable, the section of the community which objects to that act can come to the parliament of Canada, and demand that the ^act referred to shall be declared to be a criminal act, you will open the doors to a class of legislation which will lead you to ends you cannot foresee. You will have introduced into this House a class of discussions in the carrying on of which there can be no possible fixed principle. My hon. friend from Regina (Mr. W. M. Martin) says that the only question we have to decide is whether the members of this House are in favour of book-making upon race-tracks or not. I respectfully submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that that is not the question. It is not a question of whether I, or any hon. member here, happens, in his own mind, to be in favour of book-making or of race-track gambling as it may be called-not at all; the question is whether there is a necessity in the interest of the peace, order and good government of Canada that these things shall be prohibited. The question is whether it is our duty, in the exercise of our powers as the parliament of Canada, to make that a criminal offence. What I may think, or what any other hon. member may think personally as an individual has nothing to do with the case. We are not sent here to carry into the criminal law the particular views we may have with regard to any particular thing that is being done by our fellow citizens. If we undertake to legislate within these lines we shall find ourselves involved in all kinds of confusion.

There is one other consideration which I desire to present. This legislation is of an altogether peculiar and unusual character. I doubt if my hon. friends who are supporting this Bill can show a single case in the last hundred years in Great Britain, or can show a single case in the history of the criminal legislation of the parliament of Canada, in which an Act of parliament has been brought in without any public agitation, without any public demand, which practically confiscates a large amount of private property and brands as criminal acts which are constantly being performed by some of the best citizens of the Dominion. I do not think a precedent can be found for such legislation. And I desire to call your attention to the fact that there isi not even the excuse of a public demand. We are here, two hundred and twenty-one members of the House of Commons; "there is not a single one of us, I believe, that Mr. SIFTON.

ever heard this subject discussed on the political platform in the last general election. I venture to say it was not mentioned. Certainly, I never heard it, nor have I ever found anybody who did. We never heard of a member of the House of Commons being asked to pledge himself upon this subject. I have never heard of a public meeting being held for the purpose of discussing this question and hearing the arguments, pro and con. There has been no opportunity for the people of Canada to come to any reasoned and considered opinion upon this subject. My judgment is that the people of Canada have not come to any reasoned or considered opinion upon this subject at the present time. Then, look at the press. Read the newspapers for the last two weeks while this matter has been before the committee. There has been, here and there, a perfunctory article in favour of my hon. friend's Bill, there has been here and there, an article in opposition to the Bill. But nobody who is at all careful as to the statements he makes could, I think, make himself responsible for the statement that there has been in the press of Canada anything in the nature of a concerted demand that this legislation should pass. Is it my hon. friend's position that we should plunge into this extreme, drastic legislation without evidence that the people of Canada have formed an opinion upon it or that they desire it to be passed, without any indication in the press that there is a public opinion on the subject, without any evidence of public opinion except that most evidently manufactured by those who are agitating in favour of the Bill? So, it seems to me that all these considerations point to the conclusion that it would be the part of prudence, common sense and judgment for this House to hesitate before they pass this into law. I have consented to become the seconder of the amendment which my hon. friend (Mr. Me-Coll) proposes to move in Committee of the Whole, conceiving that the common sense and good judgment of the House would see that when legislation is passed which will amply and fully deal with the evils which have been shown before the committee to exist, that will be a sufficient measure, and that it would be unwise and altogether discreditable to our judgment and common sense to go further at the present stage. I hope, without extending my remarks further, that my hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller) and the supporters of the Bill, before the discussion goes too far, will see that it is the part of wisdom to accept the proposition which is made, and allow this discussion to be sealed by a compromise of that kind.

Subtopic:   E. WILLS,
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April 5, 1910


The most important clause in my hon. friend's amendment is subsection (a), the effect of which is to prohibit any member of the commission, or any person appointed by the commission, from engaging in the:

(a) Purchase, lease, acquire or obtain, on royalty or otherwise, any Dominion or provincial franchises, fishery rights, water-powers, water privileges, lands, mines, mineral lands or timber limits, or in any way contract therefor- or acquire any interest therein, either for himself or as agent for any other person or corporation.

I think that it is very possible, looking at it from a legal point of view, if that were passed that as a member of that commission I would not be safe in buying a share of Canadian Pacific railway stock. The Canadian Pacific railway traffics in public franchises dealing with a number of these things, and my own judgment is that by buying that stock I would be acquiring an interest in it. Another member of the commission is a director of the Canadian Pacific railway and a very large shareholder, and possibly deals in the stock of the company, and he would be debarred. Senator Edwards is a large lumber man and he buys timber limits, and he would be shut out from the commission. If the hon. gentleman is desirous to put the law in such a way that men of affairs who are doing business extensively cannot be members of the commission, it is for parliament to say whether that shall be so or not. For myself, as chairman of the commission, I do not think this is a matter I should be called upon to discuss, and I do not intend to discuss it in the sense of expressing my opinion as to what parliament ought to do. I simply point out to my hon. friend the effect his legislation would have upon the commission at the present time. If parliament thinks that they cannot trust the commission as it

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April 5, 1910


When the Act was drawn, the plan of work had not been fully thought out, and when the meeting was held we had to address ourselves to the question of how we were to conduct the work of the commission. The Act provided for the appointment of a chairman to be the executive officer of the commission. A difficulty that arose in connection with the practical work was that if the members of the commission met at the annual meeting, and passed general directions as to what should be done, thereafter the initiative would be left in the hands of the chairman, and the work and responsibility would devolve upon him. It was felt that that was not a desirable way to carry on the work. We desire to have the services of as many members of the commission as possible, and to have their judgment, and advice from time to time upon the various important questions with which we have to deal. After 'giving the matter the best consideration we could, we came to the conclusion that the best method of organization was Mr. LANCASTER.

to appoint committees to deal with the different classes of subjects, and to appoint a member of the commission as chairman of each committee. The logical corollary of that is that, from time to time, we shall be able to have meetings of the committees to discuss and deal with the particular subjects which these committees have in their purview. It will be seen that this will obviate the necessity of having more frequent meetings of the commission. Had this not been done, it would have been necessary to call meetings of the commission three or four times a year which would have meant bringing all the members of the commission here, and holding a large meeting when a small meeting might be all that is necessary. Under this scheme of organization, the practical work will be carried on by these committees, and the investigation and collection of information will be under their direction, and especially under the direction of the chairman of the committee. I may explain, as it will probably be of interest to hon. members, that the chairman of the committee on public health. is Mr. Osier, the chairman of the committee on forestry is-Senator Edwards, the chairman of the committee on waterways is Mr. Monk. Professor Robertson is chairman of the committee on lands and agriculture, and Mr. Has-zard, the premier of the province of Prince Edward Island is chairman of the committee on fisheries.

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