Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ultimately very great and permanent injury on the whole population of Canada. Although the hard times affect the poor people, they also are seriously detrimental to the Governmment, and every Administration, no matter what its opinions may be, must be most sincerely anxious-if it knows how-to remove such a state of things, and create general peace, plenty, and prosperity.

Sir, we have been called upon for a national policy. Our policy as a policy of justice to the whole Dominion, and of prudence and economy, until this present trial be passed; but I do not propose, for the adoption of the people of this country, a policy of which it can only be said that it is a servile plagiarism of the blunders which the United States have committed, blunders of which, I verily believe, the American people are now repenting, and from which I trust they are very steadily succeeding in extricating themselves. The policy which I have the honour, on behalf of the Administration, to propound for the acceptance of this House and this country, I desire to repeat, has not been arranged hastily or inconsiderately; and, if we are wrong in this matter, we have at least neglected no effort, we have spared no pains, and we have taken all possible trouble to convince ourselves that we were right in the course we have decided on.

Sir, I have the honour to move that you leave the Chair; and that the House do resolve itself into Committee of Supply.

The motion was seconded by the Hon. Mr. Mackenzie.

Hon. Mr. TUPPER rose to reply, but the hour being Six, the House took

recess.

that a gentleman standing in the posi tion of being compelled to admit that all his predictions in reference to the financial condition of the country had proved erroneous-that in fact he was mistaken with reference to revenue, with reference to expenditure, and with reference to the condition of the Dominion-that he had been unable in the slightest degree to forecast the condition of public affairs-demanded the sympathy of those who knew and felt that a suffering and intensely interested country were looking to the hon. gentleman for some means of relief. But, as he proceeded, my sympathy changed to admiration--admiration for the tact and ability with which the hon. gentlemen was enabled to encounter a position the most trying and difficult perhaps that ever any gentleman in this country, holding the high position he holds, had to encounter. Although I was unable to concur in many of the opinions the hon. gentleman advanced, no person could listen to the manner in which he endeavoured to extricate himself from his difficulties without feeling that he had brought a large amount of ability and a great deal of tact to his assistance. I must join issue, Sir, with the hon. gentleman in his premises, that it is not in the power of the Government of the country to promote its good or mitigate the evils likely from time to time to arise. The position that the Hon. Prime Minister has elsewhere adopted, the position that the Hon. Minister of Finance has taken to-night, that matters of trade and commerce are beyond the control of Government-that they must look on, as idle spectators, that the country may prosper or sink into decay, and the Government are helpless to promote the one or avert the other is a principle to which I cannot give my concurrence. The honourable gentleman has admitted that under a system of despotism something might be achieved that if the merchants and the manufacturers would give him despotic power over their fortunes and over the conduct of their business he might accomplish something for them. I don't think that the past history of the honourable gentleman, the experience the House and the country have had of him as a

AFTER RECESS.

Hon. Mr. TUPPER-In rising to offer comments upon the Address which has just been delivered by the Hon. Minister of Finance, I must first congratulate that hon. gentleman upon the very able manner in which he addressed the House. When the hon. gentleman rose to speak I confess that he had my sympathies. I felt, Sir,

[ocr errors]

as

Minister of Finance, are likely to in- | ever is our condition, the Minister of duce either the mercantile or manufac- Finance is supremely happy. turing interests of this country to entrust him with those arbitrary powers which he says are necessary to accomplish anything for their good. I believe that the prosperity which Canada enjoyed uninterruptedly from the date of union--that marked, that striking and unexampled prosperity-down to the accession to power of the honourable gentlemen opposite, was largely due to the wise political measures of the great Liberal-Conservative party. Gentlemen who look, as my honorable friend from Toronto Centre does, with amazement and are almost startled at the wonderful advance of the trade of the country, and are unable to account for it, must not forget that that great political change which was then brought about gave an impetus to the trade and commerce of the country that has been attended with most beneficial results; and I believe the wise policy pursued by the late Administration in carrying on vigorously the public works stimulated that prosperity and continued it fromhour to hour and day to day.

I must say, Sir, that I differ from the hon. gentleman on another point, that is the cause of the present condition of the country. There is no question that can be submitted to this House or engage the minds of an intelligent people more importance than the In cause of the present depression. order to discover what remedies are to be used, we should necessary satisfy ourselves to the nature of the disease and what has produced it. And here again I must differ widely from the hon. gentleman as to his estimate of the cause of the present financial depression. I never said, and I do not say now, that this condition of a country in which trade rises to a certain height of pros perity, and then meets with a check and depression, has not affected this Dominion, but I say it is the business of the Government to meet such a condition of things and by wise and statesmanlike measures to mitigate it. But the Government has no such policy. I have said elsewhere and I repeat it here, that if all the talent of the Administration had been concentrated on the means of increasing the present commercial depression there is no single measure that they have left unattempted in order to bring about the condition of things that now exists. I hold that it is by the mal-administration of affairs, the bad policy, or the want of a policy of the Administration of the day to a large extent the commercial depression of the country has been intensified and the sufferings of the people increased.

But the hon. gentleman must be congratulated on the fact that he shines in adversity. When he came into the heritage he now enjoys, the country was flourishing from end to end. We could look in no direction without meeting the gratified faces of men who felt their fortunes were being improved. But when the hon. gentleman stood in the position of Finance Minister, we were pained to listen to his dismal, doleful utterances as to the deplorable condition in which he found the country. I must congratulate him again that he has exhibited one of the greatest traits that man can exhibit in showing that it is not in prosperity, but in adversity that he shines to the greatest advantage, Now, when surrounded by what he is compelled to admit is a country suffering from the severe depression which we all deplore, when we find a revenue unequal to the expenditure of the country, when a deficit of over a million, within the last nine months, is shown in returns submitted yesterday, instead of giving us the same dismal, painful picture of the country, he meets it with a triumphant smile, and intimates that what

In making a charge so grave against the Administration of the day I am bound to give some reasons for the conclusions at which I have arrived. One of the strongest reasons I conceive that can be adduced is the course the hon. gentlemen opposite pursued in order to destroy the measure propounded by the late Government for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Hon. Minister of Finance a year ago stated to the House that he relied largely for the revenue upon which he was calculating, upon the expenditure upon public works. The hon. gentleman pointed to the condition of Ontario,

|

and attributed its prosperity to the enormous amount expended upon public works. I say it was consistent with that policy that measures should be devised by which foreign capital could be brought into the country for investment. Nothing was more calculated to carry on the country in a prosperous condition and inspire hope in the breasts of the people of the Dominion than the construction of the railway that would give us communication with the rich prairies of the Great West and the country on the Pacific slope. But the measures our opponents adopted, and the combinations they formed for the purpose of destroying that scheme, I look upon as one of the main causes which have resulted in the present depressed condition of affairs.

that two millions of dollars had been discounted from the revenue of 1874-5 for the year 1873-4. I had credited him with all that was paid in from the Excise Department, but in addition to that the hon. gentleman claimed a million and a half as paid in by Customs. I met the hon. gentleman by saying that with a large decrease in the imports of 1874-5 it had shown during the first six months of that year a large increase beyond the portion to be derived from the increased taxes, and thus proved that the hon. gentleman's statement made a year ago-and which he ventured to reproduce to-night-was utterly unfounded.

Now, I will show him that unless he can put a million and a half dollars in two places at once, the year 1874 closed with a surplus instead of a deficit. I will show that the hon. gentleman claimed that although there would be a pause in the commerce of the country we had no reason to anticipate a retrogression. I will show that the hon. gentleman relied for his calculation upon the statement that the imports for 1873-4 would only give $22,000,000; he put on $3,000,000 additional taxation, that would give $25,000,000 for the year 1874-5. His estimate was $25,250,000. As this is a matter of some little importance, and the first serious blunder the Finance Minister made in the discharge of the duties of his office, I will draw the attention of the House to the hon. gentleman's own statements to show that there was a surplus instead of a deficit. We were told that the taxation was increased to meet the deficit of 1873-4; but in his speech a year ago the hon. gentleman said "the “taxation was imposed, not so much to "meet a deficit in the year then closed,

The first step that the Hon. Minister of Finance took after attaining office was to shake the confidence of the people of this country in the sound condition of the country by the proclamation to the world of a deficit that did not exist. I am glad to-night we have reached that stage when the question may be settled conclusively and forever set at rest. On the first occasion when the hon. gentleman made the announcement I proved from his own figures that no deficit could occur in connection with the current expenditure of the year. The hon. gentleman in the first instance placed in the Speech from the Throne the statement that a deficit had occurred in the current expenditure of the year that would require an application to Parliament to meet it. Another year rolled round and I was able to show the hon. gentleman by figures and data furnished by himself that instead of that year having closed with a deficit, it had closed with a considerable surpius. I showed that charging the year 1873-4 with all that the Government had received under the new tariff-charging the year with all the Government had collected under the increased taxation, that charging the year with the increased amount paid in from the Ex-structing the Canada Pacific Railway. cise Department there was still a hand- I will read the hon. gentleman's statesome surplus at the end of the year. ment:-" In January, 1874 it had been But how was I met? I was met by the "found necessary to increase the tariff hon. gentleman with the statement "to meet the obligations contracted in

|

(C

as to meet future engagements." In January, 1874, the Hon. Minister of Justice, in his speech at Walkerton, confirmed the statement that, instead of that taxation being imposed (as the House was led to believe) to meet a deficit in the current expenditure, it was imposed for the purpose of con

[ocr errors]

"the time of their predecessors, and "enable us to place the credit of the "country in such a position that the "necessary funds should be provided "for the construction of the Pacific " railway."

Now, Sir, I might rest my case on the fact thus admitted, that the increase of taxation which they brought forward immediately on entering office, was not intended to meet any existing deficiency in the current revenue but for the purpose of providing for remote contingencies in connection with the -Canadian Pacific Railway. If you look, Sir, in the Public Accounts of 1874, on page 12, you will find $1,705,256 entered by the hon. gentleman" himself, as paid during the years 1873-4, out of the current revenue to the capital expenditure of this country; and if you glance at the Public Accounts for the present year you will observe three-quarters of a million more set down as having been paid during the past year to capital expenditure out of current revenues. I will now complete the argument to which I have drawn the attention of the House, to show that from the hon. gentleman's own calculations there was not only no discount from Customs in 1874-5, but that he has all the money under his tariff and estimates he could secure

that year, without one dollar having

been abstracted for 1873-4. In the

[ocr errors]

((

Budget Speech of 1875, page 4, the hon. gentleman said, "One and one"half millions, if not more, were anticipated in consequence of the expectation that new duties would be imposed, "and were in fact borrowed from the revenue of 1875." That is the statement I am now controverting. He also stated-on the same page—“ Of "that increase, no less than two mil"lions is due to the present tariff;" and also-in the same speech-" On the whole, I do not think that we can re“ceive a larger sum from the present source than twenty-two millions." this was on the imports of one hundred and twenty-seven millions for the year 1873-4; and in order to obtain the means of covering the expenditure of twenty-five millions, three millions of additional taxation must be imposed. He said, "As far as it is possible to form "a calculation, I may say, in passing,

(C

"that if a sufficient amount of taxation "is now laid on to meet the present "gross annual expenditure, that in view "of the gradual growth of the country." The hon. gentleman did not then claim that there would be any retrogression in our imports, and he thought that the worst that could be anticipated was a pause" that in "view of the gradual growth of the "country, although I do not believe it "will be to the same extent as we have "hitherto seen, we may be able not only "to meet the requirements of the cur"rent year, with a small margin over, "but to dispense with the necessity of "additional taxation for a considerable period, if not altogether."

Hon. Mr. CARTWRIGHT-Hear, Hear.

[ocr errors]

Hon. Mr. TUPPER---So, Sir, the three millions of additional taxation the hon. gentleman imposed was to be sufficient to secure the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway without any application to this House for anything further, according to the hon. said, as will be seen in the Budget gentleman's own statement. He also Speech of 1875, on the 16th of last February :---- That, to the best of my "judgment, the House must make up "its mind to a temporary pause in the the House were willing to give the imports; but I have no doubt that if "Government the supplies they de"manded, these supplies would be

it

((

[ocr errors]

ample to enable us to meet present "expenditures and make provision for

(6

our future liabilities." I have called attention to the hon. gentleman's own words to prove that he expected no diminution in the imports; and that the three millions of additional taxation in the imports, to give him $25,250,000. were necessary, if there was no check Now, what did he get? The imports for 1873-4 amounted in value to $127,514,549; and for 1874-5, to only $119,618,657, showing a decrease of tleman who told the House one year $7,895,892; and yet, Sir, the hon. genaga that one million and one-half had been discounted from the Customs revenue for 873-4, obtained with this reduction of nearly eight millions, $24,648,715. If with the new taxes he had secured the revenue he estimated, had the imports not increased, he would

}

[ocr errors]

have received during the year 1874-5 no less than $26,225,990, so that unless the hon. gentleman can show the House that he can take out of the revenue of 1873-4, $1,500,000, and yet have that sum for the next year, have established by his own figures, that he has obtained from the Customs the entire amount he estimated he would have; I will give the House another evidence in a manner I take to be entirely incontrovertible, of the fact that he occupies a false position.

The receipts in the revenue for 1875 were $8,443,532 for the first six months, and $6,605,125 for the last half year; if anything was discounted my hon. friend will admit that it must appear in the accounts for the first half of the year.

Hon. Mr. CARTWRIGHT—Oh, no. Hon. Mr. TUPPER-Oh, yes ; and whether he does or not, I have proved that, unless the hon. gentleman can have one and one-half millions in two places at once, the ground I maintained a year ago that he had mis-stated the financial condition of this country when he asserted that there was a

deficit-is conclusively established. I say that this was the second cause of depression, and the hon. gentleman knows that there is no way of checking commercial prosperity and deepening financial depression more quickly or more thoroughly undermining the confidence of the great mass of the people in the soundness of the existing condition of public affairs, than by taking the course he has pursued.

and credit and every great work on which our progress and advancement depends--he obtained a complete and exhaustive reply. I do not hold the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House guiltless for these damaging and disastrous statements, for I believe that Mr. Potter, the President of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, would have never made them as he did if he had not been concerned with the hon. gentlemen opposite in the attempt to prevent the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway; and, going further, I will show that they stand before this House and country as endorsers of every false statement Mr. Potter has made in the London press in order to deprive Canada of her credit and position. The Prime Minister called upon Mr. Brydges to answer, and he only characterized Mr. Potter's statements accurately when he declared that they were "reckless and false averments.' I will read the words of the gentleman: "They were charges which were "absolutely false; the charges were wild "and reckless statements, and violent "attacks upon Canada,” and were "fair, unjust, and false statements, and "sneers and insinuations against allies." This language was appropriately used, and what followed? Mr. Potter published a letter, which I hold in my hand, and which he has circulated throughout the length and breadth of England, and beyond its shores; and in it he shows that if these were "false, reckless, unfounded, and unjust "statements," and "false averments," by means of which it was endeavoured

"T

(C

un

¡

to undermine the credit and character of Canada and prevent our people obtaining a single dollar of British capital to carry our enterprises forward, Mr. Brydges was the author of them all, and I say that while he remains an officer of this Government after the publication of this letter-Mr. Potter having quoted Mr. Brydges's own words, and given day and date for every one of these statements, while he holds the high and responsible and almost irresponsible position he does in this country-the Administration stand as endorsers of Mr. Potter's libel upon Canadian enterprises Does the hon. gentleman suppose that it would not benefit the

Now I come to another point of very great importance-which I believe has produced a more disastrous effect throughout this country than even those to which I have already adverted ---the attack made in London by Mr. Potter on Canadian enterprises. There is no country in the world whose present and future prosperity depends more thoroughly and completely than Canada upon the preservation of confidence abroad among capitalists with reference to her great industries and undertakings; and I feel that the Prime Minister only did his duty when in answer to the onslaught made upon our character

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »