Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 5 Nov 1931

Vol. 14 No. 37

Customs Duties (Provisional Imposition) Bill, 1931 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Perhaps Senators are aware of the reasons generally for the introduction of this Bill. It is an emergency measure and gives pretty considerable powers to the Executive Council. These powers are felt to be necessary as the only means of avoiding the possibility of very serious industrial injury to this country. I do not think that powers of such immediate action exist elsewhere. There are, in many countries, provisions for the prevention of dumping, but they generally take the form of enabling the Executive Government, after receiving the report of a committee or a commission of some sort, to take action. That machinery and that procedure would not be appropriate in our case, and certainly would not be appropriate to meet the emergency which exists or is approaching.

There are many classes of goods which, because of the wording on them or because of the labels or the way in which they are packed, are most suitable for sale in a market in which English is spoken. Consequently, if goods of that class are being exported in large quantities to Great Britain and if they are suddenly closed out of Great Britain, the normal action for manufacturers to take would be to dump the largest quantity of them that is possible here. If that were done you might, in certain cases, actually have industries here obliged to close down because the market was taken from them. In our view that is not a thing that should be allowed to happen. It is a good thing to get cheap goods and to have the home manufacturer pressed to carry on his business as efficiently and as economically as possible, but if he is going to be crushed out a permanent source of national income is destroyed and it might not be at all easy to restore that when the dumping of goods had been exhausted.

We feel it is absolutely necessary, in view of what is likely to occur in England, that powers should be given to the Executive to take immediate action to stop the importation of goods into this country when they believe that that importation will be on such a scale as to be likely to inflict grave injury on the industrial machine here. Senators will realise the gravity of this danger. They will realise that our case is very different from that, say, of New Zealand, Australia or South Africa, where goods in large quantities could not suddenly be thrown in. In our case goods intended for Great Britain could be sent here. Arrangements could be made to have them sent here, even to have a ship diverted here. In any case it would be a very easy matter quickly to transport them across if they had been brought into port on the other side or even landed and in bond on the other side.

I wish, in the first place, to ask the House to consider whether they are not creating a somewhat dangerous precedent by allowing this Bill to appear unchallenged as a Money Bill. I am not entirely familiar with the procedure, but this Bill imposes no duty and modifies no duty. It merely takes general powers to deal in an emergency with the importation of certain goods, and although it may be convenient on the present occasion to treat this Bill as a Money Bill for the purpose of its rapid passage through all its stages, it is, I suggest, a dangerous precedent to allow this to pass unchallenged. As to the details of the measure itself I have very little to say. While the House may not wish to delay the measure I hope it may see fit to have it referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and examined on that ground. If this Bill is allowed to go through as a Money Bill you may have the position later of another Bill affecting general fiscal principles, even though it imposes no duties at all, also being brought forward as a Money Bill.

Personally, I see great dangers in this Bill. In saying that, I think I am voicing the views of many members of the House. I feel there is the danger that a small limited section of producers will reap advantage from it at the expense of a very large section of consumers. Agriculture remains our one great primary industry. It is essential, so far as I can see, that for many years to come we shall have to compete with world prices. Therefore, we should get the full advantage of any reduced cost of living for the consumer. I admit there are wise safeguards in the Bill, but still I think it is a dangerous principle to give these wide powers to the Executive. There is no definition of dumping in the Bill. It would show a sense of ingenuity in this House if it were to try and devise a definition. "Dumping" is a loose term and can be translated and applied to suit the feelings of any section of fiscal thought or any party that may be in power. Having made that protest, I leave the Bill to the House.

I am entirely in favour of the Bill, but I am at a loss to know why it is necessary. If the Tariff Commission have got no plenary powers to deal with such matters as this, it seems to me that the position is a most extraordinary one. The wording of the Bill is confused; perhaps that partly explains the welcome it got from the Opposition in the other House. Sub-section (2) of Section 6 provides that the Bill, when it becomes an Act, shall only continue in force for nine months. Surely we do not think that all dumping will cease suddenly in nine months? I wonder why the Bill is necessary, or why the powers of the Tariff Commission should so suddenly fall short that we, the Oireachtas, had to be consulted. And I am more surprised at the implied proposal that all this will have to begin all over again at the end of nine months if we are confronted with a position as critical as it is now.

We had a good example lately of what results from dumping—Senator Sir John Keane is not satisfied to have it called dumping—in the case of the Irish flour milling industry. The mills in Limerick were taken over by a company from another country. That was preceded by an attack on the Irish flour industry by dumping. The result is that the loaf is cheaper now in London than it is in Ireland. The bacon trade suffered similarly from American bacon, which originally was dumped. Therefore any form of protection for this country, even though it takes an elaborate roundabout way of meeting the situation, is a thing that we cannot but welcome in view of the fact that though dumping may set out by cheapening articles, in the long run it raises the price on the consumer and the poor. Dumping is the method employed to clear out the native producer by making the market no longer profitable for him. Then in the course of a few months, when he has lost contact with his market, his business is usurped, and a monopoly begins and prices are increased.

There can be no question as to the advisability of the Bill. It should receive support from anyone who is anxious to see our own industries protected. But, as I have said, I wonder why it is necessary at all. The position of the Government is that they have to get leave from us now, at the end of nine years, to protect us. I would be in favour of deleting sub-section (2) of Section 6 because otherwise it will mean that we shall have to go over all this legislation again at the end of nine months.

It is very refreshing to hear a very able and skilful Senator discussing a subject on which I can say, without offence, he has a perfectly virgin mind. The observations he has made show me at least that he does not understand the constitutional position of this Bill, the economic position or the financial position.

Would the Senator tell me the meaning of the words "particular description" which occur through the Bill? When you go through the Bill looking for the meaning of them you simply find the same phrase again. When I come across that kind of confusion I am glad that I have a virgin mind.

A specialist is sometimes refreshing when he comes to a question that is not his particular subject. I welcome this measure because it shows that the Executive Council, acting I am sure under the pressure of the warnings which they have received from the Fianna Fáil Benches both in the Dáil and in the Seanad, have been so vigilant in this matter. I agree with my friend Senator Gogarty that dumping, whatever meaning you attach to it, is not desirable. It is certainly not desirable in the interests of manufacturers or of the labouring men of this country and as Senator Gogarty has so well phrased it, it is not desirable in the long run even in the interests of the consumer. Therefore, we are not in favour of dumping. We welcome this measure because it will enable the Executive Council to stop dumping the moment it occurs and before it can cause any serious damage.

What is dumping?

My friend Senator Sir John Keane, whose general knowledge is so encyclopædic asks me to define in the middle of my speech what is dumping. I notice that the Minister has not defined it. That is an imperfection in the Bill, but seeing that the Bill was necessarily prepared in great haste and under pressure, I think we can forgive the Minister for not including in it a definition of dumping.

Or dumps?

I am acquainted with both. In my long experience I was acquainted first with dumping and latterly I have been acquainted with dumps. In both respects I am glad of my experience. Coming to the really important consideration underlying this measure, which has been the main burden of the Minister's speech, I must say that he has not treated the House unfairly. He has told us that legislation of this character is unknown in any European country. Certainly it is unknown in any country the laws of which take their source from the British Isles. I will tell the House in what respect it is peculiar. Up to the present no taxes of any kind could be imposed for one hour without the direct vote of Parliament. A resolution of Parliament, of the British House of Commons in England and of the Dáil here, was necessary before any taxes could be imposed for one hour. The resolution imposing them had to be followed by a statute. That was the law. It was a very useful law, because it secured to the people complete authority over their own taxation. When they had that, as well as authority over the supplies to be voted to Government, they had complete authority over their own freedom. That is the essential fundamental principle which has been varied, but varied only temporarily, by this Bill. It is a matter for the House to consider whether that is wise at the present moment. In my opinion, it is wise, in the circumstances of the commercial world, to authorise this measure. It is wise in the interests of our manufacturers, in the interests of consumers and even of the dumped commodities.

I would have preferred, following what Senator Sir John Keane said, that some definition had been given of the word "dumping." I should say that it is impossible, at short notice, to arrive at a definition which would satisfy all parties. Therefore, we leave that to the Executive Council to determine. What I consider particularly wise in this Bill is the last section in it to which Senator Gogarty objects, namely that it is only a temporary measure to meet a temporary emergency. If it were to be a general measure I would oppose it as a general measure on constitutional grounds rather than on financial grounds. There is one other matter in regard to this Bill to which I would like to call attention, not by way of criticism because I regard it as an emergency measure. What I wish to call attention to is that the taxes imposed or varied by the Executive Council on their own authority will continue to operate unless varied by the Dáil. Sub-section (2) of Section 2 provides:

If, within the next ten days on which Dáil Eireann sits after an order is made by the Executive Council under this Act, Dáil Eireann passes a resolution approving of such order with modifications, such resolution shall operate to modify such order in accordance with such resolution, and as from the passing of such resolution such order shall, until it ceases under this Act to have effect, have effect subject to such modifications.

The meaning of that sub-section so far as I can see it is this: that it accords to Dáil Eireann the inalienable right and power of the Dáil to vary any taxes imposed by the Executive Council. I do not think that I can read into that sub-section what, I think, ought to be in the statute —that the taxes imposed by resolution of the Executive Council should not continue to be in force unless sanctioned by Dáil Eireann within a limited time.

That is provided for in paragraph (a) of Section 2.

The Minister assures me that paragraph (a) of Section 2 does safeguard that matter. Therefore, my opposition to this measure on constitutional grounds, in the circumstances in which we are living, is entirely withdrawn. As a matter of policy I thoroughly endorse the measure. While the Minister for Finance is here and while Senators' minds are dwelling upon this question of imports and of the taxation of imports, I may be permitted to say that I saw a report, perhaps an inaccurate report, of what the Minister said in the Dáil as to the manner in which he proposes to meet a situation that will be created by the imposition of a general tariff in England. It is within the knowledge of Senators that most imports to this country come through Great Britain. They are taxed at the port. They remain subject to tax in England. Arrangements may be made whereby, on their re-export to Ireland, a drawback will be allowed by the British Customs. If that is the arrangement, I warn the Minister that he is leaving himself very much in the hands of the British Treasury. Of course the Inland Revenue Department—a very great Department of State in Britain, as it is here—is only a branch of the Treasury. I would like the Minister to consider this submission to Parliament here: that if duties are imposed in Great Britain, corresponding duties should be immediately imposed on the same articles here. I make that as a submission which I think the Minister ought to lay before Parliament at the earliest possible time, should the occasion arise.

These are the only observations that I have to make in reference to this Bill. Seeing that I am a lawyer, perhaps I ought to have confined myself to pointing out to Parliament that this is a very unusual measure in the one respect to which I have alluded—that it cuts across the political and the constitutional development of this country, the fundamental idea of which is that the power of taxation rests with Parliament, and with Parliament alone. Having said that, I repeat again that in the emergency of this time a temporary measure, of this character is justifiable.

The Senator who has just sat down spoke of the importance of this measure. I think I did not misunderstand him when he gave credit to the Minister for the manner in which he had met the House. If the Senator meant by that, that the cursory nature of the Minister's introductory speech was intended to credit the House with supreme intelligence, then I can understand his giving the Minister credit for the way he approached the House. It seems to me that when dealing with a Bill of this importance we ought to have had a little more explanation of its purpose, the way it will work, the reasons for it and the emergency method of introducing such a measure. It is spoken of as an emergency. What is the emergency? We are presumed to know. I am a fairly constant reader of the newspapers, but at this moment I do not know what the emergency is. I have read stories about enormous stocks of goods being landed in London port, but I think that those stories were very largely influenced by the desire of the promoters of the stories to ensure that there will be a big thumping tariff put on imports in England.

Is the Minister in a position to give us any evidence in support of his case for an emergency measure? That, at least, ought to be given to the House. Then as to the machinery and the method, surely we are entitled to have more explanation, a little more light thrown upon the proposals of the Government when introducing a measure of this kind that it is intended shall be passed through all its stages in one afternoon. Surely there is something due to the Seanad from the Minister when making a proposition of that kind? In the circumstances of our industry and commerce it is probably necessary that the Ministry should have power to act rapidly to prevent what is called dumping. Because of my admission I am not going to oppose the Bill, but I am going to raise some questions that I think ought to be given consideration. The Bill is described colloquially as an anti-dumping Bill and two Senators have asked what is the meaning of the word "dumping." I do not think it has occurred in any legislation of this State; I do not think it has occurred in any British legislation, but it has occurred in the case of South African legislation and perhaps in one or two other countries. Whether in any other country there has been any definition or not, I do not know, but in view of the loose method in which this term is used, surely we should have some definition?

While it is no doubt intended to be an anti-dumping Bill, that is not only what the Bill gives power to the Government to do. In Section 1 it is stated: "Whenever the Executive Council is satisfied, on the report of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that the immediate imposition or variation of a customs duty on any particular description of goods is necessary to prevent an expected dumping of goods of that description or an expected importation of goods of that description..." If we leave out the sentence, "to prevent an expected dumping of goods of that description," we are going to give the Government power to impose a tariff in order to prevent an expected importation of goods of the description named. The Ministry are going to describe the goods which they fear might do damage to the industries of this country. There, again, I would like some light as to what the Ministry have in mind with regard to the description that is necessary. Is it a description of a particular pattern or quality or the condition under which the goods are produced? Is it the country that they come from, irrespective of the conditions under which the goods are produced and irrespective of the price at which they can be sold?

"A particular description of goods" does not indicate that this is intended to be aimed at goods sold much under cost. That is to be left to the Ministry. They may decide to prevent the importation of goods from a high-wage country like the United States or a low-wage country like Poland or China or India. We ought to have some light from the Ministry as to what they have in mind when speaking of a particular description of goods. What policy is to be put into effect during the next nine months? I presume the Government have made up their mind as to the policy they intend to put into effect; I dare say they had it made up before this Bill was introduced. I think the House is entitled to some information.

From what one reads of the debate in another place and from the general discussions that have taken place around the whole question of dumping due to currency difficulties, there are raised in one's mind a great many questions. I wonder whether our Government has anything to say upon the very big question that is affecting the world just now, the question of German reparations? One assumes that behind this Bill is the thought that Germany may have to supply the world, and particularly England, with one or two hundred million pounds' worth of goods for which she can get no return, goods that she must sell if she is to pay her debts. She must dump them. Britain, no doubt, will follow the practice of France and America and refuse to take goods in payment of debts. Therefore, there is a risk that those debts may have to be paid for by landing portion of Germany's exports on the shores of this State. If the Free State, Great Britain, France, the United States, Belgium and South Africa and all the other countries of the world are going to refuse to accept goods from Germany and are still going to ask the German people to pay their commercial debts as well as their reparation debts, then I wonder how the world is going to get along.

I do not know whether we ought not to look upon this problem from a somewhat different standpoint than that of the mere tariffist. Our friends of Fianna Fáil, followed as they legitimately claim by the Government, are laying entire stress upon tariffs as a means of fostering Irish industry. When it comes to a question of very low-priced imports, then they say that you must raise the tariff barrier very high. Let us see how this is going to work. It is supposed to be intended to protect Irish industries against the kind of competition, and therefore disturbance, that very cheap imports would cause. We have a tariff of 20 or 25 per cent. upon certain manufactured goods. It is alleged that dumped goods might come in even if there were a 50 per cent. or a 75 per cent. tariff—that other countries would perforce be obliged to sell goods at almost any price and, therefore, we must raise our tariff wall very high indeed in order to prohibit importation.

Let us take a not unfair instance of a concrete kind—boots. Let us assume that Czecho-Slovakia or Poland or Germany want to unload boots at almost any cost. Let us assume they threaten to land their exports upon these shores. If they were landed, the unemployed worker or the farmer in the Gaeltacht or congested areas might be able to buy boots at one-third the price of Irish or English boots. But because we have to protect the Irish boot manufacturers we must make it impossible for the unemployed worker or the congest farmer to buy cheap boots. We are protecting the Irish industry. That is the professed object of this Bill. The Irish boot industry in 1929 supplied 11½ per cent. of the requirements of the people of this State, 88½ per cent. being supplied by Great Britain. We put a tariff on British boots, and that enables the Irish manufacturers to go a little way towards supplying Irish requirements. Now we are professing to prevent the importation of very cheap boots from other countries than Britain, nominally in support of the Irish manufacturer, but actually in practice in support of the British manufacturer; that is to say, we are going to prevent our poor people from buying very cheap goods from Czecho-Slovakia, Poland or Germany because we want to protect the British manufacturer in his market, in regard to which we are protected to the extent of 20 per cent. or so.

The effect of this tariff in relation to an article such as boots is practically to protect three-fourths or four-fifths of the suppliers of Irish requirements. That applies to boots and it applies also to clothing of various kinds. While we are out ostensibly to protect Irish manufacturers, what we really are doing is to protect British manufacturers in their trade in this country against the competition of cheaper goods from the Continent of Europe. The Minister for Agriculture on another question in the Dáil yesterday is reported to have said that the only thing that will save the farmer from bankruptcy is the extremely low price of grain. One might say that the only thing that will protect the unemployed workman or the agricultural labourer from hunger or cold during the winter will be the very low price of boots or clothing from the Continent of Europe. The contention that this is intended to protect the Irish manufacturer is valid to the extent of 10, 15, or 20 per cent. of the requirements of the people of this State. The great majority of the articles consumed by this country come from Great Britain and, in effect, this is going to protect British manufacturers against the competition of continental manufacturers. Is that the intention?

I take it the Minister is going to support the applause of some Senators by declaring that this Bill is, in fact, intended to operate in order to protect British manufacturers against the competition of continental manufacturers.

Give them a chance of purchasing from us.

That is quite an understandable policy, but will the Minister enunciate it as the intention behind this Bill?

Let us understand this matter and that is why I am asking for explanations. If that is the policy of the Ministry, then we know where we are; we can consider the Bill on its merits and discuss it from that point of view. Do not let us pretend that the object of the Bill is to protect Irish manufacturers from continental manufacturers when it is mainly intended to protect British manufacturers against the competition of the continentals.

The Senator might as well sing a song and perhaps it will be funnier.

With great diffidence we are trusting the Ministers to protect us.

I certainly want to protect the Irish manufacturer and encourage him to develop his industry from 11, 12, or 15 per cent. of Irish requirements to 80 or 100 per cent. I do not want to play into the hands of British manufacturers. I do not want to play into the hands of German manufacturers, or Polish manufacturers either, at the expense of the poor people of this country, when nobody in the country is going to get any benefit. There is surely some other way besides the mere tariff method? It would seem to me to be almost a criminal offence, certainly an outrage on natural law, to declare that because the bounty of nature, or an accident of commercial circumstance, throws into the hands of the Irish people an opportunity of supplying themselves at abnormally cheap rates, we should absolutely repeal it and say: "We will not have anything to do with this bounty of nature or this accident or commercial circumstance." Surely we ought to be able to welcome very cheap goods from abroad if we can at the same time develop Irish manufactures in those articles? We can do that if we do not merely rely upon the eternal law of free competition, the eternal law of individual enterprise and free competition for the cheapest market.

This is an attempt—and I think it is to be applauded to that extent—to bring some kind of regulation into the chaos of the commercial system. It seeks to prevent the disturbance of enterprise, commercial, industrial, manufacturing and distributive enterprise, from a normal course of operation through the sudden incursion of competitive goods. If we are prepared to regulate matters to that extent, can we not go further and say: "Let us receive with open arms the cheap goods that we get from abroad and that other people are desirous of throwing upon us, and let us use the advantage gained in order to assist Irish manufacturers"? Ten or twenty per cent. of a protective duty is helpful and beneficial to the Irish manufacturer, no doubt, but then it is applied to only 10 or 15 per cent. of the requirements of the Irish people, and we have 80 or 90 per cent. of imports from other countries to deal with.

A very small percentage ad valorem duty upon the cheap imports applied directly to assist the Irish manufacturers would have a far better and more direct and valuable influence in fostering and developing Irish manufactures without levying a heavy impost upon the consumers of this country. I suggest it would be a very good thing indeed if, through some organisation, a State organisation if you like in the emergency, or by means of some scheme conducted by a purchasing board or some other body which might be rapidly set up, the advantage of these cheap goods could be brought to the doors of the poorest people.

It seems to me to be a fatal mistake to assume that the best interests of the people here can only be served through fostering Irish industries by means of tariffs. We ought to direct our minds to alternative methods of dealing with this very important problem. I do not know whether the Minister is free to say that time might be given to make recommendations in regard to this Bill so as to amend it and improve it. Having accepted the Second Reading motion, as I hope the House will, and having approved of the principle of the measure, I wonder whether it will not be possible to amend the Bill so as to permit a definition of dumping?

I wonder if we cannot have some kind of an understanding, whether in the Bill or through a statement by the Minister, of what class of goods is aimed at? Is the Bill aimed at goods that are exceptionally cheap because of currency depression? Is it aimed at goods that are exceptionally cheap because one country or another simply must sell in order to enable it to pay its own debts? Is the Bill aimed at goods produced in circumstances of a social kind that we do not approve of, irrespective of the conditions under which those goods are produced? Is it aimed at keeping out all goods produced under sweated conditions and very low wages? Is it aimed at goods which might be very cheap indeed and yet be produced by highly organised establishments paying a high wage basis? Surely we ought to have some knowledge of what is in the mind of the Government in this matter?

I think the first part of Section 1 undoubtedly gives the Government power to prohibit the importation of any goods of any kind that they may describe, and it is not correct to speak of it literally as an anti-dumping Bill because it does give the Ministry power to prohibit the importation of any goods of any kind, up to the time the Dáil meets.

I would like to have supported Senator Sir John Keane in regard to the advisability, if it were possible to avoid it, of dealing with this Bill as a Money Bill. I think Article 35, which defines a Money Bill, undoubtedly brings this Bill within the term of a Money Bill. Article 35 says:

A Money Bill means a Bill which contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following subjects, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxation...

I cannot see that this Bill does anything else but that, and therefore it does come within the definition of a Money Bill.

I wish to support the principle of the Bill, but I cannot say that I am exactly enthusiastic over the Bill as a whole. I must take into consideration the fact that the Government is essentially Free Trade in its policy, and, to all intents and purposes, they may not be inclined to fulfil the terms of this measure. If one looks back, one will realise that tariffs have not been imposed by this Government until there was virtually an outcry by the people in favour of those tariffs. Let us take the case of bacon. Ten months ago I had a motion before this House favouring the imposition of a tariff on bacon. The Government took no action then, and months passed by until a short time ago they allowed it to be understood that they were anxious for a tariff. They were not anxious for it until they realised the people were keen on having such a tariff. We are now possibly going to have a tariff on bacon, but it will not come in time, because almost 50 per cent. of the sows of the country have been done away with since the motion was first introduced. The position of the bacon industry is indeed very serious, because in the meantime I am sure millions of pounds have been lost to the country, and individual farmers have suffered in consequence.

Senator Johnson pointed out that this Bill might possibly be for the benefit of the British importer. That is a point of view with which I agree. In actual practice, as Senator Johnson pointed out, this Bill will work out so that in reality it will be only the continental importer who will be excluded as a result of the tariff. In view of the fact that many investors in this country have little faith in Irish industries and do not believe that we ever will be able to do anything in the direction of building up our industries, the only thing for the Government to do is to step in and do what they did in the case of the Shannon scheme. The money which has been invested in the Shannon scheme is the money of the Irish people and there is no reason why what the Government did in respect of that scheme should not be done in respect of other schemes. The only alternative is to compel—and I do not altogether agree with that policy—all Irish investors to invest money in their own country.

In view of the fact that bacon was quoted in London last evening at 2d. per lb., I would like to know how the Senator could expect Irish people to put money into the bacon industry, or, for that matter, into any industry here if dumping is not prohibited?

I do not know what the price of bacon in London is.

The Senator will see it in to-day's papers.

I am not interested in the London price of bacon, but I am interested in the price here and I know that bacon is being produced in this country at far less than it costs. What effort is the Government making to prevent that? We are losing millions already because proper steps are not being taken in regard to this industry. A Bill of this kind to prevent dumping is necessary, but what is equally necessary is that we should modernise our whole economic policy. A headline in this respect has been given to us by South Africa. According to the newspapers, a scheme for a subsidy on all South African exports of primary products, exclusive of gold, diamonds and sugar, to the extent of ten per cent. of their f.o.b. value, is to be introduced by the Government of South Africa. That announcement was made by the Minister for Finance at Pretoria. The measure is a purely emergency one designed to assist primary producers and the subsidy, it is believed, would involve a total of slightly over £2,000,000. That is keeping up with the tendency that exists all over the world of people getting rid of their surplus articles by dumping them in other countries. There is a high tariff wall in South Africa and yet in face of that the Government feel that some other assistance is necessary in order to be able to maintain their people at home.

I doubt very much if our Government really mean to enforce the powers given them under this Bill. Next summer we will have the Eucharistic Congress and millions of people will come to this country between May and September. Naturally the cities and towns will benefit enormously as a result of the influx of visitors. Is any effort being made to see that the farming community will derive some benefit? A short time ago the Tourist Development Act was passed here. The farming community have to bear their share of the cost of administration of that measure—something to the extent of 3d. in the £—but they are not going to derive very much individual benefit from tourists. The people in the cities and towns will derive benefit but the farmers will get very little because their produce is open to world-wide competition. Even though millions of people will come here next year I do not think the lot of the farmers will be very much improved. I would like to know from the Minister if he really means to take advantage of this Bill and can he tell us what arrangements will be made to restrict dumping. Will he make any arrangements to see that the farming community will derive some benefit from the great influx of visitors that we will have next year?

Judging by one or two of the speeches that we have heard I am afraid we are getting altogether away from what is the real object of this Bill. This is not a Bill dealing in any permanent way with any policy on the sub ject of tariffs. It is a purely temporary measure for the purpose of dealing with a purely temporary danger which those who know best tell us is a real danger. That is the way in which we ought to look at it and it is for that reason that we ought to vote for it.

Senator Brown has made a statement with which I disagree. He said it was a purely temporary arrangement to meet a temporary difficulty.


That is so. The Bill is only for nine months.

But it is the foundation of something that is going to come along after that.

This is only the beginning. Senator Brown has made that statement, and as I disagree totally with him I will say a few words about it. First, I might say about its being a Money Bill that it cannot be stated definitely that it is or is not a Money Bill. There is something to be said on both sides, and the Chairman might go into that question. It is not necessarily a Money Bill because money is mentioned. Money has got to be the main portion of the Bill to make it a Money Bill. Money is not the main portion of this Bill. The Bill is to prevent certain goods from being dumped, and it is a doubtful question that it is a Money Bill. However, I do not think I need bother about it. Dumping seems to me to be a slang word. It was used originally to describe heaps of unsaleable goods, and it is being used now in connection with the bringing in of large quantities of goods at a cheap rate so as to break down something else. I doubt if the word is in the dictionary at all. It is rather amusing to see Ministers introducing Bills of this sort. When I read the Minister for Agriculture's defence of this it seemed to me he was arguing dead against it. He has always been a stern free trader. He believed that the Butter Bill and everything else was wrong and would do harm. I think the Bill is right, and I certainly will not oppose it. I believe that a great change is coming in commerce. Many years ago England, by taking advantage of free trade, managed to supply half the world with her goods. That went on very well, and England became very rich under that system, but other countries began to do the same thing, and after a time there was a clash. Many countries were producing far more than they required, and they resorted to export. There were too many countries producing large quantities of goods, and then came a slump, because they were all competing against each other. The result is that a great change will have to take place in the whole commercial management of the world. I believe arrangements will have to be made like those suggested in this Bill, and that after a time the Bill will have to be made permanent, by which goods will only be allowed into a country under licence. It is already so in some countries. For instance, flour is licensed to come into France. There are many precedents for it. I believe in the long run countries will protect themselves, and that their industries will be independent of other countries. They will be using exports merely to balance their imports. I value the Bill, although it is introduced by people who did not believe a word of it six months ago. I welcome it because it will help this country.

I wish to join in this debate for a great many reasons, some of which might be called personal. I have been a life-long protectionist, and I am glad to see this change taking place. The danger of dumping in face of currency difficulties is very real. Many countries are left with large quantities of goods on their hands, and they want to get them sold even at reduced prices. That danger is manifest to everybody. If I could do so I would put a tariff on all stuff coming into Ireland that we could manufacture ourselves. That is a principle that I always felt should be adopted. There is always the assertion that it would affect the poor man's dinner. My view always was that a cheap loaf was very little use to a man who had not the price of it. It would be very much better to have our industries going and our men employed. It was said in my early days that iron and cattle prices went hand in hand. When iron was dear the manufacturers of England were working full time. England was producing for South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and other countries. The last thirty years has brought a change. These countries are now producers, and at present there is over-production. I do not agree that this Bill should be for nine months. I would like to see it a permanent measure. I would make it nine years at least.

I entirely sympathise with Mr. MacEllin's remarks about the bacon industry. When it was proposed that there should be a tariff put on bacon it more or less got the cold shoulder because of this universal idea against taxing the food of the people. We have put a lot of money into this industry, and it is becoming a dead loss. I remember hearing a conversation between two country women in the market at Roscrea on one occasion. One of them said to the other: "I declare to you that bacon is so dear now it would be cheaper to buy fresh meat." At that time there had been a great rise in the price of bacon, and it was a great help to the farmer. In regard to meat, we are absolutely at the mercy of the markets of the world. Price is our chief anxiety. For the last ten years on an average 82 per cent of the meat consumed in London, where there are 10 millions of people, was foreign. Ireland, England and Scotland are only supplying 18 per cent. It is alarming to see that, and all because of the idea that the food of the people must not be taxed. England was facing bankruptcy owing to world-wide competition and because of the number of people on the dole, which put a premium on idleness. No country could stand it. I am not one of those who would cry down England, because I think as customers of ours they are entitled to our good wishes. I could never understand why the people of Denmark, who do not purchase anything from us, are allowed to send in stuff under the most favourable circumstances. I would put a tariff on their produce. I hope the Minister for Finance will pay strict attention to that.

A good many of the speakers do not seem to have read the Bill very carefully. As I understand it, this Bill simply gives the Executive power to act, getting sanction afterwards, within a period of nine months and, provided sanction is obtained, within ten days from the first day on which the Dáil shall meet after the day on which such order is made. Whatever may be the ultimate policy, anything in this Bill will be of a temporary nature. If you read the Bill you will find such tariffs as may be imposed as a result of this Bill must be as a result of circumstances "arising out of financial or other events in other countries and occurring in circumstances which would occasion industrial injury." You are dealing with what I think almost everybody in this House knows perfectly well is an extraordinary financial situation in the world. I am convinced that it is a wise thing temporarily to give the Executive power to deal promptly with the situation. By temporarily I do not mean nine months. I mean until publicity can be given to it, until the matter can be discussed and until those who may be affected will have an opportunity of making representations. I take it the effect of this Bill will be that the Executive Council will consider a situation has arisen in which it is necessary for them to put on a certain tariff on an article or on a certain number of articles. That will be put on as a temporary measure. It will be open during that nine months to the persons interested to apply to the Tariff Commission for a hearing of the whole case on its merits as to whether or not the tariff should be permanent. We are not altering our policy in that respect. We are simply enabling prompt action to be taken for which we have at the present time no machinery.

It was very interesting to listen to Senator Johnson as a new disciple of Senator Sir John Keane. I noticed that he got applause from that quarter, but it seems to me his speech was utterly irrelevant and, if published, I think will be entirely misleading. If you read the Bill you will find that the Executive Council has power to impose a tariff with or without qualifications, restrictions or exemptions. They can make it apply to one country or to all countries. To say that it is going to create a situation such as has been suggested simply means that the Executive Council are not really fit to deal with it at all. If you give powers of this kind you must assume that they are going to deal with the situation and that exemptions, alterations and modifications will be made having regard to the circumstances.

There is one question that I should like to ask the Minister in particular. I put down an amendment really for the purpose of drawing atention to a matter in the Title and in Section 1 of the Bill. I do not think it would be any harm to ask a question on it now. In the Title of the Bill you find that the Bill is "to authorise during a limited period the provisional imposition or variation of customs duties by the Executive Council where such imposition or variation appears to be immediately necessary to prevent an expected dumping of goods or other threatened industrial injury." It apparently visualises the possibility of another threatened industrial injury for which temporary action ought to be taken than simply dumping, but in Section 1 the power is apparently limited solely to dumping. There may be other threatened industrial injuries, and the Executive Council ought to have power to act temporarily. By "temporarily" I mean until a resolution can be brought before the Dáil. What I am thinking of may not have been in the minds of the Executive. It is quite conceivable that this new Government in Great Britain may pass drastic temporary legislation, and that we may find a high tariff on all goods imported into that country. We have a few—not very many—industries which are dependent on their exports. I know of one which does the bulk of its trade in Great Britain, and which, if a large tariff were imposed, would immediately close down unless it could be assured of the home trade almost to itself. If that should occur it would be a case for hasty action to prevent the closing down of that industry. For that reason I think that the power which is given to the Executive in the Title of the Bill to deal with other threatened industrial injury than what might be described as dumping ought also to be included in the Bill.


With reference to the statement of Senator Douglas, I do not think that Senator Johnson's speech was irrelevant. If it were I should have ruled it out of order. I think Senator Johnson's speech was perfectly relevant to the Bill. In any event, it is the duty of the Chair to decide whether a speech is relevant or not.

There has been a good deal of discussion as to whether this Bill is or is not a Money Bill. The course of action open to any Senators who believe it not to be a Money Bill is clearly laid down in the Constitution and in the Standing Orders, and I hope there will be no further reference to the matter during the debate on the Bill. Senator Colonel Moore suggested that I should give a decision on the question. Any such action on my part would be quite unconstitutional.

That was not the view of your predecessor.


It was the view of my predecessor, and is mine. That is final.

Custom goes a long way. It is not the first time that this question has arisen. The late Speaker took the matter up and overruled it.

I am not saying that I am going to raise this question now.


You have an opportunity under the Constitution and under the Standing Orders. So has every other Senator.

This is a very important Bill, one of the most important that has come before the Oireachtas for some time. I suppose because of that it is going to pass at express speed. It is very strange that really unimportant Bills take an abnormally long time to get through. This is described as a temporary measure, but temporary measures have a peculiar habit of being made permanent. Tariffs or prohibitions once imposed are exceedingly difficult to remove, and I think we may make up our minds that action taken under the powers conferred by this Bill is going to be in the main of a permanent character. This Bill of course gives powers that I believe in certain circumstances are absolutely necessary, but it also gives powers to take steps that may not be so necessary. It enables an imposition of some kind to be put on at once without any consideration by the Oireachtas. Once imposed, notwithstanding the fact that the Oireachtas has the power to revoke it, it is most unlikely that it will be revoked because of the consequences to trade. For that reason I think it is an extraordinary oversight or neglect that the word "dumping" did not get some sort of definition in the Bill. Dumping, as ordinarily understood in the world of commerce, means selling goods at less than the cost of production in a foreign market, or at less than they are sold in the home market. From that point of view, it might be said that the British farmer might very well complain that the Irish farmers are dumping their produce in Great Britain. They often sell their produce there at a lower price than they are able to get at home. You will answer that by saying that the English farmer does not produce enough for the needs of the English people. I would retort neither does the Irish boot manufacturer supply enough boots to meet the requirements of the Irish people. Still there can be dumping of boots in this country.

The same would apply as regards the manufacturers of ready-made clothing and many other commodities. There is danger that the term dumping will be applied to any foreign commodity that is sold here at a lower price than the same commodity made in Ireland is sold. If that definition were by any chance applied to it there are very few articles that could not be prohibited or at least subjected to a tariff and you would very quickly have a wholesale shortage. I notice that the Government is to be advised in this respect by the Department of Industry and Commerce. I wonder to whom they will go for their advice? Are they merely to judge by the quantities that are coming in? What considerations will apply in the advice which they will tender to the Government? Is there any danger that they will be stampeded by the alarmist reports from Irish traders or manufacturers in regard to matters of that kind because there is a general tendency to apply the term dumping to selling anything here that is manufactured elsewhere at less than the cost at which the local manufacturer is prepared to sell it?

References have often been made to the extraordinarily low price of bacon. Somebody said it was selling at 2d. a pound in London. I know I am paying up to 1/6 a pound for bacon. We are not affected by the particularly low price of bacon in London or elsewhere. This Bill, I think, to a great extent grabs the policy of any full-blooded protectionist party in this country because it gives the Government power to impose tariffs without consulting anybody at all and afterwards to seek for the confirmation of the Dáil. If I belonged to a full-blooded protectionist party who believed that tariffs were the be-all and end-all of prosperity I should certainly have a very definite grievance against the Government because they would have taken away the most important plank in my platform. I would feel that they would have removed one of the great issues on which I could fight them in a general election. I think it would be good for this country if we had one year's full-blooded protection. You would know in any case as to whether it was going to make for prosperity or for the reverse.

There is undoubtedly a very widespread belief that is cultivated by politicians for various reasons, that the great thing this country wants is a tariff wall, sky high, around this country. If we had that everything else would be added to it; the streets would be paved with penny loaves and the houses thatched with bank notes. It would make for prosperity notwithstanding a lack of enterprise on the part of our own manufacturers, a lack of proper marketing organisation or of the various things that make for success in manufacture and commerce. Tariff-ridden Germany is to-day one of the most perilously situated countries in the world. The same thing applies to some extent to America with its great home market and its sky-high tariff walls. I think the majority of the people of this country believe that tariffs are the cure for that. There are others who do believe that tariffs are by no means a cure. Personally I would like that the imposition of tariffs would be hastened, that the walls would be raised and that we should as quickly as possible get to the position in which we would be purely a tariff country so that we may be able to test the experiment and not waste time discussing it over a generation. After a bit there will be very few commodities on which it will be possible to impose a tariff because they will be all taxed. As it is, if you except foodstuffs, how many commodities do you buy on which you do not pay tariffs? They are few, and they will become fewer. All that any protectionist party can do is to raise the wall still higher. Tariffs do not seem to have encouraged employment to the extent that people have paid higher for the commodities imported. When you pay higher for any particular commodity it means that you are taking away purchasing power from the purchase of some other commodity, so that what is a seeming gain in one direction may be a loss in another.

The condition of the international exchanges and currencies and the tremendous dislocation of trade internationally makes, I think, a measure of this kind necessary. The principal consideration is the manner in which it is administered and what definition will be given by the Government to the term "dumping." I personally shall be exceedingly interested to see how it will work. It will, I hope, give us an indication as to how we may succeed or otherwise under high prohibitive tariffs.

I am in favour of the Bill. I am sorry the attention of the House has been directed entirely to its application to manufactured products. No attempt has been made to visualise this Bill dealing with, say, a commodity like wheat. What about the huge quantities of wheat, especially Russian, that have been dumped in this country? You can buy 20 stone of this foreign wheat at the North Wall for 13/-. All that a man can get here for the wheat he grows is 9d. per stone. If this Bill had been in operation earlier it might have done something to remedy that situation and helped people like myself who grow wheat.

I am afraid the Senator would not get anything.

It is a terrible position to have wheat dumped at 13/- a barrel. It cannot be grown here for that price. Those who are growing wheat are suffering. I believe that 30/- a barrel could be paid for wheat, and that the poor man could still get his loaf for 4d. There is this to be said for cheap wheat, that people can get cheap meal in their homes. You can get meal at a shilling a stone in this country—a thing that has not happened since before the Crimean War.

Does the Senator want to prevent that?

I do. I say that if people are engaged in a particular line of business it will be a bad thing for the country if they are put in the position that they will have to get out of it. The land has to be tilled, and labour has to be employed. How is a man going to live if all the countries of the world can dump their commodities here? I have always said that this country must be developed industrially. Selective tariffs have been imposed to benefit certain industries. I agree that we should do that, but then you should not forget the class that has to carry all the burdens that these tariffs involve on its back. The class I am speaking for now has to bear all these burdens. We want some return for that, a quid pro quo, whether in the shape of de-rating, no income tax, or the bonus that was referred to by one of the Fianna Fáil members. We certainly cannot go on as we are. Imported commodities that we must use are taxed, but we have to sell our own stuff in an open market, and we get nothing for it.

Is a tax on wheat part of the Cumann na nGaedheal policy?

There is nothing in this Bill about the Cumann na nGaedheal policy.


I think Senators had better confine themselves to what is in the Bill, and not mind other people's policies.

The point is that articles are coming in here at such a price that would not give us a living. We could not do it. I am glad the Minister has brought a Bill before the House that has not been opposed by any Party. Fianna Fáil has agreed to support the Minister. This is the first time they have done so since I became a member of the House. I congratulate the Minister on that.

I think if the Minister had made a speech similar to that of Senator Wilson he would find many members of the House opposing him. If the Minister said it was the determination of the Cabinet to increase the price of food to the people, he would meet with very strong opposition. If the Minister set out to improve Senator Wilson's position by increasing the cost of the loaf to the poor, he would find a good deal of opposition. If he followed the line of argument of some of his supporters who sit behind me, he would also meet with opposition. If the Minister were to give the country over holus bolus to English suppliers, and were to cut out continental competition which is necessary to safeguard the Irish consumer, he would also meet with opposition. We believe that this measure will be used with discretion and not to the detriment of the poorer, the working-class people. Because of that, some of us are prepared to support it, but certainly not on the lines indicated by Senator Wilson.

I hope the effect of the Bill will be to bring about the condition of affairs visualised by Senator Wilson. If the policy he outlined were pursued, I believe that in the future it would mean that the working man would be safeguarded. He would be put in a position to earn a decent week's wages and to live decently. He would not be knocked about and flustered, as he is at present, as to whether his loaf is to be a farthing up this week or a farthing down next week. If he is safeguarded, if he is taken off the dole and saved from being a cadger, as most of them are to-day—then a great thing will have been done for the country.

There is no dole in Ireland, and the working classes are not cadgers.

The difficulty with regard to a Bill of this kind is that we cannot amend it, because it has been introduced as a Money Bill. All that we can do is to express our opinions on it. We are given just an hour or two this afternoon to do that. To my mind, this is the most important Bill that has ever come before the Seanad. In the circumstances in which it has come before us it is practically impossible for us to do more than express our individual opinions upon it. I think we must take it for granted that the Minister intends to carry out the Bill in the manner he stated. A good many of the speakers implied that the Minister for Industry and Commerce would take certain action under this Bill. I am sure that if the Minister were here he would deny that at once. He has no intention, I am certain, of going outside its scope, and will not interfere unless there is dumping of such a character as to cause industrial injury here.

We have a number of small industries in the country. They do not employ many of our citizens. The Minister will have to be extremely cautious, when looking after the interests of those concerned in our small industries, that he does nothing which would adversely affect our consumers.

I listened carefully to the speeches of Senator Johnson and Senator O'Farrell. I could see their points of view quite clearly. There is a class of people in this country to whom dumping is a godsend. Take the case of people who can buy a cheap suit of clothes, a cheap pair of boots or things of that kind. Of course, they get a benefit in that way. I wonder when we talk about protection what amount of thought we give to that class of individual? Dumping may be a very great blessing to him. One or two Senators expressed the view that this Bill was going to give the Minister for Industry and Commerce the power to put up a tariff wall all round. I would be very sorry to see such a power given to a Minister. It would be a very serious thing if we had a Minister who set out on such a course. This Bill has been introduced to deal with a temporary emergency, the danger of mass-produced goods being suddenly landed on the market here.

Some Senators have expressed the view that the Bill should be continued for a period of nine years. If the Government were to act on these suggestions and to keep in operation for years a Bill that is only intended to deal with a temporary situation, then very great harm indeed might be done to the country. The Bill states that it is to be in operation for nine months. But I cannot find anything in it to indicate that the duties imposed under it may not be continued for years. Perhaps the Minister will deal with that point when replying. The Dáil, I take it, can remove those duties at any time, but if a motion to that effect is not brought before the Dáil then, as far as I can find from the Bill, these duties may not be taken off at all at the end of nine months, the period for which the Bill is intended. I think it would have been much wiser to have introduced a simple Bill giving the Minister power during the next few months to deal with this temporary situation and not to have brought in a measure of this character.

If some simple measure of that kind had been introduced we would have seen before next spring how the situation had developed and, with the knowledge gained, would be in a position to say what action the Minister should take. This Bill is really a blank cheque signed to the Minister giving him power to impose practically any duties he likes. If the Minister shared the views of some of the Senators who have spoken he would put on duties for protective purposes.

Whether this Bill will do harm or good will depend entirely on the Minister. Already the Minister has the power to hand over matters of this kind to the Tariff Commission. I have read recently the report of the Tariff Commission on the application made to it for a tariff on oats. I am not going to speak on that now. All that I wish to say is that it seems to me that in the decision arrived at by the Commission there are dangers to the oats industry itself. I do not think that it would be of the slightest help to the Minister to have questions dealing with dumping sent forward for consideration to the Tariff Commission. The Commission was never appointed to deal with such questions. It was appointed for quite a different purpose.

In the case of this Bill we will have to depend entirely on the Minister for Industry and Commerce. What he will have to keep before him is how an Irish industry is going to be interfered with by the bringing in of large quantities of extremely cheap goods of the kind it produces here. If the Minister feels justified in protecting that industry, by imposing a heavy duty, it will at once prevent these goods coming in and the citizens of this country getting the benefit of these cheap goods. We know quite well that our Minister for Industry and Commerce has a full knowledge of all our industries and for a short time, at all events, I would be prepared to leave this entirely in his hands. I think it right, however, to point out that this Bill could be enormously misused. I do not think that it should be in operation for such a period as nine months. The imposition of the duties under it should certainly come to an end in nine months, or at all events the Oireachtas should have an opportunity of reconsidering the question at an earlier date than that. I certainly do not like to see a Bill of this character, giving as it does so much power to the Ministry and dealing with such big questions, passed in a day by both Houses. I would like to see it receive more consideration. It will be in operation for nine months and that period will probably carry us over a general election. It will be on the statute book when the general election is over. We may then have a Minister for Industry and Commerce who will hold the view that there ought to be a tariff wall around this country with just little holes in it to let little things in. Knowing as I do that such a thing is possible, I feel that this Bill is not a safe Bill. That it should go through this House after one or two hours' discussion is, to my mind, a very serious thing indeed. I think the Government are quite wrong in the attitude they have taken on a Bill like this.

Perhaps at the outset I might reassure Senator Jameson that the present Minister for Industry and Commerce will be in office during the operation of this Bill. This Bill is not intended to deal with ordinary cases of dumping at all. I do not know how much we have in the way of dumping at present, or how much we have had of it during the past few years. We hear a great many allegations of dumping. Everybody who wants a tariff in order to make things easier for his business and to increase his profits alleges that there is tremendous dumping going on. He is nearly always wrong. There have been cases in which dumping has occurred. It is probable that at the present time in a certain number of cases dumping is taking place, but we do not propose by this Bill to set aside the Tariff Commission. If anybody thinks that he is being injured in his business because of dumping he can make his case to the Tariff Commission. He can get other men in the same business to join with him and have the whole matter investigated. If they can show that there is a reasonable probability that dumping is taking place it is certain the Tariff Commission will recommend a tariff that will protect them. So far as dumping of an ordinary character is concerned, there is ample machinery in existence at the moment and, as I have said, we do not propose to set that machinery aside.

This Bill is to deal with quite another sort of danger, the danger not of dumping moderate quantities of something that occurs gradually or that arises out of the ordinary course of trade, but the sudden flooding of this market with enormous quantities of goods. I do not like dealing with individual articles, but as I mentioned one article in the Dáil I will refer to it here. That is matches. There are great imports of matches into Great Britain. They are contained in packets and everything relating to them is stated in English, what class of matches they are, the number and so on. These matches will sell satisfactorily only in a market in which English is spoken. There would really be no use in trying to sell them in a French-speaking or Spanish-speaking country. Broadly speaking they must be sold in an English-speaking country. If there were matches of that sort in bond in Liverpool or London or even ready for dispatch to Liverpool or London, we would have immediately, if there was no protection such as this Bill provides, great quantities of these matches sent here.

To take that particular article for the sake of example I feel satisfied, if the British Government were to decide to put a protection on matches, that if we had not the powers given in this Bill such large quantities would be put in here that it is most likely the factory which carries on business here and gives considerable employment would be obliged to close down, perhaps for a considerable period.

That is the sort of thing that this Bill is intended to meet. The main object of it is to deal with the results which are likely to accrue from any changes which may take place in England in regard to tariff policy. We could also use it, of course, if some countries suffered a great currency collapse which led to the sudden sending in of goods at quite a ridiculous price, provided we thought that the importation was going to inflict industrial injury here, and to close up factories. Its main purpose, as I have said, is to deal with the repercussions that we are likely to feel of tariff events in England. We are making it a temporary Bill because it is really to deal with a temporary emergency. At first we are inclined to make it apply for six months. We increased that to nine months to give a margin. We think that the period of this emergency will be fairly short.

It would have been easy enough to put in a definition of dumping, but I do not think that would have carried us very far, because the difficulty lies not in connection with the definition, but in connection with the ascertainment of facts. It would be easy to say that dumping means selling under the cost of production, or selling under the cost in the home market. But whichever definition we adopted it would be extremely difficult and perhaps would require a prolonged inquiry to ascertain, in individual cases, whether there was or was not dumping within that particular definition. The discretion given to the Executive Council within the first sub-section is naturally very large. We intend to apply it in the manner in which I have stated: that is to prevent the sudden importation of great quantities of goods here because of some event in another country, not because of anything in the ordinary course of trade, but because of some event such as a tariff change in England which would lead to industrial injury here.

Senator Johnson asked a great number of questions. He could have asked twice or three times as many. He knows the answers to the questions he has asked, and if he asked three or four times as many I am sure he would have known the answers to them all. He asked for proof of the emergency. If the Senator does not see the need for the powers given in this Bill I do not think I will be able to convince him. I would not like to accept the amendment suggested by Senator Douglas. We do not want to extend the powers that are in the Bill. His proposal, if accepted, would mean an extension of them. We do not want to be able to put on tariffs for reasons other than the reasons connected with the importation of goods into this country.

Senator Wilson talked about wheat. Certainly under this Bill the Senator is not going to get any benefit. If he feels that there should be a tariff on wheat I am afraid he will have to apply to the Tariff Commission and run the gauntlet there. I do not know what success he will have, but I think it would be hardly worth venturing the money. The Bill is an important one, and the powers sought are powers that the Executive have not had hitherto. Looking over the matter we thought it was the only way by which grave damage to the manufacturing power of this country could be avoided. We have introduced it only for the period during which we think it will be necessary to use those powers. So far as ordinary matters connected with tariffs are concerned, we believe that a case should be made before the Tariff Commission by those interested, or in special cases that the matter should be referred by the Government to the Tariff Commission, and that an investigation should take place before a tariff is put on. It is perfectly true to say that it is difficult to take a tariff off once it has been put on. For that reason we are not anxious to put tariffs on without the fullest investigation. We are satisfied that there is a definite emergency, and that delay in acting would injure the productive power of the country in the future. There has to be a measure of trust in the discretion of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and in the Executive to use fairly drastic powers in good faith and in a reasonable way.

Mr. Barrington rose.


I am not going to put the question as the Minister has concluded the debate. No further speeches are in order.

Question put and agreed to.