THE AUSTRALIAN GOODWILL PARTY
ADDRESSES BY H. E. LAFFER, REPRESENTING AUSTRALIAN AGRICULTURE AND VITICULTURE INDUSTRIES, AND A. E. HYLAND, DIRECTOR OF AUSTRALIAN TRADE PUBLICITY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
(Before a Joint Meeting of the Toronto Board of Trade and the Empire Club of Canada.)
29th October, 1931
H. G. STAPELLS, President of the Empire Club of Canada, introduced the speakers, saying : A strong and loyal government has been returned to power in England-(Applause)also this week Canada has had the privilege of welcoming the Australian Good-Will party. (Applause). These two events hold some significance in common, for just as the change to the National Government in England means the return of common sense, cooperation in the administration of affairs, and a new prosperity, so this visit should mean the establishment of a common sense relationship in business between these two great dominions, and prosperity for both. (Applause.) There was a time when good-will in business was cherished as something of real value; and we hope that the good-will heralded by this visit is of that character, and not of the watered-stock variety, substituted in recent years. (Laughter and applause.) We stand for Canada in a prosperous, harmonious, and good-willing Empire. (Applause)
HON. LEOPOLD MACAULAY, Minister of Highways for Ontario, welcomed the delegation with these words: "We must all recognize that in inter-Imperial trade it is necessary for all parts of the Empire to adopt a giveand-take attitude. While we are proud of the position that Canada has attained in world commerce, we recognize that Canada exists not only as a nation, but also as a unit within a greater entity-Canada within the British Empire. (Applause). On such an occasion as the present, members of the same family, separated across the surface of the globe-whom I like to, think of as fullblooded brothers within the Empire-can afford to join in these common gatherings, which are held all too seldom, and obtain such benefits as are necessary to all the constituents of the Empire (hear, hear). We trust that the cargo of this Good-Will Ship will prove the forerunner of many more,, and that in the near future they will not need to break bulk at Montreal, but proceed by an all-water route in the same vessel from Australia to Toronto. (Applause.)
Mx. A. E. HYLAND was received with applause and said :-I wish to thank you very sincerely, on behalf of my associates and myself, and speaking also for people all over Australia, for the warmth of your reception, and for making possible this splendid day. This reception represents the culmination of long months of hard work, of continued and energetic endeavour, and of aspirations always directed toward the development of the common property for the common good.
The story that we are trying to tell today is not new to the people of Canada, because many years ago Canada pioneered this very great work of Empire preference and the development of Empire trade. It was our privilege to follow closely and put into operation just as energetically, and with as strong a purpose the principles that Canada had initiated; from the start we have looked forward to the day when each of us would be part-owner and administrator of a great business which could be developed primarily for our benefit. It is a splendid thing to feel that that day has at last come about under the best auspices. Everybody has smiled helpfully and benevolently on it, and we have had cooperation of the most amazing and gratifying kind. I would like to say how much we appreciate the wonderful assistance and interest shown by the businessmen throughout Canada. In Toronto we are fortunate in enjoying the personal help and interest of great stores like Eaton's, Simpson's, Loblaw's., Dominion Stores and others; we want to thank everybody, particularly the gentlemen who manage these great undertakings. Their attitude, the pleasant personal atmosphere in which they have received us, and also the high appreciation of the business associated with our visit, the business of the Empire, have made our visit notable. Everyone is conscious that the first essential has been to develop something which in the long run will be like a good investment that will one day yield a far greater return than the amount of money put into it.
This whole business of buying from Australia under present conditions is a good national investment assisted by the Canadian-Australian Trade Treaty which has made possible this day, and which we hope has opened the door to a new era in business. It is easy to spend a few dollars on articles, whether clothing or groceries, fruit" etc., simply because they are cheap or possess some particularly good attribute, without any thought as to their place of origin, and without caring where that money eventually goes; it has to go to maintain employment, to help pay taxation, to assist some government to carry on public services, to help bear the burden of finance and commerce in some country. If we have no thought as to where that money goes, it is possible that our investment will go to a country which has no interest in us, caring only to make a profit and expending that money without considering our welfare. Here we have an opportunity to turn our buying into an investment. Canadians may buy Australian goods, knowing that the way has been prepared for their money to return for the purchase of Canadian products.. (Applause.) When you spend a dollar upon an Australian product you are not saying good-bye to it, without knowing where it goes; you are investing that dollar in a form of business which will yield a return, because the Australians, just as enthusiastically and conscientiously as you, are committed in their turn to the purchase of Canadian products. (Applause.) We are glad to do this. Australia is not a mercenary country, pressing this matter in the spirit of selfish enterprise. Australians with all their faults-and they possess just as many, but no more than you-(laughter)-are actuated by real affection for their kinsmen within the Empire. There is no part of the Empire whose people possess in a higher degree the spirit of fraternity. While we have a more intimate touch with those who are descended from the same racial stock, we feel that there is a more important point-the link of our institutions, and our readiness to stand by each other in time of trouble-which ties us together with indissoluble bonds. Another of those links finds expression in this Treaty, and Australians who are working for its consummation have viewed their progress not only with the selfish appreciation of those who have succeeded in doing good business, but with the satisfaction which proceeds from the knowledge that this business has been conducted with people for whom we have the highest regard.
In Australia, there is a wide knowledge of Canada, because through this great highway of your Dominion many Australians reach Great Britain-home, as they call it-to which they go at least once in a lifetime. We would like to travel more. It was my privilege to travel across Canada from Vancouver, and I was more impressed than I can describe by everything I slaw and every experience I enjoyed-meeting hundreds of wholehearted and hospitable people; observing the impressive surroundings of every town and city visited; surveying the stupendous scenery of the Rockies, the great woods of British Columbia, and enjoying the delights of your northern lakes and forests. I felt considerable regret that there is not some endeavour made to let my countrymen know that it is a splendid place for holiday-making and travel. (Applause.) On the other hand, we would suggest that some Canadians visit Australia at least once in a lifetime; a regular system of visits might be good for both of us, teaching us more of each other and the countries in which we live. In Montreal it was suggested that a party of one or two hundred Canadians go to Australia, and I can assure you that such a party would receive a welcome as warm as that which you are giving us. You would find the same sort of men and women as yourselves, and a similar home life except for differences caused by climatic conditions; our principles of business are the same as yours. If you are thinking of enlarging your patronage to Australian products and are advised to be cautious, let me give you a little information. We have not forgotten the principles in which our race was cradled; we have as strong notions of honour as any of you possess. We would have had no difficulties but for the depression, which in its first year cut Australia's income between 30 and 40 per cent, approximately $230,000,000. Had Australia not made her large contribution to the war, the record of administration since her real development started eighty years ago shows clearly that she would not have needed to have any apprehensions concerning this present depression. The Australians are a prudent, thrifty people; 79 per cent have savings bank accounts, and the amount in each account averages $230,, which is a big figure, considering that many accounts are opened in the names of children; over 40 per cent of the population carry life insurance of $1,500; over 60 per cent own their homes.
Although the development of the country really started in 1851, since that time, with a handful of people which only now amounts to 6,500,000, the value of property has increased to $20,000,000,000. That is not a bad record. The Australian determination to get out of present troubles was reached more promptly, perhaps, than in any other country. In the first year of the slump we had a deficit on our overseas trade of approximately
$200,000,000. At the end of twelve months we had reduced that to about $30,000,000; and at the conclusion of the twelve months just ended we had converted that deficit on our overseas trade into a credit balance of $230,000,000. (Hear, hear, and applause.) We could not avoid the depression, because we have only one business, and that is our land. Our wool business is what wheat is to you. In 1929 our wool was valued at $355,000,000, but the slump led to a reduction in the price, and the income from wool was decreased about a third. Our production of wheat, which is a large industry, though not as large as yours, was 200,000,000 bushels, but there was a reduction of about 50 per cent on our income from that. From all sources we suffered a loss of $230,000,000. We are living under better circumstances now, and hope we are going to get out of difficulty quickly. As an instance of what the people are prepared to do if necessary, the government decided to convert the whole of the internal loans, amounting to no less than $2,800,000"000 to a basis which would save a certain amount of interest, between 23 and 24 per cent, roughly; that conversion was carried through in a space of three or four weeks. The conversion was voluntary; that is, people willingly submitted to this loss of income through the reduction of interest, and the voluntary conversion accounted for nearly 98 per cent of the total amount. (Applause.)
These are the people with whom we invite you to do more business; and when you hear criticism, remember that I have told you accurate facts. We are consenting to the principle of buying from you; we look to you as kinsmen, our brothers, our friends; we regard the Pacific ocean as something which unites us, and does not divide us. We believe that together we can give a wonderful lead to the rest of the Empire, perhaps to the whole world, in the way of real cooperation. Under the recently changed circumstances,, inspired by the utterances of your Prime Minister, let us hope that the day is not far distant when the business of the British Empire--the biggest business the world has ever seen-in which our money is invested, and on which our ambitions for our children are centered, will be launched on the sea of cooperation yielding us the greatest possible benefit, and realizing the ambitions which are founded on our advanced condition of civilization. We offer you not only the greetings of our people in Australia, whom it is our privilege to represent, but we give you their good wishes and their eager" affectionate hopes that Canada, with the rest of us, will soon emerge from her difficulties and adversities and once more enjoy the prosperity which she so well deserves. (Loud applause.)
PRESIDENT STAPELLS : The loyalty of official Toronto is well known; it speaks through His Worship the Mayor.
MAYOR STEWART: Our colleagues in Council join me when I say that for many reasons the citizens of Toronto are deeply indebted to the Empire Club and the Board of Trade, especially for their generous cooperation in maintaining confidence and good-will of national, international and Empire value. Our harbour has been visited by many people, and has been judged the finest waterfront development in the world; we hope in the not far distant future we will be able to bring in vessels of a larger type to discharge at this port without having to tranship. It is a privilege to extend a welcome to our distinguished guests of the Australian party. We are deeply interested in Empire trade" not only in theory but in practice. We are delighted to learn that while you bring a cargo of your merchandise you will return with a cargo of Canadian produce. I would ask you to take this message to the people of Australia:-The people of Canada are proud of their natural resources; we have the will and determination to carry on; we view the future with faith, and believe that soon the sun will rise on prosperous days and we are proud and happy to be with you in the Empire. (Loud Applause.)
PRESIDENT STAPELLS : Mr. Laffer, representing Australian Agriculture and Viticultural Industries, will now speak. I understand that the word "Viticultural" means everything connected with grapes. (Laughter).
MR. H. E. LAFFER: Coming from overseas as representatives of probably the youngest link in the chain of Empire, we appreciate the fact that we are known as the Good-Will Delegation from the Commonwealth down below. We have paved the way, showing other portions of the Empire, including the Mother Country, that we feel it necessary for us to trade with one another as a family. What does the Treaty mean to both of us and to the Empire in general? The success of the Treaty can only be assured by the absolute cooperation of each country participating. It is not for one country to expect more than the other. There has to be fair play, and I am sure you feel, as I do, that if the Treaty is carried out on those terms it will contribute to the credit and profit of both Canada and Australia.
There are certain products which Australia buys, or hopes to buy,, from Canada, and there are many others which today Australia is necessarily importing from different parts of the world, many of which might come from Canada. We import annually between $400,000,000 and $500,000,000 worth of such goods. Preference has always been given to Great Britain but, under the present Treaty, Canada, for the first time, is given the same conditions as Great Britain on entry of goods into Australia. (Applause.) It is up to the Canadian manufacturer to look into that side of the business and see that he gets a good share of it. Your lumber, paper pulp, news paper, canned salmon, electrical goods, and many other lines are essential to Australia. I want to tell you the Australian products with which we hope to supply you. Australia is a big country, approximately the size of Canada, and about the same distance across. The two countries are complementary to one another insofar as climate is concerned. Your climate ranges from the present weather to extreme cold. Australian climate, up to within 500 or 600 miles of the equator, is similar to that of British Columbia. Throughout that vast country, we have a range in climate probably not equalled by any other individual country in the world, in which products of every kind, from the most temperate up to the tropical, -can be produced. We wish to make it plain to the people of Canada that under the terms of this Treaty there is no question of Australia competing with any established Canadian industry. (Hear, hear.) This was a wise provision, because we must remember that our first duty is to protect the producers in our own country, our own established industries, and our farmers; what we need beyond their productions we procure from the different parts of the Empire. Over a vast area Australia produces magnificent fruits and wines of every description. We hope to send you hardwood. Rice is a commodity which we have cultivated in Australia-since the repatriation of our overseas soldiers-to such an extent that today we have an export surplus. A commodity well known in Canada is canned pineapples; we can produce pineapples in large quantities, which we say are unequalled for flavor and quality.
I wish to speak particularly of our wine. There is a historical fact associated with the wine industry of Australia, as recently discovered documentary evidence proves. In 1806 the Emperor Napoleon, who was then at the height of his success, intended to seize Australia, but the plans did not carry. He sent a delegation to Australia, and I have the original printed report of that Commission; one part referred to the possibilities of Australia as a vine-growing and wine-producing country. The report states that although Great Britain had a large consumption of wine she did not produce it herself; and the report concluded by saying that Australia must become the vineyard of Great Britain. We can go further and say that Australia has become the vineyard of the Empire. (Applause.) At the inception of our wine industry all the finest varieties of grapes from Europe were propagated, and when you consider our great diversity of climate is it unreasonable to say that we can produce the wine? We produce wine of several types, from the light wines to the full so-called sparkling type produced in Southern Portugal and Spain. You have a wine industry in Ontario, and I wish to tell you that there is no intention or desire to compete with your wines. We supply an entirely different wine, made under different process. The wines we are seeking to send into Canada are those which approximate to the wines which you are buying from Spain and Portugal, and we think that we are only reasonable in our desire that Australian wines should replace these as far as possible. (Applause.)
I wish I could take you into Australia and show you the immense area producing those wines, where today they are setting their fruit, and the tiny berries are now forming in bunches. On the trees are peaches, which soon will be canned, and some will be sent into Canada. Those fruitspeaches, apricots, pears, etc.--are not competing with the Canadian products. The peaches are of a different class, because they have to be transported long distances; they will compete with what you import from California. With regard to the dried fruits- the sultana or seedless raisin-that industry has been built up by our ex-service men. Over 3,000 of those men were repatriated and put on the irrigation areas to grow fruits for drying purposes, and it is only natural that we should get a big and sudden expansion in our production. We had to seek markets for these goods. Smyrna and Sultana had held the British market for generations. Greece had held the currant market. Today we have replaced the Smyrna raisins and the Greecian currants to the extent of every pound we can send to London, and they want more. (Applause). Your consumption of raisins and currants in Canada is somewhere about 20,,000 tons, of which I believe we have supplied you with about 7,000; we look confidently to a future when we will get a bigger proportion of your trade.
You who know the quality of our fruit production must remember that ten years ago those men, who are now producing these fruits, were in the army, and had been in all sorts of occupations except being on the land; the brains and energy they put into the job are today producing a product that holds its own everywhere in the world. (Applause). We look for the time when your population shall increase, and when Australia is going to be close to the mark of what her population should be-50, 70, 100 millions of people-so that we can absorb each others goods to mutual benefit. We look to the time when, instead of one "Canadian Constructor" coming up that river there will be a procession of them bringing Australian goods, and going out with Canadian goods. (Loud applause)
MR. H. C. GROUT, Vice-President of the Toronto Board of Trade, said:-The Toronto Board of Trade has long been active in its efforts to promote the development of inter-Empire trade, and on this occasion the Board is very happy to be associated with the Province and the City in welcoming these ambassadors of trade and goodwill to the city of Toronto. My attention has been called to an interesting fact that was not mentioned by any of the speakers today-that the cargo did not consist entirely of Australian goods, but that the cases that contained the presentation to His Worship the Mayor and also the cases for the wines were made of Canadian wood. I was also told that the paper wrapping in the boxes came from Canada. So that a start has been made, and a reciprocity of trade. I know that I am voicing the sentiment of the members of the Empire Club as well as the Board of Trade in extending our very sincere thanks to Mr. Laffer and Mr. Hyland for coming to us and giving us such an instructive and interesting description of their trade and their products; and I know that we all sincerely hope that this will be a forerunner of exchanges of goods between Australia and Canada in very much larger degree than has taken place heretofore. (Loud applause).