If the hon. Member will read my statement of 4th November, he will see that I made it clear that the 600,000 tons to which I referred represents the present rate of shipment of coal from this country to Canada. I expressed the view that while I expected exports of hard coal would be maintained and indeed increased. I hoped that the exports of soft coal would also increase. I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement showing the exports to Canada of both classes of coal during the past five years.
On the contrary, the figures will show that in 1928 the tonnage was 453,000. The short answer is 1693 that it is six or seven years since a real attempt was made to get anthracite coal into Canada. All experience and all people agree that it has been justified, and I go beyond that and say that the demand this year will be beyond what we can supply.
§ Sir BURTON CHADWICK
If, as the right hon. Gentleman says, 600,000 tons represents the existing export of coal to Canada, what is the inducement for someone or other to build 35,000 tons of hew shipping to cope with what is the existing transport?
The hon. Member is engaged in the shipping industry, and I do not want to be driven at this stage to say anything that will make it more difficult, but he knows perfectly well, better than anyone in the House, that the abnormal wheat position in Canada at the moment has made it very difficult for shippers to deal with the situation, and that those who have contracted to supply Canada are so satisfied that they will want more tonnage, that they have ordered it.
§ Following is the statement:
|Year.||Anthracite.||Other sorts of Coal.||Total Exports.|
|1929 (First 9 months).||458,939||101,433||560,372|
§ It is estimated that the total exports to Canada in 1929 will be about 700,000 tons. Shipments tend to decrease towards the end of the year. Probably 560,000 will be anthracite and 140,000 bituminous.
§ The figures for the years 1925 and 1927 were to some extent affected by industrial troubles in the coalfields of the United States of America.
§ 9. Sir WILLIAM MITCHELL-THOMSON
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the plans referred to by him for the construction of five vessels for the conveyance of British coal to Canada and for the marketing of British steel 1694 products there were discussed by him with any member or representative of the Dominion Government?
I explained fully to Members of His Majesty's Government in Canada the object of my visit, which was to prepare the way for an increase in British trade with Canada. The detailed negotiations on the matters referred to in the question have been left entirely in the hands of the commercial interests concerned.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last Wednesday the "Times" correspondent in Ottawa sent a dispatch saying the Canadian Dominion Government categorically denied any knowledge of the ships or the coal orders or the steel-marketing arrangements?
I do not know what the "Times" correspondent said—I did not see it—but I repeat that I discussed my mission not only with the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Finance, who, I reget to say, has passed away, but with the Cabinet in their entirety. How could they know anything about the ships until there had been sufficient trade to warrant such ships being built?
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Then are we to understand that the "Times" correspondent is misinformed as to that; and, in regard to what the right hon. Gentleman has just told me, may I ask him whether he now proposes to initiate discussions with the Dominion Government?
I am not concerned with the statements of the "Times" correspondent, but I am concerned with a definite statement that I made, namely, that I discussed things fully with the Canadian Government and left no doubt in their mind that my object was to further British trade, and I received from them every assistance.
§ Sir NEWTON MOORE
Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that steamers of 7,000 tons are of an economic size to carry on this trade?
§ 18. Sir N. MOORE
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is now in a 1695 position to give information in regard to the additional tonnage of steel and coal that will be shipped to Canada as a result of his recent visit; and whether he can give the results of the experiments made in mixing Canadian with British coal?
As regards the first part of the question, I am not at present in a position to make a statement. As regards the second part, I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave the hon. Member on the 31st October.
§ Sir N. MOORE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many hundreds of thousands of tons of Canadian coal have been imported into this country over a period of years?
No, I was not aware that many thousand tons of Canadian coal had been imported into this country.