HC Deb 25 May 1843 vol 69 cc851-3
Mr. Darby

wished to put a question to the noble Lord the Colonial Secretary, connected with the measure for allowing corn and flour to come into this country from Canada. He saw a notice given by the hon. Member for Bolton, the object of which was, the extension of the same boon to some others of our colonial possessions. He also learnt, that it was the opinion of others that the same privilege should be extended to Prince Edward's Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. What he wished to know was, whether it were the intention of Government to extend to any of our other colonial possessions the measure applied to Canada?

Lord Stanley

said, that if his hon. Friend who had put the question would refer to the returns which were on the Table, he would find that the only colony interested in this matter was Canada, as it was the only colony which had a surplus produce of corn to export. Canada had for years been petitioning for this boon. It was for this, that the present bill was introduced, namely, to fulfil the engagement made by the Government with Canada, and with Canada alone. He might add, that the discussion of the whole Corn-law turned on this one point, and the consequence to which it led afforded another proof of the inconvenience of entering into the whole question on a matter so little affecting it. The engagement of the Government was, he repeated, with Canada, and Canada only. It had made none with any other colony, and bad no intention of disturbing the principle of the Corn-laws by any further extension of the principle applied to Canada.

Mr. Labouchere

wished to know whether he understood the noble Lord correctly in this,—that it was not the intention of the Government in this Session to extend the boon given to Canada to Prince Edward's Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick? Did the noble Lord mean to say, that under no circumstances he would extend the principle of the Canadian measure to the colonies he had named, even should they earnestly desire it—and place a duty on foreign wheat as high as on that of Canada?

Lord Stanley

I wish it to be distinctly understood that he course the Government has taken is in accordance with the engagements entered into with Canada, and is not intended to justify other colonies in saying, " we have complied with the same conditions, and we call on you to give us similar advantages.'' It is our desire, that we should not be called upon to disturb existing arrangements, on the ground of what we have done with respect to Canada; and it is our opinion, that if we should be so called upon, such a course would merely tend to disturb an extensive settlement for an unimportant object.

Sir G. Grey

As the noble Lord says, that by reference to the returns we can see that Canada is the only colony that has any surplus corn to export, perhaps he will state what return shows that, as the fact was much disputed in the late debate.

Lord Stanley

If the right hon. Gentleman will refer to the returns obtained on the motion of the hon. Member for Bristol, he will see, that, of all the corn imported from our colonies, Canada supplies nine-tenths. I don't say that this is altogether the produce of Canada; but, so far as we have an opportunity of knowing, it is Canadian. New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia notoriously are deficient in the supply necessary for home consumption.

Dr. Bowring

said, that as the subject was now before the House, he might, perhaps, save time, if he were allowed to put a question which stood as a notice for to-morrow. He had been informed, that the Legislature of Prince Edward's Island had lately imposed a duty on the importation of corn much heavier than hitherto. Now, he wished to know from the noble Lord, whether, if the legislature of that colony should solicit a boon similar to that given to Canada, the Government would say, " No" to the application.

Lord Stanley

said, the hon. Member's question assumed that the legislature of Prince Edward's Island had laid a duty on foreign corn heavier than heretofore, but he bad no official report of any such act having been passed. He had, however, reason to believe that certain resolutions had been passed, imposing a duty on foreign wheat, as a means of increasing the revenue of this year. The resolutions, however, had not yet been passed into a law, but even if they had it would be only for a single year.