December 13, 1910

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There is some grain from Ontario, of course, and the increase is only $64,000,000.

I want to say a word or two with regard to the sheep industry to which my hon. friend has referred. It is very unfortunately true that the sheep industry in Canada is declining. That is a matter which has been worrying me for some years past, and I have devoted a good deal of the attention of the officers of my department to the subject. My hon. friend speaks of the decrease of the sheep industry in the west. It is true, there are fewer sheep in the western provinces than there were. My hon. friend knows that in the great province of Alberta the whole system of animal husbandry has been changed. He knows that about five or six years ago the whole southern part of that province and a part of southern Saskatchewan were devoted to ranching. He knows that the keeping of cattle in the ordinary sense, as understood in eastern Canada, was comparatively unknown in that western country; but there were great plains ranged over by herds of cattle, horses and sheep, and during that period a great stimulus was given to the animal industry of that country. Settlers, however, began to come in and take up locations, here, there and everywhere throughout that country, until to-day the point has been reached at which ranching, as understood in the old days, has ceased to exist. I do not mean to say that there is not still something of it. There are men who have large areas of grazing property on which they ranch. But the free grazing over the whole country, which enabled large herds of cattle, horses and sheep to be kept in the southern parts of those provinces, is practically at an end, and therefore the number of sheep is decreasing. This is due to two reasons-part-lv because the farmers have found that it is very difficult to keep sheep from the coyote, and partly because the sheep have

to have a large area to range over; and the farmers find that when they have to fence their animals in, they can do better work and make more money ont of other animals. The result is that the sheep industry is declining, so much so that to-day frozen mutton is brought from Australia and New Zealand to British Columbia, and I have been told also to Alberta.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I was told in 1907 that Australian mutton was sold in Winnipeg.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That is quite possible occasionally. Of course, the market varies a little, and occasionally shipments would be made for various reasons; but the general trend of the trade has not, I think, quite reached Winnipeg. In his speech, my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) could not resist the temptation of having a little fling at the British preference, saying that we were negligent of the sheep industry of the country, because we allowed to be brought in under the British preference a very large amount of woollen goods which ought to be manufactured in Canada from Canadian wool. Now, has my hon. friend any idea that there is a very large amount of wool produced in Canada which is not made into goods in Canada, but is exported from Canada, and in its place wool is imported into Canada from Australia, South Africa and other countries? Why is this? If our woollen mills in Canada could use the Canadian wool, why do they allow half-a-million dollars worth or more to be exported from Canada, and why do they want to import into Canada $1,500,000 worth of foreign wool, or three times as much as is exported from Canada? I do not exactly understand it myself, not being an expert in wool and woollen manufacturing. Men have tried to explain to me the mysteries of the different qualities of wool; but I have understood this-and it is a reply to another item of my hon. friend's address- that in warmer countries like Australia, South Africa and the Argentine Republic, wool can be grown of a different quality from what is grown in Canada, and our people are unpatriotic enough to wear the clothes and the manufacturers to make them out of this wool instead of insisting that we should use nothing but clothes made from Canadian wool. I know that the conditions for raising sheep of certain classes and qualities are more favourable in those countries than they are in Canada. From the investigations which I have made or have caused to be made in the department, we find that there are very considerable difficulties in the keeping of large flocks of sheep in Canada. I think the climate is the chief difficulty. To keep a flock of 100,000 sheep in Canada seems to be practically impossible.

Nobody has succeeded in making it profitable, although we have in Canada, some pretty good, hard headed farmers, who would be as well able to meet the conditions and overcome them here, as ..could farmers anywhere' else. In Canada,*" even in the west, it has been found that large flocks cannot be made profitable, and in eastern Canada the farmers insist on keeping small flocks of sheep. They do not keep even as large flocks as are kept in England, which is a smaller country, with smaller fields and more inclosures. Even in Ontario, in which you will find to-day some of the best shepherds, men who best understand the sheep industry, that can be found anywhere, quite equal to the English and Scotch shepherds-yet those men in Ontario, favoured with circumstances and conditions better than anywhere else in Canada, do not keep large flocks of sheep, such as are kept in the old country. They do not keep these flocks, notwithstanding we have in Canada a market for our wool, notwithstanding we import about $2,000,000 worth and export half a million dollars worth to the United States.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

William Thoburn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOBURN.

Is the hon. minister not aware that the reason why Canadian manufacturers are not able to consume the wool produced by the farmers of Ontario, is because, owing to the tariff, large importations are allowed into this country of woollens which take the place of goods we could manufacture out of Canadian wool, especially since the preferential clause went into effect? As I tried to explain two years ago, the effect has been to close up all the smaller mills in the Dominion that v. ere using Canadian wool. I can well remember the time when all these mills used Canadian wool, and when the price of Canadian wool was 50c to 52c per lb. But as the result of that preferential clause, the price has come down to its present figure.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am not going into an argument on that question, because it is not quite applicable to the matter under discussion and because I am not now in a position to reply to my hon. friend regarding details of his own particular business. But I fail to understand how it is, that he and his brother manufacturers allow half a million dollars worth of Canadian wool to be exported to the United States, if they want to make use of it in their own goods. Instead of doing that, they import other wool, which, I suppose, is of a different quality. They import $1,500,000 worth of wool from abroad and allow us to export half a million dollars worth of Canadian wool.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR.

Does the hon. minister mean wool alone, or wool and woollen yarn?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Wool alone. They import a much larger quantity of yarn.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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?

An hon. MEMBER.

A cheaper kind of wool.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

All kinds. I would say to my hon. friend that the little slap he made at the preferential clause, is hardly justified, but I shall not go into that question now, because it is one which comes up more properly on the budget.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LABOR.

One way to increase the profits on wool grown in Canada, would be to give the Canadian woollen manufacturers free yarn. Our -wool would go to England and be manufactured into yarn, a line of manufacture which has not reached any perf&ction in this country. The Canadian -wool, largely exported to England, would come back to Canada in the shape of yarn.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

As I am not acquainted with the details of the business, I would not undertake to say whether my hon. friend is right or wrong. My hon. friend is quite right in saying that the number of sheep has decreased in Canada, but when he compares that with the increase in Australia, Argentina, South Africa and enter countries, he is drawing a comparison with countries in which the climate and other conditions are entirely different. Australia, both as regards sheep and cat-tie, is a ranching country. The cattle there, run wild over enormous areas and are not taken care of at all. Sheep are in the same position. They have illimitable expanses for pasturing, which we have not, rna they have a climate more suitable for tha! kind of wild life than ours. Therefore, a comparison between Canada and Australia in this regard, is not a fair one.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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?

Mr SPROULE.

What I was talking of,

was toe comparison made by the commissioners as between Montana and Alberta, which aie similar to each other in many respects.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I was not speaking about that comparison, but about Australia and South Africa and New Zealand. As regards Montana, I admit that the United States government has a tariff on wool and woollen goods, which no doubt, does stimulate the production of wool in that state. If my hon. friend is prepared to say that we should put a duty on woollens such as the United States has done, for the purpose of increasing the sheep industry, we shall discuss that when the tariff comes down.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR.

Would not that be a great benefit to the farmers?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am not so sure about that. We would have to figure out the cost of this duty to the farmers as well as what Mr. LALOR. ,

they get from it, and that is a question which does not come properly within the limits of this motion. My hon. friend is pointing to a forced industry in Montana and comnaring it with a natural industry in Canada. Personally I am not in favour of forcing an industry, I prefer natural development, and I think that our agricultural industry can be developed on natural lines in a much healthier and more profitable way than on artificial lines.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I thought the hon. gentleman was in favour of intensive cultivation. .

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That term is being used a good deal by people who perhaps hardly understand what intensive farming really is. If we want to find intensive farming in the proper sense'of the word, we have to look for it. in China, Japan, Italy or Belgium. There is nothing of the kind in this country or in the United States, or in any place on this continent, and it exists in very few places in Europe.

I want now to discuss another matter and that is the question of abattoirs. My hon. friend has quoted from a pamphlet which was prepared at the instance of Mr. Palmer, from Edmonton or Alberta, and which dealt with a very large scheme for the establishment of a dead meat industry in Canada. That is a scheme which, on the surface, looked very productive, which was going to accomplish a great deal, but which required enormous machinery. If my memory serves me right, it is a scheme which would cost about $8,000,000, and of course the government were to be asked to guarantee the bonds so as to make sure that the people concerned in it would not lose anything. That is not unnatural, and might be right enough, but the point at issue was this: The success of the scheme depended wholly on the production of the country, on the possibility of getting products to keep it going. If it is a dead meat scheme, it requires large herds of cattle and sheep. If it is an abattoir scheme, it requires a large supply of animals to be slaughtered. If it is a cold storage scheme it requires carcases to be put in cold storage and transported. But when I looked into the matter, I found that there were not sufficient animals in the whole country for the home consumption, and to keep that scheme going for one-quarter of its time. That scheme, or something similar to it, was discussed here about three years ago, at the time of the international conference on live stock. I asked, point blank, the representatives of the west whether there was any possibility of a continuous supply of animals being produced so as to enable a scheme of that kind to be made profitable. The consensus of opinion was that there was not. Since

that time, I have been watching pretty closely the course of things. Now, how can we judge best of the scarcity of animals in the country. We can judge it best, I think, by the market prices which the animals bring. If there is an overplus, if there is a glut in the market, prices will certainly go down very low. If, however, we find that prices are reasonable, or good, or high, I think we mav fairly conclude that there is not an overplus or glut of production, that there is not a large number of animals available for the export trade.

I have not quoted figures in detail, and do not intend to weary the House with them. But let me point out the facts as to the prices of live stock in Edmonton, which is the centre at which this scheme was to be established. We find that a choice quality of hogs have varied in price from $9.25 per hundredweight, down to $7,50, taking the prices from month to month, from May to September of this year. This was the price on the hoof. I do not know whether hon. members realize what that means.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Oh, yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson) does, but he is one of the old stagers who knows all things, especially about country affairs. But let me point out one thing in particular that it means. At none of these prices could hogs have been slaughtered, packed and put upon the English market without a loss any day this year-$7.50 was too high a price for the packers at Edmonton to pay for hogs and put the product on the English market. Had they gone on with this production under a scheme of government assistance they would have been unable to pay interest on the bonds they wanted the government to guarantee, and the government would have had to take it over as a bankrupt concern.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
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CON

William Henry Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHARPE (Lisgar).

What is the reason for that condition in the west?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   CATTLE, SHEEP AND SWINE.
Permalink

December 13, 1910