February 28, 1911

CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

The minister says that he proposes to give them another market. Is he aware of the fact that $160,000,000 worth of meat products are shipped out of the United States annually?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am sorry, but I am afraid that I will have to refuse to respond to these interruptions. I do not object to being asked a pertinent question, but when they are foreign to what I am talking about I cannot allow myself to be interrupted any more. The farmers of the northwest wiil sell to the American buyer, if he will give them a better price than the Canadian

buyer will, otherwise they will not. They will sell to the Canadian buyer if he gives them a fair and just price-the best price they can get-and he will sell to whoever else will give him that price. The hon. member for Brandon (Mr.- Sifton) said that the only good market was the British market, that it was a stable and free market. I grant that it is a stable and free market. We have had it. The hon. member for Grey (Mr. Sproule) says that our live stock business is going down, notwithstanding our possession cf that market. I want to give the farmers something that will bring that trade up, and I believe the American market will do it.

Now, Sir, I am going to speak a little bit about the province of Ontario. The hon. member for Brandon said that in Ontario the prices were as good as in the United States. I take direct issue with him. Prices in the United States are higher than they have been in Ontario for the last year on these products that I have been talking about. The hon. member for Brandon reproached us because we had not given statistics, because we had not carefully compared the prices. I beg to tell him that we did compare the prices, that when we made this arrangement we knew what the prices were in the American market, and here, and that is why we wanted to get free entry for agricultural products into the United States. I will give some prices. I have here a few statements. I have a statement with regard to the cattle slaughtered in the west. X have a statement of market quotations for live cattle in Buffalo and Montreal each fortnight from January 5, 1910, to December 2. 1910:

I shall not read each price, but I may say that between January 5 and December 2, 1910 the market quotations in Buffalo every week were higher than in Montreal. It was not an occasional quotation, but taking the whole trade of the whole year, every week the quotations in Buffalo were materially higher for live cattle than were the Montreal quotations. I have another statement here which I need not trouble the House to read, but I will send into ' Hansard,' which gives the market quotations for live hogs in Buffalo and Toronto and Chicago and Montreal. Taking the price of live hogs from January 19 to December 2, for every week in the year with three single exceptions the prices were higher in Buffalo than in Toronto; and in those the difference was very small in favour of Toronto. On January 26 the Buffalo price was $8.75 to $8.85, and in Toronto it was $8.90; on February 2. the Buffalo price was $8.50 to $8.70, and in Toronto $8.65; on June 1 the Buffalo price was $9.75 to $9.85, and the Toronto price $10. Only on these three occasions during the whole year was the price of live hogs as high in Toronto Mr. FISHER.

as in Buffalo, and these figures, which 1 believe to be absolutely correct, and which are taken carefully from the market reports, contradict the statement of the hon. gentleman that the price of these is higher in Ontario than in the United States.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT (Muskoka).

Before the' hon. gentleman leaves that point I want to ask a question.

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The hon. member who has the floor has been interrupted very frequently. I have allowed these interruptions because there was no indication on his part that he objected, but since he has objected I cannot allow the hon. member to be interrupted.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

I rise to a point 6f order.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT (Muskoka).

I want to make an explanation.

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The hon. gentleman must resume his seat when the chairman of the committee rises.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

I wish to ask whether it is proper to put in ' Hansard ' tables of figures that are not read to us and as to which we have no idea what they are like. The Minister of Agriculture has tables there which he says he will send into * Hansard.'

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

I have no control over what may be published in ' Hansard,' but, I understand ' Hansard ' does report what is said in the House.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I suggested that these figures might be printed in ' Hansard ' without my reading them so as to save time, but since the hon. member (Mr. Armstrong) does not wish to know them, I will not ask that they be put in 'Hansard.' One feature of the live stock trade is worthy of notice, and it is that in recent years there has been a large decrease in the numbers of live stock in proportion to the numbers of people occupying the land. That is a very serious situation. There is more live stock in Canada at the present time than there was ten years ago, but after careful investigation, I have no doubt that there are now fewer animals in Canada in proportion to the population than there were then. The English authorities on the question point continuously to the fact that the supplies from America are decreasing and they are looking more to Argentine and to Australia and to New Zealand for their supplies of meat. Still, America, and the United States especially, send them large supplies. The reason for the falling off in the cattle export from America is that the continent of America

affords to-day a better market than does the old country for these products. It is, therefore, very important for us to see to it that the whole market of the whole continent of North America is open to our farmers, and if we do not do that we shall be face to face with the fact that our farmers will be flooding the English market with these supplies and knocking down the price of these products below what is perhaps a living price. Here is another statement which I have no doubt is absolutely correct:

The high prices prevailing during the last twc years have evidently not been determined by the prices obtainable for export bullocks, but rather by the strong and growing local demand. Packers and butchers have given expression to this conclusion in different ways and it is a fact that with prices in Great Britain no higher than they are at present there remains no particular temptation to shippers and exporters to direct their purchases across the Atlantic. On the other hand, packers in the east have found a very profitable outlet of late for their cured and fresh meat products in the growing markets of the Canadian west.

Sir, I shall now refer to another matter which affects particularly the province of Quebec, and to a large extent Ontario as well. The hon. gentleman from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) stated that in the province of Quebec there was some good farming, a great deal of bad farming, and some middling farming, but, I know the province of Quebec better than he does, and I may tell him that the fact that the farmers of Quebec export large quantities of hay is no proof at all that they are not good farmers. This may seem paradoxical because it is generally speaking true that the hay should be fed to stock on the farm, and in this way the fertility of the soil maintained, but, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) is not aware of the fact that there are areas of land in the province of Quebec from which hay has been sold to the American and the English market for from 50 to 75 years steadily, and the crop of hay on these lands is just as abundant and as excellent in quality as it was half a century ago. These hay-growing lands are lands which are frequently flooded, and on which there is a constant succession of alluvial deposits, and the land is in that way specially adapted for the growing of hay. That hay has hitherto been shut out of the American market by a duty of .$4 per ton, and every one knows that the Quebec farmer, when he did send hay into the United States had to pay a large proportion of that duty, depending on the demand whether he paid more or less. I read in a newspaper a short time ago that a New England farmer told a newspaper reporter that if this arrangement were carried into effect he and his sons would

be driven out of their farming in New England, because the Quebec hay would undersell them and secure tne market in the New England towns. So, in New Brunswick and some parts of Nova Scotia on the dyke lands around the Bay of Fundy, hay has been grown for I do not know how many years.

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LIB
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Quite so ; these lands are periodically inundated by the overflow of the sea, and consequently with respect to these particular farms it is good farming, and not bad farming, to grow and sell the hay. Hon. gentlemen from the northwest will tell you that the northwest farmer would be foolish if he did not grow wheat after wheat and wheat after wheat and sell it, and so, in the case of the hay-growing lands I have mentioned it would be foolish for those who cultivate them not to grow and sell a crop of hay. If the farmer in the northwest were to manure the land the wheat would grow and grow and keep green, and would not ripen, and that would be bad farming, and in like manner it would be useless to manure the hay-growing lands in Quebec and the lower provinces because the hay would lodge, it would not cure as well, and the farmer would not get as good a price for it as he does now. Good farming is to avail of the natural conditions of the particular soil you are tilling to the best advantage, and what would be good farming in some localities might be very bad farming in others. Therefore, that is one point in which the member for Brandon maligned the farmers of the province of Quebec. He spoke as a lawyer about farming and not understanding the business he was unable to deal with it intelligently. Again, I want to tell my hon. friend from Brandon who was born and bred in Ontario and lives there now, and seems to identify himself with that province, that in the dairying business the province of Quebec has made more advance than any other part of the Dominion of Canada in fifteen years. The production of butter and cheese has increased more rapidly than in any other part of Canada, and the quality of Quebec butter and cheese stands at the top of the markets of the world. Dairying is very prosperous in the province of Quebec and in dairying I include the production of milk and cream as well as the manufacture of butter and cheese. And why is dairying in the province of Quebec extremely prosperous? It is because for the last two seasons the farmers living along the border -and this is true also of our counties in eastern Ontario which lie along the St. Lawrence river-have been selling cream to the American market, and not as formerly making it into butter and sending it to England. The farmers of the eastern town-

ships were visited the other day by some gentlemen from the city of Montreal, Messrs. Brice, and Maclagan and others, who handle the goods of the dairy farmers, and they told them how bad it would be if American buyers should come across the line and dispute with Messrs. Brice and Maclagan the purchase of dairy products in the eastern townships. Weil, the farmers of the eastern townships know their business well enough to know why these gentlemen came to tell them that, and the farmers of the eastern townships know their business well enough to appreciate the advantage of having somebody besides the dealers of Montreal in the market to purchase their products. We have been making butter and cheese in the province of Quebec for many years, and a good deal of it was sold in the home market and the bulk of it was sent to England, but for the last two years American dealers have been coming across the line, and purchasing the cream from our farmers, and taking it to the northern parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, and from, eastern Ontario into New York state, and making it into butter for the American market. Now, our farmers who sold that cream had full and free access to the market of Great Britain for their butter, but they found it more profitable to dispose of their cream in this way. These gentlemen opposite will tell you that our market in Great Britain is the. great market for Canadian produce. True, it has been, but during this year the price of butter in the New England and New York markets is so high that, they could afford to take Canadian cream across the line, pay five cents a gallon duty on it, then make it into butter and pay our farmers a higher price per 100 pounds for their milk than they could get by making it into butter at home, and selling it to these gentlemen in Montreal who forwarded it to the English market. The farmers in the eastern townships do not need any compilation as to the difference in prices on each side of the line to tell them what the truth is. They can see that with their own eyes ; they are selling their goods and pocketing the profits even though these goods have to pay a duty going to the American markets, and by this arrangement they will have free entry to the American market, and they will reap a larger profit. If cream can be bought in Canada and five cents a gallon duty paid on it, and made into butter in the United States, and sold in the great eastern cities, why cannot butter be made in the eastern townships, and eastern Ontario, and all *over Canada and sold in these same markets at the same price if there is no duty on either cream or butter? There, the hon. member for Brandon has the answer [DOT]of the farmers of the province of Quebec as to how they can look after their own Mr. FISHER.

interests. Last year there was sent from Canada to the United States $1,677,000 worth of cream, and we sent also a few thousand dollars worth ol cheese, and a few thousand dollars worth of butter. The average value of the cream was about one dollar a gallon, and a gallon of cream made about 25 cents a pound for the butter without any expense of make up. The United States have for several years past, imported of dairy products, butter, cheese and cream, to the following extent-in 1907 they imported $6,000,000 worth, in 1908 $5,000,000 worth, in 1909 $ 6,000,000, and for the 11 months of the last fiscal year $8,500,000 worth, which increase was largely accounted for by the importation of Canadian cream.

Cheese will now be put upon the free list. The United States last year imported nearly $7,000,000 worth of cheese. Now, I want to be perfectly fair. Most of that cheese was brought from Europe; most of it was what is called fancy cheese. But I am glad to say that the dairymen of Canada are rising to the occasion, and are making to-day a very fair quantity of fancy cheese; and under this arrangement they can expand and increase that product, which is the most profitable way to utilize their milk product, and there is no market in the world equal to that of New York, Boston and other large cities of the United States Atlantic sea-board for these fancy cheeses. They are dainty, appetizing things which the rich people want, and will pay fancy prices for; and, while I do not say that the whole of our dairy output can be turned into these products, there will be many opportunities for our scientific farmers to enter into that business, and, instead of being confined, as they are to-day, by a severe duty on cheese, to our own markets of Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, they will have the cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other large American cities to cater to, and the record of our Canadian dairymen which is writ broad on this continent, shows that they can carry on that higher kind of farming better than the Americans can, and beat them in their own markets, if we have a free entry into them.

Mr. hon. friend from Brandon intimated that the prices of butter and cheese were better in Canada than in the United States. 1 have here quotations of the prices of butteT taken on the same day of every month, from January to December, 1910, in Boston, New York, Chicago, Montreal, and Toronto, and in every month of the year in every one of these three American markets, butter was materially higher than it was on the same day in either Montreal or Toronto. The hon. member for Brandon wants statistics and information. Here again are the prices of cheese on the same

day in every month in Boston, New York, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto, and in every month the prices in Boston, New York and Chicago were higher than they were on the same day in either Montreal or Toronto. I took also eggs, and here our hon. friends opposite may get a little comfort. The egg prices vary. In January they were higher in the three American markets; in February they were a shade higher in Montreal and Toronto; in April, they were about the same; in May the price in Boston was higher than in the Canadian market, but Montreal and Toronto were both a little higher than New York and Chicago; in June and July the Canadian markets were a shade higher; in August, Montreal was a little higher, but Toronto a little lower than the American market; in September, they were practically the same; in October, Montreal was a little higher and Toronto equal; in November and December, all three American markets were higher than either of the Canadian markets. I also inquired as to dressed poultry, taking Montreal, Toronto and New York, and I found that in every month of the year dressed poultry was higher in New York from one cent to five cents pet pound, than it was in either Montreal or Toronto. I will not go into further details. I think I have given some information and statistics. I think I have been able to show that we did not enter into this thing with, our eyes shut, but were able to find a justification in the advantages to the Canadian farmer of a free entry into the American market.

The hon. .member for St. Anne, and I think the hon. member for Brandon, said: oh, but you do not say anything about the Americans coming in here. Well, I think I have disposed pretty well of the idea of the Americans coming in here, by showing that their own market is higher than ours. The Americans are shrewd, and are not going to send goods into Canada and knock down the Canadian prices, when they can get higher prices at home. But the hon. member for Brandon says: You allow goods to come to Canada from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand and other countries. Quite true, we do. But I would like to point out that for many years, in that free and stable market of the home land mentioned above we had the competition of Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, under conditions that were less favourable to us and more favourable to them, than they would have in attempting to sell their products in Canada, and we have been able to hold our own with them in the English market. We have been able, as a general rule, with the exception of live cattle, to command higher prices than Argentina has-why? Because

our products are better in quality, and I venture to say that in the future, as in the past, the Canadian farmer, educated, informed, clean-living, sensible, will be able to produce a better article than the Italian or the Spanish or the Portuguese or others farming in the Argentine. History has told us that we need not fear competition, and I do not think that we need fear it in the future. But my hon. friend from Brandon says they will dump their products on the Canadian market. Weil. Buenos Ayres has cheaper freights to London than to Canada, and it has with England, a large trade established, with a return freight, and it can take its goods and put them on the English market much cheaper than it can on the Canadian market. The Canadian has to send his goods to compete with them in England, where the price is regulated by the price of goods in the open stable market of England, and not where they are produced, and we have been able to meet the competition of these people there.

With a market at our own doors, does any person say that these countries can beat the Canadian farmer in his home market? It is absurd on the face of it. Hon. gentlemen opposite are simply raising a bogey to frighten the farmers into thinking that this arrangement is a bad one for their business. So far as cattle are concerned, the Argentine, for many years, has suffered, like ourselves, from an embargo on cattle going into Great Britain, by which their cattle allowed to land are slaughtered in the lair ages. This continued till 1900, when any landing was absolutely prohibited. In February, 1903, a change was made under which Argentina cattle were allowed to be landed for slaughter in the lairages. In consequence of disease being found, the embargo was reimposed in May, 1903, three months after its partial removal. Now, I would like to point out that this reciprocity arrangement does not interfere-no trade arrangement does-with quarantine. Under our quarantine regulations, Argentina cattle will be shut out of Canada as well as out of England. We cannot allow diseased cattle to come in alive-in England, they do not allow Argentina cattle even to enter to be slaughtered at the port of entry as Canadian and American cattle are. For the three months of which I have spoken, they did allow Argentina cattle, as they allow ours, to be entered and slaughtered at the port of entry. But they had to give that up, and at the present day, not a head of Argentina cattle is allowed to land on the quay in Britain. And I can tell my hon. friends opposite that, until the Argentine can show a cleaner bill of health than they have been able to show for some time,

cattle from that country will not be allowed to land in Canada. Not because my duty as administering the quarantine laws calls upon me to interfere with markets or trade arrangements, but because it is my duty to see to it that the flocks and herds of Canada are not contaminated by disease from any outside country.

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CON
LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The hon. minister (Mr. Fisher) has objected to interruptions.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I rise to a question of order. Mr. Chairman, is a member of parliament not allowed to make any observation when a gentleman is speaking? I wish to know what are a member's rights?

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The hon. gentleman has the right to rise to a point of order, but not to discuss it.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I have the right to make an observation, and I distinctly refuse to be controlled by anybody

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) has the floor, and no other member has the right to speak while he has the floor. He has been interrupted very frequently. I have told the committee that I allowed these interruptions because the minister did not himself object to them. .But when he objected, it became my duty to prevent any interruption. No member except the hon. gentleman who has the floor has the right to speak. The point of order raised is not a sound one.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

May I ask a question of the Chair? Are we to understand that a member of parliament has not the privilege of asking a minister of the Crown a question while he is addressing the House?

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

A member has not the right to ask the minister a question while he is addressing the House unless he has the permission of the minister. The ministi r has distinctly refused to be interrupted, and no member has the right to interrupt him.

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February 28, 1911