March 27, 1918

UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Hon. A. K. MACLEAN:

1 & 2. Ontario, $2,000,000; Saskatchewan, $2,500,000.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ADVANCES TO PROVINCES.
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QUESTION PASSED AS ORDER FOR RETURN.


Mr. Verville: 1. What sums, if any, have been paid since the first day of August, 1917, to the Canadian Northern railway or to any persons, firm, corporation, bank or company in trust for and on behalf of the Canadian Northern? 2. Under what authority have these sums been paid? 3. If by virtue of Orders in Council, what is the date of each of said Orders in Council, and what is the amount authorized by each of said Orders, and so paid?


CANADA FOOD BOARD.

L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER moved:

the consumption of food in hotels, restaurants, caffes, private houses, clubs and other places.

(3) Respecting the manufacture, preparation, storage and transport of foods.

(4) Authorizing the Food Controller to purchase, requisition, store, sell and deliver food.

3. For all the purposes of these orders, the Food Controller shall have the powers of a Commissioner appointed under the provisions of Part One of the Inquiries Act.

So far as this Order in Council goes1, no fault is to be found with it. It is comprehensive, but while it provides for the conservation and distribution of food, it makes no attempt whatever to take hold of the question of the production of food.

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Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

up to something like $200,000 a year. Now, I submit in all conscience these figures are simply extravagant in view ol the work that has been done by the Food Board. On fihe 4th of February last Mr. Thomson, of Victoria, B.C., was appointed Food Controller in the place of Mr. Hanna. Of Mr. Thomson, I, for my part, know nothing Although I have been a pretty long time in public life, I must say that until I saw his name mentioned I had never heard of him. That is not to his discredit, I admit; die may be a very good man; hut I do submit that it was not sound policy to appoint to this position a man who was absolutely unknown. Mr. Hanna, on the contrary, was a man well known and well tried in public life, and of great ability. I think his appointment was a judicious one, but I cannot say the same with reference to Mr. Thomson's appointment. Two days afterwards the Food Controller's office was completely reorganized. Up to that time we had had a Food Controller. Now we (have a Food Board. It was on the 11th of February the Order in Council was passed creating the Canada Food Board, " the said Board to consist of a Director of Food Conservation, a Director of Food Production, and a Director of Agricultural Labour; that the Board shall be under the jurisdiction of and shall report to the Governor in Council through the Minister of Agriculture." A few days afterwards Mr. Thomson was appointed Director of Food Conservation and Chairman of the Board; Mr. Charles A. Dunning, well known as a member of the Govemiment of Saskatchewan, was made Director of Food Production, and Mr. James D. McGregor, well known also in the business world, was made Director of Agricultural Labour. I would call the attention of -the House to this: three different positions were thus created, the Director of Food Conservation, the Director of Food Production, and the Director of Agricultural Labour-but here again there is no inkling of the powers or of the duties imposed under any of these heads. Perhaps I may be told that tihe powers and duties are sufficiently indicated by the titles, " Director of Food Conservation," " Director of Food Production," and so on. Well, I imagine that the duties imposed on the Director of Food Conservation are similar to those imposed on Mr. Hanna-that all the duties delegated to Mr. Hanna on June 16 last by the Order in Council which I have read are now delegated to Mr. Thomson. Then there is the Director of Food Production; what are his duties and powers? I alluded some time ago -to a newspaper article which I read in

the House to the effect that Mr. Dunning had been directed by my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Crerar) to buy one thousand tractors with a view to helping in food production. So far so good; that is something done at all events, but not very much, for, after all, what it amounts to is simply the removal of the customs duty on tractors. That is better than nothing at all, I admit, and 'I express my satisfaction at that. Then what are the duties and powers of the Director of Agricultural Labour? How is he to he employed-? I know that several schemes of a more or less extended nature have been put before the -Government with a view to increasing food production in this country, by bringing under cultivation a larger acreage than has been tilled in the last fe-w years. That may-be a step in the night direction, but what I complain of -is that in this respect the action taken -by the Government seems to have been very slipshod, to say the least; there is no complete or definite information, unless it he contained in some Orders in Council or regulations which have not 'been brought before the House. One would suppose that when this Government brought down the Orders in Council on the opening day of Parliament they would bring down everything which would instruct the public as to the character of the actions which -they have taken to improve the food situation, which admittedly is -painful. But this information is not given in the Orders in Council brought down. Therefore, I beg to move the motion which is no-w in your hands, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I have a general idea, gained by virtue of being a member oc the Council, of the duties of the Food Controller and of his operations, but that department was really in the hands and under the direction of the President of the Privy Council, who unfortunately, by reason of illness, is not able to he present in the House. I shall therefore simply advert in a general way to some of the remarks made by my right hon. friend. There are two phases which he has passed under review; one was his resume of the work of the Food Controller as Food Controller, and the other, about which he seems to have the least information, had reference to the second stage, when the Food Controller's work was merged into the larger organization known as the Canada Food Board. With reference to the latter my hon. colleague the Minister of Agriculture has more knowledge than I, and will probably say something when I shall have finished.

I am not going to follow my right hon. friend in his prefatory remarks as to the urgency of the food situation consequent upon the general war situation as it has developed. I have no objection to take to his remarks in that respect as a fair review of the situation.

I have stronger hopes that the duration of the war will be less than my hon. friend seems to think. However, that is a mere matter of opinion, and no one 3 p.m. can tell with certainty. I do not agree with the right hon. gentleman when he says that it is not the operation of the law of supplly and demand that causes the high and advancing prices in this country. Prices have advanced throughout the world, and prices in Canada have probably been, less than in most, if not all, of the other countries. I think the main reason for the increasing prices is in the relation of supply todemand, taken in conjunction with the necessary means for getting the supply to the place of demand, that is, the general transportation question-and how that question comes in will be evident if we take the cases of Australia and New Zealand into consideration. In Australia there are millions of bushels of wheat lying stacked, the result of two years' crop, the larger part of which surplus remains to this day, simply because it is impossible economically to ship it to the centre otf demand, on account of the great distance to be traversed and the scant supply of ships. The same condition prevails with regard to New Zealand. Their warehouses and wharves are stacked up to the brim with food supplies. If the transport problem had not been so difficult, that grain and food supply in Australia and New Zealand would have been brought to the centres of demand, and would have largely prevented the increase in prices. It being found impossible, on account of transport difficulties, to move those great supplies, the nearer sources of supply have been drawn upon; that is the North American continent, and partly the South American continent. True, the question of distance is a factor, in connection with Argentina, though only in a secondary degree as compared with New Zealand and Australia. Thus the weight of the burden of furnishing supplies has to be borne by the United States and Canada, the distance *being short, in comparison with other countries. These problems, combined with the awful waste of food which takes place in war time, bring about the high cost. The abstraction of productive power from the harvest fields of the world, turned as it has

been to active warfare and the subsidiary supports of active warfare, has caused an insufficiency of supply, and, therefore, a tightening otf prices. I do not think any person can dispassionately review the conditions and come to any other conclusion than that these conditions have been the main and the basic reason why the prices of food products have gone up continuously and uniformly, and why, therefore, we are under this burden of the high cost of living. There are subsidiary local reasons that may accentuate this condition. But I make the statement, and I challenge contradiction in this House, that hoarding or 'Speculative holding has been a comparatively trivial factor in Increasing the cost of food to the consumers of this country. That is borne out by investigations which have been made irt both the United States and Canada. Bear in mind that, under modern systems of food supply, the refrigerating storehouse and the warehouse are necessities in times of peace, and in times of war they become still more necessary, because transport is uncertain and the food supply must be gathered in central places and kept there so that when vessels are available the supply may be ready for them and they may not have to wait in port. Meat and dairy products have to be stored, to be kept in edible condition, and that can only !be done by means otf cold storage. I remember being West and going through the immense storage houses in Calgary and other places. There was at that time a very large amount of meat products in storage, and why was it there? Every pound of the million dollars' worth of produce stored there was under con- , tract to be supplied to Great Britain or the other Allies. It was there, Sir, at their order, ready for immediate transport, whenever they should send for it. We must take into account that storage and warehousing, and their consequent cost, are absolutely necessary in the modern ways of doing business, and that the necessity for these is accentuated when transport conditions as they exist are present. But when you speak of hoarding for gain or speculation in this country, it is a negligible factor in increasing prices. As a local influence it does not enter largely into the general increase in commodity prices.

I submit these observations in reply to what I think is not only a false but a mischievous doctrine to be preached at the present time. Everybody knows that there is trouble enough in the country with the burdens that we are bearing, and with the

man of the Food Board, they haive done meet excellently. They have done a*s good *work as any other two men could have done. My right hon. friend aiptproved of the aip-ipointment of Mr. Hanna because he knew Mr. Hanna, and because Mr. Hanna had been a (political figure, and therefore he -was well known and had .responsibility. If a politician had ben put into this position, I can conceive of the criticism, that it was *for a political purpose .and to serve sotme political or party end, Mr. 'Thomson did not coime before the Government or the m country in that way. My right hon. friend said that he had not heard of M.r. Thomson before. That is nothing against Mr. Thomson. I think imy right hon. friend would agree with me in that. Mr. Thomson was in Mr. Hanna's office almost from, its inception. He was chosen by Mr. Hanna; he gave his services; his services approved themselves absolutely to Mr. Hanna, and Mr. Thomson naturally, in the (way of promotion, worked through that gradation; and that, added to his own well-known business abilities, signalized Mr. Thomson as the successor of Mr. Hanna, and in that way he came to be appointed.

That is all that I have to say on this subject. I am sorry that I have not such an intimate knowledge of the details of the question as to enable me to go into the matter more in detail, but my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will have the report of the Food Controller and that probably will give him a good deal of information. When he receives the additional information called for by the resolution which he has submitted to the House he will have much more data with reference to the broader field of the Food Board.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. B. DEVLIN (Wright):

The Minister of Trade and Commerce ('Sir George Foster) began his remarks by saying that the question offered to the House by the leader of the Opposition contained two phases: the one respecting the merging of the . Food Control ^Office into the Food Board, and the other respecting transportation. As to the first phase he very frankly said that although a minister of the Crown, and supposed to be familiar with everything that goes on in the Cabinet Council, especially relative to questions which closely affect this country and the Allies during the present war, he knew nothing or little, and we are to hear from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Crerar) later upon that aspect of the question. In respect to transportation, the other phase, the minister did not enlighten the House.

Nevertheless there were still three salient points about his remarks. The first dealt with the increase of prices which he put down to the usual doctrine of the operation of the law of supply and demand. The second that it was a mischievous doctrine to preach to this country that there was hoarding going on in Canada, when there was really little or no hoarding; and thirdly, the credit that ought to be given to the Government for the very long list of Orders in Council, as the minister put it, giving powers to the Food Controller to act. I would like to draw the attention of the (Minister of Trade and Commerce immediately to the statement which was made in this House last evening by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Crothers) dealing with exactly the same subject, when the latter was not altogether in accord with my right hon. friend (Mr. Foster) in stating that the increases in prices were due to the operation of the law of supply and demand. In fact the Minister of Labour did not know why the prices should be increased, but he said that the Government had taken action by taxing excessive p:olits. I would like to ask the Minister of Trade and Commerce if he does not think that a more solid reason than ;hat of the operation of the law of supply and demand is the one given by those who have studied political economy, especially during the present phases of onr .history, and who find that the great producing class, the farmers of Canada, are receiving absolutely no protection from the Government, whilst every other class o'f the community is being looked after. Let me draw the Government's attention at once to the fact that since the inception of the war they have been urging the farmers of Canada to produce more and more, ana still more. But whilst they have been so preaching they do not seem to have been concerned with any action to aid the farmers in greater production. Their sole concern has been to aid other classes of the community in making excessive profits in what they have to offer to the public. To be just in my criticism, however, I should give the Government credit for the action which they took in removing the duty on tractors. The farmers -and I speak now on behalf of a great many of them-are truly grateful to the Government for having removed that duty. They feel that the Government have realized .that this is truly a war measure, and the only effective war measure dealing with food production which they have undertaken since they assumed office. The removal of the duty on tractors must immediately

show to the Minister of Trade and Commerce that there were other influences regulating the price of commodities as that removal tends to help the farmers towards cheaper production. The only surprise our farmers seem, to have, Sir, is that whilst the Government removed the duty on tractors, thereby reducing the price upon certain tractors to the extent of from $250 to $400, they did not go a step further, and abolish the duty upon harrows, seeders, mowers, rakes, binders and threshing machines. There is in this country a certain class of farmers who are not great users of tractors; but I think every kind of agriculturist in Canada operates a harrow, a seeder, and a plough.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I do not want to interrupt my hon. friend, but it seems to me that he is getting a long way from the resolution before the House. I cannot see that there is any connection between this resolution and the tariff.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Before you give a ruling upon the point, Mr. Speaker, I wish to say this to my right hon. friend: He spoke of the hoarding toy the farmers; of matters affecting transportation; of the law of supply and demand. Following my right hon. friend upon those lines, I thought it would toe in order to point out, as relating to the influence of supply and demand the enhanced cost of farm production as one of the possible reasons for the increased price of commodities. Does my right hon. friend persist in my not going on?

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Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

No, I simply

called my hon. friend's attention to it, that is all. I thought that he would come back to the subject himself, tout that he might come back a little more quickly if I brought the matter to his attention.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Perhaps my right hon. friend thought that by interrupting at this *point he might cause me to forget the farmers.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Oh, no; a Devlin never forgets.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

If there was a reason for removing the duty upon tractors as h (means of reducing the cost of commodities, there were three reasons for removing the duties on ploughs and harrows also. Of course, that is a matter which my right hon. friend and the Government will deal with. But I desire to emphasize the fact that the increased cost of production increases the cost of commodities coming 'from the farmers. A slight concession has been made to the farmers-a

concession to which my right hon. friend has taken exception. It was natural, Mr. Speaker, that my right hon. friend^-the great protectionist, who would build the tariff wall higher and higher-should be startled to find that one stone or one brick had fallen out of the tariff wall. I submit that he should go a step farther as a war measure-for I believe that this removal of duties is only for a certain time; it is a tentative war measure. The Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Crerar) must, of-course, have certain tendencies along the line of lower tariff, and I suggest that he keep prodding the Minister of Trade and Comujerce (Sir George Foster) with a view to getting him to remove the duties on farm implements and other things which the farmer requires. He knows, does he not, that if you keep down the cost to the farmer of the tools of production the farmer will be aible to charge lower prices for the commodities which he has to offer?

The Minister of Trade and Commerce told us that we would very shortly have, if we have not now, the report of Mr. Hanna. I happen to have it in my hands, and as the minister was speaking my eye glanced at certain lines in that report which bear upon the very question under discussion. They are as follows:

What that supreme consideration was is the winning of the war, and the requirements for that purpose are summed up in a statement made by me:

"Far greater than the necessity of production for home supplies is that for the supply of Great Britain and our Allies. Great Britain is producing more of foodstuffs than for many yeans, but the supply is, of course, wholly inadequate for her population and her armies. Belgium is practically all in the hands of Germany; so also is a considerable portion of France, Serbia, Rumania, and Russian Poland and now a portion of Italy is in the hands of the enemy. The productive power of our Allies is lessened by the number of inhabitants in arms. The situation in France and Italy from a food point of view is serious and that is what makes the demand in Canada and the United States for conservation of resources and increased production so imperative. To feed the Allies is the paramount duty of North America. It is far greater than the necessity of production for home supply or the cost of living. Unless the war is won, nothing matters."

Yesterday we listened to gentlemen in this House sipeak about production in the back gardens in the cities. I think that every man who lives in the city has a bit of a fad about gardening. We all go out in the spring time, if it is only to get the air, taking with us a hoe, a rake and possibly a spade. We go out around our grounds; we rake, and we use the hoe and. the spade.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

I accept, of course, according to the rule of debate, my hon. Mend's statement, but 'before I get through with miy remarks I hope to be able to point out to him the exact words as we find them in the Canadian Pood Bulletin. The Canadian Food Bulletin must be wrong, or my hon. friend* is wrong, or we are all wrong. This is the Canadian Food Bulletin issued 'by t'he Dominion Government. I understand it is now the official organ of the Minister of Agriculture. Am I right?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. ORERAR:

That is not correct.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Is this department not under my hon. friend now?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

The publication to which my hon. friend refers is issued iby the Canada Food Board. It was issued by the Food Controller prior to the formation of the Canada Food Board, and it is for the purpose of keeping the public informed as to the work toeing done by the Board. I't is not the official organ or publication of the Minister of Agriculture, nor of the Government.

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Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

I must again accept the statement of the Minister of Agriculture. I am altogether at sea if I am to believe the Government publications and disbelieve the

Minister of Agriculture, or believe the Minister of Agriculture and disbelieve the Government publications. I have in my hand an extract from the Canada Gazette, dated February 15, 1918, which informs us that:

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture, and under and by virtue of the powers in that behalf conferred on the Governor in Council by the War Measures Act, 1914, is pleased to order and it Is hereby ordered:-[DOT]

That a Board be created to be called the Canada Food Board; that the said Board consist of a Director of Food Conservation, a Director of Food Production, and a Director of Agricultural Labour;

That the Board shall be under the jurisdiction of and shall report to the Governor General in Council through the Minister of Agriculture.

The Food Board, therefore, is a branch under the direct jurisdiction of my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture. Am I wrong? If I am right, the Minister of Agriculture must of necessity he wrong. I do not wish to make any misstatements in the House, and I know my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture does not either. I wish to put him right again, if I may, through the publication of which I spoke a moment ago, this very Canadian Food Bulletin, which is published by 'the Food Board, which is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Agriculture. On page 16 of the issue of January 26th, 1918, I find the following:

The problem was discussed at a meeting of the Provincial Ministers of Agriculture, Deputy Ministers and other representatives in Ottawa on January 16th and 17th, under the Chairmanship of Hon. T. A. Crerar, Minister of Agriculture in the Dominion Cabinet. A number of suggestions were made by the various representatives of the Provincial Governments attending, to be considered and discussed.

Mr. Crerar referred to the fact that the Allies looked to Canada in 1918, for an increase of 250,000,000 bushels of wheat over the amount supplied in 1917. United States winter wheat, he pointed out, had amounted in 1917 to only 420,000,000 bushels as compared to an average for six previous years of 600,000,000 bushels. The prospect of the Spring wheat. crop of 1918 was not bright. Labour was the essential factor and the chief problem.

Therefore, I am right, if this report is correct; but if the report is incorrect, I am wrong. My hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture has another publication, the eternal verity of which he will not deny; it is known as the Agricultural Gazette of Canada, a Government publication sanctioned by the Minister of Agriculture. In the issue of J anuary, 1918, a reason is given for the lack of supplies, especially of wheat going to the United States; and I find that the Minister of Trade and Commerce was again astray in his explanation of why we

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Minister of Agriculture) :

memory serves me right, I think within two months after its formation, steps were taken to control the milk supply of the City of New York. In their zeal and anxiety to meet the public demand and the public need, a price was arbitrarily fixed for milk. What was the result? In less than three months .that set price had to be removed. And tens of thousands of dairy cows had to be slaughtered, simply because the producers of milk could not operate under the price that had been fixed. In that case the fixing of a price tended directly to defeat the very object that was desired. Consequently, the fixing of prices of any commodity miust be very carefully-investigated, and closely analysed, in order to see that the delicate balance is not upset, and that we do not land in a worse position than that we seek to escape from.

Having overlooked the fact, Mr. Speaker, that this discussion might come up ithis afternoon, I have not at my hand some information that I should have had if I had known it was coming up. But I can say this, that the fundamental principle underlying the food administration is to exercise control by way of license over the various lines of business. We have brought the bakers of Canada, the millers, the fish dealers, and several other lines my memory does not recall, under license. To-day the wholesale grocers of Canada are being brought under license, and the retail grocers will be brought under license as well. Now, coming from western Canada, I speak with some knowledge of the benefits that come from the licensing system. That has been one o! the great protections in our grain industry. In western Canada especially, years ago, I believe, when the Government of my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition was in power, the system was introduced. To-day no dealer in grain in western Canada can do business under the law of the land unless he first secures a license. That license sets out certain conditions on which he must do business, and not only that, the forfeiture of that license, or its withdrawal, deprives him of the right to do business. In that way a salutary influence can be exercised over the dealer. It is practically the same principle that we are endeavouring to work out in respect to the fopd administration in Canada; and I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that when it gets in full operation it will have .the same beneficial results. To-day we are bringing under license, speaking from memory, over 40,000 retail grocers. License fees are being charged, and I want to tell my hon. friend

from Wright, who is disturbed as to where, this expenditure is leading u^, that we expect in the food administration to receive in license fees alone this year over $250,000, and in that way the expense that is incidental to the control will be met from the business itself. That is perfectly proper. Every grain dealer in western Canada today, depending upon the volume of the business he does, has to pay a license fee in order to secure his privilege to do business.

But I am going to toe very .frank with .the House and say that you cannot organize an immense organization of this kind without a great deal of difficulty. You have got to get the men. And I want here to bear testimony to the zeal and earnestness of the men who are to-day working in the food administration. It is true they are getting salaries that may look large. These men, Mr. Speaker, are getting no higher salaries -in some cases not nearly as high-than they could get if they went out into the commercial world and sold their services in the usual way. I think they are Tather to be commended for their willingness to serve in this way. There are men working in the food administration who have worked there for months without any remuneration at all excepting their living expenses. I think men are to toe commended for that.

The question, however, of production is one of the vital questions that face us in Canada at the present time. There is no doubt that the food situation in the world to-day is serious, very serious, and we in Canada, the people in North America, must bend our energies and use every ounce of strength we possess to raise to the very highest maximum possible our production of foodstuffs in the present year. The inability of Europe to feed herself arises from two causes. First, from the withdrawal of millions of men in Italy, France and Great Britain from the ordinary avocations of agriculture to the pursuits of war, and second in certain cases, from the absence of the fertilizer that is essential to maintaining the productivity of the soil. It is true that the withdrawal of men from agricultural labour in the countries in question has been met to a certain extent by the work of the women available there. Today I am told that in Great "Britain over six hundred thousand women are engaged in manual labour of some kind or another in agriculture. In France hundreds of thousands of women are working in the fields who knew nothing of this work before the war broke out. I sometimes feel, Mr. Speaker, that we in Canada have not quite realized yet in many respects that we

are at war; that is, the reality of it has not come home as closely to us as it has to the people who have lived under the very shadow of it for years. But we must bend our efforts and our energies, we must increase our efforts in Canada to meet this situation. The need for men we know is great. The need for food is great also, and we must set about meeting these needs with as great energy, as great care, and as much ability as we possess, in order to organize our country in these respects so as to stand up under .the mighty burden that we have to carry. I am hopeful, nay, I am certain, that good results will come from the effort that is being made at the present time to stimulate production in this country.

Criticism has been directed against the creation of the Food Board, inasmuch as it provides for a Director of Production and a Director of Agricultural Labour Now one of the difficulties we are meeting is that of securing labour. The purpose in creating a Director of Agricultural Labour, was to have a man in charge of that work who would make it a special study, and already good results are coming from it. In consequence of that effort, and the work of the Food Administration, there are being enrolled in Canada over 25,000 boys from the age of fifteen to nineteen, to work on the farms, boys from the towns and cities who otherwise, unless this organization had taken place, would not have been available for farm work. I have spoken to several farmers in Ontario who had this Class of help last year, and they stated that it.was the most effective help they have had. Again, an effort will be made to secure by voluntary enlistment, men from the towns and cities.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADA FOOD BOARD.
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March 27, 1918