April 29, 1918

UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. S. F. GLASS (East Middlesex):

Mr. Speaker, I beg to move in amendment:

That all the words after the word "that" in the main motion toe struck out and the following substituted: therefor:

"In the opinion of this House, in view of the universal world shortage of flax and other fibres used in industry, resultant from the devastation wrought in those countries which have hitherto been the world's largest producers, and in view of the peculiar adaptability of the soil and climatic conditions in many parts of Canada for successfully growing flax and

family of Hebert some three hundred years ago. The habitants throughout these many years, and the settlers in many other parts, scutched out, heckled and spun as well as wove their yarns into linens, and some of the linen is to be found in the homes of these people to this day.

Flax, therefore, it is proven has been grown and manufactured in this country ever since the country was first settled. Before the invention of the cotton-gin cheapened the production of cotton fabric, flax spinning and weaving was a common household industry. The older generation of the present day can remember the spinning wheel and distaff wound with flax in the corner of the country kitchen.

The importance of the industry was early recognized and in the United States was carefully fostered by legislation. As early as the year 1640 the Massachusetts General Assembly passed an Act to encourage the production of flax, which was followed by similar action by other states, including rennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. In. the year 1719 a large immigration of Scotch-Irish from Londonderry improved colonial knowledge of the cultivation and manufacture of flax. Encouragement was given to its manufacture in a household way, and in the year 1791 it is recorded that in the tw.o states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 25,265 yards of linen were manufactured in the homes, and that in the year 1810 the production in families throughout the United States was 21,211,262 yards, the flax being mostly grown by the families who made the linen. Experience, however, later showed the invention of the cotton-gin and the consequent cheapening of cotton cloth, to a large extent destroyed this household industry in the United States as well as in the Dominion, but by no means killed the linen industry. For certain purposes linen is indispensable. In strength, beauty, and durability it so far surpasses cotton that it maintains its place in spite of all competition. It is significant that at the time of the civil war in the United States the production of flax was less than five million pounds. To be accurate, in the year 1860 records show the production of fibre to have been 4,720,145 pounds, and ten years later this had jumped<|J,o 27,133,034 pounds. By 1880, the production had shrunk to 1,565,546 pounds. In 1870 thirty-two states of the Union were producing flax fibre, so that it was shown the soil and climatic conditions were favourable in many parts, though the statistics also showed that 26,484,319 of the

amount was produced in nine -states-Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of this amount Ohio produced 17,880,624 pounds. But the real reason why, on this continent, flax has not occupied that foremost position amongst the fibre and weaving industries that it formerly held is due primarily to the disadvantage under which we are in this country with regard to labour. We are in competition with the cheap labour of Russia, Belgium and other countries.

Flax, although grown in a rotation, and although grown like any other field crop, is rather complex and difficult to handle and the labour cost of production is very much greater than that of any other crop. Flax has to go through various processes in order to produce a marketable article in the -shape of fibre. The people on this continent have not given serious consideration to the proper tilling and preparation of the soil necessary to produce the best results. Very frequently it has been considered that an old pasture which has to a certain extent played out is a suitable field on which to grow a crop of flax. Besides, wh-ere it has been grown -that serious attention has not been paid to fertilization which is given to other crops, and consequently the yields have been dissappoint-ing. It has been reported that in the West, where, flax is largely grown for -seed, the yield per acre runs from a ton to a ton and a half. On the other hand it is quite a common thing in Belgium, France and Germany to produce a crop of three and a half tons, and even as high as four tons per acre. I think, however, that a fair average crop in those countries where flax has been successfully grown is about three tons to the acre.

In this country the method of encouraging the culture of flax has been something along this line: Certain groups of men, who have established flax mills, say to the farmer, "We want you to grow so many acres of flax each year; we will give you the seed free, you plough the land, put the seed in and deliver the crop; we will provide all the necessary labour, after fur^ nishing the seed to you." After the flax is grown the process has been to pull it by hand, but that is only possible profitably where you have cheap labour. In western Ontario we have used a great many Indians. Sometimes boys and young girls have been able to earn a little money in this calling; but whereas in days gone by a field of flax could be pulled at a cost of

about $4 per acre the price has rapidly advanced and at the present time it costs about $15 per acre for hand pulling, which is a very great detriment to the development of the flax industry in this country, because if as high as $15 per acre has to be paid for pulling the flax it is not possible to compete with the countries where it costs only $4 per acre for pulling.

As the flax is pulled it has got to be cured. It has to be de-seeded and in the absence of a mechanical contrivance it practically means that all this work has got to be done by hand. When the deseeder has removed the seed the flax is laid out on the ground again and exposed to the dews and the rains until, in a very short space of time, the outer woody substance which must be separated from the fibre itself before it can be used, has retted. Now after the retting is done the flax has to be dried again and then gathered up and taken to the mill. I am pointing out the disadvantages under which we have suffered from the standpoint of hiring labour. The flax is delivered by the farmer to the mill and the miller then takes charge if it, but nearly all the processes within the mill have been, to a more or less extent, of a primitive nature and have not enjoyed that, development in mechanical devices which almost every other industry of a similar character has experienced. Therefore it has been a costly commodity to manufacture. The different processes which flax has had to undergo on the way to the spinner have been of the old-fashioned character, and as a result the cost has been so great that it has not been, up till recent years, so attractive a proposition. for the farmer who is the producer, or for the miller who produces the fibre. It is an old-fashioned saying, however, that necessity is the mother of invention, 'and when we discussed this subject two years ago in the House we weTe in this position: There had been no machine discovered which could suitably pull that flax in the field. The old method of hand labour went on, and until last season old methods weie still in vogue: The flax was pulled

by hand and retted on the ground. Two years ago we had a man in the city of Ottawa who had been working for .some years on a machine, and who devised one that in a way did-not altogether effectively by any means, for it was not mechanically perfect -in an imperfect way perform the work of pulling flax. In the year 1916 I visited the flax fields in western Ontario during the harvest season and the most astonishing thing to me w'as that there was a machine

invented in 1837, and bronght into the country in the year 1857, and sixty years after its introduction into Canada was still working in the fields of western Ontario and in a way doing the work of pulling flax. Notwithstanding that the inventor of that machine knew the principle and the idea called for, human ingenuity and the skill of scientists had failed to evolve a perfect machine whereby flax could be economically pulled to meet the competition of cheap labour.

But, as I have said, necessity is the mother of invention, and I am glad to say that now-I have it on the authority of the flax producers of western Ontario-that a gentleman who formerly lived in Mont- . real, Mr. J. H. Tombyll, has perfected a machine which effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily performs the work of pulling flax. If such is the case that machine will be of incalculable value to our flax growers and to our farmers, because it will solve once for all the problem Of cheap labour in connection with the pulling of flax. The countries of France, Belgium and Russia will never in all likelihood hereafter have the same opportunities of cheap labour that they have enjoyed in the past, but even should this anticipation prove to be unfounded we have now in Canada a satisfactory method of meeting their competition. The best evidence that the machine in question is satisfactory is that it worked in the fields most successfully last year. One western Ontario grower has bought sixteen of the machines for operation next year, and another has purchased eighteen.

I have it from men who are producers and growers in that part of Ontario that the machine is working satisfactorily. Therefore, I figure it is safe to assume that we have practically solved the difficulty of pulling flax economically. I am also told, strange as it may be, that almost concurrently with the development of this device in Canada they have perfected a machine of the same kind in Ireland, and that they have not only perfected a pulling machine but also a scutching machine. The very need which has been pressed home upon growers in Ireland, just as it has been pressed home upon our growers here, has driven them to a solution of the problem which has disturbed them and which they had not been able to solve for a period of hundreds of years back. Had we nothing else to encourage us at the present time in developing the growth of flax than the fact that we have solved the problem of cheap labour for the har-

vesting of it, it would still be a great incentive and encouragement for us to go on and develop the industry in this country, because the product of flax outrivals in value per acre at the present time any cereal that we grow.

I am at liberty, I presume, to make that statement here, because I visited the Experimental Farm the other day, and toid Prof. Grisdale that one prominent grower in western Ontario, who is a very large producer, Mr. Howard Fraleigh, of Forest, told me that he had sold his flax fibre this year at the rate of $1,400 a ton, and his average production on the ground he cultivated was 400 pounds of fibre to the acre. The average production of seed was from eight to nine bushels to the acre. That seed of western Ontario to-day has established such a reputation in Great Britain and Ireland that it is practically the only seed being used for the fibre they are expecting to produce for their aeroplanes next year. Now, Prof. Grisdale told me, when I thought that was an extraordinarily good price, that they have samples of fibre from Quebec, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, and practically from all parts of Canada sent from experimental farms and stations where they have been grown to be put through the appliances for scutching and heckling in the flax mill at the Experimental Farm, Ottawa, and to be put in shape for the market. Here is fibre, drawn from all the districts of Canada, making a conglomerate collection of various qualities no doubt, and grown under different conditions, yet the total product of all that fibre this year has been sold by the farm at the price of $1,400 per ton. I do not know how far that goes. I would suggest, however, that the product of this year gathered at the Central Experimental Farm would mean that the overhead cost of operation had been almost covered by the sale of fibre this year. I hope that is a condition which doeis prevail, because it would be a justification for what has already been done, as well as a substantial reason why the Department of Agriculture should even go further than they have gone.

I said that the seed grown in the province of Ontario to-day is practically the only seed that is being used in Ireland in the production of fibre with which the British Government next year propose to construct their aeroplane wings. I understand it is also used in the body of the machines. Two years or so ago, at a large world fibre show held in Ireland, flax grown in Ireland from Canadian fibre seed won first prize

against the competition of the whole world. In Ireland last year or the year before, it is stated-and I have it vouched for by those who have seen it- that if you go through the country in the districts where this commodity is grown, the reputation of Ontario flax seed has made such headway that along the farms on big signboards you will see in strong outstanding letters the words "Flax Fibre from Canadian Seed." In Ireland at the present time the value of Ontario seed for fibre is $10 a bushel. I submit that we have established a reputation that it is our duty to carefully guard and protect against the inroads of other countries and of other seeds which may be brought into competition with ours.

Just here I want to draw the attention of the minister to a certain matter, and I have no doubt he is fully apprised of it and may have taken action. The British Government have found difficulty in getting seed. Notwithstanding that in Ireland they produce a very good quality of fibre, I am told that they cannot allow the straw to mature sufficiently so that the seed will be sufficiently ripened to be used for another crop. For that reason, in the past, Ireland has largely depended for her seed on Holland. We in Ontario, or in Canada, have been using Dutch seed; we have grown it here, for the general practice has been to continue its growth in Ontario for a period of four years, and experience has shown that it gradually runs out, and must be replenished with new seed. Now, the seed we have sent to Ireland is a Holland seed we have grown for one year in this country, and then shipped to Ireland to meet the needs of this year. Were it not for the seed supplied by Canada, notwithstanding the need for fibre in the armies next year, there would not have been seed available in any part of the world to meet the need. To that extent we have helped the Mother Country and the Empire, and we can well congratulate ourselves and the department on our foresight in stimulating this industry, so that instead of growing the few thousand acres we did in 1916, our increase for last year was practically equal to almost double the product of two years ago.

Now, Great Britain was bringing over from Japan, or some one was bringing from Japan, a large amount of

say something later. Of this seed, some 400 tons got as far as Montreal, where it was put into the British war stores. Owing to the fact thait it could not come forward, in time, and that when it did come forward Canadian seed had already preceded it to the old country, and as therefore the need of it was not so great in the old country, it was held in Canada, as well as for the reason that transportation for it could not be procured. Now, the British Government has sent out to Canada-I would like the House to pay careful attention to this, for I think it is a matter of vital importance that must be protected-Col. Wayland, of Winnipeg, who represents a Winnipeg firm, to arrange for the distribution of this seed amongst our farmers, not for fibre, because the straw and fibre goes to the farmer, but for the purpose of reproducing seed which they are going to grow in Ireland and Great Britain next year for fibre. I do not know what this seed is; I do not know whether the Government knows what it is; I do not know how good and substantial it may be for fibre. But these aTe the terms on which it is being peddled out to the farmer to grow this year inCanada. Col. Wayland comes here under the authority of the Home Government, and he has a department at work in Toronto under the direction of Col. Pratt, who has put double headline columns in the papers advertising the distribution of this flaxseed. If the farmers of Canada grow this flax this year, they get the seed free; the only condition is that from the crop grown they shall return bushel for bushel advanced them for seeding; any crop over this they are guaranteed a market for at a fair price of $4.50 a bushel. That seed is being grown in the province of Ontario and in western Canada. I do not know, but I think, it is being grown practically wherever farmers will take it and grow it. I submit to the minister most respectfully, that wherever that seed goes it should he carefully earmarked. Now that we have established the reputation in Ireland for producing a seed from which a fibre of the highest quality can be produced, and which commands the price of $10 a bushel in the home market, there is an opening for an immense amount of injury to ourselves and to the grower at home if these seeds I have referred to become mixed with our owii, which can quite easily be done unless they are carefully marked.

I do not pretend to suggest how the interests of Canada will be protected, but it might be in this way. If a farmer should grow seed from Canadian flax seed which has been demonstrated to be sound and good for fibre, and for which the British Government is prepared to pay ten dollars a bushel, that seed should be kept separate from any other seed that is grown, and used as seed for next year, because, if our production increases in the same ratio as during the past-two years, we shall likely have a hundred thousand bushels of fibre seed for export instead of forty or fifty thousand. There is, however, the possibility of this other seed going to Ireland as Canadian fibre seed and, grown there, being found to be absolutely unfit for fibre. In that case, the reputation which we have built up over these years is going to be seriously damned. We must guard our interests in that respect.

I do not think it is necessary to point out the difficulties that present themselves any further than to suggest to the minister and the department that this matter should be very carefully watched.

I want to tell my hon. friends from Quebec that, on my visit to the Experimental Farm the other day, while I had always been under the impression that the farmers of Ontario had the' reputation of growing the best fibre on the continent of America, I was told by the fibre expert at the Experimental Farm and also by Professor Grisdale that the best fibre produced under experimental conditions in Canada last year was that grown in Gaspe, Quebec.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
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L LIB
UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. GLASS:

I was also told that in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, a quantity of flax not second to that grown in Quebec, was produced.

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L LIB
UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. GLASS:

We grow a large quantity of fibre in Ontario. I do not know what success my hon. friends would have if they put in a large crop. I can appreciate how a few acres properly tilled and cultivated might produce much better results than a large area of several thousand acres. We, however, envy the people of Quebec the reputation they have made, and they can be close competitors with us in developing this industry which in the future, will have great bearing upon the economic conditions of our country.

dn many of the provinces of Canada it has been demonstrated that we can produce fibre of excellent quality. That is true of the lower provincee, of Ontario, and of British Columbia. I am not prepared to say just how far the western provinces produce a high-grade fibre, but even in those provinces very great improvement could be made if an honest effort were made

Doubtless there are many prejudices in connection with the growth of flax. The farmers have the idea that its growth exhausts the soil, but the experiments carried on by the Department of Agriculture during the years 1906-1908, the results of which appear in Bulletin No. 59, show that this view is unwarranted1. The Bulletin asks 'the question, does flax exhaust the soil? This question is usually answered in the affirmative, but this opinion does not appear to be warranted' by the chemical analyses which have been made of this crop, showing the principal elements of fertility taken from the soil during the period of its growth. The results which have been obtained tby chemical examination have furnished the following figures, which represent approximately the plant food removed from the soil by flax, wheat and1 oats.

The figures mentioned to this (to quote Professor Saunders) :

It will be seen that the grain in the case of wheat crop, takes up a little more nitrogen; nearly one-third1 less of phosphoric acid; and about one-eighth less of potash. The difference^ however, in exhaustive effect of these several crops on a rich soil would scarcely be perceptible, and would not justify the opinion that flax is a very exhausting crop.

Another eminent authority, Dr. A. W. Thornton, of Bellingham, state of Washington, who edited a new book, entitled, " The American' System of Flax and Other Fibre Culture " only last year which gives considerable information on this subject, says:

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SOIL AND SOIL EXHAUSTION.


Right here it may not be out of place to refer to a very generally held), though erroneous notion, that flax is very exhaustive on the soil. In this connection I cannot do better than quote from C. R. Dodge, report No. 10, on Flax Culture, in the United States, published by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, in which Mr. Eugene Boss, a leading authority on the subejct, states as. follows: "There is a strong prejudice among some people agiainst the culture of flax, they say flax is hard1 on the land. I am painfully impressed in regard to the wisdom of those who advocate such an untrue thing, because of their ignorance of the composition of the plant, its habits and needs. Yes, the flax is hard on the land; when the farmer plows his land shallow, sows it thinly, and allows the weeds too much room to fill the space, then it is not the flax that ruins the land, but that very rapacious enemy, the weeds. Plow the land shallow, and you do not let the plant follow its natural course. You force its roots to feed on the surface, and there lies one of the reasons why flax, as commonly cultivated, remains short and dries up instead of ripening naturally. The moisture it so much requires is too quickly absorbed. It is true I have seen fields1 of pretty long flax that have been sown on very shallow land, hut 'that land was very rich or very open, with a propitious season. I deny that flax is harder on land than wheat, rye, oats, or barley, when similarly cultivated, it wants a deep soil, 10 or 12 inches at least, thoroughly pulverized in order to allow its main root to go straight down into the earth and find there most of the elements essential to healthy growth. He goes on in this way, and his comments on the article show that he is entirely opposed to the theories generally prevailing among the farming community as to the exhaustion of the soil. So much for the flax which we have been growing in Ontario and several other provinces. There is another side of the flax question which is of very great interest to the people of western Canada, and I desire to draw the attention of the House to the developments and the investigations that have been going along in that direction. It is generally understood that farmers of the West have not produced a class of fibre which can be spun into yarn and from yam woven into high grade linen. The invention and perfecting of a flax puller 'by the Flax Harvesting Company, Limited, of Brantford, Ont., which is the same machine known as the Tombyll already referred to-has provided a simple, effective and proven puller, promises to be an immense stimulant to farmers throughout the country, and if used by the farmers of the West will add many thousands of dollars of value to the straw product. Indoor retting under the Feuillette system has been in operation for some years, and in France six years ago a substantial grant was made by the French Government to the inventor. A machine for deseeding flax straw -has been perfected, the work being done without breaking or tangling the straw, and is now on the market. Bulletin No. 669, published by the Department of Agriculture, Washington, also shows the quantity of linen fibre produced. The company known as the Flax Fibre Development Association, under the management of Mr. F. L. Van Allen, of Regina, Sask., encouraged by the provincial government, have made, they claim, substantial progress in methods of utilization of western flax straw. They claim to have produced on a commercial basis, yams binder-twine, heavy commercial twines and fine commercial twines, all from fibre [DOT] of western flax straw. The seed is threshed, but must not pass through the blower. The fibre is extracted! from the straw by mechanical process, treated by their own methods, which can be carried out under cover without regard to climatic conditions, the fibre then being, drawn, spun, and twisted on standard soft fibre machinery. As the problems affecting western straw are vastly different from those in the East, they have had to be solved by scientific research. The objects of the company have been defined as follows: To separate and extract fibre from flax straw by purely mechanical means, and without having to resort to what is commonly known as retting, and to manufacture the product into various articles of merchandise. It is estimated that throughout the Canadian West some 2,000,000 tons of flax straw are 'burnt annually. The flax plant there being grown solely for its seed (linseed).


UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

I have been told that the western flax for fibre is not a success and that there is no long fibre in it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   SOIL AND SOIL EXHAUSTION.
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UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. GLASS:

That is correct; that is my information, and that is confirmed by those who are in a position to kno-w. In the West flax is grown entirely different from the way it is grown here. It is not grown for the fibre, but for the seed, and the methods of growing flax and feeding the soil are quite different from the methods used in Ontario. They grow a short plant that develops a large amount of seed, but a very short straw, and the process of pulling is not in vogue there. The straw is cut by the ordinary harvesting machine, so as to get the seed. Very little value is attached to the straw for fibre purposes. It has been wasted, but research and investigation have shown that this straw can be devoted to a very useful purpose lin industry. In the past, however, from the standpoint of purely fibre production, it has not been a success. Notwithstanding the enormous amount of seed grown with which to make linseed oil, and any one who has had occasion to use that commodity under present conditions will realize that its advance from 50 cents a gallon to about $2.50 a gallon, shows the enormous world increase in the demand for that commodity of linseed oil.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

What is the reason the flax industry has ceased to be successful in' 'Canada?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
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UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. GLASS:

ll think that question is answered by my observation a few minutes ago. Our experience here was the same as that of the United States. The old fossilized methods of pulling and handling flax and of treating it from the time it was pulled in the harvest field to the time it was manufactured into fibre were so crude and expensive that it could not compete with the cheap labour of Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, Russian or, in fact, any of those European countries, where fibre was grown. Our labour was too expensive to compete with them.

Having solved the problem of pulling flax, we have in a large measure put ourselves on a par with those countries, so far as the future development of the industry in this country is concerned. It is costing $15 an acre to pull this flax by hand. By the use of this machine, and under most improved methods of pulling by the machine, I understand that, at the present time, it can now be done for $2,50 an acre, and this may, in course of time be further reduced. In separating the seed from the plant by ordinary means of the thresher, the fibre in the straw of the West is sacrificed, and' when recovered shows a length of from one to three inches only. The fibre has nevertheless a commercial value as a raw material for paper, pulp, felting, insulating, .quilt, etc. Where the flax straw is threshed without its being broken the fibre when separated shows a length of about ten inches. This is a very valuable fibre and .can be used in the manufacture of oakum and for cordage purposes. World wide shortage of fibres, especially line fibre, and all other fibres in sympathy, have necessarily forced substitution. The linen fields of the world have been the Baltic provinces of Russia, Northern France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Portugal and North and South America.

Of these countries, Belgium and Russia supplied the greater proportion of the world's supplies prior to the war, but these fields are completely under German control. With decreased production there has been increased demand, and at the present time the contingencies of war practically demand the total supplies in vietw, or ,in the near future possible of production. The first order of the American government for airplanes required a supply of over three and three-quarter million yards of line. Besides linen, the coarser fibres are short in supply. It is said that Canada alone can consume annually ten million pounds of twines. Increased shipbuilding will make an increased demand on cordage, and the movement for greater production is bound to have its influence in increasing the demand for binder twine. With this condition ahead, new sources of supply must be found for the standard fibres, or else suitable substitutes must be found in quantities sufficient for the needs. Will the vast fields of the West- solve this problem? Can this substitute be found in the waste flax straw of the western prairies? Some think it can, and that the world's needs may be found and can be recovered from this waste

REVISED edition

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Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   SOIL AND SOIL EXHAUSTION.
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UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. GLASS:

I did not say that it did not come in; but that I thought it should come in free of duty. I was in hopes that the Department of Customs, or whatever department has charge of this matter, where a man was importing hemp seed for the purpose of seeding, would remit the duty. This man is importing it for experimental purposes, not for ordinary commercial purposes, and is doing the work that the Department of Agriculture might well do on its own farms at its own expense. This seed was imported by him direct from the shipper in Kentucky. Is it not reasonable- that under those circumstances a man Should have the same right to free entry as one who might be importing seed for growing? Now, hemp seed in the ordinary sense as we have known

it, is a commercial seed used for bird seed, and as such it comes in subject to a duty, but it is an entirely different product from this seed which is brought in for fibre purposes. A man who is willing to take the * chance to -grow it and experiment with it should, in my opinion, be entitled to consideration. Mr. Fraleigh has been three years at this, and each recurring year has been presenting his case to the department, and I think the Customs Department might be liberal enough to decide that, under the ordinary tariff for seeds, this commodity brought in for that specific purpose should come in free. I may say that Mr. Fraleigh tells me further that the hemp fibre he has produced from this seed has been sent to the Smith and Dove Manufacturing Company of Andover, Mass., and they have said that the fibre is of as high a quality as has been produced anywhere on this continent. His fibre is a fibre of the very highest quality, and is being used at the present time in combination with linen, and a union linen is being made in these mills by the use of this hemp fibre and the flax fibre in conjunction.

Mr. Fraleigh also pointed this out to me a few weeks ago when I was there, that a hand scutcher is an experienced mechanic who cannot be trained in a day or two or in two or three years, and several of his men have already gone overseas. He says that he cannot get men for that purpose, and that each of these scutchers who has left could each week scutch enough fibre to make a complete aeroplane. I point this out to show that in view of the increase in our acreage of flax this year it is highly undesirable that any further depletion of our scutchers should be permitted.

I understand that a department of scientific research for flax or fla^, fibre has been established. .1 do not know just who comprise the special committee, who are devoting their attention to flax. 1 understand that Professor W. C. Murray, of the University of Saskatchewan, is chairman, .and that Dr. Ruttan of M cG ii 1 University, Dr. F. T. Shutt of the Experimental Farm, Dr. Ferd. Van Bruyssell and Professor Grisdale comprise the committee who haVe under advisement these matters regarding flax.

I believe that the Government would make no mistake if they added to this committee a man like Howard Fraleigh. The Minister of Agriculture told us two years ago when he went over to Washington and skimmed the whole territory of the United States to get information 'concerning this .subject,

that when he got to the man who was supposed to ibe the chief authority there, he gave him the name of two men, one Mr. Summers of Port Huron, Mich., and then he added: "You have in Canada

one of the best posted men on this subject on this continent in Howard Fraleigh." That was his tribute to this man. Mr. Fraleigh is a man who lives and dreams this subject all the time; his whole soul, heart and interest are in making the best success of the cultivation of flax. I would suggest to. the minister that, in forming advisory committees, or in taking the advice of men who .are capable to give advice in connection with flax development, I believe Howard Fraleigh would make a valuable addition to any council that may be appointed.

There is much, Mr. Speaker, to be said on this subject, so much, in fact, that I regret it got started at such a late hour. I do sincerely urge on the minister this one thing: so far as the industrial end is concerned some encouragement is necessary to establish the spinning of flax fibre in Canada, and so to connect up the producing industry to the weaving industry in this country. So long as we remain in our present position, we will be "hewers of wood and drawers of water" for the other fellow. We do all the hard labour in connection with production and with the delivery 'of the fibre, and when we get that done we send the fibre out of our country to be spun into yarns, then our weavers have to bring the yarn back into this country to be made into linen. The mill in Guelph, which represents an Investment of three-quarters of a million, ships its linens to the United States, showing that it has the best market in the world at its disposal. This proves that their product js worthy of Canadian industry, and is a tribute to the equipment they have for manufacturing linen. I do submit that it is a matter of vital importance to have this industry developed here, that we may retain within the bounds of Canada the full economic value of the fibre produced. It is necessary, by whatever means can best accomplish the purpose, that the spinning industry should be connected up, and, in my opinion we can do that by giving encouragement to the spinning industry to connect- up the manufacture of the raw fibre with the weaving of the cloth.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   SOIL AND SOIL EXHAUSTION.
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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

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

I will trespass on the patience of the House for just a short time to make

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE FLAX INDUSTRY.
Subtopic:   SOIL AND SOIL EXHAUSTION.
Permalink

April 29, 1918