March 9, 1921

PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

Will my hon. friend give the comparable prices for Canadian cattle?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

Finished beef steers for May delivery are quoted now in Western Canada, I understand, at about ten and a half to eleven cents per pound. Heifers would run about two cents per pound less than that. Fall calves would sell for $25 or $35, and dairy cows would run from $125 to $175 or $200 acording to quality.

There is another explanation for the very great difference in the prices paid for fresh killed beef. The Britisher, the man

min i

who has money, the middle class man, and all others, have a very keen appetite for fresh killed beef, and in that they show rather better taste, I think, than do Canadians. The prices run almost twice as much for fresh killed beef as can be obtained for chilled beef or frozen beef from overseas. So that by sending our beef cattle over there, we would not only be securing a good market for our output, but would also be catering to the tastes of the British consumer.

With regard to the objections raised by the Imperial Government to the shipment of cattle to Britain, let me say that one of their first arguments has been the possibility of getting disease from Canadian cattle. I want to say here as a veterinarian, and one who has kept in close touch with the handling of animal contagious diseases all over the world, that we are in a better shape in Canada to-day than almost any other country in the world. We have a Health of Animals Branch that is made up of men fully qualified for the work, men who not only have to be graduates of a well recognized veterinary institution, but must, in addition to that, pass a special examination before they are permitted to undertake this important work. The proof of what I am saying is the past history of contagious disease in Canada. You will remember that during recent years there have been several very serious outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States-a most infectious disease and very easily carried-and that our veterinarians here were successful in protecting us with a boundary line four thousand miles long, and not one single case of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in the Dominion during that time. This is a clear-cut answer to the claim of the British Government that disease may get in from the United States. In addition to that we have had on the western plains a disease known as dourine amongst horses, a disease that has existed there for a number of years. Not only were we able to clean that up entirely but our pathologist, Dr. Watson, who is at the head of our Pathological staff in the Health of Animals Branch, made a vaccine by which" he was able to easily diagnose the disease and to use the most up-to-date methods in cleaning it up. Then again the record of our Health of Animals Branch recently made in the dipping of 120,000 head of cattle in the province of Alberta for cattle mange to clean up the disease was successful to such an extent that we were able to raise

the blanket quarantine existing over an area of more than 2,600 square miles. I think that was one of the finest performances ever accomplished by any group of veterinarians anywhere in the world.

Now, touching again on this particular point of cattle coming in from the United States. I think there would be no difficulty whatever in guarding British herds against contamination by animals from that country. It would be no trouble to permanently mark those cattle on entry so as to prevent any of them being shipped to England by taking advantage of any arrangement that might be made between Canada and Great Britain for the shipment of our cattle over there.

I feel that perhaps we have no right to make suggestions to Great Britain about her domestic affairs, but, on the other hand, I feel that they should come out in the open and remove the stigma that has been placed on Canadian cattle. This stigma has done us considerable damage. When some of our cattle shippers attempted to send cattle over to the Continent immediately after the war, I understand, one country rejected Canadian cattle because of the fact that they were refused entry into Great Britain ostensibly on account of cattle disease being prevalent in Canada. That is one of the impressions that get abroad as a result of this embargo. Let me point out further that a year and a half ago we were asked to get a special permit from Great Britain to send a shipment of pure bred Holstein cattle to British Holstein breeders, but we were not successful, although only a few years before that a shipment of pure-bred Holsteins brought in by special license from Holland. Yet in Holland foot-and-mouth disease prevails most of the time.

We are importing from Great Britain pure-bred cattle under certain restrictive regulations that have placed us absolutely on the safe side; in other words, we have never had any disease as a result of those importations, although foot-and-mouth disease prevails in England from time to time. As I said a moment ago, we have not had a case here for over thirty-six years. So arguing from these premises, I submit it would be safer for Great Britain to import cattle from this country than it would be for us to import their cattle, although, as I have shown, we have been importing British pure-bred stock for several years so successfully that we have had no disease as a result.

I have been very pleased to notice the great interest that has been taken in this very important matter, and I think that the mover of the resolution has also been gratified, and in taking my seat I would ask him to be kind enough to favourably consider its withdrawal.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. I. E. PEDLOW (South Renfrew) :

Mr. Speaker, after the many very excellent addresses that we have listened to this afternoon on this subject and one which is of so much importance to our stock breeders and cattlemen I think our labours of the afternoon would be abortive if the results were of a negative nature. In my judgment it is the opinion of the majority of those who have taken part in this debate that there is a grievance, and that some appeal should be made with a view to its removal. I am sorry that I was not present until the mover of this resolution (Mr. Smith) had got about half way through his speech, and I must say that, not being an expert in this business such as he is, I raise objection to the request embodied in his resolution with a certain amount of fear and trembling.

It is true, as has been emphasized by hon. members this afternoon, that Great Britain has claimed a reason for an embargo being placed on our cattle. And from my experience and knowledge of the live stock business extending over a period almost as long as that of the previous speaker (Mr. Tolmie), who said this country has been free from both tubercular and foot and mouth disease for over thirty-six years, I think it is really desirable that something should be done to remove the stigma placed on our cattle by Great Britain. Therefore without delaying the House any longer, I would propose that the following amendment be made to the resolution:

That all the words after the word "House" In the resolution be struck out, and the following inserted in lieu thereof: "the Government of Canada should make a strong protest against the reasons assigned by the British Gov-vernment that Canadian cattle are diseased as an excuse for placing an embargo on Canadian live cattle going into the United Kingdom."

I think that this amendment will embody the concensus of opinion as expressed by hon. members this afternoon, and will accomplish something more than would be possible by merely allowing the matter to rest where it is at the moment and withdraw the resolution. I have much pleasure therefore in moving this amendment.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, I have only

been able to follow the speech of the mover of the resolution (Mr. Smith) and the speech of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Tolmie) who sat down a few moments ago. The amendment moved by the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Pedlow) would seem to imply that such a protest had not been made. Surely he is aware that the history of the last thirty years is the history of protests made not only by the government in office when the embargo was first imposed, but made almost yearly sinceby every successive government.

The Government that was in office from 1896 to 1911 took, so far as I am aware, precisely the same position as regards this embargo as the Government that is in power to-day. The record, for example, of the 1917 conference on this subject is a record of about as definite and insistent a protest as any Government is capable of making on the very grounds stated in the amendment. I am utterly unable to understand what can be the object of an amendment urging a protest when protest has been the policy of Canada for thirty years and every measure that the successive officers of the Department of Agriculture and the numbers of successive governments could devise has been resorted to to push that process to the effective limit. If any hon. member who thinks oi supporting the amendment can make a suggestion as to what further can be done in the way of pressing or implementing the protest, then an amendment embodying that suggestion will be of value for the consideration of the House. I do not know what more could be done; it is on the ground of the implication embodied in the British policy that our protest has all along been lodged and is lodged to-day. It is on that ground that strong and determined action was taken at the conference to which I refer, and by reason of that ground the British Minister of Agriculture at that time was good enough to say that, at some date which I am sorry he did not specify-* I believe that, in rather indefinite language, he fixed it as the termination of the war-the Government would see that this embargo was removed. The case of Canada to-day rests most strongly upon that promise, and, basing our claim on that promise and on the wrong done to this country by the implication, the Government of to-day is losing no time and sparing no effort to have the embargo removed.

Now, there is a way by which these negotiations or the continuance of this protest

can be carried on. There is a proper way, consistent with the full exercise of authority of the British Government and Parliament within their own domain and consistent with the principle that there shall be no interference from outside with the exerciseing of that authority. I do not think that even for the sake of bringing about the removal of the embargo we would be justified in stepping beyond that method. We have sought through the appropriate channels, through the channels constitutionally established, to bring home to the British Government the wrong done by the implication embodied in the embargo, and nothing has been left undone in that regard. But I do not think it is a proper function of this country or of authorities within this country to launch or initiate among the British people a propaganda against the course taken by the British Government. From that action we have refrained, but we have refrained from nothing in the way of making known the facts as to Canadian cattle in order that the British people may understand that there is no justification in fact for the implication. We have not, however, gone the length of endeavouring to instigate the British people against their own Administration, of endeavouring to launch a propaganda amongst the people against the conduct of their Government. I know that were similar action taken by British authorities against the conduct of this Government, no matter how unpopular the conduct of this Government might be, such action would be resented here. Nor do I understand how we could ever in future resent corresponding action on their part if we made ourselves guilty of initiating the process. I say, therefore, that through the proper channels, and by the proper methods, we will not cease to bring home to the British Government our conviction that if they intend to protect the breeder of stock in England, or protect whatever they like to protect, they should not do so in such a manner as to carry a false implication against the livestock of Canada.

I rose, however, only to suggest to the mover of the amendment-for I had no intimation that any amendment was intended-that it is scarcely fair to ask the House to lodge a protest that is already lodged, and that it is hardly going to put this House in a position of very great dignity as respects the British Government to pass a motion now asking that we do

that which the British Government knows we have never ceased to do for thirty years.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East) :

I am sorry that I have not been able to follow the discussion of this resolution, but after hearing my right hon. friend the Prime Minister, I feel impelled to say a word or two as to why I am in favour of the amendment which has been moved by my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Pedlow).

The Prime Minister states that this Government has lodged protests on many occasions; that it has kept on lodging protests against that embargo. Well, what is the objection to the Parliament of Canada stating emphatically by way of resolution that we support the Government in the lodging of that protest?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No objection.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

There is no objection, then, to my hon. friend's amendment. If it is the wish of members on both sides of the House, why not incorporate it in the form of resolution as my hon. friend suggests?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The amendment does not say that. If the amendment was drawn that way, there would be no objection to it.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Well, it might be

worded as I suggest. I must express my concurrence in the view that we should not interfere with the policies of Britain. I admit quite freely that we would resent any such interference on the part of Britain with our own policies. But there is another consideration in regard to this embargo. Britain is at liberty to prohibit the entrance of our cattle into her country, but what I strongly object to is the reason given for that prohibition. If such a reason were given for similar action by any foreign country we would resent it, and we resent 'it when it comes from Britain, and the fact that it is done by Britain is no reason why we should not say so in this Canadian Parliament. Let them place an embargo on our Canadian cattle if they like, but we resent the reasons they are giving. Our cattle are not diseased, and it is a slander against one of the main articles of Canadian production to assign that reason for any embargo.

Mr. PETER ' McGIBBON (Muskoka) (rising).

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L LIB
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The hon.

gentleman (Mr. Pedlow) would certainly be out of order in replying to the remarks of the Prime Minister unless he did so with the unanimous consent of the House. The hon. member who moves a substantive motion has the right to reply, but the amendment is not a substantive motion; therefore, the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Pedlow) has not that right unless it is given to him by unanimous consent of the House. Do I understand that the hon. member from Muskoka desires to say a word?

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UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. PETER McGIBBON (Muskoka):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to support the view expressed here this afternoon, that Canada, who guards so jealously her own rights and privileges, should refrain from interfering with similar rights and privileges enjoyed by the Mother Country. I recognize that there has been a reflection upon Canada in the charge that her cattle have been diseased.

When the late Sir Charles Tupper was acting as High Commissioner in England, this question first came up. He engaged some of the best veterinary surgeons in England, and on several occasions he had Canadian cattle slaughtered when they arrived in that country and their lungs and other organs examined for tuberculosis. On every occasion the report was that Canadian cattle were perfectly free from the disease with which they had been credited. From that time on I believe every Government in this country has been bringing to the attention of the authorities in England the falseness of that accusation levied against Canadian stock breeders. I would, however, be very sorry if this Parliament went on record as in any way seeking to interfere with the rights and liberties of the Mother Country. We have not only jealously guarded our national status but we have exalted it to such a degree that not long ago Right Hon. Bonar Law announced in the House of Commons that if Canada wished complete independence, there would be no opposition from the Mother Country. How can we, in the face of such statements, interfere with what is a domestic right of the British authorities? I hope the implication that has been levied againsf the stock breeders and the cattle of this country can be removed, but I shall be very sorry to see this Government in order to gain that end go out of its

way to interfere with the affairs of the Mother Country. Canada has placed her case before the British authorities, and having done that she should rest her energies at that point. Further than that, we have no right to go, and I cerainly think we should not go.

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UNION

Edmund James Bristol

Unionist

Mr. EDMUND BRISTOL (Centre Toronto) :

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for

Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) has stated that the British authorities no longer take the view that Canadian cattle are diseased, but they say that it is possible for diseased cattle to come from the United States into Canada and in that way get to England. If that be the case, if the British authorities no longer take the position that this embargo was imposed on Canadian cattle because of their being diseased, it seems we are hammering a straw man very hard. But there is one ground on which I think both these resolutions should be withdrawn, and that is, that it is quite evident from the newspapers to-day that the question of embargo or no embargo is an active political question before the British electorate. It certainly has not been stated in the press that one side are saying that Canadian cattle are diseased and the other side saying that they are not diseased. The question that was raised for the British electorate to decide was this: Do you want an embargo or not? If you have no embargo, you are going to have cheaper food in Great Britain. They are not saying: you are going to have diseased cattle. The opposition to that, whatever it was, is not stated, and it is immaterial so long as the other side do not take and have not taken the position that the embargo is imposed because Canadian cattle are diseased. Therefore, there is before the British electorate to-day the issue of cheap food; it is an active political question, and it is not in the interest of the people of Canada or the Canadian Parliament to express any further opinion on this question at this time by a resolution of this House. Let the British people fight out their domestic questions as they like. The British authorities are not slandering us before the people of Great Britain today; we should let them follow their own course in their political matters, and let us attend to a few things we have to do here ourselves.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. M. CLARK (Red Deer):

I think I am in order in speaking to the amendment, and I should like to make a suggestion to the hon. member for South Renfrew

(Mr. Pedlow). I quite agree Hvith the attitude of my hon. friend (Mr. Bristol), and I think the position, which I took myself and which I understood him to support on general grounds, apart, of course, from my incursion into fiscal matters, gained a very strong reinforcement from his drawing attention to the fact that these matters are exciting the attention of the people of Great Britain politically.

I rose, however, for the jpurpose of stating clearly what I understand to be-Britain's position in this matter. I think it is well our people should understand it without any possibility of doubt as to the actual facts of the case. If I am wrong, I am sure the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Tolmie) will correct me, or my hon. friend to whose speech we all listened with the greatest possible interest. Some talk as if Great Britain were doing something specially directed against Canada on this question. The Minister of Agriculture can tell the House far better than I can of the immense value of the British herds of cattle, and how owners of British herds from time to time sell cattle at almost fabulous prices. Having regard to the value of those cattle, the British Government have for years taken the position that they will play doubly safe in regard to the health of their cattle within their shores. That is the position they took to begin with, and they take it still. If they admit, what they have to admit, that we have a very fine bill of health amongst our stock in Canada, they still have a fear about diseased cattle coming in from the United States. They play safe within their borders in regard to the health of their extremely valuable cattle, and they put on this embargo, not specially against Canada, but, as I understand the matter, against all countries in the world. Do they take live cattle in from any country except to kill them at the port of debarkation?

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UNION
PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK:

Not without a license do they take them from anywhere. I think it is important, with a view towards the best possible relationships and understanding between the Canadian and the British people, that the fact should be known, that this is not a special act against Canada; that it is an act that is undertaken along the line of extreme caution in the preservation of the health of their herds. In view of that fact, I very much doubt the wis-

dom of successive Governments in doing what the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) said they are doing, and that is how I view the question. He has said, as I have said before him, that in Canada we should resent very quickly and ferociously any interference with our affairs. There is no text upon which I have heard so many sermons preached in this House as that of Canadian autonomy, and this question is one of British autonomy. On that ground I would appeal to the hon. member for Renfrew South (Mr. Pedlow) to think carefully before he presses his amendment, and I appeal to him specially on another ground. We are told that all Governments in Canada have taken a line of action which the Prime Minister tells us this Government is taking. I am sure, if there is anything that would infuse a doubt into the mind of the hon. member for Renfrew South about the wisdom of this course of protest, it would be that it is being undertaken by the present Government. I should like him to think twice before he undertakes to press an amendment before this House to put himself in wrong with the people in specially reinforcing an action of the Government against which he so cheerfully voted a want of all confidence the other day.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne and Queen's) :

Mr. Speaker, I would very

gladly vote for the amendment of the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Pedlow), if it were founded on fact, but I think he is mistaken. He proposes to say that the Government should make a strong protest against the reason that Canadian cattle are diseased being assigned by the government of Great Britain as an excuse for placing the embargo. I do not think the British Government do assign that as a reason. They may have done so in years gone by; I am not going to dispute that, but in all recent discussion of the matter to which I have had my attention drawn, no such reason has been assigned. Quite the contrary. They admit that Canadian cattle are not diseased, and the whole argument now is that unless they have the embargo American cattle may enter Great Britain through Canada. I do not argue whether that is right or wrong, but that is their ground, and if they allege that as a ground we ought not to put on record something else. I would call the attention of my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Pedlow) to that. I think his resolution states as a fact that which we have no evidence of. I

do not think it is a fact. I do not believe he could quote from any recent utterance of the President of the Board of Agriculture or of any other British minister in the recent discussion in the Dudley election, for example, which would warrant the statement that the British Government has used as an excuse the allegation that our cattle are diseased; and if that is not founded in fact, why should we vote for it here?

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

Is there any official information on record either here or in the Old Country setting forth the facts that the hon. member is now trying to illustrate?

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Would it not be in

order for me to ask him if there is anything on record for what he says? We are not bound to prove a negative.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACQUES BUREAU:

It is common talk on the street and in the press, that disease is the reason for the embargo.

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March 9, 1921