March 17, 1921

UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

We give demonstrations

in the use of both liquid and dust sprays to overcome fungoid diseases in potatoes, of which there are about half a dozen, and among other pests we encounter the potato bug. The treatment costs about a dollar or a little more per acre, including labour and material. What is known as the potato spraying machine is used; it covers several rows at a time. This particular pest cannot be controlled, so far as I know, by any treatment of the soil, but the other remedies I have mentioned, while not costly, are, I think, highly efficient.

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L LIB

Joseph Bruno Aimé Miville Déchêne

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

The member for Cape

Breton (Mr. McKENZIE), raised an interesting question in his reference to the potato bug, and I am sure the minister is aware of another potato disease, which is known in French as " la glande noire ". Last fall, in our part of Quebec, a large portion of the potato crop was lost as a result of this plague. Perhaps the minister will inform us what is being done by the Government in the way of co-operation with the provincial department of Agriculture in order to overcome, or at all events, to restrict, as far as possible, this harmful disease. Sometimes one takes up a potato that looks perfect, but on cutting it one finds several black rings in it. A farmer may store in the fall a crop of potatoes that have every appearance of soundness, but in a few months the whole thing begins to rot, and by January or February there is little of the crop left. If this plaugue is not checked, in Quebec and in other provinces as well, in a few years' time our potato output will be seriously diminished. I suppose the minister is aware of this trouble and if anything is being done by his department in the matter, I should like to have an assurance from him to that effect.

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

In connection with these

diseases, I may inform my hon. friend that we issue information from time to time. Furthermore, we have inspectors in the

different districts who, besides giving information to the farmers, co-operate with the representatives of the departments of agriculture in the various provinces. These different varieties of rot are dealt with by proper spraying. In the first place, there is a careful selection of seed, which is examined for traces of the disease. Having assured yourself that you have good seed a rotation of crops should be followed so that you shall not next year plant potatoes on land that has been infected with one of these diseases. Place that land under some other crop and follow out a regular rotation. By following a rotation, adopting proper spraying, and making careful selection of the seed the matter can be remedied to a very great extent.

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L LIB

Pius Michaud

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

Are there inspectors

in the Maritime Provinces who are taking charge of importations of potato seed? Because sometines bad seed is brought in from the United States and it is highly desirable that our growers should be protected against such seed.

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

We have a regular system of inspection of seeds, and the persons purchasing these seeds must protect themselves to the best of their ability, or consult our men and secure information from many of our establishments where they can get it for nothing. The information will be given to them freely and they will be instructed to purchase their seeds from those districts where good seed is procurable. There are certain sections of Canada where it is easily possible to obtain clean, pure seed, particularly in the newer districts-seed produced from plants grown on new land. By following the simple rules which I have indicated the farmer can protect himself fully. In addition to that we shall be glad at any time to furnish information in the shape of printed matter with regard to these potato diseases. To secure that information the farmer need only make application to the Central Experimental Farm.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I may say that the growing of potatoes is quite an industry in the riding which I represent, and it is a marked success. The Ontario Government have published a pamphlet on the growing of potatoes, describing how to take the seed and dip it in a solution that will destroy any germs that may be present in the seed. After the potatoes are planted, the growers are told how to treat them with solutions- for instance Bordeaux mixture and arsenate of lead. That is what they now employ largely instead of paris green where it is desired to grow potatoes in any quantity. The pamphlet referred to is an excellent one, and gives full particulars to anyone who wishes to grow potatoes. I do not know whether the pamphlet is published in French or not; nor I do not know whether the federal Department of Agriculture has published a pamphlet of a similar character. I believe they have issued one which is virtually the same. I am sure that the information given to the farmers in these pamphlets has increased the quantity of potatoes grown per acre fully fifty per cent. It is now known, after experimental work, that when potatoes have been treated several times with the common Bordeaux mixture there is no likelihood of danger to them at all, no matter what the soil conditions were previously. That shows the good work which has been done by these institutions to which I am alluding and speaks well for them. I have listened to a great deal of criticism from hon. members opposite with respect to the work of the Department of Agriculture since these Estimates have been under consideration. It is the first time in my experience in the House that a Minister of Agriculture has been criticized in this way or has been found fault with on account of the amount of money which he has expended. Now, I hope that no hon. member in this Chamber will find fault with the money spent in this direction. The Central Experimental Farm at Ottawa alone, by reason of its discovery of Marquis wheat has added some millions of dollars to the value of the grain crop of Canada; in fact it has yielded results that would pay for the cost of the farm more than a thousand times. Then, too, through the discovery of Banner oats by the Ontario Department of Agriculture, thousands of bushels of oats have been added to the oat acreage of Canada, and sufficient money derived therefrom to pay for the entire work of that department. I speak of the work performed by the department of the province of Ontario because I was associated for some time after I entered parliamentary life with the former Minister of Agriculture of the province, Hon. James Duff, who recently died. It may be a surprise to many members in this House to know that to the late Hon. James Duff is due the credit of establishing the system of district representatives which is resulting in so much good to the cause of agriculture not only in Canada but in the

United States. The late Mr. Duff was the first Minister of Agriculture in the world to appoint district representatives. He took young men from college and placed them in various sections of the country so that there would be one in each district. These young men selected experimental plots; they taught the farmers how to spray their apples, how to grow corn, how to spray their potatoes, how to judge their cattle; and so they caused a revolution in the work of agriculture throughout the province of Ontario. The initiation of that work was due to the late Mr. Duff, when he was Minister of Agriculture for Ontario. I want that justice to be done to his memory; I want it known that he was the man who initiated that system. It was so good a system that it has been copied all over the United States. You cannot take up any American paper but you will read about these district representatives and the wonderful work they have done. All this work was first begun in the province of Ontario. Then the system of co-operation amongst the farmers was first put into effect in the province of Ontario. Hon. Mr. Duff established farmers' clubs where the farmers could meet and talk together and inaugurate co-operative marketing and work of that character. I am very sorry to say that after these clubs were instituted some people, more influenced by politics than common sense, turned the majority of these organizations into political clubs instead of retaining them as farmers' clubs which they formerly were. It never was intended by Mr. Duff when he established the farmers' clubs that they should become centres of discontent. I know that otjier clubs have been established throughout the country. The West has followed the footsteps of Ontario, and in many cases they have gone one better. The knowledge that is being disseminated through the various provinces is owing to the efforts of students who have passed through the College of Agriculture of Ontario. Take the United States and you can scarcely go to a state and ask "who founded this agricultural college?" but you will be told "so-and-so from the Ontario College of Agriculture." These men have led the way in the development of agricultural knowledge and work, and not sufficient credit has been given to them. They did not work for any political purpose; they worked to benefit humanity and to promote the interests of the farmer. To-day there is a great deal of outcry about the "poor farmer." We have had

politicians going all through the country, especially in my own riding, crying out, "Oh, the poor farmer; the farmer has such a poor time farming in Ontario." Now the province of Ontario produces more farming wealth than any other province, and yet what happens? The late Minister of Agriculture for Canada stated not long ago that the farms of Ontario were deserted by the agriculturists, that the farmers were all going to the city. I say that is not true. The agriculturists from Ontario have gone West. The young man from the Ontario farm has shown his mettle in the West, and if you see a good farmer in the West you can depend upon it he is a young man from Ontario. That is where the surplus population from Ontario has gone. We do not begrudge the West those men. There is a certain amount of the population who will go to the city no matter what you do for them. I may say this for the benefit of the hon. gentleman who was the former Minister of Agriculture that I have for some time been taking the Fabian pamphlets published by the Socialists in London, and in one pamphlet after another and as a means of causing discontent among the farmers you find this question of rural depopulation raised. In fact the English socialists, the reds, over there are trying to cause all the trouble they can amongst the rural population of England. I wish further to say that the farms of Ontario and of the West would be worth exactly one hundred per cent more than they are to-day if we had less of these "whining Willies" going around and crying out about the poor farmer. The farmer organizations in the United States do not discuss such questions and cry aloud what poor people they are. Take the price of farm land in Wisconsin or Ohio-I have been in those states within the past few months-and take the price of farm land in the province of Ontario, which is nearer to good markets, and is superior to any kind of farms they have got over there. What do you find? You find farms in Ohio and Wisconsin selling at $300 an acre; but you do not find farms in Ontario selling at half that figure.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

My hon. friend forgets the difference in population.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

There is no difference

whatever. I have been on those fawns and know their size and quality; they are not any larger or better than any we have in Ontario.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

They have a larger market

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Nothing of the kind. The best farmers' market in the world is in the city of Toronto.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Hon. members may laugh, but I know; I live in the city of Toronto and I have to pay the price. Why, in Toronto eggs are always higher than they are in Chicago or in Buffalo; and so with the price of potatoes and other farm produce-there is a market right at the farmers' door. Everything he produces he can find a ready sale for in Hamilton, Toronto and other large centres. To my mind the man who goes around drawing a long face for the farmers of Ontario is wasting his time, and I think if a little more boosting was done for those farmers in regard to their land, cattle and crops it would be much better for them than the shedding of all these tears. These tears are simply for the purpose of boosting some political party. If you go along the roads and look at the fine brick farm houses and bank barns, you will discover on inquiry that their owners are not politicians, they are usually men supporting this side of the House; but if you find a tumbledown farmhouse and a barn with the roof off you may be certain that the owner is going around the country talking politics all the time.

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L LIB

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

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. I must draw the attention of the hon. member to the [DOT] fact that we are discussing item 42.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I bow to your ruling,

Mr. Chairman. I suppose we should come back to the bug question. I was dealing with political bugs rather than the bugs that are so destructive to our farmers. I do not think that the Minister of Agriculture has yet found a cure for the political bug, but I hope the farmers themselves will apply the proper remedy. The work done by the Dominion Department of Agriculture and the provincial departments of agriculture is not overlapping. The two departments work together in Ontario. There is the experimental department, and there are also the demonstration farms which are controlled by the Ontario Government. There is lots of room for improvement in every direction, and the less groaning and wailing there is about the lot of the farmer the happier he will be and the more work he will do. Why all this shouting about the sad condition the farmer is in to-day? We are told that a farmer will say: I am only going to put half my land under crop this year. What

m

a terrible thing to cause all this outcry! I think it is a crime to allow bugs to grow either of the political or of the field kind; and it seems to me that the sooner we "get down to brass tacks" so far as the farmer is concerned and leave him a chance to speak for himself, and not have the grain speculators speak for him, the better it will be for the country at large.

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L LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MOLLOY:

I would advise the hon.

member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) to allow the Minister of Agriculture to speak for himself. I am sure the minister does not object to wholesome criticism of his Estimates, and I think if the hon. member will consult him he will say that he has been fairly used; and we on this side of the House all agree that we have been fairly used. We are asking for certain information in the interest of the people of this country, and my hon. friend in his tirade about our criticism of the minister is wasting time in saying nothing when he might have remained silent and allowed the minister to give us the information asked for. He has been making a sort of manufacturers' speech and attacking the farmers. The farmers are interested in what the Minister of Agriculture has put forth; the manufacturers are not interested to the same extent. So far as the province of Ontario is concerned, one would think, after listening to the hon. member, that that province was the whole earth. Now, Ontario may produce the finest looking men, the most beautiful women, the best horses, so on and so forth, but there are other places in the Dominion of Canada; there is the Great West and there is Eastern Canada. Some people run away with the idea that because they are from the province of Ontario that is the whole thing. I want to tell my hon. friend that although I was born in that province, there are farmers in the other provinces just as good as any' man who ever came from the province of Ontario.

Mr; MAHARG: No doubt hon. members will expect me to talk about political bugs, but that is not the subject before the House at the present time. The hon. member for North Simcoe has sown a little seed about political bugs. Well, we will let them germinate, and when the proper time comes we will deal with that particular kind of bug. A few minutes ago the minister informed the committee that he had lost the services of a very valuable man in connection with the work that this item has reference to. I wonder if he would care to express his opinion as to

just why he lost that very valuable official?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

Mr. Chairman, the official died.

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PRO

John Archibald Maharg

Progressive

Mr. MAHARG:

I am sorry that is the

answer. Still, there are other officials that the minister has lost from different causes. I have been looking over these Estimates; and while, Mr. Chairman, it may be a little out of order, yet the loss of officials of this department probably is of interest in connection with any of the items covered by the Estimates of the minister's department. I find that the salaries paid to officials and other employees in this department are very discouraging indeed. In one instance, where I think there can be no difference whatever in the character or degree of the work, I find that filing clerks in some other departments are paid $360 per year more than they are paid in this department. Has the minister anything to say at all in fixing the salaries of his staff?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

Mr. Chairman, as I

pointed out yesterday, these salaries are fixed by the Civil Service Commission.

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PRO

John Archibald Maharg

Progressive

Mr. MAHARG:

You have nothing to

say in the way of recommending increases to the staff to make the salaries equal to those of officials in other departments doing similar work?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

As a minister I do not

have any recommendations to make in regard to those salaries, they are fixed by the Civil Service Commission. In fact, I think you will find that it is rather against the law for the minister to take any steps along those lines.

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March 17, 1921