May 25, 1921

UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. GLASS:

The amendment of the hon. member for South Oxford embodies practically the main features of the request of the National Dairymen's Association to the Government as recited by the hon. member for Guysborough this afternoon and repeated by me later. Like the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's, I do not like this temporising, for I think it creates unrest and dissatisfaction, and heaven knows at the present time our farmers have enough anxiety and worry over the very sudden deflation of the commodities they produce. I have no doubt that the views of the Dairymen's Association have been placed before the Government, and I should like to see those views given effect to and the measure made permanent.

To fully satisfy the needs of our dairy industry the Minister of Finance should also remove the unjust discrimination against butter in favour of oleomargarine.

The manufacturers of oleomargarine have stated that about 75 per cent of its constituent parts is made from products of the farm. The hon. member for South Oxford says that that is not so. At any rate there is no doubt that a very large proportion of the ingredients are the byproducts of the farm, and naturally that makes a market for what otherwise would to some extent command a much lower price. Therefore to that extent it is to the interest of farmers that these fats may be used to manufacture a commodity that brings a better price.

I certainly think the amendment is entirely in accord with the sentiments I expressed on the floor of the House, and with the wishes of the National Dairymen's Association, and I trust the Government will see fit to accept it. I am satisfied that the measure would be far better if it were made to apply permanently, not only to allay unrest and anxiety on the part of our farmers, but also on the part of the manufacturers of oleomargarine, because as the hon. member for Winnipeg pointed out, the institution which contemplated starting the manufacture of oleomargarine in the West *toll no doubt hesitate unless they have some certainty of a permanent market.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

A few minutes ago I supported this Bill, and to that extent the Government, but I must confess that I then had no idea that the Government were going to be so wobbly as to turn tail and run from their own Bill. I am afraid that I cannot follow them any further in their backsliding. But I would ask the minister now how far he proposes to go with this amendment and the amendment to the amendment. What is the Government's well-considered policy on this Bill at the present moment?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

I cannot agree with the amendment to the amendment as submitted by the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland). In the first place, if we adopted his suggestion we would not have what is known as oleomargarine in this country at all. While the National Dairy Council is an organization we all respect and one which is doing a great deal of good, an organization which may represent to a considerable extent the great dairy interests of this country, still we must not forget that there are hundreds of thousands of beef cattle in this country raised on the ranch and on the farm, and that the men who produce these cattle have every right to market their produets to the very

best possible advantage. In the average beef steer slaughtered in our packing houses there are ten or twelve pounds oi stearine, ten or twelve pounds of oleo oil, and some tallow. The stearine is usually used for shortening in baking and tlie oleo oil is at present being used in the manufacture of oleomargarine. All this manufacture is carried on under the most careful supervision, and this oleo is secured only from what are known as the edible fats of the animal carcass. We do not permit the manufacture of oleomargarine in the ordinary creamery or dairy, because it would be quite impracticable; we would have to maintain an army of inspectors to carry on the necessary inspection and supervision. The manufacture of oleo is permitted only in the packing houses of the country where we maintain a corps of skilled meat inspectors who see that all the various operations are properly carried out. In addition to the inspection of the oleo and of the fats from which the oleo is made, there is also the inspection of the vegetable oils. The mi'lk and butter used in the manufacture of oleo must either come from tested cows, showing that the animals are free from tuberculosis according to the tuberculin test, or must be pasteurized, showing that there is no possibility of the oleo being contaminated by the use of tuberculous milk or butter in its manufacture. Under these conditions I do not see why the manufacturer of oleo should be prevented from adding good clean butter and milk-articles that are more expensive, and, as our friends claim, more nutritive than the article which he produces in the abattoir-and thus to improve the quality of the product which he is turning out. One hon. gentleman, I think it was the hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. Kennedy), referred to the nutritive value of the various products, and I think quite properly said that milk is perhaps one of the very best products for growing children or growing animals. By the addition of this milk and butter, then, we make

that spread which the poor man is compelled to use for his family when butter gets too high in price. This product is better in quality than it would be if it was made from straight oleo or straight vegetable oil. I do not think we should refuse the poor man this cheap spread for his bread in place of the dripping, pork or beef, which has often been used in this country in the past. I do not

think he should be refused the right to purchase all the oleo he wishes to use at the cheaper price, provided the product is made under careful inspection.

Now, with regard to the imported oleo, the animal oleo comes in here with a certificate from the Bureau of Animal Industry at Washington, which is the same as our Health of Animals Branch here, showing that the product has been manufactured under careful supervision. Vegetable oleos made from straight oils are accompanied by a certificate from the Bureau of Chemistry at Washington showing that these articles have been prepared under proper conditions. So that this oleo is perfectly safe from a health standpoint; it is considered very wholesome indeed, and by the addition of butter it is made more palatable than it would otherwise be. Some one has suggested that we should provide that oleo shall be made of a colour foreign to its natural colour. I hold in my hand a sample jar containing oleo prepared in the Harris Abattoir in the middle of winter; hon. members can see that it is of a distinct yellow colour, and I think it would be unfair to ask the manufacturers of this oleo to dye the product pink, or blue which is entirely foreign to its natural colour. Now, what do we find so far as the application of our regulations is concerned? I may say for the benefit of the hon. member for Guysbor-ough (Mr. Sinclair) that our regulations are already very strict.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

Will the minister say whether there is any butter in the sample which he showed to the committee?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

No, this is natural oleo from the Harris Abattoir, and the colour is its natural colour. No colouring matter is allowed to be used in the manufacture of oleo. No colouring is allowed to be sold or given away with the package of oleo. The brand "oleo" in prominent letters must be clearly placed on the side of each package of oleo-that is, right on the article itself. We do not permit the words "butter", "dairy", "creamery", or the name of any breed of cattle to be placed on any package or any advertising matter for the purpose of selling oleo. In addition to that, we are at present considering a change of the shape of the packages in which oleo is sold. I hold in my hand the ordinary package in which butter is sold, and also a narrower, flatter package. It is suggested that the oleo manufacturers

be compelled to sell their products in a narrow package of this kind. This practice has been followed in Denmark for some time, with very satisfactory results.

Now, let us see what the manufacturer of good butter has to fear from the manufacture and sale of oleo in Canada. There is no possibility of oleomargarine ever being a competitor of good butter. As I said this afternoon, once a person has got the taste of good butter he will not be satisfied with oleo. But there are several brands of bad butter with which oleo actually comes in competition. I think it was the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) who said this afternoon that when it comes to a comparison between good oleo and bad butter, we would rather have the good oleo. Now, the following is the result of the application of the law by the inspectors of the Health of Animals Branch and the Dairy Branch during the years 1919 and 1920. In 1919 there were 8 convictions under the oleo law, and 111 convictions for the manufacture of bad butter. In 1920 there were 12 convictions under the oleo Law and 128 convictions for the manufacture of bad butter, showing that the maker of good butter has not so much to fear from the oleo manufacturer as he has from the man who tries to sell inferior butter.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

If the minister will allow me, in order to make his comparison correct he should give the committee the number of manufacturers of butter as compared with the number of manufacturers of oleo.

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

I cannot give that. But some hon. gentlemen have suggested that oleo is doing a great deal of harm to the manufacturers of butter. I may say that from December 1, 1917 when the importation of oleo was first permitted, to September 30, 1920, there were imported 15,373,334 pounds of oleomargarine. During the same period we manufactured in this country 22,463,727 pounds, or a total of 37,837,061 pounds of oleomargarine manufactured and imported. In the same period we consumed in this country 600,000,000 pounds of butter, so that oleomargarine did not play a very important figure in those years. Since permission was given for the manufacture, importation and sale of oleomargarine, the manufacture of butter and dairy products generally in this country has gradually increased.

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CON

Ernest D'Israeli Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH:

Being a farmer myself, mixing amongst them, and seeing many consumers of oleomargarine, I have

never heard any desire expressed that this Bill should go into operation. I venture the assertion that no Order in Council would have been passed in 1917, and no Bill would have been passed by this House at a later period, had butter been at the same price at which it is to-day. The hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) says that this is either right or wrong. I have no use for the Bill; I think it is wrong, and, therefore, I propose to support the amendment for one year because we shall be able to have another whack at the matter in that time. When I say that I have no use for the Bill, my reason is because oleomargarine-whether it is manufactured here or imported, does not make much difference-must take the place of so much butter. Farmers are going to have hard enough times during the next twelve or eighteen months, and this is one of the means of making times a little harder for them. I should like to have supported the amendment of the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis) for the six months' hoist, but I felt there was such a strong feeling in the House that a Bill of some kind should go into operation, that I thought it was better to vote for the amendment for one year.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough):

Has

the minister considered the proposal of the Dairymen's Council to give oleomargarine some distinctive colours that it cannot be confused with butter?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

I thought I had made

that quite clear. I drew the attention of the committee to the natural colour of oleo oil, and I said that I could see no reason why any one should want to make it a distinctive colour which would be a great handicap to selling it in the market. The butter maker is permitted to colour his winter butter, which is very light, and to make it like June butter, but we refuse to give a similar permission to the manufacturer of oleomargarine. Some go so far as to object to his mixing good butter with oleomargarine and to permitting him to buy butter in June, although by so doing he is improving the quality of his product and making it more palatable. When we consider that this article is used by families whose fathers do not earn very large salaries and who are compelled to use the cheaper product, I think the manufacturer should be permitted to make that product as palatable and as good in quality as possible. Our experience- and I have kept in very close touch with

the situation since this Oleomargarine Bill first came before the House-has been that as butter has gone down in price, the consumption of oleomargarine has lessened in proportion. This information was given only this afternoon by an official of the Dairy Commissioner's branch. He says that the average price of butter in Ottawa to-day is 35i cents and the average price of oleo is 28i cents, showing an advantage in favour of butter of seven cents a pound, and there is no sale at all for oleomargarine. That has been the situation. As I said a moment ago, no one who has once acquired the taste of good butter will waste time on oleo if good butter is to be obtained. ,

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough):

Am I right in assuming that the manufacturer of oleo is allowed to mix it with butter and sell it as oleo?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

He adds from 20 to 25 per cent of butter to the oleo, vegetable oils, neutral lard and so forth.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

Would the minister have any objection to the manufacturer of butter mixing butter with some other oleo product and selling it as butter?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

That would not be permitted under the Dairy Act. We do not allow the manufacture of oleomargarine in the ordinary dairies and creameries of the country, because it would be almost impossible to keep track of the business. The manufacture is carried on only in establishments where there are regular inspectors who carry out the Meat Inspection Act. All that work is carried on under the closest supervision.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Would the minister, for the benefit of my health, kindly inform me what are the respective nutritive qualities of butter and oleomargarine?

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Does that make the hon. member any healthier?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

The general argument is that milk and butter are better for growing animals and children, although I might point out that the adult who consumes oleomargarine, while not obtaining quite as much nutritive matter as he would obtain if he were consuming straight butter, also consumes many other articles of food which make up for that loss. Our Canadian army used oleomargarine altogether when at the front, and I never heard of Germans complaining of any lack of "pep" on the part of our men.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I am going to vote for the amendment to the amendment, because I can find in the regulations nothing that will prevent manufacturers of oleomargarine, if. they wish to do so and prices got about equal, from mixing 75 per cent of butter instead of 25 per cent, and the result might be that they would gradually displace the manufacture of butter and, to that extent, injure the dairy trade.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Are there as many

calories in oleomargarine as in butter?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

No, there are more in butter than in oleomargarine.

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May 25, 1921