June 3, 1921

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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UNION

John Albert Sexsmith

Unionist

Mr. SEXSMITH:

Well, I put it in this way; I am not casting reflections upon any of the departments, in a sense, but it is their estimates that I refer to. Ofcourse, we have reports with regard to every pound of cheese which is made in our cheese factories, but how can we tell how many pounds have been manufactured on the farms all over the country and consumed on the farms? Any figure as to the amount of butter produced is only an estimate and a mighty rough one at that. But the fact remains that the cheese industry is falling back and will continue to do so. One reason has been the difficulty in finding labour. Another reason was that the price of butter during the war, as the hon. member for Oxford said, not being controlled, went up and that had its effect upon the production of cheese. The price of hogs and of calves increased and that also had its effect. I know that in my district ten or fifteen years ago they undertook to start a butter creamery. It operated for six months and then was obliged to close up, because it was unable to compete with the cheese. Three or four years ago, when veal calves were selling at $25 to $40 each, at six weeks old, it was worth while to have the skim milk retained on the farm. Fifteen or twenty years ago, when veal calves were worth from $2 to $4, it was quite a different matter. I do not want to delay the committee, but I did not know that this Bill was coming up this session, much less in the last days of the session, and I think the minister would be well advised if he would let it stand over for another year.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

May I ask the minister

whether the department has an inspector in Montreal? Is there a Mr. Barr making inspections for the department there?

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

Mr. Barr is at present

stationed at the head office in Ottawa; he is in Montreal only temporarily, for a few days. We have inspectors at Toronto and Montreal.

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L LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Queen's) :

The part

of Canada from which I come manufactures and exports to the British market a considerable quantity of cheese from the standpoint of per capita production. Of course, Prince Edward Island is a small province and the aggregate amount produced is not as large as that of some of

the other provinces. Now, we have had a good deal of difficulty during the past ten years in keeping up the quality of the cheese-I speak of cheese particularly-[DOT] for export, for the reason that it was hard to get the cheesemakers to bring home to their patrons the necessity of paying par->

ticular attention to the quality of the milk supplied to the factories. It is well known by any per'son who has had experience that unless you get good milk at the factories you cannot make good cheese, and as long as we leave the grading of dairy produce to the buyers we cannot encourage the producer to eliminate the number two article and have a high percentage of No. 1. To the practical producer, Sir, that is one of the most important reasons in favour of having the product graded. As I understand it, this Bill will put the grading of dairy produce in the hands of a qualified independent grader instead of leaving it to the buyer. It is also important for us to have the cheese and butter- cheese particularly-graded for export to the British market. During the past num-' her of years we have been able to sell our dairy produce because the price was high and continually rising and the demand was greater than the supply, on account of conditions to which I need not refer. But now things are different and during the next few years we may find it difficult to get a market for our product. Conditions in the British Isles are not as good as we would wish, and it may be that from force of economic circumstances, our dairy produce exported there will have to take a low price. It is only 'by paying strict attention to the quality of the export that we can expect to command a position in that market as against other countries that are trying to get in there as we are trying to do. For those reasons I will support the Bill. I would like to see the Bill a little more definite. It is simply a skeleton Bill, [DOT] leaving the regulations in the hands of the minister and his officials in the department, and we do not know in what way the grading will be administered. In saying that, I do not wish to oast any reflection upon the efficiency of the minister or ihis officials, but it is not good policy for this House of Commons to leave too much legislation to regulation by Order in Council. I should like the minister to state specifically in the Bill that the grading of dairy produce for export is compulsory; and he should put in the body of the Bill as much as possible in regard to the regulations and control necessary in

putting this legislation into operation. Some hon. members, during this discussion, stated that provincial departments should be allowed to say how far the grading should go in the different provinces. I cannot agree with that at all. We want a united control in the matter, and any grading done for export should be controlled entirely by the federal department.

When the minister is making the regulations, he should have in view the fact that it is necessary, as far as possible, to have the certificate of grade given near to the point of shipment. When I point out to him the conditions in which we are in Prince Edward Island, he will understand better the point which I am making. We can ship our cheese to the Old Country through Halifax or Montreal. If a certificate of grading is given in a warehouse in Montreal, that makes it necessary for us to ship to Montreal to come under the grade. I would like the minister to have in mind, and if possible to have the grade of certificate given as near to the producer as possible. In that way we get a double benefit. As well as getting the benefit of having a good name in the export market, we have the benefit of bringing home to the producer the necessity of raising the quality of his product and converting what is now second-grade stuff into first-grade stuff for export. That, ito my mind, is the greatest thing that we are going to gain by having dairy produce graded.

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L LIB

Gustave Benjamin Boyer

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BOYER:

(Translation.) Mr. Chairman, I approve this Bill with great pleasure because I sincerely believe it is a starting point from which legislation often being improved, will bring a great development to the dairying industry. When the Minister of Agriculture tells us that this Bill is wanted by every provincial minister of agriculture, I believe that statement, because I know from good authority that the Minister of Agriculture of Quebec was asked to work along those lines. It is some years ago that we tried to have a bill enacted for the grading of the dairy products, particularly butter and cheese to be exported, and that grading is timely. A short time ago, as director of the "Conseil National Laitier du Canada," I attended a meeting held in Toronto, when we passed a resolution supporting the measure that was then before Parliament. The "Societe de Pindustrie laitiere de la province de Quebec" has also for a long time been asking for such a grading. As far as Quebec is concerned, we have already appreciated, when the Imperial

Commission was in existence, the benefits of such a classification. I may say that at the present time the standard of our dairy products is not fixed by experts but merely by exporters; that grading being left to the most interested parties, this has been for a long time a great handicap to the farmers, and the Government is right in doing away with it.

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L LIB
L LIB

Gustave Benjamin Boyer

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BOYER:

(Translation.) I see that

under this Bill, the Government will make the regulations which may be deemed necessary to avert this danger, and I think the measure is most timely and to the point. We have organized in Montreal, some seven or eight years ago, an association which bears the name of "La cooperative centrale." They have classified the products shipped to them and sold by them, and, Mr. Chairman, you could hardly imagine the good effects which this classification has had from an educational standpoint. "La Societe cooperative centrale" have established three different grades for the products shipped to them. At the outset, the small manufacturers, the factories badly equipped and those lacking in scruple wondered why their cheese was graded as second or third class. Whenever a complaint was made, inspectors were sent by "la cooperative" to the locality where that complaint originated and they would spend one, two or three weeks there if necessary in order to find out what was wrong and to show how the defects could be remedied. What was the result? Instead of 60 per cent of the manufacturers shipping inferior cheese, as was the case seven years ago, there are only this year 2 or 3 per cent of factories on the third grade list, 'in the province of Quebec. As you see, Mr. Chairman, this classification has been most useful; but it is only local in character and, therefore, insufficient to answer the general requirements.

The classification which was made by the Imperial Government during the war gave us a perfect idea of what could be expected from such a system. The Imperial Commission, which was independent of all groups, had classified the products shipped overseas in a perfect manner, and generally speaking, the results have been the very best to date. After the war, the Imperial Government decided to abolish that commission and we have reverted to the old methods of the past, from which we are now suffering, to a great extent,

by the fact that there is no classification process. So, when I happened to read on the Order Paper that the minister intended to introduce this Bill, I was glad of it and so were also the farming and dairy associations of the province of Quebec. Were it not for fear of treading upon dangerous ground, I would have this to add: Long before the province of Quebec, Ontario began to produce cheese, and improved it from year to year to such an extent that it was sold in England in much larger quantities than the Quebec cheese and became known as Ontario cheese. Later on, when we, from the province of Quebec, improved our own cheese and shipped it to the English market, we had to sell it under the guise of "Ontario cheese," which was unfair to Quebec while unprofitable to Ontario, for this province has no need of our cheese. If we wish to sell our cheese on the English market to-day as "Quebec cheese," the buyers in England will not give as high a price for it as they would for the "Ontario" or "Brockville" cheese. Nobody claims that our cheese is not as good as the other, but the buyers are accustomed to those brands and believe that others would not prove as satisfactory. The worst of it all is that inferior cheese, from whatever part of the country it comes, is shipped as "Quebec cheese." I protest most strongly against these methods. Now, if the Government decides to adopt a measure by which there will be three uniform grades of cheese, it will be equally just to all, everybody will be encouraged, and it will be to nobody's detriment.

Here is another point to be considered: The exporters, nowadays, are not all equally scrupulous., I have here several letters from exporters who are in favour of this measure. Now, a good many exporters rule the roost, and when I find that the Government is trying to put a check to such conditions, I am glad of it and I am satisfied that all who are interested in the dairy industry will feel thankful to the Government. Therefore, I shall vote for the Bill with pleasure, and I would ask the members from Quebec, especially those who represent rural counties, to realize the real usefulness of this Bill and to give it their full support.

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UNION

John Albert Sexsmith

Unionist

Mr. SEXSMITH:

So far as butter is concerned this may be a good thing, and it might be a good thing for cheese in the end, but I do not think this is the proper time to bring this law into effect, and the main reason is that the farmers in the cheese districts will have to ship their

cheese to Montreal before it is inspected. Now, for the last forty years the great majority of the cheese that has been produced has been inspected on the shelves of the factory. Anybody who knows anything about cheese knows-I have seen it happen more than one-that you can take No. 1 cheese from a factory and put it in a car-not a cold storage car-and before it reaches Montreal the grade will have gone down to at least No. 2.

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

I have never stated, so far as I am aware, that we had decided on having all the grading done at Montreal. We would be quite willing to make arrangements to meet any such circumstances as my hon. friend has brought to the attention of the committee.

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UNION

John Albert Sexsmith

Unionist

Mr. SEXSMITH:

I quite realize that you may want an inspection at some western point. I am informed that all the cheese made west of Hastings last year found its market in the Prairie Provinces, but all the cheese made east of Hastings must go to Montreal or some other point where it can be inspected, for you cannot have a Government inspector going around and inspecting the cheese in the different factories. Under the old system Canadian cheese has made a wonderful reputation for itself in the world; no cheese has a better standing in the British market; our product has reached the pinnacle, and our farmers are proud of its reputation. But the minister is not satisfied, he wants to change the system, and brings in this measure for the grading of dairy products, perhaps to the detriment of the industry rather than its benefit. However, as the minister is anxious to have this Bill pass, I shall not take up any further time.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I want to say this to the hon. member (Mr. Sexsmith). He says that grading may be a good thing for butter, but not for cheese. Now, if any argument can be produced in favour of the grading of butter, I do not see why that same argument should not apply to the grading of cheese. As a matter of fact, grading has been going on for years, but in a haphazard way. The men who are engaged in the business at Montreal, the exporters of butter and cheese, are grading, but they have an interest in the grading. It Is to theiir interest, if there is a falling market for butter and cheese, to try and depreciate the grade of a first-class article. Manifestly it is up to them to try and get it at as low a price as they can, and they have degraded the product

to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the producers of cheese in eastern Ontario, and that I could prove if time would permit.

May I point out that grading has been done systematically in New Zealand for twenty-five years, and that is not the only place where it has been done. In the province of Alberta they have a sample system of gradings It is not compulsory, it is true, but because the provincial authorities of Alberta have established that grading system those producing butter in that province have been practically compelled to get the government certificate on the grade of their butter, for they have found out from experience that otherwise they cannot put their product on the home market or the British Columbia market and successfully compete with the butter that has the government certificate to back it up. The same is true in regard to Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In Quebec, the Quebec Agricultural Co-operative Society has been grading cheese for years. In their own interests they have found it advisable to protect the makers of good cheese, those who pay attention to producing a good article, from those who are indifferent, and they have formed this society for the purpose. Has the result been detrimental to the producers of cheese? Not at all, it has had the effect of bringing up the standard. Take, for example, the Montreal merchants who are in the export business. They do grading. What for? For their own protection, they make a difference between No. 1 and No. 2 grade. Who is hurt by that? The only man who is hurt by systematic grading is the man who is producing ia No. 2 or No. 3 article and wants to sell it as No. 1 What damage can you do to a person who is producing a first-class article by having a system of grading? Why should he not be protected from the man who is producing an inferior article and getting the benefit of the reputation that has been made for the product of the other man? The only person who is injured by the present haphazard method of grading is the man who has taken the trouble to make a first-class article. I say that the producer of the inferior article is not entitled to the sympathy of my hon. friend from East Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith) or anybody else.

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L LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

I have owned cheese factories and milk factories, and at present I own more farms and more cows than any

man in the county I have the honour to represent. I have lost tens of thousands of dollars in the condensed milk business. I, therefore, have some knowledge of this matter. The hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) has been trying to make the committee believe that the quality of butter depends wholly upon the manufacturer. Take the cow-tail butter, for instance, which is caused by filth in the stable, and the tubercular animals. I know the Minister of Agriculture is very ambitious and is anxious to travel on new lines and try out new ideas, this new thing and that new thing; but I say that instead of bringing in this legislation he would do more good if he went to the root of the matter and in every dairying centre had a man going around the country with a team, and a barrel of lime and a sprayer, to spray the farmers' barns and make them clean and wholesome. The member for East Hastings (Mr. Thompson) is a practical cheese man and I think he and other members realize the importance of absolute cleanliness in connection with barns. You cannot help having various grades of butter and cheese, but you can help having microbes, and lice and other vermin in your barns, and we should do all we can to have conditions such that these delicious articles of food, namely, dairy products, shall be free from impurities.

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UNION

John Albert Sexsmith

Unionist

Mr. SEXSMITH:

The member for Frontenac wonders why I am in favour of the grading of butter and not of cheese. Well, there is a reason. All cheese made in Canada is made in factories, under control but butter is made in thousands of different homes throughout the country and no two samples are absolutely alike. There should, therefore, be some grading in that respect.

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L LIB

Joseph Bruno Aimé Miville Déchêne

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

About the last of

April or the beginning of May a few carloads of butter were shipped from this country to New York, and it was discovered there that the butter was of very bad quality, containing more than 16 per cent of water. If there were no classification or grading, how would you deal with such exports, which hurt the trade of this country?

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

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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:

Section 4-

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UNION
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

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UNION

Donald Sutherland

Unionist

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I must protest,

Mr. Chairman, against this method of rushing things. An hon. member has the floor, and I have endeavoured to address the committee on three or four occasions since the debate began, but I have not been able to get a word in.

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June 3, 1921