March 31, 1922


Item agreed to. Civil government-Agriculture-Salaries and contingencies, $775,717.50.


CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

The Prime Minister

stated a few evenings ago that the secretaries employed by ministers of the lata government would be placed in such a position that they would receive, as nearly as possible, their ordinary salaries, less secretarial allowance. My late secretary, Mt. Lynton, was first engaged in the Department of Customs; later he was taken by the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) when he assumed the office of Minister of Agriculture. He served him for two years and was then taken over by me. I am anxious to know what the disposition of the minister is with regard to Mr. Lynton, or what he proposes to do in that connection?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Minister of Agriculture):

We are endeavouring to locate him, but we have at present no vacancy which is worth as much as the position he held previously, and so far we have not succeeded. That, however, is our aim.

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

I notice a very considerable increase in the amount for salaries from $567,000 last year to $640,000 this year, contingencies standing at the same amount. The total amount voted for

salaries in the Department of Agriculture has grown from $399,000 in 1913 to $640,000 this year-a very substantial increase. Perhaps the minister could give us some explanation of the increase of $80,000 over the amount voted last year.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The increase of $71,680 is due to three causes. A certain number of temporary clerks have been promoted to the permanent staff and get larger salaries, in accordance with the new salary range. In addition to that, there are some nineteen new positions, accounting for something like half the total increase. There is a reduction, however, under the head of clerical and other assistance from $45,000 to $35,000. My hon. friend may think the salaries very high, but if we have a number of these positions vacant to-day, as we have, it is because the salaries are not sufficiently high to attract applicants to fill the vacancies. The position of Dominion Cerealist, for instance, will be vacant in June. The positions of Dominion Agrostologist and of Plant Pathologist have not been filled yet. Taking them altogether, I do not think that the key men in the department are overpaid. As a matter of fact, we have some difficulty in retaining them at their present salaries.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I should like to ask why $10,000 additional is necessary for travelling expenses. I was under the impression that the cost of travelling was coming down to a certain extent.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

There are a number of assemblies and conventions held, some every year, and others at longer intervals, at which the department is represented. The Agricultural Institute meets at Rome this year, and we shall have representatives there. Then there are always a certain number of conferences in connection with live stock and other matters at which we are represented. Some of the travelling expenses that were formerly charged up to the branch vote will this year be charged to this item specifically set aside for travelling expenses. The main increase is due to these overseas conventions being held this year.

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PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

A number of new positions are being filled this year, such as Dominion Bacteriologist, Chief of Feed Division, Specialist in Ornamental Horticulture, two Assistant Entomologists, and so forth. It seems to me that agriculture is top heavy at the present time with pro-

S up ply-Agriculture

fessional men. It is too expensive altogether. Was there a call for these new appointments this year?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We have not had a Dominion Bacteriologist in the department hitherto, but if my hon. friend has been reading the newspapers and is acquainted with the legislation passed last session, the Dairy Produce Act, he will know that a great deal of attention is now being paid to the question of bacteria in milk and dairy products generally. Then there is the question of soil bacteria. It has been found as we go along in our agricultural research work that bacteriology plays a far more important part in agriculture than we ever dreamt of some years ago. This man will have to deal more particularly with dairy products and soil bacteriology.

With regard to the Chief of the Feed Division, it is proposed to subject our various feeds to an analysis to guard against any dilution or disease in the seed. It includes bran and shorts, and all kinds of stock feeds.

The specialist in ornamental horticulture will be used at the Dominion Experimental Farm. That farm is a rendezvous for visitors from all over the Dominion, and it was thought that a little more attention might be paid to ornamentation of the lawns, shrubberies, and that kind of thing.

The Assistant Chemist is required because the chemist's work is growing and he is unable to take care of it himself. Many samples of soil are sent in from time to time, and in order that we may intelligently apply artificial manures, it is necessary to analyze different soils to ascertain what manures are best adapted to them.

With regard to the Assistant Entomologist, I am sure we must all have heard at various times of the tremendous loss to our forests as a result of the spruce bud-worm and other insect pests. The department sends out scouts from the Entomological Branch for the purpose of locating these insects and directing the activities of the lumbermen to the affected parts of their limits, so that they can cut down their trees and use them before they are destroyed by these bark beetles and other insects. As a matter of fact, we are going to be short even with these new men.

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

I am not in any mood to criticise the estimates of the Department of Agriculture, because since my appearance in this House I have been quite convinced that of all departments of the Government the Department of Agriculture has been used the most niggardly in the matter of expenditure. I have made a point of that throughout the country. The minister has mentioned the work done by our Entomological branch and in that connection an incident comes to my mind which happened some years ago at a time when the cut worm was very bad in the West. I mentioned it simply to urge that the Entomological branch has been perhaps in a more or less starving condition so that research work could not be carried out thoroughly, with the result that we who were engaged in agriculture and suffering much loss annually through the depredations of insects would sometimes have to challenge the advice that was given out by the branch. On this occasion, I was driving my team up and down the field, and as the horses were warm I stopped them and walked into an adjoining field of wheat. I had been reading Bulletin No. 32, I think it was, of the Entomological branch, dealing with the cut worm, and according to the advice given in that bulletin all these cut worms should at that time in the morning have been under the surface. It was about eleven in the forenoon and the sun was shining very strong when I walked into my field of wheat and saw, I should judge, a million cut worms in a given space, some going north, some south, some east, some west. I said, "My, according to information in a certain pamphlet you fellows should all be under the ground. What are you doing here?" I wrote to Mr. Criddle about it, and we exchanged several letters, and in the end-I am not saying this boastfully at all-he informed me that my contention was right, that the instructions given in this pamphlet were wrong, and he asked me to continue my research work.

My point is this. The professional man whose money is secure, being voted by this Government, is in a much more favourable position for carrying on research work than the practical man who is concerned with making his living, and consequently I ask that adequate provision be made both in the estimates and in the staff of the Entomological branch so that those who are making their living by agriculture may receive real assistance through entomological research work, which the individual on the farm has not the time to carry on. As I said before I believe that many of the branches of the Department of Agriculture have been starved in the past for the want of funds, and I make this special

Supply-A griculture

plea particularly on behalf of agriculture and of the producers of Canada. I read in the records of last year that the loss to agriculture from insect pests amounts to no less a sum than $120,000,000. A few days ago I put a question with reference to the methods employed by the Government in dealing with insect pests. I asked, for instance, about chlorine gas. I was informed that chlorine gas was considered too expensive to employ in the destruction of insects. That may be true; but the expense of chlorine gas does not prevent its use'in the destruction of human lives. If we entertain a proper conception of the value of the agricultural industry surely we shall not hesitate to employ chlorine gas, or any other remedy, which will enable us to prevent the wholesale losses that result from these insects. Let me point out that the vacant lands held by this Dominion in our western country form veritable breeding grounds for the grasshoppers, cutworms, and many other insects injurious to agriculture, of which I have been complaining. These vacant lands are also breeding grounds for gophers and other pests-menaces to the growth of wheat and other products Of the soil, and in view of this fact the Dominion Government must assume the obligation to combat these pests which live upon the Dominion Government's land. We settlers can take care of our cultivated areas and we do so; but when we have taken the necessary precautions in the shape of spreading poisoned bait we see when we come out the next morning hordes of grasshoppers emerging from the vacant Dominion lands, spreading in all directions, and all our work, onerous as it is, has to be done all over again, to say nothing of the additional expense incurred. I earnestly urge the Government to appropriate sufficient money to wage a determined fight against these insects and other pests which commit such depredations in the west.

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PRO

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. SPENCER:

I understand that Mr. Duncan Marshall is in the employ of the Department of Agriculture. Which of these positions does this official fill?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

He does not belong to the inside service.

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PRO

Robert Milton Johnson

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSON (Moosejaw) :

Reference has been made to a position which was shortly to become vacant. Am I correct in understanding that this position has ,J)een vacated by Dr. Saunders, who was identified with the research and experimental work which resulted in the origination of

the variety of wheat known as Marquis wheat?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

My hon. friend refers, I think, to Dr. Charles Saunders. He and his father were closely identified with the experiments which resulted in the discovery to which my hon. friend refers-both of them worked together.

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PRO

Robert Milton Johnson

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSON (Moosejaw) :

I am informed that this position has become vacant owing to the resignation of Dr. Saunders on acount of ill health?

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LIB
PRO

Robert Milton Johnson

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSON (Moosejaw) :

Is this position being filled; also is any provision being made for Dr. Saunders, or has he made any application for assistance of any kind?

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LIB
PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Is it true that another Professor Saunders-in this case in Nova Scotia-has resigned from the Department of Agriculture? The official to whom I refer has been engaged in demonstrating the efficacy of poisons for the potato bugs and other insects.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I understand that what my hon. friend states is the case. The officer was an entomologist.

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March 31, 1922