April 21, 1922

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

' With regard to the statement attributed to Mr. Larkin, I want to be permitted to give two reasons why I am satisfied that he never uttered it. My first reason is, my faith in his sound judgment, good sense and discretion; my second reason is, I read that statement, in almost the exact words, in the press a week ago, but attributed to somebody else, not named, in England. I am quite satisfied that the statement made by somebody else, evidently an irresponsible person, has been improperly attributed to Mr. Larkin.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Possibly this is an echo of one of the statements made by the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) last fall and still ringing down the halls of time.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It may be an echo of deliberate misrepresentation of statements of the leader of the Opposition, circulated for the same purposes that hon. gentlemen opposite circulated assurances that they would give cash grants to soldiers and other like favours; misrepresentations that doubtless were in the mind of the Minister of Agriculture a moment ago when he sought, in a covert way, to convey the impression that others had declared that there were annexationists in the West, but which he won't stand in his place and attribute to any individual in this House.

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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No words of mine ever reflected in the least degree on the loyalty of western Canada, nor did any newspaper report that I ever read of any assertions of mine attribute such words to me. By the time, however, that they get on the lips of men who are anxious to make political capital, not for the sake of political reforms but for the sake of office, and to carry out in office exactly the things they denounced in opposition,-when they get around to the lips of men like that, they

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finally reach the form which perhaps Mr. Larkin might have copied. But, if Mr. Larkin is over there copying misrepresentations, it is time he returned. I am quite ready to accept the judgment of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding). I cannot conceive that any man of Mr. Larkin's standing could make such a statement as this. I know what it is to be misrepresented, and I am not going to abuse Mr. Larkin until I know exactly what he said.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Taking the last criticism first, Mr. Chairman, I did not even look at the right hon. gentleman when I was speaking about the question of annexation. Why should he be so quick to put the cap on right over his ears without any suggestion on my part that it belonged there?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will the hon. gentleman quote me when I put the cap on?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

My right hon.

friend referred to it and said he had never dealt with it-

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No; I said the hon.

gentleman would not attribute it to anybody in this House.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Well, the circumstances I had in mind related to the election campaign of 1911, in which reciprocity was an issue-why the air was blue with it. My hon. friends have very short memories. But let us get back to agriculture for a moment, and to natural fertilizers, not artificial fertilizers.

With regard to cold storage, I may repeat briefly what I said last night in reply to the hon. member for Victoria and Carle-ton (Mr. Caldwell). Under the terms of a cold storage act passed many years ago, substantial assistance was given to those engaging in the construction of cold storage plants. Until about 1917 or 1918, thirty per cent of the cost of construction was paid by the federal government as a subsidy to all cold storage plants constructed under plans and specifications laid down by the Department of Agriculture. That law was changed to apply only to municipal cold storages, in order that the burden on the revenues of the country might be decreased. Very few plants- possibly only one or two-have been constructed under the amended law. I would like to have advised the Minister of Finance to revert this year to the original enactment providing for the thirty percent subsidy, but I did not think I was justified in doing it this year. Possibly

we may be able to do so another year when the treasury is less depleted-and I think if we did, it would go a long way toward meeting the situation. Of course, I cannot pledge the Government to that policy. The question of cold storage is becoming a very vital one, not only in my hon. friend's province but in other provinces as well. British Columbia in particular.

The question of lectures has been referred to. I have driven twenty-five miles after dark from Abernethy to Indian Head to hear an agricultural lecture, only to listen to an address by someone who did not know beans when the bag was open. I do not know whether any of the lecturers my hon. friend refers to have been down in his district since the first of January. I am prepared to take responsibility for any shortcomings in that regard, even those which date back to the time prior to my taking office; if these men are there yet, I am responsible for it.

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PRO
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

If my hon. friend will inform me confidentially as to some of the gentlemen who do not measure up, we will try to improve matters. There again, of course, I am up against the Civil Service Commission: we can dismiss them, but we cannot appoint others.

I think my hon. friend was correct in saying that the reduced freight rate does apply to the natural fertilizer, and many arguments could be advanced in support of the contention that it should apply to the artificial fertilizer also.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

I would like to make a statement in regard to the ground limestone. In New Brunswick ground limestone is very badly needed; acid phosphate has a tendency to make the soil become acid, and the application of ground limestone is necessary to correct that condition, In order to provide our farmers with this limestone the provincial governemnt got a special freight rate from the railway companies which ensured the delivery of ground limestone anywhere in the province at $5 a ton. But when the last increase of freight rates came into effect, the rate on ground limestone was increased by about $2 a ton-I am not positive as to the exact amount, but that was the ap-

4 p.m. proximate increase. The result has been almost to prohibit the use of ground limestone in New Brunswick, to the great detriment of production. I

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think that this matter should be brought very forcibly to the attention of the Railway Commission. I have in my feeble way tried to do that, but I was informed in reply that you could produce an argument in favour of a reduction of freight rates on anything. That was a rather flippant way to deal with a question which is of the greatest importance, to us at least. When you increase the price of ground limestone from $5 to $7 or thereabouts, through increased freight rates, it is a very serious thing, and I would like to see some action taken to afford us relief.

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LIB
PRO

John Frederick Johnston

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSTON (Last Mountain) :

The minister will remember that his predecessor in office met those interested in the production and marketing of bacon through a conference held last fall, with a view of discussing the improvement of the quality of our bacon, both in its raw state and in the finished condition. What results, if any, have come from that conference?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The conference was held in November and was attended by representatives of all the departments of Agriculture as well as by producers and representatives of abattoirs, the idea being to work out a plan of grading of hogs or bacon. Shortly after the new government was formed we started to carry out the conclusions of the conference. The necessary Orders in Council have gone through, and the whole question has got the 'once over'. But it is amazing what an intricate matter it is to get appointments made. It is simply a question now of getting the men for the positions. As my hon. friend knows, advertisement has to be made and applications have to be received. I assume that when the positions are advertised there will be from 150 to 200 applicants for the 20 or 22 positions. It will take about two weeks to advertise the positions; then the receiving of applications will take a little while longer, after which the process of examination must take place, the rating of the applicants, and so on. I cannot, therefore, give my hon. friend any assurance when the actual grading of hogs will be in operation. My deputy tells me that with reasonable luck-because I cannot put it in any other way-we shall be able to put the ball into play about the first of June; we were aiming at starting about the first of May. We would like to commence when the business is slack, so there will be the least possible disturbance

to the old order of things in the introduction of the new.

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PRO

John Frederick Johnston

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSTON (Last Mountain):

Does the minister's explanation mean that his department is implementing the work done by those conferences? '

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LIB
PRO

John Frederick Johnston

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSTON (Last Mountain) :

Might I ask the minister's opinion as to the grading of live hogs? Does he think it will be effective, and what benefit will result to the producer?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Before I answer the first question I may say that provision for paying these men is made in the vote under discussion. Everything has been provided for: Regulations have been

drafted, Orders in Council passed, and the matter is now either before the Civil Service Commission or on the point of being sent there-I do know it has got to go to the commission. As to my hon. friend's other question, I was not at the conference referred to, but I have had a discussion with a number of those who were, and the idea is this: As time goes on the tendency in all agricultural countries, owing to the keen competition-not only to secure markets but to retain them-is to put all farm products on the market in a graded condition, and to encourage the buying based upon quality. That is to say, in order to get quality you must encourage quality, in order to encourage quality you must pay on that basis; and-just as the hon. member's wheat, oats, barley or rye out in Last Mountain is paid for on the basis of quality-the hope is that by the grading of hogs, which is certainly difficult but not impossible to carry out, payment will be largely made on the basis of quality and that will encourage quality. Now, the idea of these hog graders is not to grade every consignment that comes in, but rather to grade those that the buyer and the seller disagree on. If my hon. friend were the purchaser of hogs and I the seller, as long as we could agree on the grade there would be no difficulty about the transaction; but if we disagreed then the matter would be referred to this grader or, as it would be more proper to call him, referee. That is the way we propose to start. I think that even the grade my hon. friend and I might agree on should be made the subject of record even though we do not refer to the referee at all, so that we would be able to keep track of how the amount in hogs corresponds with the

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amount in. first-class bacon the abattoir may turn out. The whole matter, I think, tends in the right direction. It is not desired to disturb the trade any more than is necessary. The grader may be said to be rather a referee. That referee will represent the abattoirs and also the producers and both will abide by his decision. In addition the understanding is that, based upon this quality, the abattoirs will bid in order to play their part and thus incidentally prevent their doors being closed for the want of business, a condition that some of them are in to-day. The abattoirs will bid a premium on all selects, of ten per cent, I think it is. That is the understanding, but it will not be easy to work out the proportion. It may gradually become absorbed into the general price. At any rate, I have explained the object we have in view, and that is the intent of the contract.

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April 21, 1922