May 15, 1922

PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

It had been my intention to speak for three or four hours in the hope that those who were opposed to the resolution would have the good sense to go home. I think those who favour the motion are the more resolute-shall I say the more intelligent?-and therefore they would be more likely to stay. However, I have been committed to a pledge to cut my remarks down to ten or fifteen minutes.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

That is too

long.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

Thirty minutes I mean to say and if there are interruptions I may have to occupy forty-five minutes. I have condensed a great deal I had intended to say but there are one or two remarks I must offer. In reply to the last speaker who said that this indubitably was protection let me say this: If it is protection simply to prohibit oleomargarine what would it be if we were asking for a duty of eight cents a pound on butter coming in from the United States, as provided in the Pordney tariff bill in respect to imports from Canada? What kind of expressions would then he employed by hon. members on both sides to describe that form of protection? There is a great difference between a duty of eight cents a pound as specified in the Fordney bill, and the prohibition of this cart grease we are talking of now.

The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) said that the exportation of butter in the year 1920 amounted to seventeen and a half million pounds and the importation of oleomargarine amounted to six million pounds. I think that amply proves the assertion I made earlier in the debate that there is no scarcity of butter in Canada, which was one of the three reasons given for allowing oleomargarine to he introduced. Out of the mouth of the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) is it established that we have an ample surplus when we were compelled to make exports of 17,500,000 pounds. The hon. member says that shows we were not suffering much from the importation of oleomargarine; but if the 6,000,000 pounds of oleomargarine had not been imported into Canada, we would have had 6,000,000 pounds more butter sold locally. The hon. member remarked that it was a well known fact that you could not build up a market for any article to any great extent out of the home market alone. You cannot; we never denied

Oleomargarine

that; but is it not a fact that the home market is the best of all markets?

I wish to say, in order to disarm hostility, that I am not a dairyman myself. I am induced to take this step only by watching the struggles of dairymen in my district. Perhaps the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) will not give me credit for this, but I have also some lingering desire to give the kiddies in this country some proper nourishing food.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE :

If this House were to pass this resolution and if we were to prohibit the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine, could the hon. member give us any guarantee that the kiddies about whom he is so anxious would get the butter?

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

Absolutely. There is

nothing else for them to get. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in his treatment of this subject differed, I thought, very strongly from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell); but on this matter I think I must accept the mature judgment of the Minister of Agriculture. His long experience in the matter surely entitled him to be considered a master mind in this regard. I could not help thinking that the Minister of Finance rather what is called begged the question. That is to say, he made an assertion that such and such was the case without proof, and thus disposed of a great deal of argument. He said that it was not true that oleomargarine is an unwholesome product. Unwholesome is a matter of comparative degree; it depends what you call unwholesome. Oleomargarine is not unwholesome

*t !S 'n the kitchen; it is unwholesome when it is in a baby's stomach. It is not unwholesome of itself; it is made m a clean manner; but it is unwholesome in a person's stomach. Dirt has been described as matter out of place and oleomargarine is unwholesome when it is out of place. Beefsteak is a very nourishing thing, but it turns an invalid's stomach and it is an unwholesome thing for that invalid. Lard-some hon, member called it a grease compound-when it is introduced into the stomachs of children and invalids is unwholesome in itself, while it would be thoroughly wholesome to cook the dog's food with or something of that kind.

Another statement made by the Minister of Finance is that oleomargarine is allowed in every country in the world. I must take exception to that because I have authoritative information from the department's

own agent that it is not used in New Zealand at all and only to a very slight extent in Australia.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

I did not say that it was used; I said that it was not prohibited by law so far as I knew, in any country in the world. I think that is correct. If I am wrong, I shall be happy to have my hon. friend correct me.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

I thought the hon. member said that it was used in every country. At all events I will make that correct. If it is not prohibited in every country, it is not used in Australia and New Zealand.

The last statement the Minister of I mance made was that those who would vote in favour of this resolution would do so on the assumption that the people of this country were not of sufficient intelligence to form a judgment as to what they should buy or not buy. Ever since the day Adam went into horticulture and Eve flirted with the devil have we not had laws of all kinds and have they not been for the protection of the women, the poor and the children? What are we here today for if we are not here to make laws to protect somebody from somebody else? If we are sufficiently intelligent to make our hand hold our heac\ let us go home and each provide himself with a battleaxe and go out on his own. Let me go into the three-card trick. I invite my hon. friends moie particularly of the Progressive party, to come and see me to-morrow and I can demonstrate to them that the marble is under this or that particular cup, and I will invite them to bet on it. Why should I be prohibited from doing that? Let them keep themselves; their intelligence should be sufficient, in the language of my hon. friend opposite: the same thing applies to bogus oil stock and many other things such as peddling confederate bills and other things we are legislating against Law is made for the protection of the poor and helpless and that is what we are asking for to-day, as regards the secondary element of the resolution, the protection of the poor and ignorant.

Two hon. members spoke very highly of the remarks of the hon. member for Victoria City (Mr. Tolmie). To be candid,

I followed his remarks with close attention and while this may be my misfortune, I could see only two points in his speech. One was the very unfair argument that convictions for selling bad oleomargarine were much fewer than those who were selling bad butter. In answer to that, is

Oleomargarine

the fact that twenty or thirty times as much butter was sold as oleomargarine and therefore, there were more convictions in the case of the former. Such an argument did not seem to require much answer. The other argument was apparently an endeavour to secure the support of my hon. friends to my left and it was put m a way that I do not think will appeal to them. I am not ashamed to appeal to them myself; hut I will appeal to their heads and hearts and not to their pockets or stomachs as was done by the hon. member. He held out a threat or promise or bribe-you have beef cattle and the amount of money you will get for your beef fat will enable you to become rich and retire for life. I was glad to see it fail and as regards the small amount of oleo fat that is in a steer, that would not make you very much richer than you are now. Moreover, this has been in force now for four years and I leave it to hon. gentlemen to know how much their pocketbook has been increased in that time, lhe hon. member for Lisgar went into a discussion of the tariff; but I will keep away from that. We will not call it protection; we will call it prohibition if that will make my hon. friend any happier; we will call it preservation in the same way as we seek to protect the downtrodden wheat-grower by a wheat board.

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PRO
PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

We will not discuss the subject, as the man said. I recall the story of a man who did not go to church and the minister came along and said: " I have not seen you in church." John passed the subject off. The minister said again, lt John, you have not been in church lately." The old Scotchman replied: " Weel, now, Mr. So-ana-So, we'll no discuss the subject," and at this late hour, we will not discuss the question whether it was the hon. member for Lisgar or not. I will take it back as regards him. Some hon. gentleman made-the remark anyway. The hon. member for Lisgar did discuss free trade. Free trade surely made Great Britain; it is a beautiful ideal, a beautiful theory. I believe in it as a theory, but I keep my theories in the clouds and my politics on the earth. Why, I would warn hon. gentlemen to my left that while this policy of free trade is an admirable one if you happen to believe in it, it is possible to run any theory to death, to pursue this fetish, this butterfly until it takes you

over the precipice, until free trade becomes almost license. It was suggested this afternoon that free trace meant buying anything you like, and, I suppose, selling anything you like, whether it be oleomargarine or wheat, and drinking anything you like, and finally, in the last analysis, doing anything you like. That means simply one word-license, and that is free trade carried to excess. When 1 say that, I do not say that I shall not vote for the Wheat Board. I intend to vote for the Wheat Board, because, being in a farming community, I believe they have very hard times on the prairies and they require preservation just as we require preservation in the opposite ends of Canada in the dairying industry. The way my hon. friends to my left vote on this occasion will not make any difference with me.

I shall be very sorry to see my hon. friends from the prairies vote in any considerable numbers against this resolution, for I believe that they could not take any one single step more calculated to alienate the entire sympathies of all the rest of the farming community of Canada. I shall be sorry to see them do that, for I hold them in high respect and have a great belief in their future. I thought -the day would come when they would form a party sufficient to dominate Canada both in numbers and in policy, but if they show any tendency to sectionalism there are those who would be only too pleased to observe it. I hope they do not show any such tendency. If they do they cannot logically expect sympathy from other farmers from Quebec or the east or the extreme west. It is said that they are too class-conscious. The trouble is that -they are not classconscious enough. They ought to join hand in hand with the farmers of Quebec and Ontario and the East and on agricultural matters consider every question from the one point of view of the farmers. As the politician in the Old Country said, we must all hang together or we shall hang separately. That is the attitude which I would urge my hon. friends to take. No man liveth unto himself and no man dieth unto himself. That is good Scripture and it is still true. We are told in the literature so often rehearsed this afternoon, and in these regulations, so numerous and hard and fast, but so easy to evade, that the manufacturers were not allowed to put anything on their labels suggestive of milk or butter or cows or any

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animals oil the farm. They were not allowed to put the name of any beef brand on their labels, but there is one of the labels in my hand. Does any hon. gentleman recognise the colour of that animal? I would not object to the colour of the steer which is pictured here, because it represents danger. But I object to the symbol on the label. It should not be a steer; it should be a nigger-a full big, dirty, greasy nigger with his bare feet treading out the vegetable oils in this article, which is sold under the guarantee issued in New York that it was properly made in the southern states. In fact, there should be two niggers upon the label, the one pedalling with his dirty feet and chewing tobacco, with all the habits the practice carries with it and the smaller one stepping airily into the vats to make the necessary repairs to any machinery that goes wrong. Put such a picture on the label and I shall be more willing to accept it.

_ I shall now refer to another point not introduced into the debate. I want you to think for a moment of the young girls of this country. I am interested in this phase of the question, because I have had girls of my own. Go into the country districts and look at the type of young women there. . They are strong, vigorous, deepchested women, with a complexion that they did not get out of drug stores. Then go into any town or city, from Vancouver to Ottawa and what do you find? They are small, stunted, anaemic looking.

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LIB
PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

And if you go into the restaurants, the cafes and the cafeterias and observe many of the young girls there you will get a fair idea of what they regard as a proper meal. I saw one the other day, a young girl of seventeen or eighteen, in one of these places, and I took notice of what she ordered. She asked for a fruit salad, a mixture of little bits of odds and ends, a small roll of bread with a tiny dab of butter, some coffee and some weird mysterious confection of no earthly food value, although costly. That is the town girl's conception of what is a suitable diet. The agricultural department's experts tell us what constitutes a proper ration for a cow and a horse, but the young boys and the girls in the city are not taught the faintest conception of what constitutes even a fair ration for themselves. They certainly do not get the dairy products that the growing people in the country get.

It is not from lack of money; it is not from lack of salary; it is due to lack of sense or knowledge. These girls are well dressed, they swarm in the theatres and movies. So that the fault is not that they have no money. They could not get the proper nourishment in the things they buy, because these vitamines are to be found only in dairy products. I venture to suggest that the fine figure of my hon. friend from Victoria (Mr. Tolmie) was not grown without vitamines. He was brought up on a farm.

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LAB
PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

The hon. member should have been here this afternoon when I explained this point at great length. He must excuse me if I decline to do so again. However, I might briefly reply that a vita-mine is something vital to the growth of young children and is found only in dairy products. Now then, all that is the matter with the women you see in the towns is that they are underfed and under-nourished. If my hon. friend from East Calgary (Mr. Irvine) who is a university man, does not know what a vitamine is, how can you expect a stenographer in one of these buildings to know? Do not make it any worse for these young girls just for the sake of big profits for these corporations in the United States.

Now, we come to the question which has been so well trotted out in this debate, the rights of the poor man to buy what he likes. How tenderly these poor benighted men are dealt with in this instance by the rich corporations! We must stand up for their inalienable right, given them by God to buy what they like. I represent a workingmen's constituency and although this motion has been on the Order Paper for weeks. I have not heard a single complaint from a workingman in opposition to it. The workingmen know what virtue there is in a campaign carried on in their behalf by the rich corporations in the United States. Is it for the benefit of the corporations or of themselves? Which is their real concern? The right to buy! Yes; their right to buy an imitation. I have a formula for producing a substitute for milk. It looks exactly like milk and tastes like milk, only it has not half the food value of the real product. And in years to come, when politics cease to support me, I am going into that business, if this resolution does not pass, and I will get the support of these same hon. gentlemen, who say it is all right to palm off this spurious stuff on

Oleomargarine

the country, to sell that milk substitute then. It will be all right to sell it to the public, if hon. members think that this resolution is wrong. That milk substitute is nothing but a little hit of chalk and a lot of water, but it is just as good as this oleomargarine. W e hear a lot of talk about the inalienable "right" of the poor man to buy what he likes. Very well. Suppose we argue for a little while on his right to a decent living wage, his right to have such conditions as will afford him employment by which he may be able to earn enough money to provide for himself and his children the real article. Instead of legislating for the benefit of corporations in the United States, and calling it patriotism-a very shady sort of patriotism in my estimation-would it not be infinitely better so to legislate that employment might be abundant, work available, and in consequence dairy products brought within the reach of all? Would it not be better to do that and so keep alive that industry and build up a strong young race?

I started out with the assertion, which has not been contradicted in a single instance, that this legislation was introduced in 1917 for three specific reasons: First, it was a war measure; second, it was due to the scarcity of butter; and third, there was the question of high price. That is admitted; it has not been controverted. I asserted it in the most positive way and it is on the record, and Hansard bears me out when I say that the people of _ the country, through their representatives, made a bargain with the dairy industry that the importation and manufacture of this article would be abolished as soon as conditions in the country permitted. That has not been done. I asked, I have asked before, I asked this afternoon, and I ask the House again to-night to see to it that the pledge made then with the dairy industry shall be honoured, and that this war measure shall now be abandoned. It is for us now to keep faith with these people who are engaged in this industry.

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LIB

William Frederic Kay

Liberal

Mr. KAY:

I was paired with the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Wilson). Wnr! T voted. I would have voted for the

resolution.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

I was paired with the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Hock-en). Had I voted, I would have voted against the resolution.

Grain Trade

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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

I was paired with the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau). Had I voted, I would have voted against the resolution.

On motion of Mr. Fielding the House adjourned at 1.10 a.m. Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 16, 1922

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May 15, 1922