May 15, 1922

LIB

Hyacinthe-Adélard Fortier

Liberal

Mr. H. A. FORTIER (Labelle) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, I wish to briefly express my opinion in support of the proposed resolution for the prohibition of the sale of margarine in this country. I already had occasion, last session, to expound my reasons for opposing the manufacture and sale of this product. At each session, some member deems it his duty to introduce a resolution to prohibit such sale. That alone would suffice to show that such legislation is not sound, that the act which was passed some years ago, allowing the sale of this product, is unwarranted, and that there is no general wish for its maintenance, on the part of the people of this country. Such being the state of public opinion, it should be dispensed with.

I think the time has come,

since that legislation is about to lapse-to remind the

Oleomargarine

Government that it is the wish of our farming community, of our agricultural societies, of the settler and of the farmer, that the manufacture and sale of this product should become a thing of the past, as far as I am concerned, I do not think it should exist. In fact we are asking very little when we request that this transitory legislation, which is on the eve of lapsing, be discontinued; we ask for a return to the statu quo, we ask, on behalf of the farmers, the same legislation they had in former years.

Previous to the late war, which compelled us to enact special legislation in order to supply needs which circumstances required, we existed without this butter substitute, without this famous margarine which certain countries got in the way of consuming and that we always look upon with horror in this beautiful agricultural country. There is no reason whatever to maintain a product of this kind in Canada. Agriculture is the principal industry of the country, and we do not need, I repeat it, to have recourse to this detestable legislation which was enacted in times of hardship, to permit the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine.

You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that it was during the sad days of the great war, when we lacked sufficient products in this country to feed our own people, when the European markets were wide open to us, when our products were sought and sold at exceedingly high prices, it was then that it was considered expedient, but only for a limited time, to adopt transitory legislation, so as to allow for a year or two and no more, the sale of oleomargarine. On the eve of this act lapsing, the advisability of maintaining it was discussed in this House; there was then question of continuing it for two years; protests were voiced in this House; we did not want it maintained for the excellent reasons then brought to bear and which still hold good to-day, and we asked that, instead of enacting a new law for two years, it should be re-enacted for a year only. Presently the act will lapse and that will be the end of it.

We have nothing to ask for; we must simply abide by the acknowledged fact and let that enactment become null and void so as to return to normal times, those good times during which we lived (before the war, having none of these ephemeral laws, none of these makeshift enactments. Let us allow that legislation to lapse and we shall witness once more that heyday of prosperity we enjoyed before the war. We want no such legislation as existed these last years in order to bring back upon the market that substitute for butter which is not needed in this country, because we have that good farm product in such quantity and of such quality as will satisfy our needs'-in such large quantities as will allow us to place it upon foreign markets, and to let the whole world know the fair name of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I regret that some honourable members should ask for the maintenance of such an enactment. I regret it, I say, because this is a time in the year when everything seems to get a new lease of life; the beautiful countryside is verdant once more, and in the fields the farmer's band throws out the prolific seed. The tiller needs encouragement and we, lawmakers, must not stand up and say to him that the most splendid product from his farm, the product of the dairy industry, will not have a free scope as formerly and that we shall have it compete with an inferior article. He needs encouragement, that farmer, when he holds in his hand and spreads the seeds of wheat which bring wealth to this country; he wants us to stand by him and support him in that most important dairy industry, and tell him: Now, farmer, carry on as in the past.

The dairy industry is still the greatest source of wealth in our land. It is that industry we are developing in this country and in my beloved province of Quebec, where our public men have devoted the best part of their time towards securing the success of an industry that has built up Quebec's reputation. It is to that industry that have devoted themselves men like the present minister of agriculture in that province, the Hon. Mr. Caron, a model farmer, who has favoured it with all his might, all his heiart, who has brought it to a high degree of perfection and who wishes that it be the foremost in his province. Were we to tell him: You have followed the wrong path; on that industry we shall graft as a rival a substitute for butter, we shall place upon our market, upon the table of our fellow-citizens that substitute for butter which is called oleomargarine and have it to compete with that splendid product. Such a course would be an unfortunate (blunder on the part of this House. We ought to look after the farmer and encourage him. The farmer was the pioneer in our country. He certainly deserves our support and the best encouragement we could give him would be

Oleomargarine

to repeal such, an enactment which opens our markets to oleomargarine as well as to butter.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES MARCIL (Bonaven-ture) :

Mr. Speaker, I feel it my duty to say a few words on the question before the House, representing as I do an agricultural constituency in which is made about the best butter to be found in the province of Quebec. The future prosperity of this country rests almost wholly on its agriculture, and anything that this House can do should be done to encourage a return of population to the farms, because unless we can build up this basic industry I see no hope for Canada in the future. Since 1882, the province of Quebec has developed a magnificent market, abriad as well as at home, for butter and cheese. By the statistics for the year 1920, I observe that the output of butter brought a return of $23,000,000 odd and cheese over $13,000,000. There are 1,800 factories distributed throughout the province of Quebec, and the making of butter and cheese is probably the most promising of all our industries. The splendid donation made by the province of Quebec at the outbreak of the war of half a million dollars' worth of cheese was a great stimulus to the industry, to which it attracted considerable attention.

I should consider myself recreant to my duty if I did not vote against the continuance of this attempt to foist upon the country a product which I do not think the people want. It was allowed as a substitute during the war and there is now no further need for the manufacture of it. Those who can buy butter at any reasonable price do not care for oleomargarine. I do not think that any man going into a store would buy this article if he could get butter at a fair price. People had to buy oleomargarine during the war because the price of butter was very high, but now prices are all reasonable and they can afford to get the genuine product.

We should give the farmer every encouragement possible. He does not enjoy the protection which the manufacturers and the capitalists are given; and, furthermore, he has to contend with weather conditions and markets. The markets of the United States are now closed against him, and the farms are all suffering from an exodus of the rural population to the cities. Thousands of people have left my constituency, and the same is true of other places in Canada. We must make the conditions of

rural life attractive so that these people may be induced to return to the farms. In the province from which I come particularly, there is no more promising industry than the dairy business, and I therefore feel it my duty to support this resolution. I congratulate the hon. member who introduced it (Mr. Neill) for the very fair and complete manner in which he laid the question before the House.

Mr. WILLIAM F. CARROLL (Cape Breton South and Richmond) : The speeches on this question have been very brief and I hope to follow the example set by other hon. gentlemen. I do not personally like oleomargarine. I had the misfortune of being obliged to eat it for some considerable time and I know something about it. As I understand the question before the House, however, it is not a matter of taste but a question whether or not we should permit the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine in this country. I take the ground that a person who can afford to buy butter will buy butter, while those who are unable to buy it will buy oleomargarine. So that I fail to see the force of the argument that the manufacture of oleomargarine in Canada is going to injure in any way the dairy interests of the country. The hon. member who so very ably presented the question to the House said that there was a great deal of sham and fraud about the manufacture and sale of this article. Well, we are all more or less in the hands of those who sell us anything we eat or anything we wear. For example, how many people out of the 8,000,000 or so who inhabit this country are able in the fall of the year to clothe themselves in the very best of woollens? A very small percentage. Indeed, very many people in Canada are obliged to wear underclothing which is not made of wool at all. No doubt they would like very much to be able to get the real article, but they cannot afford to pay for it, and because they are bound to get inferior clothing we might as well say that they are the victims of fraud and sham perpetrated by those who sell them the cheaper goods. Again, there are a great many different grades of shoes, and sometimes we find them with soles that are made of paper instead of leather. Nevertheless, there are people who buy shoes of this kind because they cannot afford the more expensive grades.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Should these manufactures be protected?

Oleomargarine

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

I am not considering the question whether there is too much protection or not enough protection. I am not arguing from that standpoint. Now, if the people of the country do not wish to eat oleomargarine there is no duty whatever imposed upon them to eat it. If they can pay for butter they will certainly not buy oleomargarine; but if they are unable to buy butter and are perfectly satisfied with a substitute, why should they be hindered from procuring it? I do not see how they can possibly injure the dairy interests by buying oleomargarine when they could not buy butter in any case. I am not speaking for my own constituency in this matter. For once, in my life, at all events, I may speak from the broader and more national point of view. I do not think that there are ten pounds of oleomargarine used in the constituency I represent, although it is one of the largest industrial constituencies in Canada. But if there are people in this country who desire to use oleomargarine as a substitute for butter or for cooking purposes, I do not think that this Parliament should deprive them of that right which they should enjoy as free-born Canadians. I shall vote against the resolution for these reasons and for many more which I could state.

Mr. AIME M. DECHENE (Mont-magny) (Translation) : Mr. Speaker, on every occasion when this question was discussed in this House I had the honour to take part in the debate, and my firm attitude of the past, on this question is the one which I intend to maintain this evening, in other words, to oppose the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine. It is therefore a pleasant duty for me to support the resolution of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) and to ask all our colleagues to join us in our effort to remove from the market of this country, a certainly inferior product which has not the value attributed to it; for after all, oleomargarine and other products of the same nature have but a very small value. It may be eaten with bread, as for instance on a slice of bread which we give to children, though devoid of the most nutritious constituents found in butter; but it cannot be used in a very palatable way to cook food. We all know that when oleomargarine comes in contact with heat it disintegrates immediately and a tallow smell is given out which is very disagreeable; this explains why no one likes to consume hot food prepared with oleomargarine. It however finds a ready sale, under the disguise of cheapness, with the people who think they are economizing by using, instead of butter, oleomargarine, an article of inferior quality.

During the war, we were forced to allow the use of a substitute owing to the 'high cost of the dairy products such as butter and cheese. This was a war measure, one which should have been repealed immediately after the armistice; but, in order to meet the wish of everybody, the government of that day thought it prudent and wise to continue this legislation for a few months more. Last year it seemed absolutely decided that we would, this year, see the end of such legislation; however rumours are spreading which forecast a further continuation of this legislation for some time to come. This would certainly cause considerable harm to the dairy industry of this country. Some twenty years ago, dairying was very little thought of, not only in this country but in the foreign markets. The problem was solved by encouraging the dairy industry and prohibiting the importation and manufacture of oleomargarine and other such products. Ever since the dairy industry has had full scope, it has progressed considerably. Our products have acquired a great value. In the past they were considered of inferior quality in the market, however, to-day they are highly appreciated, not only in Canada but in foreign markets. The Department of Agriculture observing that the greater part of the population was interested in the success of the dairy industry, established these past years, competitive examinations following courses of instruction in butter-making. The result of these competitions is published yearly. That of last year showed that we had made considerable progress in the manufacture of butter. Every year, since this co-operation has been established, there is a marked improvement. Now, that we are in a position to meet competition from Denmark and New Zealand, and to compete against them on an equal footing in the British, French and Belgian markets, we seek to obtain permission, in Canada, to sell substitutes. Having laboured for twenty years to improve his herd, having faithfully followed the advice of the Department of Agriculture, at Ottawa, and of the provincial agricultural departments, the farmer will behold all his work reduced to nought; now that he is on the eve of securing a market

Oleomargarine

and establishing a good reputation, while his industry is becoming remunerative, he will find that we allow the sale of products which are substitutes, simply imitations, and therefore bound to be a very unfair competitor.

Some of the hon. members who spoke this afternoon or this evening said: "You will ruin an industry and the capital invested will prove a loss." According to the manufacturers' own figures, there has been manufactured, during the year 1921, 3,780,392 pounds of oleomargarine in Canada, and according to the same source, 2,057,035 pounds were imported. On the other hand, there was more than $199,000,000 worth of butter and cheese produced amongst 3,258 factories. Should we, by continuing this year this legislation help to develop an industry which would compete and ruin the one we already have? It is all very well to allow, in this country, the development of as many industries as possible, however, on the other hand, we should take the necessary steps, not to ruin those which our rural population have established within the past twenty or twenty-five years, on a basis which does credit to Canada. We had in the year 1920, about 3,258 factories making butter and cheese. How many oleomargarine factories are there? I think, we could say, without fear of contradiction, that they are no more nor less, but side lines of the large packing establishments of this country and that they alone really benefit by them. They tell us, on the other hand, that if they are not allowed to manufacture oleomargarine, they will be at a loss to dispose of the by-products of the steer. I see, by their own figures, that they have imported from the United States a quantity of vegetable, mineral and even animal oils in a greater proportion than what is manufactured in this country.

So as to enable them to import a few thousand pounds of mineral or animal oils, that can be produced in their present industry which is deserving of encouragement, should we also allow them to create a monopoly and jeopardize the industries already established? I contend, Mr. Speaker, that we would then be working towards demolishing what we have built with so much perseverance upset the calculations of the farming community. Do you not 'believe that, if one of these days, the farmer realized that the sale of oleomargarine and its by-products, or any kind1 of oil mixed with butter, proved a serious competitor in the market, that he

would do as many others have already done and say: "Well, there is already very little money in farming, I shall give up the dairy industry. I shall discontinue rising at half past three or four o'clock in the morning to milk the cows, I shall not retire to bed at eight or nine o'clock, at night, after having again milked the cows and given the necessary care to the herd, thus I shall give up competing against the sale of all those vegetable and other oils, which are imported from the United States. Why so much worry to supply certain privileged ones, with a few pounds of butter, when the large manufacturers of this country, themselves, favour American industries by importing hundreds of thousands of, dollars worth, nay, several millions, of their products in preference to our own.

A young man brought up on the farm with his father would naturally come to this conclusion: "Conditions on the farm are so bad, the farmer is so poorly encouraged that he is not even allowed to retain what he has to-day, moreover unfair competition is 'being brought to bear to annoy him, I shall therefore follow the example of other young men, go and live in the city." Thus we shall again be working to depopulate the rural districts in the interest of large cities. If you wish to keep our young men on the farm, give them a chance to lay something aside for themselves. Otherwise they can not be blamed if they move to large centres, to work as labourers, and walk the streets at half past seven or eight o'clock at night.

Some one said, a few minutes ago: "That there was a market for oleomargarine therefore we should produce some for sale". This reasoning struck me as being false, because any dealer, any man who is acquainted with the ways and means of selling a product to others, can sell them any thing whatever. We know to-day that it is not the value of the goods themselves which render them marketable, but rather that man who is a hustler who sells them. Place the best article in the hands of an ordinary commercial traveller he may have very little success but place an article of little value in the hands of a man of experience, and you will see how quickly he will dispose of it. Why? because all depends on the salesman, the article itself plays no part in the. transaction. Because a product is saleable, is that a sufficient reason to allow its sale to the detriment of good products which should have the first place on the market?

Oleomargarine

The price of butter and cheese, at the present time, is very nearly what it was before the war. Any labourer or salaried man whatever could at that time purchase butter. He had enough money to do so. Yet, his salary was rather less than it is to-day. If he earns more money now, if his income is greater, should he not therefore have the means to purchase the butter which his fellow-countrymen are manufacturing and which would help the farmers to hold their farms, since the latter are obliged to pay the high prices demanded by labour.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the great majority of the agricultural population of this country understand, as we do, that 't is necessary to immediately suppress such an industry before we allow it to develop. Those who have invested capital in the manufacture of oleomargarine, of butterine or other substitutes for butter, knew what they were doing. They knew that it was an industry bound to disappear with the war, just like that of ammunitions. To-day, then before this industry develops, why not prevent any further expense, but immediately prohibit the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine. I believe that in this manner, we shall prove to the country that we really wish to do something to help farmers to improve their present condition. Let us give everybody a chance, and we shall never regret having done our full duty in this as in many other circumstances. Let us pluck out the thorn before it causes any serious injury.

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PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar) :

I think

it would be unfortunate if this debate closed without those who sit in this corner of the House making themselves heard. I cannot claim that there is perfect unanimity among the organized farmers of the prairies in this matter, but I think I can enunciate the principles that from the very beginning have lain behind the organizations which we represent-principles which we have not consciously departed from. I know it is being urged in some quarters these days that we are not true to our principles in making our request for the Wheat Board. I can only say that in so doing we have not, consciously at least, departed from our principles, as we certainly would be departing from them if we were to support the resolution submitted by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr Neill).

The resolution most distinctly declares that it is being advanced in the interest of the dairy industry-and, of course, it is added

114J

"the public generally." The hon. member might just as well have left out those words as his argument in favour of the resolution from the standpoint of the "poor consumer." The hon. member would have been perfectly consistent if he had done so, for he is already on record to the effect that in his view protection is simply a local matter, and that he is prepared to be protectionist or free trader according to the location in which he is placed. Therefore when he spoke of looking after the interests of the consumer, I say he might just as well have saved himself the trouble, for in view of his previous statement no one will believe him.

Two arguments are being advanced in favour of this resolution, arguments that should be kept distinctly apart, but instead of keeping them separate the hon. member has rather mixed the two together. When he was speaking I could not but wonder if his association with the Chinamen had made him as expert in camouflaging a situation as he said the Chinamen are in camouflaging the kind of meat they place before their customers. If that is true it is unfortunate, and it certainly affords one more reason, in addition to those already given, for the exclusion of Asiatics.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, two arguments are advanced in support of this resolution, one from the standpoint of the consumer- the "poor consumer," who is to .be protected from something he might eat that would do him physical harm. On this point I do not presume to have an opinion. I know nothing about oleomargarine, I have never eaten it to my knowledge; but we have testimony from a great variety of sources that this product when manufactured under proper supervision is not unwholesome, and I am prepared to accept that evidence 'as perfectly valid. If it can be shown that the consumption of this product is detrimental to the health of our people, well, we will be moved to consider the advisability of restricting or even prohibiting its sale. But that is not a question which I wish to consider from the standpoint of the farmer; it is a question that must be settled by those who are specially competent to deal with it along these lines, and on that account I do not presume to have an opinion on it, I am, as I said, content to accept the opinion of those who are competent to deal with that phase of the question. We might say this,

Oleomargarine

however, that even the layman can easily understand that the manufacture of this product must be surrounded by certain safeguards. That is evident on the face of it. If those safeguards are not sufficient, if the restrictions already imposed upon the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine are not what they ought to be, then by all means let us impose further restrictions; but so far as interfering with its sale, I cannot see my way clear to adopt such a position at this time.

Now, let us consider it from the standpoint of protection to the dairy farmer. Our organizations-I am speaking of the farmers' organizations-have been built upon the principle of no special privilege. Those who sit in this corner of the House were elected on a platform containing a plank in favour of the free importation of foodstuffs, and for my part I have no intention of going back on that principle. Let me say a word to the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) who has advocated protection for the farmer. He advocated the discontinuance of the manufacture and importation of oleomargarine purely from the standpoint of protection; therein being a protectionist he was, of course, perfectly consistent. But if he has been able to find out how the farmer is to be protected, it is something that we have not been able to find out yet. My interest in political affairs began in the election of 1878, when Sir John Macdonald introduced his national policy, and I remember well the arguments that were then advanced in support of that policy, that the farmers must have protection. The poor farmers of that day were deluded, and many of them are still labouring under the delusion that it is possible to protect farmers although the great bulk of their exports find a market in foreign countries. From the standpoint, then, of consistently maintaining our principles, I feel that I for one-and I know there are many who feel like me-must oppose this resolution. I do not think, even if we admitted that principle, or were willing to violate our platform, that the protection sought would really be of any value to us. I think that argument can be maintained in this as well as in other connections, that when we have to compete in the markets of the world with our foodstuffs it is not reasonable to suppose that .this trivial protection could be of any value to us. Even if I were convinced that the discontinuance of the manufacture and importation of oleomargarine could be of any value to farmers, I would still, from the standpoint

of the principles that have placed behind our organization, be compelled to vote against this resolution.

When I come to discuss these matters before the public and to urge our position on other questions, I want to be able to say to the labouring man: We will pay you good wages, but there must be no loafing on the job; we want an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. ' And I want to be able to say to the manufacturer: You must stand on your own feet just as we have to stand on our own feet. Therefore on this question of the manufacture and importation of oleomargarine I do not propose to lower the flag under which our farmers' organizations have marched during the last twenty years.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, like nearly every other subject of debate, there are two sides to this question. I freely and frankly admit that at the outset, but I propose to take one side and try to show cause why the resolution should be sustained. The history of oleo dates back to 1867, when an eminent French investigator discovered how to make cheap butter out of the natural fats and oils. Ever since it has been used as a substitute for butter.

I am not going to take exception to those who put up a plea for the poor man's butter, but let us investigate to what extent it has been used, and to what extent we might be able to compromise probably with that plea and make some advances in the direction of meeting those demands. The extent of the manufacture and importation of oleo during the last three years goes to show that its consumption is directly related to its price and the price of butter. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 1920, the consumption of oleo in Canada amounted, in round numbers, to nearly 15,000,000 pounds; in the fiscal year ending March 31, 1921, it was nearly

11,000,000 pounds. Last year, when real butter, through the drop in price, came within the reach even of many of the poorer people, the consumption of oleo was reduced to 3,250,000 pounds. This shows that when conditions return to normal or nearly normal, the demand for oleo decreases accordingly, and presents a justification for the course taken in 1917, when the price of retail butter ran up to 70 cents or more, and it was regarded as a hardship upon the people to be obliged either to purchase butter at that price or do without it. It was at this time that the prohibition

F !.

Oleomargarine

of importation and manufacture of oleomargarine was removed, and it has never since been re-established. I realized something of the difficulty which would be involved in removing a law of

9 p.m. this nature once it had been enacted and vested rights had become established. Accordingly, in 1917 I opposed the importation and manufacture of oleo, believing that the reasons for doing so were not sufficient and that there would be difficulty in reverting to former conditions.

So long as we have in force another prohibition which is effective with regard to the production of butter in Canada, it seems to me that we should be making a mistake in permitting the importation and manufacture of oleo. I refer to a prohibition which was enacted in 1886 by the government of that day and continued in force in its earlier form until 1903. In that year the dairy industry-which was a struggling one in those days; it was not as well established as it is now-was given further encouragement in the prohibition of the manufacture and importation of renovated butter. The idea was to enable the dairy industry to get upon its feet, because it was not an easy matter to start that industry in Canada. Some people take the ground that dairying is an industry indigenous to this country. But it is not so indigenous to Canada as it is to many other countries with which we have to compete; not so indigenous as to make it unnecessary for the legislators of 1886 and and 1903, in order to give it a fair chance, to prohibit the manufacture and importation of oleo as well as the renovation of dairy butter by mixing it with creamery butter, thus deteriorating the quality and discouraging the creamery industry. So long as that prohibition upon renovated butter prevails it seems to me we are moving in the wrong direction; we are putting the cart before the horse. Now, some people take the ground that renovated butter is objectionable, but not half as much objection can be urged against it as was urged some years ago against the introduction of oleomargarine. I find on discussing this matter with my fellow members that a great many of them are not aware that a prohibition upon renovated butter was enacted in 1903 and exists to this day. The effect of this prohibition is most strongly felt in connection with dairy butter made in the frontier districts of Canada in places remote from creameries. Those who make it are poor people; their

facilities are not the most ample, and though the butter is not manufactured under unsanitary or unclean conditions, it is produced in primitive surroundings and without proper storage. It is put on the market in the ordinary country store; it goes to the retail store, then to the wholesaler, then to Winnipeg or Calgary. Finally it is banished from the country. It is not permitted to be renovated and find a market in Canada; it has to go to St. Paul, climb over the 8-cent Fordney tariff wall, pay the freight rate to St. Paul-and you can imagine how much the man on the frontier gets for it when it goes through that procedure.

I have before me a summary of the quotations on butter and oleomargarine in the Minneapolis market of the 8th of this month. At that time the retail price of creamery butter was 40 cents a pound- it varied from 40 to 42, but I give the low figure in each case; renovated butter was 32 cents, a difference of 8 cents; oleomargarine was 25 cents, or 7 cents cheaper than the renovated butter. I am persuaded, Mr. Speaker, that if the renovation of this butter were permitted in either Calgary or Winnipeg the result would be to save the freight rate to St. Paul, to save the 8 cent duty imposed by the Fordney tariff bill which would make at least a saving of nine cents, and to enable this product to sell in Winnipeg at the same price as oleo. That is only an estimate, but I think it is a fair one. I do not think the price would be above that of oleo, but even if it were two or three cents more, it would still have many advantages over oleo. It is not merely three or four per cent butter fat, as oleo is; it is 100 per cent butter fat and has 100 per cent content. Those of us, then, who feel solicitous on behalf of the poor man and are desirous of giving him cheap butter should be willing to give him real butter manufactured in Canada. Remove the restriction; let this butter be renovated and we will kill two birds with the one stone; we will come to the relief of the frontier man who to-day can hardly get a living price for his dairy butter; we will let that butter come within seven cents of being worth as much as first-class dairy butter. At the same time we will help the poor people who have to buy this necessary article of diet. Let us take that course rather than let the by-products of the big plants of Canada or of any other part of the world enter into competition

Oleomargarine

with the honest dairy cow of this country. I am prepared, if my colleagues will agree with me, to take that prohibition off by legislation this session, as a means of giving real relief; as a means of giving butter which is not 2 per cent butter-some of my friends here claim that they have had enough 2 per cent-but 100 per cent butter with 100 per cent food content. Then, if we subsequently want to throw on more brakes with a view of taking action affecting the dairy industry in the West as well as in the East, that will be a matter for consideration.

Now I am going to take up a number of the arguments that have been made in favour of oleo. We have heard of the poor man's butter and of the greater food value of oleo. I always used to hear it claimed that oleo was of lesser food value than butter, but let us suppose that it just evens up, that there is an equal number of calories in butter and oleo. That depends, of course, on who takes the sample. If you have butter with a large water content, and oleo with a small water content, the analysis will show to the advantage of oleo, but if the samples are taken fairly and show an equal number of calories, that, after all, is only one factor in the analysis. It shows the energy, the heat property, but it does not show the assimilative power of the human system to make use of these articles. .Everybody knows that butter is not only more palatable than oleo, but more easily digested and assimilated. There is no comparison between the two articles in that respect. How many of us here, if given the choice, would take oleo? Not one.

Then it is said that it is contrary to free trade principles to prohibit the importation of oleo. Here I find myself strangely aligned to-night; but we want enough votes. I find myself aligned with my protectionist friends, I like them for one thing; they are at least candid, even if they are wrong, but in this instance they happen to be right.

I hear the argument made by some that they do not believe in prohibition of anything. Others say that they do believe in prohibition because they want to prohibit this article. I am not going to be forced into the position of being a protectionist, nor do I think it is necessary, because in the sense in which we usually use that word this is not protection at all. Why? Protection means a tariff or tax on some commodity to encourage the production of a similar commodity in our own country.

' Is a cow similar to a packing plant with which you are asking it to compete? Not at all. There is no comparison, so the question of protection does not arise. I take the ground that the prohibition of the manufacture and importation of oleo is not protection at all in the sense in which we usually use that term, because the things competing are different. It is a cow competing against a packing plant, and not only the packing plants of Canada, but of the entire world. If that be so, the question of protection does not come in.

The other evening we discussed a question where there were two classes of the same species competing with each other, and to that extent it was like against like. That was the question of the exclusion of the Asiatics or the restriction of their immigration. Every man in this House, if 1 recollect aright, took the ground that they should either be excluded or their numbers restricted. In that instance it was man against man, the yellow race against the white race. It was admitted by everybody that the competition was unfair, and that is what I claim in this case. The comparison in the case of the Japanese versus the white- race was more justifiable because the two classes competing were both men made after the same pattern, and recognizing the same Creator. The competition was unfair. We all recognized that it was unfair. Every man in the House who acquiesced in or voted against that resolution recognized the unfairness of certain kinds of competition. We can do that without being charged with toeing protectionists. Would you have a game-cock compete with a utility barnyard bird and call the competition equal? Would you have the Japanese compete with the white man in British Columbia and call that competition fair? So if exclusion or restriction in that case is justifiable, it is much more justifiable that the good dairy cow should not be asked to compete against the immense packing plants of this continent. 1 am just as much a stickler for free trade, and for as little restrictions on trade, as any other man in this House, but there is such a thing as absolutely unfair competition and this is a case in point-and unfair competition is something that we have all recognized should not exist.

Another argument is that people should have the right to eat what they want. Anybody who takes that ground must also go a step further and say that people should be able to drink what they like. We have lots of precedents in Canada, we

Oleomargarine

have seven out of nine provinces that say you cannot drink what you like. Whether that is right or wrong, that is what we have said. Consequently we have a precedent before us.

I want to refer to another prohibition and this raises an important point. If we permit oleo to be manufactured and imported how many steps will it be from that to the permission of the importation and manufacture of filled milk and cream? Just one. In fact, we have it now. Somebody put a question, and a very proper one, on the Order Paper the other day asking if we were going to legislate against filled milk and cream. I inquired into the matter through my staff, and we found that it had obtained more or less of a foothold already in Canada. However, until we knew what we were going to do with oleo, it was thought we had better let the matter stand because the two questions were on all fours. Oleo is in many cases almost entirely made of natural fats, and in other cases of vegetable oils, and in nearly every case there is from two to five per cent of butter fat. The oil is injected into the butter fat to make the article appear like butter. But in filled milk and cream the butter fat content is taken out from the milk and the cream by the separator, in the usual way. Then the sweet skimmed milk is filled again with other vegetable oils as a substitute for the natural butter fat taken out, and there you have filled milk, with the natural oils taking the place of the butter fat. The same is true of filled cream.

In the United States they permit the manufacture of oleo; the business is established there. I am not criticising these older countries at all, but although this oleo business is established there, nine of the states have prohibited the manufacture and sale and importation of filled milk and cream. That is what is happening right at our door. The question is shall we put in the thin edge of the wedge by recognizing oleo, for if you recognize oleo you are going to have great difficulty in stopping the importation and manufacture of a similar product, except that it applies to milk and cream instead of butter. Where are you going to draw the line? Are we going to let great vested interests establish themselves in this country for the purpose of making filled milk and cream? Should we not rather nip it in the bud now? I am not complaining of the lobbyists who have been around here for the last two or three weeks with their propaganda

on behalf of the manufacture of oleo; I have no objection to that at all, but the farmers are a little too busy just now looking after other things to come here to Parliament and look after their own interests. They are at a disadvantage in this respect, and the moment a vested interest grows up in this country, either by legislation or by common consent, there is a lever that you find it pretty hard to work against.

And so I say, if this privilege is extended to oleomargarine we shall have the same thing demanded in the case of filled milk and cream. As a matter of fact in the answer which was given to the deputation referred to by myself on behalf of the Government I said there was no legislation at present; but if it was found that the Public Health Act, the Pure Food Act, and the health laws of this country did not protect the public, then legislation might be required later. That was our answer and I do not see how there could be any other answer to this because, to all intents and purposes the same principle is involved. Nine states in the American Union say to the public "You cannot consume this filled milk or cream". And yet it has a considerable food content, it is of considerable value as an article of diet; but it is deemed not to be in the public interest in the United States that the dealing in this article should be recognized by law and established; that is the point.

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL:

I am very ignorant about this matter. In the United States is oleomargarine prohibited by law?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

Hear, hear; that is the question.

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CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Well, I was pointing out that this question was on all fours with the other one alluded to. But I may say that in the United States the dairy industry is well established. It is older than ours in Canada-and I will deal with that aspect in a moment-and certainly the competition is not as disadvantageous there to the dairying interest. But when we come to Canada it is a horse of another colour. In both cases the principle is the same but I think we should draw the line here. The question has been asked: If a person wants to eat oleo why should he not be allowed to? To that I reply: If we want to drink anything why should we not be allowed to do so? But seven provinces

Oleomargarine

of this country have prohibited intoxicating liquor; and nine states of the American Union have passed a prohibitory law as to filled milk and cream.

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LIB
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

No it would not, I hope not at all events, but it would be deleterious to the chief corner stone of agriculture, the live stock industry and especially dairying-there is no question about that. It would be discouraging to every man that milks a cow and knows what it means to hunt after them; it would be discouraging to those men who have been putting up with the vicissitudes of dairying. I want the House to remember that it would take very little to put men out of dairying. It is the last straw that breaks the camel's back, and we do not know that this is not the last straw. We do not make sufficient butter for home use in this country because we import supplies. That raises a very important question. We do import and we feel the competition very keenly. But are we asking for protection against importations of butter from Denmark or New Zealand? I know some men who have taken a stand all their lives against protection, but in the peculiar position in which they find themselves in the dairy industry to-day, beset by difficulties on all sides, they have actually proposed that we raise the protection on butter. I have diligently, and I hope as consistently, refused to agree. I have said "No" and I continue in that stand. We are not asking that the duty be raised on New Zealand or on Danish butter, although we could find a lot of people who supported the Liberal policy in the past who would to-day support the raising of the duty on American butter ini retaliation for the Fordney bill. However, we are not doing that, we are not asking for such a thing; but if the fair play asked for by the dairymen is not granted I know that a demand for better treatment will come from many sources, sources that are not dreamt of to-day, and which will be hard to resist because it is not fair to subject our dairy industry to this competition.

I might say while I am on this subject that oleo has been used for many years in the Old Country as well as in Denmark and Holland. That does not mean anything to them except as a source of revenue. Look at the situation of those countries compared with ours. All that Denmark and Holland have to do is to put their butter

[ Mr. Motherwell. ]

on the boat, run it two or three hundred miles, or a little more, across the North Sea, and up the Thames, and they are right in the heart of Old England-one of the best markets in the world, in fact the world's market for butter-with practically no expense for transportation. And then in those countries you have an industry that was established hundreds of years ago, whereas we have practically only just started in this country. And then another thing, is that in Denmark and in Holland the people are frugal, thrifty and industrious, and for business reasons they choose to eat oleo and sell their high class butter. That is what a lot of our people do not even want to do. We used to do it fifty years ago, but it is not done to-day except to a very small extent. There is no comparison between the situation of dairying in this country and the situation of dairying in these European countries. In other ways they are situated advantageously as compared with us. Take their climate, take their pasture lands, take the comparatively few months of the year they have to feed their dairy cattle as compared with ours, and a dozen other things I could mention in which they have the advantage of us. If we were so situated, and the dairy industry in this country had been established for hundreds of years, you would not hear very much talk about prohibiting oleo in Canada either.

Take New Zealand and Australia. While oleo is not prohibited in those dominions it is very little used, at least so I am informed by the members of my staff. New Zealand, on the other hand, has also a favoured climate and a comparatively short stabling season. It puts its butter right off the grass into British Columbia in competition with our winter made butter, and we have a hard struggle competing with it and yet we do not ask for a higher duty. And you tell me that that is protection? Why it makes one think one might as well have the game as the name. Still we are not asking for higher protection, I do not even think of suggesting it; but I do ask that we reconsider this question now after having tried it for several years merely as a war measure.

Now, we are asking for fair play and the restoration of the conditions that existed prior to 1917. The governments of both the old time parties were wedded to that system. The old Conservative government of 1886 brought the law in. The Liberal government of 1903 supplemented it by

Oleomargarine

further legislation against the renovation of dairy butter. In 1917 oleomargarine was admitted as a war measure and to-day we are talking about its prohibition entirely. I would go further, Mr. Speaker, and say that if dairying was developed all over Canada in the manner in which it is in the eastern provinces we might not say so much about oleomargarine; but in western Canada to-day the dairy industry is in exactly the same condition that prevailed down here forty or fifty years ago.

Let me address myself in a kindly way to the eastern provinces. All that we ask is the same kind of fair play that you enjoyed during all the years during which your industry was put on the map. I know something of farming conditions in eastern Ontario; I know what they were before the dairying industry was established. I took part in the establishment of it as a boy; and I know this much-it was dairying that put eastern Ontario on the map. I believe to a large extent it has done the same thing for Quebec- although there it is not the only factor-and for some of the maritime provinces. Dairying developed in Ontario when not only oleomargarine but renovated butter was prohibited. To-day there are four new provinces in the West. From the east you are sending us your banking institutions; and your lecturers who go out to the West tell us that we should not be farming exclusively along the lines of grain growing, that our land is becoming depleted of fertility. Then, when we think of taking your advice-and it is good advice although perhaps given a little prematurely, but still with good intent-and we start out into dairying, you come along and propose to hold back from us that measure of fair play that the dairy industry enjoyed in all these eastern provinces during past years. I know the hon. member for George Etienne Cartier (Mr. Jacobs) does not believe me. He comes from a city; but before I have finished my remarks, he will at all events see the other side of the question, however he may vote.

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

Is there in the world any country which prohibits the manufacture of oleomargarine?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Not that I am aware of. Is there in the world any country that professes to be a dairy country so disadvantageously situated as Canada is, with no market?

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LIB
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

It is the cold

that makes one do one's best; a cold country makes the men in it. The reason why we have the men we have is because we have to fight against the natural advantages of other countries; but we do not want to be overburdened as we will if the sale of oleomargarine is to be continued.

Everybody knows the advantages which New Zealand possesses, and the Argentine is also becoming a competitor. All these countries have short feeding seasons in the winter and they all have water transportation. The Amazon and La Plata run into the heart of South America; they tap that country on all sides, and whether the product be wheat or cattle or butter, it can be transported by river and ocean to the various other countries of the world. Our chief competitors, Holland, Denmark, Ireland-another country on the water-New Zealand, Australia and the Argentine-you cannot mention one of them so disadvantageously situated as Canada, especially on the plains of the West. Look which way you will, to the West or to the East-to the West you have high freight rates that paralyze trade and to the East long freight hauls, and the West is working under more or less primitive conditions, just at the very period that it would expect to receive the succor and support that this legislation afforded to the East for such a long time in its pioneering stages.

It has been said that every country permits the sale of oleomargarine, and I have discussed that point. If you give this country an opportunity to get established for one-quarter of the time that other countries have been established', we shall then not ask for this small measure of support to the dairy industry in this cold country of ours. When anybody makes light of the cold or the long winter, let him feed stock and thus realize by experience the expense of feeding stock in the winter, and then let him make good butter under such conditions. We are overcoming that tremendous handicap, but we do not want any further handicaps imposed on the dairy industry.

The argument is advanced that vested interests are involved. I have not a thing to say against the packers; I know they are having a hard time of it at present, and if there were about half as many of them as there are now, there would be some business for them all. I have nothing but sympathy for them; but when they knew that this legislation was only to be temporary as a war measure, they should

Oleomargarine

not have invested any substantial amount of money in capital expenditure. I do not think they have spent very much money in the establishment of buildings. The plea is advanced that capital is locked up, and while I have no doubt that some capital has been invested in this way, I believe a great deal of it can be used as it was used prior to the manufacture of this article in 1917. Some people never miss an opportunity of having a crack at the packers, but I am not going to take that attitude at all. I take the opportunity of saying that possibly some of their places which are used at present for the manufacture of oleomargarine can be used instead for renovating our butter, thus creating an industry indigenous to the country. There is a home-made article that can be made into a better article of consumption than any oleomargarine I ever saw.

The hon. member for Victoria City (Mr. Tolmie), made a comparison between the convictions made under the Oleomargarine Act and those under the Dairy Products Act. The convictions for the manufacture of some kind of spurious butter, that is butter with too much water in it or something of that nature, numbered 126 and the violations in regard to oleomargarine numbered 14. But if you work that out on a percentage basis, the number of the violations in regard to oleomargarine, if you take the quantity of butter into consideration, was greater than the number of violations in regard to butter by 30 per cent, so that point is not well taken.

I have not said anything against oleomargarine as an article of consumption; I have said not one word against the sanitary conditions surrounding its manufacture. As a matter of fact, I do not think we can consistently take such an attitude. At one time we could; but as the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Tolmie) said, a reasonably good article is being put on the market in packages plainly marked. There is a strict prohibition against putting it up otherwise, and it is inspected at every point. That is all well and good and all true; but nevertheless the information which I have received from the members of my staff in the Dairy branch goes to Show that, while this is all performed religiously up to the mark, one-half of the oleomargarine that is purchased, is used, not to spread on bread, but for baking purposes, for which any of the other

ingredients now on the market could be used. On the other hand, a considerable proportion of that which is used for spreading on bread is used in boarding houses. It is purchased just as it is described, legally enough; but colouring matter is procured at an adjoining druggist, and the oleomargarine is coloured to look like butter and is put on the table as butter. Thus a man thinks he is getting a cheap butter is paying just as much for it as if he were eating real butter. I asked Mr. Ruddick why a tab could not be kept on this, and he said: "We have not a sufficient appropriation to keep the necessary mass of inspectors who would be required to prevent this masquerading of oleomargarine as butter." Every respectable dairyman will tell you that. Notwithstanding all the precautions that have been taken,-and some speakers have said that if there were not enough restrictions more should be put on-there are some things that it is simply impossible to put sufficient restrictions on to prevent violation of the law, and this seems to be one of them. It is a simple proposition for any one to buy oleomargarine perfectly legally, and then to get colouring matter to mix with the oleomargarine, which is then put on the table as butter and not as oleomargarine at all. Of course, we cannot take too strong exception to oleomargarine on that ground, and I refer to it mainly because the ground has been taken that it is not used in a masquerading capacity for butter, but it is. That is not an unanswerable argument, because practically every law in the world is evaded more or less.

I might refer briefly to some of the reasons pro and con. The first legislation in regard to this matter was passed in 1886, and it is interesting to read the first act and to see what it amounted to. It reads:

Whereas the use of certain substitutes for butter, heretofore manufactured and exposed for sale in Canada, is injurious to health; and it is expedient to prohibit the manufacture and sale thereof: Therefore, Her Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons c*f Canada, enacts as follows:-

1. No oleomargarine, butterine or other substitute for butter, manufactured from any animal substance other than milk, shall be manufactured in Canada, or sold therein, and every person who contravenes the provisions of this Act .in any manner whatsoever shall incur a penalty not exceeding four hundred dollars and not less than two hundred dollars, and in default of payment shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months and not less than three months.

Oleomargariyie

That is the original law. While I do not think our present law is quite as severe as that, yet the main principle of it was observed up to 1917. Canada in spite of her disabilities has grown to be an outstanding dairy country which is prepared to compete, so far as the tariff is concerned, with any other dairy country in the world. And she has done that. I have a very interesting communication from Mrs. Elizabeth Sbortt, President of the National Council of Women, resident in this city. I will not read the letter nor my reply, but she has been doing useful work, from her standpoint, in enlightening the public on the subject. Then there is a letter from Mr. James A. Calder -this is not the real Calder-manager of the Saskatchewan Creameries Company, Moosejaw.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Any relative of the "real" Calder?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

No relative; this is a creamery man. This gentleman has one of the leading creameries in Saskatchewan, if indeed it is not the leading one, and he speaks strongly all through the letter with reference to the disabilities imposed on dairying in the West, at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are turning in hope to this industry as against exclusive grain growing. And now they are faced with this extra disability. When I go West after this session, as I hope to, and tell the people what we propose to do in connection with dairying, and inform them that it is our hope to do something in the way of encouraging silos, the growing of corn and sunflowers and the putting in of what are known as trench silos, that will look very good; and then some guy in the audience will say: "That's all very well, but do you expect me to compete against oleo"? I suppose I should have to reply: "Yes, unfortunately. I was opposed to it myself, but the House decided that we should encourage the manufacture and importation of oleo, and of course the Government had to take the responsibility for what was done." The man would say, naturally, that he had some hesitation about going into dairying. He might say that he came to this country to get away from chores night and morning and thought he could make some money growing wheat and also in taking up dairying. And he will add that the Government the people expected so much from had put this permanent disability on the industry-because it is no longer a war measure-so

that the struggling dairymen were unable to get along. What can I say in reply to such a representation? I have no answer at all.

I have a resolution regarding filled milk. The gentleman who sends it sees a cloud on the horizon no bigger than the proverbial man's hand, in the shape of filled milk. He says that whereas an industry has developed in the United States for the manufacture of a substitute called "filled milk", whereas this and whereas that, therefore "don't you do it, because it will get you sooner or later". Those, of course, are not his words. I am paraphrasing his language. And there is a resolution passed by the National Dairy Council with regard to oleomargarine. I believe the member for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) read that.

Now, for the first time to-day I heard a dairyman expressing himself in favour of the importation and manufacture of oleomargarine, and that was the member for Victoria Ci'ty (Mr. Tolmie). Every single authority I have been able to get in connection with dairying has been opposed to the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine, and while there may be other dairymen like my hon. friend from Victoria city I have never heard them voice approval of this article.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

The hon. member for

Victoria City does not make his living by dairying. He only tinkers at it.

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LIB

May 15, 1922