May 15, 1922

PRO
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Well, while perhaps I may not be exactly a dairyman, I may say that in the pioneer days of the Northwest Territories I was kept out of the poorhouse by dairying, and it was home dairying too. Later on I was associated with the industry in an administrative way, and have been privileged to help start dairying in Saskatchewan. But if you are going to compel the industry to face this disability, while it may not be ruined thereby, you will greatly discourage the people in southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta who are just trembling on the brink to-day. They do not exaggerate the hard-luck story, but there is no doubt about the fact that they are on the very brink of the precipice and it is questionable whether or not they can be placed in a position of safety again. Certainly,

Oleomargarine

they cannot be put on their feet by exclusive grain .growing; that is too precarious. It must be by some form of live stock industry, and nothing will bring quicker revenue than dairying. With that hot country, capable of growing corn and sunflowers as fodder, and with the policy of the provincial governments of providing dairy cows, all that is needed is to create a desire on the part of the people to combine these circumstances to establish a life saving industry that will put them on the map again.

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL:

Is it domestic oleomargarine manufactured in Canada, or the article manufactured in Chicago, that gives trouble to the dairy farmers of Saskatchewan?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Both. One is largely vegetable and the other animal fat. It really does not matter which kind is sold, but the imported article is more objectionable.

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL:

It occurred to me that transportation on the imported article might affect the price in eastern Canada.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

You might put an embargo on imported oleo, but that would afford an element of protection to the man who made it at home. I thought of that alternative, but it only got me into difficulties.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Does the minister suggest that the price of butter is affected by the use of oleomargarine manufactured in Canada?

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I shall answer

the question in my own way. Dairying was the branch of agriculture that stood up the longest after the war, and for that reason people are going into the industry more than ever the world over. It is the one safe line of agriculture, and because of that we are going to have great difficulties not only in securing markets but in holding them. Consequently, anything that deprives the dairyman of the home market is a detriment to the industry; and to the extent that oleomargarine is used as a substitute for butter it will lessen the demand for the dairy product. I do not say how much it is likely to interfere with

fMr. Motherwell.]

the price, but oleomargarine will certainly interfere with the market for butter. Every country is seeking markets, and that is the story in Canada. The situation is very acute, and at all dairy conventions in Canada since New Year's, it has been the same tale from East to West: We must hold what markets we have by improving the quality of our product, and at the same time endeavour to get new markets for disposing of it.

I will now refer to some of the arguments that have been advanced during the course of the debate. As I said at the outset, there are two sides to this question, and I am prepared to make a compromise proposition rather than insist on those who think as I do having our way, or those who think opposite having their way. I believe in a free-for-all such as this we are speaking our real heart's opinion, and if that be so, as I am sure it is, then if we can come to a compromise whereby the man or woman who wants cheap butter can get it without prejudicially affecting the youthful, incipient dairyman, then I think such a compromise would be a very commendable one. That is what I appeal for.

The hon. member for Victoria City (Mr. Tolmie) spoke of the effect that either the manufacture or non-manufacture of oleo would have on beef cattle. From inquiries I have made I find that only 10 per cent of the tallow generated in our beef cattle goes into oleo. Of course, if oleo were freely manufactured it would gradually require a greater supply of tallow, but at the present stage the consumption of tallow does not amount to any appreciable volume.

Then the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) said that Canada is not justified in destroying one industry in order to build up another Now, Mr. Speaker, is it fair to say that the manufacture of oleomargarine is an industry when it was permitted to be established on grace and to meet a temporary condition only? The manufacturers were permitted to manufacture oleo to meet the scarcity of butter due to the heavy export demands during the war. They knew at the time that the manufacture had its limitations, and they deliberately engaged in it. The very fact that its importation and manufacture was extended for one year last session shows that the industry was always regarded as of a purely temporary character, and there can be no doubt that those who engaged in it recognized its limitations. Consequently

O leomargarine

it cannot be said that we are destroying any industry. It was a catch piece of business for the occasion, and the manufacturers took their chances at the time they started to make oleomargarine, and they will have to take their chances if its importation and manufacture should be discontinued. But if those same manufacturers are permitted to manufacture renovated butter, part of their loss of business may be made up, and this renovated butter will make a very good substitute for oleomargarine. The hon. member took the stand: You have no right to interfere with me as to what I want to eat. Well, I have pointed out that if he takes that ground, it logically follows that we would not tolerate our right to interfere with him in what he drinks. If he insists upon perfect liberty in one direction he must naturally insist upon it in the other direction; the two go together.

The hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) supports the resolution because, he says, it means protection to the dairy industry. That is an attitude I cannot agree with, and I have given my reasons. However, if all my hon. friends immediately opposite who do honestly believe in protection see protection in this proposal, why, we will welcome every one of their votes on this occasion.

The hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Munro), who is something of a philosopher, said: The young men will not milk; the old ones cannot, as they are broken down. So when they die, what are we going to do? I suppose the answer again is: Eat oleo. But that is not sufficient. Undoubtedly the young men do dislike milking cows. We have so many attractions- we have our fine, inter-urban highways; we have our high-powered cars; we have our barrel of gasoline, and all we have to do is turn the tap and fill the tank of the car; we have a baseball match down the line; we have a nice road, and we have a nicer girl, if you like, across the way that the young man wants to take to the baseball match. How can the dull routine of dairy farming stand up against such a temptation, Mr. Speaker?

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LIB
LIB
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

On top of all that you are going to let oleo have a chance. Is it any wonder that our dairymen are

alarmed now? As my hon. friend said, the younger people do not want to milk cows- and there is not a man across the way who has raised a family but knows that. I do not know how we are going to change the tastes of our younger people. We have got to get back to hard work again, Mr. Speaker. We have got to recognize the virtues of honest toil faithfully performed even in milking cows. There is no question about that. My hon. friend says, let the hired man do it. There is about one in twenty hired men who will milk, that is all; the rest will tell you to milk the cows yourselves-they will tell you something else worse than that sometimes. Now, you have got to do it yourself or have some member of the family do it for you. With the young men refusing, and the old ones going out of business, we have got to the point where every little discouragement, no matter how slight, is sufficient to turn the tide against dairying in this crisis we are going through. Do not make any mistake now. I am not jesting about this. I know the hard, insistent, exacting work connected with dairying, and I know if you add one more discouragement it will be just enough in many instances to turn the tide against dairying.

The hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) remarked that the introducer of the resolution might as well have left off the latter portion of his speech. I do not think so. If it can be established that dairying is going to be discouraged by the introduction of oleo, and you are going to strike at the chief cornerstone of our agricultural interest, then I say that all Canada is affected. There is no question about that. We can only plead for the dairy industry to the extent that it is interwoven with the general industry of the country.

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PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

I think the hon. minister misunderstands my argument. What I suggested the introducer of the resolution might as well have left off was his argument that margarine was deleterious to the consumer.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I do not know that he made that plea, Mr. Speaker, but it is the general public weal that we must take into account. In just the same way when my hon. friend of the party over the way at an angle of forty-five degrees, asked for a wheat board-and we hope we will get some kind of a wheat board, Mr. Speaker-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes, that sounds better than dairying. Now, can any hon.

Oleomargarine

gentleman who advocates a wheat hoard turn down this proposition? After all, it all depends on whose ox is gored. We may as well all admit-with the exception of the hon. member for Victoria City-that we are selfish, and that we cannot help seeing any question but from our own particular viewpoint. But I see this question from the viewpoint of one who has been charged for the time being, Mr. Speaker, with the duty of administering the Department of Agriculture over this vast country, and I cannot for the life of me see this question from any other standpoint than that the introduction of oleo at this time is a discouragement to one of our basic industries, and if you discourage dairying-

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

Will the hon. minister support the wheat board1 on the same principle as he is supporting the prohibition of oleomargarine?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

No, the illustrations are not parallel. They are along the same lines, but not exactly the same.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

The hon. minister makes

them parallel by saying that if the people sitting at an angle of 45 degrees opposite advocated a wheat board they ought to advocate this on the same basis. The application to the minister's argument, therefore is evident.

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May 15, 1922