March 28, 1924

PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

If the minister would tell me what document he is quoting from I will get a copy of the report myself.

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John William Bell

Mr. MOTHERW ELL:

These details are to be found at page A-32 of the Auditor General s Report for 1922-3. One of the primary purposes of getting that shipment over was to introduce some new Tamworth blood among our various herds of Tamworth pigs, especially throughout Ontario and the West. This type is looked upon as an A1 bacon breed. There is a good deal of prejudice against it because

of its long nose and light shoulders, but these features are not disadvantages but advantages when it comes to raising bacon hogs. In this country there has been so much inbreeding for the want of new blood by importation, that it was thought advisable to get a number of these animals over. We brought over not only hogs, but a number of sheep and cattle as well to replenish the blood of the various herds throughout Canada, surely a most proper expenditure.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

I should like to follow up the questions asked by the leader of the opposition. That is in regard to the very substantial decrease in the agricultural estimates for yds year as compared with last year. The leader of the opposition pointed out that there had been a decrease of, I think, $1,600,000. In connection with that decrease it seems to me one matter requires consideration, and that is the grant for agricultural education which was $1,000,000 a year, I think, for the last 10 years. I would like to ask the minister to be good enough to enunciate the reasons which prompted the government to discontinue that agricultural educational grant. It seems to me that other things might have been discontinued. I quite agree it is necessary that economy should be practised, but I do not believe this kind of economy should be practised by the government. I may be mistaken, but I am given to understand that the government adopted this policy contrary to the express recommendations of a majority of the members of this House. I am told that letters and telegrams were sent to the minister by practically every member of this House recommending a continuance of that grant, and that similar recommendations were received from all the important public bodies of this country. I think that at this stage of the history of our country we have to consider what is necessary to make it profitable or to make it possible for the people to remain in this country, instead of leaving for the United States or some other place. Much money is being spent by the government in attempting to bring immigrants to Canada. What in the world is the sense of spending money in that connection, unless immigrants are going to stay in Canada when they arrive here? What is the sense of spending hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars, to make Canada a stopping place for people who desire to go to the United States? In that same connection, we cannot expect all the immigrants who come to this country to make a living in the cities, and it would not be desirable that we should endeavour to get them to go into the trades in the cities, many of which are overcrowded

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at the present time. There is in all the cities a certain amount of unemployment, notwithstanding the fact that so many have gone to the States and elsewhere. It is necessary, as I see it, to encourage people to go on the farms, not only to go on the farms, but to show them how they can make a decent living on those farms, and to show them how to farm scientifically; and not only that, but to show them how to sell their products scientifically, and how to go into the right lines of agriculture. I think it was a great mistake for the government to discontinue that grant. I am not speaking now altogether from a provincial standpoint or from the standpoint of the province of British Columbia, because the proportion of the grant which we got was very small indeed, I think only about $60,000 or $70,000 a year. But still, even at that figure, a great deal of good was done. I am looking . at the matter from the standpoint of the whole of the Dominion, and I think that the kind of economy which prompts the government to cut out a grant in aid of agricultural education is the last kind of economy that should be practised. We have heard a great deal about economy, but if the government is going to practise economy, why not start out with matters like the Scribe hotel in Paris, and the purchase of fancy building sites in the city of London and that kind of thing?

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LIB
CON
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An hon. MEMBER:

Or the drydock at

Esquimalt.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

Or on the government buildings at Ottawa. I say the last place we should try to practise economy is the place where that kind of economy is going to retard the advancement of our country. Canada, as a matter of fact, has only been scratched, and the question is, are we going to scratch it in the right way, or not? That is a matter on which the government should instruct the people of this country. The minister to-day recognizes the responsibility of the federal authorities in that connection. He stated quite candidly that the policy of this government, the same as the policy of other governments, was not to ask the provinces to undertake the whole responsibility in this connection. I would like the minister to explain the reasons why the government discontinued this grant in aid of agricultural education.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Might I suggest

that that question should be better taken up at the end of the estimates, where the elimination of moneys that were in the vote last year takes place? Then it will come in order. I am afraid the Chairman would call us to order if we began discussing that question on the item for experimental farms.

It can be discussed quite properly later on; although there is no vote this year, there is a place where it was voted last year. There is an item there which reads "Amount not required this year", and if my hon. friend does not object we can defer this matter as I suggest, and keep it in its proper place.

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CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes, at some

othet* sitting. It will come up at the very last, "Appropriations not required for 19241925, $951,000". Will that be satisfactory?

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

Yes, if I could have

some previous intimation as to when it would be called.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

If the Chairman

will let us discuss it now I would not object.

I think we have been discussing experimental farms, and I think my hon. friend had a question in connection with that. I think he repeated a question I thought I had already answered

why can we get along this year with $125,000 less than last year? Last year the vote was $200,000 more than the previous year. We had that $200,000 additional last year, and it was for some of the more pressing works that had been neglected during the war period. Having completed the more pressing works, we can relax a little, particularly as the whole Dominion of Canada is demanding economy all along the line. The cut is made in response to a demand to cut down at every point, consistent with reasonable efficiency. We had an increase last year which enabled us to put a lot of the farms on their feet-not entirely, but in some respects-especially in the Maritime provinces. Now that that has been done and the demand for economy has increased in intensity, we respond by saying that we will try to get along with $125,000 less, and we think we can do it by cutting out here and there, as we have intimated during the discussion.

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

This is one of the most interesting farmers' institute meetings that I have been at for a long time. The minister has asked for suggestions, and I am sure he is quite satisfied that he has been receiving them, just the same as we are pleased to know that we have all been receiving suggestions. The thought which comes to my mind originated with the fact that, upon looking at recent maps issued by the Department

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of the Interior, I found here and there dotted all over the settled areas, parts of the country marked out as being best adapted for mixed farming, straight grain growing, fruit farming and various other things. That gave me the thought and idea that the provinces might better take hold of the work of experimental farms, almost in toto, with a line of demarcation between provincial and federal work. The provinces themselves might be held responsible for and given control of all activities in connection with stock. We find different breeds of stock in various parts of the country, and the provincial government themselves might better be given authority to engage in that kind of work. That would take away much of the responsibility from* our Central Experimental Farm. I also believe it would give to the provinces themselves more concern in and opportunity of doing the work much better. I would illustrate that in this way, that they are nearer to the work, and we could have quicker action in endeavouring to control individuals who would be responsible for that work. If I might be allowed another word in illustration, I would add the next word in the estimates, "entomology," suggesting that the line of demarcation between the central and provincial farms might be well drawn between these two lines; that at the Central Experimental Farm, where reciprocal work with Europe and other countries could be carried on, our observatories and laboratories could be maintained, but the provinces could have control of live stock, seed, feed and such things as that. Undoubtedly our provincial officers make mistakes at times, and the thought that comes to my mind in that connection is certain advice that we received some years ago in Saskatchewan regarding conservation of moisture. The minister will remember the advice that was tendered to harrow, harrow, harrow until we were satisfied that we had harrowed enough, and then to harrow once more. Many of us followed that dictum, and the result was the majority of our mulch was crowded up on the fences, along the roads and across the prairies. The farmers, however, remedied that. Experiences taught us about as much as the Department of Agriculture. When the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Mc-Quarrie) complains that the grant has been reduced, I would say that we are prepared to accept that reduction quite graciously. We can charge that to the fact that possibly the members of the minister's staff have realized that in the past there have been extravagances in connection with our experimental farms. Proof has been given from this side that such extravagances have occurred.

If this decrease of $125,000 in the first item is an acknowledgement of that, we accept it with all graciousness. I contend that the item can be still further reduced and the same efficiency retained,-indeed, perhaps, with an increase in efficiency. I am sure the minister will accept the advice that has been given in good faith, and will endeavour to see if further reductions cannot be made without any sacrifice of efficiency. I would recommend that he look seriously into the question of having a line of demarcation between the work of the provincial farms and that of the Central Experimental Farm in order to prevent the overlapping which takes place and which has taken place ever since we have had experimental farms, and endeavour in this way to reduce materially the expense of carrying on all educational work ,and other activities in connection with agriculture.

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PRO

George Arthur Brethen

Progressive

Mr. BRETHEN:

Is the grant for illustration farms included in the first item? I think there are a hundred or more.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes, that comes

under this item. I understand the hon. member to refer to the forty-eight illustration stations. I might reply to the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Gould) by thanking him for his suggestions, because they are really constructive suggestions. To some extent I have been discussing these matters in the past two years with the provincial authorities, but they have been exceedingly shy about taking up any of this work. I am sure the House can understand why. They ask themselves: "As long as the federal government are doing this work pretty well, why should we incur the additional liability?" During the coming recess we expect to have a conference with the respective departments of agriculture of the three provinces which I have already mentioned-Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia

looking to still closer co-operation, the probable elimination of some of the work which we are doing and leaving it to the provinces. Then, possibly as time goes on, something will develop, especially in the West, so that we shall be able to get the location for the new farm and move the Rosthern farm. In Alberta, there is not very much agitation that I know of for moving the Lacombe farm. It is doing pretty good work and it is one hundred miles from Edmonton, where the nearest farm is. At the same time this will altogether depend on another year. Last year I made a statement with regard to the Agricultural Instruction Act; that what we would do with it this year would depend

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entirely upon the financial condition of the country and what we felt we were able to cope with. So we can live only from year to year during these times. I will promise the hon. member for Assiniboia that before anything drastic is contemplated, in fact, whether anything drastic is contemplated or not, we will confer with the respective governments of those provinces with a view to eliminating this overlapping. It is, however, unavoidable that there should be overlapping, and there always will be some as long as the two institutions are in existence.

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PRO

Neil Haman McTaggart

Progressive

Mr. McTAGGART:

Will the minister indicate the amount of research work being carried on at experimental farms with respect to arresting the ravages of rust?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I have to thank my hon. friend for asking that question, because it draws attention to one point at which we co-operate with the provincial authorities more than at any other. We have been doing research work in connection with rust in conjunction with the provincial authorities of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We have one or two of a staff. We have a Mr. Fraser who has charge of that work at Saskatoon. We get the use of their greenhouses and plots for the purpose of carrying on that work, while we supply the man. We are doing the same work in Manitoba. We have been criticized, though not severely, for not going into that work more strongly and getting facilities of^our own all along the line. That advice sounds good, but if we did do that the chances are that we should be obliged to withdraw from the other, 'because I do not think it would be a good idea to carry on the two concurrently-that is to say, independent work of our own and other research work, with wheats particularly-in conjunction with the provinces. That would be a double system which in my opinion would not be wise. So that up to the present our chief activities in connection with this research work have been in co-operation with the provinces, who have facilities in the way of greenhouses and so on which we have not. We have a small laboratory at Indian Head but it is more or less primitive and cannot be said to do much along that line. We are keeping close tab on similar work done in Dakota and other parts of the United States. More has been discovered regarding rust in the last ten years than was known previously, and a number of varieties of wheat have been found to be almost entirely resistent to all varieties of rust. There is one variety of cereal known as Kota which was developed on the Dakota experimental farm under the supervision of

Professor Bolling and Mr. W. R. Porter, and I see by the Winnipeg newspapers that it is claimed to be 90 per cent resistent. I think that possibly they are a little enthusiastic; I do not believe that we have found a wheat that will entirely resist all the known varieties of rust, and even if we do discover such a wheat there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, because you have to breed into that variety, in addition to re-sistence, the qualities that give good flour and prolific yield. Then there is the

question of maturity to be considered, and all that sort of thing. It is obviously, therefore, a matter that requires a great deal of care and attention, and I should be sorry to see an end put to the work that we have been engaged in during past years in cooperation with the universities at Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The matter, I may say is in a tentative state; we have not yet decided on what lines we shall advance, but we must continue in some direction.

At six o'clock the committee took recess.

After Recess

The committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

Richard Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WHITE:

Last year there was a clause in the budget, which afterwards crystallized into an act of parliament, providing for a bounty on hemp with a view to the establishment of a binder twine industry in this country. I was wondering whether the minister could give us any information as to the success of that, or whether the experimental farms were doing anything toward providing information as to the production of hemp.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Last November

when I was passing through Winnipeg I had some information with regard to a certain company that was endeavouring to organize for the purpose of taking advantage of that bounty. They were on the point of being able to float their bonds, but a number of political changes occurred in the Old Country, the bond market was affected and they could not carry out their purpose. I have recently been told, however, that things look hopeful for the floating of the bonds and the establishment of a hemp industry in the vicinity of Winnipeg under the terms laid down by the bill that was passed last session. These were the factors that influenced the matter; and it was suggested further that the assistance was reduced to such a low point that the conditions were not as attractive as they might be in the matter of securing the necessary money. In the meantime we have continued

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to grow hemp at the various experimental farms and some retting was done at the Central farm to preserve the continuity of the experiments looking toward the establishment of an industry. In view of the amount of cordage and twine we have to import and the facility with which we can grow raw material, anything we can do to promote that industry certainly deserves our attention.

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CON

Richard Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WHITE:

Would the minister be disposed to support an increase in the bounty for next year?

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March 28, 1924