The House can believe the statement of the hon. member if it prefers, but I challenge him to go to the Canadian Packing Company's store on Elgin Street and get bacon for less than I have stated. If he goes there he will find that the price is as I have mentioned unless they give him a cheaper rate than they give me.
want to draw the attention of hon. members to certain figures published in the Agricultural Gazette for the months of January and February 1924. My hon. friend need not take my word for this; he can consult the Agricultural Gazette. At page 67 the statistics appear in regard to the Canadian meat industry. I find that the number of plants in 1921 was 84, the capital invested being $58,500,000, the number of employees 9,928, salaries and so forth, $13,500,000-I will not go through the whole list because it might weary the House. However, the cost value of the animals slaughtered was $86,500,000 as compared with a sales value of $153,000,000. In other words, the value of these animals while passing through the packing houses increases from $86,500,000 to $153,000,000.
I regret having to call the hon. member to order, but I fear I shall have to rule his present discussion irrelevant. The facts which the hon. member is submitting would be in order under the item " Health of Animals," but at the
10 p.m. present stage I am afraid they are not germane to the item under consideration.
When we come to the proper item I shall be glad to give the facts to the minister. We have spent millions of dollars for the purpose of increasing agricultural production, we have spent very little in an endeavour to find a market for what is produced, and that is one reason why the farmers are in their present unhappy condition. The minister might very well spend a larger percentage of the money which I know he will spend-because we cannot stop him from spending it-in endeavouring to help the farmers find a profitable market for their produce, instead of indiscriminately producing more and more.
I was going to ask the minister if he would answer the questions put by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) a few minutes ago with regard to the cost of the farms individually and the cost of advertising.
The hon. member for Macleod discussed the matter in a fair and friendly way, but evidently he was labouring under a misapprehension with regard to the practice in connection with excursions to experimental farms. I only regret that there are not more excursions so that the people might see at first hand what is going on there. One of my hon. friend's confreres from Alberta-I do not want to disclose his name unless I am asked for it-came to me and asked that the excursions to the experimental farm at Scott should be restored because of the benefit that had resulted from them in the past. So you see how difficult it is to please everyone. My hon. friend thinks there
should not be any expense connected with these excursions. Well, for many years there [DOT] was a college at Guelph where the people gathered in thousands; indeed, I believe it is the practice yet, and a small expense was incurred for the purpose of giving a lunch to those who visited the farm.
It was very modest, I know; many a time has my wrist been tired out cutting sandwiches on occasions of that kind. But the people went away just as happy as if they had got the two- or three-dollar lunch spoken of in connection with another matter.
My hon. friend referred also, as did the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland), to the advertisements. Yes, my department is responsible for those, and I wrote some of them myself. We practically advertise for tenders in every case but I do not recall offhand whether we did so in this case or not. The advertising agencies are supposed to have expert display advertisers, but so far as most of this material is concerned we have to supply it ourselves. Let me tell my hon. friend quite candidly why we engaged in that advertising campaign. In this House and elsewhere there was a disposition a year ago to indulge in a whole lot of dreary talk about our country; the dirges that were sung were to me distressing. They may have been justified; I shall not enter into that-they may be justified yet to some extent. But is it discreet; is it wise? Why depress the morale of the rest of the people who want to make the best of the circumstances during these trying times? So, the primary purpose of these advertisements was to buoy up the morale of the people of Canada, particularly the agriculturists, who needed it, in all conscience, at that time. We may not have done it in the best way, but that was our purpose. The wording of the advertisement may not have been such as to satisfy my hon. friend, but his is the first adverse criticism I have heard, and I have received a good many compliments regarding it. I shall be very glad to have any suggestions as to just how this should be done if my hon. friends think they can improve upon it. I do not pretend to know it all, and I never expect to, but I did feel that at that time there was need for buoyant advertising in order to promote the prospects of a better day in agriculture and a better day all round for Canada.
When the threshing began in the fall I noticed a statement in the press that a gentleman in the West by the name of Mr. Coote
had threshed 72 bushels to the acre. I do not know whether it is the same gentleman who represents the constituency of Macleod in this House: if it is I am sure he cannot have very much complaint against the threshing returns in the constituency that he represents and on his own particular farm. If it is the member for Macleod I want to congratulate him on what is almost a record outturn of wheat. The premier of the province told me that his output was 62 bushels. I am not going to take the ground that this advertisement had anything to do with that, but what with these two circumstances my hon. friend should be buoyed up considerably in the hope of a betterment in agriculture.
The question of bacon hogs was referred to by my hon. friend; that will come up again under the live stock vote. I think he suggested that I should take the packers in hand and educate them a little. Well, I think we have done that, and they are paying on the basis of quality to the extent that they never did before. We cannot afford to pay inspectors to go all around the country wherever hogs are sold and bought, but we locate them at the packing plants. I want to give my predecessor the credit that is coming to him in connection with our present grading system. I think it is one of the most advanced systems of grading hogs on th's continent; in fact, it is the only system of its kind. It was evolved through the joint efforts of the Department of Agriculture of that day-in the fall of 1921, I think it was,- the provincial departments of agriculture and all the breeding associations throughout Canada. In their joint wisdom they should surely work out something good, and they did. The regulations are capable of amendment; indeed, we have recently made some amendments in the light of past years' experience. It is not perfect, but it is an experiment in the direction of encouraging the breeding of better bacon hogs and bringing about payment on the basis of quality, without which you cannot get quality. You must pay a man for the trouble he goes to in producing a better bacon hog, otherwise he cannot be expected to do it.
right: it is a good idea, I think, to get one phase of it going and then, when you have that, to take up the other phase. We did think of starting a system of grading bacon
so that just what my hon. friend speaks of could be checked up; so that the quality of bacon would be so increased that when it went on the British market it would command a sufficiently higher price to warrant the packers in reflecting their price back to the man who raised the hog. We have not got that far, because it takes just that much more staff, and at this time we are restricting rather than expanding the staff. That, however, would be one of the next steps to be taken.
A system which goes half way is a failure. It would be different if it went the whole way; if it were graded in and graded out it would probably be all right. But wdien a man has five or six hogs that he thinks are all graded No. 1, and they come out graded all the way from No. 1 to No. 4 and No. 5, it does not make him feel very happy. If they are graded in they should be graded out also. *
While we have not taken the step in the direction indicated by my hon. friend, we have a man working on this, so that when we do take a step it will be in the right direction. It is an entirely new thing;.we have no precedent to guide us; we are, so to speak, making history in the matter of grading hogs alive. It is difficult, and unless it is accompanied by what my hon. friend suggests, it is not going to be entirely satisfactory, but as I say we are working on it.
The hon. member for Macleod raised a whole lot of interesting questions with regard to marketing and other matters, some of them a little out of order, but I might be excused for dealing with the question of marketing now in case I should forget it on some other occasion. We have now three or four branches that devote considerable attention to the marketing of various farm products-the Live Stock branch, the Fruit branch, and the Dairy branch. You will find further down in the estimates an item for a special representative in Great Britain to look after the marketing of farm products there.