I was going to suggest that as we have worked pretty hard and have had some late nights this week, not without interest, if hon. gentlemen could see their way clear to pass this item I would move that we adjourn.
There is one little matter I would like cleared up before the House adjourns. For the enlightenment of the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) I would like to quote from the Montreal Star of today's date, under the heading of Wholesale Prices: Bacon, Windsor boneless, 39 cents per
pound; breakfast, 26-29 cents per pound. You will note, Mr Chairman, that these are wholesale prices.
While I am on my feet I would like to thank the Minister of Agriculture for the kindly reference which he made to myself and to the good crop which I was fortunate enough to have. I want to say in all modesty that the crop was not due in any very great degree to my efforts but to a kindly Providence sending the right amount of rain at the right time.
I want also to say a word for the district in which I live. I am quite satisfied that I live in one of the best districts in Canada so far as production is concerned.
We are not afraid to compare our production with the production of any district in Canada, I do not care where it is, even if it is in Nova Scotia. We can produce more wheat to the acre than possibly most districts in Canada, We can produce as good wheat as is produced anywhere in the world. Alberta this year won the championship of the world for wheat and for oats. One hon. member suggests that I call your attention to the fact that the number of Conservatives in the Chamber at the moment has dwindled to eight. If I might be permitted, I would like to draw that fact to the attention of the press representative for the Ottawa Journal. The hon. member for Parkdale says that they will soon be all out. Well, I wish them God-speed.
Now, Sir, Alberta can produce the best wheat and the best oats in the world. She has in years past produced the best rye and the best barley in the world. She has won a good many championships with her cattle. She has this year taken the premier honours so far as butter is concerned. And I think the Minister of Agriculture will agree with me in that. But in spite of all these facts the Calgary Herald, which I am sure hon. gentlemen will agree is not supposed to be a pessimistic journal, had a statement last fall in big headlines that between six and seven million acres of land were to leave the farmers' hands this year because of unpaid taxes. Now that land is not sold until the taxes are two years old, will any hon. member tell me just what is the matter with Alberta when she can produce the best crops in the world, as good cattle and as good butter as can be produced anywhere in the world, and yet these Alberta farmers cannot pay their taxes? Between six and seven million acres of land is more acreage than we had in wheat last
year, our total production of wheat being 167,000,000 bushels.
As to being optimistic, which the minister has mentioned, it is said in one of the editorials which accompanied this article that some farmer in Alberta had written to Ottawa, last spring saying that it had started to rain in Alberta and the farmers were very optimistic, and that if optimism could pay their debts they would all be out of debt this year. So far as I am concerned I am not a pessimist; I would wish to be like Major Strange, the world prize wheat grower who described himself as a sane optimist, but that same Major Strange at a banquet given in his honour by the Edmonton Board of Trade said that "that man's name should be writ large in gold who could name one article the farmer in Alberta was to-day producing that could be sold at a profit." If there is one duty the Minister of Agriculture should perform it is to endeavour to right such a condition as that.
It has been asked to-night how much money was spent on each experimental farm. If I remember aright something like $47,000 was spent on the Lethbridge experimental farm in my district last year, and I want to say that I do not believe there is any way in which such a sum could be expended to better advantage. My only regret is that this amount was not doubled. I do not think we should underestimate the immense value of the work that these experimental farms are doing. I have occasionally visited the experimental farm at Lethbridge, and I know that it has been throughout its career of immense value to the district in which I live. I believe it has a greater and more valuable work still before it.
On my recent visit there I noticed experiments that were being conducted along the line of poultry and egg production, and I am sorry that the ho'n. member for Victoria City (Mr. Tolmie) is not in his seat to hear these statements. Mr. Fairfield, of the Lethbridge experimental farm, has been taking a great interest in the matter of poultry and egg production, especially in the testing of high grade breeds of fowl. He has a special flock of Barred Rocks, from which he has derived hens that have produced at the rate of 323 eggs per year. Where you can produce a hen that will lay an egg every day in the year, except Sundays and even sometimes on Sundays, you are going some, The value of that is beyond computation. The ordinary farm fowl is doing well if she lays from 100 to 125 eggs per year. Therefore a fowl that will lay 323 eggs in the course of twelve months multiplies your yearly production by three. It wall be seen that when you have accomplished such a result as that you have achieved something of immense benefit to the farm wives of this country. In that experiment alone enough revenue has been contributed to defray more than one year's expense of conducting that experimental farm.
Now take other lines of work. It was only a few years ago that we were afflicted with a plague of grasshoppers in the West, and immense damage was being done all over that country. The Dominion experimental farm sent out to us Professor Strickland who had studied fully the methods of exterminating the pest. As a result of his labours a stop was put to the ravages of the grasshoppers in the course of two or three years, and millions of dollars were saved to the farmers of western Canada. You cannot get away from the value of experiments of that kind.
Then take the crop, referred to by my hon. friend the member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) a few minutes ago which yielded 76 bushels of wheat to the acre. That was Marquis wheat which was developed as a result of tests in the experimental farms of this country. Thus we have had results of the most valuable kinds in breeding different varieties of wheat, and in raising the standard of live stock and other products of the farm, results that are greatly increasing the production and wealth of this country. I do not think we can afford to cut one dollar from the appropriation for the maintenance of these experimental farms. I am fully in favour of that appropriation and shall vote for it very heartily. There may be some substations in isolated districts that could very properly be dispensed with, but action along that line can well be left to the good judgment of the Minister of Agriculture.