April 4, 1924

CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

About how much was

spent last year, and what was the nature of the work carried on in the province of New Brunswick? I understand the department has a small laboratory at Fredericton. Dr. Tothill is in charge of that. I should like to know the nature of the work done last year. Dr. Tothill is a very excellent official, and there is a very grave danger of losing his services to our friends to the south, unless he is properly remunerated.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I understand the work of that federal laboratory was largely connected with the spruce bud-worm and brown-tail moth. There is a small provincial laboratory, just a little shack, where I think they were pursuing an investigation in connection with a fungus disease of the cactus apple-blossom. I do not know whether they thought we were not prosecuting the work sufficiently rapidly. I scarcely know why the provincial government took it up, but apparently the ravages of that little fungus were so great that they thought it necessary to do this additional work. I think the work could be merged. I understand the laboratory was located somewhere down town in Fredericton, and it was suggested it should be moved to' the experimental farm. That is what they had in mind, I think. Well, it is like a good many other activities; we have not the necessary money to build a laboratory and move it to the experimental farm, where I think its usefulness would be almost double.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I understand, $2,014 was spent. We have no purpose in stacking up a lot of useless cases. A lot of this work is of such a character that unless it is done carefully it need not be done.

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PRO

Robert Gardiner

Progressive

Mr. GARDINER:

I find in this report

there were 302 of these insect cases procured m 1923. That seems to be a tremendous number of cases for this particular purpose.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We are adding a certain amount to it every year, in order to complete it.

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PRO

Robert Milne

Progressive

Mr. MILNE:

Can the minister give us any idea of what proportion of the money spent

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

About how much of a staff have you there, and what, is the annual expenditure? And, now that the brown-tail moth and the bud-worm are no longer with us, to what are they directing their attention?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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?

John William Bell

Mi. MO PHERW ELL:

The brown-tail

moth attacks the apples.

Mr. HANSON - The hon. gentleman did not pay attention to what I said. Now that the brown-tail moth is no longer with us, and the spruce bud-worm has worked out his usefulness or its uselessness, what functions does the laboratory perform? Along what line of endeavour are they working. How large is the staff, and how much money has been spent?

Supply-A griculture

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We are never at a loss to find some kind of insect life about us. I am sure after the brown-tail moth is done with, it will be the red-tail moth or something else.

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CON
PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I notice the amount

spent under this head in 1922 was only $182,000. Last year it was $214,000. Could the minister give us some information as to this.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Because of the increase in insect ravages, all over the Dominion practically. There was a series of very dry years in the Wrest-that is in the southern part of the West-which stimulated interest in these invasions over many parts of Canada. What with the bud worm, the brown-tail moth and the grasshopper there was a demand for increased activities, just as there is today for more- extensive research work in connection with rust and other fungus diseases; and it is in response to that request that a greater expenditure is necessary to-day than formerly. I do not know that the vote should not have been increased this year, but we have kept it at the same figure in the hope that we may be able to carry on with the expenditure proposed.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Does the appropriation for the fighting of rust come under this head?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

This item has two sub-divisions, one with reference to fungus diseases, and the other, insect diseases. The insect diseases come under Mr. Gibson while the fungus diseases are looked after by Dr, Gussow, and that includes the* rust. The principal activity under Dr. Gussow is the certification of seed potatoes. There are a large number of inspectors looking after that work, which has become of much importance especially in the Maritime provinces. Two inspections are necessary during the growing period, one after the potatoes are dug, and another before they are certified. After the potatoes are certified they are worth about half again as much as commercial potatoes. The work in which my hon. friend (Mr. Millar) is more concerned is the investigation of rust. The federal department under Dr. Gussow has been working with the provincial agricultural college authorities at both Winnipeg and Saskatoon. We supply the staff and the provincial authorities provide the ground in which to carry on experiments and to sow the grain, in addition to the greenhouses in which to conduct indoor investigational work. We have been making progress, and as the leader of the opposition has suggested, we are

working to some extent in co-operation with the United States authorities in the matter of rust investigation. The people of the United States are just as much interested as we are in this matter, and perhaps more so. Similarly we are co-operating with the provincial authorities. I do not know that this is entirely the best way of dealing with the matter because sometimes our activities are somewhat circumscribed by the requirements of the provinces. But taking everything into consideration I think we have possibly secured more information during the last ten years with respect to this rust question than has been available in any part of the world previously. All the results achieved by research work in years gone by have not been equal in importance to the discoveries that have been made in this direction in the last eight or ten years. I am of the opinion, however, that if we in this generation are to reap any benefit from this work it will have to be speeded up, for there is a great deal still to be learned. The authorities in Dakota have made a valuable discovery at the experimental farm there in connection with Kota wheat; but inasmuch as that species does not resist all the different varieties of rust, and as it is not definitely known yet whether it possesses the necessary qualities from the standpoint of milling that make our wheat acceptable in the British market, there is a great deal of work ahead of us still before we can secure a variety of wheat containing all the characteristics of the best grain. Kota is not a product of crossbreeding; it is a Russian wheat produced by hand selection. There is not much known about it; but, the rust having become so bad in Dakota, a great many farmers are taking - the risk of growing Kota, seeing that in any case they must run some risk with other varieties. 'When the votes under the Public Works department come up, the question will arise as to possible extensions of laboratory space for the purpose of expediting this class of investigational work. A suggestion has been made that possibly this work might be better done if it were taken in hand by the Research Council of which Dr. Tory is president, and one advantage in handing the work over to him would be that he would be free to choose his staff, which is an important thing.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

This is a matter of vital

importance to many grain growers, because in my opinion rust has caused more damage than all other pests put together. From the research work that has been done, does it appear that the only success so far achieved has consisted in the breeding of types of grain

Supply-Agriculture

that are rust-resistant? Or has success been met with in other directions?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The invasions of

the rust disease originate as a rule near the gulf and work north at about the same rate as the season, and there is no possible way of protecting the wheat from these spore attacks. These spores travel in the atmosphere four or five miles an hour against prevailing air currents, and the only way to offset their effects is to breed a plant that will sufficiently resist them. As there are all sorts of germ diseases against which the human body is immune only through the development of resistance, so in plant life we have to breed a type that will resist these attacks.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

The minister said just

now that more had been discovered in the last ten years or so in this matter than had ever been known previously. Can he give in concise form some of the discoveries that have been made recently, with particular reference to the cause of rust?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I presume the

hon member refers as well to the progress that has been made in combating this menace. We know that Kota wheat resists about ninety per cent of the forty different varieties of rust; in other words, we have a wheat that will resist thirty-six different varieties of this disease. Now, if we can develop the characteristics that are essential to good wheat, such as early maturity, quality, and prolific growth, together with a sufficiently sturdy straw, we shall have a splendid variety of Wheat in this particular species. But this has not been demonstrated; it may take ten or fifteen years, and no man can venture to predict anything in this connection because there are so many sides to the question. For example, it is only within recent years that the discovery has been made that there are different species of rust, and since then to some extent experimenters have had to double back and start over again with that knowledge in view. Once you know your enemy and are familiar with his characteristics and his peculiarities you have made one great step in the direction of getting the better of him. And as I say, it is only within recent times that we have known of the existence of rust in different forms; formerly it was thought that there was only one variety of rust.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Do the inspection

and the certifying of seed potatoes come under this vote?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

April 4, 1924