June 13, 1929

LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

This matter has

been under discussion for several years; it has been more or less in the public mind, and since cooperative marketing is becoming more popular and is practiced more and more throughout Canada it was felt by my staff and myself that it was time we had a central organization, a sort of clearing house for these activities, since some of these organizations are now becoming Dominion-wide and someone should be in charge of work of this kind. Up to quite recently this work has been of a provincial character, but there are now several Dominion-wide cooperative concerns, such as the Cooperative Livestock Growers' Association, the Cooperative Wool Growers' Association and others, and there are a great many activities which necessitate a Dominion branch in charge of that work, in cooperation with the different provincial authorities.

In a word I believe that is the object of this item. We are now advertising for a director for this work, and we hope to secure the services of some well qualified man. Of course this is a Civil Service Commission appointment and will take some time to complete, but we hope the appointment will be made before the end of July. Our intention is to have a properly qualified man commence work with a survey of these activities in order to find out all the different aspects. There are many cooperative activities being carried on; some of them are stock companies, some are pools of a voluntary nature, some have contracts for three or five years, and in British Columbia there is one organization of a more or less compulsory nature, so a survey will be necessary in order to get a line on this work, since we realize that we cannot have similarity in such a large country as Canada.

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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

Will t'he minister tell us

what will be the title of this official?

Supply-Agriculture

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

He will be the

commissioner of agricultural economics, and his salary is advertised as $4,320.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Would the minister

tell us if it is proposed to break any new ground in this work, or will the duty of this official be merely to assist existing organizations? Will he go in to new fields and try to develop new cooperative organizations?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Of course he will

be working in cooperation with those organizations already existing. We conducted a campaign in the county of Essex with the idea of organizing the tobacco growers. We had no officers of our own for that purpose and we applied to Mr. McPhail of the central wheat pool to let us have some men of agreeable personality, skilled in that class of work and possessing knowledge of the whole subject. They sent down three men and we obtained from them a lot of information. Conditions were not absolutely favourable to the continuance of the work which we hoped to take up later on because there was an organization already in existence. There were many problems which made it difficult to go any further, but. this is one of the things which should be taken charge of in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture of Ontario; something should be done for the tobacco growers in western Ontario because they are too much at the mercy of those who buy and the question of quality is not receiving the consideration it Should. This and other matters are largely of federal concern, and I think there is a very decided place for a service of this kind.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I desire to commend

the .minister for taking this step, and I trust the venture will be a successful one. May I suggest to the minister that it might be well to spend a little money to look into the whole matter of the cost of distribution. Whether or not you call it cooperation, that is one of the great problems which will have to be solved. A few days ago the hon. members from the maritimes were complaining about the difficulties they encountered in marketing their fish. As the hon. minister knows, we would buy their fish in the west if it could be purchased at a price we could afford to pay, and the same thing applies to British Columbia fruit. It seems to me that this question of the cost of distribution is one which might be taken up by the official whom the minister proposes to appoint under this item. The following appeared' in a recent issue of The Western Producer of Saskatoon: Apples which sell at $2.50 a box return about 50 cents to the producer. If butter which sells 78594-233

at 50 cents a pound only returned ten cents to the producer for butter fat what would the producer of buttter fat do? Would he clamour for | cent a pound tariff to save his business, or reorganize his method of marketing? The fruit grower thinks a tariff of | cent per pound helps him out.

I would like to quote from an article which appeared in the Manitoba Free Press last fall, as follows:

The prairie provinces are the natural market for the fruit-grower of British Columbia, and that market could be greatly enlarged, without waiting for future increase of population, if there could be a reduction in the retail price of the fruit on the prairies. The British Columbia apple is an excellent product and the consumption in these provinces is limited only by the ability to purchase. There is no doubt that the sale now is much larger than a few years ago when the west was suffering from a severe depression. The people are buying more because they are able to do so, and they would buy still more if the price were lowered. _ _

A very large proportion of the retail price goes to pay handling costs, freight, and wholesale and retail dealers' profits, leaving only a fraction of the price to pay the fruit grower for the care of his orchard and interest on his investment. The handling and distribution charges on a box of apples are given as follows by the Western Producer of Saskatoon after

an investigation of the matter:

Cents

Box 16

Paiper for wrapping 5i

Labelling 1

Packing 7

Lidding 1

Superintendence, loading 10J

Associated Growers' charge 7

Total handling and shipping charge. 48

Freight to Saskatoon 56

Wholesalers' profit 40

Retailers' profit 60

Total charges $2 04

If there is an overhead charge of $2.04 per box, before the producer of the apples gets one cent, then it is a serious matter and something which the department should examine into. These figures are based on carload rates to Saskatoon, but those of us who live in the little outlying villages know that apples have to come from the larger centres such as Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and so on, and they are distributed at less than carload rates which runs the cost up much higher. It means that we have to pay $3.50 to S4 per box, and the average small town dweller or farmer is not able to pay that much. I have known of cases where the British Columbia producer got only a few cents per box for his apples, and I think the official whom the minister proposes to appoint should go into this matter, not merely with regard to apples or fish,

36S0

Supply-Agriculture

but he should consider the broad question of the cost of distribution. It seems to me that this cost of distribution is more important than the tariff, and if we spent a little money trying to get that cost down I believe we would get somewhere. It would not only reduce the cost of living, but we would be increasing consumption by enlarging the market for our own products.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Mr. Chairman, I

cannot take any exception to the remarks of the hon. member but I would draw his attention to the fact that the term "farm economics" is a very wide expression. The qualifications asked for in the advertisement for this vacancy cover exactly what my hon. friend has been discussing. If my hon. friend desires I will read the advertisement, but it takes care of the services to which he referred.

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CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We are calling for

only a small staff, an assistant and a secretary.

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CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

There will be just three at the outset.

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Item agreed to. Contributions to Empire Bureau, $25,000.


UFA

William Thomas Lucas

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. LUCAS:

As this is a new vote, will

the minister kindly give an explanation?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

At the empire conference of 1923, this question was tentatively brought up; some progress was made, but it was really just a start. At the conference of 1926, at which the government and the department heads were well represented, the matter was dealt with again and a tentative program was laid out for the establishment of these clearing houses or bureaus, for the centralization of agricultural information from the whole empire. Doctor Orr of Rowatt Institute and Sir Robert Greig were appointed in Great Britain to do the initial work in the matter of organizing these bureaus in the different parts of the empire. Many of the dependencies have expressed a desire to work in cooperation with the central bureau in the United Kingdom. One bureau has been established at Edinburgh, which has to do with animal genetics, or animal breeding. There, all the questions, we will say, of contagious abortion, sterility in cows and many other diseases are studied and the causes worked out. Any information we get in Canada or in any other part of the empire, for instance, when we make any discover}' with respect to any of these diseases, we immediately forward to fMr. Campbell.]

the central bureau which acts as a clearing house and which in turn forwards it to all the rest. All the units of the empire engage in this great work. Therefore we are cooperating with each other, for example one of us finding out something about a particular disease, perhaps not enough to make it public but enough to forward to other workers in the same field of activity so as to put them on their guard as to what course to pursue with respect to the problem. Let me cite the case of rickets in pigs. That comes under the question of animal nutrition. I am sure all farmers in Canada, especially in the west, know what it is to have rickets in pigs. If you once see a rickety pig, you will never forget its appearance. This question is being studied in all parts of the country and if research workers in any country discover something in regard to the cause of it-and it is largely connected with feeding-that information will be transmitted to all other bureaus.

There is another branch that has to do with micrology, that is science which treats of microscopic objects. For instance, it deals with rust and other kindred diseases. We have six of these investigators who are working in cooperation with every part of the empire. Every dominion has joined in this bureau proposition and it is now pretty well established and in line with the central bureau, not only giving information but receiving it in turn.

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE:

We have heard about rickety pigs and other things, but we have not heard anything about how the minister is going to spend this $25,000.

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

One of them is

$5,000 and the other is $1,500. They are included in this vote.

Supply-Agriculture

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Where is the main central bureau? Is it in London?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The central administrative offices are in London under Mr. Chadwick.

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June 13, 1929