I should not like to interrupt him. I paid special attention to his remarks this afternoon, and according to the notes which I took at that time, he said that
when butter reached rock bottom, there was a release of Australian butter that was held on consignment. I wonder what my hon. friend decided was the rock bottom price of butter when that action was taken, or what was the price of butter at that time?
same question, the Minister of Agriculture said that he permitted the Australian people to sell butter under 32 cents a pound because of a butter warfare between certain organizations in western Canada and price cutting. Will he kindly tell us what those organizations were?
which, as I said, I regarded as reliable, was that there was a cutting of butter prices in Vancouver. I was informed confidentially that there was a cutting of prices on the part of different organizations, but I do not think it would be in the public interest to give the names of the organizations as reported to me.
Are we to assume now that the minister is giving as an excuse for releasing the butter the fact that he was told something in confidence? I do not think the minister is going quite far enough. It seems to me that when he has used this confidential information as an excuse for doing a certain thing, the house has a right to expect him to answer the question asked by the hon. member for Yorkton and to divulge the names. If the information was given in confidence, I do not think he should have used it unless he is prepared to tell us the names of the organizations that were carrying on the price war.
The statement that I made was that when butter reached what I considered was rock bottom, I agreed to have the Australian butter released, and that I understood it had reached rock bottom due to a price war. But no matter what it was due to, the point I was making was that the action was taken when the price of butter had reached what I considered rock bottom. I do not see that the other matter which has been referred to has any bearing on the question.
Last Tuesday night the minister as reported at page 2005 and 2006 of Hansard referred to the matter. He said that the price of butter-
was cut by something very much in the nature of a butter warfare between various organizations in the west.
Later on he said:
When Canadian organizations commenced cutting the price of butter to a point that we thought was nearly rock bottom, I agreed that the Australians could release their butter at a price less than thirty-two cents a pound.
In vievsr of the interest that this item seems to have created, I am going to put on record a few facts that may be of assistance when this item is under discussion either here or elsewhere. A number of questions asked have elicited answers which it seems to me are misleading if taken apart from the whole subject matter. The Australian treaty became effective in the autumn of 1925. In the year 1925 and in the following years, according to the bureau of statistics, Canada exported these quantities of butter:
Year pounds Value1925 . 26,646,535 $9,917,5161926 . 9,814,300 3,352,8291927 . 2.696,000 1,068,6101928 . 1,994,800 805,0551929 . 1,400,490 583,0611930 . 1,180,400 410,447During the five years that that treaty was in effect we diminished our export of butter twenty-five times; that is, we were exportingtwenty-five times less butter at the end offive years than when the treaty becameeffective. The imports, according to the bureau of statistics, for the same years are as follows: Butter imports Year in pounds Value1925 99,748 $ 39,3151926 9,151,882 3,451,8121927 11,208,819 3,892,6401928 16,801,656 5,937,1701929 35,928,240 12,714,2531930 38,606,055 12,393,662Twelve months preceding Sept. 30, 1930. 47,031,642 15,572,854