May 28, 1931

CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

The hon. member must have a better memory than I have. I say that it has not been so low since 1896. If the hon. gentleman has the figures, he can give them and make a speech after I sit down.

So far as the last election is concerned the Conservatives came to my constituency talking in the same way about butter. All I needed to do was to tell the people what

Supply-Agriculture-Dairying

happened in the neighbouring state of Montana. We are bordering along the state of Montana, and one of our farmer's wives thought she would take some butter across the line and get that big priee. She would have got 20 cents a pound in her own town, and she went across the line into Montana and got the very , same price. The only advantage she got was that over there she was able to buy things a little cheaper than she could have in Canada because of our tariff. That argument about what New Zealand butter was doing did not cut any ice there, because they knew better. They were right up against it and they knew just what it meant. In western Canada to-day it is not the creamery butter, but the dairy butter that counts. Many of our farmers are so far away from the market they are not in a position to have their cream shipped to the creamery. As a result they are concerned only with dairy butter. I have a letter before me dated at Hodgeville, Saskatchewan, on May 24 of this year.

An non. MEMBER: That is Sunday.

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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

I quote from the

letter:

I will quote you prices for that produce right here in Hodgeville. Butter per pound 12 cents; eggs per dozen 7 cents. I leave to your imagination Doctor Donnelly how any farmer can pay anything on past debts and live under these conditions. It is awful to see poor farmers bringing in their eggs and butter, all they have between them and starvation, and just about giving them away. I was in a local store here on Saturday evening when the proprietor told the farmers he could not buy any more eggs or butter, as the wholesale houses were overstocked and could not handle them. And I hope never to see such looks on human faces again as those poor people had. .

That is the condition which exists out west. Many of those people voted in the belief that if the Conservative party came into power the price of butter would go up as promised.

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

I do not wish to traverse the ground over which my hon. friend has gone. I think, however, he would do well to recall the information given to us by the hon. member for Red Deer. It is true that in certain areas men milk cows only when they are forced to. That may be the case in the constituency of Willow Bun-ch. In the eastern townships, however, dairying is the sole source of ready money for the agricultural population. The farmers in the eastern townships are in the dairying industry and do very little else; their herds constitute their sole preoccupation. The revenue they derive from their herds is their sole source of livelihood.

The remarks of the hon. member for Gloucester with regard to butter might be influenced by this information. At one time in the area to which I refer cheese was made by the farmers. Due to changes in the markets the cheese factories which were found at every cross-road disappeared; the farmers went into the manufacture of butter. I will pause at this point for a moment to say that ice cream is considered by the farmers in those counties as a negligible quantity. As a matter of fact ice cream is not entirely made of cream.

I am told it is manufactured of a combination of corn starch and skimmed milk.

An hon. MEMBER; Is there any cream in it?

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

Cream enters into its

manufacture to a very limited extent. While I do not wish itp enter the political aspect of this discussion, I may tell the hon. member for Gloucester that his theory that large quantities of cream were diverted from butter to ice scream was propounded with great eloquence by his right hon. leader in the city of Sherbrooke before a vast audience of farmers who foregathered from seven or eight counties to hear his words. When the present leader of the opposition told those farmers that the reason of their difficulty was they had found it more profitable and less laborious to convert their product into ice cream than into butter they were not convinced by his statement. To the hon. member for Willow Bunch (Mr. Donnelly) I will say that if the price of butter has subsided here and has, as he states, been low compared with the price in other markets, one of the reasons is the vast quantities in storage. WTe have had great quantities stored due in part to our vast imports. We have had greater quantities in store than at any previous time. It was knowledge of these vast quantities which had to find a way out through our markets which drove the prices down.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Not at all.

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

As stated by the hon.

member for Red Deer, when other means of revenue failed the farmers not customarily in the dairy business reverted to the irksome task of milking, and butter production in the several provinces increased rapidly. Quite by accident I happen to have before me a circular letter issued by the butter and cheese exporters of Montreal. May I add that this was not addressed to me personally. I notice that in every province of the Dominion the amount of butter produced each month this year is greater than, sometimes almost double,

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the amount produced in the same period last year. That again has had a tendency to lower the price. Although I am not a farmer 1 am for the moment closely associated with them, and I would suggest it would be well for them to remember that at least they have now regained their own market.

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CON
CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

The duty which has been imposed keeps out the butter produced in New Zealand. I cannot say the same of Australia because the Australian treaty has not yet been abrogated, although its effect is suspended. The result however is that we have been given back our market, and I doubt if we could have got it back had it not been for the imposition of the duty to which I have referred. I hoped that my hon. friend from Red Deer could have made this answer to my question. Possibfy I was expecting too much from him. I think however his opinions coincide with mine, if we may judge from the information he gave the committee. To-day Canada is producing all the butter it requires and gradually is regaining a position in the export market. It is possible to ship to the export market at a lesser price than the price obtaining in the home market. Such a statement may constitute an economic heresy, but I do feel that if our farmers are given the benefit of our own market they will derive an immense benefit from the legislation which was passed last fall.

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LIB
?

Mr. RACKET@

Yes.

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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

Is the township from

which the hon. member comes shipping cream and milk to the United States as previously?

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

No, not as previously.

It is shipping only very small quantities.

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LIB
CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

Some cities close to the

Canadian border, in spite of the duty, take our milk rather than pay freight from more remote sections of their own country. Generally speaking however that trade has ceased and I have endeavoured to say frankly that the loss of such trade has had a decided effect upon the industry as a whole. I wish also to say that the prices I quoted were average prices. The hon. members for Provencher and Gloucester and the hon. member for Melville referred to prices on a given day in a given year. It is true those prices related to days early in January when they are supposed to be at their highest point.

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LIB
CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

I think if the hon. member will read over his remarks he will find he did deal with prices.

Mr. VENIO^: I gave no prices.

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

I stand corrected, then.

The prices I gave were the average prices for the whole year and were furnished by the bureau of statistics. One further word. We have been debating this item during three sittings of the committee. I know it is difficult to dispose of an item which has given rise to so much political controversy without everybody having something to say about it. But do not the dairy farmers throughout the land feel that this item is one from which they may legitimately hope to receive some help and some benefit? And if that be the case will not hon. members consider the item in that light?

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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

Mr. Chairman, during

the addresses made by a number of hon. members across the floor I was only too pleased to notice their eulogy of the National Dairy Council. I was also very well satisfied to hear the member for Stanstead state that the tariff had given so much help to the farming community of his county. I suppose this was along the lines of the electoral campaign during last summer. The hon. minister stated that quite a few million dollars were given to the Canadian farmers by the protection accorded them. In a letter written by Mr. P. E. M. Robinson, president of the National Dairy Council of Canada, on August 25 last to the editor of The Financial Post, there is a paragraph which illustrated the point that I desire to bring out. He says:

In presenting our case before the tariff board last January we asked a modest duty of 4 cents a pound, or roughly 12 cents ad valorem, believing this to be the point at which the tariff should be fixed to do the industry the most good. A tariff less than 4 cents leaves us open to competition which we cannot meet under our climatic conditions. A tariff of more than this amount would cause milk now being devoted to cheesemaking to be diverted to butter. This together with the direct stimulation of primary butter production would shortly lead to the building up of an all-the-year round exportable surplus, whereupon the benefit of the tariff would be lost to the industry and we would in the meantime have still further weakened our hold on the British cheese market.

Exactly what happened here.

In other words, the dairy industry wants 4 cents per pound protection on butter, and it does not want any more under the present conditions.

It is all very well to speak of the need of the Canadian farmer to-day and to discuss

Supply-A gricult ure-Dairying

protection of the dairy industry; we may all have our various points of view on the tariff, but it will be observed from this paragraph of Mr. Robinson's letter that although wishing for a tariff of 4 cents a pound, he states that if that protection was exceeded it would stimulate the manufacture of other milk products and consequently hurt our trade in those lines. That butter prices have fallen since is bad enough, but what is going to happen to our cheese production at present prices? In view of this I hope the minister will study the question again. I do not think he is quite positive in asserting that this tariff protection of 8 cents a pound is conferring so much benefit on the Canadian agriculturists, particularly the milk producer, especially when it is borne in mind that Mr. Robinson stated in August last exactly what is happening to-day throughout the Dominion.

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I am glad the hon. gentleman has quoted Mr. Robinson as his authority. I also have a letter over his signature in which he claims the 8 cent tariff put into the pockets of the farmers in the neighbourhood of $7,000,000.

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LIB

May 28, 1931