May 29, 1931

CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Does the hon. member mean how many pounds of Australian butter were in Canada on that date?

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LIB
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

It was all released.

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LIB
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Approximately 15,000 boxes.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

How many pounds in a box?

Svpply-Agriculture*-Dairying

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Around fifty pounds.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Did the release apply also to 'butter that was coming to Vancouver and that was not in storage at that moment?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I do not .think there was any butter coming from Australia at that time. By the way, a question came up yesterday and I promised to get information with regard to it. That information I received today from the Department of National Revenue. As regards butter imported from Australia during .the month of April, the information given to me is that no butter from Australia was imported through any port of Canada during April and May of this year.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

So what was released was only what arrived in Canada prior to that date?

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CON
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I did not hear all the speech delivered yesterday .by my eloquent and genial friend, the hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett), but I read it carefully in Hansard. At page 2069 of Hansard he gave figures as to the export of butter by pounds, and said:

We were exporting .twenty-five times less butter at the end of five years than when the treaty became effective.

The figures he gave covered the years from 1925 to 1930, and his statement in that regard might be accurate, but I notice, Mr. Chairman, that he gave other figures as to the imports of butter in pounds for the same years, and in 1929 the amount of butter imported was 35,928,240 pounds, and the price of butter in that year was 38-60, according to the figures which the hon. member himself gave. The amount of butter imported in 1930, according to the hon. member's own figures again, was 38,606,055 pounds, and the price dropped, according to his own figures, to 31 cents a pound. Thus the relationship between the importation in pounds, and the price per pound, was not maintained as compared with the previous year. My hon. friend the ex-Postmaster General (Mr. Veniot) intervened in the debate at a very appropriate moment with this question:

Mr. Veniot: Has the hon. member also the

figures of the production and consumption in Canada?

Mr. Hackett: No.

Mr. Veniot: Then his argument falls to

the ground. We produced over forty million pounds less than we were able to consume.

Some hon. Members: Why?

Mr. Hackett: I would point out to the committee that there was every reason for our production of butter to increase during that period because in those years, by reason of legislation hostile to the export of milk and

cream-this is particularly true of the eastern townships, and truer still of the border counties of the eastern townships from which such large quantities of milk and cream were exported to the large centres of New England -exports were greatly curtailed.

Here are the figures of the production and consumption of butter in 1929. I have not the figures for 1930, but I would request the minister to supply them to the committee to-night if possible. The production of butter in 1929, according to a leter written by the chief of the agricultural branch of the bureau of statistics, was 174,724,465 pounds of creamery butter and 90,000,000 pounds of homemade butter; so the total production of creamery and homemade butter in 1929 was 264,724,465 pounds, and the consumption was 299,348,271 pounds. Therefore, butter consumption was that year 34,623,806 pounds more than production. That point is most important. On May 26, at page 2166 of Hansard I asked the Minister of Agriculture this question, and I must congratulate him upon his answer being in accordance with the facts:

Mr. Pouliot: So long as the production of butter in this country is less than the consumption, is it necessary, in order to supply the trade and the public in general, to import butter?

Mr. Weir (Melfort): Do I understand the

hon. member's question to be this: If the production of butter in Canada is less than the consumption, should we allow the importation of butter ?

Mr. Pouliot: No; is it necessary to import butter from outside?

Mr. Weir (Melfort): Yes.

There the minister himself admitted that when the consumption was in excess of production, importations had to be made in order to meet the requirements of the public. It is sad that production for any reason should fall below consumption in this country, but one reason for that has already been given, namely, the considerable increase in the tourist traffic during the last few years.

During the last campaign we were told by the Conservative speakers from almost every platform that with a high tariff on butter the price would rise considerably. I was speaking the other day of a minimum of 40 cents a pound. During the campaign the price of butter was 32 cents a pound, and the Conservative speakers said that it should be at least 40 cents a pound. They said that in order to bring butter up to that point, the leader of the Conservative party, if returned to power, would put a tariff of eight cents a pound on butter, which with the 32 cents, which was then the prevailing price, would bring butter up to 40 cents a pound. But in spite of that duty which has been

Supply-Agriculture-Dairying

imposed on butter, the price has fallen, to about 20 cents. Practically every Conservative speaker in the rural ridings concluded his speech by saying, "Now, gentlemen," and ladies also, because the ladies were interested in milking the cows, "go home and think of the price you now receive for your butter from the factories." People were reminded in every country place of the prices they were then receiving for butter and were told that when they reached their homes they should by calculation see if the Liberal government had not betrayed their interests. What has happened? The present condition is much worse. What about the betrayal? They were to change the tariff in order to adjust the price of butter but their promise proved to be a myth.

During tlie present debate the production of butter has received considerable attention. At this time I quote in rough figures the report of the bureau of statistics concerning butter production in Canada from the years 1922 until 1929 inclusive.

Creamery Homemade

production production

Year in pounds in pounds1922 .. . . .. 152,500,000 100.000,0001923 . . . . . . 162.834.000 100.000.0001924 .. . . . . 178,893,000 100.000,0001925 .. . . . . 179.932,000 100.000.0001928 .. . . .. 179.209.000 95,000.0001927 .. . . .. 176,978,000 95.000,000192S .. . 90,000,0001929 .. . . .. 174,724.000 90.000,000

Those figures also appear in the agricultural statistics for December, 1930. The production of butter remained about the same, but the difficulty arose from the increase in the consumption.

Hon. members have heard a great deal about the Australian treaty. I have in my hand an excerpt from L'Evenement of November 30, 1928. From the first page of this publication I read the following:

The Tories support Mr. Robb, in 1924

The Australian treaty seemed to be doomed when L. J. Ladner rallied a group of Conservatives.

An interesting incident.

The member for Vancouver South reveals the fact at a meeting held in the interest of D. B. Plunkett.

By-election. *

(Canadian Press Service)

Vancouver, 30.-A summary of the part played by the Conservative party in the House of Commons in connection with the enactment of the Australian treaty by parliament was revealed to us last night by Mr. Leon J. Ladner, federal member for Vancouver South, at a meeting held in the interest of the Conservative candidate for the dominion by-election which was to take place on December 6.

I make this statement, he said, to counteract the false impressions left by government mem-22110-133

bers and other Liberals in their speeches with reference to the stand taken by the Conservative party, in the House of Commons, in connection with this treaty. The treaty at present, in force had its inception in 1924 when a provisional understanding was concluded between the two countries.

The Conservative party held solidly together on its tariff policy. On the night of June 22, four days previous to the prorogation of parliament, the hon. Mr. J. A. Robb presented his Australian treaty. He was greatly criticized. especially by the progressive party led by Mr. Forke. The duties on raisins were the principal pretext involved in their criticism, however the treaty itself was not made a party affair. Each member was free to express his own opinion, whether he considered this measure from the viewpoint of Canada or from that of a particular province.

Just before nine o'clock, in the evening, on June 24, the news, emanating from the government benches, spread in the house that Mr Robb would withdraw the treaty and no further consideration would be given to it at that session. Four minutes later Mr. Robb moved that the committee rise and report progress, which automatically meant the killing of the treaty. Mr. Robb then left the house.

Realizing the importance of the treaty from the viewpoint of British Columbia, I followed Mr. Robb out of the chamber and met him in the lobby. I asked him the reason for such action. He frankly admitted to me that he feared an adverse vote, especially after the stand taken by the Progressives. I replied that it was not a question of party and that a number of Conservatives would support his measure. I then interviewed a number of members and further assured Mr. Robb that, if he would reintroduce his measure, the members that I had just mentioned to him, including myself, would strongly speak in its favour and support it by their votes.

On my suggestion other influential Conservatives, such as Dr. Manion (now Minister of Railways and Canals), spoke to Mr. Robb and confirmed what I had told him. Mr. Robb then assured me that he would again introduce the measure, which he did the following day. The hill was strongly supported by the Conservative party.

I have before me the Gazette, Montreal, of December 3, 1928, corroborating the article I read in French about the declaration made by Mr. L. J. Ladner, a former member from the province of British Columbia. The article is as follows:

Stevens would aid Australian trade.

I would commend this particular article to the attention of my hon. friend from Stan-stead. If he is not in the house undoubtedly he will see my remarks in Hansard. The article continues:

Suggests cancellation of pact with France, if necessary, to help antipodes (by Canadian Press).

Victoria, B.C., December 1.-"The trouble with Canada and Canada's side of the Australian treaty is that the present government has never shown a friendly spirit toward Australia." The Hon. H. H. Stevens, M.P. for

Supply-Agriculture-Dairying

Vancouver Centre, declared here last night in addressing a meeting in support of D. B. Plunkett, Conservative candidate in the approaching Victoria by-election.

Hon. Mr. Stevens went so far as to suggest the cancellation of the French treaty in order to aid Australia.

Canada imports large quantities of wine.

Are not French wines much better than Australian wines?

Let Mr. Robb give to Australia at least the same treatment accorded to France, or, better still, denounce the French treaty, which has been altogether unfavourable to us, or else enlarge the Australian treaty by giving a preference to her in wine.

At that time my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) who, I am pleased to say is in his seat to-day was not satisfied with the Australian treaty, not because it gave too much to Australia but because it did not give enough to Australia.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That is right.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I have another matter to

bring before the committee. I find in La Presse, Montreal, on May 18, 1931, tire statement that the price of butter is so low that butter is used to make soap. After reading this statement I can readily understand how easily my hon. friends to your right, Mr. Chairman, washed their hands of the responsibility for the low price of butter, which is rather easy on account of the fact that butter is used in the manufacture of soap.

What quantity of butter was in storage last year when the high duty was imposed? There was quite a large quantity. On August 1, 1930, there were 32,643,390 pounds of creamery butter in storage, and 944,539 pounds of dairy butter. On September the first, after the Prime Minister had been in power for a few weeks and had repeated that he was going to make good his policy of increasing the tariff on farm commodities, the amount of creamery butter in cold storage was 39,572,168 pounds; about 7,000,000 pounds more than the previous month. I am under the impression, Mr. Chairman, that your constituency is partly a rural constituency surrounding the beautiful city of Fredericton, and consequently you must be familiar with the prices of farm products. No doubt you recall that as soon as the tariff was put on butter the price rose 2 cents a pound-it was the same story as in regard to glass- at that time there was over 40,000,000 pounds of butter in cold storage, so that those who had hoarded that butter made an excess profit in the aggregate of 1800,000. The huge sum

came out of the pockets of the people for the benefit of the owners of cold storage plants. It is a most serious condition of affairs, because the farmers were deprived of that $800,000.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Who paid that $800,000?

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LIB
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Certainly.

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CON

Follin Horace Pickel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PICKET:

What was the price paid

for the butter that was put into cold storage? I may tell my hon. friend that the cold storage man paid more than 32 cents a pound for that butter, so he did not make anything on the transaction; he lost.

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LIB
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I do not remember the

price of butter at that time, but I do remember very well, and this may be confirmed by looking up the market quotations, that the moment the high tariff of 8 cents a pound became operative the price of cold storage butter went up 2 cents a pound. My hon. friend from Brome-Missisquoi (Mr. Pickel) will not deny the fact that not a single farmer got the slightest share of that 8800,000; it all went into the pockets of the shareholders of those cold storage plants. I have been frequently told that our High Commissioner in London was interested in a dairy syndicate while he was living in this beloved country.

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May 29, 1931