July 10, 1931

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is to help the wheat growers. [DOT]

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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

If I may be permitted to say so, about the only way that coarse grains from the western provinces can be brought to the maritimes is by some change in the freight rates. A couple of years ago I thought I had made a good case concerning mill feeds and course grains before the railway commission on behalf of the farmers of eastern Canada. Despite that fact however we received no reduction and no benefit. The condition of maritime farmers in regard to mill feeds and coarse grains is this: The

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff

farmers of Denmark and other European countries can procure their feeds cheaper than the farmers of the maritime provinces. I would like the Prime Minister to say whether or not he thinks that is fair either to the producers of coarse grains in western Canada or the farmers in the maritimes. The export rate on grain and mill feeds is so low that they can be brought to the seaports in the maritimes, shipped to Europe and our friends in Denmark can get their feed cheaper than we can. That is the competition we have to meet on the markets of the world. I do not think any government in Canada should tolerate such conditions as that. Canadian farmers should be .given a fair chance with the farmers of other parts of the world. If the party in power is a Canada-first party I think they should endeavour to see that all parts of Canada are treated fairly in this matter. I have no objection to five cents on wheat for export, but I think it should apply to coarse grains as well so that bran and millfeeds may be brought more cheaply to the farmers of the maritimes. As to the duty on corn increasing the sale of coarse grains in the maritime provinces, I do not think it will have this effect unless there is a revision of the freight rates. The fox ranches of Prince Edward Island use large quantities of corn meal, and if the price of furs continues to drop we may have to resort more than ever to corn meal, as it is the cheapest feed available. I understand the corn is imported and ground in Canada and shipped all over the Dominion.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Educate them to eat barley.

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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

I do not think there would be any chance in the world of the prairie provinces finding a market for their barley in Prince Edward Island, for our farmers already grow enough of this grain for their own use. I understand that the barley crop is not as large in Nova Scotia as it is in Prince Edward Island, and consequently there is a larger market there for the sale of barley than in my province. The only grain we bring in is corn, and naturally we would be opposed to the imposition of this duty.

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

Mr. Chairman, while I have no intention whatever of holding up this item, I wish to make another appeal to the right hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Bennett) to allow corn for feeding purposes to come in free of duty. When the committee rose last night I was saying that in my boyhood days I had been brought up

at the feet of such men as Doctor James Mills, Professor Panton and Professor Day- men who did so much to make the Ontario Agricultural college and experimental farm the famous institution that it is to-day, for its reputation extends throughout the world. I have under my hand a pamphlet issued by the animal husbandry division of the dominion experimental farm which strongly advises the feeding of barley to our stock.

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An hon. MEMBER:

How about a little

barley corn?

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

It will take

me just that much longer if my hon. friends of the opposition wish to interrupt.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

We are not on

the opposition side.

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LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMILLAN (Huron):

Although my

friends are sitting on the government side they are in opposition to what I am saying at the present time. I would remind the committee that the men who direct the Ontario Agricultural college would not think of publishing a bulletin unless it were based on experiments carefully conducted over a period of years. May I call the attention of older members of the committee to a fact, which no doubt they will recall, that a certain variety of two-rowed barley was given to the farmers all over Ontario to test out on experimental plots. In those days I was conducting experiments on my father's farm. We experimented with that grain for four successive years and then considered it sufficiently good to recommend it to our fellow farmers. The second year, however, we found that grain was a dead failure, and I may add that after four or five years' further experiments by many farmers in Ontario as well as by the Ontario Agricultural college, that grain went out of use much more rapidly than it came in. In the light of that experience I am strongly of the opinion that a bulletin such as this should not be distributed until the experiments in the use of barley as a feed for stock had been conducted over a sufficiently long period to remove all doubt regarding its merits as a stock food ration. I notice a section of this bulletin headed Barley as a Feed for Horses. Let me quote:

Another reason is the general impression that barley is 'a dangerous grain for horses, in that its use is frequently conducive to a scurfy condition of the skin and to itching, scurfy legs,

"too heating," the horseman says. Possibly a third reason is the comparative lack of palatability of barley compared with oats.

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So far as the section comprising Ontario and eastern Canada is concerned, I am satisfied that barley in its raw state is a dangerous feed for our horses; boiled it is much more palatable and safe; although I do believe from information I have received that barley may safely be fed to horses in the United States on the Pacific slope. But for our dairy cattle and young growing animals, it is a grain which no one with any experience would recommend except as forming a very small percentage of the ration.

Speaking from my own experience and in view of the fact that corn is eagerly sought after by the farmers of the western section of Ontario, particularly in my own county, I would plead again with tlhe Minister of Finance to allow this grain to come in free. I ask him to allow the farmers of Ontario to use their own judgment. They will not bring in corn if they do not think it pays them to do so. As I said last night, it was only after they had agitated for years that corn be put on the free list for feeding purposes that the government of that day, some 'thirty-five years ago, saw fit eventually to do so, and from that day to this corn has been allowed to remain on the free list. As my la^t word I would urge the Minister o'f Finance to allow corn to remain on the free list and so permit our farmers to exercise their own judgment as to whether they will purchase this grain or not.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I should be sorry to think that this was the last word of the hon. gentleman-

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Oh,-or would I be deprived of a very great pleasure. I think I forgot to say to the hon. members for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), and Hants-Kings (Mr. Ilsley) that South African corn, which is now a very important factor in the world's production, will come in free, and therefore reach the ports of Halifax and Vancouver as heretofore under the British preference. I should also state, what possibly is fairly well known to some hon. gentlemen, that there was a time when we produced 15,000,000 bushels of corn, but the advent into this country of the oorn-borer reduced our production to less than

5.000. 000. Last year it was approximately

6.000. 000 bushels. It was said last evening by the hon. member for South Essex (Mr. Gott) that it is believed the production will reach

10.000. 000 or 12,000,000 bushels this year, and the area is being increased by thousands of

|Mr. T. 'McMillan.]

acres during the present season. It is not improbable therefore that to some considerable extent the requirements of Ontario will be met by Ontario production, but to the extent to which it is not in other parts of Canada, having regard as I pointed out to transportation costs, there will be the opportunity for the use of Coarse grains which will not bear the cost of export. Under these circumstances I do not know that I can add anything to the very laudable desire of the hon. gentleman, whose ripe experience and rich fund of humour contribute so greatly to the happiness of the government.

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CON

Sidney Cecil Robinson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROBINSON:

I do not wish to prolong the debate, but I am anxious to relieve the mind of the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan). Last night the hon. gentleman spoke of getting Essex corn in his boyhood days, which would not keep because of the moisture content. In recent years Essex and Kent counties have been carrying on experiments, and now are growing a very high grade of corn, which is only 10 per cent greater in moisture content than Kansas corn, which is supposed to be the hardest and dryest corn on the continent. So I do not think the hon. member for South Huron should worry over a corn famine in Huron county because of this duty, since the county of Essex will be able to take care of their requirements, either by shiploads or carloads. In past years Essex county has shipped thousands of cars of corn to all parts of western Ontario, and personally I have never heard any complaint with regard to its quality. It is not the fault of the government if a shipment happens to be too moist; that is the fault of the inspector who ships the corn. I believe the 25 cents a bushel duty will 'help the farmers of Essex, Kent and Elgin counties very materially, since corn is one of the most profitable crops they can grow, therefore, I am heartily in favour of the proposed rate of duty.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

If the Prime Minister makes another speech probably he will shatter completely the hopes of the farmers of the west. Last night when he indicated that under the treaty with the Argentine corn would come in at 18 cents instead of 25 cents I thought I saw a look of dismay come over the faces of some of my hon, friends from Manitoba. Now he tells us that corn may come in from South Africa free, so I think the hopes of the farmers of Manitoba will be down 100 per cent by now.

I am not going to discuss this matter from the standpoint of the "dietetic eccentricities"

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of a chicken-and if Hansard will put those words in quotation marks I will not be robbing my hon. friend from Souris (Mr. Willis) of that very choice phrase-but I do wish to discuss it from the standpoint of common sense. Before coming to this house, and since I have been here, I never pleaded for protection on any farm products, and I do not intend to begin now. In my judgment the farmer who links himself up with the principle of protection completely destroys his own position when seeking relief from the burdens which the protective system imposes upon him. I can well understand the attitude of some of the hon. gentlemen from the west, and in a measure I sympathize with them. They realize that they must go home carrying very little in the way of spoils and with very little to show in the way of the fulfilment of the promises made during the last election, so they are very anxious to have this little bit of a duty on com which, in my judgment, really will amount to nothing as far as the western farmer is concerned.

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CON

Bernard Munroe Stitt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STITT (Nelson):

Will the hon. member permit a question? Is he opposed to this duty on corn; yes or no? Do not hedge, now; what is the answer?

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

That is a question I do

not object to answering, but before doing so I should like to ask another question of hon. members opposite; if I answer questions they should be willing to answer questions also. Before answering that question I should like to ask hon. gentlemen from the prairies if they are in favour of the 25 per cent duty on agricultural implements; if they are in favour of what has been done in regard to the raw material for the manufacture of binder twine; if they are in favour of what has been done in regard to barbed wire and a host of other things. I can put questions to hon. gentlemen opposite which will be just as embarrassing as questions they may put to me. I am going to answer that question, and I can do it with no embarrassment at all. I am opposed to the whole policy of this government in regard to tariffs. I am opposed to a duty on corn for the reason that I do not propose to hamstring myself when I come to advocate a reduction of the duty on those things which I use. In my judgment this proposition to put a duty on corn will be of very little, if any, advantage to the grower of western grain. When hon. gentlemen opposite from the prairies will answer the questions I have put to them as candidly as I have answered their question, we will have an interesting exhibition in this house.

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

Will the hon. gentleman

permit me to answer his question? We gave a pledge to the electors in that country that we would support protection as long as the prices were not raised. [DOT] The prices of machinery and all other commodities have gone down under the policy of the right hon. Minister of Finance.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

I said I could sympathize

with hon. gentlemen opposite. They know they must go home with very little to show in fulfilment of the promises they made during the last election, so they want to carry home this little duty on com and the five cent rate on wheat.

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PC

Errick French Willis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. WILLIS:

Are you in favour of that?

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

That is another question

of the same kind. I want to tell hon. gentlemen opposite that what they will have to show their constituents as a result of their labours will be but as dust in the balance compared with the duty on agricultural implements, the imposition in regard to barbed wire, the action of the government in regard to the raw materials entering into the production of binder twine, and a host of other things. For my part I am going to take good care that the eyes of the farmers are not blinded by these little things to the neglect of the many more important things in this budget.

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July 10, 1931