Your committee has had under consideration an order of reference dated Wednesday, February 24, 1932, namely:
"Resolved: that all questions affecting the beet sugar industry in Canada be referred to the select standing committee on agriculture with instructions to inquire into the action which may be taken by the government, by way of customs duties, subsidies, bonuses or otherwise, either in or without cooperation with the provincial governments for promoting the prosperity of the said industry and developing the production of Canadian grown sugar, and report to this house.
Clerk of the House."
Your committee has called and examined the following witnesses:-
H. Marshall-Bureau of Statistics, Ottawa, Ontario.
Dr. F. W. Grindley-Bureau of Statistics, Ottawa, Ontario.
W. R. Reek-Director of Experimental Farm, Ridgetown, Ontario.
Thos. Simpson-Farmer, Petrolia, Ontario.
G. L. Rogers-President, British Columbia Sugar Refining Company, Vancouver.
B. R. McMullen-Beet Growers' Association, Alberta.
Chas. Houston-President, Canada and Dominion Sugar Company Limited, Chatham, Ontario.
Alex W. McIntyre-Canada and Dominion Sugar Company Limited, Chatham, Ontario.
W. F. Russell-Alberta Beet Growers' Association. *
The evidence submitted established the following facts regarding the industry:
I. That the production of sugar beets has been carried on very profitably in certain districts of Ontario and Alberta: that the area under cultivation has increased from 25,000 acres in 1921 with a yield of 200,000 tons to
42,000 acres in 1931, with a yield of approximately 435,000 tons, and that the production of refined beet sugar has increased from 53,000,000 pounds in 1921 to approximately 100,000,000 pounds in 1931.
The amount paid to the farmers for beets in 1931 was about two and one-half millions of dollars; during the period of normal commodity prices for farm products, an average price of $7.48 per ton was paid to the farmers for sugar beets, but owing to the present low price of raw cane and refined sugar, the factories claim that they are unable to guarantee more than $5 per ton for the 1932 crop.
2. That large additional areas, suitable for the growth of sugar beets, are available in Canada.
3. That there are five firms engaged in the refining of sugar in Canada-The Canada and Dominion Sugar Company Limited, producing cane sugar at their Montreal factory, and beet sugar at Chatham and Wallaceburg, Ontario; the British Columbia Sugar Refinery, producing cane sugar at Vancouver, B.C., and beet sugar at Raymond, Alberta; The Ai'eadia Sugar Refinery Company, Limited, Dartmouth, N.S.: The Atlantic Sugar Refinery, Limited, St. John, N.B.; St. Lawrence Sugar Refinery, Limited, Montreal, P.Q. The last three have engaged exclusively in the manufacture of cane sugar.
4. That during the past ten years the annual average production of refined sugar in Canada was 963 millions of pounds; the percentage of beet sugar production has varied from 6-2 per cent in 1926 to aproximately ten per cent in 1930 and 1931.
5. That the sugar beet factories at Chatham, Wallaceburg and Raymond, are now operating at full capacity, and that no further development of the beet sugar industry in Canada is possible until manufacturing capacity is increased.
6. That world stocks of sugar on hand are very large and that an estimated surplus of some four millions of tons urill be carried over to next year.
7. That there is sufficient capacity in the cane sugar refineries of Canada to refine two and one-half times the amount of sugar necessary to meet the demands of the Canadian consumers.
8. That the consumption of sugar in the area from Winnipeg to British Columbia is approximately 225,000,000 pounds supplied from eastern Canada as far westward as the Brandon district, and from Vancouver, eastward to the Brandon district, except for the tnirty million pounds of beet sugar manufactured at Raymond, Alberta.
9. That freight rates on sugar from Raymond, Alberta, to prairie points are from one-half to three-quarters of a cent per pound less than rates to similar points from Vancouver or Montreal.
10. That the granting of bonuses or subsidies at present to encourage the production of sugar from beets, was not favoured by the representatives of the growers or of the refiners.
Your committee therefore recommend that in view of the existing tariff on sugar and in consideration of the substantial payments being made to agriculture and labour by the beet sugar factories at present in operation, the cane sugar refineries should undertake to provide for a gradual increase in factory facilities for the refining of beet sugar in Canada, and that, with the additional advantages in freight rates to points in the middle west, heretofore described, factory facilities should now be steadily increased in western areas where beets are grown, and thereby make it possible to produce from beets a more substantial percentage of the sugar consumption of Canada.
Your committee further recommends that if no successful attempt be made in the immediate future by the refineries to increase the facilities for the manufacture of beet sugar, the government should take into consideration steps to accomplish that end.