February 8, 1934

LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I do not

know whether they would have been crucified, however, tears would perhaps have caused their death.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN (Translation):

Crocodiln

tears 1

The Address-Mr. Rheaume

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

Perhaps

false tears, those of a politician. I recall that one day the hon. member for Compton, in an oratorical flight, stated that the farmer of Quebec should be thankful for the prices he obtained for his farm products. I think, I protested and told the hon. member for Compton that this was not quite the program on which he had been elected in 1930.

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

Mr. Speaker,

I rise to a point of order. It is the second time the hon. member misrepresents my statements. He was called to order last year, he nevertheless persists again and puts on my lips words which I never uttered and are not in Hansard.

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I accept

the word of the hon. member for Compton. At all events, if he wishes to hold a meeting with free discussion, he can invite me to his county, we shall then be able to discuss his statement, Hansard in hand.

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CON

Joseph Arthur Barrette

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARRETTE (Translation):

One will-be held.

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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL (Translation):

You are invited.

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I accept.

The hon. member stated that, from 1921 to 1930, the United States increased their tariff on Canadian butter from 2 to 14 cents per pound, and, on cream, almost 50 cents per gallon. Notwithstanding these tariff barriers to prevent our products from entering their country, the farmers sold their butter more than double the price they obtain to-day. They then sold their butter at 39 cents per pound, yet our hon. friends were very despondent. The Conservatives always refer to the price of butter or of commodities in the United States. A fact that hon. members opposite cannot deny, is that the United States government and the president have prepared a program which will benefit the farmer.

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

The

farmers are on strike.

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

The estimates of Department of Agriculture which had always been on the increase from 1925 to 1930, were cut down this year nearly $1,000,000. Does this help the farming class, by cutting down the appropriations which were usually voted for agricultural purposes? It may, perhaps, be stated that the crisis is responsible for this; however, when the estimates are taken up by the house, I shall be able to show that certain estimates in some

departments, have not decreased but have been maintained, because at the head of those departments are to be found competent men, who insist on their estimates not being cut down, while other departments have at their head men with no experience.

Now, sir, I wish to comment briefly on the speech of the hon. member for Brome Missis-quoi: He begins by congratulating the government for having granted an investigation on milk. I intend to inquire how much this investigation cost the government I do not think that it cost as much as that held- on coal, however, I think the result has been practically the same. The government did not condescend to place on the table of the house the report in connection with the inquiry held on coal. Fortunately, it was sent to the Quebec government which instituted proceedings against these companies, the latter were found to be guilty since the judge who heard the case condemned them to a fine. However, the law is rather construed to protect trusts; I hope however that means will be found to prevent these companies from dragging the case from one court to another, until it reaches the highest tribunal of the country, then transferring the ease to the Privy Council ; meanwhile continue to fleece the people, without paying their fine.

The following is an excerpt of the speech of the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi:

I presume that as regards any real benefit that has resulted so far, from that investigation, the report has probably been systematically pigeon-holed, and forgotten in conformity with the usual procedure with respect to the findings of commissions. The evidence brought out by that investigation conclusively disclosed that the producer was being unfairly dealt with and exploited by the distributor, and further revealed the fact that the present system was simply creating a few millionaires in the city and driving thousands of farmers into a state of penury.

I quite agree with the hon. member, however, I state that....

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CON

Joseph Arthur Barrette

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARRETTE (Translation):

Why

criticize him if you agree with his statement?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

If the hon. member for Berthier Maskinonge (Mr. Barrette) will be patient, I think I shall be able to state why I do not agree on all points with the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi, for two years back, last year and this one- he showed somewhat that he was a free lance in his speeches. I congratulate him. However, when it was a question of voting, he did so as a partisan. Furthermore, the hon. member complains that farmers are obliged

The Address-Mr. Rheaume

to pay top prices for their material. I shall quote his words:

He has to buy wire, nails, roofing, cement, lumber and a long list of expensive agricultural implements and machinery, such as cream separators.

When the question came up of raising the duty by ten per cent on barbed wire, the hon. member for Brome Missisquoi did not hang behind, he voted, when it was a matter of raising the duty by twenty-five per cent on cream separators he did not lag behind, he voted.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN (Translation):

He adheres to his party.

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation) :

It is of

little import whether it is his party, he should not have criticized it, then voted with it. I think one should not find fault with someone then side with him.

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

Is the

opposition in favour of placing these products on the free list?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

My reply

to the hon. member for Richmond and Wolfe (Mr. Lafleche) is that I have not examined the question. At all events, I consider that the farmers pay already enough for cream separators and barbed wire, and that the duty should not be increased by ten per cent, in the first case, and twenty-five per cent in the other, in order to help certain friends of the party.

He states that it is entirely useless to request help from those in authority. I do not know whether this is really true.

The following is an excerpt of the evidence given when the investigation was held on milk and dairy products by the committee on agriculture and colonization. The manager of the Laiterie Saint Laurent is the person who renlies:

Q. The St. Lawrence Dairy charge 5 cents per gallon which covers the entire operation?

A. We charge 5 cents per gallon for the entire dairy operation.

Q. You charge this to purchase milk, pasteurize

A. To purchase milk, pasteurize and resell it to our milkmen.

After comparing this with the evidence given by other dairy managers, I concluded that some were perjuring themselves. I began to peruse this famous report which contains 900 pages, and I wish to state, sir, that if these witnesses had appeared before a court of justice, they would have been arrested and condemned for perjury. I am informed that an hon. member on the committee requested the chairman to dismiss this witness, stating that his evidence was in contradiction 74726-26 i

with the reports he had made, and giving as a reason that he was too old to give evidence.

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

Will the hon. member allow me to ask him a question?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

With

pleasure.

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

What are the names of those who perjured themselves at that inquiry?

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LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I have no details in this matter; however, if the hon. member will do as I did, I shall indicate to him the pages where this evidence is to be found and he can judge for himself.

The following is another excerpt taken from the evidence given at this inquiry:

Q. Mr. Chairman, I fail to see why the committee should be obliged to go over this evidence again. We do not seem to be making progress, and the statement and answers of the witness are not satisfactory. There is not one page of the evidence we have heard within the last two hours that is free from contradiction. We shall reach no result if we do not hear the evidence of someone who has some knowledge of the financial organization of this company.

When a poor devil dares to steal a bottle of milk, in Montreal or else-where, he is condemned to pass eight days in jail; however, according to the evidence given by a former dairy manager, we find managers who, in one month alone, robbed farmers for more than $1,300 worth of milk. Yet the government which disbursed thousands of dollars to hold this investigation does not bestir itself. In the findings of the committee, at page 10 we find: "Depreciation, bad debts, overheads,

profits and dividends, merger, purchase or absorption of other companies or enterprises, the profit of the producer on the consumer's dollar," everything is mentioned. This reminds me of a sick person who would call for a doctor, then the latter, after examining the patient would thus address him: Sir, you are very sick, you have numerous ailments, and claiming a $25 fee, would put on his hat and walk out.

If it is thought necessary to bold an investigation, to disburse thousands of dollars of public money, let them have at least the courage to remedy the evil. We have written evidence that some witnesses perjured themselves; let the government act against them. Former dairy managers have given evidence that farmers were robbed of milk. From every quarter comes the cry: "We must help the farming class." If the government are in earnest, let them begin by having those who rob the farmers arrested.

The Address-Mr. Rheaume

Referring to that witness that was thought too old to give evidence; it did not prevent him from drawing a salary of $10,000 as president of the company; his two sons were drawing 85,000, while the upkeep of their motor ears was charged to the company. Notwithstanding all this, the companies contend that their profits are too small to pay a reasonable price to the farmer's for their milk. If I follow the evidence-and it is written in excellent French-this company is so incorporated that it is the members of one family alone who control the funds supplied by outsiders.

It was proved that the president of another company draws a salary of $13,500 per year, the vice-president $13,500 and the secretary $8,000.

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February 8, 1934