June 7, 1935

CON

John Thomas Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE:

I do not think the min-nister quite understood my question. I quite understand that the farmer has the right to ask with regard to the grade, but what about the consumer, the man who goes in and buys the meat? What right has he to ask what price was paid for the hog? I understand that the packers take a dollar off a light hog and two dollars off a butcher hog and so on. Has the consumer any way of knowing the price paid for that hog?

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

It is not graded to the consumer. We are now making provision so that if a province wishes to grade for domestic consumption within that province we can protect them by preventing ungraded meat from being shipped to that province. The federal government has no control over provincial matters, of course, and the grading for domestic consumption is a matter entirely in the hands of the provinces.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

John Thomas Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE:

I appreciate this information, because I am very much interested in this matter. One thing is certain; the producer is the man who pays the shot; he is the man who has to pay the $2 or SI or whatever it may be. My understanding always has been that these animals were not branded, so that when the consumer went in to buy meat he had no way of knowing what the hog cost or anything about it. It seems to me they should be branded so that the man who buys the meat can have some idea of what it cost. The packers always have had the right to take off so much a head for condemnation. I am not prepared to say whether or not that is legal; possibly the minister can tell me. I know in connection with the stock that goes across the border there are no restrictions of that kind at all. Perhaps that practice is legal; possibly it is not, but I should like the minister to tell me.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The hon. gentleman has reference to condemnation insurance?

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CON
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The question of condemnation insurance has been investigated

Live Stock Act

many times, and in that connection there are two opinions. Those in areas where the condemnation insurance is high feel that it is the best protection they can have, and that if there were no condemnation insurance deducted the tendency on the part of the purchaser would be unduly to depress the price in order to protect himself. On the other hand in some areas from which a good deal of our beef cattle comes, where disease is not prevalent, they feel that this should be wiped out altogether. I believe the records show that the condemnation insurance does not actually take care of the losses in that connection.

I omitted one point, the question of whether or not this is legal. This whole matter has nothing to do with legislation or regulation; it is simply an agreement that has been arrived at between the purchasers and the producers. The only part played by the federal department is really to be the third' party witnessing that agreement.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

John Thomas Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE:

I never heard that the packers ever asked where live stock came from; apparently the condemnation insurance is taken off anyway.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The packer does not need to know, but if that agreement were broken he would have to take that into consideration.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

John Thomas Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE:

The minister said the losses were not covered by the amount deducted. Possibly I am wrongly informed, and I presume the minister would be in a better position to know, but I have been told that a good deal more has been taken off than the packers have had to put up. This is something that is not done in the United States at all. A good deal of Canadian stock goes to that country, but they never ask anything about it. When you take your stock there they do not say, "Well, these come from such an area; very likely some of them will be condemned, and we will have to take off five cents or ten cents a hundred." From what the minister has said there is one thing certain, and that is that the consumer does not receive the benefit of the amount deducted. If the packer deducts $2 from the price of lamb which is not branded he is just that much ahead. The same condition would apply to hogs, $1 being taken off a certain grade and $2 off the heavy hogs. If the meat is not branded the packer is the winner.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

I understood the minister to say that condemnation insurance arises as

[Mr. R. Weir.)

a result of an agreement between producer and packer. That is news to me. Who made the agreement for the producers?-because it is my understanding that this matter is arbitrary on the part of the packers.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I am informed that my former statement is correct. This very point has on various occasions been discussed with representative producers organizations. If they feel it would be to the advantage of the producers as a whole to remove the condemnation insurance I am quite sure the packers would be willing to do so. At the present time however if any producer wishes he may ship his stock to the packers with the understanding that there will be no charge for condemnation insurance, and that he will stand the loss on any carcass unfit for consumption.

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UFA
CON
UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

I should like to speak about another point closely related to a discussion of packers' yards, namely, the grading of live cattle. Is it the intention to grade live cattle?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

At the present time it is not the intention unless there is a demand from producers' organizations. If any organization desired to have certain animals at the bottom of the class, tail enders, set aside as being injurious to the trade, that could be done. Such action could be taken in the event of a submission by the producers.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

I believe we should have live stock grades because not all cattle are sold through stockyards. It may be sound to argue, as is contended in the minority report, that commission men can grade cattle fairly well. But I say the livestock yards have a function in addition to that of the selling of stock by commission men to packers and other buyers, that is they establish standards. Other sales throughout the country are to a great extent based on the records made in and published through the stockyards. A considerable percentage of cattle is sold direct. My conviction is that the average farmer who sells is not a very good judge of cattle, but if he had a check in the nautre of a grading system he could check the price he obtains for his live cattle not being sold through the yard against grades in and prices paid at the yard.

This is one of the great advantages of records in connection with live hog grading, and at least to some extent I believe it to be necessary in connection with cattle.

Live Stock Act

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

We have authority

to do that.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

The minister's position is that if live stock men demand it-

Topic:   LIVE STOCK AND PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Or it might be done without a request on their part.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

I should like to ask a question about truckers. What is the significance of paragraph (n) ? I can read the words, but I should like to have an explanation of them.

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June 7, 1935