June 27, 1935


Live stock, including assistance to fairs and exhibitions-further amount required, $40,000.


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Mr. MOTHER WELL@

I would like under this item to have a word or two with the Minister of Agriculture regarding a certain live stock matter. I would appreciate it if the hon. gentleman would come a little nearer so that I could hear his answers because I have some things to say to him, of course in a kindly spirit. It is generally understood, commonly reported, and known around parliament hill as well as outside parliament hill that the purchase of a certain shipment of Percheron brood mares was facilitated by one minister of the government, and half of them were retained at Halifax by my good friend the Minister of Agriculture through his inspections! staff. First I would ask the minister whether he knows anything about this shipment of Percheron brood mares to Australia, and whether his officers detained half of them at Halifax because of their age and general unfitness to go forward. When my hon. friend answers that, I .shall proceed further. I am not under the illusion that my hon. friend is blameworthy in this matter, rather the opposite; I merely want to get the facts correctly from him.

Mr. "WEIR (Melfort): There was a shipment of pure -bred Percheron brood mares that went from this country to Australia. My understanding is that either the trade commissioner of Australia got into touch with the trade commissioner from Canada, or our trade commissioner in Australia got in touch with the head of his own department, with the information that there was a demand for Percheron pure bred mares in Australia. My understanding is that the Department of Trade and Commerce communicated with the Canadian Percheron Asociation, and between

them, although I do not know the details of the affair-it was not brought to my attention until the shipment was selected-a shipment was selected to -be sent to Australia. The department having been led to believe that this shipment in its entirety would not be a credit to the Percheron breed of Canada, two inspectors from the Department of Agriculture were sent to inspect the shipment at Halifax, and three of the animals were pronounced unfit in the estimation of those officials to be truly representative of the best type o-f Percheron brood mare in Canada to go to Australia.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I understand the minister knew nothing about this shipment until it arrived at Halifax. What would interest us all is to know why these animals went to Halifax on their way to Australia when some of them were purchased in Ontario and some in Alberta. It was giving them a long joy ride to their destination to go to Halifax-not that I have anything against our Atlantic ports or anything like that; but generally shippers take the shortest, most direct route; they are not fond of paying excess carriage.

My first assumption was that one minister in this case, the then Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) the ex-minister now, facilitated in some way through the Percheron breeders' association or otherwise the purchase of six brood mares for Australia, and the Minister of Agriculture, learning of this apparently for the first time, had his inspectors examine them at Halifax and retained three of them as unfit to send to Australia as typical of the quality of the animals of our Percheron breeders' association, a conclusion which has proven to be correct. This is not the first time this kind of monkeying between two departments, one nosing into the other's business, has occurred during the last year and a half under the administration of the ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce, against whom I have nothing to say except that when a gentleman is preaching business ethics and the control of industry, he should first get himself under control. Here we have a record and it is not the first one; we all remember the story about the Yorkshire geldings the ex-minister was responsible for in a bulletin that went around the world, something that will be news in our libraries in hundreds of years from now when research readers will be wondering what kind of political geldings had control of our destinies in Canada at this time. We know about the

Supply-Agriculture-Live Stock

Richelieu Shipping Corporation. The ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce was nosing very prominently into that by bonusing those two worthless boats to the tune of $6,500 apiece. I am delighted to learn the government have seen at last their moral obligation in the matter by correcting the ex-minister's blunders and making it right to the farmers who had lost the proceeds of their cattle through the control of industry by the ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce trying to control the business of another department. That is business ethics personified. We have other instances to which I might refer, but that is sufficient for the moment. This is what I would like to ask the minister, because I want to get the information from him rather than give it myself: I have before me a return tabled by the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan) in reply to a number of questions I asked about this matter. Apparently I did not put them in quite proper form, thus giving whatever minister is responsible for this return an opportunity of getting by and not giving anything like the information the Minister of Agriculture has given to-night. Had my hon. friend anything to do with getting up this return to the questions I put on the order paper about a month ago, which return was tabled recently by the Secretary of State?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I have not the

questions in front of me, but as the hon. member knows, if in the questions the information is to be received from a particular department and they concern more than one department, that information is sent by each department to the Secretary of State who compiles all the answers. Not having the questions in front of me, I cannot say whether any of them pertain to the Department of Agriculture, but so far as I recollect all that my department had to do with the matter was that the health of animals branch would necessarily have to inspect this stock before it was shipped and the other inspectors, as I stated before, passed their opinion upon the shipment.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The health of animals branch has nothing to do with the general type or conformation of an animal or anything of that nature; it has to do with the health and freedom from disease of the animal, so that their inspection as to type, conformation, and so on, would be quite worthless. I am sure the inspection carried out at Halifax would be by the regular inspectors of the live stock branch, the proper

ones under the circumstances. I think I have revealed the fact that the ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce has been committing another great ministerial faux pas.

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CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

It is no wonder to me that he was excluded from cabinet circles when this kind of thing was going on. If it were the only instance, it might be overlooked, but I have mentioned two or three and I could mention more. These three critters did not get to Australia; they were a discredit to Canada, and I think I should incidentally give credit to the Minister of Agriculture for being alert enough to waylay them at Halifax before they got that joy ride round the world to reach Australia. May be the minister would tell us why the shipment went to Australia via Halifax. Was this some more of the skilful management of industry by the ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce, or what was it?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I am sorry, but I

cannot give any reason why the shipment went by Halifax, my department not having anything to do with it.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Then it will do no harm to tell the minister that it was reported that due to a lot of bungling in the purchase of these animals in Alberta or elsewhere, they missed the boat via Vancouver and to make the best of a bad job the mares were sent around the world the other way by Halifax.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Does this item include

salaries for agricultural propagandists who have been laid off since 1930? Is it the intention of the government to reinstate them in their job?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

This vote is not

for that purpose.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I regret it. It is a great mistake on the part of the government to have laid off these men who have great knowledge of the agricultural problems and who were helping the farmers all the time. Numerous protests have been sent to the minister without any satisfactory reply; what was received was just an acknowledgment from his secretary. Petition after petition has been sent to him from the farmers of my riding asking to have these men reinstated.

Supply-Agriculture-Farms

The minister gives the farmers what they do not ask for; he gives them schemes, but they do not want schemes, they want help from these experts. One of the greatest blunders he has made since he has been head of the department was to lay off these able men.

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Item agreed to. Experimental farms - further amount required, $19,800.


LIB

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. HANSON (Skeena):

I should like to ask the minister whether consideration has been, given to the representations from boards of trade and farmers' institutes and public bodies throughout northern and central British Columbia, as well as from' myself, as to assistance to experimental farms and model farms in that locality.

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Full consideration

has been given to these representations. A great change has taken place in the agricultural situation in the district to which the hon. member refers, chiefly on account of changes in the industrial operations there. Mining was carried on for years in that locality and for a time was very profitable and large sums were paid in wages which were spent freely for products of the farms. Not only -that, railway operations which at one time were active were completed. The farmers there had the -advantage of a local market for their products. In addition, lumbering operations in the area have been to a certain extent suspended, and their benefit to the agricultural population has been lessened thereby. All this has made it difficult for the farmers -in the locality to market their products profitably. But there is one thing which they have done and for which they deserve great credit, in conjunction with the officials of the provincial department of agriculture as well as of the federal department; they have discovered that they can grow particularly fine timothy in the area, and as the freight is very little, it can be shipped long distances at small cost. A great deal of attention is being given to assisting the farmers in that connection. It is hoped that large illustration stations other than those already established will be set up as model farms. In connection with that the department have entered into a contract with the provincial government to use their property at Tranquille, which will also serve as a source of information to the ranchers in that part of central and northern British Columbia. I can assure the hon. member that every consideration has been given to those requests.

M,r. HANSON (Skeena): That means that there is no further assistance to be given to that part of the country this year, eithef in the main estimates or in ithe supple-m-entaries?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The hon. member has -misunderstood me. We are giving assistance in the way I -have stated, and a survey is being made for the purpose of selecting illustration stations, which serve the purpose of model- farms the hon. member has suggested. It is not proposed to set up a large experimental farm in that locality at the present ti-me, but by using these large illustration stations it is believed that we can make available to -the farmers in that district information as to the most efficient way for them to produce what will be to their greatest advantage. I appreciate the fact that the hon. member has brought this to my attention on. a number of occasions.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

-Could the minister give, by provinces, the details as to experimental farms, the number of illustration farms and the amount required for the whole year for these purposes?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I am sorry I ha-ve not that information -w-ith me. The greater part of it was given when the main estimates were under discussion. I shall- be glad, however, to supply the information to the hon. member.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

I thought it had not been given. How many large experimental farm-s are there -in the province of Quebec?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I cannot give the names of the farmers who have illustration farms. The larger experimental farms in Quebec are at Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere, at Cap Rouge, Farnham, L'Assomption, and Lennoxville. Those are all I can recollect, but I think that is all..

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June 27, 1935