July 3, 1935

CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Replying to the hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Fraser) it is not felt necessary to change the whole picture but that a slight change in the picture will have the effect that we desire, and I do personally think that this million dollars spent in the way that has been outlined will be sufficient inducement to more farmers to send their milk to the cheese factory so that they can hold the market that they have, and it will draw from that milk4 which is being manufactured into butter sufficient to keep us from going on an export basis in regard to butter. I would like hon. members of the committee to keep in mind, rather than what might be called political or economic theories, this fact, that while we are sitting here there are hundreds of thousands of farmers in the country who are having a very difficult time carrying on, and especially those in the dairy industry.

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing Act

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LIB
LIB
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

It boils down to this: Are we in favour of making an effort along the principles that have been adopted by both parties in the past of giving a subsidy, or assistance to prevent the price that the farmer gets for his butter and dairy products reaching such a level, because it would reach the level of the world market, that it would be impossible for him to carry on? If conditions should arise that have arisen, and there is every reason to believe that they may do so this year, it would mean that our dairy farmers in Ontario would be getting nine and ten cents a pound for their butter, and those in western Canada seven and eight cents a pound. That is the practical problem that is in front of us. Hon. gentlemen opposite have themselves voted on occasion for subsidies, protection, shelter behind which people could reap a benefit that every person in the country helped to pay for. The issue at stake is not simply a matter of bonusing cheese to help the cheese industry along but to assist the butter industry, the evaporated and condensed milk industry, the fluid milk industry, the whole dairy industry. In that this proposal differs from a straight bonus by which one product alone would benefit.

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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland):

I wish to thank the minister for the explanation he has just given of what he anticipates will be possible by the payment of this one million dollar honus, and the results that he expects not only in the cheese industry but in the diversions of milk from the butter factory to the cheese' factoiy, affecting as the minister said the whole industry right from the production of the fluid milk to its ultimate consumption. I -was very much impressed by the statement made by the minister as to the effect which this bonus will have between now and October 1, the date when he indicated it would be unnecessary to go further when the date when the desired results would be accomplished. [DOT]

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I desire to correct

the hon. member; I did not make such a statement.

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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland):

I understood the minister to say that he anticipated that by October 1-

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I stated that we

believed that SI,000,000 would be sufficient to pay a bonus of one and a quarter cents per

pound on every pound of cheese manufactured between the present date and March 31 next year.

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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland):

May I

point out that we are now in the first week in July and June and July are the two best pasture months for the cheese industry. These are the months when there is the greatest flow of milk to the cheese factories. In most areas in Canada, particularly in the east, the pastures dry up after August 1 and the deliveries of milk to the cheese factories decrease. I think even hon. members opposite will agree that it will be impossible to get the dairy farmer to divert his milk from the creamery to the milk factory between now and the time his pasture will be dried up. The cheese factories have been open for some time and they are equipped to take care of the anticipated supply of milk which would naturally flow in 1935. As I said, we are in the first week in July and I contend that it will be impossible to divert any great amount of milk to the cheese factories.

The minister used very effective and impressive language to describe the disastrous position of the dairy industry of Canada. I am quite satisfied that no hon. member will deny the truth of that statement. I shall not go into the ramifications of international trade or of the policies which might have improved the position of our dairy farmers but I do wish to say that it seems to me to be a very belated date for the government to bring in a policy of cheese bonusing. The dairy industry has been in its present position, as far as price is concerned, for the last two or three years, so why was not this scheme brought forward before? I have stated from my place in the house that from an economic standpoint and from the experience of other countries this scheme is wrong and does not improve the conditions of the dairy farmer. I submit that it will prove a boomerang to the industry as is illustrated by the butter industry. Because we have held up the price of butter over the world market price we are now faced with a surplus and in order to readjust the flow of milk we are going to pay a bonus on cheese. This seems to be a belated policy, belated not only in the life of this government but in the year 1935. I notice the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) has just taken his seat. I always endeavour to learn from those who know more than I do and on several occasions I have heard the minister use the phrase, "rolling the pork barrel." If there was ever an instance of pork barrel rolling, it is this vote

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing Act

of 81,000,000. This thing is wrong in principle and is simply an example of pork barrel rolling in an endeavour to get the dairy vote of this country.

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CON

Follin Horace Pickel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PICKEL:

Mr. Chairman, I should

like to direct the attention of the committee to cartain facts in connection with this cheese bonus which have not yet been mentioned. The production of dairy products in Canada is far in excess of what we can consume and we are faced with the problem of getting rid of our surplus. When we compete in the British market with New Zealand, Denmark and the rest of the butter exporting nations we receive the lowest grading and1 lowest price for ouir product. But when we sell a pound of cheese the situation is different, we top the market. There is not a country on the face of the earth which can compete with Canada in the manufacture of cheese.

M>r. YOUNG: Then why bonus it?

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CON

Follin Horace Pickel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PICKEL:

On May 1 Canadian cheese in London was worth fourteen and a quarter cents while New Zealand cheese was worth only eleven and a half cents per pound. Does that say anything?

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LIB
CON

Follin Horace Pickel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mt. PICKEL:

We should encourage the

manufacturing of an article which we can get rid of in the world's markets. We cannot get rid of our butter so let us make cheese. The hon. member from the province down in the gulf (Mr. Myers) gave several1 reasons why our farmers had ceased to make cheese and had gone into the production of butter, but there is another cause which he did not mention. The commission men do not want our farmers to make cheese as they cannot manipulate the price of that product. Brices are received every morning by cable from London and they cannot regulate cheese prices as they do butter prices. For the past few years the price of butter in Canada has been higher 'than in any other part of the world but during the past six months prices have risen considerably -in the United States because of artificial stimulation. For the past three years we have been getting from five to ten cents per pound more for our butter and from ten to fifteen cents a dozen more for our eggs.

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LIB
CON

Follin Horace Pickel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PICKEL:

It is a question of getting

rid of our surplus. Since I have been in this house I have done everything I could

to get ;the government to encourage the manufacture of cheese and1 I think this is the best piece of legislation which has been brought forward in the past five years. We should try to -interest the farmer in the manufacture of cheese so that he will be making an article which he can get rid of at the best price in the world.

Another reason why the farmer should divert his milk from butter production is the procedure followed by city distributors. During the summer producing season these men will pay the farmer 18, 19 and 20 cents a pound far his butter and they then use the cold storage warehouses which are subsidized by the government to store that 'butter until next winter when they will get 30 or 36 cents per pound for it. In the west they have been buying eggs all spring at 5, 8 and 10 cents a dozen, and next December we shall be paying 45 and 50 cents per dozen for the same eggs. The cold storages were built, presumably, for the benefit of the farmer, but they have worked' -out to the advantage of the distributor. They have not done the farmer any good; they have done him damage. Let me tell the -committee something of the efforts that were made in the eastern townships a number of years ago to encourage the making of cheese. It was in the day of the late Sidney Fisher, Minister af Agriculture, and through the efforts of one man in that section, Mr. Foster, we had a cheese board established, one of the largest in the dominion. Everything was working nicely and we had legislation passed by which the distributors in the city had to come to the factory and examine the cheese and grade it at the factory, leaving an accepted cheque for it before it was m'oved. The minute that was done the distributors began to fight it. Fifteen or twenty of them would come to Cowansville every Saturday and meet the salesmen at the board, and they would feast them, wine them and dine them and then take them round the comer and say, "If you will sell off the board we will give you so much more." The farmers fell for that and inside of two years there was no longer a cheese board.

The farmers individually are the brightest people we have in the country, but collectively they are the greatest lot of nincompoops who ever wore shoe leather.

Mr. BROWN1: That is why they fell for

New Zealand butter.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

The hon. gentleman said

he wanted to get rid' of the markets of the world with regard to the dairy industry.

4182 COMMONS

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing Act

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CON

Follin Horace Pickel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PICKEL:

I did not catch what the

hon. gentleman said.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I understood the hon.

member to say that he wanted to get rid of the markets of the world with regard to the dairying industry.

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CON
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I was listening carefully to what he said and Hansard will show what he did say. At any rate, -there is a very important factor to toe considered in -connection with the sale of cheese, and that is the home consumption of cheese. People eat less cheese in Canada to-day, according to the official figures put on Hansard last year. I will not read them again, but last year when I spoke in answer to the hon. member for East Middlesex (Mr. Boyes), who spoke this morning, I quoted from the government returns showing that people in Canada were eating much less cheese than they had done before. I would therefore offer this suggestion to the minister, and if he is thrifty he will accept it. My suggestion is to reduce the vote toy $975,000, which will be a considerable saving to the -country, and use the other $25,000 to advertise cheese. We should have a slogan, "Eat more Canadian cheese." For a time on the railways there were cards advising people to eat more Canadian cheese; it was on every menu. Instead of bringing forward plans which will never succeed, the minister should do something to advertise cheese. The minister himself, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance,, and every other cabinet minister, in every speech they make, should advise people to eat more Canadian, -cheese. The result will be an increased demand with an increase in price and we shall get rid of the superfluous board. It is easy to do that. Most of the advertising would be done by the ministers themselves and by -members of this house. If this were done we could save this $975,000, by which amount I suggest that the vote be reduced.

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July 3, 1935