February 3, 1938

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, some were brought in. At any rate in the drought area of Saskatchewan in 1935 there were 107,000 more cattle than in 1931. In Alberta in 1931 there were 491,000 cattle in the drought area. In 1935 there were 621,000, again an increase of about 130,000.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Perhaps it would be fair, would it not, for the minister to say that there was no drought area where those cattle were during the years immediately preceding 1937, which to some extent accounts for the increase in both Alberta and Saskatchewan?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, that is. true, and these dates I am giving are for June 1 in each year. I am giving these increases not by way of criticism but rather to answer the criticism that is now made, that the area has been depleted of cattle.

In 1936 in the drought area of Saskatchewan we had 826,000 head as against 833,000 the previous year. In other words, on June 1, 1936, a decrease was shown amounting to some 7,000 head. In the drought area of Alberta, as of June 1, 1936, there were 606,000 head, a decrease of about 15,000. Then there was quite a decided change by June 1, 1937. I am not going to say that this was due to the fact that there was a change of government in the interval There was a change of policy, and I think the change of policy was advised by people who were getting more and more information as time went along. Finally they came to the conclusion that this thing was becoming so long drawn out that the shipping in of feed and fodder was much more costly than it would be to provide the amount of relief that would be afforded by

having the extra numbers of cattle. So by June 1, 1937, before we started our operations this year at all, the number in the drought area of Saskatchewan was down from 826,000 to 796,000, a decrease of 30,000 in that year. In Alberta the number dropped from 606,000 to 534,000, showing a greater decrease than in Saskatchewan, due largely to the fact that in Alberta there are large ranching areas, and the ranchers were dealing with the situation as they found it.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

And the area in Saskatchewan is much larger.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes. In the one province there are small farms with a few head of cattle and in the other there are large ranches with many head.

I might give the total figures for both provinces. In 1931 we had 1,188,000 head of cattle in the entire province of Saskatchewan. In 1937 we had 1,441,000. In other words, we still have 252,000 head more than we had in 1931, so if that number of cattle are still in Saskatchewan no one can say that the country has been depleted of cattle. On June 1 last there were more cattle in Saskatchewan than there were in 1931. In Alberta we have a similar situation. In 1931 there were 1,124,000 cattle and in 1937 there were

1,457,000, or an increase of 333,000.

Now let us look at the figures with regard to shipments during 1937. I said a moment ago that we considered it necessary to get many of these cattle out, and I want to explain why. In the latter part of June we went to the provincial government and asked them to prepare immediately an estimate of the number of cattle in the province and of the number of cattle with which the families in those areas could get along. We also asked them to estimate the cost of obtaining feed and fodder for the total number if they all remained and to estimate the cost in connection with the number that they considered the farmers could get along with. After they made that survey they came back to us and said, "If you allow a family of five in Saskatchewan to keep two cows, and you increase the number from two up to four, depending upon the size of the family; if you allow the same family to keep one beef animal and allow them so many chickens, so many pigs and so on, just what is absolutely essential in order for them to get along, you will require a million tons of fodder to feed that live stock, along with the horses that must be left there in order to put in the crop next season."

Anyone going over that area, as some members of the house did, during the month

The Address-Mr. Gardiner

of July, would see that there was no feed in that area in that month. There were no signs of feed at all. Any feed that was in that entire drought area was in the form of old straw stacks carried over from a previous year, and even those were only around the rim of what had been the drought area, because in some sections there had not been a crop for five or six years. So at that time you could see there was no possibility of figuring that there would foe any fodder out of that area at all, and it looked as though we would have to import a million tons of fodder into the drought area. Some of our friends say there is plenty of fodder in Manitoba, but the best records we can obtain from the statistics branch indicate that Manitoba produces only three-quarters of a million tons of fodder in a year, and this was not a good hay year in that province in spite of the fact that their grain crop was good.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Harry James Barber

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARBER:

What about British Columbia?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

There is very little in British Columbia, when you compare the number of farmers in that province with the number in Saskatchewan. There are 70,000 farmers in this area about which I am talking in Saskatchewan alone, and when you start to supply the necessary feed and fodder for 70,000 farmers the little you would have in British Columbia, and even the surplus you would have down east here, if there were no other surpluses available, would not go very far in feeding that stock. So they went into Manitoba and got a line on all the surplus fodder that was there; they went into Alberta and got a line on all the surplus fodder that was there, and the estimate was that we could not get more than 300,000 tons from the two provinces combined. I may say that estimate has not yet been fulfilled, and is not likely to be fulfilled by the end of the season.

Realizing that, the provincial government determined that they would have to go outside those provinces, so they went into the state of Minnesota and bought all the hay they could get and had it shipped into this area. Then we made arrangements with the railways whereby they cut the rate almost, though not quite, in half as between the western part of the province of Quebec, the province of Ontario and the drought area, in order that hay might be shipped in from the eastern part of Canada to the drought area. With it all they hope to be able to get into the drought area this year somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300.000 tons of fodder for the live stock of that area.

I can quite understand people complaining. I can quite understand people saying that the hay, was not there early enough, but I want to say this: Instructions went out from my office, knowing western Canada as I do know it, that no hay was to be delivered until it was absolutely necessary to have it there. I was much more concerned about having hay there in the middle of February than I was in having hay there last October. I was much more concerned about having hay there on the first of March than in having it there on the first of November, when there was no snow on the ground. But hay was in position to move, all the provincial government could get of it, at all times. It has been moved, and in practically every area in Saskatchewan and in Alberta it will be found they have feed and fodder for the numbers of live stock indicated in the figures which were given out at that particular time.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time has expired. He may continue, but only with consent.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Those numbers were there, and that amount of fodder was required.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I understand a million tons of fodder was required.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, one million tons.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, and you were able to get only 300,000; is that right?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, but I should like to finish the point.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, I wanted you to do that.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

About the second to last week in July we had rain in the area which had been affected by drought, and that rain resulted in the growth of some of the seed which had been put in the ground early in the year. It resulted also in the growth of Russian thistle. Russian thistle is a little more than ninety per cent salt, and it does not make particularly good feed. However, if it is cut at the proper time of the year live stock will consume it. Mixed with straw it makes a passable food for live stock. The farmers of that area cut the Russian thistle, along with any little bit of growth which they found on the field. They piled it up and, I assume, would have in the neighbourhood of probably 100,000 or 200,000 tons. It is hard to estimate the amount that is scattered over the area. That has been

The Address-Mr. Gardiner

added to what was shipped in, and by rationing the whole supply, along with increased grain, we hope there will be sufficient to carry the live stock through.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Will it interfere with the minister if I ask a question?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

No.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

What would be the reduction in herds that would take place by the arrangements which were made by the government as to the numbers which were to be kept?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have those figures. I might point out that those cattle that are there, and particularly in the condition they are in, would not sell on the market for more than S10 or S15 per head at the present time.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

February 3, 1938