February 3, 1938

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They are unsalable, in fact?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, they are now. There was a time when probably some of them could have been sold. However, to-day they are unsalable. When you are shipping hay from Ontario with a $10 freight rate on it; when you pay $7.50 for the hay and feed an animal a ton and a half-which our friends out west say is not enough-and when that animal is worth only $17 after you have fed it, you can readily see that you have your winter's work for nothing.

In order to avoid that kind of thing going on, and the live stock dying before spring, we undertook to do two or three different things. In the first place, one of the orders in council I mentioned provided for the shipment of cattle out from the area, under provisions whereby the federal government pays all the freight from the farmer's home to some feeding fields which he may be able to find in Manitoba or Alberta. Then we pay the cost of shipping the stock back in the spring. A provision is made whereby we send the breeding stock of persons who can find places to send them, and who have the money to feed them after they are moved.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Do you supply no fodder in those cases?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

No, not in those cases. I shall deal with the pasture at Carberry in a moment. It was suggested to us that some horses might be fed more cheaply by taking them to the Carberry pasture, and putting them in there. In those cases we paid for the cost of caring for the horses in pasture through the winter, because it is cheaper to feed them there than to feed them in the drought area itself.

On July 23, we passed an order in council setting up what is known as the optional marketing plan. This was a new experiment in connection with this work. However, we thought that in view of the fact that the live stock population had been increasing in the area, we should get the number down. We felt that the government should handle the stock. So, on the basis of the information the government had gathered with regard to the needs of the farmers, we drew up a set of regulations, and those regulations ran somewhat in the terms I have already mentioned to the house.

A farmer with a family of five could keep two cows and, on an average, nine horses. Farmers with larger families could keep up to four cows, depending upon the size of the family, and in addition one beef animal, a certain number of fowl and some hogs. We said to the provincial government, "We would like you to go out to the municipalities, any one of the hundred and seventy the dominion government is going to take care of, and say to them, 'We want you to get your live stock down to these numbers, if you expect the government to supply feed this winter. If you do not expect the government to feed them, you can keep all you like. On the other hand if you do expect the government to feed your live stock this winter we want you to get that live stock down to these numbers' ". Then we were told, "But there are no buyers, and those that are here are beating down our prices." We said, "All right; if you will arrange to asemble the cattle at points we will name we will send men there to grade them. Immediately they are graded we will pay you the Winnipeg price for those cattle in the town where they are graded." That applied to all cattle, with the exception of those ready to go to the butcher. For the butcher cattle we paid the Winnipeg price, less freight. On the canners, on the breeding stock, and on feeder steers, we paid the Winnipeg price at the local market.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

What was the total expenditure?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I shall come to that.

We purchased approximately 90,000 cattle, and those 90,000 were bought in 250 municipalities in Saskatchewan and Alberta. I have the figures for each province, but I believe it is unnecessary to give the details. However the fact is that 90,000 head were purchased.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

At what expenditure?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

At a cost to the government of $340,000, net. That works out to

The Address-Mr. Gardiner

an average of about 83.80 per head on all the cattle we handled. Those cattle were handled in three different ways. The can-ners we sent immediately to the abattoirs, and took what we could get for them. We had paid a flat price of one and a quarter cents and sent them in and sold them. In previous years we had guaranteed a flat price of one cent, whereas this year we paid one and a quarter. May I say that we got out a lot better than we expected. During the early part of the period, before we got the pasture at Carberry, we had to ship the feeder cattle to the stockyards. However, during the later part of the season we had the pasture at Carberry, which consisted of 130.000 acres of grass land. We shipped the cattle there and let them run on the grass a couple of weeks to freshen them up. Then we classified them into carloads and asked the eastern and American buyers to come and bid on them at auction sales.

They were sold outright and taken away and we pay half the freight, if the farmer who bought them keeps them somewhere in eastern Canada and feeds them for three months. Through that policy we got rid of

90.000 head from the area. Under the halffreight policy we got rid of another number. All told, under the government policies we moved 160,000 head out of the area.

In addition to that, a considerable number of cattle were sold in the ordinary trade. The figures I have before me show that the total number of cattle taken out of the drought area in 1937 was 474,000 head.

I should like to give the number of cattle and calves taken out of Alberta and Saskatchewan. They are:

Alberta Saskatchewan

1937

450,746 611,5741936

472,917 401,6261935

340,936 335,772

From Saskatchewan we took out 200,000 more in 1937 than in 1936, and 276,000 more than in 1935.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Would the minister

indicate as a matter of record what the cattle population of those provinces was at the end of 1937? I realize this would be only an estimate.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I gave those figures a few moments ago, but I can repeat them.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Do not bother repeating them.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The total cattle population of Saskatchewan in 1931-

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I was referring to the population after the shipments out in the manner indicated had been made.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I tried to get those figures, but I am sorry they are not complete. I should think the figure would be somewhere near what it was in 1931. There will be as many cattle in that area at the end of this season as there were in 1931. This brings out the point I started to make, that there is no danger of the cattle population being depleted by anything that is done this year or has been done in previous years. I think this is sufficient to answer the concern which appeared to be in the minds of those who have discussed this matter earlier in the debate and I hope it will settle the question in so far as those who may discuss the matter later on are concerned.

There is only one other matter I should like to deal with before I take my seat, namely the distribution of food in this area by the federal government. Approximately a million dollars has been spent in the distribution of food. There have been one or two criticisms of this work, which criticism I regret but which I do not think it necessary for me to bring to the attention of the house. On the whole, much has been said to commend this matter to the house.

The principal criticism which came from the drought areas in previous years has been that the relief schedules provided for the different-sized families have not been sufficient. I think any one can understand why that criticism has been made.

These families have been accustomed to running out to the garden to get whatever vegetables they required, or to the henhouse to get whatever eggs or fowl were needed, or to have recourse to meat supplies on their own farms. They probably used food much more liberally than other people who might have had to be more careful as to obtaining the food or using it after they had obtained it. There was some difficulty in placing vouchers at the beginning of the month to carry a family of five or ten through to the end of the month.

There is one matter raised by the leader of the opposition which I shall discuss later on in the session. We have had in mind the development of a marketing branch in the Department of Agriculture. For the benefit of those who have been discussing this question during the debate, I may state that we had in mind the fact that between SO and 90 per cent of the food products of this country are consumed in the country. Therefore we consider it necessary to spend probably 80

The Address-Mr. Gardiner

or 90 per cent of the money we do spend in order to grade or to classify or to package our products on products to be used in Canada rather than anywhere else. Some of the money voted last year and the year before was for the purpose of setting up an organization in this country to take care of marketing and an organization in the old country and in other countries to check our products to the consumer in order to see that the standard was maintained.

One thing which has always appeared strange to me is the fact that while we claim to make the best cheese in the world in Canada-I think it is acknowledged in the British market that Canadian cheddar cheese is the best cheese made for general purposes-our production dropped from 220,000,000 pounds in 1900 to 100,000,000 pounds in 1935. This decrease in production has been gradual all through the years, no matter what policy was in force or what government was in power. In 1907 there were 190,000,000 pounds of Canadian cheese consumed in the British market, whereas in 1935 this consumption had dropped to 52,000,000 pounds. In so far as New Zealand was concerned, the British market used

27,000,000 pounds in 1907 and 197,000,000 pounds in 1935. In other words, the positions of Canada and New Zealand had been reversed about exactly during those thirty years.

When I came into the department I made some inquiries as to why this was the case. I went to England and the first morning I was there I walked out on the Strand. One-half mile away, facing a stretch of street through which more people walk than any other similar stretch anywhere else in the world, I saw this sign, "Eat New Zealand cheese." Under those words was something about New Zealand butter. Out on the street I saw a bus going by bearing a sign, "Eat Australian lamb." Then I saw another sign, "Eat Australian butter." I walked all the way down to Canada House without seeing the word "Canada." Even when I got there I could hardly see it as it was so bleached out that it could not be seen unless you made a special effort to look for it on the stonework across the top of the door. I make no reference to any government that was in power previously, or to the present government; all I say is that in this modern age you cannot sell Canadian or any other products by that method when you are in competition with a country using the opposite method. The sales of New Zealand and Canadian cheese I think will demonstrate that fact to the satisfaction of any one who examines the figures.

This state of affairs was changed to some extent when the "Canada Calling" campaign

was put on. The cheese producers of Ontario, with the assistance of the Minister of Agriculture of the Ontario government of that time, cooperating with the dominion government, sent their secretary over to England to advance the sale of cheese in that market. The result is that the figures show that exports of cheese to the British market last year increased by about 15,000,000 pounds, if I remember rightly, and this year they have gone up an additional 14,000,000 pounds. This year we have sold something in the neighbourhood of 81,000,000 pounds of cheese, whereas we sold only 52,000,000 pounds in 1935. I do not like to comment upon the fact that we took something away from someone else, but the fact remains that sales of New Zealand cheese went down during the same period.

It might be interesting to the house to know that of the sixteen countries in which records are kept, Canada consumes the smallest amount of cheese per capita; yet we are trying to convince the world that we produce the best cheese in the world. There were 74,000 families in western Canada who were not accustomed to eating cheese, but this year they are in the position that they will eat any good food you give them.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They had to eat it this year.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, as my right hon. friend says, they had to eat it this year. We went into Ontario and into Quebec, where we purchased the best cheese we could buy in the fall of the year and shipped it out to Saskatchewan, and we put an average of thirty pounds of cheese into each of these 74,000 homes in the drought area of Saskatchewan and Alberta. We did that, Mr. Speaker, not only to provide them with good food but as an advertisement for the good cheese which is produced in eastern Canada. So that bill might be in part charged up to advertising the merits of eastern Canada cheese.

I also remembered that in my early days in Ontario I used to go down to the corner grocery store and see those piles of dried cod looking very much like the snowshoes that are used to-day, and just about as hard and dry. I have never seen any of it in western Canada. We conceived the idea of taking some of this good food that will keep well out in the cold, dry climate of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and putting some of that in these homes. We put an average of forty-four pounds of this dried fish into each of these homes, and along with it we sent thirty

The Address-Mr. Taylor (Nanaimo)

different recipes showing how it could be prepared, knowing that many of the people there would never have seen it before. We considered that also good advertising for the products of the maritime provinces.

We found that in the province of Ontario, around the city of Toronto, some people had produced too many vegetables, and we went into those areas, bought these surplus vegetables and shipped them west. We did the same in areas around Winnipeg, and I want to add my word of appreciation to what the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) who spoke earlier to-day, had to say. For every car we bought, people living around these areas sent three or four more cars as a gift to the people in the western drought area. Then we bought apples in Nova Scotia and in British Columbia and shipped them in. With some two thousand cars of all these supplies sent in to that area, by gift and purchase, containing beans, fish, cheese, vegetables and fruit, the people of that area had something in their pantries and their basements to draw upon when they were getting near the end of their vouchers for supplies, with the result that there have been fewer complaints coming out of that area this year than have come in any previous year. I might add that I do not think anyone in that area has been overfed as a result of these supplies being sent in. When you find 74.000 families in need of assistance- and with an average of five to a family that would be over 370,000 people-and when you give this assistance as well to those who otherwise would have gone on relief and to those who should have gone on but did not, these people I think will be feeling more kindly not only to governments as governments but also to the great mass of our people in other parts of Canada who made possible the sending in of these supplies.

In conclusion I would say, Mr. Speaker, that if we want to cure communism, which has been talked about; if we want to stop people dressing up in uniforms and holding up their right hand or their left hand-I do not know which it is-and saluting someone else; if we want to make people satisfied with the country in which they are living. I think this method of spending a little money in order to give satisfactions that are not otherwise possible for people who are going through great suffering is the best thing we can do, and the more of it is done the better it will be for our country and the better for those of us who come to this house.

51952-11^

I appreciate this extra time which the house has accorded to me to deal with this question, which is very near to the hearts of everybody in Canada.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Will the minister be good enough to table to-morrow the orders in council to which he referred, and would he indicate under what authority the wheat board purchased the seed grain, in view of the fact that the limitation is imposed that purchases shall be from the producers only? Second, he might indicate whether they bought wheat or futures.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It was done not by way of purchase but by way of exchange of contracts held for the actual wheat.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is what I wanted

to know.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Retention, not purchase,

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February 3, 1938