May 18, 1938

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Is that not the way you get a different type, by breeding up to it?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Yes; I was referring only

to the length of time taken.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have the official report which indicates it has been 200 years

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Let me describe the Danish hog of 1880 and now. The 1938 model of Danish bacon hog is long and deep of body, with flat back, lean, and short of leg, whereas the Danish hog of the 1880's was thick, short, big of body, arched of back, and long of leg. The 1938 model is essentially a streamlined model. Bacon from the 1880 model would not find a place on the English breakfast table of to-day. Accordingly the hog that one now sees in Denmark was developed so that its bacon would find that place which it has found.

Eggs, butter and bacon are the only products which I have discussed this afternoon. In the case of eggs and butter our surplus is comparatively small; therefore we export comparatively little. But is it not a government responsibility to take the steps necessary to create an increasing demand for Canadian eggs, butter and bacon in the United Kingdom, and thus open up to the Canadian farmer the possibility of marketing these products on a larger scale? There is no reason why we should produce only so many eggs, or only the amount of butter or bacon that

we do produce, except the restriction of the market available. The farmer himself cannot develop the market, but the government can. I am not for a moment losing sight of the fact that our domestic market has been, is and always should be our most important market; but there is no reason why Canada cannot take full advantage of the possibilities of an export market as safe and secure as that of the United Kingdom, made possible to us under the agreements of 1932, reaffirmed in 1937.

Any thinking Canadian who considers the trends cannot but be alarmed at the rise of urbanization in this dominion. During the last eight or nine years there has been a sharp increase in our urban population at the expense of the rural population. That obviously means one thing, that those who would normally remain on the farms are forsaking them and coming into the cities to seek their fortune there. Hon. members know too well that there is great difficulty to-day in keeping the farmers' sons on the farm. Why? Not because farming is unattractive; not because the difficulties of farming are too much for our younger generation-far from it-but because farming in so many cases has proved unprofitable. Therefore, what might be a gainful and worthy occupation appears as wasted drudgery to the young people. What makes it unprofitable? The fact that the prices of produce are out of line, for one thing, and loss of markets for another. These two combine to promote hard times for the farmer.

The unemployment situation in our urban centres continues to be one of our greatest national problems. For that problem there is only one solution; that is jobs. If farming can be restored to the position of a profitable and gainful occupation, it will go an immeasurably long way towards solving our unemployment problem. Again let me quote Denmark. There the government has acquired large tracts of land, which it breaks up into ten and fifteen acre farms. The would-be young farmer merely has to show that he has $200 or more in his possession and the necessary qualifications to be a farmer. He is then given a ten or fifteen acre farm, completely equipped with barn, house and live stock. He does not have to pay back a single penny except as he earns. I am not suggesting that such a course could be followed here; but I am sure hon. members will agree that some steps can be taken in the development of our markets, in the stabilization of the prices of farm products, which will make farming attractive, and this will not only tend

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing

to retain our farming youth upon the farms, but will also further attract many of the farming youth, who have come to our cities, back to the farm, thus relieving the acute unemployment situation existing in our cities to-day.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, permit me to state that I am not unmindful of the burden of the recommendations of the Shaw report, or the proposals already claimed to be made effective by the minister, as reported on page 10 of his recently released bulletin; but I find, looking through the recommendations and proposals of the Shaw report, a great lack of two factors which, it seems to me, are the most singularly important part of any governmental effort directly to assist the Canadian farmer. That is, namely: (1) a program designed to raise the standard of Canadian live stock and thus, Canadian products, by direct assistance to the farmer-a program designed to make sure, beyond peradventure, that the efforts of the farmers are directed in the most profitable channels to produce butter, eggs, bacon, cheese and other such products adequately suited to the market to which they are to be exported, and (2) a program to stabilize farm product prices.

In regard to the first factor I earnestly urge upon the minister, with all the earnestness of which I am capable, that he give immediate thought to a governmental program of direct educational assistance to the Canadian farmer that will permit him to take advantage of the markets which are open to him, particularly the market of the United Kingdom. We must, perforce, realize that important and all as it Still is in the development of Canada, we cannot depend upon wheat alone as the outstanding product of our farms. Through no fault of our own we have lost many of our best customers for this commodity. Thus, further steps must be taken forthwith to take up the slack in agriculture, and it would seem to me to be of the utmost importance to the dominion as a whole that this entire matter be given the full and concentrated attention, not only of the government of the day, but of the governments that are to follow; for prosperous farms in Canada mean a prosperous Canada.

The Canadian farm and the Canadian farmer form, together, a part of Canada of an importance that cannot be overestimated. Justly we are proud of the progress we have made through the years; but in the discussion which the committee has permitted me this afternoon I have tried to throw out to the government of the day a suggestion or two which, if applied in practice, will result

in the even higher development of the Canadian farm, and which will help relieve the difficulties which our farmers have been forced to face.

In regard to the second factor, no mention is made in the report of what may be regarded as the greatest problem faced by agriculture to-day, namely stabilized prices. There could be no more efficacious boon to the Canadian farmer than efficient steps taken toward the stabilization of prices of farm products.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

What steps?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

As I have already stated in this chamber, I do not pose as an economist, but I fully realize that the law of supply and demand as it at present operates in this country is operating to the severe detriment of the Canadian farmer. Other factors as well, which need not 'be discussed here, have tended toward extraordinary low levels in the prices of our farm products. Surely, it must be by this time obvious to the government of the day that some artificial means, through legislation or otherwise, will have to be employed to stabilize prices. And, Mr. Chairman, we must all recognize that the lot of the farmer in Canada will never be very much better than it is to-day until these steps are taken.

In speaking in this chamber, not so long ago, the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) used language as reported at page 101 of Hansard to which I direct the attention of hon. members. To this I shall add nothing further, but merely say, as I take my seat, that I urge upon the government that a program designed to aid the fanner directly by assisting him in the development of his product to fit the market in which he sells be stimulated at once, and that some plan be formulated and put into effect to stabilize farm product prices. To this there can be only one result-a more stable and more secure Canada, and a greater and more united Canada.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

John David MacRae

Liberal

Mr. MacRAE:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Thompson) speaking on the question of marketing, painted a rather gloomy picture of the activities of the cheese producers' association. I should like to make a few remarks with regard to this question.

For many years the dairymen had two organizations in Ontario, the eastern and the western Ontario dairymen's association. I believe they served a useful purpose for a considerable length of time. But the farmers of the eastern district formed the impression that those associations had survived their period of usefulness, and the feeling sprang up among

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing

the dairymen that they needed a newer and more active organization to further their interests. Because of that the cheese producers' association came into being.

The first encouragement received was from the Hon. Mr. Weir, the minister of agriculture for the dominion at that time. The first financial assistance was received from the provincial department of agriculture operating under the Hon. Thomas Kennedy.

Their first objective was to have all cheese boarded, thereby cutting out factories selling on board rulings with the idea of stimulating a healthy competition among the buyers. Secondly, they wished to ascertain by trial shipments to Great Britain if there was too great a spread between the price paid to the producer in Canada and the price paid by the consumer in Great Britain. They made a small profit on this experiment in 1936, and sustained a loss in 1937. While there was a small loss suffered in 1937 the thought lingers in the minds of the producing farmers that the cheese exporters narrowed their margin of profit when the cheese producers made their trial shipments to the old land, with a view to driving the producers' association out of the picture, and although it appears as a small loss it may be an actual gain in dollars and cents to the farmers of Ontario.

The Ontario Marketing Act gave them the power to collect five cents on each hundred pounds of cheese manufactured, which works out at about half a cent per hundred pounds of milk. The national dairy council have been depending on voluntary contributions and the response has not been as generous as they would like. By this method of financing the association everybody makes a fair contribution to the expenses of the association and more general satisfaction is promoted among the farmers.

I have made these observations in order to convey to the committee the actual situation in regard to cheese associations.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
SC

Joseph Needham

Social Credit

Mr. NEEDHAM:

What does the hon.

member for Greenwood say would become of Denmark if we were to secure the market they have at the present time?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I do not consider for a

moment that the market of the United Kingdom has been exhausted. There is room for both Denmark and Canada.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

It seems to me the discussion which might have taken place under this item was pretty well exhausted under another item discussed some time ago. Hon. members may think there has been undue discussion, but since this is an entirely new

set-up within the department I think it is fair to say we were entitled to the information for which we have been asking.

It is my intention at this time to direct only one or two questions to the minister, and then I shall have finished with at least this part of the discussion. There are some points in regard to the set-up which are not yet clear in my mind. For instance, at the heads of the different branches of the department we have gentlemen who have served in their capacities for some time. Are those gentlemen now acting in a dual capacity; that is, are they serving, for instance, under the marketing services branch and under the production services branch, or has their work been changed so that each serves under one branch?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

These men are not

serving in two capacities; they serve in one capacity in administering the work of a certain branch of which they are in charge. For example, Doctor Hilton is still in charge of the health of animals branch, but his work is carried on under the director of production. That is just an illustration.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

Does the dairy commissioner

act in a dual capacity, or does the head of the sheep and swine division?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Practically all of our

services having to do with dairy products relate to marketing. The greater part of the production is attended to by the provinces. We take care of the marketing end, and look after inspections which have to do with the grades of products, a service wrhich is considered to be part of the marketing operation. Naturally that work is carried on under the marketing branch.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

I thank the minister for the

information he has given. I should like to make one more reference to the mark which has been discussed under another item. Clause (c) of the recommendation states that the right to use this mark, where it is not compulsory, will be granted only to producers under licence. I should like to know why the producers are put in a different class from exporters generally and commission men. It looks to me as though there is discrimination or a monopoly is being set up.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

As I said earlier, the

details have not been worked out completely, but if there is to be licensing, it will apply right through. Anyone using the mark will have to be licensed to use it, whether he is a producer or a jobber.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Has any program

been devised for the stabilization of prices?

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing

As one having a direct contact with farming operations, it is my opinion that if we could stabilize prices to any satisfactory degree, our production would far outstrip our ability to sell. In the area from which I come the productive power is tremendous in eggs, bacon, beef and everything that we have been discussing. Just about the time a farmer gets into pigs, as they say, just about the time that he equips himself so that he can produce, for some unaccountable reason prices come down and stay down until he is forced out of swine production. Then prices go up again when the farmer has no equipment with which to take advantage of the increase. There may be some inevitable and insuperable natural law which brings this about, but I seriously doubt it. If we could tackle the problem at that point it seems to me we would be well on the way to a solution of our difficulty.

Then there is another obstacle facing the farmer. Frequently when prices rise to a point at which farmers can "make a go," as they say, when they reach a point at which they can make things pay, then the prices of feeds and other ingredients that go into their production begin to rise. I have heard many good farmers say that by no means whatsoever can you figure your way out to a profit. So long as such conditions exist our productive power will simply be lying dormant.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

There has been no concerted effort, other than that which was put forth under the Natural Products Marketing Act, to stabilize prices. As the hon. member knows, that act was declared ultra vires, but certain activities have been carried on by the provinces since it was declared ultra vires. However, there has been an attempt made in other directions indirectly to stabilize prices upward. Attempts have been made to improve the grades and increase the consumption of certain of our farm products, and the result has been an improvement in prices. I think I am correct when I say that the increase in the annual per capita consumption of butter in Canada was 4-06 pounds from 1925 to 1936. The fact that our butter was improved in quality had something to do with the greater consumption in Canada. The fact that we have had a greater consumption has had something to do with prices having been better in recent years.

I do not know that I can say much more in regard to the point raised. It is always a question whether you can set a price for a product and maintain it. I presume that if a country is sufficiently small and the product is sufficiently standardized you might be able

to do it, provided all of the output is consumed within the country. But even a country as small as Denmark, which markets its product in Great Britain, is not able to say what price is going to be paid in Great Britain. Their prices go up and down just as ours do. Britain has much more regulation through cooperative organizations than we have, yet they have not been able to stabilize prices. The most they have been able to do is to stabilize their commodities and create a demand in a market that is more or less constant.

Some of us listened to an address to-day by an extremely well informed man from Great Britain, Sir Reginald Dorman Smith. He took a different position regarding some matters referred to in the speech of the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) in connection with the relationship between Great Britain and Denmark and other countries. I am not prepared at the moment to say which point of view is the correct one. However, the remarks made on that occasion would indicate that this stabilization is more nearly possible in a country that consumes all its own agricultural products than it is in one that consumes only seventy per cent of its production and sells the other thirty per cent outside the country. It is probably even more difficult to do it in a country where you consume only thirty per cent and ship out seventy per cent of your production, as we do with one of our products. These are some of the difficulties with which we are confronted. I do not think there is any one standard that can be set in a country with an area so widespread as ours in connection with price control or the standardization of products. However, we are attempting to accomplish results by applying suitable remedies to the varying conditions that exist in this country.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I wish to direct the attention of the minister to a demonstration of price stabilization of farm products which has taken place in New Zealand. New Zealand produces large quantities of cheese and butter and exports the bulk of this production. Yet she has successfully stabilized the prices of both butter and cheese. She is able to guarantee a price of twenty-five cents for butter and something like fifteen cents per pound for cheese, using the current rates of exchange between New Zealand and the motherland. New Zealand, with a small population but producing vast quantities of these commodities, has demonstrated very successfully that a certain amount of stabilization can be undertaken under conditions

Supply-Agriculture-M arketing

dissimilar to those outlined by the minister. This is not the time to enter into any academic discussion or we shall never reach the end of these estimates, -but I wanted to draw that to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

It is not any too clear to me just where the dividing line is between the marketing activities of the Department of Agriculture and the marketing activities of the Department of Trade and Commerce, but it is quite obvious that the intention of the minister is to improve the opportunities of marketing our products. I should like to direct the attention of the minister to the difficulty we have had in the past of informing the buying public of what we have to sell and where it can be bought. I shall deal with one side of this question as it applies to this country. For many years past we have tried to sell British Columbia fruit in the prairie provinces, and I know of no more annoying type of letter to receive than the one which contains the statement, " Your fruit is fine but we do not know where to get it." When we take that difficulty back to those who are responsible for distributing the fruit or vegetables, as we always do, we are informed that apparently that whole prairie country has been divided up into territories and adequately served, and in some cases I must say that when the matter is run down to the bottom we find that the consumer did not use any too much gumption in endeavouring to obtain that produce. But still the difficulty is there. Where the produce is available it seems to be very difficult to get it into the head of the consumer that there it can be bought, and any assistance the minister is able to give through his officers in informing the buying public of the produce there is to sell, so much the better for the producer.

I want for a moment to refer to the other side of it, and that is the difficulty which occurs in Great Britain, in informing the British public of the produce Canada has to sell. I notice in the April number of Overseas an article headed, Empire Table Exchange. It is a description of what had recently been seen by the writer at the British Industries Fair, and I want to quote a couple of paragraphs:

Decidedly, Canadian bacon was the best on show. (The whole Canadian exhibit was first class.) I asked where it could be procured in London, and was told " at any big shop." I tried at a shop which is among our biggest, and has a transatlantic name. It was selling only Wiltshire and Danish. Danish bacon is excellent, but I asked why the money shouldn't be kept in the family. I was then asked, seriously and with a wish to know, whether Canadian

bacon was good, etc. In the long run I received a promise that it should be available in a week. But why did the B.I.F. Canadian officials think it could be bought when it couldn't?

This leads directly to a consideration which I hope overseas readers will pardon to an ardent friend of their produce, who wants to see Empire Table Exchange becoming more intense and more fruitful every week. I do not know what overseas housewives are like as regards new comestibles, but at home in England they are absurdly unadventurous, largely because the Englishman is very conservative in his food. They see a new thing (as once they must have seen the first tomato, as some time before Nell Gwynn they must have seen a fruit that they didn't then know was an orange), and they say: "What's that?" and the greengrocer says: "I don't know, mum; I bought a couple on chance." She doesn't buy any, and he purchases no more.

The relatively small expense of sending quantities of leaflets with empire exports to England (and to inter-empire markets) should be no hindrance to an activity of which the importance cannot be exaggerated. It is not enough to say that this tuber can be treated in various ways; a half dozen amusing, interesting recipes (and printed on good paper, in clear type, and clearly set out) will help the retail seller and the ordinary customer to increase the market. We all want to vary our menu, we all want to buy empire; but you have to help us. I think that even Canadian apples, which are so attractive to look at. ought to wear a badge of "for dessert," "for baking."

As I said when I commenced, I do not know because I do not understand the dividing line between the minister's department and Trade and Commerce in this matter, but the object of his marketing branch is undoubtedly to foster marketing, and if the minister would take into consideration the desirability and the possibility of increasing the information which reaches the prospective empire buyer in Great Britain he will have accomplished a great deal.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

Joseph-Adéodat Blanchette

Liberal

Mr. BLANCHETTE:

Mr. Chairman, I do not believe that I can be justly accused of having taken too much of the time of the house since my arrival here, but I should like to make a few remarks upon this particular item, affording as it does the opportunity to give expression to views which I have held now for some few years with regard to agriculture, and in particular dairying, coming as I do from a dairying section of the country.

Agriculture, as we all know, is the oldest of human occupations, and it would appear to me that it should be the most paying of all human activities. But unfortunately it is not. The whole nation, and I might say the whole world, should be keenly aware of the importance to all the people of a prosperous agriculture. But unfortunately this conviction

Supply-Agriculture-M arketing

does not seem to prevail amongst all, because it has been stated, and quite truly, I believe, by Sir Josiah Stamp, that:

The world as a whole, over a given length of time, has almost certainly been fed below cost for the last hundred years.

The farm problem can be stated in four words: Farm profits are inadequate. The disparity between the income of farm enterprise and the returns from the investment of equal labour, capital and managerial ability in industrial effort, is apparent to all those who have examined the facts; and neither the welfare of the people directly nor the national good itself can decently suffer the agricultural population to continue under the definite handicap of producing below cost.

I understand that the farm problem is not simply one but many. There are some forms of assistance that take effect quickly, and others only in the course of time. Amongst the aids in the former category I might mention transportation as being vital to agriculture. In the United States six per cent of the gross annual production is said to be absorbed by freight rates. Commercial attaches should find and develop a market as "international trade is primarily dependent upon international understanding and amity." More can be done to educate foreign peoples to a taste for the foods from Canadian farms. Probably the most important of all steps towards creating a permanent and growing demand for Canadian food-stuffs on the menus of the world is 1he maintenance of world peace and the diffusion of friendly understanding. Other means are agricultural colleges, research work and extension services.

Agriculture needs the greatest consideration from all governments, and especially is this true with respect to dairying, which represents nineteen per cent of the total agricultural revenue, whereas wheat represented in 1930 only fourteen per cent of the total agricultural wealth of the country. The dairy farmer has been losing money for a number of years, and the loss has been heavy enough for the farmer who can ship to the fluid milk market, but more has been lost by the dairy farmers who have been shipping to local cheese and butter factories. In support of my statement that the dairy farmer has been losing money, I should like to cite data obtained on two surveys in the province of Quebec in 1931-32, which are reported on in the report of the minister of agriculture for the province for that year.

The first data, which I shall present in a very cursory way, relates to the fluid milk

market, and the second data to the dairy farmers who have been shipping their products to local cheese and butter factories.

In 1931-32 an economic investigation was carried on in the Montreal district and in the counties around the city of Montreal. The number of farms investigated was 182, and the number of animal units 4,106. The report of this investigation was to the effect that in 1934 fluid milk sold at Montreal for $1.44 per hundred pounds, whereas the cost of production was SI .97 per hundred pounds. A similar investigation was carried on in the county of Megantic, comprising fifty farms in that county; its object was to determine the cost of the production of milk by farmers selling to butter or cheese factories, and the gist of this report was that it cost the farmers $1.44 to produce one hundred pounds of milk, and at that time the gross selling price of that one hundred pounds of milk was 72 cents, a net of sixty cents, showing thereby a loss of 84 cents per hundred pounds by each dairy producer. I believe these figures show that the assertion that the dairy producer is producing at a loss is well founded. I trust that it will be the endeavour of the Department of Agriculture to do all that they can to enhance the revenue of the farmers and especially the dairy farmers of the country.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink

May 18, 1938