I am interested in this discussion with regard to rural education, and I have listened carefully to the remarks of hon. gentlemen opposite. But for some time I have taken the view that there is great danger of overlapping our activities, and I feel that the minister would not be well advised to endeavour to go into the educational field which is so well looked after by the Ontario department of agriculture.
I was also interested in the remarks of the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) who was concerned as to where he could get certain information. That is one field in which the Ontario department has had very considerable
success. Anyone can go into the branch offices of the department and find racks of bulletins containing all the information that may be desired. I do not think it is the duty of the federal department to establish an information bureau especially for the members of parliament; that is not particularly our business. When we go home for week-ends we can go to the branch office and get any information we want.
I believe we spend a great deal of money unnecessarily because of the overlapping of these services. I sometimes question the advisability of maintaining a central experimental farm here in Ottawa when we have such splendid farms in each province. I sometimes wonder if that money could not be spent better in other directions. I do not claim to be an authority on the subject, but this is one of the things that come into the mind of the average farmer to make him wonder whether we are getting the best possible value for the money we spend. The government is asked to do so many things. A question was raised this evening in connection with supplying seed wheat, and as an Ontario farmer I marvel at the ability of our western men-whom I always look upon as masters of brilliant intellect-to be spoon-fed, as I think the hon. member for Parkdale put it a couple of years ago. No doubt that was how he came to coin the phrase. They expect the government to supply them with seed wheat. Down in Ontario we try to make our own effort, and I think the minister is to be commended on attempting to bring out a little self-reliance in some of these people, even though they may have to drive twenty-five miles. If they cannot afford to buy rust-resistant wheat why not do as I have to do when I want some new variety? I buy a bushel or two and sow it, and then I have my seed for next year. I have no money to spend extravagantly. If I want a team of horses I generally sell the S200 horse and buy $50 colts, and I think if the farmers in the west would do something like that they would not have so many difficulties.
I want to come back to the question of education. I hope the minister will not be induced, by the very able speech of the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon), to duplicate the educational activities which are so well administered by the province. I am quite a believer in the school of experience. So far as scholarships are concerned, I am doubtful whether any service could be rendered in that way. Not long ago my attention was drawn to the type of men who are at the head of the United States Steel Corporation and the Standard Oil Company. Of course this is a little
outside agriculture, but they are two of the largest concerns on the north American continent. I noticed that the men at the head of those two firms were poor boys, raised on farms and having the benefit of only a very limited public school education. That would seem to prove that there is something in the atmosphere of the farm which, if properly applied, brings out the ability that is in a man. True, he must be able to develop his mental capacity, but I am not so sure that we derive any substantial results from some of these scholarships, which by the way are very expensive; I am not sure that those who have benefited have really made any important contribution to the nation as a result of these expenditures.
These are just some thoughts I have picked up from my association with men living in my own atmosphere, but I think they are worth considering. Let me say once more that I hope the minister will not be lured, by the fine speeches of those opposite, into broadening out into a wider sphere when I think perhaps we have too much duplication already.