February 14, 1939

LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

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

Supply-Agriculture-Administration

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.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

I would suggest that if any of the friends of my hon. friend try to get a position in the civil service in connection with agriculture he will see how far they get without a scholarship.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I always sympathize with anyone who applies to the civil service commission or the government for a position. It is one of the last places I would want to work, and really I do not advise any of my friends to apply for government jobs.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

I should like to take this

opportunity of thanking my colleague and neighbour the member for Brant (Mr. Wood) for telling me just where I can get all the information that may be required in connection with agriculture throughout the dominion. I had thought, of course, that certain information could be better obtained from the federal department than could be found in the archives or publications of any particular province.

I have been surprised at the scope of this discussion, having in mind what the minister said a few moments ago when I was trying to get him to lay certain papers on the table. He said that request was rather wide of the mark in discussion of this particular item, but since then we have gone considerably further afield. The minister chose to ignore what I thought was a very reasonable request, that this information should be tabled, but I am going to make another appeal to him. After all, this gentleman is

Supply-National Revenue-Customs

a paid official of the government; public money is expended in paying his salary and expenses, and I think the information he sends back to the Department of Agriculture should be made available to parliament. If there is anything that is confidential, that is a different matter, but I do not see why there should be anything confidential in a public servant,giving information to his minister or to the department which he is serving. I make one more appeal to the minister to allow that correspondence and information to be placed on the table for the use of members of this house, because I think it will assist him in getting his estimates through.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I hope the hon. member did not think I was ignoring the matter.

I simply stated that it was departmental correspondence. I do not know that it would be of any particular use to the house in its present form. I have no objection to its being brought down, which might be done through an order for return; or I can bring it down and lay it on the table when we discuss the matter again. However, I do think it would be very much more useful if, before bringing it down, we put the information in some sort of shape that would make it more easily understood. I do not think anyone would want to go through a file of departmental letters written back and forth, but if they are wanted I can bring them down.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

I have no desire to embarrass the minister or to find out anything that is at all confidential. On the other hand the very remarks which might be most important might be left out of any report that was made. What the minister might consider unimportant other members of the committee might regard as important. I am making what I think is a reasonable request when I ask that the information be tabled.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE


Customs and excise divisions- 218. General administration, $972,135.


LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Chairman, I desire only that the item be called; there is really no time for any discussion on it to-night. I would ask that it stand.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Mr. Chairman, I would refer hon. members to a statement made last night at the adjournment hour, when the Prime Minister was asked about the business for to-day. The right hon. gentleman said:

Mr. Mackenzie King: To-morrow we shall

take up the resolution with respect to the trade agreement between Canada and the United States. I understand there is a desire not to proceed with the debate to-morrow in which event we would go on with supply, and take the estimates for the Department of Agriculture, Public Works or National Revenue.

That is open to the interpretation of taking only one department. I have no objection to taking two, but I do not think we ought to go into more than two.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB
CON
?

An hon. MEMBER:

" Or " means " and."

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

It does not mean " and," in that connection.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Did the Prime Minister say " the Department of National Revenue, the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Public Works "?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

He said ".... take the estimates for the Department of Agriculture, Public Works or National Revenue." That means one department, if it means anything.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Two.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON
LIB

February 14, 1939