July 2, 1943


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'AppeUe):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask a question of the Minister of Trade and Commerce., more or less by way of making a request. In doing so I am following up a question I asked on Wednesday last, as reported at page 4199 of Hansard. At that time I asked the minister if he had received any complaints from western Canada with respect to the allotment of cars. I shall not read the whole of what took place at that time, other than to say that the minister replied that he had not heard of any charges of discrimination. He said:

I have had requests from many sources that a different basis of allocating the cars be instituted.

Daily I am receiving complaints, and I received some to-day, protesting against the system being used, one known as the thirty-car cycle. These complaints say that it is not working out satisfactorily. There is an opportunity provided by this system of the grain firms taking advantage of the farmer by undergrading grain. I have reason to believe that the minister has had several requests for changing the system, and I must

Supply-Agriculture

ask if he will consider the requests he has received to the effect that the system be changed over for the balance of the crop season, and for 1942 crop delivery, Would he change the arrangement so as to (meet the suggestions which are being forwarded to him in large numbers?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, it is my usual custom to give serious, thoughtful and earnest consideration to any reasonable representations made to the Department of Trade and Commerce. I have given serious thought to the letters which have come in, and in each case I have replied, setting out the attitude of the Department of Trade and Commerce at the present time. I do not think there is anything further I can add to that at the moment.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Bradette in the chair.

DEPARTMENT OP AGRICULTURE Experimental farm service.

12. Experimental farms administration, $59,489.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Would the Minister of Agriculture throw a little light on this question of alcohol from wheat? A statement was made in the house by the Minister of Munitions and Supply that in the manufacture of alcohol from wheat returns to farmers would be around only 25 to 35 cents a bushel. On the other hand, Doctor Archibald, speaking to the committee on agriculture yesterday, said that if alcohol were made from wheat, given a wheat yield of twenty bushels to the acre, the farmer would get a return of $17 an acre, which works out to 85 cents a bushel. That is different from the figure given by the Minister of Munitions and Supply; I suggest there must be some explanation, fo the difference between 25 or 30 cents on the one hand and 85' cents on the other. Will the minister give the committee some information on this point?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

Of course one would require to have the figures used by both the parties referred to, and also the basis for those figures, before he could explain the difference between them. The difference which might be there is probably based upon the facts that are usually run into when you are discussing costs of productions or returns per acre. The statement made to the committee ,by Doctor Archibald, which I happen to have in my hand, contains the estimated value of various crops as sources of alcohol. Wheat is taken at twenty bushels to the acre, and the production of alcohol is stated to be

4-24 gallons per hundred pounds. Taking that as a basis it goes on to say that the total value of the crop per acre is $17.51. I am not certain what figures were used by those who worked out the cost for the Minister of Munitions and Supply, but in all probability the average production and the average cost were taken into consideration. The only statement with regard to the matter that I would care to make at the present time is that all the information I have seen, all the figures that have been compiled, indicate that wheat would have to be produced at a much lower cost than that at which I think any farmer in western Canada would be prepared to produce it, in order to.permit the production of alcohol at a cost comparable with the cost of production from other sources.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

I should like to direct the attention of the minister to an article appearing in Business Week of June 12, 1943. I quote from pages 72 and 75 as follows:

The chemurgist's diream of grain alcohol as the answer to farm surpluses may yet come true -and with it a lengthening horizon of post-war possibilities for the rubber, oil, and chemical industries-through a process of protein extraction which promises to make alcohol a cheap by-product.

And again:

The process was discovered less than four months ago by Irvin W. Tucker, a young chemist in the department of agriculture working under direction of Doctor A. K. Balls, chief of the department's enzyme research laboratory. Park and Tilfordi developed it commercially.

The article goes into>

further details and concludes as follows:

Heretofore, chemurgists who grappled with the question of farm surpluses habitually stubbed their toes on two hard problems: there was no market for the tremendous volume of alcohol that could be produced from farm products, and the cost of farm alcohol was prohibitively high. The war has solved the first problem. . . . Balls and Tucker appear to have solved the second.

This article would seem to suggest that a process has been discovered which considerably reduces the cost of making alcohol from grain, a matter which is of prime importance to Canada. I should like to know whether there is contact between the Department of Agriculture and research such as is here indicated.

I should also like to draw the attention of the minister to an article which appeared in the June, 1943, issue of the Reader's Digest. This is a condensation from the Christian Science Monitor. I quote from pages 81, 82 and S3 as follows:

At Institute, West Virginia, a superb plant 77 acres in area is turning out rubber at the rate of 90,000 long tons a year. That is almost

Supply-Agriculture

one-sixth as much as we used to need in normal times-and as much as 100,000 Malay natives gather from 18,000,000 rubber trees.

The writer of this article would seem to hold no brief for grain or petroleum; but note what he says:

The process used at Institute happens to make its butadiene out of alcohol. The alcohol now comes from corn.

I am emphasizing two points. First, there does seem to be a considerable volume of synthetic rubber being manufactured in the United States from alcohol produced from grain. Second, there would appear to have been recent discoveries which reduce the cost of this process.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

George Henry Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Calgary East):

Did Doctor Archibald give the figures at which alcohol would have to be sold in order to bring that return?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have in my hand the document which was before the committee this morning when Doctor Archibald was giving his evidence. This is a survey of Canadian research on the utilization of farm products by the chemurgie committee of the Canadian chamber of commerce. It will be recalled by those who were present at the committee this morning that Doctor Archibald referred to certain reports that had been made, I think by Doctor Speakman. This document is the last word on the matter in so far as Canada is concerned. Figures are given based on cost according to United States practice and according to European practice. According to United States practice, with wheat at 60 cents the cost would be 53-4 cents for the alcohol at the plant. According to the European process, with wheat at 60 cents the cost of alcohol would be 39-6 cents at the plant. As I indicated at the beginning, after examining the figures which had been secured in the United States up to that time, as well as the experiences on the European continent, it appeared that even with wheat at 60 cents, the cost of alcohol would be 53-4 cents under the American practice and 39-6 cents under the European.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

What is the price of alcohol

to-day?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The price was given by the Minister of Munitions and Supply as around 27 or 28 cents. .

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

George Henry Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Calgary East):

I believe the normal price before the war was 25 to 27 cents.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I was in Chicago last week within a few miles of the plant that has been spoken of so much by so many hon.

members. I did not have time to visit it, but Mr. Shaw, the director of marketing, was with me and I asked him to visit the plant and make a full report on what is being done. He went down there last Friday and has not yet returned. The wheat pool in Saskatchewan appointed a committee which reviewed this question thoroughly, and while I do not know that they have so far.made any official report I think I am safe in saying that they questioned the advisability of attempting at this time to produce alcohol from wheat or of spending sufficient money to produce it on the information that is now available to us. That is also the opinion which we hold as a department. This, of course, is entirely apart from the question raised by members here the other day- whether we should set aside a certain sum of money to investigate the whole matter, and further whether we could not make something out of farm products that would be to the advantage of the farmer and the country. With the principle underlying that I am in entire agreement, as I think are the members of the government also.

There is, of course, the question which always arises in matters of this kind, whether we should use the present set-up under the national research council or some other set-up more closely associated with the Department of Agriculture, and further whether we should carry on experiments at the centre at Ottawa or in different parts of the country where the agricultural products are grown. All that was covered the other day, and the suggestion made on the latter point was that we should have research and experimental laboratories set up in four sections of Canada-at the coast, on the prairies, in central Canada, and in the maritimes, in regard to the products of those particular areas. That was the question that was being discussed here the other day. There was no discussion of any one particular thing, but the suggestion that many things should be inquired into.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

I think the minister was quoting from a report made in 1941, but since then there have been tremendous developments in the production of alcohol from wheat. I had the pleasure of going through the research laboratories in Ottawa just before Easter and of seeing some of the advances that have been made in that field. I have also read the report published by Mr. Baruch, of the United States, to the effect that if the United States went into the production of rubber they would use at least 60 per cent grain alcohol and 40 per cent alcohol from petroleum products. I certainly think this

Supply-A gricul ture

matter should not be dropped, but that further investigation should be made, because new developments are taking place all the time with which we should keep in touch. There is something to be said for the production of butadiene rubber from grain alcohol, especially when we take into consideration the cost of the plant itself. As I understand it, a plant for the production of rubber from- grain alcohol can be built considerably cheaper than one using the petroleum process. From conversations I had with officers of the national research laboratories I understand they are constructing a pilot plant which will use grain alcohol. I hope the matter will not be dropped.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

I suggest to hon. members who are not members of the agriculture committee that they study the reports of proceedings of that committee, particularly for the last five sittings, and the last day or two especially, when we had Dr. Archibald before us with reference to the experimental work now being carried on. They will find in those reports much useful information. It is impossible of course for members of the house to keep track of everything that goes on in the committee, but I would especially commend the reports of the agriculture committee for the last few days.

With regard to this particular item, I think a useful purpose is being served by this expenditure, and I hope that the minister will have investigations made into the production of alcohol from wheat, for instance, and that much of the investigational and research work be carried on in the west. The farm at Indian Head is suitable for very much of this work and a lot of it could be done there. If I had anything to complain of it would be that this vote is not sufficient. In the last two or three years especially it has been found necessary for us to develop all our resources of every kind, agriculture and otherwise, and we cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of the research work being done by the experimental farms. I would be in favour of increasing this vote.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

I should like to supplement what the hon. member for Qu'Appelle has said about the excellent information we received in the agriculture committee from Doctor Archibald. Undoubtedly they are doing work, particularly in the research field, and the kind of research that is being done is very much worth while. It concerns itself largely with production and processing, however, and it seems to me that there is another kind of research which might be undertaken, and that is the finding of new uses and new methods of processing our farm

products, particularly the by-products of the farm. That might come more properly under industrial research, but it seems to me it is one of the live questions to-day in Canada. Quite a few farm products are being utilized in different directions, mostly for food, but for other purposes as well, and I think still other uses could be found, particularly for the byproducts of the farm. There is a good deal of waste in farm by-products at the present time. New uses might be .found for a good deal of straw, corn stalks, and a number of other things which would be of advantage to us industrially as well as supplementing the income of the farm. I do not suppose the Department of Agriculture or the experimental farms can very well deal with matters of that kind, but we have in Canada what is known as the national chemurgio committee, which is doing valuable work and is being fostered and assisted by chambers of commerce and similar bodies. I think the time has come from the point of view of agriculture when government assistance should be given to that committee to assist it in trying to find new uses for the by-products of the farm. I leave the suggestion with the minister, and I am sure that if he studies it carefully he will agree that it would be very much worth while.

>

Mr. FAIR: May I ask the minister whether the figures supplied by the Department of Munitions and Supply as to the cost of producing alcohol from petroleum products were based on experiments made in the United States or in Canada?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am afraid the hon. member will have to ask the minister himself when he comes back before the committee. I have no information as to what those figures are based on.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
NAT

Heber Harold Hatfield

National Government

Mr. HATFIELD:

I would like to see research work carried on in regard to agricultural products by the experimental farms, entirely outside of the national research council. I believe they are the ones to carry on this work. We are bringing into this country millions of dollars' worth of ethyl lead to bring up the octane rating of our gasoline, while as a matter of fact, alcohol made from wheat would answer the same purpose. I think there should be a pilot plant built in western Canada or at the central experimental farm to carry on experiments in the use of western low grade wheat and low grades of starch for power alcohol.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

I

understand that a ten per cent mixture of alcohol will jump the octane rating of gasoline nine per cent.

Supply-Agriculture

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

Under this vote we have the animal husbandry division of the experimental farm. If we read the last report of the Minister of Agriculture we find that in the matter of dairy cattle, sheep, swine and so on, there has been a certain amount of curtailment of operations owing to the fact that the country is at war and certain other things are being done to a greater extent. This report, however, only goes up to March, 1942, and has to do really with the operations in 1941. I would ask the minister to give us a brief outline of what is being done in animal husbandry. Are the experiments previously conducted still being carried on, or have they been reduced?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I understand that while there has been a reduction in our expenditures generally in the Department of Agriculture since the war began, our expenditures on ordinary activities are not as high as they were when the war began but in so far as some of the live stock activities are concerned we are spending even more than we were at the beginning of the war; naturally we want more hogs, eggs, poultry, beef cattle, and so on, more dairy products and other things, and therefore there has been considerable activity along those lines. We are building up at the moment rather than cutting down on those particular activities.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION IN PLACEMENT OP CARS
Permalink

July 2, 1943