July 2, 1943

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The different costs might be best illustrated by giving a complete record of the crops investigated. This is a table showing the return per acre from different crops:

Return per acre

Artichokes

$70 73Sugar beets

75 73Potatoes

48 78Corn

36 42Barley

30 10Wheat

17 51

It will be noted that the returns per acre range from $75.73 for sugar beets down to $17.51 for wheat. I believe these figures indicate the commodities from which alcohol might best be produced.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

What yield per acre of potatoes was used in making this computation?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

A yield of 250 bushels.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

That is a small yield.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

A few moments ago the minister drew a distinction between war-time and post-war conditions, and I believe that distinction was well taken. He suggested that the conditions under which we produce commodities while a war is on are different economically from the conditions prevailing in peace time, and that it is quite possible that there are some things we are producing to-day which in peace time could not be produced economically. I suggest however he should realize that hon. members, and particularly those of us from western Canada who are pressing this matter, have boith war-time and post-war periods in mind. We feel that a contribution to the war may be made by a further investigation into the possibilities of producing synthetic rubber from alcohol derived from grain, and, as other hon. members have pointed out, such as the hon. member for Calgary West, we are deeply concerned about the position of western agriculture, and agriculture throughout Canada, after the war is over. We are anxious that there shall be no depressing of the standard of living of our people on the farms. We feel it will not be possible to induce people to go back to the farms, if I may use that expression, from war industry and the armed services, simply by making speeches about the glories of farm life and all that sort of thing. We have to revolutionize agriculture and the possibility of its providing a really good life for the people who participate in it. I agree with the hon. member for Wetaskiwin, that there is much that needs to be done to turn the requirements of the people for food into effective economic

demand. But it appears that even after we have done that, there will still be surpluses of agricultural products; and unless we find other uses for them the people who will suffer will be the farmers. We urge that the Minister of Agriculture and his department approach aggressively this matter of further investigation.

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LIB

Roy Theodore Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I shall take only a few moments to add my voice particularly to what was said by the hon. members for Calgary West and Moose Jaw in connection with the support to be given to research work for the improvement of agricultural products and their use for industrial purposes. I am in complete accord with the statements made by those two hon. members and some others.

There is only one point I should like to make quite clear, and that is that the success of such a project would not be in the interests of agriculture only; industry would benefit very greatly if such a programme produced the results expected. Natural resources such as petroleum, coal and iron are wasting deposits on the north American continent. We see that illustrated particularly in respect of iron, petroleum and many other products of the mines. It would provide a useful contribution in the way of supply for our industrialists if out of the earth an annual crop could be produced to furnish substitutes for materials that are now gradually used up.

The hon. member for Moose Jaw mentioned a figure of $500,000. I think he set that figure arbitrarily in order to give point to his argument that research work should be carried on in this connection. I do not think any particular amount is involved in the expression of opinion that is coming from this committee. The men of the national research council who have given some thought to this matter point out that any research work of value is a matter of careful planning over a number of years. Research work involves a great number of failures, the elimination of what cannot be done in order to find out what [DOT] can be done. I think this committee would feel like urging upon the minister that an amount be provided from the treasury, whether it be under $500,000 or over $500,000, in order that these objectives may be reached.

I hope the minister will give effect to the almost unanimous opinion of this committee that such a plan should be put into operation, and that the scientists of this country be given an opportunity to contribute to our future welfare, as they have done to such a large degree in the past. A by-product, as it were, of this particular work, our young chemists and physicists would be kept in Canada. As a matter of course these men in the past have found employment in the

Sup-ply-Agriculture

United States, with tremendous loss to this country. These men would prove of inestimable value to us, and this work would give them an opportunity to serve Canada and improve Canadian standards of living.

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Item agreed to. IS. Experimental farms service-Central experimental farm, $588,560.


SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. RLACKMORE:

I should like to pay a tribute to the work done by the central experimental farm at Ottawa and to tell the minister that I thoroughly support this appropriation.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I want to make the shortest speech delivered this afternoon, and to say that I endorse what the last speaker has said with respect to the central experimental farm.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Is the minister satisfied that there is no duplication of work by the federal experimental farms and the provincial farms? I do not see how it could be avoided, but I suppose the minister will say that there is no duplication. Money would be saved by avoiding such duplication in the future.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

This matter has been gone into on a number of occasions. The last time it was reviewed was when the Sirois report was presented. Speaking from memoir, I think it will be found that both provincial and federal authorities agreed that there was very little overlapping in agricultural work as between the provinces and the dominion. The provinces are entrusted with the task of looking after education, whether it is with regard to agriculture or anything else. I believe each province has an agricultural college, or at least each section of Canada has an agricultural college, and each institution has a certain amount of land that can be used for experimental purposes. That is true of Guelph, and the Ontario government also have a fruit experimental station in another part of the province. It is true also of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the other provinces, with the possible exception of Prince Edward Island. The work carried on at these colleges does not overlap the work of the federal experimental farms.

Last year we closed the farm at Rosthern because it was considered to be too close to the agricultural college at Saskatoon, which caused a certain amount of overlapping. In addition there are committees upon which representatives of the provincial governments and the federal government meet to consider any work that may be required in a province with which the federal govem-

ment is associated. Any work that is done prcvincially is linked up with our work in order to cut down as much as possible the duplication which might occur in carrying on the activities of a country where there is a federated form of government.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Experimental work is

carried on by the colleges.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Only along certain

specialized lines. The Ontario government has an experimental station in the middle of the fruit belt, but it does not duplicate any of our work.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Is the experimental farm

at Lacombe, Alberta, still operated?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes.

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Item agreed to. Experimental farms service. It. Branch farms and stations and illustration stations, $1,292,769.


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

Could the minister give us some information as to the work being carried on by these branch farms and illustration stations, particularly those located in the west? There is considerable need for the production of seeds, such as flax, milkweed and sunflower. Also considerable work has been done by the federal government in connection with early maturing and rust-resistant grains. I should like to know to what extent the stations in the west are being used.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Since the war began the work in connection with the production of seeds has been greatly increased. This has been necessary in order to supplement our supplies of seeds which were formerly produced in European countries. I should like to refer to a matter mentioned by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle a moment ago. I have in my hand printed copies of the information which was given to the agriculture and colonization committee at I think eleven different sittings and which deals with the very matters we are dealing with to-day. There are more than eleven; there are eleven already in print, and information with regard to most of the questions that are being asked here is contained in those reports, just as it will be in Hansard if we carry on this discussion. I should like to remind members that early in the session we had under discussion the question whether it would not be a good thing to have much of the discussion that takes place in the house, very often in the last two or three days of the session, carried on in a committee of the house where the officials could be present and give

Supply-Agriculture

all the information that was required, and so my department was used as a guinea pig this session. We have submitted the Department of Agriculture to the committee, and for some weeks now we have been going through the process of permitting the members to go to that committee and get all the information they required from the officials. That information is all down in very good form, and any member can get these reports and read them.

When the committee began to sit, the question came up whether we were going to discuss in the house again all the matters that might be discussed in committee. There might be reasons for such a rule, but I said no; and I am not speaking now with the intention of debarring discussion, but simply to point out to the members who have not "had the privilege of sitting in the agriculture committee that anywhere from twenty to sixty members of the house have been attending a considerable number of the sittings of that committee and gathering all this information. When the estimates of the Department of Agriculture were submitted to the committee I was hoping it would have the result of permitting hon. members to go to the committee to bring out the information they wanted, which would appear in reports from day to day just as Harsard comes out, and that the information so furnished would answer most of the questions that are now being asked, and that discussion here might be confined to policy.

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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

Can the minister have an index to these volumes eventually produced? That would greatly assist in finding what you want.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The volumes are not indexed individually, and I understand that an index will be prepared to all the reports. Here is one report; the front page shows that there was a general introduction by myself and Doctor Barton-we were called before the committee first; then Mr. Singleton spoke on dairying, Mr. Shaw on production, Mr. Presant on feeds, Mr. Brown on poultry, Mr. Pearsall on meats, and so forth.

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July 2, 1943