March 28, 1946

CCF

Ronald Stewart Moore

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

Mr. MOORE:

The question is as follows, Mr. Speaker: In view of the announced food shortage would the minister consider providing a transport plane to freight this product to the nearest railhead-

Topic:   MANITOBA AND SASKATCHEWAN-PLANE TRANSPORT TO RAILHEAD
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have already asked the hon. member to put his question on the order paper.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

May I point out that this is a matter of food spoiling and is therefore of some considerable urgency.

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. H. F. G. BRIDGES (Minister of Fisheries):

I received notice of the question, and no doubt it is a matter of urgency. In reply I would say that since the administra-

tion of the fisheries of Manitoba and Saskatchewan is entirely in the hands of the governments of those provinces, I immediately referred to the appropriate provincial ministers, Hon. J. S. McDiarmid, Minister of Mines and Natural Resources of Manitoba, and Hon. J. L. Phelps, Minister of Natural Resources and Industrial Development of Saskatchewan, representations which reached me Tuesday morning with regard to difficulties in the transportation of fish to railhead at Flin Flon. I presume the matter is receiving the attention of these ministers. I have not received any information from them.

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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH


The house resumed from Wednesday, March 27, consideration of the motion of Mr. Fernand Viau for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session.


CCF
LIB
PC
LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND (Prescott):

He has

omitted the cost of manufacturing of the 9% pounds of cheese in 100 pounds of milk, at

the rate of 2% cents, which would be subtracted from the price received by the producer. This does not apply to butter. Furthermore, the hon. member has not referred to the value of skim milk in the feeding of young cattle and poultry, which amounts to about 40 cents per hundred pounds.

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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

I am very grateful to the hon. member for his observations. However I think the Chair will admit the hon. member did not ask a question. I concede readily that the feeding value of skim milk is greater than that of whey, and that calves or pigs fed on whey would not fatten for the market. As against that however there is the labour charge for separating the milk and washing the machine; all those dreary hours of drudgery that are completely eliminated when the whole milk, as it comes from the cow, is sold to the cheese factory.

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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND (Prescott):

It is the

same thing if one takes milk to the cheese factory.

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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

My hon. friend has not asked a question; I submit with great deference that the additional labour the butter producer has to put into his product offsets added value that may be found in buttermilk when compared with whey.

To pursue further my earlier observations:

I said it was easy to understand why the minister should seek to retain a high and ranking place for Canadian cheese in the British market. Our butter making is not considered a success in Great Britain; whether our butter be good or bad is beside the issue. We do not make the kind of butter that is liked in England. We do not make butter which competes successfully in the English market with Irish butter, Danish butter, or with that commodity about which we heard so much in other times and places-New Zealand butter. On the other hand Canadian cheese is so highly esteemed in Great Britain that they call it English Stilton. It is consumed in large quantities, and undoubtedly if that market could be secured for us in perpetuity, and without rivalry, it would be beneficial to the Canadian producer.

I submit, however, that that market must not be secured at the cost of an injustice and of permanent damage to the dairy industry as a whole, and to the dairy industry of Southeastern Quebec in particular. Canadians are a butter-eating people; the eating of butter is a life habit. I do not believe it is a habit from which they can be easily weaned. To-day it is practically impossible to buy butter. We find that the reserves stand at roughly 9 million pounds, whereas

The Address-Mr. Hackett

a year ago they were 20 million, two years ago about the same figure, and for the last five years at this time of year they have shown an average of about 18 million pounds plus. ' *

I speak only of creamery butter, of course. To-day our reserves in creameries, storage and transit are barely' 9 million pounds, or less than half of what .they were a y'ear ago, or what they have * been on the average in the last five years. I point this out to show that there is a scarcity.

I wish to put on record the following table to show the number of dairy cattle exported to the United States in (the past ten years:

1945 1944 1943

1942

1941

1940

1939

1938

1937

1936

Those are the numbers of dairy cattle exported to the United States under a system of price fixing, controls and inadequate returns to the makers of butter, and during the four year period which preceded the war. The number exported has increased over threefold during the period of controls. The number exported to the United States this year up to March 31 is nearly double the number that was exported during the same period last year.

I want to open a parenthesis here, because one can never talk about a matter of this kind without being charged with being actuated by political considerations. I want to say that despite what has happened there was an increase of 7-2 per cent last year in the production of butter in the province of Quebec, while there was a reduction of 3-4 per cent in the production of chee-se. There is a reason for the trend. As I said a few minutes ago, the province of Ontario has paid a bonus of two cents per pound on all cheese manufactured in the province. The province of Quebec also paid a bonus on cheese. It has now ceased to pay that bonus. I cannot say whether the bonus was effective throughout the year 1945; it may have been paid until the end of the year, but it was known that the bonus on cheese was to be withdrawn, and there was an effort made by the farmers to get away from cheese production. This may explain the increase in butter production that has taken place in Quebec.

More butter is produced in Quebec than in any other province in the dominion. Quebec is essentially a butter-producing province.

Quebec hopes, and I trust not entirely in vain, that we are approaching an era when prices will cease to be fixed, when these controls will be released and when competition and orderly and unrestricted marketing will again be the vogue. The farmers of Quebec hope that the excellence of their product will bring them a decent return for their efforts.

Having stated these facts I wish to suggest to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and to the government that the ceiling price of butter be increased. I need not tell the minister that I believe that price-fixing of commodities has ceased to be useful. I believe it is baneful at the present time and I believe the Canadian farmer, particularly the Canadian dairyman, would be better off if he were freed from all restrictions and were able to enter a market in which he could buy and sell without restriction. But those ideal conditions do not yet obtain, and I am suggesting to the minister and to the government that the necessary changes be made in these ceiling prices to give the butter producer a fair return for his effort. At the present time the producer of butter is not receiving an equitable return for his product as compared with the producer of cheese. The producer of butter is not receiving a price which enables him to hire people to work for him.

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LIB
PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

We are able to carry on our dairying industry in Quebec because our families are closely knit together and because the people there are not ashamed to work.

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LIB
PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

The wife and daughter and the son of the household are proud and willing to go into the barnyard to help the father milk the cows and do the other chores incidental to farm life.

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LIB
PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. IIACKETT:

I ask the minister to

take these facts into consideration and to raise the price of butter, not just four cents as was suggested in one of the papers this morning. Twenty-cent cheese means sixty-cent butter. There is no reason why that price should not be paid pending the removal of ceiling prices.

I speak for an area the population of which is fifty per cent engaged in farming and fifty per cent engaged in industry. In other words, one-half the population of these eastern counties of which I speak are makers of butter while the other half are consumers

The Address-Mr. Hackett

of butter. I believe the purchasers realize that the farmer should have a fair return for his commodity. They realize, moreover, that if he does not get a fair return, butter *will become still more scarce. Butter is becoming scarce by reason of the dissipation and sale and export of the herds. Laudable as may be the minister's desire to win and keep the cheese market of Great Britain, I suggest that he should not do that by depriving the Canadian people of butter. They will have butter, and if it cannot be made in this country, they will import it.

I noticed this morning that in another place an hon. gentleman whose political faith is identical with that of the government in power-*

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LIB

March 28, 1946