May 8, 1934 (17th Parliament, 5th Session)


Jean-François Pouliot



If one looks at the figures which were put on Hansard of March 26, 1934, at pages 1811 and 1812, one sees that the home consumption of pork meat in the year 1932-33 showed an increase over 1930-31 of 1,967,747 hundredweight. Multiplying that number by 13, as the price of pork meat was $13 less in 1933 as compared with 1930, we find that the farmer has suffered a loss in the sale of that commodity of $25,580,712. But to be fair one must deduct from that figure the sum of $4,788,666 representing the surplus of exports in 1933 over 1930, making the net loss suffered by the farmer in the sale of that commodity $20,792,046.
With regard to butter, home consumption in the year 1932-33 showed an increase over 1930-31 of 25,698,173 pounds, or expressing it in hundredweights, 256,981 hundredweight. The average price of butter per pound in 1930 was 30 cents as compared with 17 cents in 1933. Multiplying the difference in the price by the increase in the number of pounds consumed, we find that the farmer suffered a loss in the sale of that butter of $3,340,762, less $416,369, representing the surplus of exports in 1933 over 1930. But as the amount of exports represents a surplus it should be deducted from the $3,340,762, and thus we arrive at a net loss of $2,924,393 in the sale of that butter making allowance for the difference in price between 1933 and 1930.
A very interesting speech was delivered in Montreal last week by the brilliant gentleman who is Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens). I quote from a report in the Montreal Gazette as follows:
One aspect of the problem was the difficulty of regulating production and prices, particularly in view of the present situation, which had been described as "plenty amid poverty." Canada consumed 99 per cent of its own butter, 98 per cent of its beef, 90 per cent of its hog products, and 100 per cent of its eggs. By control of prices he was not suggesting government control-he would rather see the government leave prices alone.
"But," he declared, "things can't go on in this country with 50 per cent of the population on the farms and pay them 2J cents a pound for beef, 6 cents a dozen for eggs, 10 or 12 cents a pound for butter. Merchandizers in Canada control these prices, and it is up to them to do it in a way that 50 per cent of the population will not continue in present conditions-or some other factor may have to be introduced."

Marketing Act
One thing which strikes us is the large decrease which has taken place in home consumption. Since the beginning of this session and since the beginning of this parliament the speeches of nearly all hon. members have been in connection with external trade. This is almost wholly true with the exception of the few statistics which have been put on record by the member for Temiscouata. These concern internal ' trade and show to what extent there has been a decrease in the home consumption of farm products. I have before me official statistics which I obtained from the bureau of statistics year book as well as some contained in a letter I received from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir). These figures show to what extent there has been a decrease in the home consumption of farm
Apples (bbls.)
Honey (lbs.)
Eggs (doz.)
Dressed beef (cwt.) .... Concentrated milk (cwt.)
Cheese (cwt.)
Potatoes (cwt.)
Peas (bushels)
Oats (bushels)
Barley (bushels)
Wheat (bushels)
Wheat flour (bbls.). . ..
products. This decrease has taken place in the face of an increase in the population when normally there should be an increase in the consumption of farm products. The quantities of decreases appear on pages 1811 and 1812 of Hansard of March 26, and the comparisons are between 1932-33 and 1930-31. I should like to give some figures showing the decrease in the home consumption of twelve farm products. I shall give first the quantity of decrease and then the figured value based on prices prevailing in 1933 as compared with those in 1930. These figures concern not external trade, international trade or Ottawa agreements, they deal with the most vital matter of our home trade, our interprovincial trade, our strictly Canadian trade within the boundaries of the country. The figures are:
Quantity of Figured value Figured valuedecrease 1930 19331,209,934 $ 3,920,186 $ 2,601,3589,535,689 858,212 953,56845.959,763 12,409,136 5,974,769891.619 13,978,438 5,198,138489,908 5,731,923 3,674,31075.483 1.243,959 822,0092.284,769 1,290,893 964,172973,616 817,837 473,1774,116,422 2,058,211 1,543,65830.140,741 10,699,963 11,604,18555,146,394 24,760,730 15,165,2581,689,000 8,428,110 5,759,490$86,197,598 34,333,884 $51,863,714 $34,333,884
The total 1932-33 decrease in home consumption is $86,197,598, representing the amount of the loss which the farmers have sustained, if we take into consideration the price that prevailed in 1930. If we take the price that prevailed in 1933 we have a loss of $34,333,884, and the difference between the prices of 1930 and 1933 is $51,863,714.
I will not insist on that point but I would call the attention of the minister to the serious fact that there has been a fabulous decrease in the home consumption of apples, honey, eggs, dressed beef, concentrated milk, cheese, potatoes, peas, oats, barley, wheat and wheat flour, and I urge that something be done to find out the reason for this decrease and to see what is the best way of remedying the situation. I have two or three other questions which I am going to ask the minister afterwards, but for the moment there are two which I should like him to answer. This bill is intended "to improve the methods and practices of marketing of natural products in Canada and in export trade, and to make further provision in connection therewith."
The products I have mentioned are natural products and a decrease in consumption has taken place in Canada. In view of this I would ask the minister these two questions. First, can we still say that we have our local market so far as those commodities are concerned in view of the enormous decrease in their consumption? Secondly, for what reason was there such a decrease, in one year, 1932-33, and what is the proper remedy to be applied to such a situation?

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