March 3, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Pierre Turcotte


Mr. J. P TURCOTTE (Quebec).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker. This debate brought by the resolution of the hon. member for Kamouraska, is one of the most interesting that came before the House. Not only is the resolution asking the government to safeguard the interests of the agricultural classes of our country, but it seems to me that it will have the further result of creating provinces, every one of them endeavouring in the future more than ever to take lead in the development and progress of agriculture.
If I am not mistaken, we must to-day be well informed as to what goes on concerning the agricultural questions in the old and new provinces. The art of agriculture is relatively easy in the new provinces ; the land is virgin and consequently mere productive ; the farmers settling on these farms bring with them knowledge acquired elsewhere, new ideas, and they work in a manner which is entirely unknown in our old provinces. So that if it is necessary for these new provinces to receive help from the government to be more prosperous, I will say that the old ones need also that help in order to free themselves of the old routine of method which were probably good formerly, because they were answering the needs of those generations, hut which are to-day old-fashioned and no lrnger adapted to our times.
The hon. member for Kamouraska did well to call the attention of this House to this important question, and to beg the government to get more interested in the fate of the agricultural classes in the different parts of the country, and to state precisely, as he did, that it is on the province of Quebec that its care should be spread. Why ? Because this province being the first that has been settled, the agricultural customs which were developed, customs which have created these sound and industrious populations which we all admire, are not, however, in a position to correspond to the needs of our times. They must have a guide to show them the defects of their methods, and what should be for the general benefit of the province of Quebec and the whole country.
_ If the government has at heart, as I believe, the agricultural interests and wants to protect them, they will gladly accept the proposition of the hon. member for Kam-Mr. BOYCE.
ouraska, whose object is to do away with the routine of which suffered the province of Quebec. The government would accomplish this an intelligent useful and pressing work.
It has been said that the difference of climate and soil in our province asks for different modes of cultivation; this is elementary and it does not require much experience to be proved, but when we pass ficm theory to practice, it becomes very important to have some men trained by study and experience to guide us, if we want to make good work. This is not the duty of individuals, but of the government. Just as the agricultural classes support in the great electoral contests the program of reform of the government, just the same these classes have a right to look for help when it comes to reforms and progress of which they shall benefit.
Some years ago, Mr. Speaker, a great movement was set on foot to give to the province of Quebec a model experimental farm. My predecessor in this House, Hon. Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, was at the head of this movement ; he wanted this farm to be established in the county of Quebec. Whether it pleases or not, my hon. friend from Kamouraska it seems to me that it is the right natural place for a farm of this kind. It was around that the first farms were cultivated at the virgin of the colony. I am not one of those who say that we must'put aside all that was done by our ancestors. Experience proves the contrary, and presently we- find in the county of Quebec the most beautiful farms of the province, some being valued as much as $75 to $1000 an acret. For instance, I will mention the farm of the Quebec seminary, the farm of Mr. Gustave Langelier at Cap-Rouge, upon which he spent lots of money, principally in the improvement of the cattle. At every exhibition, Mr. Langelier always won first prizes.
I believe that the efforts that have been made to bring the government to establish an experimental farm in the limits of the county of Quebec, must be continued, and as a representative of this country, though not being a farmer myself, I believe that it is my duty to continue the work begun. No doubt the financial question must be considered. I understand that the government which has great work on hand cannot apply considerable money for new undertakings, but it seems to me that it is sufficient to appeal in the name of the class which is most interested, the farmers, to urge upon the government to make new sacrifices. When we see at the head of the Department of Agriculture a man who represents so well the agricultural interests, it is to be hoped that in a near future another experimental farm will be established, and that the government will put it in the county of Quebec.

There is no jealousy in the population. It does not concern who will win the medal. It is not neither a question of party between the two sides of this House ; we all love the farmers, and the government has to look upon the agricultural classes for the progress of the country.
I believe that we all agree upon that, and whatever preferences each of us may have, if the government should establish another experimental farm in the county he chooses, we will all applaud.

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