April 13, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Pierre Turcotte



This is a subject of humiliation for our national pride, because we have in our country all what is necessary for the raising and fattening of these animals. How is it that the production of pork is so small in our country? This is a state of things which deserves the attention of the government. The proposed remedy might not be adequate. It is possible that if we raise the duties on pork from 2 to 4 cents a pound we would not protect the farmer sufficiently to increase his power of raising pork, but, nevertheless, it is a question worthy of consideration.
It might be the same for meat pork as it is for some manufactured products. We all know that when there is over-production in some line of goods, the manufacturers of the country combined themselves to dump in Canada a large part of this overproduction at low prices in order to create a disastrous competition to Canadian industries. We know also that measures have been taken by the government to' protect us against this way of killing our industries.
I have reason to believe with the hon. member for Wentworth that the same means have been adopted in this case, and that at certain times the over-pToduction in meat pork in the United States is sent to Can ada in the same condition; that is to say, in a way to make disastrous competition in our own industry. I think that the time has come to put a stop to this illegitimate and disastrous competition to our farmers. But most of the members of this House who are sent here to study the economical conditions of the country are not able, in a case like this, to discuss this question with the same knowledge of professional men. We have to guide us the resolution adopted by the Pork Raisers' Association of Canada and other associations of the same kind. These resolutions have been adopted after a thorough investigation of the grievances and a complete study of the remedies that could be applied. We have thus a congregation, a collectivity of farmers, of men of experience, who come and say to us: It is necessary to bring afloat this industry which is essential to the progress and to the wealth of Canada. We ask our legislators to give us the means to fight this disastrous competition from the States. It is proposed to Taise the duty from 2 to 4 cents per pound. It might be a good way; it might not. I know that the hon. members opposite will not say that it is bad, because it is in accord with their protectionist principles.
As for the Liberal party, I fully agree for my part with the hon. member who has spoken before me, that this is not really a question of protection. Protection, as we generally understand it, has for its object | to prevent competition in manufactured I goods and in arts. I do not think that we

can assimilate the pork industry to manufacture. There is no similitude, and consequently we cannot apply, when speaking of the products of the farm, the same reasoning as we do to the industry.
I think that the government, who has its eyes open upon all which might contribute to the development of the resources of the country, will note the remarks which have been offered to-day upon this question, principally upon the figures which have been brought to the attention of the House, and which show an abnormal state of things. If we import in one year from the states more meat pork and for a larger sum than we have exported during a period of five years, and we have there an economical phenomenon absolutely disastrous and humiliating for us. It is for the government to study this question, and I know that the ministers are able to take the necessary measures to have a stop put to this state of things.
I have received from the farmexs of the county of Quebec verbal representations and letters in which they point out to me the absolutely disastrous competition suffered by those who take up the hog industry. Those farmers supply some of the pork-packing establishments of the citly where laree quantities of pork are used for the production of hams and bacon. Now the manufacturers, the dealers of that city cannot successfully compete with the products from the other parts of the country, and even from abroad, because they cannot obtain the necessary Taw material under such conditions as to permit of their carrying on their industry on a paying basis. But I may be told, and this is the capital argument advanced by our opponents : ' Why, if your Quebec friends cannot produce raw material as cheaply as the similar product coming from abroad, and you have no right to complain, the less so as the consumer will no doubt ultimately pay less for his food.' Quite true, but matters have to be considered from a different standpoint. As I just stated, that meat being imported from abroad does not enter here in the most normal conditions; it is the surplus which is fraudulently -dumped into the country. It is not the regular trade, as those who aTe conversant with the matter know perfectly well.
At any rate, as matters stand nowadays, seeing that tariffs are being readjusted all the world over, the United States protecting itself against Canada, and as commercial treaties are negotiated between two or three countries in order to protect themselves against foreign competition, I say that in commercial matters, as on every other question of vital importance for a nation, there is no cast-iron rule or theory that can be applied. Principles have to be more or less mitigated.
Now, I say that if ever there was an occasion upon which the rulers of a country or those who are at the helm were bound to mitigate those principles it is at a time when we are called upon to deal with the interests of the farming community in this country, which will be one of the great factors in making of this Canada of ours one of the leading nations of the twentieth century. Such are some of the grounds upon which I hope the government will take such steps as they may think proper for coming to the assistance of the farming community, for which service the country will owe the government a well-deserved debt of gratitude.

Subtopic:   THOS. DELWORTH,
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