The committee will be anxious to know from the minister, as he has no doubt thought it out well, how the cheese is to be brought to the curing stations ?
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, I wish first to give a general sketch of the work included under this vote, and then I will be pleased to answer any questions afterwards. As I have said, we have the extension of markets division, which covers generally the work for the improvement of our products and of the handling of our products between here and the foreign markets. It includes the watching of the loading and of the unloading of vessels on this side of the Atlantic, and on .arrival in the old country. It includes the work we have been doing to improve the poultry trade in Canada, and also our efforts to improve the quality of the grain and seed which is used by our farmers. In a general way, that is what is embraced in that particular division. We have for this purpose several men in Montreal watching the loading of ships with our Canadian products, and giving us information which we are constantly laying before the different transportation companies, urging upon them Hon. Mr. FISHER.
improvement in their methods. We have men also engaged in St. John and Halifax during the winter season. We have also men in the old country watching the landing of our products there, and when time permits, watching the markets and giving information as to the condition of our products when they arrive in these markets. The advice which is given by the handlers in Great Britain is of great importance in the improvement of the packing and management of our products, and it is reported by these gentlemen.
We have also been introducing iuto this country within the last few years, entirely new methods of dealing with poultry meat. Until comparatively recently in Canada, hardly any one thought of fattening the chickens which they sent to the market. The result was, that Canadian poultry while good in quality, was generally not up to the mark in condition when put on the home market, or the British market. Some years ago, Professor Robertson and myself when in Great Britain came in contact with what was being done there. We found that a most extensive business was being done in the fattening of poultry and we found that these fattened poultry brought a very much higher price than the ordinary birds. We knew that our Canadian poultry was being sent to England in the ordinary condition, and we did not see why the advantages of this improved fattening process should not be obtained for the Canadian 1 manufacturers. We set to work to experiment with regard to this system in Canada. We established some stations where birds were fattened and sent to England. The results were extremely satisfactory ; so satisfactory that we were able to induce people to go into the business. The progress has not been very rapid, but it has been very considerable. As will be seen by the trade returns, the poultry meat exported to Great Britain has increased from something under $20,000 four years ago, to something over $200,000 last' year. In addition to that increase in the trade, I may say that there has been an immense stimulus given to the feeding of poultry for the home market, and to-day the men who handle poultry in centres like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are prepared to take all the fattened poultry they can get at remunerative prices, and the only complaint they have made to us is that they cannot get enough to fill their orders. This stimulus has been given by the department during the last three or four years ; and while it was originally intended for the export trade which was rendered possible by the introduction of mechanical cold storage in the steamers crossing the Atlantic, it has extended to the home market in a way which we hardly anticipated when we began it. We have been trying experiments in this line, the details of which I have in my hand and could give. They have all been published in the evidence given before the
Committee, on Agriculture and in the annual report of my department.
The next branch is what I call the cold storage division, which now involves two distinct branches. When we first discussed cold storage in this country and introduced it in its improved form, of mechanical cold storage, we wanted to provide comparatively small cold chambers on the vessels for the purpose of carrying across the Atlantic . certain perishable products which otherwise could not be carried at all and be kept in proper condition. This was chiefly necessary for butter, which up to that time had never been landed in the British market in the condition in which it had left the creamery or the producer in Canada. For some time past, practically all the butter that has gone from Canada-and the export of butter has increased from about $1,000,000 in 1896 to $5,000,000 in 1901- has gone in these cold storage chambers in a frozen condition, and is laid down in the English market in practically the same condition that it leaves the creamery in Canada. That is possible by reason, first of all, of the introduction of cold storage refrigerators at the creameries, which we have stimulated by giving a bonus.