May 14, 1920 (13th Parliament, 4th Session)


Simon Fraser Tolmie (Minister of Agriculture)



what are known as "accredited herds'' in an effort on our part to eliminate tuberculosis from our pure-bred herds. We hope that by creating little nuclei of pure-bred herds we will soon start on the road towards getting rid of tuberculosis in this country, a disease which is causing serious losses in all the countries of the world. We also deal with hog cholera and comparing our work with that of the United States we find that we have made very much better progress in dealing with that disease. According to the latest figures hog cholera in this country .amounted to only one-half of one per cent. Dourine is another disease that has caused great I0S6 among horses in Alberta and this disease has been practically wiped out as a result of our efforts. The success of this work is largely due to Dr. Watson who was in the employ of the department and who was able to isolate the organism which was responsible for the disease and to develop a serum which was very useful in reducing and controlling it. In Alberta we have also what is known as mange; and this area lias been under quarantine for some time on account of the cattle having mange, which is a skin disease'. We expect to be able to get rid of this disease during the coming summer. We have an organization and equipment for dealing with the matter and hon. gentlemen will appreciate the magnitude of the undertaking when I mention that we will require baths to give a lime and sulphur bath to over 200,000 head of cattle.
W7e have also raised the standard of veterinary teaching in this country. Tnat is very important because we have over a billion dollars invested in the livestock industry. Within the last few years there have been serious outbreaks of foot and mouth disease on the American side and had we been at all careless we would have had this disease in Canada and we would have lost many millions of dollars. Thanks however, to the vigilance of our Health of Animals Branch, the disease was kept out.
Animals are subject to other diseases which, while not included in our Contagious Diseases Act, cause serious losses. For instance, our losses per year on poultry alone amount to over $7,000,000. Contagious abortion and sterility in cattle, and internal .parasites .require very careful mvestiga/tkwi, so that in that way we secure information of great value to the farmer.
Now, while the importance of pure-bred sires and the better breeding of livestock cannot be overestimated, the production of pure seed is just as important. We have in connection with the Department of Agricul-
IJIr. Tolmie.]
ture a Seed Branch, whose business it is to encourage the use of new and improved varieties of seed, and to disseminate propaganda on the value of using improved seed. We have a system of stimulating the' interest of farmers in this work by distributing to them good varieties to be grown under certain conditions, and many farmers become seed-growing specialists. In this way a great deal of valuable seed is turned out every year. Then we have a system under which seed grown under certain restrictions is eligible for registration, and last year we produced * 100,000 bushels of registered seed. We also encourage the use of improved seed through field crop competitions, seed fairs, and provincial seed exhibitions, by which means several million bushels of high quality seed is produced annually, and this registered seed is doled out to the seed men throughout the country, so that our work affects the whole Dominion.
What are the actual results obtained? There has been a great increase in the production of timothy seed in Alberta. A few years ago only a small quantity was grown, but last year no less than 20,000 bushels were produced. Our Canadian market can consume 300,000 bushels of this seed annually, and the export market would take 2,000,000 bushels if we had it to sell. In 1918 the clover seed of the country was valued at no less than $10,000,000. Clover seed has been produced of excellent quality, particularly on the clay lands of Northern Ontario. Before the war practically all our field and vegetable seed was imported from Germany and other European countries, but owing to the excellent work performed by our Seed Branch we are now able not only to supply our domestic demand but to export in considerable quantities.
Much has been done too in creating seed potato centres .for the production of disease-free seed. This has made a tremendous difference in some sections. The lower St. Uawrence valley has established an excellent reputation for producing high-class potato seed, and northern grown Canadian seed of all kinds is gaining a very good reputation throughout the continent.
During the war the Seed Branch took up emergency seed distribution to meet the prevailing war conditions, and they established a Seed Purchasing Commission, which did very effective work in maintaining a supply of seed during the whole war period in spite of very heavy handicaps. This Commission had a turn-over of $12,000,000, every cent of which has Been returned tto the Receiver

General, and in addition they were able to pay all operating expenses.
I may point- out for the benefit of hon. members from the West that it is not the intention of the department to withdraw the Seed Purchasing Commission from the western provinces- until normal conditions are reached in that section.
The Fruit Branch has also been rendering . very excellent service by enforcing the Inspection and Sale Act, inspecting and grading fruit and the filling of packages, and by giving practical demonstrations in orchard cultivation, pruning, spraying, grading and so forth. They also carry on inspection at the point of shipment. In this way they protect our trade by ensuring that the fruit is sent to market in first-class condition, and where found satisfactory, certificates are given on carload lots, which assist the sale of the fruit at destination.
Crop reports are issued by telegraph during the growing season, and when the sales are proceeding in Great Britain we receive market reports which are sent all over the country so as to place the grower on a perfectly sound footing in marketing his produce. Attention is also given to railway and express tariffs and the handling of fruit in transit.
It is a matter of more than passing interest in this connection that Great Britain is proving to be our one big market of importance. Another matter of interest is that box fruit is becoming much more popular. In addition to our export business with Great Britain, we also ship to the United States, Australia and New Zealand in their off seasons when they have no fruit to sell.
Our Experimental Farm system is rendering a very valuable service to the country, but unfortunately it is not perhaps as well appreciated as it might be. Our stations are situated in all the provinces, and particular care is taken an carrying on experiments in regard to adaptability of the soil for production, climatic conditions, and so forth in new sections. All this information is made immediately available for the farmers in those districts. For instance, a settler going in can immediately secure full information on the best means of growing crops in that section by applying to the Experimental Farm. It is estimated that this service is worth $60,000,000 a year to the country. Frequently we hear people complaining that our Experimental Farms do not pay. This is rather an unreasonable attitude when we take into. consideration the very small plots of ground that are used for carrying
on experimental work, in some cases not more than one-fortieth of an acre, which it is necessary to cultivate by hand-the most expensive kind of work. In the event of something of value being discovered, it is not given to the public right away, but further experiments are conducted in control plots, and the experiments may run over four or five years to make sure of the correctness of the results obtained before tha information is passed on to the farmers. After all, the real harvest and profit from an experimental plot is not the small amount of grain, roots or seed that may be obtained from it, it is the information that is filed away in the office for the use of our farmers.
The Entomological Branch is also rendering good service, but it is very little known. The work has to do with the destruction of parasites injurious to crops. Hon. members will perhaps be surprised to learn that our losses from injurious parasites amount to $125,000,000 a year. In some parts of the West, in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and also in Alberta, we are now threatened with a grass-hopper plague. We are combatting these grass-hoppers by treating them with a mixture consisting of arsenic, bran and molasses. To give an idea of the extent of our operations in co-operation with the Provincial Governments, I may say that the work will require 100,000 pounds of arsenic, 2,000 tons of bran and 50,000 gallons of molasses for the purpose. When we take into consideration the fact that from 2 to 4 grains of arsenic are sufficient to kill a human being, I think we may reasonably expect that 50 tons of arsenic will take the hop out of a considerable number of those grass-hoppers. It has been suggested that we try poisonous gases for this purpose. There are many difficulties in the way, but we are carrying on a quiet investigation and if there is any promise of success we may go further with the matter. The brown-tail moth is another parasite that has caused a lot of trouble to our orchards in the East, but luckily that pest is now almost under control. In British Columbia we have what is known as pear thrips, which have done some damage to orchards out there. As an illustration of what has been done by the Entomological Branch, I may .say that in one particular orchard that I know of the yield in one year was only 700 boxes of pears. That year work was commenced by the Entomological Branch and in the next year the harvest amounted to 7,000 boxes.
The Entomological Branch has been 'brought to .a high is'tate of efficiency by tihe

late Dr. C. Gordon Hewitt, a gentleman of high scientific attainment and of very large calibre. We were unfortunate enough to lose him through death some weeks ago. He possessed great executive ability, and his loss will be a serious one to agriculture and to science, not only in Canada, but all over the world; for he was becoming widely known on account of his scientific attainments. I wish to pay this tribute to Dr. Hewitt's ability and tp the very great work that he performed in this country.
Another new line of industry that is doing well and making good progress is the tobacco industry. The crop last year amounted to over 20,000,000 pounds, worth about 18,000,000. But this industry is only in its early stages; there is a great deal to be done in securing co-operation so as to facilitate the putting up of curing plants and the improvement of marketing facilities. The Department of Agriculture has been interesting itself in this industry. We have a man overseas who is looking into the possibilities of the British market and trying to make arrangements for the selling of Canadian tobacco. When he returns we expect that he will bring with him a great deal of valuable information which will help us to attain this end.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I have taken up a great deal of the time of the committee, but I thought it advisable to outline rather briefly the possibilities of agriculture in this country. I have also directed attention to the important part that agriculture can play in meeting our present financial situation. The prospects for development, I think you will agree, are practically unlimited. In briefly summarizing the situation, I may say that it will be the object of the department to facilitate and encourage production and better methods of farming by the medium of education, demonstration and illustration; to encourage a system of mixed farming with live stock as a basis; to increase and encourage better feeding, finishing and marketing of live stock; to develop our export trade in agricultural products; to expand our marketing policy in every posible way and to have our goods, when they are placed on the market, of such quality and in such condition as to enable us to meet successfully any competition that may offer; to improve and extend our facilities for handling perishable products; to conserve carefully the health of our live stock and to maintain the high reputation we now possess in this connection.; to assist in the development fMr. Tolmie.]
of special lines of production which have not yet become thoroughly established; to encourage co-operation and co-operative selling; to improve transportation facilities for handling our products; to investigate the possibilities of securing cheaper money for our farmers so as to enable them to increase their production; to use our best efforts to rigidly apply such legislation as is on the statute book for the protection of the farmer.
I feel that a policy of this kind is an absolutely safe one and can bring about nothing but the best results. Of course, our efforts in this connection will be limited to the amount of expenditure that we shall be able to make. After travelling all over Canada I find myself to be more than ever a thorough believer in this country. I am more strongly than ever impressed with the extent of our wonderful resources. There should really -be no pessimism at this time on the part of our Canadian people, if they will only consider the tremendous wealth of this country and its possibilities. While it is necessary to apply taxation to meet our immediate requirements, it should -be but. a temporary burden and but a side line to a big progressive movement for more business and the development of our wonderful opportunities in agricultural and natural resources. All that is required is an intelligent handling of the situation, and I feel that with the spirit of the Canadian people behind it no safer plan of action can be adopted and nothing is surer of success than the policy which I have indicated.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Full View