June 3, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Cameron Edwards



Yes. It is true that the proportion of export is not large. We must look abroad more and more for markets for our surplus production of butter, and we shall be forced to do so increasingly because of the favour which is being shown to oleomargarine. There can be no question in anyone's mind that olemargarine takes the place of butter, and the introduction of that article of food into this country in ever increasing quantities means the displacement proportionately of the home production of butter, driving us into foreign markets to sell our over-production. Last year we introduced into this country, in round numbers, about 7,000,000 pounds of oleomargarine, and that forced us to look abroad for the sale of that much of our butter. We are disposing of our surplus butter to some thirty-five or forty different countries, and our product has to come in competition with that of certain countries, which have taken very careful means to establish an international reputation for their product, such as New Zealand, Austrialia-Australia not to the same extent, of course, as New Zealand- Denmark and Holland, all of which have for years developed this matter scientifically and obtained an international name in the foreign markets for their product by a careful system of standardizing for export. We have to compete with that, and it seems to me that so far as our Canadian product is concerned, the time is past due when we should do something to secure for our butter an international reputation if it is to compete successfully with the products of other countries which are carefully graded and systematically handled as is the product of New Zealand, Denmark, and other places. If there is any one province of Canada more than another which is interested in the passing of this Bill and the proper grading of dairy products, it is the province of Quebec. Ontario has won the honours so far as the quality of cheese is concerned; that is to say, Ontario produces a larger percentage of cheese of number one grade than does the province of Quebec. But while Ontario has forged to the front in that respect in regard to butter the province of Quebec leads every other province in the Dominion in the percentage of first-class production. I shall give some figures which go back to the year 1917. I have not taken the time to get figures later than that, but I do not think that I am giving ancient history in the figures I submit now, and I think they may be taken as fairly indicative of conditions as they are at present.
In 1917, of our cheese production of over 1,000,000 boxes exported from Ontario, 93.38 per cent graded as No. 1, for which we were entitled to receive the highest prices: 6.42 per cent graded as No. 2; and .20 per cent graded No. 3. In Quebec, of 755,000 boxes sold, only 70.88 per cent graded No. 1; 27.13 per cent graded No.
2 and 1.99 per cent graded No. 3. Of Prince Edward Island's output, of 17,000 boxes, 90.85 per cent graded No. 1; .9 per cent graded No. 2; and 1.5 per cent graded No. 3. For all Canada 84.22 per cent graded No. 1.

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