Hon. CHARLES MARCIL (Bonaven-ture) :
Mr. Speaker, I feel it my duty to say a few words on the question before the House, representing as I do an agricultural constituency in which is made about the best butter to be found in the province of Quebec. The future prosperity of this country rests almost wholly on its agriculture, and anything that this House can do should be done to encourage a return of population to the farms, because unless we can build up this basic industry I see no hope for Canada in the future. Since 1882, the province of Quebec has developed a magnificent market, abriad as well as at home, for butter and cheese. By the statistics for the year 1920, I observe that the output of butter brought a return of $23,000,000 odd and cheese over $13,000,000. There are 1,800 factories distributed throughout the province of Quebec, and the making of butter and cheese is probably the most promising of all our industries. The splendid donation made by the province of Quebec at the outbreak of the war of half a million dollars' worth of cheese was a great stimulus to the industry, to which it attracted considerable attention.
I should consider myself recreant to my duty if I did not vote against the continuance of this attempt to foist upon the country a product which I do not think the people want. It was allowed as a substitute during the war and there is now no further need for the manufacture of it. Those who can buy butter at any reasonable price do not care for oleomargarine. I do not think that any man going into a store would buy this article if he could get butter at a fair price. People had to buy oleomargarine during the war because the price of butter was very high, but now prices are all reasonable and they can afford to get the genuine product.
We should give the farmer every encouragement possible. He does not enjoy the protection which the manufacturers and the capitalists are given; and, furthermore, he has to contend with weather conditions and markets. The markets of the United States are now closed against him, and the farms are all suffering from an exodus of the rural population to the cities. Thousands of people have left my constituency, and the same is true of other places in Canada. We must make the conditions of
rural life attractive so that these people may be induced to return to the farms. In the province from which I come particularly, there is no more promising industry than the dairy business, and I therefore feel it my duty to support this resolution. I congratulate the hon. member who introduced it (Mr. Neill) for the very fair and complete manner in which he laid the question before the House.
Mr. WILLIAM F. CARROLL (Cape Breton South and Richmond) : The speeches on this question have been very brief and I hope to follow the example set by other hon. gentlemen. I do not personally like oleomargarine. I had the misfortune of being obliged to eat it for some considerable time and I know something about it. As I understand the question before the House, however, it is not a matter of taste but a question whether or not we should permit the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine in this country. I take the ground that a person who can afford to buy butter will buy butter, while those who are unable to buy it will buy oleomargarine. So that I fail to see the force of the argument that the manufacture of oleomargarine in Canada is going to injure in any way the dairy interests of the country. The hon. member who so very ably presented the question to the House said that there was a great deal of sham and fraud about the manufacture and sale of this article. Well, we are all more or less in the hands of those who sell us anything we eat or anything we wear. For example, how many people out of the 8,000,000 or so who inhabit this country are able in the fall of the year to clothe themselves in the very best of woollens? A very small percentage. Indeed, very many people in Canada are obliged to wear underclothing which is not made of wool at all. No doubt they would like very much to be able to get the real article, but they cannot afford to pay for it, and because they are bound to get inferior clothing we might as well say that they are the victims of fraud and sham perpetrated by those who sell them the cheaper goods. Again, there are a great many different grades of shoes, and sometimes we find them with soles that are made of paper instead of leather. Nevertheless, there are people who buy shoes of this kind because they cannot afford the more expensive grades.