May 15, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)



I shall answer
the question in my own way. Dairying was the branch of agriculture that stood up the longest after the war, and for that reason people are going into the industry more than ever the world over. It is the one safe line of agriculture, and because of that we are going to have great difficulties not only in securing markets but in holding them. Consequently, anything that deprives the dairyman of the home market is a detriment to the industry; and to the extent that oleomargarine is used as a substitute for butter it will lessen the demand for the dairy product. I do not say how much it is likely to interfere with
fMr. Motherwell.]
the price, but oleomargarine will certainly interfere with the market for butter. Every country is seeking markets, and that is the story in Canada. The situation is very acute, and at all dairy conventions in Canada since New Year's, it has been the same tale from East to West: We must hold what markets we have by improving the quality of our product, and at the same time endeavour to get new markets for disposing of it.
I will now refer to some of the arguments that have been advanced during the course of the debate. As I said at the outset, there are two sides to this question, and I am prepared to make a compromise proposition rather than insist on those who think as I do having our way, or those who think opposite having their way. I believe in a free-for-all such as this we are speaking our real heart's opinion, and if that be so, as I am sure it is, then if we can come to a compromise whereby the man or woman who wants cheap butter can get it without prejudicially affecting the youthful, incipient dairyman, then I think such a compromise would be a very commendable one. That is what I appeal for.
The hon. member for Victoria City (Mr. Tolmie) spoke of the effect that either the manufacture or non-manufacture of oleo would have on beef cattle. From inquiries I have made I find that only 10 per cent of the tallow generated in our beef cattle goes into oleo. Of course, if oleo were freely manufactured it would gradually require a greater supply of tallow, but at the present stage the consumption of tallow does not amount to any appreciable volume.
Then the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) said that Canada is not justified in destroying one industry in order to build up another Now, Mr. Speaker, is it fair to say that the manufacture of oleomargarine is an industry when it was permitted to be established on grace and to meet a temporary condition only? The manufacturers were permitted to manufacture oleo to meet the scarcity of butter due to the heavy export demands during the war. They knew at the time that the manufacture had its limitations, and they deliberately engaged in it. The very fact that its importation and manufacture was extended for one year last session shows that the industry was always regarded as of a purely temporary character, and there can be no doubt that those who engaged in it recognized its limitations. Consequently

O leomargarine
it cannot be said that we are destroying any industry. It was a catch piece of business for the occasion, and the manufacturers took their chances at the time they started to make oleomargarine, and they will have to take their chances if its importation and manufacture should be discontinued. But if those same manufacturers are permitted to manufacture renovated butter, part of their loss of business may be made up, and this renovated butter will make a very good substitute for oleomargarine. The hon. member took the stand: You have no right to interfere with me as to what I want to eat. Well, I have pointed out that if he takes that ground, it logically follows that we would not tolerate our right to interfere with him in what he drinks. If he insists upon perfect liberty in one direction he must naturally insist upon it in the other direction; the two go together.
The hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) supports the resolution because, he says, it means protection to the dairy industry. That is an attitude I cannot agree with, and I have given my reasons. However, if all my hon. friends immediately opposite who do honestly believe in protection see protection in this proposal, why, we will welcome every one of their votes on this occasion.
The hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Munro), who is something of a philosopher, said: The young men will not milk; the old ones cannot, as they are broken down. So when they die, what are we going to do? I suppose the answer again is: Eat oleo. But that is not sufficient. Undoubtedly the young men do dislike milking cows. We have so many attractions- we have our fine, inter-urban highways; we have our high-powered cars; we have our barrel of gasoline, and all we have to do is turn the tap and fill the tank of the car; we have a baseball match down the line; we have a nice road, and we have a nicer girl, if you like, across the way that the young man wants to take to the baseball match. How can the dull routine of dairy farming stand up against such a temptation, Mr. Speaker?

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