July 10, 1931 (17th Parliament, 2nd Session)


William Richard Motherwell



I think we are all agreed that the government is desirous of helping someone, presumably the barley growers. Now, however, we find it is the corn growers whom this duty is intended to help-maybe both. At all events, it will put up the price of com. That is obvious. If you put on a duty of 25 cents a bushel, does anyone suggest that the result will not be an increase in price? I say it will put up the price; it will compel the buyers of corn to pay that much more for this commodity. And that will adversely affect the poultry industry. Now, the question is, what additional price will it require to move barley from western Canada either to the Pacific or down here? It cannot move itself; it will not pay for its carriage. The result is that a good deal of it is still on the farms. Low grade barley will have to be raised from 10 to 12 cents before it can begin to move. Will this duty on corn raise the price of barley 10 cents? If it does not, then the object of this duty will not be realized. You must get the barley to move, and it is not moving because of the low price. A good deal of

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff
low grade barley and low grade wheat did not carry itself to Fort William, and the farmer had not only to give the barley away for the freight rate, but he was even billed by the railways for more. He was minus some dollars for freight besides giving away his barley or his wheat. I say, therefore, that this assistance, with all due respect to the Prime Minister in his desire to help the barley growers, will be ineffective unless it extends sufficient help to get the barley moving. And that will take 10 cents a bushel. Again I ask, will a duty of 25 cents on imported corn raise the price of barley 10 cents? I do not believe it will raise it one iota. It may give a market for the best barley, the kind of grain that will carry itself, to the extent of four million or five million bushels if that much corn is shut out by this 25 cents duty. But I do not know whether it will do that. One thing is dead sure, however: it is going to hurt the poultry growers. They will have to cough up more for their corn. To talk about barley being a substitute for corn in the feeding of poultry is absolute nonsense; you cannot get the poultrymen anywhere, in the east or in the west, to support such a contention. Ask the poultry themselves by throwing a mixture of corn, wheat, barley and oats before poultry and see which they will take first. They will take first the corn and next the wheat and then either the oats or barley depending upon which is the better quality. Poultry do not like barley in the whole state. I have a friend in Hamilton who is a manufacturer of high class poultry feeds. I am told by the best authorities that just to the extent that barley is substituted for corn, thus increasing the fibre content of the mixture, there must be added a quantity of hulled oats in order to keep down the fibre content. Not only that, but those mysterious vitamins of which we hear so much are lost. If barley is fed you must make up for the absence of the vitamins by the use of cod liver oil. Hon. members should not laugh at that, because that is the fact. The hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett) referred to the duck farm at Knowlton. I had the pleasure of visiting this farm and one would think the whole top of the earth was a moving mass of ducks. The primary purpose of a duck is to be eaten. Enough eggs must be laid of course in order to perpetuate the species but the primary object is meat production. A duck is not very particular as to the palatability of its food; it will eat anything and that is one of the reasons why barley is used to the extent it is at the Knowlton farm.

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