Samuel Francis GLASS

GLASS, Samuel Francis

Personal Data

Party
Unionist
Constituency
Middlesex East (Ontario)
Birth Date
January 8, 1861
Deceased Date
April 6, 1925
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Francis_Glass
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=173a947c-154b-45f1-8a2c-0a9d2d992309&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
insurance broker, real estate agent

Parliamentary Career

October 21, 1913 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Middlesex East (Ontario)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Middlesex East (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 51)


March 31, 1921

Mr. GLASS:

A year ago. When we established the spinning mill we commenced to show by actual demonstration what we could do in this direction. Hon. gentlemen may theorize all they like about Canada not being able to grow flax, but when we delivered the goods, when we produced an article from our own raw material, we demonstrated that we could grow a fibre that would spin yarns up to sixty lea. There has been some difficulty in getting the machinery necessary to the development of the business up to the standard we aim at. This mill which has been in operation for a year has been able to get a certain amount of machinery with which to carry on the development of the coarser grades of fibre, but machinery for the spinning of the finer yarns is under order and when it is installed we shall be producing a quality of fibre away above that which we are producing now. If for no other purpose than to encourage the production of a higher and better quality of fibre I submit that the encouragement which has been given to the spinning industry has been fully justified. Hon. gentlemen have expressed the view that if the bounty re-acts beneficially upon the farmer, they are enabled to view it from a more favourable standpoint. That may be all right so far as it goes, but my argument is that the development of the spinning industry has shown the farmers and the growers what they did not know before: that they are able to produce a fibre that can compete with the best standards of fibre in Europe; that they do not have to take twelve and one-half cents a pound for it; that in the future, instead of receiving $250 a ton, they may reasonably expect a permanent market at a price of from $750 to $1,000 a ton.

Topic:   THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT
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March 31, 1921

Mr. GLASS:

A certain amount of confusion constantly arises from the fact that .we can grow flax for seed as well as flax for fibre. The characteristics and the methods of cultivation in the growing of flax for fibre and the growing of flax for seed are entirely different. In producing flax for seed in the West they sow one-half bushel to the acre and as a result they grow a short, stocky straw which throws out its branches and has many seed bolls on it. The statistics show that in good soil and under favourable conditions they have reaped a crop of as high as twenty-eight bushels to the acre. Their purpose is to grow seed; the fibre is of no consideration whatever; for generations back the straw has been burned as waste, there being no use for it. In Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and the provinces where we grow for fibre, the seed is of an entirely different character. It is seed which has been cultivated down through successive generations, having been grown originally in Riga, Russia, developed in Holland and then sent out here and grown as it is in Ireland-Dutch Child seed, we call it. This seed, instead of being sown one-half bushel to the acre, is sown a bushel and one-half to the acre, and the result is that instead of growing a short, stocky straw, they grow a long, lean straw running from thirty-six to forty-five inches high, the whole outer surface of which is covered with this fibre. The seed that is grown for oil contains twenty-five per cent more oil than the seed which is grown for fibre, therefore when you have to sell the fibre seed to the oil mill a deduction of value is made because oil cannot be produced from that seed in as great quantity as it can be produced from the regular oil seed. It is owing to the confusion with regard to our growing th it

flax in the West and growing this other type in other parts of the country that tne countries of Europe are getting mixed up as to our capacity for the production of flax. It is necessary, therefore, by propaganda and advertising to keep before the public the fact that there are two distinct varieties, one having no connection witn the other, one produced for one purpose md one for another. The statement that flax cannot be grown for fibre as well as for seed is also erroneous to some extent, because this is the only country under God's sun where we can do both. We pull the fibre flax up by the roots at a time when the seed in the boll has not been fully developed-is not ripe. But the seed is left in the straw and it goes on to maturity while the plants are in the stock, and there is no very great deterioration in its quality. The Government demands, of course, that all seeds exported to Europe for growing fibre must be certified as to quality, must show a purity of not more than one weed seed to the ounce avoirdupois, which means one weed seed in 3,390 seeds, and that they must germinate ninety per cent. My hon. friend will admit that if we grow from our fibre straw a seed that will germinate ninety per cent-and it does germinate, as has been shown by test, up to ninety-five and ninety-eight per cent

it can scarcely be said that we cannot grow fibre and, from the crop grown, obtain seed as well. We do obtain the seed, but it is not our purpose to sell it to the oil mills if we can find a market for the product in the form of fibre; because last year it had a value of $10 a bushel for fibre whereas its value for oil seed is not half that amount at the present time. There does not appear to be a market for the seed for fibre, because of the large surplus of Holland seed. The flax growers who grow for fibre have to sell their seed at twenty per cent under the price obtained for the oil seed of the West because their fibre seed does not produce the same amount of oil.

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March 31, 1921

Mr. GLASS:

I wish to say, in reference to the observations of the hon. member who has just spoken, that he takes upon himself a very serious responsibility in criticising the support that the Government is trying to give to the establishment in Canada of an industry that has such immense possibilities. I am sorry that world conditions so far have prevented manufacturers from Ireland, and I may say even manufacturers from Belgium, who are experts in the cultivation and manufacture of flax, establishing mills here and taking advantage of this bounty to encourage the spinning industry in Canada. It must be patent to any one that it is the height of folly for us to continue to be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water for the countries of Europe-for us to produce our raw material and send it over there to be manufactured and re-sold to us in the finished state.

There seems to be a desire not only in the House but in the press to discount the ability of Canadian growers to produce flax

of high quality. A prominent Belgian who was in this country a short time ago, in the course of an interview given to a representative of the Montreal Star, stated that Canada grew as fine a quality of fibre flax as could be produced in the civilized world; but that Canadians so far had not been able to handle their flax as scientifically as growers in Belgium, Ireland and other countries. Why, Sir, the very object of establishing a department of fibre in connection with the Experimental Farm was not to show farmers how to grow flax-[DOT] that is easy enough-but how to handle it after it is grown. You may produce a crop of flax the acre value of which might not represent twenty-five dollars after it is harvested, and yet that very same flax handled under expert direction and properly retted and scutched might represent a value of from $300 to $350 an acre. It is for that very purpose that we want expert direction through our Department of Agriculture. Then, having produced a quality of flax equal to the best that can be produced in Europe, the Department of Trade and Commerce, through this bounty, can encourage the spinning of the fibre into yarns. This means spinning it into threads from which the linen is woven. As a result of that encouragement a mill was established in Guelph by Dominion Spinners, Limited, the purpose of which was to use Canadian flax fibre for the making of yarns, and then in their adjoining mill to weave the yarns into linen. The quality of their goods is attested by the fact that the Canadian National Railways, the Canadian Pacific Railway, the King Edward Hotel and other leading institutions which demand a high quality of linen for their tables are buying their supplies from Dominion Spinners, Limited; in other words, they are buying linen which has been woven in a Canadian mill from yarn spun from Canadian-grown fibre. The Brooklyn Linen Mills of Belfast, Ireland, have already been looking into the possibilities of growing fibre in this country with a view to the establishment of linen mills here. I hold, Sir, in view of the fact that we have such a tremendous potential water power in this country, and that we can grow fibre here of such excellent quality, there is no earthly reason why with proper encouragement we should not have the flax spinning and weaving industries developed here to their highest possibilities. I submit that if several spinning mills were established here-as I hope they will be-

the $25,000 or $26,000 appropriated for bounties on the production of these yarns would be too small, and it is my cherished hope that the industry may so develop and such a large amount of yarn will be spun as to require even a large appropriation for this bounty.

This afternoon, while this discussion was proceeding, I was engaged in my room dictating a long letter of protest to the Montreal Star in answer to an article which appeared there a week ago to-night. A Mr. Ireland, of Ireland Bros., large linen manufacturers of Belfast, allowed himself to be interviewed by an ignorant reporter of the Montreal Star-ignorant on this subject; I will qualify it to that extent; absolutely ignorant of the subject about which he was seeking information. Mr. Ireland, in expressing his optimism and hope for the future of the industry, made the statement, that with the present condition of the industry throughout the world there is a total visible supply of not one-third enough fibre to operate the mills in Ireland alone for a single year. Yet notwithstanding that condition, and the impossibility of the Baltic and other flax-growing districts getting back to normal conditions within a reasonable time, the price of this commodity has been depressed to a point where it is now below the cost of production in this country. That is a very unfortunate circumstance, but it is not one to discourage us, because production costs last year were abnormal by reason of the very high rate of wages. Mr. Ireland expressed the opinion that these conditions impelled the conclusion that in the very near future there must be a large increase in the consumption of fibre, and that as soon as the retailer commenced buying linens there would be a demand on the manufacturers for their goods, and having eased themselves of their stocks, a demand would spring up very quickly from the manufacturers for the limited supply of fibre that was now available. Therefore there is every possibility that our growers will come through with a very fair profit if they will have patience. But the point in this article that I object to, and the point which I drew to the- attention of the chief of the fibre department of the Experimental Farm, is this. The interviewer asked Mr. Ireland what did people in Ireland and the rest of Europe think of Canadian flax. He said: Oh, Canadian flax does not meet with very much success. He could not say anything against

its quality, for it was good, but the flax in this country was grown mostly for linseed. Now, that was an absurd statement for him to make. It is true that in the West flax is grown for linseed, but in Ontario and Quebec we grow flax for fibre exclusively, and we have developed a quality equal to the best fibre grown in any part of the world.

I urge, Sir, that it is the duty of the Government at this critical time not to get discouraged. Our growers are not discouraged. They will grow more flax next year, but not so much as in former years; they are going to feel their way. I have expressed the opinion in this House time and again that the duty of our growers is to develop quality rather than quantity, that a hundred acres of good flax from which good fibre can be produced is better than five hundred acres of mediocre flax, the fibre from which you cannot find a market for, against the competition of Russia, Japan and other flax-growing countries. I hope the Government will stand to its guns and will follow up its good work by establishing a demonstration plant in the district where fibre is mostly grown, and will by research work encourage the adoption of better methods and better mechanical appliances. There is no reason why we should not have by this means, a flax industry developed to the limits of its possibilities, and an industry which will add enormous potential wealth to this country.

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March 31, 1921

Mr. GLASS:

I do not think I made myself clear to my hon. friend; I certainly did not mean to create such an impression. What I said was that they were presuming at the time that half a dozen mills, maybe a dozen, might take advantage of the encouragement as proposed for the establishment of spinning mills in this country. Now the maximum amount of the bounty was $25,000. If twelve mills of equal capacity started operations and each mill earned according to the rate granted, a bounty of $25,000, it would instead of getting the full bounty, receive only a ratio as one of twelve.

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March 31, 1921

Mr. GLASS:

I am sorry I cannot make

myself clear to my hon. friend. I do say that there was a demand for the cloths, the resultant product of the weaving mills, which could not be supplied at that time because the available supply of flax fibre, which is the raw material of the spinning mills, could not be produced, and the only weaving mill in Canada at that time was the Dominion Linens, Limited, in Guelph, they having established a mill there at a cost of $750,000. They had previously been importing their yarns, the manufactured article from the fibre, and from those yarns weaving their cloths. Due to the war conditions then prevailing and the necessity for aeroplane cloths, Great Britain, Germany and all the belligerent countries forbade the exportation of the fibre and yarns and of any other flax products. What was the condition in Canada? We had a mill but that mill was stagnant because we could not manufacture our fibre into yarn to keep the spinning mills going.

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