Mr. E. PAQUET (l'lslet):
(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a few remarks concerning the agricultural work of the Dominion Government. I feel thankful to my good friend from Chicoutimi (Mr. Girard) for his always apt references to agriculture. .
From 1901 to 1911, the population of cities and towns has increased 62 per cent, while the country population increased by a bare 70 per cent.
In the eastern provinces, the increase in the country has not been normal. The exodus from the farm to the city is much to be deplored. The Conservative Government, in view of the abandonment of farms, the scarcity of labour and the high cost of living, is striving constantly to give to agriculture the high place it should hold in Canada.
The Prime Minister, alive to the necessity of stimulating production, particularly farm production, appointed on the 15th of October, 1915, a Commission of Agriculture.
Economical conditions arising out of the war, impart still greater importance to the business of farming. The commission's special object is to inquire into the best methods of increasing production. The commissioners will seek the best means to obtain a heavier yield, improve the systems of instruction and demonstration, develop new productive areas, induce the immigration of farmers and farm hands, encourage co-operation, improve our transportation systems and find new markets. Allow me to quote the following words of the Minister of Finance:
Canada's future depends on the development of its immense resources, of which agriculture is the most essential, and that development is itself linked with the increase in the number of producers and in the means that may be given them towards utilizing their intelligence and initiative.
It is very likely that, in the financial stress which may hold for some years to come, the question of the capital necessary to the develop-
ment of agriculture may become of vital importance, and we intend, during the recess, to take up that subject carefully with a view to increasing present resources >by the intervention of the Dominion Government, if it should be desirable and for the greatest good of the country. , The Government has chiefly in view the creation of an organization to facilitate at reasonable rates loans which may be repayable on the sinking fund principle.
That question has some connection with the scheme of co-operation. Before co-operative societies were established in Belgium, agriculture was not very flourishing.
In 1903, a Belgian economist wrote as follows :
If the principles of scientific farming have now a hold on the country, if the farmers can now get, at a reasonable price, unadulterated manure and fodder for cattle, if they are in a position to secure easily the money they require, if their dwellings, their furniture, their animals can be insured at satisfactory rates, if they have been able to secure from legislation many conveniences, if they have become a power, what has done it all is association.
Denmark's salvation was effected by a complete reform in its methods, brought about by instruction and the application of the co-operative system to the production and diversification of farm produce, instead of by individual efforts.
We here must follow the agricultural policy of Belgium, France and Denmark, if we aim at making rapid though prudent strides in the way of progress.
A Liberal paper on the 27th January, 1916, published the following:
We have organized in certain localities cowtesting associations. For our Ottawa friends, it is indeed a success! In this instance again, the appointments went to good Tories, in most cases ignorant of their duties, who receive salaries of $1,200 a year.
That appreciation of the inspectors of Quebec is absolutely unfair. Hon. Mr. Fisher appointed an inspector in 1911.
Hon. Mr. Burrell has appointed in the province of Quebec nine inspectors, taken among those who had the widest experience in the dairy industry. All the inspectors have received certificates from the St. Hyacinthe Dairy school.
I congratulate the Government on having organized those cow-testing centres each being under an expert who devotes all his time to his duties.
I will now say a few words concerning the live stock branch of the Department of Agriculture. Those who would be fair to the Dominion Minister of Agriculture, are agreed that his policy concerning the live stock industry is a real help "toward agricultural progress. .
The Scarcity of breeding stock is at the present time, one of the main obstacles to stock raising in many parts of Canada. So the Minister of Agriculture has undertaken through the live stock branch an important distribution of breeding stock. The work of that branch assumes greater importance from year to year. The Minister of Agriculture is submitting to the House an estimate of $600,000 for the purposes of stock raising. The expenditure for that industry in 1911-12 amounted to $94,000; in 1912-13, to $100,000; in 1914-15, to $300,000, and in 1916-17 it will reach $600,000.
A very large number of farmers all over the Dominion are now alive to the advantages of the minister's policy.
According to some Liberal newspapers, some breeding stock more or less healthy, were bought by the Dominion Minister of Agriculture without proper care. They claim that the stallions and other sires have been put exclusively in the hands of Conservative friends.
This charge is altogether unfair to th,e Government. In fact, according to the regulations under which the breeding stock is distributed, the members of the various associations choose their directors, and the directors appoint the person who will have the care of the sires.
According to an article in Le Soleil, the Department of Agriculture has distributed in Quebec thoroughbreds, standard-breds and other light horses.
In reading the report of the Minister of Agriculture, I find that during 1,914 33 sires have been lent to farmers' associations. In that number there is not a single standard-bred and only one thoroughbred. There are fifteen breeders of Canadian breeds. In the county of l'Islet, one association asked for a Belgian sire and got it.
The critic in Le Soleil would not go to the trouble of applying for information at the department.
The same critic complains that certain breeding stock was bought without care and indiscriminately from the friends of the Government. The minister declares all the sires were bought by persons of experience, the purchases to be subject to the inspection of a veterinary from the Department of Agriculture.
The records of the department will show that barring a few isolated cases, all the animals received have been found highly satisfactory.
I would ask the officials of the department to be very careful in their method of distribution.
Stock raising has a bright future. At the winter fair in Ontario the Minister of Agriculture urged the farmers to increase their stock, that it was the surest and wisest policy.
Meat production begins to come up to the demand, but we can do better. Australia and the Argentine Republic are suffering from a crisis which has told on stock-raising. War has destroyed the European stock. So that it must be our farmers' care to take advantage of those favourable conditions to develop the stock-raising industry.
The operations of the Experimental Farms branch are constantly spreading. I desire to express my thanks to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture for his efforts to insure the success of the experimental farm at Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere. Not long ago, the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. - Lapointe) asked in the House that an experimental farm be established in the eastern district of Quebec. At Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere, although the Government have done what was necessary to make a success of the farm, certain improvements are still required. The minister's well-known appreciation of the importance of the farmer will lead him to improve that farm and make it one to be admired by all agriculturists.
Among the various Acts passed to promote farming, few have more importance than that providing for agricultural instruction, an Act which was passed in 1913 by the hon. minister. Under the wise guidance of the minister, the law was passed and the directors of our agricultural colleges have been put in a position to appoint staffs of devoted, educated and experienced teachers. In the province of Quebec, under that statute buildings have been added to and the equipment improved in all the institutions for the promotion of agriculture. I can speak more particularly of the work done at the agricultural college of Ste. Anne da la Pocatiere. Out of the Federal grant, large sums were received to put up new buildings so as to provide better accommodation.
While the religious orders who have charge of our agricultural colleges are working strenuously for [DOT] the advancement of agriculture, the Provincial and Dominion Governments are co-operating to the same end.
We are making great sacrifices towards the development of our agricultural colleges. Young men who have acquired a classical education have taken to farming. The Federal and Provincial Governments should earnestly see to those young men and ap-
point them to positions for which their studies and their talent has, prepared them. It is the best way of encouraging the agricultural schools.
Writers and orators sacred and profane, are trying to instil a taste for farm life and farm management into the minds of the Canadian farmers and youths. They extol the exalted position of the tiller of the soil, who can do so much for his country's prosperity.
The live stock branch has organized farmers' institutes in' French-speaking districts of the province of Quebec, to promote a campaign of patriotism and production. The farmers have taken to them with much earnestness. They showed clearly that their patriotism was responsive to the proposal. The success of the spring campaign in 1915 was due in a large measure to the co-operation *of ministers of all denominations, and especially the parish priests. We are indebted to the clergy who have been active in encouraging an increase of production in the province of Quebec.
In concluding I feel bound to recall the name of a former member of this House, the late Mr. G. A. Gigault, Deputy Minister of Agriculture for the province of Quebec. He was the inspirer of the work carried on by our experimental farms. Mr. Gigault had been, a pioneer in the field of scientific agriculture and has left imperishable monuments of his industry and zeal.