I do not know, but we certainly are not there yet. My hon. frimd the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) made a very excellent speech the other evening, and I think he has been the only speaker on this side of the House who has attempted at all to touch with any detail on the economic feature of the different articles which would naturally pass from one country to the other. The minister in his statement the other night said that the farmers will get the American price for wheat. What is the American price? I have here an extract from a speech made by Mr. J. J. Hill, in Chicago, the other night, at the Chicago Chamber of Commerce dinner. He said:
The price of any commodity of which a country produces a surplus for export is fixed in the market where it must be sold. The demand of the whole world for wheat meets the supply of the world in the Liverpool market. To that, Russia and Argentine and Canada and the United States all send their surplus. The visible supply is noted, the piobable demand computed, the prospects of growing crops taken into account, and these automatically determine the price.
The Farmer Gains Either Way.
This Liverpool quotation regulates wheat prices in all the markets of the world. It is cabled daily to New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Duluth, Winnipeg and the other primary markets of wheat-exporting countries. The price in each of them varies daily with the Liverpool advice. It is, therefore, impossible that this price should be affected by the trade relation of any two of the countries to each other. It can make no difference in the total stock of wheat for sale, which fixes the price, over what route it goes to market. The quotations would not he changed by the fraction of a penny if all the wheat of Canada went abroad by way Of Minneapolis, Chicago, Duluth and New York
Which Heaven forbid.
-instead of by way of Winnipeg, Port Arthur and Montreal. But every bushel milled in transit helps the price, by withdrawing from the visible supply, on which prices are based, the wheat that has been turned into flour.
That is exactly the situation so far as wheat is concerned. Everybody knows that, so that any advantages that our western [DOT] farmers may gain- in price- of wheat are purely imaginary.
I wish to emphasize the point that I want to see every bit of wheat exported from this country sent out in no form less crude than flour.
I now come to barley. The minister stated that on account of the McKinley tariff our farmers lost a great deal of profit. He quoted the amount of profit they have lost by taking the figures that they had received in a certain number of years for their barley. I know something about the barley country in Ontario; I know that when the McKinley tariff was put into effect the farmers along the north shore of Lake Ontario were almost stunned, the blow had been so heavy. But I also know that since that time those same farmers have changed their methods of farming and are producing crops at present which give them more money than they got for their barley, and in addition their land is in much better condition.
Now the meat trade. The minister apparently would be glad to see the whole of our meat trade thrown over to the control of the United States packers. I do not take this view of it at all. I want to quote a resolution which was presented to the government by the farmers' deputation in December on the chilled meat industry:
Whereas it is of very great importance to the whole of Canada that prompt government action be taken towards establishing a complete chilled meat system on a sound and permanent basis, with the interests of the prcducers adequately protected; and
Whereas, the live stock industry of Canada has been neglected, and if the neglect is continued it will soon result in impoverished farms, and the live stock industry of the country will make no headway until it is made worth the farmers' while to produce and furnish more and better stock; and
Whereas the farmers are on account of the unsatisfactory market going out of the meat producing business, and will not again take it up until the market is placed upon a stable basis, and further that under the present system of exporting there is always a danger of the markets of the world being closed to us, which would result in ruin to many; and
Whereas on account of the danger of encouraging monopolies the farmers cannot be satisfied with anything short of a meat curing and chilling process inaugurated by the Dominion government, and operated in such a way that will guarantee to the producers the value of the animals they produce.
Of all the memorials they presented, I was most in sympathy with that one, because if we are to build up a big meat industry in the west and assist the farmers in getting the prices they should it is necessary that this industry should be carried on by either private enterprise or government assisted enterprise. I do not believe in the government going into the meat business, but no private company or firm or individual can attempt to establish a meat industry in the west at the present time on account of the enormous amount of capital it would require. I think it is an industry that we should encourage, and it should be under Canadian and not under American control.
Now take the packers. They came to Ottawa, they presented their memorial. They were practically told that they did not know what they were talking about, that they would not be hurt. I do not know much about th-e packing business. I did have a large investment in a packing house once, and lost it all. But the packers of Canada have done good service. They have spent large sums of money in good faith, they have done as much as any other class of people to make a name for Canadian farm products, and they should be considered; they should not be left in such a position that their business is going to be jeopardized. The present situation, if this goes through, is that the American packers can come to Canada and get all the hogs they want, while our packers cannot bring over a single American hog, as every hog coming to Canada must be held at least 30 days in quarantine and must be accompanied by a certificate.
The minister also mentioned hay. I quite Mr. HARRIS.
agree with him that it is good farming to grow hay on certain kinds of land, just as it is good farming to grow wheat on certain kinds of land, but I do not think it is good business to grow hay and ship it out as hay. I think it is better to encourage the farmers who do grow hay to feed stock and ship it out in a finished state. That is the argument I am trying to make all the way through.
This question of competition is also dealt with by Mr. Knox in that same Chicago speech. He says :
In making a reciprocity agreement it is proper and right that we should consider the market which our neighbour has to offer us as well as the market which we offer her. Thus, we provide that the agricultural classes of a great section of our country should have the benefit of the free admission of cotton 6eed oil into Canada. We also obtain the exemption from duty of all fruits and vegetables and various other agricultural products of which some sections of the country as widely separated as California and Florida have a surplus at certain seasons, while we are not unmindful of the producers of the border states who at times have large quantities of surplus products which will be benefited by free entry into the Canadian market.
Mr. Knox himself thinks that this will be of assistance to the American farmers along that side of the line. He also says:
The free admission of grain from Canada thus meets the present situation and provides against contingencies when the Canadian surplus becomes greater by placing the control in the hands of our own grain growers.
In the hands of our own grain growers!
They have no cause to fear a demoralizing influx under the conditions which result from the reciprocity agreement.
The proposition with which we have dealt is economic, not political.
The horse industry is a very important industry. Every farmer in the province of Ontario at the present time is following the system of mixed farming. Every farmer is raising one or two colts every year, and they bring a good price in the Toronto market, which, I believe, is the best market for horses on this continent. We have greatly improved the breed of horses in the province of Ontario, and our horses are very much superior to those we would naturally get from the south. The horses we would get from the south would have a deteriorating effect on all Canadian horses in the west if they were allowed to come in free.
Now, to sum up the result of this change of policy, as I see it, so far as agriculture is concerned. It causes us to send out everything in the crudest possible state instead of in the most highly finished state.
It is a serious blow to several important branches of agriculture. It seriously injures the hog industry. It prevents the development of the chilled meat industry under Canadian control. It gives a premium to the farmers to export hay instead of sending it out in the finished product. It bonuses the cheese factories and creameries to close up. It causes the farmers to send out their cattle in frames rather than finished. It kills incentive to more intensive farming. It puts a premium on the mining of the lands of the west rather than farming it. It destroys our hopes and ambitions for better technical agricultural training. It destroys the salt industry. In other words, I look upon the whole measure as a raw deal for Canada-we get the husks and they get the substance.
Conservation has not been spoken of very much during this debate. I was reading the other day in the Ottawa ' Citizen ' a report of a speech which had been made by Professor Robertson before the Canadian Club of Ottawa, and some of the things that he said placed this conservation question, so far as farming is concerned, in a much better light than I could do it. We have heard of conservation of our natural resources, but there is conservation of farms as well. Hon. members may not know that there is a department of our Conservation Commission which deals directly with farm conservation. Professor Robertson said:
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS-RECIPROCAL TRADE WITH UNITED STATES.
Subtopic: RATES OP DUTY ON CANADIAN PRODUCTS ON IMPORTATION INTO NEW ZEALAND.