Follin Horace PICKEL

PICKEL, Follin Horace, M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Brome--Missisquoi (Quebec)
Birth Date
March 2, 1866
Deceased Date
December 21, 1949
farmer, physician

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Brome--Missisquoi (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 21)

April 2, 1935

Mr. F. H. PICKEL (Brome-Miasisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to offer my congratulations to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) upon the manner in which he presented his budget speech. Seldom has this house been treated to such a full and clear picture of our assets and liabilities. Upon his creditable performance of this huge task the minister deserves congratulation.

During the present session I have remained quiet in my seat; in fact at no time have I been noted for' kicking up a disturbance. I have been pleased with the legislation brought down in the last five years. It is to my liking; and the reform measures which the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) forecast in his radio speeches furnish another reason wthy I am perfectly content. I am very sympathetic towards them, and I trust that as a result of the findings of the price spreads commission much useful and necessary legislation will follow.

It is strange, Mr. Speaker, the change that has taken place in the mentality of this house in the last five years from the point of view of agriculture, and that is the topic in which I am particularly interested. Many measures have been enacted for the benefit of the farmer, and I trust .that many more will be brought forward as a result of the findings of the price spreads commission. I am convinced, sir, that this parliament has enacted more useful agricultural legislation than has been passed in any previous quarter century. As the Prime Minister told us in his radio addresses, times have changed and we must change with them. That is very true. The policy of the Prime Minister is to uplift the little fellow. The capitalist and the industrialist 'has had his own way for a long time uncurbed, and as in the case of the individual, it has proved Ids undoing. He has gone too far, and reform must take place in a quiet and evolutionary manner or we shall have something serious on our hands. The standard of living has been raised so high in this country, and in fact all over the world, that it is only the capitalist and the industrialist and their executives who are permitted to enjoy that standard of living. As I said, the Prime Minister's policy is to uplift the little fellow so that he too may ' enjoy a better standard of living and take in the show. Years ago the best and most solid citizen in Canada was the agriculturist, but to-day he is the puniest, the tiniest, the lowest graded class in the whole dominion; yet

he constitutes fifty per cent of our population. That is a strange thing, Mr. Speaker. We have gone on in this country building up industries. We have had an industrial mania not only here but all over the world, and the little fellow has been left too much to float along alone. Like the products of no other class in the community, the products of the farmer- his butter, his cheese and everything else that he produces-are shipped to the cities, there to be distributed by middlemen who fix the price and reap millions out of the farmer's labour.

I have heard some hon. members speak about the importance of our coal mines and other minerals. But compare them with agriculture and they do not make a very good showing. The minute you take an ounce of gold out of the ground the mine has depreciated by that much, but agricultural wealth is a perpetual asset and should be continuously increasing in value and making new wealth. But at the present time the farmer is beaten out.

I want to refer for a moment to the standards of living and the high cost of living, and I do not think I can do it in any better way than simply to mention the golf links and golf courses that abound around our cities and towns. Millions of dollars are invested in these courses, and who enjoys them? Only the capitalist. The farmer never plays golf. The nearest the farmer ever gets to playing golf is when he knocks the dried-up tufts of fertilizer around his fields with a mallet. That is all the golf he gets. Take a train leaving any of our cities at noon in the summer and you will find it filled with men going out to the golf courses, all togged out in their knee-high pyjamas and other accoutrements. Why, Mr. Speaker, the cost of a pair of golf hose would buy two suits for a farmer. The farmer is wondering where he is going to get his next pair of overalls. That is the position in which he finds himself.

The farmer in normal times is by long odds the heaviest consumer, the heaviest buyer in the Dominion of Canada. Let him get his jjust share of what he produces and he will be able to absorb one-half or three-quarters of the present day unemployment. But to-day the farmer is unable to buy, and what work is done on the farm he has to do himself.

As_ I said a few minutes ago, we have gone industrially crazy, and we have done so at the expense of the primary producer. The capitalist has been misled. He has suffered from a sort of greed for gain. That is his hobby, and that has been the trouble-how much he can make. He has been given all power; he has been unbridled, unchecked, and

The Budget-Mr. Picket

it has simply been the means for self-destruction. We cannot go on in the way we are going. The capitalist will have to be curbed. The Prime Minister states distinctly that he does not intend to do away with capitalism, but he intends to reform it, to eliminate its bad features and retain the good ones. It seems to me that that would be a perfect solution. Along in 1927, 1928 and 1929 we saw an example of what a standard of living could be. We saw men with money and men without money but with facilities to borrow falling over each other in brokers' offices to buy stocks. Many of these stocks were all right but they were paying only two and two and a half per cent in dividends. I can give another example. In the small town in which I live we are paying more to-day to light our streets than we paid twenty-five or thirty years ago for all our taxes. Under these circumstances I submit that we must do one of two things. We must either reduce the standard of living or lift up the little fellow so that he can bear his share of the load. I am for lifting up the little fellow, because the country in which the standard of living is the highest is the better place in which to live.

As a general rule I do not indulge in political discussions in the house; we have far too much of this. But I cannot allow the remarks made by the genial and popular member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Howard), on January 31 to go unchallenged. The hon. gentleman gets so enthusiastic about his political views that he is often led astray and makes many misstatements of fact. His speeches are not usually full of moderation but I think in this instance he outdid himself. He was outlining certain things which this government had done, and on page 367 of Hansard he is reported as saying:

The duty on butter, under the King administration, was four cents per pound.

I submit that the hon. member must have known differently; he must have known that the duty was one cent per pound and that we brought in over 41,000,000 pounds of butter during the last years of the King administration. He then goes on to make a mountain out of a molehill.

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April 2, 1935


During the past five months, as the result of artificial stimulation, the American people have boosted their prices to our level and a little higher in some instances; but a year ago we got three times as much for our pork, ten cents more for our butter and ten cents a dozen more for our eggs. Is the artificial stimulation going to continue there? I fear for that country. I hope they will come out all right, but if they do not the result will be reflected in this country. They are spending billions over there to stimulate prices and there is a good deal of grumbling all over the country.

In my opinion our cold storage plants, on which thousands upon thousands of dollars have been spent, do not help the farmers at all. Who gets the advantage of cold storage? The commission man. It does not help the farmer, because it enables the commission man to buy the farmer's produce in the summer at a low price and leave it in cold storage; and when the farmer stops producing in the fall of the year the cold storage

The Budget-Mr. Picket

operators boost prices, making millions. These plants were built presumably for the benefit of the farmer, but the farmer has been neglected and he gets no advantage from them. As they are operated to-day they are a curse to him.

Before I close there are one or two facts I want to present to the house. Perhaps I shall be told that my age accounts for what I am going to say-they tell me I am getting old and childish, and perhaps I am-but to me the two gravest menaces that we are facing in this country to-day, and'the same is true of the world at large, are, first, automobiles, and second, the lack of discipline among the youth. The automania is a perfect curse; and what is to become of the youth of the country? There is no discipline among the children. I was surprised and amused the other night when the estimates of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Stirling) were being considered and he was being questioned about the relief camps. It seems that there has been some trouble in regard to discipline. I should like to know how you can have an aggregation of young people without discipline; it is absolutely impossible. Discipline is the first requisite, but where is there any discipline among the young people? There is no more home life, absolutely none. There may be individual exceptions, but as a general rule there is no more home life. The children come and go as they please. If you tell them to gee they will haw, and if you tell them to go east they will go west. They think of nothing but sport, dancing and social gatherings. Take the schools, sir, the colleges and universities; they are just athletic recruiting grounds. The athletic instructors draw down salaries twice as large as those of the professors. Look at the newspapers; they are half filled with sporting news. You see young fellows rush for the latest editions of the papers, and all they look at is the sporting page; that is all that interests them. How are we going to get at these people, these future rulers of this country? I do not know how we are going to discipline them; to my mind that is certainly a serious question. This might be a big field for the churches. As I said a moment ago, when the Minister of National Defence was putting through his estimates two or three members were questioning him quite closely; evidently they did not think the inmates of the relief camps

were being treated very well, but I noticed that most of those who spoke on that subject were bachelors, who did not know much about it.

I am not going to keep the house in suspense any longer, Mr. Speaker; I am just going to stop. To my mind our most important problem is our young people, girls as well as boys; one is as bad as the other. Where are they going? You can do nothing with them. I hope someone will evolve some scheme by which they may be brought to their senses.

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April 2, 1935


That has nothing whatever to do with the case.

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March 22, 1935


Before this vote carries I should like to say a word on behalf of the eastern townships of the province of Quebec. I do not need to say much, but I would draw attention to the fact that it is one of the finest scenic areas in the whole dominion and has natural attractions unsurpassed anywhere. It is a region of rivers, lakes and mountains galore. I know of one mountain 2,900 feet high from which I can view twenty-one small lakes, all teeming with fish, mostly trout. Of course they are not as large as they catch in some parts of the lower provinces or in British Columbia, but that does not seem to make much difference to the ordinary fisherman. As a general rule the ordinary fisherman is as much interested in what he takes with him and his surroundings when fishing as in what he catches, and I may say that remark is not confined to liquid refreshments.

It seems that this appropriation is about half what it should be, if all the requisitions of hon. members who have spoken are to be met.

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June 5, 1934

Mr. F. H. PICKEL (Brome-Missisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, I have no desire to prolong the debate, but there are a few observations I should like to make on the third reading of the bill, and especially after listening to the comments by hon. members opposite. I should think the house would agree with me when I state it is my impression that the ex-Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) left the farm when he was very young. He is not in favour of price fixing. He wants to get cheap butter. I wonder if he is just as liberal towards price fixing in connection with legal fees, judges' fees, superannuation, doctors' fees, notaries' fees, and fees for other professional men. In the present measure we are not asking for price fixing; we are not asking that the price to the consumer be increased. AH we are asking

is that the farmer should get his just share of what1 is paid by the consumer for his products. That is what we are after.

I should like to refer to only a few commodities which affect all the farmers in Ontario and Quebec and in the maritime provinces. I cannot see how the present measure will affect the price of wheat to any great extent, nor can I see how it could greatly affect the price of beef, except to the extent that poor quality beef might be kept off the market. The principal products of farmers in Ontario and Quebec are butter, eggs, pork and milk. To-day we hear nothing said about the price of pork, because thanks to the imperial preferences we are receiving three times as much as are the producers on the other side of the boundary line. One may note that in the spring of the year the price of these products is depressed arbitrarily by the middleman; it is fixed by him. I think it was the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr Motherwell) who said that we were stirred up simply because of the depression, but I say to him that this condition has existed for years. The middleman says, "We will pay so much this week," and through the summer as long as the farmer is producing the price is kept down to that level. Eggs bought to-day in the west at seven or eight cents a dozen are being placed in cold storage, and this fall and winter we shall have to pay forty cents or fifty cents a dozen for them. Is that right?-not much. They are doing the same thing with butter. This fall the storage houses will be filled with butter; they will have the whole season's make right there in one large quantity. We talk about supply and demand; six months' supply of butter will be right there in storage. Then those middlemen send the price up to thirty or thirty-five cents per pound. The farmer does not get any of that; it is no satisfaction to him to know that butter is thirty-five cents a pound or eggs fifty cents a dozen when he has none to sell. In fact at such times a good many of the farmers have to buy.

I believe that through the marketing bill we will receive some redress, and if we do not I do not know what we shall do. I understand that this afternoon a bill was introduced to effect farm relief, to put the farmer on his feet, I contend that if he is given a just share of the selling price of his goods he will put himself on his feet; give him a chance, because that is all we want. Everybody else in the country is protected, but the farmer is the man who is down under. He has lost


Marketing Act-Mr. Picket

his morale. In the cities they are robbing him right and left.

The price of butter to-day is not as low as it was last year, and the same statement applies to the price of eggs. They see the handwriting on the wall; they ex.pect they are going to be pulled up, and they deserve it. Talk about cooperation! Several members have mentioned that they are in favour of cooperation and I say that this whole scheme of production right from the soil to the consumer would be all right if there were cooperation right through, but you cannot get the middleman to cooperate. The farmers will cooperate but still they have to sell their produce at a depreciated price, with the middleman exploiting them. There is no such thing as cooperation between the producer and the middleman. The middleman is robbing the farmer all the time.

So far as compulsion is concerned, I see nothing in this bill of a compulsory nature except that when a sufficient body of producers ask that a certain product be regulated there are means of compulsion. If the butter producers, the egg producers, the strawberry producers or the producers of any other natural product are perfectly satisfied with the present marketing conditions they will not ask for anything else and there is no compulsion, but if they do ask for a change there is power under, the bill to deal with the situation and give them what they want. This is not a question at all of trying to create monopolies as the hon. member who has just sat down (Mr. Moore) has said. He gave us a great many academic quotations from different authorities dating back to the time of "corn in Egypt" and coming right down to the present, but that has nothing to do with the situation in Canada. We are in a unique position in this country. We consume in Canada ninety-eight per cent of all our farm products with the exception of cheese and wheat. It is right here on our own doorstep that we are being robbed; it is our own people who are robbing us, and I say that we should have means to prevent that. Give the farmer a just share of what he has produced and sells on the market and endeavour to make his returns more uniform throughout the year. Butter should never drop below twenty-five cents a pound or eggs below twenty-five cents a dozen. This idea of eggs at eight and ten cents a dozen in the spring and summer when the distributors fire accumulating their stocks is all wrong, and I do not see how even the consumer derives any benefit from it; next winter he

will have to pay four times as much because prices will be four or five hundred per cent higher. On every box of butter that is put into cold storage the farmer is robbed of from five to ten dollars by the packing houses. If this bill rectifies that situation, and I think it will, it certainly will be of great benefit. I know that a great many members opposite do not pretend to know much about farming, and there are a great many others opposite who have expressed themselves and think they know something about farming but who do not know very much. I have been farming all my life and I know what I am talking about. I come in close contact with the Montreal market, and the Toronto market conditions are just the same, and I know what the middlemen are doing. They are making their millions every winter at the expense of the farmer. I trust, Mr. Speaker, that this bill will be given the support it deserves.

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