At any rate, here are the facts: During the year ending March 31st, 1930, we imported 28,000,000 pounds of butter. During the year following our imports were
6.000. 000 pounds; but there is this further important detail that, out of the total of
6.000. 000 pounds, almost 5,000,000 entered Canada before the legislation passed at the emergency session last September came into force. That is the first point I wanted to clear up, Mr. Speaker.
But the matter does not end there. It must be borne in mind that, although butter is selling at a very low price just now, we ourselves are supplying Canada's requirements; our own Canadian producers are providing the butter needed by the Canadian consumer -something which had not happened, Mr. Speaker, since the notorious Australian treaty was negotiated by our friends to your left.
Neither should it be forgotten that our prices here are higher than in London, that they are still above the world level, and further that no more butter is entering Canada from New Zealand. This latter source, practically inexhaustible, which caused such havoc in the eastern townships, need worry us no longer. We are receiving only a few pounds of butter from Australia.
The hon. member for St. Henri stated on the floor of the house tbait promises had been made to the effect that no more butter would be imported into Canada from across the sea. I do not know whether he himself heard any such promises made. People are prone to some exaggeration at election time. I may tell him in reply that I made no such promises. I was well aware that a contract existed between Canada and Australia, and that we had to live up to that contract. I understand that next summer representatives of the Australian Commonwealth are coming to Canada and that our ministers will avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to negotiate a new treaty, a new contract. Meanwhile we are bound by the contract entered into by our friends on the other side of the House.
That is about all I had to say on this much-discussed butter question. I want to emphasize to the house that since the legislation of last September came into force our imports have been limited to some two million pounds of butter, while during the previous year we had received 28 million pounds. It is true some 4 millions came into the country during the three months immediately preceding the enacting of that legislation.
The legislation of the short session helped the farmers in another way. Now the farmers in the neighbourhood of cities can for the first time enjoy the benefits of their own markets and sell their early produce without fear of what almost amounts to unfair foreign competition, either from the United States or from the islands of the Atlantic. They are well pleased with the laws passed last September. I do not believe a single member coming from the neighbourhood of Montreal, and who has truck-gardeners among his constituents, would dare claim that these people who after all, make up a respectable and considerable portion of our farming community, are not delighted with the new laws which have proven so beneficial to them.
Mr. Speaker, I rose to point out the misapprehension which has arisen from the answers appearing on page 985 of Hansard, and which I thought needed a word of explanation, to forestall any interpretation contrary to fact.
Topic: SUPPLY-AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE