GIRARD, Joseph

Personal Data

Independent Conservative
Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 2, 1853
Deceased Date
March 30, 1933

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 18)

April 24, 1914


Before this item passes, without complaining of the past, I want

to congratulate the Government, and principally the Postmaster General, who is the minister of the Quebec district, on the success they have had in getting to do this service, instead of poor people, a strong company which will give two boats, one of them being prepared to carry one hundred first-class passengers at fair rates, under the supervision of the Government, and ready to take all means possible t-o advertise the resources of the north shore which has been neglected until now. The people living along the north shore will appreciate this service; and, in their name and my own, I want to thank the Government, and principally the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Postmaster General, for their work in bringing about this service, which will materially promote the prosperity of that part of the country.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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February 26, 1914


I beg your pardon; last

year the grant to the Province of Quebec amounted to $139,000, and this year it amounts to $159,000, and it is in the statement showing the distribution of that $139,000 that I find $12,000 for drainage.

Reference has been made to-night to experiment stations. I may be allowed to say that owing to the startling variations in climate to be observed in passing from one district to the other, that policy of having numerous experiment stations, can never be furthered too actively and energetically, especially in its eastern and northern parts. The eastern part of the Province of Quebec, not to say the whole province, has within the last seven years suffered through a succession of bad crops, of a nature to discourage the most determined. The complaint in certain parts is that the population in the country districts is on the decline and is emigrating to the cities. It is no wonder that, following on a succession of reverses, so trying and vexatious as those I have referred to, some should lose heart and should endeavour to find some other means of securing those comforts of life, which after all are necessary in a measure, and with that in view should resort to emigration. It is mueh to be regretted that in such an age as this, when people seem to have lost their heads and to think that comfort, and even luxury, are the main objects of life, our farming class should *have met with a succession of poor crops. Such an unfortunate concourse of circumstances have necessarily had a depressing effect and resulted in the depletion of the country population, a fact which all deplore.

It is much to be regretted that the Quebec Government, about which there is so much talk, should not have deemed proper, being more particularly entrusted with the welfare of the inhabitants of that province, to get right down to work and try to discover the means of safeguarding the farming community under its care against those changes of temperature or other scourges which Providence has in store, in such a way that they would be left, even under adverse conditions, with a modicum of a crop.

Formerly, in some of the far nothern districts of the Northwest, it was found absolutely impossible to produce grain of good quality in fair quantities. Governments have taken up the question; farmers, meeting with a series of uninterrupted failures, set themselves to working out the problem, and to-day in those localities where it was

not possible to find five per cent of good grain in the year's crop, turn out millions of bushels of No. 1 grain every year.

If study, intelligence and industry have in the West given such marvellous results, I wonder if the same means would not, when taken in the Province of Quebec, produce exactly the same results. The idea did not even occur to the Government of the Province of Quebec that something might be done towards finding a remedy to the ills of agriculture under such circumstances.

An interest has been developed in good roads, which is a very good thing, but good roads lose a good deal of their usefulness when there is no traffic to circulate over them. I say therefore that the Quebec Government have completely erred, shown a lack of enterprise and earnestness, inasmuch as they have caused the farming class to turn their attention to other matters of some interest to them, no doubt, but at the same time caused them to neglect other matters of still greater moment. What will he the use of good roads, if the farmers have no produce to draw over them? To my mind, it would be better for them to have abundant crops as they have in the West, though traffic may be blocked for want of means of transportation, rather than have highways or transportation facilities and no produce for home consumption. That is what has happened in the Province of Quebec during the last decade. So I think it behoove3 me to draw the attention of the Dominion Government and of this House to the ridiculous position in which the district of Quebec, if not the Province of Quebec, is being put, and to induce, if possible, the Minister of Agriculture, when negotiating the next agreement with the Quebec Government, to require the Quebec Minister of Agriculture to take up first and carry on such experiments as I have pointed out.

At a not very remote period, the Province of Quebec could boast of leading the Dominion in the matter of dairying. It was recognized that out of ten cheese or butter factories, nine were good, and only one, inferior. Gn the third of December last, at the convention of the Dairymen's Association of the Province of Quebec, the representative of the Montreal cheese trade, addressing a large audience, comprising, if my memory is good, the provincial Minister of Agriculture and his deputy minister, stated that he was sorry to have to warn the Province of Quebec that at present, out of ten cheese or butter factories in that province, there were nine bad, and only one good. That was rather startling information, of a nature to grate on the feelings of 74J

the people of that province, and more particularly of its government and Minister cf Agriculture, who proclaim so loudly their devotion to the imblie weal.

Farmers generally take an interest in crop-growing, as well as in milk production. Those two items make up 95 per cent of the revenue of the farming class in Quebec.

Mr. Chairman, that being well understood,, what shall we say of the policy of the Government which, after witnessing the drift of things, flatter themselves with finding a. remedy in a good roads policy, even though it entails the mortgaging of municipalities for a period of 41 years, with almost ruinous-consequences to some of them, and then prevents the Dominion Government fronv granting to its province hundreds of thousand dollars, part of which might surely have been applied to partly paying off every year the aforesaid mortgage. Hon. gentlemen will admit, no doubt, that representing as 1 do an agricultural constituency, it is incumbent on me to draw the attention of this House and of the Minister of Agriculture to the way matters are being managed in the Province of Quebec, and to request the men holding power in Ottawa to firmly take in hand the interests of my province and of my county, so that the Dominion subsidy granted by us may be put to a more practical use than heretofore.

I may be allowed to state that the agreement entered into by the Quebec and the Ottawa ministers in the last two years, h is given results far from satisfactory to those members of the Quebec district who support this Government. We are supposed to know the requirements of the province and of oar various counties as well as, if not better than, one or two government men in Quebec who utterly fail to take a broad view of the requirements of agriculture, and for the last ten years have allowed the farming class in Quebec to lose ground in the woeful way I have pointed out; and I am satisfied that the time has come when, perforce, the Government providing the funds to assist the farmers of my province must take upon itself, acting on the information supplied by us, to lay down its terms and see to it that the general interest be safeguarded in preference to those of individuals, the latter having had the upper hand during these last two years, under the arrangements as taken.

Of course, in view of the facts just referred to, experimental research work will be in order in the eastern and northern parts of my province, so as to render as expeditiously as possible' agriculture a paying and attractive venture. Unless that is done the depletion of population which is complained

of, will be growing worse, and the ills whi :h all deplore will continue developing from day to day.

Many references have been made to experiment stations to-night. Every hon. member wants one for his own constituency, though not objecting to others being treated alike. Let me say that the Dominion Government having at present in the Province of Quebec experimental farms organized or about to be organized in the Eastern Townships, where the climate is mild, in the vicinity of Quebec, for the middle region, and at Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere, for the South shore, that number, considering the transportation facilities which are now everywhere at hand, should afford a fair measure of service to the major part of the province, until the time comes when the Government will be in a position to provide one farm per county, if required, which, I think, would be a very good idea.

But I have the honour to represent here a district which from the geographical viewpoint occupies a very peculiar position. Its climate is different from that of Quebec, it rests on a geological formation different from that at Quebec; there Spring is always later than elsewhere; even the forest growth has a different appearance from that to the south of the Laurentian range. There is to be found there a population of about 40,000 souls which is making a pretty good living, thank God, but under climatic and other conditions to be found no where else in the Province of Quebec. The fight which the farmers have to put up in that district against adverse conditions of every description-even when Providence extends its beneficent hand here as elsewhere-is necessarily much more strenuous. So I say it behooves the various governments with which my constituents have to do, to confer on them that great boon that they have been in need of for sixty years past and that they have been applying for through petitions, delegations and all possible means from the Dominion Government, for the last ten years.

" I appeal to the good faith of all my colleagues from the Province of Quebec: this [DOT] is no question of party politics, it is a simple question of business, common sense and equity. I contend that with the experimental farms at present in existence in the Province of Quebec, the general interests are thoroughly looked after for the time being, and if the Government be disposed, as I understand it, is to grant to them experimental farms, the district where that policy should be carried out in the first place is that ot

Chicoutimi and Lake St. John, which I have the honour to represent,

Before I resume my seat, Mr. Chairman, I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to the importance for him, if he wishes to actually be of assistance to the Province of Quebec, of making arrangements for carrying on in the course of this year, on the farms at Cap Rouge, and more particularly at Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere, experiments in the growing of winter grain, which has been the salvation of the West and shou'd be the salvation also of the Province of Quebec. I understand that one of his head officers has been carrying on such expen-ments on his own farm in the district of Quebec. I know that a few fanners have carried on such experiments at home, with invariably satisfactory results. So I say it is urgent that the Minister should himself carry on such experiments, in order to be in a position to lay official data before the public. It is practically a question of life and death for the farming class of Quebec that they be assured every year of fair returns from their seeding, as are secured in the West. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your kindness in allowing me to make these few remarks.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   $20,000.
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February 26, 1914

Mr. JOSEPH GIRARD (Chicoutimi-Saguenay):

Mr. Chairman, I think it incumbent upon me, in spite of the lateness of the hour, to ask permission to say a few words on a subject of such great importance as that just now being considered by this Committee. Agriculture, in general, is unquestionably the most important matter that can be taken up by a body of men such as those congregated in this House. It is assuredly the only one of the various industries of interest to the public in which one may rest assured that the capital invested will never be lost. But, in order to succeed therein there is need for extensive knowledge, a good deal of brain work, and governments the world over make it a point to further its continued progress by all means possible.

I sincerely believe that the former Minister of Agriculture has done for the farming class as much as it was possible to do with the funds at his disposal. But I must admit, that this Government has taken a position unprecedented in the history of Canada as regards the furthering of agricultural pursuits. The current appropriations have been greatly increased, and besides, a special vote has been taken providing a million dollars per annum towards agricultural instruction in general. A new impetus has been given to the work of the cow-testing associations and to the improvement of all kinds of live stock, through the greater facilities afforded in the use of the proper foundation stock. I am glad to be able to congratulate the hon. Mr. Burrell, who is at the head of the department of Agriculture, on the good work he has been doing since he holds the portfolio, and on the satisfactory results he has obtained.

In passing, I may state that my hon. friend the member for Montcalm (Mr. La-fortune) was contending a moment ago that under the Act for agricultural instruction, the experiments in drainage started last year had been discontinued through the unwillingness of the Minister. I have in my hand a public document setting forth the objects for which the $159,000 placed for the current year at the disposal of the Province of Quebec had been expended and I find the following: illustrations m draining, $12,000.

[Mr. L,a fortune.!

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   $20,000.
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February 6, 1911

Mr. J. GIRARD (Chicoutimi and Saguenay.) (Translation).

Mr. Speaker, as the representative of a constituency comprising within its limits a large number of fishermen, I beg leave to say a few words in support of the resolution submitted to the House by my hon. friend from Guys-borough (Mr. Sinclair).

The fishing gear and engines, to which he referred were brought to my attention within the last two years by. fishermen in my constituency, several of whom have not the means to secure them. These fishing engines are surely harmful and their use is likely to deprive fishermen of their means of livlihood. Apart from those trawlers which have just been mentioned, there are also what is called trap nets, used largely by fishermen from the United States. These people engage in the waters of the St. Lawrence provided with such immense traps, and often times prevent those fishing by hand from getting a living for themselves and their families out of these same waters.

Representations have been forthcoiping to me that I should approach the Minister of Marine and the government in this connection and voice the well grounded grievances of the people of the north shore of the St. Lawrence from Natashquan eastwards.

I am not in a position to express an opinion as to the actually mischievous nature of the fishing engines mentioned; I have no personal experience in this connection. But if any credence is to be given to the unanimous reports of the fishing community settled over a distance of five hundred miles along th.e north shore of the St. Lawrence, I think I am warranted in calling on the Minister of Marine to inquire into the question, with a view to amending the regulations in regard to licenses, in such a way that the poor man may be in a position to earn a living side by side with those in more affluent circumstances.

It is stated that fast American schooners, provided with trap nets, have been observed operating along the coast, within forty feet from shore, directly opposite the fishermen's houses. Such enormous quantities were being caught, that the boats could not hold them; nevertheless they

would throw any surplus overboard, rather than let these poor fishermen have any for charity's sake.

Considering these hardships, I deem it incumbent on me to request that the Minister of Marine should inquire through his officers as to what is going on in those parts, so as to find out some means of protecting the people living along that shore. After all they are Canadians. They are not all electors for the time being, but I trust they will be before long. They are Canadians of all origins, who have been settled in those quarters for hundreds of years and have developed a considerable trade in fish. On account of recent developments in carrying on the industry, these good people are liable to lose their only means of subsistence, as they are unable to compete with such powerful engines of destruction as those referred to. An attempt is made to justify the use of such engines on the ground of the needs of the general fish market. There is something in that; however, consumers would not feel the inconvenience of dispensing now and then with fish to the same degree as the poor fisherman would that of dispensing with bread.

Complaints are being forwarded from the maritime provinces. People in that part of the country which I represent have requested that I should voice their grievances before the government. That is what I have done. I have apprised the government of their views by means of records which I have in person laid before the Minister of Marine. If such representations are worthy of attention, regulations should be enacted at once with a view to protecting the poorer class against the richer, and especially against outsiders, mostly Newfoundlanders and Americans who come and fish in our waters, while Canadians are made to suffer therefrom. Under the circumstances the government should see to it as soon as possible, and find some means of protecting our people against outsiders, while at the same time, keeping aloof from any international entanglements.

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May 4, 1910

1. Does the Minister of Public Works know

that a person named P. A. Potvin, mentioned on page Q-146 of the Public Accounts for 1899, as having sold wood or timber for $232.75, is said to have never sold that wood or timber? . . . , . ,

2. If so, does the minister intend to demand the repayment and oblige the paymaster to render an account?

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