Thomas Simpson Sproule
Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).
Sir WILFRID LAHRIER moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.
Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).
Year. No. Value.1899 211,847 $ 8,522,5361900 205,524 9,080,7761901 169,279 9,064,5621902 184,473 10,663,819- 1903 176,780 11,342,6321904 157,414 10,424,6711905 167,102 11,360,9691906 176,930 11,656,8291907 162,141 *10,932,5391908 150,963 9,301,1841909 162,945 10,761,3531910 157,396 10,792,160 *9 months. Hon. members will notice that we commenced the twelve year period with an exportation of 211,800 head of cattle. Gradually that number lessened, until last year we only exported 157,300. That does not show an expansion and development equal to the general development of the country. Therefore I am justified in my statement that instead of this line having developed as it might and should have been developed, the output is growing smaller and smaller from year to year. I may be told that this is so in regard to cattle, but that there are other exports in the line of animals and the products of animals that would raise the average and would make a much better showing than these figures seem to indicate. In order to satisfy those who hold this view, I shall now give the exportation of animals and their products, which represents all the production of the country in these lines beyond what was consumed in the country. Taking the figures from 1900 down, I submit the following table:-
Year. Value. 1900 $56,148,807 1901 55,495,311 1902 59,161,209 1903 69,817,542 1904 63,812,117 1905 63,337,458 1906 66,455,900 1907 , .. 55,422,499 1908 51,101,260 1909 51,349,646 1910 53,926,515
How is it that in each of these cases the hon. gentleman gets the figures for the year 1910, which has not yet quite expired?
I got them from the Agricultural Department. It will be noticed from that table that 11 years ago we exported, of animals and their products, $56,000,000 worth, and that last year we exported only $53,000,000 worth, the year before that $51,000,000, and the present year $53,000,000. Thus, instead of there being any development, there has been in reality a contraction of that trade. When we remember that in the present year the prices of animal products were much higher than in other years, it will be seen that these values do not represent as large an actual exportation as the figures would indicate. These figures, to my mind, speak volumes. It is said that, figures will not lie, and I do not think they will in this respect, but I am sometimes told, when discussing these questions with the farmers, that there has been a great development in the factory, or packing house trade, that the volume of packing house products has greatly expanded. But these products are all included in the figures I have already given. The products of the packing houses exported have been as follows:
Year. Value. 1899 $10,716,143 1900 13,415,655 1901 13,547,824 1902 13,904,261 1903 17,196,102 1904 16,250,531 1905 16,577,346 1906 13,911,281 1907 9,945,859 Eleven years ago we exported $10,000,000, nearly $11,000,000, and in 1907, the last year for which I could get complete figures, we exported only $9,000,000, so that we are making no increased export^ in that line any more than in the other line. i now come to a line where people have had a fair field and no favours asked in its development, the exports of grain, and I submit the following table:-
Year. Value. 1898 $17,313,916 1899 7,784,487 1900 11,995,488 1901 6,871,939 1902 18,688,092 1903 24,566,703 1904 13,465,351 1905 12,386,743 1906 33,658,391 1907 20,397,629 1908 40,004,723 This shows that where the farmers of the west have the same market as other portions of the country had and fair means of transportation for their products to the markets of the world, there is good development, whereas in the otheT lines the development has not been in anything like the same proportion. Coming to agricultural products outside of animals, it is found that trade has expanded, production has been greater. To contrast it with animals and their products, I submit this table:-
Year. Value. 1900 $27,516,600 1901 24,781,486 1902 37,152,688 1903 44,624,321 1904 37,138,875 1905 29,994,150 1906 54,062,337 1907 35,856,616 1908 66,069,939 1909 71,997,207 1910 ' 90,433,747 Thus, it is seen that in this line our people have equalled, in their enterprise and knowledge, any other people in the world, and during these ten years the exports from Canada in these lines have increased, owing to the energy and enterprise and intelligence of the people of Canada, from $27,000,000 up to $90,000,000, while in the animal industry our exports have been practically going down all the time. This will enable us to understand that there is something radically wrong with regard to the animal industry of the country. In the Northwest Territories I believe the farmers are suffering even more from the drawbacks with which they have to contend than in other parts of Canada, although what .1 say with regard to them applies to a large extent to the farmers all over the country. Statistics as to the number of sheep in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta will show how the sheep raising industry stands in these nrovinces. Year. 1871 1881 1891 1901
No. of Sheep. 344,693 330,126 307,672 304,531
Compare these figures with those of other countries which are no better adapted to the sheep-raising industry and we will see how far our iprairie provinces are behind. Vyhen we look at the figures giving the number of sheep in the entire Dominion they demonstrate that the other provinces are doing no better in this respect than are the provinces in the west.
Total No. of Sheep in
It will be seen from these figures that in 1871 we had 3,155,000 sheep in all Canada and last year we had only 2,598,000. Canada is as suitable for sheep-raising as Australia, New Zealand, Argentine, or Montana or any of the other states of the union, and in my judgment there can be no reason for this falling off other than the policy of the present government in not giving that industry the support it ought. They first struck at it by the British preference which enabled the Canadian people last year to bring in over $22,000,000 worth of woollen goods which ought to have been made out of Canadian-grown wool, and the result of the government policy has been that 66 woollen mills in Canada are shut down (20 during the last year) the hands thrown out of employment and the machinery idle. The total number of cattle, sheep and swine in Canada will give an idea of how backward we are in the production of these animals compared with other countries which have not any greater capabilities than ours.
Total No. in Canada. Cattle 5,187,218 Sheep 2,478,688 Swine 3,016,234 Contrast these figures with the number of cattle, sheep and swine in the United States : United States. Cattle 72,533,000 Sheep 53,240,000 Here are the figures for the Argentine Republic, which is not capable of feeding more stock than is Canada : Argentine. Cattle 21,701,000 Sheep 74,379,000 Then take the United Kingdom, an old country where one would think the land would not sustain so many animals, and yet here are the figures : United Kingdom. Cattle 11,628,000 Sheep 30,011,000 Then, there is Australasia, a small country compared with Canada and these are the figures : Australasia. Cattle 10,180,000 Sheep 87,650,000 And, in the face of these figures we are told that in this favourable country of ours we are doing as well as we ought to in the cattle and sheep-raising industry. The figures for New Zealand are as follow : New Zealand. Cattle 1,851,000 Sheep 20,000,000 Let us take the state of Montana and compare it with Alberta and I think those who know both territories would agree with me that the province of Alberta is capable of sustaining as many sheep and producing as much mutton and wool as the state of Montana, and yet, the wool clip of Montana last year was 45,000,000 pounds while the wool clip of Alberta which is larger than Montana was only 400,000 pounds. How can it be said in view of this that we have been progressive and enterprising in Canada along these lines?^ These figures show that there is something radically wrong in this country and that these industries have not been developing in comparison with the development of our other industries. I have before me a report, which no doubt the Minister of Agriculture has a copy of, on the desirability of establishing throughout the Dominion a complete system of meat chilling, packing and exporting. The report is the result of the labours of a commission appointed by the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba to inquire as to the difficulties against which farmers of the west had to contend, and to advise the government as to improving their position. I shall not take up much time in reading from this report, as there are others to speak after me, but I shall cite some extracts which will be interesting to the House and which will indicate what the troubles are against which the farmers of these provinces have to contend. There was a Beef Commission appointed and there was a Pork Commission as well, and I shall quote from the evidence of the Beef. Commission of Manitoba the following : . ' Many producers are reducing their herds while others are going out of stock raising altogether.' In the report of the Beef Commission of Alberta in June and July, 1907, are to be found the following remarks which are in point : We have made an exhaustive investigation of the meat industries of Alberta and we find that there is a universal complaint that it is not on a paying basis. We have heard the evidence of most of the large cattle raisers of the province, many of whom have come to be very familiar with exporting conditions and with the exception of one or two who are favourably situated, their evidence goes to show there is something seriously wrong. Almost without exception the small shipper has exported at a loss.
Parker, who lived at La Salle for 25 years, in speaking of the prices obtained for cattle, said:
They are offering 2} cents and 3 cents per pound for beef cattle, and there is no man that will raise animals for that. To raise beef at that price is suicidal. To-day there are large farmers who used to keep a large stock in that country, now they have not even a cow. There is ten times the population and not one-tenth the stuff here that there was twenty-five years ago.
Q. You state that as a fact that the farmers are going out of the business?-A. Yes.
Q. Give the names of some of these farmers in your municipality of Macdonald.-A. I do not think that there is a single stock farmer in the whole of that district now. I am in it still, unfortunately.
The evidence of Kenneth Mclvor, taken at Brandon on the 1st and 2nd of August, 1907, is as follows:
Q. Commissioners will want to report as far as they can on the propriety of the government considering certain proposals they may make; can you be of any assistance to them?-A. The question is a very wide one. If we got fair values for fat stock, we would be able to put the stock question on a different footing. We would be almost able to export as much beef as we export wheat; because a farmer in this country is not farming unless a man keeps enough stock on his farm to consume coarse grains and straw. If every half-section was fattening ten or fifteen steers each year, see the enormous amount we would have for export. So that if we had a rate to the old country cheap enough, we should get a fair value for our stock in a very short time.
That is all I propose to quote with regard to the cattle question. I take up now that portion of the report which deals with the hog industry, and I find the following:
In dealing with the unsatisfactory state of the pork industry, and the unwillingness of the farmers to go in for hog raising owing to the lack of confidence in a market, the commissioners say:-'We believe that this is a matter which should engage the immediate attention of the government.'
At sitting of the Pork Commission held at Edmonton in July, 1908, the following appeared:
W. J. Jackman, secretary of the East Clover Bar of the Alberta Farmer's Association, was the first witness. His evidence was
to the effect that the farmers of Alberta would hare to go out of the hog business if the present conditions were not remedied. Chairman Wallace asked:
Q. Do you think the government should undertake a pork packing plant?-A. Yes. Farmers are without capital as a rule, and -could not be expected to enter on an expensive co-operative scheme.
Q. Do you think such a plant would increase the number of hogs?-A. Certainly; 3,000 hogs would be raised in Clover Bar where there are only 300 now.
Q. What effect would the raising of more liogs have on the general farming conditions? -A. More grain would be raised, especially barley, and this would be conducive to cleaner farms. j
Then Thomas Daly's evidence:
Q. What do you think to be the cost price of producing pork?-A. From 4| cents to 5 cents per pound.
Q. Is this enough to warrant you staying in the business?-A. No.
Q. Is there any method whereby conditions could be remedied ?-A. Erect an establishment to produce bacon for foreign markets. Farmers will not stay in the business unless a steady market is guaranteed.
Q. Is the hog business profitable with fair prices?-A. Yes, the business can be undertaken with very small capital. It _ would be conducive to cleaner farms, by causing larger crops of barley and roots.