June 6, 1923

MONTREAL AND LONGUEUIL BRIDGE


On the Orders of the Day:


LIB

Joseph Archambault

Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH ARCHAMBAULT (Chambly and Vercheres):

On April 23rd an order of the House was passed for production of the report of the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal on the south shore bridge. On May 9th I called the attention of the Minister of Marine (Mr. Lapointe) to the fact that the report had not so far been laid on the Tabic.

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Oleomargarine-Mr. Carroll

The minister's answer was that he would submit it in a few days' time. A month has elapsed and the report is not on the Table yet. I should like to know from the minister whether it is his intention to produce that report this session.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries):

This report was sent to the department only two or three days ago, so that it could not have been laid upon the Table of the House before now. I shall be pleased to bring it down in a few days.

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OLEOMARGARINE

MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE


Order of the Day-Special Order.


LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. W. F. CARROLL (Cape Breton South and Richmond) moved:

Resolved, that it is expedient to bring in a measure to amend The Oleomargarine Act, chapter twenty-four of the statutes of 1919 (second session), and the amending Acts, by providing that notwithstanding anything contained in The Dairy Industry Act, 1914, or in any other statute or law, the manufacture in, and importation of oleomargarine into Canada, and the offering for sale, the sale and the having in possession for sale, of oleomargarine, shall henceforth be permitted, subject to the provisions of the said Oleomargarine Act and to such regulations as are now or may hereafter be established by the Governor in Council.

He said: Mr. Speaker, no doubt you viewed with alarm my entrance into the Chamber this afternoon. Probably you thought that I must be armed with a very large array of papers and that the House would be subject to a long and tiresome speech from me. I want to assure you before I go any further that my speech will be brief, but I trust it will be logical and replete with facts. The question of the manufacture, importation and sale of oleomargarine has been before parliament for a number of years. In 1886, on a motion by a member of the government to place a tariff duty upon the importation of oleomargarine, a debate took place which considerably affected the standing of the commodity in this country. At that time there were no regulations in force regarding the manufacture of oleomargarine, and in the course of the debate statements were made to the effect that this commodity was manufactured out of dead horses, rats and other unwholesome ingredients. A few years later legislation was passed to ensure the purity of dairy products, culminating in the Dairy Act of 1914, which was amended in 1916 to provide for the manufacture, importation and sale of oleomargarine in this country.

Under this act various regulations were put into effect to protect our people against adulterated products, and to-day I hope we shall not have repeated the well-worn argument that oleomargarine is harmful or unwholesome, for the reason, Mr. Speaker, that the manufacture of this commodity has been under the direct control of the Department of Agriculture and it is generally acknowledged that the gentlemen in charge of that department are very careful indeed to see to it that there is nothing dangerous to the public health in the ingredients which enter into the manufacture of oleomargarine.

Without entering into details regarding these ingredients, I will content myself by saying that there is a difference of opinion both in the country and in this House as to whether or not we should allow the further manufacture, importation and sale of oleomargarine. We must approach this question in a fair and honest frame of mind and should not use arguments which, while they may have been effective up to 1916, can now be safely discounted in view of the fact that the Department of Agriculture exercises very stringent supervision over thi3 manufacture. But while there may be a difference of opinion on the desirability of allowing oleomargarine to be still manufactured and imported, we cannot ignore appeals from various influential organizations which to-day are asking parliament to make effective an Oleomargarine Act such as I propose to introduce if this resolution passes. We must consider this question not with the eye of 1886 but with the eye of the present day. If I cite the Canadian Lumbermen's Association as being in favour of the continued manufacture and sale of oleomargarine, I shall perhaps be told that this organization is looking for cheap food for its labourers. And when I say that the Retail Merchants' Association of Canada is also asking that my proposed bill be brought into effect, I shall be told that this organization, too, is interested from a financial standpoint. But, Mr. Speaker, I have stronger authority still in the fact that 200,000 of our women have shown by the votes which they cast in their respective organizations and by their circular letters that they are in favour of the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine being continued. As I say, the motives of the Canadian Lumberman's Association and of the Retail Merchants' Association of Canada may be questioned on the ground of their being pecuniarily interested; but will any hon. gentleman dare rise in his place and tell us that the mothers and sisters and daughters

Oleomargarine-Mr. Carroll

of the Canadian people are engaged in propaganda that will hurt their offspring, their kith and their kin? The stand taken by these women is one of the strongest arguments, it seems to me, that can be used in favour of the continued manufacture and sale of oleomargarine.

But to return for the moment to the Retail Merchants' Association of Canada. I presume that as business men they are not interested either in poisoning our people or in bringing about the ruin of our daily farmers. What do they say about this matter? In 1916, when an order in council was passed under the War -Vftasures Act to permit of the manufacture, importation and sale of oleomargarine, this association undertook to investigate this commodity. Their investigation convinced them that oleomargarine was not the menace to the health of our people which the propaganda of its enemies had sought to make out. Here is a circular which the association have sent out to the members of the Senate and of the House of Commons, and I may be permitted to read one paragraph, as follows:

Before our members undertook to offer it for sale to the general public we made exhaustive enquiries as to the ingredients it contained and its method of manufacture. We consulted with the chief analyst for the Dominion government and he pronounced it a perfectly good food, and he stated that it contained no harmful ingredients, and, as on each package is stamped the approval of the Department of Agriculture of the Dominion of Canada, our retail grocers, butchers, produce dealers and general store merchants throughout Canada felt perfectly justified in stocking it and offering it for sale. If our customers did not [DOT]want it there would be no sale for it, but our experience shows that they do want it, and, seeing that it is a non-injurious and palatable product, and contains nothing that is unheal thful, we are of the opinion that they should be allowed to buy it if they so desire, and no law should be passed to prevent them from having it.

I reiterate, Sir, that whatever may have been said regarding the harmful properties of oleomargarine should no longer be repeated, because parliament in 1917 recognized this commodity as a healthful article of food, and up to the present time millions of pounds have been sold throughout the country with the approval of the Department of Agriculture. Again I appeal to hon. members not to use the argument that oleomargarine is harmful food, because by so doing they will in effect be casting a slur not only upon the Minister of Agriculture and his predecessors but upon the departmental officials as well. Surely before the approval of the department is placed on this article which goes out in small packages, the precaution is taken to

ascertain whether or not it is a healthful article of food.

Much has been said, Mr. Speaker, regarding the injury which oleomargarine may have been causing to the dairy industry of this country. Well, I do not believe the manufacture of oleomargarine has been in any way injurious to the dairy people, because every pound of butter they manufacture has a ready sale; the milk from every cow they raise is sent out in the shape of butter and cheese. But they tell you that oleomargarine is used as a substitute and that in its sale as such the persons handling it make their customers believe that they are buying butter. I do not think there is any force in that argument, for this reason: Every package of oleomargarine that is manufactured in or imported into this country has stamped on the product itself, in letters that may be seen and read by all, the word "Oleo." Every parcel is also enclosed in a wrapper which indicates in the clearest way that it is oleomargarine and not butter. Moreover, the Department of Agriculture exercise supervision over and make regulations respecting the manufacture of this product in Canada as well as its importation. Now, follow me. This product is manufactured here, or is imported. Surely the officers of the Agriculture department are sufficiently alive to the interests of the people to see to it that not an ounce of oleomargarine leaves the factories in this country or is imported without there being stamped upon it the word "Oleo." Then it goes to the wholesaler. I hope that the Agriculture department have been sufficiently alert in performing their duty to the people during the last four years to see to it, through their inspectors or other officials, that the wholesaler who gets this bulk of oleomargarine for distribution to the retailer does not attempt to impose upon the people by erasing in any way those distinctive letters which indicate that the product is oleomargarine and not butter. Then we come down to the retailer. I do not argue that the Department of Agriculture have a sufficient staff to see to it that no substitution or erasure is made at that stage. But, Sir, I have sufficient confidence in the honour and honesty of the retailers of this country to believe they are not doing that kind of thing, and it will take a very strong line of evidence to make me think otherwise.

When did the dairy industries of this country suggest, after 1917, that we should have a prohibition against the manufacture or sale of oleomargarine? It is a very peculiar thing that in 1921, in their petition to the government of the day, they did not ask for

Oleomargarine-Mr. Carroll

the prohibition of this article of food. What they did ask for was a "standard colour of oleomargarine"; for the printing on each package of the word "oleo"; for a differently shaped package "from that now used for oleomargarine"; "for the prevention of deception or dishonesty in making purchasers believe they are actually getting butter or an article of the same food value as butter."

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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LIB

William Frederic Kay

Liberal

Mr. KAY:

May I ask what my hon. friend is quoting from, and the date?

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

I am quoting from a copy of a petition sent to the Dominion government in 1921 by the Dairy Council of Canada. Now, if they saw in 1921 that they should not ask for the prohibition of oleomargarine, or, to put it differently, if they did not ask for it, what has changed their mind in the meantime? Is there any evidence that dealers have been deceptive in the matter- that they have attempted to make the people believe they were getting butter when they were really getting oleomargarine? I do not believe it, Mr. Speaker. Taking this matter as a whole, I think we should use the arguments that may be used as from 1917 in respect to oleomargarine and not hark back to the times when people were afraid of anything new and when they believed that oleomargarine was made up of such ingredients as I mentioned in the earlier part of my.remarks.

I wish to impress upon you, Mr. Speaker, and upon the members of this House the fact that the parliament of Canada put the stamp of its approval upon oleomargarine in 1917 and has kept it there ever since. It has indicated its belief that oleomargarine is a nonharmful food, a food that is wholesome. In casting your votes in this connection I want you to remember that fact; I want you not to be led away by any other thought but that there are thousands of people in this country who want to use oleomargarine and who have the right to use it. I hope you will not think me a plagiarist if I use the words: Is this an article of commerce? And- If this is an article of commerce, why should we prohibit it? I am using the words, Sir, of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in a former debate in this House. He is one of the few people who have the happy faculty of placing a whole argument in a nutshell.

I ask the members of this House to give fair consideration to this whole question. I ask them to think of the millions who are asking this parliament that they be permitted to put this product on their table as an article of food. I ask them hot to be led away by

their own personal interests; we are not here for that purpose. I do not make any accusation-I believe that every member of this House will use his best judgment in the matter-but I do suggest that we be not led away by any selfish motives. Let us seek away down in our hearts and ask ourselves: Are we going to prevent the people from using oleomargarine if they wish to use it? If we are, then it is just as well that parliament should to-morrow say to the people that they shall not use shoes unless they are up to the standard; that they shall not use an article of clothing unless it is the very best; that they shall not purchas? any horse food that is not up to or, perhaps, above the standard. It may be said that oleomargarine is a cheap article of food, but it is not deleterious; it is not unwholesome. But I say, give the people of this country who wish to use that article of food the privilege of using it. I reiterate: If this parliament takes it upon themselves to refuse the common people of this country that which I consider a benefit, they will hear from them in the very near future.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. S. F. TOLMIE (Victoria City):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to second this resolution I do so with the understanding that I may suggest certain changes or in my opinion improvements to it as I go along. Under those conditions I am glad to second this resolution.

This matter has been discussed, as has been pointed out by the hon. member (Mr. Carroll) who has just taken his seat, on a number of occasions in this House in the past, and I for one sincerely hope that we shall decide finally on this occasion whether we are going to have oleomargarine in this country or not. The subject has taken up a very great deal of the valuable time of this House in previous years. On this occasion I can hardly refer to the subject without saying a word as to the way in which this resolution has been put off from the early part of the session until now when we are in its closing days-a resolution of the very greatest importance not only to the dairymen of this country but also to the consumers and to a certain group of manufacturers. I feel that this matter should have been given attention earlier in the session if possible, and should not have been avoided and side-stepped in the way it has been. I rather think the question has been evaded to a certain extent, but I shall not speak any more of that phase of the question beyond referring for a moment to what the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) said yesterday when discussing oleomargarine and in uttering the word "cuckoo" we will all understand what I mean.

Oleomargarine-Mr. Tolmie

This measure was first introduced as a war measure on account of the great scarcity of fats overseas. It will be remembered that there was a considerable demand for fats on the other side of the Atlantic during the war, and oleomargarine was introduced at that time and found very useful indeed over there. In fact, our Canadian troops went all through the war using only oleomargarine as a spread for bread. It has been suggested that on account of its having first been introduced as a war measure it should cease now that the war is over. But let me point out that the people of Canada have expressed their wishes through their representatives in this House on several occasions and have extended the time year by year, and at the present time oleomargarine is now recognized as one of the staple articles of food in many sections of this country. I think the government should carefully consider this in bringing down any measure or in giving support to any measure for making oleomargarine permanent in this country.

What is oleomargarine? In the first place it is made from selected beef fats, neutral lard, vegetable oils, pasteurized milk, salt, pure water, and sometimes includes butter. It is all churned together and then made into blocks and offered for sale. It is manufactured only under the strictest sanitary conditions. It is first necessary for anyone desiring either to import or to manufacture oleomargarine in Canada to obtain a license from the Minister pf Agriculture for that purpose, and the minister may at any time cancel that license for cause. It is made under the very closest inspection, the inspection of our Meat and Canned Poods branch of the Department of Agriculture, and their certificate and brand on any goods sent out of this country is accepted in all parts of the world. With the United States we have an exchange of certificates between our Health of Animals branch here and the Bureau of Animal Industry at Washington.

The question is often asked, is oleomargarine wholesome? We find that its digestibility is about the same as butter, about 97 per cent, and its energy value is also about the same. With regard to its palatability we find that the British or English-speaking people throughout the world have a preference for fats showing the lactic acid flavour, as a result of the fermentation of milk and cream from bacteria working upon it. Oleo-maragarine will never be as popular as butter in this or any other country because it will never be as palatable, not possessing that peculiar lactic flavour I have just referred to, and anyone who understands or has an appreciation of real good butter can never

224i

be misled by any oleomargarine. He can tell the difference both by taste and odor.

One feature of this oleomargarine question that has been stressed to a very great extent in the discussions in this House in the past year is the vitamine content of oleomargarine. You will find that authorities differ a great deal on this point, some claiming that the other animal fats contain just as many vitamine soluble A as the butter fats themselves. Let me quote. William Clayton, Master of Science at Liverpool University, in a book published in 1920 says:

The published work on "The Nutritive value of Oleomargarine and Butter Substitutes", with reference to their content of the fat-soluble accessory growth substance, is due to Halliburton and Drummond whose conclusions were: That the fat-soluble accessory growth substance is present in beef fat and also oil and is present in margarine prepared upon such a basis. Such margarines are nutritively the equivalent of butter.

We find, too, that butter varies a great deal in its vitamine content, and this is indicated very greatly by the pigmentation or colouring of the butter. For instance, in winter time we find that the butter is very light in colour, and then it has a very low vitamine content as compared with the rich, bright yellow butter of June or July during the height of the grass season. Now, the butter maker is permitted to colour his butter in the winter time so that it will look like June butter. As has been pointed out by scientists who have investigated the matter very carefully, the vitamine content is shown by the height of colouring, but the butter maker by heightening the colour of his butter gives no indication to the purchaser of the vitamine content or its value as a food in that particular respect. Let me quote in this connection from Sherman and Smith's book " The Vitamines," 1922, by H. C. Sherman, Professor of Food Chemistry, Columbia University, and S. L. Smith, Specialist in Biological and Food Chemistry, United States Department of Agriculture. They say:

In recent years butter has occupied a unique position because it appeared to be conspicuously the richest in vitamine A among the commercial food fats. Further work in this field indicates, however, that the value of butter in this respect is subject to rather wide variation.

Steenbock, as previously noted, found that paleness of butter fat indicated paucity of vitamine A, byt the present system of artificially coloring butter makes it impossible for the consumer to apply this criterion. The burden of responsibility for the maintenance of the vitamine value of butter lies with the producer. By intelligent and liberal use of feeds rich in vitamine A, such as alfalfa, and care in the manufacture, transportation and storage of the product, both butter and other animal fats may in time be standardized as commercial sources of vitamine A.

Oleomargarine-Mr. Tolmie

Quoting again from Mr. Clayton, of Liverpool University, lie says:

In conclusion it is well recalled that butter owing to the influence of food, storage conditions and temperatures used in the renovation of inferior products, and even the method of use of the produce in the home, may not exceed a good oleomargarine in nutritive qualities.

The whole question seems to depend upon the adequately varied and balanced diet of the individual. Children should preferably be fed on butter, but adults, with their stronger digestive powers, may with absolute impunity replace butter with either oleo or vegetable margarine, provided they consume sufficient amounts of the vegetative green parts of plants since these furnish an ample supply of all three vitamines.

You will see here that the diet of a man being very varied, a paucity of vitamines in any particular article of food may mean that the whole ration was short in that particular respect. May I point out, Mr. Speaker, a few of the common articles of food.that contain vitamines. I will only mention a few of them so as not to take up too much time of the House.

Butter; cream; margarine prepared from animal fats other than lard; milk, condensed, evaporaited or dried; nut butter; mutt-on and beef fat; heart; brain; sweetbread; cod liver oil and other fish livers oils-

Which, I may say, is one of the richest in this vitamine.

-herring oil, salmon and cod oil; liver; onions, kidneys; potatoes; fat fish, as herring, salmon fish roe; eggs-

And some forty-two others, including many vegetables.

This will indicate to you how very freely these vitamines are distributed among the common articles of food. We have also had rather sweeping statements made about the entire absence of vitamines in oleomargarine. You will see, however, that this is not the line of argument pursued by those men who are experts in this particular direction. In a bulletin issued by the National Dairy Council entitled "Health vs. Wealth" I find the following statement:

You may wonder when milk and butter contain vitamines why beef fat does not. Vitamines are in green, leafy substances, grass, leaves, twigs, whole grain and many things that a cow eats. The cow requires some for her own use and stores some in her liver, but all the rest is given off in the milk and are never deposited in the flesh. As oleomargarine is chiefly made from the waste products of the animal at the slaughter house it could not possibly contain vitamines.

This is a very broad statement indeed and is opposed by many. Now let me quote from a statement by H. Steenbock, of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry of the University of Wisconsin. He says:

In our work a somewhat similar product, the oleo oils from beef fats, prepared in commerce for the

manufacture of oleomargarine, were in some instances found richer in fat-soluble vitamine than many butters. Subsequent to the publication of these results we became aware of the fact that vitamine content as determined in our feeding experiments with these samples seemed to vary directly with the intensity of pigmentation.

Pointing out again that you may form an opinion as to the presence of vitamines by the colouring of the fat material. Now, in this particular article on "Health vs. Wealth" it is indicated that most of the vitamines are lost except those given off through the milk, but the author does not state what becomes of the vitamines fed so liberally during the grass season to those animals which are not giving milk; and we could hardly expect that nature will be so improvident, as in the case of the steer and the dry cow, as to cause an almost entire waste of this particular and valuable ingredient of food. If we accept Steenbock's theory for a moment we will recognize, as I pointed out a moment ago, that the excess of vitamines is clearly indicated by the high colour of the butter fat. Those who are familiar with the beef aspect of the question will remember that grass beef is also very much higher in colour than beef produced in winter time, indicating that there are vitamines stored up in the beef fats particularly at that season of the year.

Now in some of the American literature which has been distributed in the propaganda against oleomargarine we find pictures of white rats indicating some rats fed on vitamines which are of a very lusty character and other rats fed on a diet wholly lacking in vitamines which appear very weakly. It must be admitted that growth is due to certain chemical changes which take place in the body, and that the very best results are obtained where you have a ration that is chemically well balanced. In many sections of the country there is a paucity of certain ingredients in the soil which causes certain diseases-, for example the disease known as rickets. I know of certain sections of British Columbia where cattle, young animals particularly, pastured on certain lands soon after exhibit rickets, or a bending or softening of the bones, due to the absence of calcium and phosphates. By the feeding of cer-

4 p.m. tain food rich in calcium and phos1-phates, however, these conditions are avoided and you can produce healthy cattle on this very same land. I know certain sections of British Columbia where, during the calving season many calves live only for an hour or two after birth, a severe loss resulting from this mortality. This again is due to the absence of iodine, showing again how necessary it

Oleomargarine-Mr. Tolmie

is, in the case of growing animals, particularly that the rations should be well balanced.

I may say that during the war our Canadian troops, as I pointed out a while ago, had nothing but oleomargarine as a spread for their bread. This was also used by the British troops. The Danish army and navy is also supplied with the same material. In many Danish institutions oleomargarine is a regular part of the diet. It has been pointed out in some literature I have seen that it is necessary to have milk in some form or other for the proper growth of the human being. I do not think that this theory has been thoroughly supported by evidence. Take the case of the North American who never used dairy products in his life. Yet you see Indians out on the prairie six feet one inch in height and weighing two hundred pounds, fine lusty fellows. If we were to look into the matter very carefully we should probably find that not more than one half of the people of the country use milk or milk products.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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PRO

Daniel Webster Warner

Progressive

Mr. WARNER:

I should like to know if

the hon. member has proof that the mothers among the savages do not nurse their children.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

I think the hon. gentleman's question is very appropriate. Every human being is probably nursed in that way, but I am talking about the individual when he reaches the period when the individual can use butter spread on bread. I am quite sure the Indians in the West have never used any butter. If they have, the practice has only commenced within recent years.

We also had very strong criticism of the vegetable oils used in the preparation of oleomargarine. I know that, either last year or the year before, we had some vivid word pictures drawn here of perspiring natives toiling in the jungles of Africa gathering the various seeds and plants from which these oils are obtained. I thought at the time the picture was rather overdrawn. I may say that the principal ingredient in the vegetable oil line used in the manufacture of oleomargarine in Canada is simply cotton seed oil. While we hear many complaints about the use of cotton seed oil in the preparation of oleomargarine we find it is used in many other articles of food such as shortening, and in salad oils, without the least bit of trouble. Evidently the oil is regarded as quite suitable in those cases but apparently is objectionable when used in the manufacture of oleomargarine. In addition to that we find that even annatto used for the purpose of colouring butter is1 mixed with cotton seed oil and bv the use of this particular colouring, as I

pointed out a while ago, January butter is made to look like June butter and as though it were rich in vitamine contents.

Now, we find that the consumption of oleomargarine increases as butter goes up in price, and it lessens as butter goes down in price, because no person with a decent palate or a good taste would for a moment think of eating oleomargarine if he could secure butter at a reasonable price. Oleomargarine, though, furnishes a greal deal of relief to people in families where economy is an absolute necessity under certain conditions that are liable to occur from time to time. To indicate that oleomargarine is in demand, let me quote a telegram received from the chamber of commerce in my constituency, the city of Victoria :

We strongly urge you support resolution introduced by Mr. W. F. Carroll, M.P., Cape Breton, to make permanent legislation permitting manufacture and sale oleomargarine in Canada. Public opinion in Canada overwhelmingly favours such permanent legislation. Will you please forward copy this wire to Prime Minister and Mr. Carroll mover of the resolution.

May I say that Mr. Spencer, in addition to being chairman of the chamber of commerce, is the owner of a very large departmental store where they handle all lines of food products. I have had similar wires from women's organizations, including the Local Council of Women, but I will not take up the time of the House in reading them.

We usually find that oleomargarine is lower in price than butter, and I have in my hand these quotations of last week in Ottawa:

Wholesale price Retail price

Creamery butter 33 cents 40 centsDairy butter 26 cents 33 centsOleomargarine

20 cents 25 cents

This shows a difference between creamery butter and oleomargarine of 13 cents wholesale and 15 cents retail, and a difference between dairy butter and oleomargarine of 6 cents wholesale and 8 cents retail.

I was informed only yesterday that it paid the grocer in many cases to sell oleomargarine, because he made a greater profit from the sale of oleomargarine than from the sale of butter. This would hardly be borne out by the figures I have cited. The profit shown in dairy butter is about 7 cents between wholesale and retail; on creamery butter, 7 cents between wholesale and retail; and on oleomargarine only 5 cents between wholesale and retail.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

Is the hon. member prepared to state the source of the figures he has cited?

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

These figures were obtained from the city market in Ottawa last week, on the day it was expected that this ques-

Oleomargarine-Mr. Tolmie

tion would come up. I did not think it necessary to get new figures to-day.

The argument has been used that we should wipe out oleomargarine in this country, because some of our logging camps give it to their loggers to spread on their bread in place of butter. I do not think we should be inconvenienced simply because of that. That is something that should be arranged between the logging camp men and their employers. In British Columbia, as I am sure the Minister of Labour (Mr. Murdock) will agree, you cannot put on the table of the logging man anything except just what he demands and he sees that he gets it.

Many families throughout the country are from time to time using oleomargarine in order to keep down family expenses. We have the man who gets out of work; we have the man who has sickness in his family and who has to incur an extra expense; we have those families where economy is an absolute necessity, and this occurs from time to time in the everyday life of the people of this country. The people have every right to decide for themselves in their own intelligence whether oleomargarine is to be purchased by them or not, and this House is taking upon itself a very great responsibility when it tells the people that they should not have the same privileges as are enjoyed by the people of every other country in the world.

We have three groups that are chiefly interested in this oleomargarine question. We have the great consuming group which is the first consideration; then we have the dairy man; and, third, we have the manufacturer of oleomargarine. Therefore, this is not entirely a question pertaining to the dairyman. If the poor man or the man who desires to lower his cost of living, cannot obtain the cheap oleomargarine and cannot afford the price of butter, it will be necessary for him to use ordinary beef or pork dripping, and I am sure oleomargarine would be more palatable for his use under such conditions. We should leave this matter entirely to the judgment of the people. It is not the place of the government of this country to prohibit the manufacture of oleomargarine; rather it is the duty of the government to protect the people, to see that oleomargarine is made in a very wholesome way; that there is no possible criticism along that line, and then that it is not sold for something which it is not. As I pointed out a moment ago, oleomargarine, on account of its inferiority in flavour, will never interfere with good butter.

We have also had the argument put forward I hat if the manufacture of oleomargarine is

once made permanent in this country, oleomargarine will greatly increase in quantity. I think that argument is not borne out by our experience since 1918 when it was first introduced. We find that we have had free access to the American market, and not only the ingredients which are made up into oleomargarine in this country, but the manufactured article can be imported from the United States absolutely free of duty. So, if there had been a greater demand in this country for oleomargarine, we would have had it entering Canada in very much greater quantities. The truth is that since 1918, when oleomargarine was first introduced into Canada, there has been a steady falling off in the quantity consumed in this country; but it has been very clearly shown that when butter gets cheaper in price, the consumption of oleomargarine lessens to a very considerable extent. Let me cite these figures:

Oleomargarine

Quantity

manufactured Quantity

in Canada imported

Year Pounds Pounds1918

10,483,179 3,494,6221919

8,450,902 5,231,2111920

6,224,422 5,547,3451921

3,780,392 2,057,0351922

1,902,629 1,345,784

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

The hon. member will notice that under the Liberal administration we have been using more butter than oleomargarine.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

I am sure the Liberal government can take credit for some things, but that is rather a long step.

In the meantime creamery butter has shown a steady increase, and only last year it increased something over 15,000,000 pounds. At the present time the consumption of oleomargarine amounts to only about 2 per cent for the spreads used for bread in this country. That is, 98 per cent of the spreads consists of dairy products as compared with 2 per cent of oleomargarine. This shows that the situation is not at all a dangerous one. The dairyman of this country, therefore, might very well look at this question in a broad, liberal way.

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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UFA

William Thomas Lucas

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. LUCAS:

Would that condition continue if oleomargarine became permanent in this country?

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
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LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. PUTNAM:

I presume the hon. member will admit that his figures give no intimation as to whether the coeval existence of oleomargarine would not have still further reduced the Canadian export of butter in the term of years he has referred to?

Topic:   OLEOMARGARINE
Subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. CARROLL TO PERMIT MANUFACTURE, IMPORTATION AND SALE
Permalink

June 6, 1923