March 23, 1926

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

However, I may say to my

hon. friend that I will carefully look into it, without making any statement that I will increase the bounty.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

I think we should hear

from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell). If I am not mistaken this is one of his babies, and1 I wouild like to hear his reply to the attack of the hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Evans) on the principle underlying this. If the Minister of Agriculture approves of that underlying principle, let him get up and say so, land let us hear what he has to say about the remarks of the hon. member for Rosetown.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Mr. Chairman,

when Colonel Grassie and his associates came here from Winnipeg during the first session of the last parliament I bad a long discussion

with him, but nothing was done during that session except to have the matter investigated1. I found that he and his associates had been working on this question for some fifteen years. Their hope of success had been interfered with by the war, and1 following the war they had still greater difficulty in financing it. Eventually they came down to Ottawa to see if something could not be done in the way of a bounty to assist in getting the necessary capital to establish the industry. Mr. Coote, a representative of the Belfast Rope Works, accompanied Colonel Grassie the second year, and there wlas no question in my mind' from the outset as to the capacity of many provinces for producing raw hemp of a splendid quality. In bringing in a hemp bounty no new principle was established in this House, because that principle had been recognized' by various parliaments for many years. In this case, however, the bounty was to recede with the years and to ultimately disappear, in contrast to some methods of assistance which we have adopted at other times. Ini the meantime our friends who have been at the bottom of the movement in Manitoba, as indicated by the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton), were not able to get a sufficiently attractive bounty to get the necessary capital immediately following the war. For a number of years in Great Britain one government followed another in rapid succession, and' as a result the money market was greatly disturbed. That was the reason why the bonds did not find a sale. Now they have secured sufficient capital to start in a small way and have entered into the necessary contracts with farmers to grow something like 500 or 600 acres of hemp; the necessary ray products have been arranged for; the machinery is being installed' now if it has not already been put in, and this industry will work up to a position which will enable it to qualify for the bounty. Until that is done, very little money, with the exception of this merely nominal item, is required. I think possibly I have covered the question, except the reference to the hon. member for Rosetown, and I think the Minister of Finance replied to that. I know my friend's views with regard to that question; he did not support it very ardently at the time it was first introduced, so his views have not changed much since that time.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Would the

minister observe the wording of the act? The maximum bounty, I think, commences

Supply-Trade and Commerce

at a given year and works down. Owing to the fact that nothing has been done, does not the Minister of Agriculture think that act should foe 'amended in order that the bounty term might commence with the inception of the industry, rather than in connection with the years that have passed?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Is my hon. friend correct in that statement?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

That is as I

understood it from the Acting Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Robb). When he read it out I think he said it was for the year 1925, one and a half cents, and then it worked down.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Yes, I did make that statement, because I thought it had started then, but as a matter of fact the memorandum I have in front of me says "1926, one and a half cents," so my hon. friend may be correct.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER:

I am entirely in accord with the hon. member for West York when he says that something should1 be done to put the House in a position to assist this industry. The very fact that these men have been devoting fifteen years of time and their own money in an attempt of this kind and getting nowhere appears to me to merit the serious consideration of this House. It is almost unthinkable that when we have the country, the climate, the soil and everything conceivably needed to start an industry which will assist the farmers of a certain part of this country, it should take fifteen years of long labour on the part of a few progressive citizens of Winnipeg in order to get to a point where they may ask the government to put an act on the statute book, and that three years should then elapse before that act is made workable. It does seem to me that some steps should be taken immediately to assist this industry. If it is bonds they need, help put them in a position where their bonds are salable. If they need further investigation with regard to whether or not the kind of hemp they can grow is marketable, let us give them $5,000 or $10,000 in order to develop that particular phase of the question and help this industry to success. I may hold peculiar ideas about some things, but I am convinced that you cannot solve the problems of this country in any better way than by assisting in the creation of new wealth, when that new wealth is represented by a product which the world demands and which is therefore marketable.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The only way any further aid could be granted would be by amending the act or by getting a special vote put in the estimates, and I am afraid' I might run up against the Minister of Finance, who is not willing to increase the expenditure.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

George Brecken Nicholson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

If this question is examined clearly it will be seen to have a broader aspect than merely the question of a bounty on hemp. There is no doubt, if all our information is reliable, that western Canada can grow a first class quality of hemp. I do not know about Saskatchewan, but I have information that it can be grown in Manitoba and Alberta at least, and my hon. friend to my left (Mr. Evans) says that it can be grown equally well in Saskatchewan. As a matter of fact, I have been through the west and have had bonfires pointed out to me by men who know the west, and who have told me that that straw was being burned on soil that would produce an excellent quality of hemp for the manufacture of twine of all kinds. The Minister of Agriculture put his finger on the sore spot in connection with this whole matter, and it -is this, that the gentlemen behind this scheme cannot get the necessary financing. Why is that? The hemp that would be grown in this country would, for a considerable period at least, be used in the manufacture of binder twine. Now why is it that you cannot manufacture binder twine in this country? Solely because the market for Canadian binder twine has been handed over to the Consumers' Cordage Company in the United States, where they have a closed market of 110,000,000 people. The binder twine industry in Canada is in exactly the same position as any other type of industry in this country. You cannot find a group of financiers anywhere who will invest money in industry in this country to-day, because they do not know what may happen to that industry the day after they get it established. Conditions have been so uncertain in relation to all types of industry that you can no longer get a man to invest a dollar in industiy of any character in this country. They are all anxious to get their money out of industry and put it into bonds or something else where they feel it will be reasonably safe, if they do not take their money out of the country altogether. If you take hold of this question as it should be taken hold of, and give the manufacturer of binder twine and the producer of the hemp from which that binder twine is manufactured the reasonable degree of protection that Canadian industry requires, the whole problem will be solved; the farmers

Supply- Trade and Commerce

on the prairies will grow hemp, which will be manufactured in the towns near by, giving employment to their own people and providing revenue for themselves. There is the place to start. So long as you go on tinkering with these things, so long as no reliance can be placed on governmental action, so long as things are in this unsettled state, we shall be in the position that my hon. friend from Nova Scotia referred to when he said that we have spent fifteen years tinkering with this question and have got nowhere.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Was no money paid under this item last year?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Nothing paid under the bounty. The item we are considering is for administration.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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?

Mr GEARY:

I do not see any item in the Auditor General's report for the disbursements last year. There were no disbursements last year?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Not under the bounty.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Discussing the hemp proposition, I think we should try to keep our feet to the ground and not take an extreme position either one way or the other. I do not think there is any question that in parts of the three prairie provinces, in eastern and northern Manitoba and probably in the northern part of Alberta and Saskatchewan, hemp can be grown satisfactorily, but we must try to keep in mind the purposes for which this hemp will be used, and 'how it will be used. The hon. member for East Algoma has spoken of it as being used for binder twine. I think we may just as well disabuse our minds of that idea right at the start. Some investigation has been made into that matter, and it has been found that the hemp is not suitable for binder twine. Mr. R. A. Hoey, the member for Springfield in the last parliament, had occasion to get into correspondence with the University of Wisconsin, and they gave him the results of their own experience, and as well communicated to him the results of the experiments of the International Harvester Company. That company has been spending large sums of money for years in an attempt to find a suitable substitute for the southern grown fibre, and they have not found it. Even if a situable substitute could be produced, the testimony we get is to the effect that it cannot be used in competition with much cheaper fibres that come from the south or from the Philippine islands. So far as the production of binder twine is concerned, therefore, I think we may as well leave that question aside. But undoubtedly the fibre can be used very satisfactorily for manufacturing different grades of commercial twine, and personally I would like to see such an industry established. I believe if it could be successfully established it would give agriculture just one more industry upon which we could rely. If that could be done, and if we can take care of the growing and the harvesting of the hemp in the short season we have in the fall-very often a dry fall, whereas hemp needs a wet fall for its proper treatment-I believe we might have a satisfactory industry built up on the basis of the hemp that could be grown in the prairie provinces. If I remember rightly, when Colonel Grassie and his associates were presenting their case here they asked for a particular bounty; I do not know just what the figures were, but I do remember

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tax a u **axbxx um ^ u***v-^* ~ x r

before the House it was found that it did not meet the requests that had been made by Colonel Grassie and his associates-so much so, indeed, that they did not consider they could operate under the concessions offered.

I think we should approach this matter calmly, and the information we have been able to gather from the University of Wisconsin and the experience of the International Harvester Company is that as a binder twine proposition, we may as well put that idea aside. At the same time I believe there is a possibility, if we go at it in the right way, of developing 'What might be from the standpoint both of the producer of hemp and the manufacturer a very satisfactory industry.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

I do not think Colonel Grassie is now connected with the company at all. While I was out west during the adjournment, the principal of the company came to me, and I learned the personnel of the company has changed altogether. I took the matter up with Colonel Grassie many years ago. Manitoba is a province that can certainly grow the material from which binder twine can be made, and there I take issue with my hon. friend from Lisgar. We burn stacks and stacks of straw in that country that would be suitable for that purpose, and I have bought it at ridiculously low figures for my cattle. This item is practically a nominal one, and I would like to see the House pass it in order to give this industry a trial in Manitoba.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

There has not been any expenditure on this class of item heretofore.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

There was $203 spent in travelling expenses, but there has been no expenditure on account of the bounty.

Supply-Trade and Commerce

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Where is the administration

item?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mir. ROBB:

My hon. friend will find it under Trade and Commerce.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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March 23, 1926