Mr. J. E. LAWSON (West York):
Mr. Speaker, as I was so fortunate as to be elected a member of this House of Commons by acclamation, I shall not regale the ministry with recriminations as to election pledges. They, in their collective wisdom, deemed it advisable not to create the necessity of mak mg promises in the constituency of Wes York.
In this, my first utterance in this chambei, I desire to advance a plea on behalf of the vegetable growers, of West York in particular and of the Dominion of Canada in general. I am inspired to that subject by the hope that the government will justify, by action, the policy enunciated on its behalf by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) in his budget address to this house when he said, referring to the government:
Its policy is to encourage production at home and the marketing of our excess of production abroad.
Under normal conditions the vegetable growers of Canada require no assistance from the government, but when there is a surplus of production in the country to the south then some protection is required for our home market. Climatic conditions do not respect international boundaries, and it must be borne in mind that we are on the northern fringe of the. vegetable-growing belt of the North American continent. The normal movement of the vegetable products is from south to north. In the most southerly states the crop-let me take, for example, tomatoes-ripens about the middle of April, and the vegetable growers obtain for the first tomatoes they put upon the market, we will say, eight dollars a bushe^ a little later on seven dollars a bushel, and a little later still six dollars a bushel, until such time as they have obtained a return which covers the cost of production plus a reasonable profit. In years of plenty they still have several hundred bushels of tomatoes in thei' fields, on which, if they can realize the cost of picking and shipping, plus the freight rate, they are that much better off. So they pick this crop and start it "rolling" as it is termed in the trade. They have not found a market
The Budget-Mr. Lawson
for it, they have not even arranged a sale. The crop is started rolling north, and the commission agents along the line are wired to dispose of the commodity at whatever price they can obtain to cover the freight rate and the other costs. So just at the time when the vegetable growers of Ontario have their product ready for the market it is glutted with the surplus crop from the south. Hence the home market is destroyed, and in some cases our tomatoes are left to rot in the field.
Year after year since this government has been in power nothing has been done to preserve the home market, and yet its avowed policy is "to encourage production at home and the marketing of our excess of production abroad." I know some hon. gentlemen will say that if a certain amount of protection is given to the home market you prevent the public from profiting by the bargain prices which sometimes prevail. If the allegation is that this is a temporary condition, I wili not attempt to deny it. But what do we find? When our market is glutted with an excess of American production our vegetable growers decrease their plantings the next year. The result is that in time the home market is lost, and just as soon as that happens those who advocate the doctrine that I have referred to will find that no longer will the surplus from the south be started "rolling"; it will be sold in Canada at a fixed price, and our consumers will not in any way benefit.
Let me take the alternative suggestion: Assuming that our market is adequately protected, what will happen? If our vegetable growers find that this year they have a good home market, then next year they increase their plantings, and by virtue of that their cost of production is reduced, the ratio of profit which they require can be spread over a much larger field, and in the long run the consumer in Canada, although at times he will lose a bargain price, will get lower maximum prices at other seasons of the year. In that way a safe, sound and stable home market will be preserved for our home grown products.
It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that we have a selfish as well as a public interest in maintaining such a market. I find surrounding all the large centres of population in this country great numbers of returned soldiers who have settled upon the land. In appreciation of the services which they rendered Canada we placed legislation upon the statute books to assist their reestablishment in civil life. I find that in the province of Ontario alone the Soldier Settlement Board has for this purpose advanced $9,367,062, thousands of dollars of which are loaned right in the constituency of
West York, which is contiguous to the city of Toronto. Those loans bear interest at five per cent, amortized and repayable in twenty-five years. Surely as business men charged with the administration of the public affairs and the public funds, we axe desirous of creating and preserving a home market for our vegetable growers, so that those men may be provided with the wherewithal to repay their loans.
Our present tariff is wholly inadequate for this purpose. With one exception, I think potatoes, we have an ad valorem tariff varying in percentage, but-to continue my illustration -the rate on tomatoes is fixed at 30 per cent. May I ask hon. gentlemen what is the advantage of an ad' valorem duty of 30 per cent, when that duty is imposed at the point of shipment and not at the point of entry, and when the tomatoes to which I have referred may be selling at fifty cents a bushel in the far southern states from which they have been started rolling? Such an ad valorem duty will not preserve our home market, and yet the policy of the government, as enunciated by the Minister of Finance, is to encourage production at home and the marketing of our excess of production abroad.
Now, sir, I would feel that I had been remiss if I did not suggest a remedy. The remedy required to preserve the home market for our vegetable growers is a seasonal specific duty of so many cents per unit of any particular commodity. This suggestion is not original; I believe some thirteen countries of the world have such a seasonal specific duty in force to-day. The Advisory Tariff Board, to which the hon. gentleman who preceded me (Mr. Spencer) referred, had a hearing of the vegetable growers and horticulturists of Ontario on December 16 and 17, 1926; they had a second hearing on February 22, 1927, and a third hearing on December 8 of the same year. I find on referring to the estimates that this tariff board costs us $120,000 a year for maintenance; it pays $71,000 a year for advisers, a total of $191,000, in order that, having been advised by their advisers, they may in turn advise -the Minister of Finance, and yet they have allowed fifteen months to elapse without rendering any such advice following those hearings. Or if they have rendered any advice to the minister then he has failed to advise the market gardeners of this country what they may expect in the way of protection for their home market in the year to come. And yet the policy of this government is "to encourage production at home and the marketing of our excess of production abroad." I wonder if, while there
The Budget-Mr. Letellier de St. Just
is yet time, the government will justify by action that policy which the Minister of Finance enunciates, or leave it merely as a euphonious phrase for the consumption of those who, apparently in the opinion of this government, are the gullible electorate of Canada.
Mr. J. E. LETELLIER DE ST. JUST (Com.pbon): It is a great pleasure to me Mr. Speaker, to rise at this time to express my views on the present budget, and I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to the Minister of Finance (Mir. Robb), on his ability in .the success obtained on realizing such, an important result. The people of Canada welcomed Last year's 'budget, which caused great ioy and brought about the largest sale of certain classes of goods resulting in great benefit to the people of this country. The expectation of the people, this year, was for a further reduction of the sales tax. Surely they have not been deceived when we contemplate a reduction of the net debt in 1928-29 of $69,782,000. From the beginning .of the fiscal year 1923-24 to the end of the present fiscal year, the net debt has annually decreased, the total reduction in the six-year period amounting to about $226,708,000, or a yearly average reduction of some $37,700,000.
It is evident that the people of Canada are not all satisfied with the budget, but it seems fair to say that the great majority of Canadians know very well that, with the conditions that the King government had to face during the past years, it would have been impossible for any finance minister to satisfy everybody. I am more than delighted to concur with the minister and to give him all my approbation when I realize the influential support he receives from the most important business associations and boards of trade of Canada. These associations comprise a large membership. I do not believe I am mistaken in saying that there are more than 100,000 merchants who are distributing over $4,000,000,000 worth of goods each year, or an average of approximately $421 per capita; and they are satisfied to proclaim that there is great prosperity in the country, in that the distribution of goods in the year 1900 as compared with the present would be about as 3 is to 5. This will be nearly enough a correct calculation, without considering the increased needs of the public. The value of the goods distributed in 1900 would have been only $2,400,000,000 if we had our present population, but as we had then over 5,000,000 people as compared with 9,500,000 to-day, we have to reduce the amount of goods consumed by the relative proportion of population. On that basis the
value of the goods distributed in 1900, amounted to approximately $1,400,000,000 as compared with $4,000,000,000 to-day. This shows the growth of distribution with the progress of other development in Canada during the past twenty^five years, and yet there are people who criticize the government, proclaiming that there is no such prosperity existing in Canada. The widely prevalent belief, Mr. Speaker, that Canada is entirely dependent upon capital from outside sources to finance her development is rudely dissipated by the disclosure that the Dominion is exporting more capital than she is importing, and has been doing so for the past four years. Canada has always had considerable investments abroad in the form of banking .balances in London and New York, railway lines in the United States, and investments in foreign securities by banks and insurance companies as well as by private individual who require well diversified lists of securities. A rising Canadian prosperity, however, with a greater volume of funds seeking investment outlet, has resulted in a situation where the capital to leave the country exceeds by a substantial marign that coming in.
In 1925 the figures of Canada's capital exports over capital imports in round millions were $150,000,000; in 1926, $90,000,000; in 1927, $30,000,000; and in 1928, $25,000,000. The decline in these figures for the last two years is explained by a growing Canadian interest in domestic securities. An increasing absorption of Canada's part of her own bond issues has been a feature of the past few years. In both 1927 and 1928 the Dominion accounted for roughly 50 per cent of the total bond sales, in the former year exceeding the purchases of these issues by the United States. In 1925 Canada had even an export balance in capital with the United States, and in each of the last three years Canadian capital account with the republic has practically balanced.
After careful compilations Canadian investment abroad in 1928 is placed by the Financial Post at $177,000,000, as compared with $207,000,000 in the previous year. Of the 1928 total $112,000,000 went to the United States, $63,000,000 to other foreign countries, and $2,000,000 to the United Kingdom. Taking into account the decreases in government and bank balances due to the expansion of business at home a net new investment of $157,500,000 is left as against a net of $184,000,000 in 1927, and after deducting $11,000,000 from this account and $35,000,000 from other countries, we have a net increase .of $59,500,000. A deduction of $5,000,000 in government and bank balances from the total goinig to the United Kingdom results in a
The Budget-Mr. Letellier de St. Just
net loss of $3,000,000 in new Canadian investment in that country. Based on figures issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics as of January 1, 1927, careful estimates made upon information from most reliable sources by the same authority give the total of Canadian investments abroad on January 1, 1928, at $1,514,500,000 and on January 1, 1929, at $1,672,000,000. Of this total at the opening of the present year Canada had $939,000,000 invested in the United States, $112,500,000 in the United Kingdom, and $620,500,000 in other countries.
This survey furnishes further proof of Canada's advance among the creditor countries of the world as a factor in international finance, with capital furthering industrial developments of many kinds in many distant parts. Investments by Canadian insurance companies in diversified foreign securities continue to increase rapidly with the development of both their domestic and foreign business. Direct Canadian investments in branch plants in the United States commercial field and elsewhere are growing steadily. Canadian holdings of New York stocks and of European and South American government bonds have increased enormously, and altogether the record testifies most eloquently to Canadian prosperity and world progress:
Canadian Investments Abroad
British $118,479,000 $112,500,000United States 723,328,000 939,000,000Other countries.. .. 488,779,000 620,500,000Total $1,330,586,000 $1,672,000,000
Now, Mr. Speaker, I pass to the agricultural industry, and with great pleasure and true spirit I say that since the beginning of the year 1922, when the present administration assumed office, many new policies have beep introduced and developed by the federal Department of Agriculture with a view tc increasing agricultural production, and many of these policies have had no small part in bringing about the present prosperity which Canadian -agriculture enjoys. These new policies have naturally involved greater expenditure on agriculture on the part of the federal government and the employment of a greater number of agricultural workers, but this expenditure has been more -than justified by the increase of out agricultural wealth and in our agricultural revenue which can be traced, directly or indirectly, to those new agricultural -activities. In dealing with these new activities probably it will be well to follow the organization of the department and discuss it very briefly, branch by branch.
[Mr. Letellier de St. Just.l
As the Dominion experimental farms provide the basis for the working out and the demonstration of problems dealing with Canadian agriculture in all its -phases, new activities on these farms naturally must have a most important effect over a wide area. During the seven-year period under -consideration this organization has grown in size, volume of agricultural research and -practical aid to the farmer to a degree greater than any previous fifteen-year -period in its history. I wish to take the opportunity of expressing my appreciation to the Lennoxville experimental farm, by which the farmers of the eastern townships district, have acquired considerable knowledge through the activities of the active superintendent, Mr. McClary. Many contests have been held there; many old and young farmers have received most important lessons in judging milch -cows, and greater interest has been fostered by the establishment of this policy. I have been personally taking a great interest in this special work of helping boys' and girls' clubs in their work in connection with cattle, sheep and swine in my constituency, and I am more than -pleased to mention to the members of this house that I was greatly honoured during the course of the year 1927-28 through the members of the young breeders' clubs of the following places obtaining the best classification with their milch herds at the great eastern township exhibition held at Sherbrooke lu 1927 and 1928: Compton, Waterville, Bury, Bulwer, Sawyervil-le, St. Hermenegilde, St. Hedwidge, East Hereford, St. Malo. The hon. member for Sherbrooke, (Mr. Howard) has taken a great interest in the farmers, and he was a witness of this event. Great progress has been noticed since the federal department stated its -calf club work in 1923. The encouragement given to the younger generation and the interest fostered among them by these club activities has been reflected in the marked improvement in live stock production in the districts in which clubs have been organized. I hope the department will continue to give assistance to these organized clubs and develop new efforts through their agronomist in urging new -clubs to cooperate with the provincial government.
I desire also to voice my appreciation of the dairy and cold storage branch. The two main lines of endeavour inaugurated by this branch since 1922 have been that of dairy *produce grading and the inception of dairy research work. The dairy produce grading has resulted in a great improvement in quality, while thp -publicity given to that quality through the grading records has brought about a new attitude on the part of
The Budget-Mr. Letellier de St. Just
producers and manufacturers. The grading has facilitated the trade in dairy produce and increased the good will shown toward Canadian dairy produce in the markets of the world; the increased premium which Canadian cheese now receives on the British market is due very largely to this grading system. Not only on the export markets, but also on the domestic markets has the improvement in the quality of our butter and cheese been marked. The Canadian housewife can now be more reasonably sure of the quality of the dairy products which she purchases. The investigations of the dairy research division have enabled the butter makers and cheese makers to correct some serious defects in the quality of their butter and cheese. Through the elimination of losses considerable profit has been added to the proceeds received from this industry.
The estimated value of the cheese and butter produced in the province of Quebec during 1928 is $30,098,541. This represents a total production of 1,452 factories in the province, as per the reports made by the inspectors at those provinces. This number is made up of 678 butter factories, 537 cheese factories and 238 combined factories, and constitutes an increase of three factories as compared with the number operating in 1927. The production of 721,924 cows was used in these factories. The production of a number of cows was used to produce butter for consumption in a few cities. The number of cows producing for these factories in 1927 was 679,119, so the 1928 figure shows an increase of 42,175 cows. The number of pounds of butter manufactured was 54,904,046 pounds as compared with 55,098,768 pounds during the preceding year, a decrease of 194,722 pounds. The total output of cheese was 44,326,885 pounds as compared with 37,510,737 pounds during the preceding year, an increase of 6,816,148. The minimum price per pound received for butter during 1928 was 37.9 cents, and the price received for cheese was 20.9 cents. This represents an increase of 12 cents per pound for butter and 28 cents per pound for cheese, as compared with the prices received during the previous year. The sale value of the butter produced by the factories in 1928 was $20,832,898 as compared with $21,216,505 during the preceding year, an increase in value of $616,393. The sale value of cheese produced amounted to $9,265,643, as compared with $6,805,658 in 1927, or an increase of S2,459,985. These figures were submitted by the inspectors and were sent directly to the provincial agriculture department, and therefore might be subject to some revision.
The work of bovine tuberculosis eradication through the restricted areas has been and is of incalculable advantage to Canada's stockmen and to Canadian citizens generally. It means more profitable herds and healthier people. There are now about 1,000.000 cattle under this system, and the related policies of accredited herds and municipal testing. The most effective method for the control of bovine tuberculosis so far is that of eradication by slaughter of reactors. This work is carried out in definite areas under the restricted area policy put into operation in 1922. Since that time over 700,000 cattle have been, tested in the nine areas already established or in process of establishment.
I should like to mention a few details about the sheep industry, which is one of the most important industries in Canada. During 1928 Canada added 153,082 sheep to her flocks, the increases over the previous year being 4-6 per cent. Every province, without exception, added to its sheep holdings. Ontario, in which approximately 53 per cent of the sheep of the Dominion are to be found, increased its sheep population by 57,839, or more than 6 per cent, while British Columbia added 40,064, or nearly 33 per cent. Other increments ranged from 5,000 in Alberta to 13,060 in Saskatchewan. The relative standing of the various provinces in the middle of the year was as follows:
British Columbia.. .. New Brunswick.. ..
Prince Edward Island
Number of sheep .. 1,014,106
. . 160,514
The related wool clip of 1928 discloses a pleasing progress in this industry. An increase of more than 5 per cent is shown in the volume of the Dominion clip, in which increment every province without exception shared. The total Canadian clip is estimated
at 19,611,430 pounds, worth $5,099,000, as compared with 18,672,766 pounds worth $4,108,000 in 1927. The following are the figures for the various provinces in order of importance for
1928 and 1927:
Province Pounds PoundsOntario 5,677,088 5,326,651Quebec 4.969,126 4.956,418Alberta 3,116,609 3,033,181Nova Scotia 1,535,462 1,480,541Saskatchewan 1,064,608 987,458British. Columbia .. 973,400 717,892New Brunswick 916,007 873,724Manitoba 801,468 765,609Prince Edward Island. 549,675 513,882Indian reserves.. .. 17,987 17,410974 COMMONS
The Budget-Mr. Letellier de St. Just
A large number of my farmer constituents are greatly interested in the development of their flocks.
Another important factor which has contributed to the progress and development of poultry breeding is the effort made by the Department of Agriculture in organizing the holding of the World's Poultry Congress in Ottawa in 1927, which undoubtedly had a tremendous effect in stimulating the Canadian poultry industry, and at which Canada, and especially Ontario and Quebec, held first rank among the many countries which exhibited.
In conclusion, I should like to direct the attention of the government to the many colonization lots which are available in my constituency. The soil of these lots is of the most fertile nature, and I wish to impress upon the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Forke) and their colleagues the other members of the cabinet, the importance of giving consideration to colonization bill No. 16, which was introduced in 1926 but which, on account of the dissolution of parliament at that time, did not become law. I believe this bill could be redrafted so as to help a certain class of labourers who are actually working in mills and factories, but many of whom have been brought up on farms and with a little help of this nature would be willing to take up some of those lots and make them profitable for themselves and the country. I have also received requests from parents having as many as four young men in the family who are just at the proper age to do splendid work on farms and who, if they were protected by such a law, would be willing to purchase some of these lots. If this legislation were passed it would promote great interest amongst labourers who have children of age to help them while they were getting established on the land, and later on these children could establish themselves on farms of their own where I should think they could do splendidly. At the same time it would prevent emigration and induce many Canadians to return to farming, a consummation which would be of the greatest benefit to our national life.
Subtopic: THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE