November 14, 1932

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

There is not the slighest objection.

Topic:   TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I suggest that the minister have the report tabled, and if we pass the article in the meantime it will be with the understanding that we be permitted before the discussion in committee is concluded to refer to any feature relating to the hog commission's report with which we wish to deal.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

In support of my leader's contention, may I draw attention to the evolutionary nature of protection? For the last one hundred and fifty years it has been evoluting from bad to worse, and now they are starting all over again in Great Britain with protection after nearly a hundred years of free trade. Where it will end nobody knows. But we do know this, that Great Britain will consult her own electors before she will consult ours. The British government is amenable to its own electorate, including the farmers, but not to ours.

Here is a cable statement made by Lukin Johnston, an old country man, I understand, although I do not know the gentleman. The article is taken from our own press. I understand that this correspondent is a responsible gentleman. The article is headed, "Canadian bacon trade is given ten year chance," and the subhead reads, "Will at least take that time for British producer to provide country's requirements." To provide the country's requirements! You see, they will take our products so long as it suits them, but when they raise enough themselves it will be: "Good afternoon, gentlemen!" But that is looking a long way ahead; we will let that go. In the body of the article 1 read this:

While it is admitted that the price of bacon to the consumer in this country will rise, it_ is claimed on tlie other hand that the British farmer wild be compelled to breed pigs of the right kind and in sufficient numbers until ultimately the United Kingdom may be able to provide for her own requirements.

If they go at it right and use those vast acres which they have devoted to the raising of deer or other unprofitable purposes, for the raising of hogs and hog feeds, Great Britain will in a decade or two find that she can raise as many hogs as Denmark. Great Britain has a wonderful agriculture and it can be made

still more wonderful if they will only buckle down to it and use their land for profit. I understand that they are starting, and all power to them so far as I am concerned. But do not think, if they go in for greater production of hogs, that there is no possibility of them doing what my leader has suggested. That is exactly what they are drifting towards, and if they start on this game of protection they will undoubtedly say eventually that the sister dominions are beginning to interfere with the home grown product and that they can grow enough hogs of their own now anyway. Could this government which has shot up duties sky high against British commodities possibly object?

There is another matter. I have not been able to find out whether or not there is going to be a quota for Denmark. I have it on good authority that there are two kinds of quotas, one for the dominions and one for the home grown products. I think that Great Britain intends to have a quota on its own production. Is that right? If it is going to be such a wonderful stimulus to our hog raising, a quota would be equally stimulating to their own producers, and they would then raise such large quantities of hogs as to exclude ours. I recently read an article in a very responsible publication, the Live Stock Journal, in the old country, in which it was pointed out that a quota system would be applied to hog production in Great Britain. Just think of discussing this matter, Mr. Chairman, when nobody knows whether that is so or not. Again, suppose the quota system does not apply to Denmark. What is Denmark going to do when she finds that the quota system is going to come into effect on the first day of July, which is the date on which this legislation in the old country is going to come into effect? We will say, for the sake of illustration, that there is no quota applying to foreign countries, and I do not think there is. What will at once happen, and what is happening now, I believe, is that during the short period in which there will be no restrictions, either quota or tariff, between now and the first of July, Denmark will rush her hogs into Great Britain pell mell, just as New Zealand rushed butter into this country when if. was known that the duty on butter was going to be raised on the first of October. You remember the first of October, 1930, Mr. Chairman, because you heard a lot about butter at that time. When the importers in Canada realized that the duty on butter was going to be four cents a pound instead of one cent a pound after the first of October, I think every steamer on the Pacific carried a full quota of New Zealand butter. Whether the importing

United, Kingdom

was done by Tory importers or not I do not know, but at all events the butter came in. Why? For the logical reason that it was going to cost three cents a pound more to import it after the first of October. It came in, and it fairly struck terror into a lot of people, and incidentally won a lot of good Tory votes that should not have gone Tory. Denmark similarly, being loaded up with pigs now and having to place them somewhere, will glut the British market between now and the first of July, as sure as day follows night. That is not a rash prediction; in fact I believe it is happening right now.

The Minister of Agriculture knows quite well that on every pound of bacon that has been shipped from this country to the British market during the last two or three months our packers have been losing money. If live hogs were being sold on an export basis right now our producers would receive less than two cents a pound at the point of shipment in mid-Saskatchewan. The price for bacon hogs in Winnipeg is only three cents a pound, and that means two cents a pound in the mid-prairies. That is the position we are in now and it is likely to get worse as long as this condition is hanging over us till July 1, because Denmark is sure to crowd her excess hogs into the British market and further glut it. There is no question, I think, about that, and I fear for the result. It is bad enough now. The Canadian farmers are angry at being advised to grow more hogs.

The Minister of Agriculture corrected me a little while ago. He must admit that I myself, earlier in the session, gave him the credit of not recommending an increase in the hog population with his propaganda and his voice. But when he adopts a policy that must result in increasing the hog population, what is the use in his protesting? What was his policy? It was the same as his predecessor's, only more so. He went into it more vigorously in 1930. He purchased a lot of good type brood sows and mated them with- I must not use the word, because the Minister of Trade and Commerce might reprove me for using improper language in committee- mated them with companionate associates, shall I say. Well, what can we expect from an active policy of that kind but increased pig population; and a thousand protests from every Tory in the house would not stop it. That is the way all pig populations increase, and in no other way. I think my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture should not be putting up that stunt any more. I have not punctured that bubble before, but I think it is high time it was punctured. Let me say to

hon. members opposite that the farmers are incensed when they think of the minister professing a desire not to increase the pig population, and then adopting a policy which must result in an increase. He is facing both ways, and he has two policies. He wants to save himself, apparently, if prices go bad by saying: "Well, I did not recommend an increased pig population, but inasmuch as farmers were bound in 1930 to raise more pigs I was going to give them the right angle on it and induce them to grow the right kind." So much for * the 1930 policy. I do not wish to be harsh with the Minister of Agriculture, because I am trying to cultivate pleasant relation*-ships with him, and believe I have succeeded in some measure. I do not know that I can say the same concerning the Minister of Trade and Commerce; I do not care much whether I cultivate good relations with him after the way he lectured us the other day. Before we left home to attend this session a number of men on the staff of the Department of Agriculture, men whom I know to be competent, went out to Saskatchewan and into a small part of Alberta, together with members of the provincial departments of agriculture, to start a campaign of greater hog production. Of course they may have gone out on their own hook, I do not know, but I am inclined to think they did not; I believe the minister authorized them to make the trip. If I read the papers correctly, I am led to believe that they went out on a campaign for greater hog production, and a high quality product. They went out to be prepared for any improved market possibilities arising out of these agreements. If ever there was an exhibition of courage, they showed it, because they were engaged upon the most unpopular mission on which they could possibly have ventured. Hogs were selling for two and a half cents a pound, and in many cases the farmers had to draw water for them many miles. Then we have these "more hogs" crusaders coming along and telling them to produce still more hogs. Well, you should have heard what some of those farmers said. I am sure it would have been objected to by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who shows such sensitiveness when his ox is gored.

There are one or two further matters to which I should like to direct the attention of the government. The quota under which British hog producers are to operate must have been discussed in the conference committee. Are the British hog producers going to have a quota in order to control hog production and possible expansion? It was

1144 COMMONS

Imperial Conjeren.ee-Trade Agreements

assumed that that was to be quite stimulating to the home growers, and in order to prevent its being overdone there would be provision for the production of just a certain number of contract hogs-in their home market, so we are told-something like signing up a pool contract. I wonder if the Minister of Agriculture would tell us about that; I am sure he must know. It is all guess work

without the report of the British commission before us. Would he tell us whether a certain quota was to be placed on the foreign product or the home product in Britain, or both or neither?

Progress reported.

On motion of Mr. Bennett the house adjourned at 10.58 p.m.

Topic:   TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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END OF VOLUME I

November 14, 1932