February 11, 1943

The Address-Mr. Marshall

Anyone who wishes to check me up will find the statement on pages 187-8. I commend that quotation to the earnest contemplation of hon. members of this house. Three facts should be kept in mind in connection with this statement: (1) Lord Haldane said that Germany was his spiritual home; (2) Sir Ernest Cassel was the alter ego of Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Company of New York; (3) There is ample circumstantial evidence that this company, Kuhn, Loeb and Company of New York, financed Hitler during his rise to power and his subsequent operations. In these days of war and social upheaval we should be very careful of our approach to these post-war problems. Some people tell us that we should forget the past misdeeds of our public men, that the book should be closed and that we should open a new one. That, I contend, is wrong, because it is only by studying the mistakes of the past that we can go forward safely in the future. Certain individuals in this country and Great Britain have brought the British empire to the verge of destruction. Sir William Beveridge is one of them. I hope the day will come when these men, no matter who or where they are, will be ferreted out and will meet their just rewards. Whatever the merits or demerits of the proposals of Sir William Beveridge may be- I am not discussing the proposals at the present time-there is no doubt in my mind that he has been responsible, indirectly perhaps, for many of the ills which have afflicted the people of Great Britain. I want to make just two observations in connection with these proposals. First, there is no want in a workhouse or a gaol. Second, this plan is a plan for a servile state. My time is almost exhausted. My constituency is an agricultural one, with problems which are common to all parts of Canada. I hope to discuss these problems at the proper time later in the session. I should like also to have had time to discuss the problems of the small businessmen, who are the backbone of our communities, the treatment that is being meted out to them at the present time and how they face disaster. Time, however, will not permit. May I say, in closing, that I do not like the trend in this country toward centralization of power. I believe it was that trend which brought Germany to the point where she is to-day. I believe that unless some radical changes are made, they will at some future time mean the destruction of our own country. We should take heed now before it is too late.


Wilson Henry Mills


Mr. W. H. MILLS (Elgin):

Mr. Speaker, I hope I may add something to this debate that will be of assistance to the government, and not just repeat what has been said already. I believe our Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the members of his cabinet should have the cooperation of every member of this house in these trying times. There never was a period when a government had greater responsibility than is the situation at present, when it must bring in legislation that will bring about the greatest possible war effort, so that this conflict may be brought to a successful conclusion; for, if it is not, nothing matters. We must win this war, and that should be the first thought in the mind of each hon. member. We should forget politics; we should stop trying to play for a better position and put forth every effort toward winning the war.

I wish to direct my few remarks this evening to a subject which for some time past has had a great deal of publicity. I refer to the distribution of beef to civilians and to the armed forces, and the sale of beef cattle. In the present Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) I think we have one of the best ministers this country has ever had. Perhaps he has not been praised by all farmers from one end of the country to the other, but he has had a heavy role to play, and I think he has done more to be of assistance to the farmers of Canada than any of his predecessors. He is administering the one department of government that gives us legislation to control prices, the greatest legislation ever placed on our statute books. If this legislation had to be scrapped, however, I should be perfectly content to let everything stand as it is, for, while I believe that prices were frozen when prices of agricultural products had not reached equality with other prices, adjustments have been made from time to time so that there are few complaints to-day. I believe that further adjustments can be made and that everything will be satisfactory.

I should like to add a word of praise for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) who has as great a role to play as any man in this government. I think he will go down in history as the greatest Minister of Finance this country has ever had.

In the Ottawa Evening Citizen of Monday last I noticed four articles dealing with the beef situation. Up to that time I had no intention of taking part in this debate, for I believe it should be brought to a speedy conclusion so that we may get on with more

The Address-Mr. Mills

important business. I was, however, compelled to clip these articles. One was an editorial which states:

Packing company officials were reported the other day as suspecting that a black market in beef was being operated in the Ottawa district. Whether this is true or not, it is something to be guarded against if United States experience is to be avoided.

Washington is alarmed at the growth of the meat black market. According to Time price administration officials guess that 20 per cent of all live stock slaughtered in the country is going to black-marketers. In New York city alone, illegal meat sales total about $2,500,000 weekly. Cleveland reports that 40 per cent of its meat supply was being side-tracked to the black market.

It should be the firm resolve of meat purchasers as well as responsible government officials that no such situation shall develop in Canada. It would lead to chaos in the marketing of meat and to higher prices everywhere. It could lead to unwholesome meat being sold.

The "black market" process by which meat reaches retail stores is that wherein persons looking for quick profits offer farmers a higher price than the present ceiling on wholesale prices. The meat is killed and is then brought to the towns and cities. The retailers, harried by meat-hungry customers, buy the meat at higher prices and sell at an appropriate figure. And meat-hungry customers do not argue much over ceilings.

It is a difficult problem to deal with this traffic. Coffee and tea are easy. But meat is produced on thousands of farms and is slaughtered in hundreds of big and little abattoirs. The meat may be excellent, even inspected. But the price will be high. People should remember that there is a meat shortage and that the black market only makes the problem worse.

Another article, which I will not take time to read, states that an increase in price is to come into effect to-day, while still another article suggests that rationing of beef may commence about March 1. For the benefit of those who may not know a great deal about the slaughtering of beef cattle I should like to give an illustration, taking a 1,000-pound steer at ten cents a pound live weight. This would cost $100. A good average beef animal as sold on the market to-day will dress about 55 pounds to the hundred, some a little more and some a little less. At 17} cents a pound, which was the price when I made up this calculation, 550 pounds of beef would bring $97.65, and the extra 50 cents a hundred now being allowed would bring up that total to about $100. At the price of 171 cents, however, you would have to get $2.35 out of the hide to pay for the live animal. But instead of costing 10 cents it is costing up to 12 cents, so that at the ceiling price there will be a loss of $22.35 on every beef animal killed.

In Tuesday's Globe and Mail I noticed a report of the Toronto cattle market, in which it was shown that cattle were selling at from 72537-24i

11 to 12 cents a pound. I believe yesterday there were 55 steers sold in Toronto, according to the market report, at 12-25 cents a pound. So that at these prices, I am asking if there is anyone within my hearing who believes that these beef animals are not sold on a black market? What is the use of our kidding ourselves that we have not a black market right here in Ontario? There can be no doubt about that. My opinion is-and I do not know-that the government is perhaps subsidizing the abattoirs and that the private butchers are selling their beef at more money. There is no question about that; there is no other way to figure it.

What has made the handling of the cattle situation so unsatisfactory has been the frequent change in policy in the last year. The marketing of cattle, and the general beef situation are much different from the pork situation. At the outset of the war the Minister of Agriculture was able to go to England and negotiate a market for our bacon. As a result, there has been an increased demand. He has been able to tell the farmers what was wanted, and that we have an increased market. As far as I know, I have had no complaints whatsoever respecting the bacon and hog markets. But in the west end of my riding I have many beef cattle feeders, and I must say that at least for the last nine months the situation has been most unsatisfactory. This condition I believe arose from the fact that originally the outlet for our surplus beef cattle had been in the United States. That is the market the Prime Minister was able to negotiate within a very few weeks after his election in 1935. We have shipped to that market ever since quarterly quotas amounting to about 200,000 head. As I see it, the feeders had that to contend with. They did not wish to be cut off from that market. An attempt was made to buy our cattle, and to pay us a price equal to the United States price. That did not prove satisfactory. I might say I had a feeder say to me a short time ago, "Do you not think that our market ought to come equal to the United States market?" I said, "No; if it did it would blow the lid off the whole price control, and we would have things as they are in the United States." We do not want prices to go to the point they have reached there.

Perhaps I might explain by saying that I have a brother in Portland, Oregon. I hear from him frequently, and when he writes he usually encloses advertisements from local newspapers. Reading those advertisements, I see that a boy in that city driving a butcher wagon, a bread wagon or a laundry wagon

The Address-Mr. Mills

gets $50 a week. If the young men in their early teens in Canada were getting that much money we might be able to get more for our beef cattle-but it would do us no good. If there were no price control the hardware merchants would not know what to ask for manufactured products they have on their shelves. They would not know what replacement values would be.

Last summer cattle prices went up as high as 13J cents a pound. I do not think that was a good thing; it would have been better had they not reached that height. With that in view, however, the greater number of our feeders bought their cattle last summer at prices which do not permit their selling them on to-day's market, because if we had to stick to the ceiling to-day, the price to the farmer would not be over cents a pound.

I was in western Canada last fall when word came through to the effect that no more cattle were to be shipped to the United States market. One buyer at Maple Creek had orders next morning to cancel thirteen cars of feed1. I had purchased my cattle. They were loaded next day and shipped here. I imagine there never was a time that they could have been bought any cheaper, because there was a heavy demand to keep cattle in the west, there being no other outlet for grain. Cattle offered about the only way in which they could turn their grain into cash.

To satisfy the beef-cattle man in Canada I recommend that the price of dressed beef should be placed at 22 cents a pound.

Topic:   EDITION

Wilson Henry Mills



Yes, carcases. Those cattle

would net the feeder about 12 cents a pound. That would satisfy feeders and, considering the prices they paid for their stockers last fall, they need that encouragement. If we take the minister's statement of yesterday to the effect that it takes eight pounds of grain to make one pound of beef, we find that it bears out my contention, because certainly grain is worth at least a cent and a half a pound. This would mean that it would take 12 cents worth of grain to make one pound of beef, to say nothing about the roughage and the labour required to take care of the cattle.

If this were done there would be orderly marketing. We see reports in the press that there are not as many cattle in the country. I know that many feeders are not feeding their cattle as heavily as they might, hoping to carry them along so as to get the high prices next spring. But have we any assurance that if too many cattle reach the market next spring we shall receive the ceiling? One

article in a newspaper states that it will reach a high figure on May 27, and that then the market will fluctuate according to supply and demand.

I visited my home over the last week-end, and while there I went to stables within ten miles of home, each with approximately forty highly finished cattle. They would average from 1,400 to 1,600 pounds. The owners would like to sell, but one man paid 10J cents a pound for his replacement cattle last fall and the other man paid about 11 cents a pound, and they do not feel like accepting 11-99 cents a pound. Twelve cents a pound would satisfy them. Those cattle would be out of the way, and they would be filling in to-day, when there is a shortage. They would not be coming on the market at a time when there is supposed to be a high price. There is a chance that next spring we may not be getting more than 10 cents a pound for our cattle, if too many reach the market. That may be the condition, unless the government steps in and exports to the other side-and I should hope that that would happen. I hope we shall never see cattle cheaper than they are to-day. If it were possible to get 12 cents a pound for finished cattle, I venture to say that there are ten carloads in the west end of the county of Elgin which would go to market next week.

I should like to say a word about farm help. Members of the opposition have been saying a good deal about farm help and have criticized what has been done, but they offer no solution. When I was going home last weekend I saw carloads, almost train-loads of soldiers. When I got to London, four carloads of soldiers changed there to take the electric cars to St. Thomas. Every one of those men looked as though he would make a good farm labourer. When so many men are taken out of industry, when they no longer play a part in this country's production programme, there is bound to be a shortage. When they come directly from the farm, it affects farm help.

I should like to say a word also about the treatment the farmers in military district No. 1, which is western Ontario, have received. They have been given every consideration, and no one could be more considerate than Mr. W. A. Martin who is administering that district. I do not know of any young farmer from my county who is in uniform to-day and who should be back on the farm. Last year we had considerable assistance from volunteers and students from the city. Near me was a home fitted up where girls from Alma college changed about all summer. They were of great assistance. We also had a good deal of help with our sugar beets from people

Mutual Aid Bill

who came out to volunteer. I should like to have seen some city fellows hoeing sugar beets. I never was very lazy myself, but I think I am too long in the back because I never was able to boast about the sugar beets that I could hoe. I know of one girl who came out to help, and she told of others who were rushing by her and who seemed to be able to hoe a lot. She tried to do a good job, and she was able to get to the end of the row by night. They were being paid so much a row, but she never asked for any pay, saying that she was just getting the experience.

There is another recommendation I should like to make, but I do not know whether it can be carried out. I think every farm hand, every man who has worked in agriculture, who is in the armed forces on Canadian soil should, if he so requests, be granted a postponement for next summer in order to return home to assist with the work on the farm. A man who has always worked on the farm, who has grown up on the farm, is worth considerably more than inexperienced help. I know of some men who have been in the army for some time. I am thinking of one boy in particular who, I know, would like to come out for the summer.

I was greatly pleased, when the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck) was speaking, to hear the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) announce that provision was being made for the widows of war veterans. This is very worthy, but it should have been done long ago. Many soldiers have died, and many more will die from the effects of service in the last war. At times it is hard to make the board believe, or they will not acknowledge that a death is directly attributable to war service. If a man is not getting a pension of fifty per cent or over, there is nothing for his widow. I know of widows who have worn themselves out in taking care of their husbands before they died. Many of these women are in the sixties; they are not able to get out and earn a living,'and they are too young to obtain an old age pension. Again let me say that I am glad to hear that something is going to be done for them.

I have nothing further to say except that I hope something will be done to satisfy the cattlemen of this country. The only thing that will satisfy them is to have the ceiling price put up so that they can get 12 cents a pound for their fat steers delivered at the station.

On motion of Mr. Maclnnis the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Gardiner the house adjourned at 10.50 p.m.

Friday, February 12, 1943

Topic:   EDITION

February 11, 1943