April 30, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


George Davidson Grant



I shall not weary the House by quoting statistics at any length, but I have a few figures here which show conclusively that high protection has not been of material assistance to the farmer of the United States, and arguing by analogy, if high protection has not been of assistance to the United States farmer, it cannot be of assistance to the Canadian farmer. In the twelfth census of the United States I find that there were in 1880, 4,008,000 farmers in the United States ; of these 2,984,000 were owners of the soil they tilled and 1,024,601 were tenants of the land they occupied. Twenty years after that, in 1900, there were engaged in agriculture in the United States 5,739,000 farmers and of these 3,713,000 were owners and 2,026,000 were tenants. The logical conclusion from this is, that the proportionate decrease of freeholders and the increase of tenant farmers is indicative of tile fact that agriculture is not prosperous in the United States; else, the increase would be in 67
the opposite direction and there would be comparatively more freeholders and fewer tenant farmers. In 1880 for every one thousand male persons at work on farms there were 422 of them owners, and in 1900 out of every one thousand male persons at work on the farms there were but 423 owners. In 1880 for every 1,000 farmers there were 145 tenant farmers and in 1900 that proportion had grown until there were 231 tenant farmers in every 1,000. In other words, the farm owners remain stationary and the number of tenants increased by about sixty per cent. Sir, that should be an object lesson to the Canadian farmer not to be gulled by the specious arguments of the high protectionist. In 1900 there were engaged altogether in the United States in agricultural pursuits 8,771,000, persons as against 7,075,000 in 1880; this was a remarkable small increase when compared with the enormous increase in the general population of the United States which took place in the two decades between 1880 and 1900.
Now, Sir, let us look for a moment at the position of the American farmer from another point of view. Let us look at the capital he has invested in his industry, and let us compare his return from his investment with the return which the manufacturer of the United States gets from his investment. I find from the census of the United States recently published that the capital invested in agriculture, including lands, buildings, improvements and live stock, amounts to about $20,514,000,000. The income returned to the farmers of the United States on the amount of the capital invested vas $3,764,000,000. The manufacturers had an invested capital amounting to only $9,874,000,000, and from that amount, after having the full benefit of $4,800,000,000 of cash and stock on hand, their returns were $8,370,000,000. Let us deduct $2,000,000,000 of disbursements for labour, working expenses, &c., which the compiler of these statistics, says is a reasonable amount, and we have a let return to the manufacturers of the United States of $6,370,000,000 from an investment of scarcely ten thousand millions of money. Compare the revenue from their investment with the revenue earned by the agriculturists of the United States and I do not think any candid man will contend that in a highly protected country such as the United States, the farmer has an even show with the manufacturer.
I have been unable to obtain complete figures for Canada as a whole, but I have taken those relating to the province of Ontario as giving a fair indication of conditions in all parts of the Dominion. I find, according to a recent bulletin issued by the department of Agriculture in Toronto, that the amount of capital invested in Ontario farms is $975,000,000, which yielded a return in 1900 of $160,000,000, not including what was fed to stock, which amounts to $60,000,000 more. So that hon. gentlemen

*will see that the revenue of the farmers of Ontario has been higher than that of the United States farmers considering the capital invested.
Now, I find that the average income of the United States farmer is $288 a year. I am quite willing and anxious to say that that is not a fair indication of his condition, nor would it be a fair figure to set in comparison with the income of an Ontario farmer, because it includes many small holdings of negroes and involves other conditions unfavourable to such a comparison. But let us take some of the states along our own borders, which are not only adjacent to us, but which are very similar as to soil, climate and other conditions. In the state of Ohio according to these statistics, which bear every evidence of care in their preparation, the average income of the farmer-in Ohio- is $312, in Illinois $425, in Michigan $239, in Minnesota $465, in North Dakota $755, and in South Dakota $605. I think a comparison may fairly be drawn between Ohio, Illinois and Michigan on the one hand, and the province of Ontario on the other. In the year 1900 the Ontario farmers raised $160,000,000 worth of products, and we have in that province in round numbers from 175,000 to 200,000 men engaged in the industry of agriculture. Take the larger figure, 200,000, and by the simple process of dividing that number into the $160,000,000 produced by our farmers, we find that it nets to the Ontario farmer an average of $800 per annum. I think that is a fair statement, I think it is logical, and I think it must lead us to the conclusion that the Ontario farmers, and I doubt not the farmers of Canada generally, are getting a greater return from their labour and their capital invested than their fellow-husbandmen to the south of the international boundary, who are not thriving, but groaning, under the load of taxation which a high tariff imposes. I think hon. gentlemen opposite have a task of great magnitude in attempting to convince the agriculturists of this Dominion that a high protective tariff or adequate protection, term it what you will, is a policy which is conducive to their best interests.
The agricultural community of this Dominion are lacking in one respect, and it is natural that it should be so. They are not well organized. They have not the benefit of combination, which other interests possess, and therefore are unable to make known to the government and those in authority what their views on these matters are. They are only able every five years, or it may be in a by-election occasionally, to express their ideas on what should be the policy of this country. I feel, Sir, that it is only natural that there should be an anxiety on the part of hon. gentlemen opposite to convince the farmers and the other primary producing classes of Canada that they are as much interested in high pro-

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