March 7, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. E. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

Mr. Speaker, in resuming this debate I desire briefly to call attention to the great importance of the motion now before the house. It vitally affects one of the most important branches of the largest industry of this Dominion, and I do not offer any apology for seconding this motion since I represent a riding which is 90 per cent rural, and since I am engaged in mixed farming myself.

I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, and every other member of this house realizes that agriculture occupies a most important place in this country, as is the case in almost every other country. Agriculture has held a foremost place in the British Empire both in times of peace and in times of war. One might be pardoned for referring to the words of President Lincoln of the United States, who at one time said "that any government which failed to recognize agriculture by allowing any other industry to conflict with its progress, was certainly sacrificing the very integrity of the nation." I submit, therefore, that in this country, in these days of agricultural depression. any action which has in any way retarded the progress of the dairying industry certainly has retarded the general prosperity of the rural communities of this Dominion. I am not a pessimist, yet I am not perhaps as optimistic as some of those hon. gentlemen who have referred to the abounding prosperity which we who are engaged in agriculture are supposed to enjoy at present.
Dairying occupies an important place in the mixed farming of Canada, even in this country where we have not the favourable climatic conditions which may exist in other countries; yet we have developed in this country an enormous dairy industry, an industry which has returned a revenue of 5250,000.000 per year-in one year it amounted to almost $300,000,000-an industry which had established in this country a favourable balance of trade within itself of over $50,000,000. No uoubt it was in view of those facts that the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) speaking at Woodstock on September 23, 1925, said to the farmers of that district that if the great dairy industry were retarded in any way by treaties with other countries, he would take immediate steps to have such treaties abrogated. Three days after an order in council was passed which extended to New Zealand the privilege of sending butter into Canada, not at four cents per pound but at one cent.
When one realizes that New Zealand is blessed with very great fertility of soil and such moisture and heat as eliminates the expense of winter housing and feeding which the farmers in the province of Ontario and the Dominion at large have to face and when one realizes that the Prime Minister spoke with a knowledge of world conditions, one can scarcely conceive how he could, even by the widest stretch of imagination, foresee anything but disaster for the dairy industry of Canada.
From a favourable trade balance of $50,000,000 we have watched it come down till it is now about $15,000,000, and if the present conditions continue there will be absolutely no

Australian Treaty-Mr. Rowe
trade balance in this great industry. We have watched also the increase of imports from New Zealand. When this government came into power we imported scaracely 150,000 pounds of dairy butter from that country, but for the twelve months ending with Janauary of this year we imported over 33,000,000 pounds. We have an increase of 9,000,000 pounds for the last ten months, as compared with the preceding ten months. One does not need to go very far to prove conclusively that this treaty is working to the detriment of the dairymen of this Dominion. It is all very well to say that we are still obtaining good prices for butter, but I wish to say to those of you who probably have not milked as many cows as I have, that the farmers of Canada are absolutely disgusted with the treatment which has been given to them by this government.
Not only did we have a great butter trade, but we had a great cheese export trade. Before the war we exported to the British Empire 163.000.000 pounds of cheddar cheese, while last year we exported only 106,000,000 pounds. Having regard to the rate of decrease during the last ten months, it is probable that the exportation will be reduced to 80,000,000 pounds, or scarcely half of the amount exported seventeen years ago.
When this government came into power we exported about 10,000.000 pounds of butter to the country to the south of us, and we find that for the ten months just passed we have exported to that country only 20,200 pounds. In 1926 we exported to Great Britain over
18,000,000 pounds of dairy butter, while this year we have an exportation to Great Britain of 800 pounds.
I ask the house to pause for a moment and consider the question if the dairy industry of this country has not been damaged. We find that New Zealand exported to Great Britain during this same period, an increase from 51,000.000 pounds of cheese to 174,000,000 pounds. The Argentine, Switzerland, Denmark, and almost every country upon the globe, has made great progress during the last ten years in their exportations of agricultural products to the British Empire. The importation into Great Britain from foreign countries of bacon amounts to 800,000,000 pounds, while we exported last year only about 34,000,000 pounds.
These figures are alarming to the farmers of Canada. I regret exceedingly the absence from the house of the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) and trust that it may have no relation to his recent illness. I may be pardoned for referring to the report of the remarks which he made last year at the Royal Winter Fair. They are as follows:
Pointing out that Canada is faced with the alternative of speeding up production or dropping to the status of a non-exporting country, Doctor Motherwell said:
"Some writers and observers take the ground that Canada should be satisfied, if farm prices are to be maintained on a profitable basis, with growing just sufficient to feed ourselves. But that surely would be a very unambitious program for a young country like Canada, with its tremendous productive capacity and possibility. Speaking for myself, I hope never to be associated with an apparently standing-still or declining agriculture."
The report further states:
But in point of volume we are at present almost hopelessly handicapped. Last year we supplied only 34,500,000 pounds of bacon in a total British import of 989,800,000 pounds, about 3J per cent. Ten years ago we supplied
240.000. 000 pounds.
While I think the figures given by the hon. minister were 20,000,000 pounds out, it is a fact that for the nine months just passed we exported to Great Britain only 21,000,000 pounds of butter. It will readily be seen that we have lost the British trade to the extent of 200,000,000 pounds.
Pause for a moment to consider the relation between this and the dairy industry. I may be pardoned if I make a real agricultural analysis of this matter, because I know there are many of you who have not carried a milk pail or piloted a wheelbarrow as I have done for an odd hour before the eight hour day as well as after. There is no doubt in the world that no feed produces the same high class bacon, or produces it as cheaply as the byproducts of butter, such as skim milk and buttermilk. Consider what it would mean to this country if we had the use of the by-products from the 50,000,000 pounds of butter which will come into this country during 1930. I think that is a fair figure to give, because I base it upon the increase during December of last year and up to the present time. Then if we had maintained our export trade as have the other countries of the world, we would have had the by-products of an additional
25.000. 000 pounds of butter. How would that work out? Taking it upon the basis as worked out by an experimental union in this Dominion, we find that it would provide 70 pounds of milk per day for 160,000 litters of 10 pigs each. What would that mean to the bacon industry of this country? It would feed
1,600,000 hogs up to within six weeks of their marketing when little of Canada's unsold wheat would be required to finish them for market. I see the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) smiling; I know he has fed hogs and must realize that that is true. Those hogs would produce over 200,000,000 pounds of bacon, or almost a comparison to the amount

Australian Treaty-Mr. Rowe
of exports to Great Britain which we have lost during that period. I ask: Is that fair? We have lost not only in that but in many other respects. In fact, I wonder whether we are not going to be a country of hotels; we can scarcely board ourselves and the United States visitors who come over to see us out of curiosity.
When our hon. friends opposite were in opposition they told us that when they came into power they would give us a market for our products and -that Canada would flourish and become a great country. We are extending our markets by sending ambassadors and trade commissioners to all the corners of the earth and by a deficit of $7,500,000 on the merchant marine which made twelve trips to New Zealand last year, helping to make up that deficit by over $500,000 trading with New Zealand trying to sell her $800,000 worth of goods more than we did before the treaty was entered into, and allowing her to sell us in 1929 $10,000,000 more, and the year just ended almost $15,000,000 more of farm products which our farmers could produce. Is that fair to our great farming industry?
It is a fact that in no country of the world is agriculture properly developed unless it is developed on a sound economic policy of maintaining the fertility of the soil. Therefore you will realize that had we milked enough cows in Canada to have produced
50,000,000 pounds of dairy butter that will be imported in 1930 by present indications, and to have produced 25,000,000 pounds that we formerly exported, would that not have been worth while for the soil of this Dominion? It is all very well to say that we are milking the same number of cows, but I find from the government statistics that in 1927-28 we were milking 102,000 fewer cows in Canada, and we know that since then they have been going over to the United States at the rate of 2.000 cows a month. In fact, I think that is a very modest estimate, because I know one drover who told me that he was selling 500 cows a month to the United States himself. It would take only four drovers like him to sell all the cows that the Bureau of Statistics tell us we are selling to the United States.
We know from the analyses of the government Department of Agriculture that the production of 1,000 pounds of pork returns to the fertility of the soil $23.50 worth of equivalent of artificial fertilizers such as phosphoric acid, nitrogen and potash and that 1.000 pound dairy cow returns to the soil about, $25.40 worth a year. Therefore if we had the 240,000 cows that would be re-

quired, 'because it would take 160i,000 cows at the average rate of production to produce the 50,000,000 pounds of butter we are importing, and 80,000 to produce the 25,000,000 pounds we formerly exported'-and even then that would be only a standing still process; it would not be any great increase in our production-what would be the result? It would mean that we would have returned to the fertility of the soil the equivalent of $6,400,000 worth of fertilizer. In the same way, with the hogs that I have endeavoured to show, we might have produced there would be returned to the soil over $6,000,000 worth. During that same period the increase in the use of artificial fertilizer in the Dominion has cost our farmers about $15,000,000. These are matters of economic consequence to the farmer, because while we hear a great deal about prosperity, there is in Canada to-day no other class that is labouring harder, working earlier, toiling later and getting less for its effort than the agriculturist.
Let us consider what this means to the appreciated value of the soil. During the same period we have watched New Zealand increase the number of her hogs while we have suffered a decrease of 15 per cent in the number of ours. We have 15 per cent fewer breeding hogs in Canada than we had when the New Zealand treaty came into effect. We have lost in hog population more than a total of 400,000. During the same period New Zealand has increased her holding of hogs more than 30 per cent. She has increased the number of her milking cows and the fertility of her soil.
Let us compare the land values in New Zealand with those in Canada. Many are ready to sell their farms for the price of the house and bam, and there are few farmers in Canada who have good farm buildings who do not realize that the present price of his farm house and buildings is little more than the value of the buildings. We have farms with $12,000, $15,000 and $20,000 worth of buildings on them, while in New Zealand all they have is a $5, or $6 rubber blanket over their milking cows during the short rainy season and the cattle are walking around in grass up to their knees. The result is that in New Zealand they pasture 100 cows to 100 acres, whereas we have trouble with between 25 and 50 cows to 100 acres, and all the expense of winter feeding in this much colder country. In New Zealand without any farm buildings their farm values have increased until they are able to sell farms at from $300, $400, $500 to as high as $700 an acre. On the other hand, in Canada you can buy more farms

Australian Treaty-Mr. Rowe
than anybody in this house could pay for, all the way from Kingston to Montreal, at $35, $40 and $50 an acre. Surely there is no comparison as to our recent progress. We have watched these conditions, and we realize that this order in council is vitally affecting the great basic industry of this Dominion. It is affecting more than the dairy industry, because while it is chiefly a dairy question, at the same time the matter of beef cattle enters into it, because not all the cows that are giving milk to-day are dairy cows; some of them have missed their calling and should properly be in the beef herd. One thing is certain, and that is that we have had a reduction in our beef exports and to-day it is almost eliminated so far as our British market is concerned, dropping in all meats from 77 million dollars worth in 1920-21 to about 7i million in 1929, while we have had an increase in the importation of mutton, bacon, and all the way along the line. We are suffering at the very foundation of sound economic agriculture by this loss in connection with the dairy and the live stock industries.
Surely all one has to do is to look at the tonnage of the railways. I do not wish to take any advantage in regard to the unsold wheat, but if some of it had been fed to the bunch of hogs to which I have referred, for their last six weeks, of maturity, it would have been much better than to have it stored in western elevators. WThen we find that on the railways of the Dominion there have been
7,000 fewer car-loads of live stock shipped during the last twelve months than were shipped in the previous twelve months, we must realize that the problem in this Dominion is not only a grain problem. It will never be only a grain problem. I say to my good friends from the western provinces, as I have said before, the time is not far in the future when they will realize that the home market and mixed production on the farm constitute the only way in which one can succeed in perpetuating soundly agriculture in this Dominion. When we find the department itself worrying about the matter, and this government worrying about anything like this, it is time for the rest of us to become alarmed. The department is sending out circular letters with long questionnaires, one of which I have under my hand. While they did not think of sending me one, some of my neighbours received them. The hon. member for Haldi-mand (Mr. Senn) placed one of them on Hansard and I want to keep away from duplicating his argument as far as I can. This paragraph, which he did not read, says:
This department is naturally very much concerned to note this most extraordinary 2419-241
situation in a country such as ours where so many of our people are farmers and where the possibilities for the production of all these articles and many more besides are so great. Now we have been told time and again that this condition of affairs is due very largely to a disinclination on the part of the farmer to produce any more than barely enough to enable him to make ends meet since he feels that the more he produces the less are his chances of getting a fair or rather a remunerative price for his product.
What we are very anxious to learn right now, therefore, is just how our Canadian farmers view the situation and just what their attitude is toward production or greater production. We believe that if you and the other farmers to whom this questionnaire is being sent would do us the favour of filling in replies and making any comments that may occur to them that we should be in a position to work out some policy that would do something toward remedying the situation and helping restore our export trade in live stock products of one kind and another. Such trade is essential we believe if our farmers are to hope to do more than eke out a bare living on the land and we are confident that Canadian farmers are capable of doing much more than that. This might be true more particularly, we believe, if such suggested greater quantity production were associated with a still greater development and use of the cooperative principle and its organizations in making the best possible marketing disposition thereof.
Might we ask you, therefore, to give the matter your most careful and thoughtful consideration and as already requested fill in and return to us with any additional comment you care to make, the questionnaire included herewith.
I shall not weary the house by reading all the answers. In the questionnaire suggestions are sought as to the best crops to grow, cooperative efforts and a lot of other things that might better have been suggested to the farmers. Some answers were received; I shall read only two. Question No. 16 reads:
Have you any suggestions to offer as to just what might be done by governments, farmers1 organizations, individual farmers or dealers in the principal prbducts of the farm (mentioned in No. 15) to speed up production and make farming a more profitable industry?
In reply, Mr. F. M. Tobin, of Woodstock, Ontario, says, and I submit this for the consideration of the government:
Protect and develop our home market, enable our own people to buy what the farmer has to sell; the production will keep pace with the demand, both by farmer and workman. Our natural resources will then create a wealth that will stay in Canada and not be just a means of furnishing money to buy from every country in the whole world that cares to dump its products on our market.
In answer to question No. 15, Mr. James Pullin, of Sweaburg, who operates 150 acres and has forty dairy cows, says that he would improve conditions:

Australian Treaty-Mr. Rowe
With a better home market. To increase the tariff undoubtedly would improve conditions and prevent such a lowering of prices as we have seen up to the present time. Three-quarters of my family have left Canada. They have done well enough to return home at times to visit, so may be classed as some of the returned exodus, but they are still abroad.
This is no doubt addressed to the present government:
If you can work out a saving policy to remedy the situation, please shoot, don't spare ammunition.
I am very glad that the government have at last realized-it seems rather strange it should be on the eve of an election-the serious situation in this country, and they now intimate that they are trying to solve a problem that is agitating business men in this country from one end of the Dominion to the other, and alarming those who are dependent upon agriculture for their livelihood. W,e have heard so much talk from the government about the abounding prosperity of agriculture for so many years now that those of us who are engaged in it, even though our bank accounts have been getting smaller and smaller all the time, have been throwing out our chests with pride that someone believes that we are engaged in an industry that is prosperous.
1 do not wish to refer to the western wheat situation. No doubt that would be unfair; I think that it would. But I submit that if we are going to put agriculture on a sound basis in this Dominion we must follow in some degree the advice given by these farmers of Woodstock and Sweaburg, and other mixed farmers in their answers to the questionnaire. While I do not speak for my party, I can speak for some of the farmers, and I can tell the Prime Minister that when he goes to the country, an opportunity for which the farmers of this country are anxiously waiting, he will get his answer because I am convinced that more farmers will vote against the present administration that is in power at Ottawa than have ever voted against a federal administration in this country before.
For seven years we have had good crops in this Dominion. The Lord has blessed us with good weather and bountiful harvests. After those seven years, in which we made rapid progress, we have seen our returns declining; we have seen the schoolteaeher leave the farmhouse and trip out on the road to school at the age of eighteen or nineteen, and bring back more money than her father and brother labouring on a two hundred acre farm receive as the net return for their year's labour. Is there not something wrong with

a situation of that kind? It has been difficult for this government to remedy the situation because never until recently has the government submitted that there was such a problem. It is only with the approach of an election that they concede the problem, and of course, it is difficult to expect a solution from those who have never before admitted the problem. We on this side of the house have been trying to tell the government ever since 1925 just what the situation was, but they failed to listen to us. But now conditions are getting worse. There has been a stock market crash, followed by a business depression. The large industries are considering whether to continue or not. Bank managers have had to get up at annual meetings and try to bolster up courage by saying that conditions are better than they ever were before. At last it is beginning to be realized that agriculture is the basic industry of Canada, and that when it declines, when it gets on an unsound economic basis and loses the widespread markets it has enjoyed in the past, all the subsidiary industries that are dependent upon it begin to feel the pinch. The Scriptures speak of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. If we should have seven years of not so plentiful harvests in this country as we have had in the past, I wonder what would be the situation in this Dominion?
There is a further point which I think is relevant. When New Zealand was negotiating with this low tariff government, our representatives when they came to negotiate, had no weapon in their hands with which to defend the Dominion of Canada as we only had a 4 cent tariff while New Zealand had a 40 per cent tariff. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister and other members of the cabinet go to the imperial economic conference, if it is held next fall, how are they going to protect Canadian agriculture's place in the British market, as in meats it is already almost gone and in eggs it dropped from over 6,000,000 dozen in 1920 to below one million in 1929. We are not exporting to Great Britain anything like the amount of bacon that we exported when this government came into power. Even in 1910 we exported to Great Britain almost one hundred per cent more bacon than we do to-day; in other words, over 48,000,000 pounds as compared with 21,000,000 pounds for the ten months of this year. That is the situation in the agricultural industry in this country. Let me go back a little further. Long before the present membership sat in this house, away back in 1870, sixty years ago, Canada exported to the British market, 15,000,000 pounds of

Australian Treaty-Mr. Dunning
bacon annually, as compared with the present annual rate of export of about twenty-three to twenty-four million pounds in 1930.
What a great opportunity for a diamond jubilee celebration of the pork industry! Think of it. We have just increased by one-third in sixty years the production of that great industry, which is so relevent to the prosperity of the dairy industry.
I am not going to detain the house much further. I only wish to say, Mr. Speaker, that these are questions of sound economic consequence to the welfare of this Dominion, and I hope that my remarks will not be taken as coming from one selfishly interested in this particular industry. I realize that only as this great basic industry prospers can other industries prosper; on the other hand, only as other industries prosper can we hope to maintain the great benefit of the home market for our farm products. The policy of the Conservative party is that the only way to solve these problems is to protect the home market for ourselves, to give all our industries the benefit of this home market, and thus afford our working men the opportunity to fill their dinner baskets with the products of Canadian farms rather than with farm products imported from New Zealand or any other country. And this is the only way in which to maintain those great channels of export trade, which, as you know, Mr. Speaker, took us many years to establish. We have lost that connection at the present time, and it will take a long time to regain it, and we cannot do so until we protect the home market. This is the only way to restore confidence in our great basic industry of farming, and so provide an incentive for our boys and girls to stay on the farm and reestablish a supply for export demand.
Personally, I hope this government may very soon decide to go to the country, because I realize full well a change of government is of vital concern to me and to all others interested in farming, and unless steps are taken very soon to this end, farming is a job that will not be sought by very many people. I should be very glad, Mr. Speaker, to take you in my automobile and show you, within a radius of twenty miles of my home, from fifteen to twenty homesteads that this year will not even be pastured, but in my experience I have never seen those farms idle before; they have always been operated by their owners, who in many cases inherited the land from their forefathers. I could show you, sir, a farm with a good house and barn on it that when this government came into power could not have been bought for much less than
S10.000, but just before the opening of this
session was sold for $3,500, the purchase price being extended over twenty years at five per cent interest. That farm was peddled around for a considerable time before it was disposed of; in fact if agriculture were not so depressed I might have bought the place myself. But, Mr. Speaker, not only in Ontario but also in your native province of Quebec, as I discovered upon the occasion of a recent visit, the agricultural situation is critical, because it depends mainly upon mixed farming, the basic part of agriculture, and it is this part which has been so badly hit by the mismanagement of the present administration.
Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, the amendment
now before the house is a vote of want of confidence in the administration, and while its wording is not strictly of a political character, of course the debate will to- an increasing degree be made the vehicle for political speeches of the same entertaining character,
I hope, as the one we have just listened to.
My hon. friends who have spoken thus far had had the advantage of reading the transcript of the evidence taken before the Tariff Advisory Board in the recent hearing on this subject. Having regard to the abuse from the other side of the house to which this government has listened in connection with its policy of having matters of this kind investigated by the Tariff Advisory Board, I think the two members who have spoken in this debate should be the first to move a vote of thanks to the government for having given them an opportunity to secure in printed form the statistics and other evidence put in by some of the witnesses, at any rate, in the recent inquiry.
At the outset I want to give the house a little information as to this hearing and the proceedinas which led up to it. One year ago the dairy council of Canada approached my predecessor, the late Hon. Mr. Robb, with reference to their industry, and Mr. Robb immediately intimated that he would be very glad indeed to give a reference to the tariff board immediately which would afford an opportunity to the dairy council and to all others interested in the industry to present their case before the board.

Full View