William Scottie BRYCE

BRYCE, William Scottie

Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Selkirk (Manitoba)
Birth Date
September 7, 1888
Deceased Date
June 17, 1963
farmer, machinist

Parliamentary Career

August 9, 1943 - April 16, 1945
  Selkirk (Manitoba)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Selkirk (Manitoba)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Selkirk (Manitoba)
November 8, 1954 - April 12, 1957
  Selkirk (Manitoba)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Selkirk (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 301 of 301)

February 21, 1944


I said 300 pounds.

Topic:   IS, 1944
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February 15, 1944


I should like to ask the minister if the same opportunity will be given the men to go to the farms this year as was given last year to take part in seeding and harvesting operations.

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February 15, 1944

Mr. WILLIAM BRYCE (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Agriculture relating to the present emergency with respect to fed cattle at Lethbridge which are now ready for market. What steps are being taken to prevent the producer from being compelled to sacrifice these cattle at the "below floor" price at present offered by the packers?

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February 3, 1944

Mr. WILLIAM BRYCE (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, rising to speak for the first time in the house I should like to take this opportunity of extending my thanks to hon. members on each side of the house who have been so courteous, and have shown me so many kindnesses.

I come from the constituency of Selkirk, one of the largest in Canada, and represent the many classes of people there. In that constituency, adjacent to Winnipeg, we find industrial workers, office workers, and people in the professional classes. Then, going a little farther north, we have market gardeners and dairy farmers; and still farther north we come to those great inland lakes, with their fishermen. In the inter-lake country a large number of men are engaged in mixed farming, and also there are extensive Indian reserves. Our industrial workers are dissatisfied with labour conditions. They hope that in the near future the government will establish a code that will be satisfactory to the working classes.

For a moment I should like to deal with our market gardeners and. dairy farmers. Prior to the war these farmers were forced to exploit their own families to the greatest extent; their wives and sons and daughters were forced to work for nothing in order to produce the necessities of life. Some of these boys have volunteered, and some have been called up. I appeal to the government to make every possible arrangement at seeding time so that these boys may be allowed to come back to carry on the necessary farm work. No doubt

The Address-Mr. Bryce

national selective service has done what it can, but ten men of the type that national selective service will send to these dairy farmers and market gardeners will not take the place of one man who is skilled in these occupations.

When prices are being discussed I should like the government to take into consideration the livelihood of our fishermen who fish from a boat in the summer and through the ice in the winter time. They face all kinds of hardship, and they represent another class, along with our farmers, w'hich has been victimized to the utmost through low prices.

I should like to touch upon some of the injustices which our mixed farmers have been up against. Take wool, for instance. In 1942 the dominion government called a conference at which all nine provinces were represented, and explained what they were up against in connection with wool. They stated that they needed another 8,000,000 pounds of wool. To get that amount of wool would mean clipping another million sheep. With representatives of different farm organizations I went through my province and pleaded with the farmers to produce the increased supply of wool necessary to provide our boys with uniforms. It was most unfortunate that the federal Department of Agriculture made an agreement with the provincial governments and then left it to the discretion of the provinces whether or not they would live up to that agreement. I appeal to the government to make right that wrong.

A bonus on wool has been paid in Ontario and in Saskatchewan, our sister provinces, but Manitoba sheep men have not received any bonus because that province does not think she should subsidize the production of wool or anything else. This decision reacted not only on the production of wool but also on the production of lambs. We kept back lambs which we could have sold for twelve to fifteen cents a pound. When they were yearlings and we had a clip of wool we could get only five cents a pound for them on the Winnipeg market. To make the best of a bad bargain we disposed of the ewes and kept the yearlings, and we had to take seventy cents a sheep on the Winnipeg market. Mutton sold under the same ceiling as it did when the packing companies were paying four or five cents a pound for ewes. That is one injustice the farmer of Manitoba has had to suffer, and I should like the government to correct it. .

A floor under prices is mentioned in the speech from the throne. I view with suspicion the establishment of a floor unless it is based on the cost of production. A floor has been placed under the price of butter; that product

requires a subsidy of ten cents in order to make it profitable for the fanner to produce. We have a floor and a ceiling in connection with beef, but there is no ceiling on live cattle. The farmer does not sell beef; he sells live cattle, and that is where the ceiling and the floor should be.

To-day on the Winnipeg market 11J cent steers go into 19J cent beef. If you send in a carload of two-way cattle, Which are not only fit to go into the feed lots-something that the Ontario feeder wants-but are fit to kill, what happens? If the Ontario feeder wants to feed those cattle he bids 91 cents, because he requires a spread. The processor or packer comes along and bids 10 cents, and the highest bidder gets them. The result is that the farmer loses from $25 to $27 on each one of those animals. You would expect 10 cent cattle to go into 17J cent beef, but they do not. Those cattle go into commercial grades; they become 191 cent beef and, as I say, the farmer loses from $25 to $27 on each animal in the carload. The packer benefits and is able to earn excess profits. These things will have to be stopped.

Next I should like to refer to hogs. I have always been against the compulsory rail grading of hogs. When the government gave us compulsory rail grading, the same system that they had in Denmark, it looked good, but we got only half the system. We were not given the benefits of the cooperative abattoirs whereby the deductions and cuts, et cetera, would come back to the man who produced the bacon. I am against the compulsory rail grading of hogs unless the farmer is able to control the sales of his bacon. He might be better off if the government set the price of the grades, but now the packer does this.

The dominion government has brought in new rail grading regulations. They are not yet in operation at Winnipeg, but they will be in a few days. It is the 186-pound hog that is causing so much dissatisfaction among the farmers. That weight of hog is just between the select and heavy grades, being just over 185 pounds, and this difference represents a loss of $3.50. The farmer is apt to lose $3.50 over one pound of bacon. If the farmer had had the good fortune to have his hog weighed the next day it would have shrunk a pound, because there is that much difference between hot weight and cold weight. When one is standing on the floor of a room and wishes to reach a higher point he asks for a step-ladder, and by this means he can get up and down, step by step. That is what the farmer is asking for to-day, a step-ladder, a graduated scale. It is not fair that the farmer should lose $3.50 because his hog is one pound over

The Address-Mr. Reid

the weight. I know that there has to be a jumping off point somewhere, but why make the farmer jump over a precipice? Let us do the thing more gradually.

The grading of these hogs is not satisfactory. The hog is graded on its way from the producer to the packing company. That is the grade set by the government. Then the hog is graded from the processor to the bacon board, and again from the bacon board to the British food ministry. There are eight grades under the new regulations, and five of them are for the bacon hog from which you get export bacon. Between the processor and the bacon board there are twelve grades; there are four sizes and there are grades A-l, A-2, and A-3 in each of those sizes. From the bacon board to the British food ministry there are two grades, A and B. The thing seems screwy to me. Why does not the first grading carry right through? I think that is what should be done; if the grading is good enough for the farmer, that grade should apply right through. Look up and see how many select A's the farmer gets. In October, ninety-two per cent of A's went to Britain. I hope that the government will do something this session to rectify the situation for the benefit of the farmer who is producing a heavy hog, because in every litter there is a heavy hog.

Some hon. members may ask me, how are you going to rectify the present situation? I would rectify it by establishing a board of live stock commissioners, with producer representation-and by producer I do not mean the man who spends his holidays on a farm; I mean the man who is a bona fide live stock producer, and he should be chosen by the people who produce the goods.

I know that the next objection raised will be, where is 'the money coming from? I am going to tell you where the money can come from, too. In 1906 the packing industry in this country was granted power to collect half of one per cent as T.B. condemnation insurance on every animal they bought. Since that time the government has been very active in establishing TJ3. free areas all over this country. Our cooperative organizations which carry their own T.B. condemnation insurance to-day are carrying it for less than one-quarter of one per cent. If you allow the packers to retain one-quarter of one per cent, with the other quarter of one per cent you could establish a board of live stock commissioners to administer this board.

I wish to draw the attention of the government to the deplorable conditions among the destitute Indians in the northern part of my constituency. I visited that district some time ago, and I found terrible conditions in the

hospital at Norway House. It is a sixteen-bed hospital, and I found there f-ortydhree patients, in the corridors and everywhere else. The Indian band there comprises approximately one thousand people. There will be many fewer now because they were dying like flies from tuberculosis while I was there. Nine had died in the seven weeks previous to my visit, and they were between two and sixteen years of age. Those destitute Indians receive every fifteen days ten pounds of flour, two pounds of bacon of the sow belly type, two ounces of tea and one bar of soap. I found one man who was totally blind receiving that allowance. This is a deplorable state of affairs, and I urge the government to correct it.

These, Mr. Speaker, are a few of the conditions which mark the failure of our economy. There must be a planned agriculture in a planned cooperative economy. Then the fruits of the labours of all the farmers will be returned to the farmers, and not to a few industrialists as excessive profits.

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