Mr. BOURGEOIS (Translation):
Louis Hebert established on the Canadian soil of New France the first farm, up to the settling of the Canadian west, numerous generations of farmers, in ploughing and seeding the land, succeeded in making a livelihood for themselves and their families. No one will truly contend that our soil has since become sterile. Whence comes this depression in farming? How does it happen that our farmers, toiling with the same steadfastness and energy, as in the past, on our lands, have, owing to the low prices of farm products, great difficulty in earning a livelihood, so much so that they can say with the "Chemineau" of Richepin:
Je songe aux bles coupes qui ne sont pas les notres
Et dont les epis murs font du pain pour les autres.
If closely examined we find that it is not, in this instance, so much a question of production as distribution. The establishing of co-operative societies in this country gave rise to great hopes which, unfortunately, were only partly realized. The reason is-as the hon. Minister of Agriculture pointed out-that these co-operative associations did not receive the help to which they were entitled, they were unable to organize on a stable financial basis, they had to meet a disloyal competition by certain corporations which were interested in seeing them disappear and they were also too busy marketing their products without giving a thought to quality and, I shall add,, to labelling and packing. Darwin put forth the famous theory of "the survival of the fittest." I am not called upon to express an opinion on this theory from the view-point of natural sciences; however, it seems to me unquestionable that it is an undoubted maxim as regards natural products and their exportation.
Whether it is a question of local, national or world market, it is the best product which not
Marketing Act-Mr. Bourgeois
only obtains the highest price, but has a better chance of finding a purchaser. That is the first object which is sought by the bill under consideration.
Secondly, it is important, that such a product be packed before being marketed, so as to make it as attractive as possible, regardless of its excellence, because, no matter what its quality may be, it will not find a purchaser, if, on the market, there is a foreign product superior to it in this respect. Moreover, it is necessary that it should be well labelled, the label should indicate the place where made and thus ensuring the best and most convincing advertisement.
If the present act which creates a marketing board, the subsidiary boards could bring about these three results, I think that there would be reason to be amply satisfied.
I do not contend that this bill-nor does the hon. Minister of Agriculture do so, as he plainly stated-is on all points perfect; however, to my mind, it is a loyal, sincere and excellent endeavour made to protect the farmer as much as the manufacturer.
Every farmer, in my constituency, that I consulted on the subject-and I had occasion to talk with a large number of them-look upon this measure favourably and they have expressed their faith in its efficiency. Mr. Albert Rioux, President of "L'Union catholique des cultivateurs" approved of it. Mr. J-S. Royier, President of the Canned Fruit and Vegetable Association, also approved of it.
While Mr. Oscar Gatineau in the "Bulletin des Agriculteurs" in its issue of April 5 last, expresses himself as follows:
No doubt, it is a real extraordinary scheme, a new departure. Some fear that the scheme may lead us too far while others think that the government assumes too much power.
We do not believe that any one can even imagine that the government intends to create a board' detrimental to the farming class. Of all the governments we have had, at Ottawa, the Bennett government is the one which has shown the greatest readiness to help the farmers. Before contending that too much assistance has been given to farmers, there remains a long way to go. Let us not be anxious about others, they are somewhat there to champion their cause.
Mr. Bennett is not afraid to shoulder responsibilities, he has no hesitation in having the necessary powers turned over to him and he is not afraid to resort to whatever means are necessary to remedy the evils from which we suffer.
The farmers have therefore reason to rejoice in this bill which is being enacted for them and from which there is reason to expect much. What Mr. Bennett has done hitherto for the farming class warrants us to repose confidence in him for what he undertakes.
I do not wish to close my remarks without mentioning the fact that Mr. Robert Ryan, one of the most prominent liberals of Three Rivers and the leader of the Municipal Council of that city, has entirely approved of this bill. In a letter which he forwarded to the right hon. Prime Minister on April 13, 1934, Mr. Ryan enclosed a short essay dealing with the question under consideration and expresses himself as follows:
(Text). I believe the creation of the marketing board is a move in the right direction. On page 2, paragraph 4, in my brief, you will notice I made reference to a Co-operative Sales Corporation for the handling of farm products for exports. The marketing board is another, and perhaps a better method of accomplishing the same purpose.
In the above mentioned essay, he made the following judicial remarks.
I am a firm believer that the farmers of each province should produce all the farm products, for which there is a local demand, and for which the soil and climate are suitable. Products for export should be handled by a Co-operative Sales Corporation. These products, should be put up under a uniform trade mark with the name of the province stamped on each package or container. All produce should be graded and packed according to the instructions of the Sales Corporation.
The time has arrived for planned and not lopsided development, if we want Canada to be developed for the benefit of all its inhabitants, a more balanced rural population compared' to the population of the cities and a proper balance between agricultural and industrial production and prices.
A success can only be made of farming when the farmer is decided and follows proper direction. A success can only be made of selling farm produce when the merchants and consumers are convinced that they should purchase such produce on account of quality, regular supply and good service. Therefore, the education of the farmer, merchant and' consumer is absolutely necessary.
What is wanted is organization and leadership in centres that should be selected by the government, as points that should be developed for the collection, processing and distribution of farm products.
In this same essay Mr. Ryan, whose suggestions I entirely agree with, pointed out to the government the opportunity of subsidizing the growing of beets and this, especially, in the Three Rivers district.
In that locality and within a radius of 50 miles the soil is most favourable to the growth of this vegetable.
And he quoted in this respect a resolution adopted on April 1, 1922, by the Committee on Agriculture and Colonization, the resolution contained the following recommendation:
Your committee further recommends that, if no successful attempt be made in the immediate
Marketing Act-Mr. Bourassa
future by the refineries to increase the facilities for the manufacture of beet sugar, the government should take into consideration steps to accomplish that end.
I hope-may I casually say so-that the government will find the means to put into practice these suggestions, for it would be an excellent means of increasing the wealth of this country and thereby reduce unemployment in that section.
I shall close my remarks by pointing out that the object of this bill is an excellent one; that if, in principle, the state must abstain to invade the personal activities of citizens, for fear of paralyzing them, there are situations- and the present is one of them-which necessitate the intervention of the state; that this bill owing to its provisions constitutes a sound measure necessitated by the critical circumstances in which we find ourselves and it behooves all members of this house to set aside all party lines and give it their entire approval.
Topic: MARKETING ACT
Subtopic: ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS