I have owned a farm in western Canada for over fifty years. If a farm is worked properly and practically there is no better asset for a man who has the ability to operate it. But when preachers, doctors or professional men begin to teach practical men they make a mess out of it, nine times out of ten.
I have here a speech that was made in 1870 by a practical man who went to the United States following the civil war, when conditions there were like our present conditions. I remember quite well that when my grandfather in law crossed over into the United States the American dollar could be bought for fifty cents, and farm products were selling at very low figures, much lower than to-day. We bought butter at ten cents a pound, chickens at twenty cents. But conditions change; they right themselves, With the permission of the house I should like to read part of this man's observations because I believe they will give some idea of what was happening at that time:
Our country is filled with the idle and unemployed and the great question asked for an answer is, "What shall be done with these men?" "What shall these men do?" To this there is but one answer
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And I give the same answer to-day, because there can be no other answer, "Go and get these men out of the camps. Put them on the farms."
They must cultivate the soil. Farming must be rendered more attractive. Those who work the land must have an honest pride in their business. They must educate their children to cultivate the soil. They must make farming easier so that their children will not hate it; so that they will not hate it themselves.
The boys must not be taught that tilling the soil is a curse and almost a disgrace. They must not suppose that education is thrown away upon them unless they 'become ministers, lawyers, doctors or statesmen. It must be
understood that education can be used to advantage on the farm. We must get rid of the idea that a little learning unfits one for work. There are numbers of graduates of universities and colleges who are performing a hundred varieties of menial services. They are willing to do anything that is not regarded as work, anything that can be done in a town, in a house, in an office, but they avoid farming as they would leprosy.
It is a thousand times better to have common sense with education-than education without sense.
The western country offers every opportunity. Yet we are crowding men into camps; we are putting men into camps where they are getting all the luxuries which could be given, and luxuries costing all kinds of money. At the same time the united farmers of Manitoba, an organization to which I belong, are asking to have the camps disbanded. With 1,500 men in my constituency in Riding Mountain national park, Clear Lake camp, I ask, too, to have those camps disbanded and the men turned loose. Let them go to the farms for their work, because the farmers are offering them employment and will accept them. However those men will not go, and how can we expect to get them when conditions such as I am about to indicate, exist in the camps. I have before me an article showing the conditions at Clear Lake camp, and I read it for the special benefit of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) who at one time in this chamber had something critical to say about this particular oamp. These men are fed three times as well as we old pioneers of western Canada were fed. We knew no such conditions as those under which they are living. I see a smile on the face of the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell); I know that he has in mind just exactly what I have in mine. I say these men are fed the very best. Here is a letter which has come from the camp:
To the Editor of the Tribune:
Sir,-Every once in a while we hear a complaint emanating from the minds of some of the less grateful of our unemployed. It was
rather refreshing therefore, for me to receive a letter from my boy recently, who is at camp 8, Clear Lake, which in part says:
"We arrived at the main camp 7.15 and had supper. Boy, what a meal! Everything from soup to nuts. We were in a dining room that seats about 200. After the eats, we received four horse blankets each. They are like Jimmie's scout blanket.
"Prom hence we got back on the truck and proceeded to camp 8, where we are now parked. It is a new bunk house, and is it snarky? They keep the fires going all night; someone comes in every two hours and stokes up; the place is real warm. We have upper bunks; they are singles. There's lots of room to hang coats, and a big shelf above the bed.
"We breakfasted in the third relay. The food is wonderful. They had porridge-
I ask the hon., member for Winnipeg North Centre to get this, so that he will know just what they are doing up there in the camps.
They had porridge, pancakes, syrup, bacon, prunes, bread, buns, biscuits, etc., etc.
"So far we have not got our clothes, but expect them soon.
"There's a nice gang here.
"I've just finished putting up a few more shelves. Right now I am lying on my bed. In one end of the room someone is playing a banjo; at another end several mouth organs are in full blast.
"What little look we did get of the country was wonderful. It is all spruce trees and hills. It certainly is beautiful.
"I'll write you more when I've been to work and seen what that's like. Theres' about 20 of us loafing around the bunk house right now. It certainly is a wonderful bunk house; it's like a palace.
"Oh, Oh, now everybody's singing, so I guess I will have to join in.
And this is signed by M. Davis. If we are are going to take men out of the cities and place them in that sort of environment I do not know 'how we will get them back on the farms. I would not want to go back on the farm if I were in a place where they had their boxing matches one and two days each week, their hockey matches one day in the week, and all that sort of thing. Would hon. members in this chamber want to go back on the farm? I know that prices for agricultural products are low, but I would remind hon. members that only within the last ten days cattle have sold on the stockyards at Toronto for 71 cents a pound. I am sorry the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) is not in his seat because some time ago he referred to a 19 cent cow. At the same time an hon. member sitting next to him sold a cow for $40, and had the cheque in his pocket. The hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. MacMillan) sold ten cattle for $420, and had a cheque in his pocket for that amount. These men are practical farmers, and are making a success on their farms. I know the hon. member for
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West Elgin is feeding a barn full of cattle which will make him a lot of money. I say the farm offers every inducement, but unless these men go out of the cities and back to the land they will be charges of tlhe government, we will have them as wards, and we will have more talk about a six hour day and things of that kind.
I know that there is something wrong. What is wrong is this: the farmer receives nine cents and the consumer pays thirty cents. I want that fault corrected. I know there is a blank spot in the centre, but if time permitted me this afternoon and if I were given an opportunity to go into the matter more fully I could tell what is wrong. Do you think a farmer is wise who goes to the yards of the packers and permits those packers to do the purchasing? That man does his own trucking and helps to ruin the railways. I ask the intelligent men in the chamber this question: Did the farmers do that in your boyhood days? Do hon. members recall the time when in western Ontario they had fairs where the farmers showed their cattle, and where the cattle buyers would buy them? Did the cattle buyer go into, the hands of the packer, and let the packer set the price? The buyer who is employed by the packer has a killing sheet handed to him every day. He buys for the packer and when the product goes to the packing plant he is responsible for the outcome of his buying. Now I ask the farmer if he is wise to put himself into the hands of the packer under those conditions. The farmer himself is wrong in the methods he is using and in the methods in which he is doing business. I ask him to go back to the old days when the cattle buyer went on to the farm, as my hon. friend from Assiniboia and my hon. friend from Ontario mentioned; they sold right on the farm and the money was paid to them there. In those days the farmer was successful, but now he puts himself into other hands to be controlled as to price. I did not intend to take up any time this afternoon, Mr. Chairman, but when I heard the statements made about working six hours a day I could keep my seat no longer.
Go back to the land and operate it in a practical way. The best inducement in the world is offered in the great outdoors of the three prairie provinces. Handle it right. Take your coarse grains and feed them to live stock, and do not be subjected to the exploitation of the different elevators by selling them your coarse grains. No man can make money by selling his coarse grains in that way. No, Mr. Chairman, feed your coarse grains to live stock and drive them to market
on four legs. That is the only way. I see the hon. member for Yorkton; I remember when that town was prosperous, when there were hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out during the summer, but they have neglected the live stock industry. I do not intend to talk about live stock any more, but I hear hon. gentlemen talking about medicine and legal and constitutional questions and I could not help saying a word. The praotical end of farming is live stock. I have always stood behind that and I stand behind it still. The live stock are now finding a place, and the packers instead of going down the stock yards leisurely have to step up now.
We have a market in the United Kingdom that should be developed, but I have not time to go into that to-day. I may do so later on and then tell you something more about live stock. I stand behind live stock yet, and I will take second place to no man in that respect, although I may be nearing the end of my contribution in regard to them. I have spoken many times about live stock because I have seen what they will do for a farmer who has a well bred herd of cattle, not a common bred herd. No man wants a common bred herd any more than he wants a common bred man. They are of no use; many will be in camp with somebody feeding them, but when the farmer has a well bred herd of cattle, and when he has a farm without a mortgage, he is the happiest man in the world and I defy any man from the cities to be any happier than he is.
I would say in conclusion that the west offers the opportunity, and if we here do our part as legislators to help agriculture get on its feet we can do nothing better for this country because agriculture must be successful if this country is to succeed.
Topic: QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic: EIGHT HOUR DAY