June 2, 1942

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We do not expect to

ship any more this year.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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SC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We will find that out

when dealing with next year.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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?

Mr BLACKMORE:

You see it is all

uncertain. As long as you do not know how many eggs you want, how do you know how many people should get to work producing eggs? The same is true with respect to selling butter and cheese. How do you know how many men you can spare from the farms; and if you do not know how many you can spare, how do you know when you have taken the limit?

As I have sat here and listened to the discussion on the statements of the Minister of National War Services, the Minister of Munitions and Supply, the Minister of National Defence, and various other ministers,

I have been impressed with the fact that nobody seems to have any idea definitely where we are going. We seem to be getting the whole set of ministerial departments interlocked and dovetailed with each other until there is just a sort of run-around and nobody knows where he stands. That is bad business.

I think something ought to be done before very long, or we are going to suffer. We do not know how many farmers we can support.

As I said a minute ago, I am alarmed at the number of first-class farmers who have gone out of my constituency, men who cannot be replaced in ten years. If they are needed in the army more than they are needed on the farms; if they are needed in the munitions plants more than they are needed on the farms, all right; it is good business to put them there in the army or in the munitions plants. If that is not the case, it is bad business to put them there. If no one is at work determining how many can be spared for these purposes and how many are needed on the farms, the whole country is adrift with respect to its economy. That is just the impression I have of our agricultural situation in Canada to-day. It is adrift. We do not know where we stand.

The minister says that we are getting much more production, but one thing he did not allow for, in his fine speech-and he gave a very fine speech-is the tremendous amount of production the farmers are bringing forth for patriotic reasons.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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LIB
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

But there is no way

of telling how long that patriotism will last.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have answered all

these questions, too, twice this session.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Yes, and probably we shall ask them a great many more times, because we are far enough from a satisfactory answer yet. The amount of suffering which is going on in various parts of this country in agriculture is much more than there ought to be. The fact mentioned by the hon. member for Acadia, that ten cents a dozen is the price of eggs, first-class eggs, in many parts of Alberta, in a country which is at war, and needs food, is almost unbelievable. I have a statement from Saskatchewan to the effect that in many rural areas in that province the price to the producer at this time is ten cents. What conceivable encouragement is there for a man to raise chickens? We are adrift with regard to eggs. I am not sure about butter, but it seems to me the price is altogether too low. I have not been following .in detail the prices, but from what was said this afternoon, there must be grave discontent in the matter of butter; all too soon it will take the form of a lack of butter production. That is the danger. Farmers will have to quit producing butter.

War Appropriation-Agriculture

If I gathered rightly, these would be the criticisms I have to offer. In the first place, no one seems to know where we are going and what we want, and no one knows how to arrange our man-power so as to get what we want. Furthermore, there is lack of organization. The farmers, I find, do not know-

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

They have produced what we have asked for every year since the war began, and they are doing it this year.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

The average farmer is figuring this way. He is trying to keep his head above water, and whatever looks as though it might give him a little more income he will produce. Naturally he depends upon what the minister says, with regard to the production which he needs, as to what he should produce. In many instances, however, as someone said this afternoon, the farmer does not know whether he will make a five-cent piece from his production after he has accomplished it. He simply makes the attempt reaching out like a drowning man; and that is true respecting a good many types of production. As to flax, I have not gone into the matter, but I have seen plenty of flax produced in my area. Whether it is the kind the minister wants I do not know, but certainly we can produce flax here. Perhaps it is just for seed, but it is not conceivable to me why we could not produce all the flax needed in Canada, or all the soya beans we need, if we went about it properly, paying such a price to get the flax or the beans that the farmers will feel safe in devoting themselves to the production of these com- -modities. I would say, therefore, in spite of what the minister said, that there is not enough coordination and not enough certainty as to what we want, where we want our man-power, to what extent we want it replaced by woman-power, how we shall organize our woman-power in order to bring the forces of that power to bear where we want it to be effective. The Department of Agriculture is likely to be one of the great sufferers. The first thing we know, we shall have gone too far and we shall be short of agricultural products in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world in agricultural capacity.

One other thing is important in summing up. The minister's statement that we can sell all that we have of certain commodities does not show the right attitude. I say that the attitude should be to produce all we can sell. One further observation. From what I hear across the floor of the house, the government seems to have too much anxiety

as to what it will do with a little extra agricultural production if it gets it. The whole Department of Agriculture seems to be terrified for fear it will have a little too much honey or sugar or wool or some other product -apples, for instance. It does not know what to do with any extra product if it cannot sell it abroad. That thinking is Rip Van Winkle thinking.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

There is certainly a lot of it in Alberta.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

It is high time the minister gathered round him a number of men who have the capacity to see to-morrow instead of the day before yesterday. There must be a reorganization. The minister must be listening to the Prime Minister quite often indulging in those beautiful outbursts of his about the new order. Does the minister believe in a new order? If he does, what does he conceive that order to be like?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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LIB
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

That is exactly why the minister is a Rip Van_Winkle. He will sit in the presence of a solution of his problems; he will sit with the remedy before him, and die from the disease rather than take the medicine. I have seen people just as simple as that. There has to be a new order, and in the new order we are not going to be worrying very much about having more of a certain commodity than we need. Our only anxiety will be to be sure that we have enough. So I say that the whole attitude of the Department of Agriculture must be changed. It must stop worrying about having too much and having the capacity to produce too much. I think the minister should advise his advisers to keep that in mind. If they do not, they will be faced with a situation similar to the one with which we are confronted with regard to sugar, and they will be doing it over a wide area. It looks impossible; people say it cannot happen here. Well, the first thing we know it will have happened here; but what to do about it the government will not know. Let the minister be wise and look into the future. Let him not be afraid of producing too much.

The secret of getting plenty of production is to be found in the application of four principles. The first is a fair price, -one at which a man can make a profit, and that price should apply to every single needed agricultural product in this country. If we do not want any more eggs, let' us forbid people to produce eggs; let us refuse to buy them. But if we want eggs, then let us pay for them a proper price so that men can afford to produce them.

War Appropriation-Agriculture

The same is true of butter and honey and each of the other commodities we want. Let us determine the price at which a man can produce goods, live by his labour and pay his debts and his obligations, and then let us pay him that price. If we cannot sell the product, never mind; it can be paid for. All we have to do is to look into the future a bit. We can see how it can be done.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Rip Van Winkles again. We are afflicted with the Rip Van Winkle mentality in this country and in this parliament. After we have a fair price, the next important thing is a sure market. A sure market has to be guaranteed by the government. You are never sure that you will be able to sell to England or to Ireland, but you are sure that the dominion government can take the product. New Zealand is doing it. New Zealand is not as strong economically as Canada, and if she can do it there is no reason why Canada cannot. The next thing is the guarantee of stability for two or three years. If a man is to put his money into dairy cows, for instance, he must have some guarantee of prices for two or three years; otherwise, how has he the assurance that he will not lose his money? The fourth important thing is a line of credit with which he may buy the means.of production. If a man is in a good position to produce dairy products, for example, he should be enabled to get dairy cows and establish a daily farm. Those four principles will guarantee production, and anything short of them will not.

First, the government must find out just where it is, to learn what it wants, when it wants it and how to get it, in agriculture, industry and the army; work the problem out in an accurate way. Second, it must not be afraid of overproduction. Third, it should set up such conditions in this country as will bring about maximum production. Men are prattling in this house and in the country, over the radio and through the press all the time about mobilizing Canada's resources; we have not scratched the surface of Canada's resources, and while we follow the policy being followed at present we never shall. It is possible, however, to organize for complete mobilization if we follow the right method. Let us determine what that method is and apply it.

I shall reserve what else I have to say , until a future time.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

When the minister is making his statement will he include, among the information to be given, a statement as to the extent to which the government is controlling the packing industry to see that

there is no undue exploitation of those who produce? We understood from the minister this afternoon that he was supplying machinery to companies throughout the country to carry on the process of drying eggs; are the prices paid to the processors in line with the prices they are paying to the producers?

The whole matter of agriculture, as has been said several times this evening, requires the very best thought that can be given to it. Coming from Saskatchewan where we know the dire condition of the farmers with regard to the debt situation, one is alarmed to find that in the eastern provinces, as in practically every province across the dominion, even in the heart of some of the finest agricultural areas, for example the Niagara peninsula, farmers are still labouring under a load of debt which makes it almost impossible for them to carry on. This nation is failing its agricultural people, and a nation that is doing that is heading in the wrong direction. We are beginning now to see evidence of a great and world-wide scarcity of agricultural products; and unless we prepare our house now, we shall be found very much wanting in the days immediately ahead.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Would the minister include in his answer a statement of what progress has been made with regard to sunflowrer seed and sunflower seed oil?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

As members of the com-mitte will recall, we agreed earlier in the discussion to deal with all matters that come under the last five items. The questions which have been asked come under one or another. The questions asked by the hon. member for Yorkton come under the special products board, which is the third item. If we could pass the $5,477,760, all the other matters come under the last five items. We could discuss those to-morrow.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

This item would come under the special products board?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
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June 2, 1942