June 2, 1942

LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

It is easy to see the situation when there are no more men available.

Topic:   NATIONAL WAR SERVICES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

How?

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

Because there are no more men to receive notices. It is one thing to know when the state of exhaustion has been arrived at in a particular division, but it is quite another thing to know how many men are still available in another division-quite a different thing. In respect of the divisions where there are still men available the information as to how many are available in those divisions cannot be given without an immense amount of work. Some divisions must reach a state of exhaustion of the man-power reserve before others. The divisions cannot all go forward at exactly the same pace. You may reach the stage of exhaustion in one division before you do in another.

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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

How does the minister arrive at the conclusion that the numbers of men within a certain age group in a certain district have almost reached the point of exhaustion?

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

Because there are no more cards and no more persons to send notices to.

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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

What are the two divisions that are practically exhausted?

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury): And the

other two which are approaching that position?

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

The other one that is very close to exhaustion is administrative division F, Quebec. Another one that is very close to exhaustion is administrative division K, Vancouver.

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury): And the

other two?

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson (Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

I mentioned only three. I have named administrative division C, and the other two I have in mind are administrative division F, Quebec, and administrative division K, Vancouver.

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury): I understood the minister to refer to two other administrative divisions.

Mr. THORSON: No.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Then I misapprehended. The information asked for this afternoon is of extreme importance. The minister has stated in reply to the hon. member for Carleton that by counting the cards it is easy enough to arrive at the situation in divisions which are near exhaustion. If I appreciate the machinery correctly, there is, to start off with, a given number of cards in a given administrative district, and they are divided into age groups. That is possibly the only visible result of the national registration

War Appropriation-Agriculture

of which the country is aware. The call for volunteers comes and certain numbers in those different age groups volunteer. That information filters through and their cards are eliminated from the records in the minister's department. Certain names are eliminated, and there are so many left. Surely by the process of eliminating those who have gone through the volunteer stage it is simple enough to count the number of cards left and determine the number of men available, by exactly the same process as that by which the minister arrives at the conclusion that in a certain administrative division, C, the reserve is near exhaustion.

We cannot accept the minister's answer. It does not make sense. It is an evasion of responsibility on the part of the administration to withhold this information from us. We shall insist on having it between now and the time of the debate on the mobilization act. It is our right to have the information. It is possible to get it, and we shall insist on having it. None of the difficulties to which the minister has referred is of any great importance. .

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

It was stated last night that to-day we might discuss the war appropriation bill under different departments which are indicated in Hansard, and the Minister of Agriculture said that he would be prepared to answer questions. I should like to ask him two or three questions regarding agriculture.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I wonder if we cannot by mutual consent organize this discussion to some extent. If agriculture is to be taken up now with the consent of the committee, and if the committee will stick to agriculture until it is through, I do not think there will be any objection.

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NAT
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is a perfectly proper proposal; start on one and finish it.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I was simply starting out in accordance with the procedure suggested by the minister last night at the adjournment.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The committee may make any suggestions as regards the procedure it will follow, but, as suggested by the Minister of Finance, it will make for greater clarity of the record if one department is finished with before.another department is taken up. If that is the pleasure of the committee we will follow that rule.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

It is obvious that we cannot take a vote as to which department we will go on with. It is the responsibility of the government, and the decision is that agriculture be proceeded with now.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is settled?

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LIB

AGRICULTURE

NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The production of poultry and eggs affects more farmers than that of any other agricultural commodity in Canada at the present time. I believe the minister realizes that a great deal has been done to encourage the development and expansion of these products. It has been pointed out to me, by people who I think should know, that in the near future there may be difficulty in selling these products to Great Britain. They claim they have been told that the food ministry of Great Britain can procure these articles through the lease-lend law of the United States much more easily than they can get them from Canada. I think the minister should tell us what provision was made, respecting the billion-dollar gift to Great Britain, for the supply of agricultural products -not merely those I have named, but others as well-in order that the producers may have some idea as to what the marketing possibilities of these products will be.

On page 2921 of Hansard there is an item, under wartime prices and trade board, of administration, S3,380,000, and another item, subsidies under price ceiling order, $50,000,000. The minister might explain the break-down under those two heads.

It may be a little out of order, but I do not think it is premature to ask the minister if he has any thought of making provision under the price ceiling regulations for harvest wages this fall. We had some serious difficulties last fall in the harvesting of our crop. There were people going through the country who were not eager to work and were demanding rates of pay some of which were ridiculous. It has been pointed out here that when this price ceiling was set on agricultural products, many items were fixed at far below the cost of production. If agriculture must produce on that basis, surely the government should take steps to regulate wages in the production of those necessary articles. The people who are going to work on the farms this fall should receive fair remuneration, but the government should step in and set a scale of wages covering the services which these men will give in the harvesting of the crops.

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June 2, 1942