March 29, 1943

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

May I ask the hon. member a question? Did he not belong to this crowd once himself?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

Not as far as I know. There was an organization known as the Progressive movement, of which my hon. friend and his friends have stolen the name-time is a great wonder worker, and it may be that my hon. friend and his friends will yet be in the C.C.F. movement down at the other end. The Progressive movement was very successful- in its day, ddd a great deal of good and justified its existence in this house. The minister of agriculture for Norway, a man

who should know, was most emphatic in his belief that the cooperatives could live and prosper only under a system of private enterprise.

I wish the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) were in his seat at the moment. I believe in his price ceiling; I am all for it. Probably no group of men could have done a better job than he and the prices board have done. But I do not think we should maintain stability and prevent inflation at the expense of one class only. The farmer to-day is paying the long price for his country's financial stability. That is not fair. We should lift the lid on some agricultural products. We should put the farmer at least on a par with others in the community, particularly organized labour.

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PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

Has the hon. member the idea that the farmer is not getting a fair deal as far as the price ceiling is concerned?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

I have just said so. I believe that flax should be not less than $3 a bushel, I do not believe it can be grown successfully for less. There should also be a higher price for wheat. I suggest $1.35.

If we are to maintain agriculture and keep the young people on our farms we must give greater attention to our farm economy. An hon. member in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group this afternoon, I think it was the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. Castleden), referred to the coming home of the soldiers after the war. That is something to which we must give some thought. The hon. member quoted a figure of eighty or ninety cents an hour for labour in the factories and the farmer getting twenty cents. Surely we should- do something about that.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Did the hon. member just find that out?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

The hon. member came here just yesterday; if he had been here for twenty years as I have he would know something of the struggle to gain better conditions for the farmer.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

I knew that much anyway.

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

When I first came to this house there was a difference of ten to twenty cents between street and track prices for wheat.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

What is it now?

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LIB

William John Ward

Liberal

Mr. WARD:

About three and a half cents, about as low as it could be thanks to our farmer organizations. Our cooperatives and

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farm grain handling institutions have gone a long way in ameliorating many of the problems of the farmer. I grant you we still have some problems. There is no reason why the farmer should be a war casualty any more than anyone else.

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SC

Anthony Hlynka

Social Credit

Mr. ANTHONY HLYNKA (Vegreville):

Mr. Speaker, too much cannot possibly be said as to the need for a long-range agricultural policy for Canada. This is the fourth session I have had the privilege of attending, and I do not hesitate to say that I have yet to hear a serious and an exhaustive discussion of the subject of agriculture. This question of agriculture seems to be kept in the background; sometimes in the dying days of a session hon. members may rise in their places and voice their patched-up opinions, and then we go home with no plans for the future and nothing to tell our farmers.

I should like to add my voice to those who have spoken already this afternoon and this evening, in expressing my opinion as to the urgent need of a long-range, effective agricultural policy for this country. I believe the farmer of Canada has been stabbed in the back. The government has stood by and watched as the farmer has been operated upon; and the government-this government and the one that preceded it-has done nothing to protect the very basis of our national economy. In my opinion agriculture in Canada must be placed upon a paying basis. No other industry has received such a set-back. The government seems unable to coordinate its agricultural policy, if it has one; it seems to be a matter of hit or miss, and the government does not seem to know where it is going. The farmers of western Canada want to know what will be the agricultural policy of this government not only for the coming year but for the years ahead. Why should the government not announce its policy for two, three or five years ahead? Surely that requires only a mathematical calculation. The government has all the statisticians, agriculturists, agricultural economists and so on that it needs, and with the experience we have had in agriculture so far, surely we should be able to draw some sort of a blueprint for a year or two ahead. Look at the situation that exists at present in the prairie provinces. The government has permitted the stock of the west to be sold and slaughtered, though it knows very well that four to five years are required to expand a herd of beef cattle, and it takes three years to increase the number of milch cows, and fourteen months to increase the number of hogs. If we destroy the farmers who for many years have operated independently, what will be the

end? Only a few days ago I pointed out that fewer than half the farmers of western Canada own the land on which they live. That is a serious situation. There is talk about socialism; there you have it. The farmers no longer have any say as to how long or how they are to operate their farms. Let me quote a sentence or two from a so-called extension agreement, because I believe it will indicate the situation that has existed for many years:

The mortgagor does hereby attorn to and agrees to become the tenant of the company of the said land at a yearly rental of a full one-third share of the whole crop of grain of every kind . . . the said share to be delivered by the mortgagor at his own expense.

I could quote at great length from agreements of this kind to show that farmers are losing their homes. Yet this afternoon when one hon. member asked the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) what will be done in regard to debt legislation, and whether the government had come to any decision in that regard, the answer was, as usual, "It is under consideration." That is not good enough. We are being pressed by the farmers; we are receiving letters almost by the thousands demanding that something be done, because these people are losing their homes, losing all they have built up in many years of hard toil. As I have said, the government does not seem to be able to coordinate the various problems that are facing us to-day. It is only natural that our people should look to the government for guidance, that they should expect at least an announcement of policy one year ahead. But we go on dragging along; now spring seeding is not far off and still the farmers do not know what the government wants, what the country will need, whether or not we can sell our grain this coming year, whether our hog production should be stepped up and maintained at that level, and so on. We do not know. To me this seems a hit-or-miss policy, if it can be called a policy at all. We on this side of the chamber can talk in this house until we are blue in the face, but the government seems just to float along and put off everything from day to day. Is it not about time we got down to business and placed agriculture on a paying basis, like any other industry? Personally I am surprised that the farmers have stood for this sort of thing so long. But why have they stood for it? The answer is simply this, that almost every farmer is indebted to some financial institution. If the farmer dared refuse to sell his grain, he would be sold out. He cannot afford that. He is forced, almost at the point of a gun, to produce wheat, whether he likes to do so or

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not. Otherwise he will be dispossessed of his land and thrown out on the road. That is the system that has been in force for so long.

At present agriculture provides about 17-4 per cent of our total national income, while more than one-third of our population are directly dependent upon agriculture. Farm products account for about 38 per cent of our total exports. Surely all we have to do is to put two and two together and realize that we cannot continue to operate unless agriculture gets a fair share of the national income. We cannot expect the farmer to pay his debts if he has no income. We cannot expect the farmer to be able to repair his machinery and keep up production if he has not the money with which to buy the things he needs. The following statement appeared in a non-political publication, Farm. Forum Facts:

Canada cannot play her full part in the war unless national unity is built up to a high point, and unity and a high morale cannot be attained while forty-five per cent of the people of the dominion who make their living from the agricultural industry are receiving less than a fair deal.

Canadian agriculture is facing two very grave problems at the present time-lack of working capital and a serious labour problem. The lack of working capital has been induced by low prices for many primary products, especially wheat, while the labour situation is definitely tending to lower farm production at a time when we should be increasing it.

Let me quote what the former President of the United States had to say about the importance of food in the war. Mr. Herbert Hoover, speaking in New York on January 21 on the food situation, stated:

Food supply has now become secondary only to military operations in determining the outcome of the war. And it will take first place in saving the world from anarchy after the war.

Further on he says:

The burden of furnishing food supplies to the united nations now and to a starving world after the war rests largely upon the American and Canadian farmer.

Agriculture simply must be envisaged as a munitions industry. The farmer must receive men and tools if he is to perform his part.

The news comes daily from all parts of the country that the farmer is sending his dairy cows to slaughter for lack of labour. And this is amply verified by the arrivals at the slaughter houses.

Those words of the former President of the United States are significant. We speak about remedying the situation as far as shortage of farm labour is concerned, and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) and other ministers tell us from time to time that the situation has been remedied and that things are working satisfactorily. At least they seem to be unconcerned. I should like to quote from a

clipping from the Edmonton Bulletin of November 18, 1942. This is an article written by Mr. Grant Dexter from Ottawa, and it states:

Apart from government departments, there is the field of policy. Here the government's action has been two-sided. To begin with there have been sweeping allocations of man-power. Agriculture was frozen on March 23, 1942. Except for voluntary enlistment no agency of government can touch farmers. They are deemed to be necessary to agriculture.

Surely everyone knows that that is not so, that that is not a true situation. I have in my hand a report of national farm forum manpower findings, dated November 30, 1942. A discussion was arranged with various groups in the different provinces of Canada, and the following question was asked and the following answer received:

In what ways have the man-power regulations and farm labour policies up to the present time affected your area in respect to:

(a) freezing of men on the land?

British Columbia-Without exception British Columbia farmers have replied there has been no freezing as far as farm labour is concerned.

Alberta-Ten per cent said it had some effect; all others stressed ineffectiveness, or that it was too late.

Saskatchewan-Answers revealed that farm labour had not been frozen and that the order in council of last March had not been carried out.

Manitoba-The system of freezing men on the land has come too late.

Ontario-Almost every report was critical. Many said the ruling came too late. While regulations have kept some men on the land others are leaving for better paid work, even up to the present time.

Quebec-Freezing men on the soil on wages farmers can afford to pay does not work. Disgruntled help is useless.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia-All groups feel regulations have not dealt with this matter satisfactorily, mainly because they came too late. Two-thirds of the groups say farm help is still moving to the armed forces and to war industries. Higher wages in other industries are attractive.

(b) Method of military call.

British Columbia-Reports unanimous in disapproval of present system. Many farmers' sons have enlisted in order to avoid being called. Many others have not applied for postponements to which they were entitled. Postponement period is too short; it would be for one crop season or preferably for one year.

Alberta-Most said unsatisfactory or confusing. One said satisfactory, and two, fairly satisfactory.

Saskatchewan-Regarded as spotty and inequitable. Repeated calls to essential men, put these men in unenviable position in the community. Since efficient farming requires at least six months planning, many farmers are confused as to what lies ahead.

Manitoba-Methods of call are unsatisfactory, and postponement is too indefinite.

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Ontario-Twelve per cent said satisfactory; eighty-eight per cent unsatisfactory and uncertain. Production could not be planned for short periods. Charges were made that in some cases the law had not been observed and men essentia] to farm production had been refused postponement.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick-Eighty per cent not in favour; 10 per cent feel it has some merits; 10 per cent think it satisfactory. Causes a great deal of confusion. Uncertainty of postponements.

My reason for putting this on record is simply to give the impartial findings of the national farm forum. Surely agriculture is important enough to Canada and Canada's war effort for the government and parliament to give it fairer consideration than it has been given in the past. Just the other day I received a letter containing a plea from one of my constituents who said that he had a debt, that the mortgage company wTas pressing him, and that all he could sell was fourteen bushels of wheat to the acre. I walked across the floor and asked the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) whether anything could be done and whether he would recommend that I write to the wheat board, because surely, Mr. Speaker, farmers cannot be allowed to lose their land and to be foreclosed upon and have to pay costs, expenses, and so forth when their production is so necessary to the war effort. The minister said; I am sorry; nothing can be done. That is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. If nothing can be done to increase the quota of wheat which the farmer can deliver to the elevator, surely the government has the power to say to the mortgage companies: You fellows had better stop for a while because the farmers cannot pay their debts if they cannot sell their grain ; you cannot squeeze blood out of a stone. It is nonsensical for the government to say that nothing can be done because the government has the power to do anything it wants and it can help the farmers.

This morning I received three or four more letters. One was from a man in the armed services who told me that he is being sold out. The mortgage companies care about nothing but their pound of flesh; that is all they are interested in. Surely conditions of this sort should not be permitted to continue.

I have no desire to speak about these matters. Members from the central provinces may speak favourably of the government's farm policies; but members from the west, whether they want to or not, are forced to rise in their places and defend the interests of the people whom they represent in this house. We cannot simply sit here and say nothing when we are receiving scores of letters telling us about the problems of to-day which must

(Mr. Hlynka.l

be solved. I wish to impress upon the Minister of Trade and Commerce that, coming from western Canada as he does, he should bring these problems before the cabinet to see what can be done. The government cannot let the farmers down at this time. The feeling that exists among these farmers is one that should not exist, especially at this time when we need unity. We need every Canadian to feel that he is being cooperated with and that the government understands his position and appreciates that the fanner is doing his fair share in Canada's war effort. Let us not hamper these men. We are going to appeal to them in the next week or two to buy victory bonds. How can the farmers buy victory bonds if they cannot sell their grain and cannot get a fair return for their products? Therefore I appeal to the government to get down to business and to coordinate these problems that are before the people of Canada with a view to improving conditions.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, when I tried early this afternoon, on the orders of the day, to get a statement from the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) I had no idea that the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) was going to bring in the amendment we are now discussing. But I think the hon. member for Melfort has made the right move, because it has brought on a discussion of very important problems affecting western Canada.

About a year ago the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) and myself on a motion for supply moved an amendment asking the government to consider the question of parity prices. All hon. members know what happened, and if no greater consideration is given to the present amendment it will be just too bad. It seems almost impossible for anything to jar this government into taking the action which I think it should. I have on numerous occasions this session endeavoured to get a statement from the minister in respect of such matters as are being discussed to-day. Only this afternoon I asked him whether, in view of reports in the western press that the wheat board had been in Ottawa discussing the marketing of grain and the price of grain, he was in a position to make a statement and whether anything would be done to allow our producers to get the advantage of the increase in price which has taken place within the last month. I also asked him to deal with the 8-cent premium on wheat sold by the producers for feed purposes. You will recall, Mr. Speaker, what the minister said. He was somewhat evasive in replying. He dealt with the marketing of durum wheat, which was quite all right, although durum wheat forma only a

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very small percentage of the wheat grown in western Canada, only some 2,000,000 bushels, as the minister said this afternoon, being marketed. He also dealt with producers who have enlisted in the armed forces and said that the wheat board had been authorized to permit delivery of the remainder of the 1942 quota in the case of those who are in the armed forces. That was quite right and proper. But on the whole we did not get a very satisfactory statement from the minister.

When I spoke in the budget debate on March 15 I made I think several constructive suggestions, and made them at the proper time and place, and asked the government to consider them. It has been most interesting to me to hear this afternoon many members enlarge upon those suggestions and ask the government to give them consideration. On that occasion I quoted from the platform of the Progressive Conservative party drawn up at Winnipeg, and I also quoted from a resolution now standing on the order paper in my name asking the government as a first step toward establishing a parity price for wheat to take into consideration the setting of an initial minimum export price of SI .10 a bushel, and to give consideration to making payments for farm storage and making an advance on the net value of grain remaining on the farms which comes within the deliverable quota. These are questions which have all come up in the discussion this afternoon. Hardly anyone is satisfied with the policies enunciated by the minister on January 29. As a proof of that, the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) quoted this afternoon from the votes and proceedings of the Saskatchewan legislature to show what is going on in that province. We know also what the pool and the federation of agriculture think of these policies.

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) took an opportunity the other day to give hon.. members on this side a sort of spanking, in that he said that we were advocating changes which might break through the price ceiling and cause inflation. But the hon. member for Lake Centre established quite definitely this afternoon that we are not the only ones to whom that verbal chastisement could be administered. The minister might include the members of the Saskatchewan legislature, and in particular the provincial minister of agriculture, Mr. Taggart, with whom no doubt he had several conferences before Mr. Taggart returned home. I understand that there was not the greatest harmony between these two gentlemen before the Saskatchewan minister gave up the federal position which he held.

I have here the votes and proceedings from which the hon. member for Lake Centre quoted. The contents of this resolution are very interesting to me, as embodying suggestions which on several occasions I have made to this house-for instance, on March 15. The hon. member might have cited that part of the resolution which deals with prices. The third suggestion was:

That it is essential to the economic welfare of Saskatchewan that production of wheat be recognized as our major source of income and the federal government be urged to accept through the Canadian wheat board no less than 280 million bushels of wheat at parity prices with an initial advance of not less than one dollar per bushel.

They do not say what the parity price should be. Let us accept the suggestion of the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Ward), that it be SI .35. I will quote that part of the resolution in which the legislature upsets the price ceiling:

5. That, in view of the excellent prospects for sales of Canadian feed grain in the United States, we urge upon the federal government the desirability of removing existing maximum ceilings from these grains in order that prevailing prices in the United States may be fully reflected in prices paid to Canadian producers and that everything possible be done to facilitate the sale and transportation of Canadian feed grains to the United States.

Again, I call that to the attention of the Minister of Finance: he had better chastise his friends out there.

6. That, in view of the large quantity of grain stored on farms in Saskatchewan which cannot he sold and delivered, we request the federal government to give urgent consideration to some method of permitting our farmers to finance on such grain.

I suggested that the farmer should be given an advance on the portion of the quota on the farm which he cannot deliver. It is not his fault that he cannot do so, and there is no reason why he should not have an advance on it.

7. That, in view of the fact that prices paid to producers of coarse grains at local points have frequently been based on floor prices, thereby creating an excessive spread between street prices and quoted market prices, we urge the federal government to immediately take steps to rectify this situation.

Well, if this government does all that the provincial government of Saskatchewan asks them to do, it will certainly "bust" the ceiling price. So that I say again to the Minister of Finance, better go out to Saskatchewan and have a little talk with the legislature, which passed this resolution unanimously.

If we make comparison-one has been made here to-day-with the situation in United

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States, we shall find that the farmer there is enjoying much better conditions than we are in Canada. Cash wheat across the line is practically SI.66 a bushel; the May option is $1.45%; the cash price of oats is 76 cents, and the option is 63 cents. Here in Canada the board's price for wheat is 90 cents, increased two or three cents by the carrying charge since last August. But the May wheat is now Sl'.Ol; it has been a little higher.

I say that if our farmers were placed on a parity as far as storage and an advance is concerned, and, with the increase in price which has already taken place, if the wheat board and the minister, who have been conferring together for the last two weeks, work out a scheme whereby this increase in price will revert to the consumer, they will have accomplished something. I assume that is one of the things they are doing, because, according to an announcement in the Saskatchewan Liberal press, the wheat board is here for that purpose. So that it is high time that we had a statement from the minister. How long is it intended to go on considering this matter? Why do we not get a statement now? If the price and the marketing conditions are unsatisfactory, the desire of the producer to produce is weakened, and it is important that nothing of the kind should happen, especially in view of the man-power situation which has been discussed on many occasions in this chamber. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) should have made a definite statement before now with respect to his production policy, what he is asking the farmers to do. He will recall that last year it was well into seeding time before the farmers knew what was being asked of them, and it looks as though a similar delay will occur this year. Production and marketing must be considered together, and if the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) are working together, as I believe they are, the Minister of Agriculture should have been in a position before now to make a statement. Is there to be any change from what was announced early in the session? Will there be any orders in council? The farmer is willing to do his share at any time; he will perform what is expected of him; all he wants is to be assured that he will get proper consideration and a fair deal.

The matter of subsidies is something new; we do not know where we stand with respect to them. The Minister of Finance stated in his budget speech and, I think, to-day that over a hundred million dollars would be expended in subsidies for farm products and to the farmers

generally. There should be a definite announcement of policy in this respect before seeding time, which is rapidly approaching.

There is much talk about the surplus. We know there is quite a surplus; but I recall that in 1937 the carryover was the greatest in the history of the grain trade, and yet it disappeared. I am not worried about this surplus. When the war is over, world requirements will be so great that the surplus will soon disappear. The surplus may be a blessing in disguise; I believe it is; and if the government will give some consideration to the farmer and extend some encouragement to him to store the grain on his own land, there will not be anything to worry about. The farmers will store grain if they are to be paid for it on a basis equal to that on which the grain trade is paid. Farmers should be allowed storage.

For years I have endeavoured to put forth a long-range policy on prices. The hon. member who has just taken his seat has made reference to the fact that we should have a policy, not only for to-day or to-morrow but that it should be a long-range policy. I review to-day some of the things I said in 1938, and I find that at that time I went into the matter of prices when discussing a resolution before the house at that session. I placed on Hansard a record of prices for thirty-six years prior to 1938, and I have those figures before me now. They show that for those thirty-six years, including the period of the war between 1914 and 1918, we had an average price of $1.03. For the fifteen years following the war the price was about $1.15, and for the fifteen years before the war it was about $1.03.

I say that we must look at this problem from the long-range point of view, and that if we had a price of $1.10 or $1.15 fixed permanently we would not lose very much in fifteen years, and I do not think it would cost the treasury of the country anything. There is no doubt some difficulty in the present situation. We have reason to believe the board is having difficulties at the present time, because we know they are in Ottawa, in conference with the minister.

A return was tabled to-day showing that 1,015 permits have been issued for shipments of grain to the United States. That is a situation which has developed only recently, under which permits for the shipment to the United States of grain, including barley, oats and some wheat, have been issued. I w'as about to ask the minister to make a statement respecting how many permits had been issued, and to whom. I should like to know how many of those 1,015 permits were issued to producers, direct, the price at which the grain

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was sold, when it was shipped to the United States, and what portion of that price may come back to the producers. Owing to wThat has taken place on the Winnipeg market in the last little while it would appear to me that the board may be in some difficulty. No doubt they are in control of the wheat, however, because they took it by permit from the farmer last year. He had to have a permit to sell. The board is in full control and, as I have advocated on previous occasions, now when we are at war the board should take full control of the export and sale, and of the marketing and receiving of the wheat in the elevators. It should take control of the whole system.

What other industry in Canada is running wild, when dealing with millions of dollars and a great variety of products? The board is in full control. The wheat is delivered to them, and if a situation has been brought about, owing to a change in price, then I say the board is responsible because they had the wheat. They have sold it for future delivery. They have been paying storage on it ever since, and now they have to get it into shape to deliver on the option. Who has the option? These are matters about which we should know. If the committee on agriculture would meet, and call officials of the wheat board, giving us permission to bring the matter right up to date, we might get some very useful information.

The Turgeon commission which inquired info the grain trade said there should be proper control over the organization in Winnipeg, and that it could serve no useful purpose in periods of emergency. If we have not an emergency to-day, then we never had one. So that I say it is time for the board to bring the whole thing under its influence and control. If that were done we would not have a situation such as we have to-day, where there has been an increase in the price of wheat, and storage has been paid on the wheat, but none of it is going to the farmer.

Therefore I make a plea to have this whole problem of marketing and producing gone into thoroughly. We should have a definite statement from both ministers as to what they propose to do in 1943.

I do not think it is necessary to prolong this debate. It has served a useful purpose, and many worth-while suggestions have been brought to the attention of the minister. I am asking the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who is at present in his seat, if he proposes to-morrow to make a statement to the house with respect to the whole policy, or as to any change in policy, and what he proposes to do to see to it that the greater portion of the increased price reverts to the

farmer. Will he see to it that the 8-cent premium on feed grains goes to the farmer; and will the Minister of Agriculture make a statement, too?

If the debate does nothing more than bring the minister to his feet to announce a clear-cut policy which the western farmer will understand, it will have served a useful purpose.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. HARRY LEADER (Portage la Prairie):

Mr. Speaker, being a farmer, I think a debate of this nature should be right down my alley. I hesitate to prolong the debate, knowing there is some very important work to be dealt with, and dealt with immediately. However, I do not make any apology for offering a few remarks to-night.

I do not think there is much difference in the minds of hon. members from western Canada respecting the difficulties encountered by the grain farmers. I refer to the grain farmers, because they are the ones who are and have been in difficulty. I have followed diversified farming for thirty years, and I know I, and those who have followed the same line, have stood the shocks which pertain to agriculture much better than have the grain farmers. I am sure I am right in making that statement.

Nevertheless in western Canada we have many fanners who have no other means of support, and no other resources than those they derive from grain farming. Therefore it is the duty of parliament, of the government and of hon. members representing farming constituencies to point out the problems, and offer advice to the ministers who have this important work in charge.

The Canadian wheat policy looks anaemic compared with the policy in force in the United States. The United States encourages the storage of wheat on the farms, where it should be stored; our policy forces the farmers to move their grain to the public elevators. The huge storage charges which we pay to the elevators are a direct loss to the farmers and a burden to the taxpayers of Canada. The statement has been made in this house that we pay annually S50 million in storage charges. That is a burden on all the taxpayers of Canada. But I will deal with storage charges later.

I have every sympathy for the government in what they are trying to do in very difficult circumstances. The hon. member for Qu'-Appelle (Mr. Perley) said a few moments ago that we should have a long-range policy. Generally I would agree with that, but during these extraordinary times I do not think we can formulate a long-term policy in Canada in regard to agriculture, or anything else as far

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as that goes. But what caused the low prices now prevailing for grain in Canada was the establishment by the government of these fixed prices in the basic period when the price was away below parity. That is recognized by everyone. A mistake was made there. We should have had a higher price on grain in Canada before they established the set price; there should have been a nearer approach to parity, as they have in the United States. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) about a year ago took as the basic period for the price of wheat 1926-29, for which period the price was $1.41. The set price of wheat to-day is 90 cents, or a disparity of 51 cents a bushel. For oats the average during the same period was 59-7 cents; to-day it is 514 cents, or a disparity of about 8 cents a bushel. For barley, during the same period, the price was 73-6 cents; to-day it is 64-8 cents, or a difference of approximately 9 cents. These prices constitute an injustice to the farmer.

I have here some comparative prices between Chicago and Winnipeg which I should like to put on record. These are approximate; I am not giving fractions. The Chicago prices were taken from the Wall Street Journal, of March 20 I believe, and the Winnipeg prices from the Winnipeg papers.

For May wheat the Winnipeg price was 51 a bushel; 1,000 bushels would be worth $1,000. In Chicago the price was $1.46 a bushel; 1,000 bushels would be worth to the farmer $1,460, or a difference on that carlot of $460 in favour of the United States farmer.

For May oats the Winnipeg price was 51 cents a bushel; 1,000 bushels would be worth $510. In Chicago they were worth 62 cents a bushel; 1,000 bushels would be worth $620, or a difference in favour of the United States farmer of $110.

For May rye the Winnipeg price was 66 cents a bushel, or $660 for 1,000 bushels. In Chicago the price was 87 cents, or $870 for 1,000 bushels, a difference of $210 in favour of the American farmer.

For May barley the Winnipeg price was 64 cents. I have not the corresponding United States price, but I have Chicago May corn. We know that corn weighs more per bushel than barley, but feeders claim that a bushel of barley is equal to a bushel of corn for feeding purposes. May corn in Chicago was $1.01 a bushel, or $1,010 for 1,000 bushels, a difference of $370 in favour of the United States farmer.

Let me now give a comparison of live stock prices, Winnipeg and Chicago.

For top steers, Winnipeg, 12 cents a pound, or a 1,000 pound steer would be worth $120.

Chicago, 17 cents a pound, or $170 for a 1,000 pound steer. That steer is worth $50 more to the farmer in the United States than to the Canadian farmer.

For veal calves, Winnipeg, 154 cents, or a 200-pound calf would be worth $31. In Chicago the price was 174 cents, or $35', a difference of $4 per calf.

For lambs, 144 cents in Winnipeg, or S14.25 for a 100-pound lamb. In Chicago, 16J, or $16.75, a difference of $2.50 per lamb.

For dressed hogs, Winnipeg, 164 cents, or $24.50 for a 200-pound hog. In Chicago, 154 cents live weight, or $30.50 for a 200-pound hog, a difference of $6. In case some hon. members do not understand how I arrive at that difference, a hog will dress out 25 per cent. Therefore a 200-pound hog, live weight, will dress out only 150 pounds. That is how I arrive at the difference of $6 in favour of the United States hog.

I now come back to wheat. I have in my hand a resolution passed by the Marquette local of the federation of agriculture. This was sent to me some time ago. It reads:

That we, the Poplar Heights local of the M.F.A. hereby go on record as being strongly in favour of the wheat board accepting earlot shipments direct from the farmers, and that storage be paid to the farmers as well as to elevators as a matter of equity.

For a moment I wish to deal with the matter of storage. No one in this house can attack my constant plea that storage should be paid for grain stored on the farm, for just as many bushels as it is possible to store there. That is where the wheat should be stored, rather than in our country elevators; and it can be stored more cheaply on the farms. The old bogey was that the wheat had to be in the elevators because then it was in a position for export. Does anyone swallow that for a moment to-day, when we have hundreds of millions of bushels of wheat in Canada? It is in a good position when it is in the farmer's own granary, with our modern facilities by which we can load a car and get it out in a day. That is what the farmers can do, so that we should take it with a grain of salt when the grain men tell us-and it will be the grain men-that they want to get the wheat into the elevators because then it is in a position to be sold if a buyer is in the market. That argument does not hold good in these times. I have in my hand a letter from Mr. William McArthur, director of the grain division of the United States department of agriculture. I asked Mr. McArthur for certain information, and I wish to thank him for his courtesy in sending it to me. He tells me that in the United1 States they lend farmers money on the grain stored in the granaries on the

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farms, and they pay a parity price, which last year was SI .14. I should have said that they lend at the rate of eighty-five per cent of parity price, and that last year this came to $1.14 a bushel.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

Plus one cent a bushel per month for seven months.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

Then Mr. McArthur tells me what I think nearly every hon. member knows, that they paid seven cents a bushel for grain stored on the farms in 1942. They pay this seven cents a bushel when they lock up the granary and give the farmer his advance payment. They give the farmer seven cents a bushel in cash and say, "If you want to go ahead and build a granary, this will help you." Is that not a policy of which anyone should be proud? Last year in this house I read a letter from a similar source giving the opinion that the result of this policy had been the construction of a great many good, substantial granaries for the use of the farmers. These buildings are there for forty years; they are not dismantled in a year or two. This would be an encouragement to a farmer to go into diversified farming, which really would be the salvation of the farmers of western Canada, and when that comes about, the farmers of eastern Canada will have to look out, because we can produce equally as good hogs or cattle or any other sort of live stock and produce them much more cheaply.

Then I want to tell the house how many bushels of grain were stored on the farms of the United States last year on which this payment of seven cents a bushel was made. The total was 182,000,000 bushels, and the amount of eighty-five cents a bushel was lent on 404,000,000 bushels. In regard to the 1943 policy, Mr. McArthur says:

The wheat programme for 1943 has not been sufficiently developed to discuss in detail. It seems probable that it will closely resemble the programme of 1942, except loan rates which may be somewhat higher.

Recently the United States government removed many of the restrictions on growing wheat, and the farmers have been, given practically a free hand to go ahead and sow all the wheat they wish, within the prescribed acreage. I should like to quote something I saw in the New York Herald-Tribune of February 24 of this year, under the heading, "Wickard ends wheat quotas to ensure food." They are beginning to think there may be a food shortage in the United States. Many of the Canadian people are wondering if the same condition does not apply in this country. This article states:

Under marketing quotas farmers were free to sell, use or feed on their A-A-A allotments. Wheat from 1942 crops sold, used or fed from

excess acreages was subject to a penalty tax of fifty-four cents a bushel! The penalty would have been around sixty cents on the 1943 crop.

Under this change farmers who plant at least ninety per cent of their A-A-A may overplant their 1943 wheat allotments and still be eligible for benefit payments and wheat loans.

To-day's action releases for sale or use without penalty excess wheat from 1942 crops which farmers may be now holding in storage.

U.S.A. had in store last year a record crop of wheat-1,613,000,000 bushels, or more than enough for two years' supply, and asked at that time the lands be sown to other crops. The disappearance has been rapid owing to wheat used for alcohol production and feed for live stock, hence the removal of restrictions.

It may be that, as the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) said the other evening, we are threatened with a food shortage in Canada within the course of a year or two. That may be so, but I do not agree. I can see nothing but these hundreds of millions of bushels that are keeping the price of wheat down. I was never in favour of the bonuses which were paid to the farmers of western Canada. I have said in this house many times; I say it again, and I am ready to prove it, that we should pay the farmer a legitimate price for a certain number of bushels, tell him how many bushels he can sell for that year, and then say, "That is all the wheat we can take, but we will give you a living price for the wheat we can take." For the last three or four years I have suggested that this price should be at least $1 a bushel. "But if you want to grow more than that, you must look after it yourself." If that had been done, Mr. Speaker, we would have avoided payment of the $50,000,000 for storage which the taxpayers of this country must pay the elevator interests, and I believe that would have solved the problem of our surplus wheat, because no farmer will sow more wheat when he has a granary full of it which he cannot sell. That is the situation to-day as it affects hundreds of farmers in western Canada. I can speak with some knowledge, because I am one of them. I have enough wheat in my granary to fill my quota of fourteen bushels per acre for the next four years, and I cannot sell a bushel of it. I do not intend to sow more wheat in 1943, and I am advising all my tenants not to sow a bushel of wheat this year. What is the use? We are supposed to look after this wheat ourselves because the government are not paying any farm storage this year. I hope they will change their minds, because we did not go into this thing deliberately; we were led into it. In the future let us do away with this policy of paying bonuses and pay a legitimate price for what the government can accept. They can leave it to the farmer to decide whether he will grow wheat or coarse grains or flax.

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Some one said that there had been some change in the announcement made earlier in the session in regard to the 1943 policy. There may be more changes made. Some one on the other side said that he would like to know before the Easter holidays what the changes are to be. It would be profitable to know what those changes are to be so that we can take the information back to our people. The hon. member for Qu'Appelle said a few minutes ago that there are some things in regard to the grain policy that we should know. I have always been struck with the lack of information from the government with regard to wheat. We cannot find out what price we are getting from the old country, and I do not see how it would hurt us to know. We should have that information, and we should know how many bushels we sell each year and how many bushels are in storage. There is no reason for all this mystery. If the government would take us more into their confidence we would be more anxious to cooperate with their policies. I believe they are trying to do the best they can with a very difficult situation. I said that at the beginning and I wish to reiterate, but I do think some changes in regard to the 1943 wheat policy are desirable.

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. H. BENCE (Saskatoon City):

Mr. Speaker, the subject now under discussion affects Saskatchewan more than any other matter which could be discussed in this house. Coming from the centre of that province, I wish to say a word or two about the grain policy of the government. One matter upon which I desire to comment has to do with wheat, and the other is in connection with flax, produced for oil purposes. Last year when wheat was being discussed in this house I protested against the price which was set on No. 1 northern at Fort William. I could not see any basis of parity for the price of 90 cents a bushel which was set.

There seemed to me some misapprehension in the minds of many hon. members as to just what was the actual wheat problem. They seemed to be impressed with the large carryover which we had. The fact is that the government neither last year nor this are paying for all the w'heat that is produced in the country. They are paying merely for that amount of wheat which they estimate they will use during the current year. I suggest to the government that they should treat the wheat they are willing to purchase on exactly the same basis as they treat other matters essential to our war effort. Last year I asked

the administration to give an explanation as to how they arrived at the 90-cent price, but as far as I know it has never been given.

In connection with the 280,000,000 bushels of wheat which the government proposes to take off the hands of the farmers this year and use for export and domestic purposes, we want a price which compares with prices being paid for other commodities produced in this country. Many figures have been given in this house in connection with parity. I do not propose to repeat them, but I suggest to the administration that it should have used the same basis for establishing the price of wheat as it used to establish wages, namely, the period of highest wages from 1926 to 1929.

The wheat farmer does not want charity; all he wants is a price which is equitable compared with what other producers are receiving. An attack has been made on the members of the house who have risen in their places to speak on behalf of higher prices for wheat and other agricultural products, the claim being made that it was an attempt to breach the price ceiling. It was nothing of the sort. The anti-inflationary measures were introduced by order in council, not by legislation, but I have always endeavoured in every way possible, both in and out of the house, to support those measures. From time to time I have drawn to the attention of the administration certain matters which I thought should be impressed upon the public of this country in order to make those measures effective.

I have pointed out before and I point out again that there seems to be undue emphasis placed upon the question of price ceilings, whereas in my opinion the important thing to do is to place the emphasis upon the draining off of excess purchasing power. There is no price ceiling scheme, no anti-inflationary measure that can possibly work unless there is an adequate system of draining off equitably from all the Canadian people that excess purchasing power which may be used in the purchase of consumer goods. If that pressure is allowed to stay on, then no price ceiling legislation in the world can, prevent the inflationary spiral from getting into the ascendence.

It seems to me that it must be evident to the administration that the whole system of anti-inflationary measures must necessarily fall down if the remuneration paid to one part of the producing population is out of proportion to that paid to other parts. We cannot possibly have our anti-inflationary measures work out if we do not have complete equity under our price ceilings. There must be a common relationship between all the producers of this country. They must be able to compete in the labour market and in other markets with

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the other producers. It seems to me that there lias not been sufficient emphasis placed upon that factor. Unless something is done about it we are bound to find that that portion of the producing public which is not receiving a return commensurate with that received by other parts of the producing public will necessarily fall down in its production. We shall then find that we are not producing the things that are so essential to our war effort.

In my opinion we are making a mistake by not tackling the problem of providing a proper and equitable system of rationing the purchasing power of this country. If the purchasing power were rationed on an equitable basis, we would not have nearly as much *trouble as we are having at the present time in connection with our agricultural population. It must be obvious to all that if you give more in proportion to some parts of the producing population than you give to other parts, your production will suffer, because that part which is not receiving as much will be unable to get labour and the other things to which I have referred. That is all I have to say in connection wdth the relationship of the price ceiling on wheat to the general anti-inflationary measures of the government.

I wish to go back to a problem I have raised in this house on three occasions this session, and I raise it again to-night in the hope that we shall get from this administration a statement of its policy. I refer to the production of flax for oil purposes. I am very sorry indeed that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) is not in his seat at the moment, but the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) is here and I urge him before this *debate is concluded to let the farmers know exactly what is required of them in the production of flax. It is one of the most important things that is being produced by the agriculturists of this country at the present time.

I do not propose to reiterate unnecessarily some of the arguments I placed before the house on former occasions. The situation is just this. At the present time we are still standing on the statement made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce on January 29 when he advised the flax growers of this country as follows:

We are, therefore, not asking farmers to increase flax acreage over 1942. If there is any change in the requirements of flaxseed, farmers will be notified later.

Is the minister in a position to-day, or will he be shortly, to inform the producers what is required of them in this regard? Time is getting short.

I do not know wdiether the administration or any of its members has ever publicly asserted the importance of the production of flax for

oil purposes in this country. By inference at least they have given us to understand that it was very important that we should increase the production of flax for various purposes. In that connection I gave notice of motion the other day for the production of papers in this house. The motion came up for consideration this afternoon. I was very sorry I was not here when it came up. It was one of the few afternoons when I was not here at three o'clock. My motion, which will be found on page 16 of Routine Proceedings and Orders oj the Day, was this:

For a copy of the report dated September 18, 1942, by the Minister of Agriculture to the committee of the privy council with respect to the production of flaxseed of oil-bearing type.

I am advised that when the motion came up this afternoon the Minister of Agriculture replied that the report was privileged and he did not propose to bring it down. When matters of legislation are brought into this house it is usual for the minister concerned to give a statement of the reasons for the legislation. Even if he does not make such a statement, he is in a position to be questioned by hon. members as to the reasons. But the same is not true of orders in council. It is possible for the administration to do by order in council certain things which they wish to make the law of this land without giving to the House of Commons and the people of this country their reasons for the legislation. That is what happened in this case. On September 23, 1942, order in council P.C. 8602 was passed with reference to the purchase of royal flax seed. The first paragraph of the order in council reads:

The committee of the privy council have had before them a report dated September 18, 1942, from the Minister of Agriculture, representing that there is an urgent need to increase the production of flaxseed of oil-bearing type to meet war needs.

That is the report I had in mind when I gave my notice of motion for the production of papers. I assert to you, Mr. Speaker, and to this house that the House of Commons and the people of this country, when a statement like that is made as to the reasons for the passing of an order in council, are entitled to know the details. When a responsible minister of the crown prepares for the privy council a statement-and it is apparently a written statement because it says: "report dated September 18, 1942"-in which it is said that there is an urgent need for increased production of a commodity in which a large bulk of agricultural producers of this country are interested, I say that that information should be given to this house in detail. It passes my understanding completely why a minister or anybody else would refuse to

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bring down a report which is related to something that is so important to the war effort at the present time.

In December of last year it. was decided by the administration, to increase the flax acreage in this country by 1,000,000 acres. Then, a month and a half later the Minister of Agriculture stated that the farmers were not required to increase their flax acreage, but that it was desired that they sow the same acreage as they did the year before. Then the Minister of Trade and Commerce made the statement in the house to which I have referred, which was to the same effect as the statement of the Minister of Agriculture. But subsequently to that there have been statements by men holding responsible positions in the civil service, technical men and women, who have stated that there was an urgent need for the production of flaxseed for various purposes.

Flaxseed is required, not only for the production of linseed oil, which is used for various purposes in connection with our war effort, but also for the production of a very necessary feed for live stock-oilcake. My information is that the producers in this country are clamouring for this oilcake, because with the increased live-stock production programme they require more and more of this nutritious protein. Yet, despite the fact that they are asking for the production of more and more of this oilcake the administration have not yet given a statement as to the requirements for this year. We produced approximately 14.000.000 bushels of flax last year. We can process only 6,395,000 bushels of flax with our own processing machinery. Despite the fact that there is a great need for this oilcake for the feeding of live stock, nevertheless during the last two or three months one of the large flax processing plants in this country was out of production for over a month because it could not get flaxseed. It seems to me that the Canadian people are entitled to an explanation of the reasons for this kind of thing.

There are certain questions which I wish to postulate to the ministers who are in charge of this matter.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

That is a good word. They will never answer because they will not understand it.

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

My first question is this:

I am informed-I do not know whether my information is correct or not, but the minister will be able to correct me if I am wrong- that last year, before the 1942 seeding of flax, certain interests in the United States offered to buy from this country 10,000,000 bushels

of flax from the 1942 crop, but that for some reason or another-I do not know what-the administration refused to enter into any agreement for the sale of this quantity of flax. I should like to know, if that is a fact, what was the reason for the refusal, and did the price ceiling set up in this country have anything to do with such refusal? Second, what offers have been received from the United States with respect to this year's crop? Has the government been asked by the government of the United States, or any of its agencies, or any private agencies there, to increase our flax production during 1943? I have heard that it has. But whether my information is correct or not, I ask the administration to inform the house within the next day or two what the exact situation is with respect to production this year. Do we anticipate exporting flax? Is there any intimation which the minister can give-I do not want anything which would be contrary to censorship regulations-as to approximately how much flax we in this country should produce in addition to what we can process?

To my mind this is a very serious problem, important not only from the point of view of the producers-and I come from a part of the country which raises at least one-fourth of the total production of Canada-who have to plan with respect to matters of seed, manpower and allocation of acreage, but important also from the viewpoint of the processors of this country and of those agriculturists who require this particular live stock feed which is so necessary for the raising of their product, and who wish to know whether they will be able to get it this year or not.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. VINCENT DUPUIS (Chambly-Rou-ville):

I should like to say a few words on

this important question. I have listened with great interest to all the arguments advanced in favour of helping the farmers of this country, and I assume that all that has been put forward, by either one group or another, has been presented in the good spirit of constructive criticism.

With your kind permission and the permission of my colleagues, who, after all, will understand me just as well, I will say what I have to say, in French.

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, the agricultural question, taken as a whole, is one of national importance. It becomes in war time international in scope, since, as Napoleon once said, an army fights on its belly. Notwithstanding the enthusiasm and zeal with which the military would send our young men on every war front of the world in greater numbers to meet the enemy whom all wish to destroy, I do believe that there is

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a growing scarcity of farm labour to a point where our farmers, especially such as live fifty or seventy-five miles from the main centres of population, will be forced to abandon their farms precisely for lack of sufficient help to carry on their operations.

It is well to remember that large families are to be found mostly in rural districts. Statistics for 1931-I have not those for 1941-show 28,796 families in Quebec province with six children, 21,000 with seven children,

14.000 with eight, very nearly 10,000 with nine,

6.000 with ten, 3,500 with eleven, and 16.000 with twelve children. As these large families are to be found mostly among farmers, the situation entails greater hardship and becomes all the more impossible due to the fact that too many farmers' sons are taken off the farm. Heads of families who had planned intensive market gardening, for instance, as exists in the vicinity of Montreal, or dairy farming with a large dairy herd, will find it necessary to reduce their herds, to limit their intensive market gardening or even to give up entirely.

Every hon. member in this house representing the farming population of this country is anxious, I am sure, to relieve the difficult situation in which the Canadian farmer finds himself, whether as regards wheat growing in the west or mixed farming in the east. It is evident that notwithstanding all that governments may have done to assist the farming community, much improvement is yet possible. When the wartime prices and trade board fixes ceilings for farm products in war time, it may happen, due to the lack of experience of otherwise well-meaning officials, that prices established are insufficiently high for farmers to meet their difficult situation. Taking, for instance, the maple industry: whereas the farmer who owns a maple bush could, in ordinary pre-war times, hire skilled hands at a monthly salary of from $30 to $35, now, due to the scarcity of labour, if he wants to take on skilled hands for the production of maple products, he must pay between $80 and $75 a month, and even at that high rate he will not easily find them. If, therefore, the farmer has to pay twice as much for his labour, it obviously follows that he will have to sell his maple products at double the price. But the fixed price is nothing like that. It is well worth asking the hon. minister concerned with those matters to cause the wartime prices and trade board to raise the price of maple products. The matter is highly important, in view of our present sugar rationing policy. Two farm products deserve encouragement: maple syrup and sugar, and sugar beets. I note that large-scale sugar beet production is being planned in various sections of the country. According to figures supplied by the "Farm Economist", a

72537-105}

dominion government publication, plans are being laid for 63,000 acres of sugar beets in 1943 and an increased production of refined sugar. If such an objective is to be reached, Mr. Speaker, the farmer will necessarily have to be encouraged to do so. I am sure that all hon. members who hear me will agree that the farmer, who plays a highly important part especially in war time, has a right to a reasonable return for the sale of his products.

It must be admitted that in spite of all appearances to the contrary the farmer is forced to pay innumerable indirect taxes. Moreover, the price of everything a farmer needs, including farm implements, is so high that after paying for everything he has not a penny left, if he does not show a deficit. It is unreasonable for the government of any country to countenance such a state of affairs. I am fully convinced that our ministers want to help farmers by every possible means, and no one would be more pleased than the member for Chambly-Rouville if the government decided to grant the legitimate requests of farmers in this country by granting bonuses, as they have done for milk, for cheese and bacon.

Since I am now speaking about bacon hogs, I must say that I am not satisfied with the treatment meted out to farmers in that connection. I understand that the government is not directly concerned with the operations of slaughter-houses. However, I feel that if the government knew the facts as they have been reported to me, they would endeavour to straighten out the situation. As you know, Mr. Speaker, the bonus is paid on bacon hogs only if they weigh from 180 to 220 pounds, I believe. If a hog is one pound over or under weight, not only is the bonus not paid, but the hog is placed in a lower grade and such a low price is set on it that it does not pay the farmer to put it up for sale, considering what the farmer has to pay for the feeding and the care of those bacon hogs. I think that the government should appoint bacon hog producers as representatives of the farming community, who would be stationed at the slaughter-houses where they would check the weight of those bacon hogs, thereby protecting the farmer's interests. I do not mean that the abattoir owners rob the farmers, but I do say that the latter must accept the arbitrary decision of interested people. Were the government to hold an inquiry in this matter, perhaps they would find that even in the cattle trade, and in the abattoirs, there may be trust operators against whom the farmer should be protected.

When a farmer, through a trucker or a hog dealer, sends one hundred or one hundred and fifty hogs to the Montreal market, there is no

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one in a position to decide how many of them fill the conditions required by the government to warrant the payment of the bonus. The hogs are not weighed in the presence of the farmer or the trucker at the abattoir. They are told to return a week later and be told what amount they are entitled to, how many animals command a premium and how many are subject to a cut. When the farmer or his representative returns the following week, he finds out that, perhaps sixty out of one hundred hogs did not entitle him to the bonus but were subjected to such a cut that no profit can be derived from raising them. This condition should be remedied at once. On behalf of the agricultural population of Chambly-Rou-ville, I urge the minister to see that this intolerable situation be corrected.

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to make lengthy observations at such a late hour but, to summarize, I am convinced that the agricultural class of this country deserves as much consideration as that of the United States. Comparing the rural population of both nations, I find that the conditions of the Canadian farmer leave ample room for improvement. For this reason, I should like to state that every step the government can take to help the farmer will promote the war effort and the consequent improvement in the situation will allow him to increase his production and ensure that- our soldiers being well fed will possess the stamina and strength necessary to prosecute the war to a victorious conclusion.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):

A good deal has been said this afternoon with respect to the failure of the government so far to announce an adequate agricultural policy for 1943. The criticism seems to relate to that part of agriculture involving beef cattle, and hogs, and I think flax came in for its share of discussion.

There are two commodities that are rationed more or less severely in Canada, one being sugar and the other butter, both essential to life, and both agricultural products. As far as sugar is concerned, the sugar beet acreage has been increased this year, but I am wondering whether in this long-range policy that we have been advocating so much the government has a long-range policy with respect to the production of sugar beets and the refining of sugar in Canada. We are not getting, through the medium of our own sugar beet production and our own sugar refineries, the sugar that Canadians require. There is no reason in the world why the agricultural industry of Canada could not do this. We have a surplus of wheat. I know of course that all wheat farms could not suddenly be turned to the production of sugar; for one

thing the land may not be suitable. But it occurs to me that the government could very well search out that land which is most productive, according to type of soil, climate and so on, and say, Now we need more sugar; here let us raise more sugar beets. Let us pay some attention to the increase of sugar refining in Canada so that we can produce more sugar than we do.

We all know that we are going short of butter. As to how much there is in storage and for export I know little, but I know that the Canadian consumer is rationed and is short of butter. What is the position with respect to the production of butter or cream? I was talking to two men in my constituency not long ago, and one pointed to the other and said, "Our friend here raises cattle. He claims that he knows it is an advantage to him to let the calves run with the cows because the price of beef and calves is now a little higher so that pays him better than producing cream for butter. That being so, we can see at once that there is not an equilibrium of prices that would cause the farmers to level off and produce our entire requirements at a proper price for everything.

We hear a great deal with respect to parity prices. The continued demand that agriculture is making is for a parity price for all things, so that the farmer would not have to pay more for the commodities he requires and receive less for what he produces. That is a sound argument. It seems to me that the government could do much more than it is doing along that line. I am heartily in accord with the remarks of the hon. member for Vegre-ville (Mr. Hlynka) this evening when he said we can stand here and talk until we are blue in the face and it does not seem to matter much. Some of us have been here long enough to know that talking does not seem to be of much avail. We talk the best common sense we know, whether it is good or bad remains to be seen; we argue these matters out as we understand them, and yet no action is taken. I am alarmed sometimes when I see so many hon. members on the government side of the house representing agricultural constituencies, and yet when it comes to matters of agricultural policy they usually rise in their places in defence of the government. There are one or two exceptions. I was surprised-perhaps it is rather disagreeable of me to make this remark-to look over the house this afternoon and observe that out of all the agricultural districts represented on the Liberal side of the house there was only one western member in his seat when this important discussion was going on. I refer to the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gershaw).

Private Bills

Topic:   MARKETING OF WESTERN GRAIN CROP-AMENDMENT OF MR. WRIGHT ON MOTION OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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March 29, 1943