June 3, 1943

LIB

Maurice Lalonde

Liberal

Mr. LALONDE:

No. I am glad the hon. member asked me that question. I had in my office more than twelve hundred requests for postponement of military training under the mobilization act.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

And how many postponements did the hon. member succeed in getting?

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LIB

Maurice Lalonde

Liberal

Mr. LALONDE:

I could not tell the hon. gentleman offhand; the greater number of them have been granted a postponement of their military training. I do not complain about the work of the registrars in Montreal. If they granted those postponements it was because the men were needed on the farms, because they were employed in the essential industry of agriculture. We are not asking for favours; we are just asking for the right to work in that place where we are most necessary and most useful.

As I was about to say, the employees of these farmers' cooperatives should be granted postponement also; perhaps the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) would be good enough to support me in this matter in discussing it with his colleagues in the cabinet. If you break down the management of the farmers' cooperatives then the whole agricultural system of the community is broken down. The same thing applies to those working in sawmills, those employed as blacksmiths, and so on. I shall not speak about them, since that would be out of order. In reply to the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church), however, I would say that this motion is not made only on behalf of the farmers of Quebec. It is only necessary to look at the newspapers and listen to the radio to realize that these complaints come

from every part of Canada. The hon. member says war is war. We all understand that, perhaps better than he does; for we understand that war may not continue to be war if our soldiers are not fed. _

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I realize that it is very hard to draw the dividing line between what is an essential industry and what is a non-essential industry. So far as agriculture is concerned, however, I think the point is so clear that it is impossible for any intelligent man in this country or anywhere in the world to say that in time of war agriculture should be considered as anything but the most essential war industry, and I hope it will continue to be so considered.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, I have no desire to detain the house unduly, but I wish to say a few words on this matter. Before the arrival of this much-delayed spring the agricultural situation in Canada in my opinion was not in the very best condition, even taking into consideration the fact that we are at war. I believed there were several things left undone that we might have done. Since the season has been so much delayed I have been greatly concerned lest we should be faced with a food shortage next year. As members of the house it is difficult for us to learn w{iat emergency measures the government has been taking to meet the situation which has developed as a result of the late spring, but it seems to me that a good deal could be done. It would be possible, I should think, to organize special committees throughout the country-

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

What does my hon. friend mean by a food shortage?

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Well, I should think the words were so plain as to require no definition. If we run short of eggs I should think there would be a shortage of eggs; if we run short of potatoes, as we have run short of them in Ottawa, I would say that is a food shortage. Is that not the understanding of the minister? ,

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I am not being argumentative; I am just asking the question for my own information. If my hon. friend wants to feed China and other countries, there might be a food shortage, but I was wondering how much territory he would cover.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Well, it is,quite true that if we do not produce enough food for ourselves we shall not be able to help feed our allies. I should hardly expect a responsible minister to raise that question, especially in view of the fact that within the last two or three days a statement was issued by the deputy minister of agriculture to the effect that

Man-Power-Mr. Blackmore

we would require all the food Canada could possibly produce. I should think that would cover the whole situation and give every member of the government cause for considerable anxiety. Let me proceed with what I was about to say.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

That would not be so in Canada only, would it? Of course we require all the food we can produce.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I could not catch what the minister said.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I know the hon. member does not want to leave any false impression. Of course we require all the food we can produce, but. I think the responsible official to whom the hon. gentleman referred had in mind shipments to Great Britain and other countries.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Of course; and I hope I did not convey any other idea. But undoubtedly we can be losing the war on the Chinese front if they are short of food, so that I should think I would be quite within the bounds of moderation in what I was saying. I believe probably a good deal could be done in the way of organizing special emergency committees in conjunction with the provinces and municipalities, to bring to their attention the fact that Canada is actually facing a grave emergency in the matter of food. I believe the situation is sufficiently serious to justify that action.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I may tell my hon. friend that has been done already in his own province.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I am not saying it has not been done in my own province, but I have no assurance that it has been done in the minister's own province.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

It has been done in the minister's province, too.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

And has it been done in other provinces?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

It has been done in every province in Canada.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

That is very good. I said in the beginning that as private members we were not in a position to know all that had been done, but in case this had not been done I suggested that it should be done. I suppose the minister has no objection to that?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Not at all.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Very good, that is the point I am making. It seems to me there should be some sort of committee, somewhere, to -which a farmer could present his request for any special kind of assistance he might require. In some parts of the country farmers are at a loss to know where to get the help

they need, and in many cases they are at a loss to know where to get machinery-trucks, tractors and ploughs. It seems to me a special committee should make up a list so as to assist any farmer in need of any particular item of machinery, to meet an emergency.

The matter which concerns me, in connection with potatoes, is that if the price of potato seed were so high that the farmer would not dare to buy seed and plant potatoes, it would be wise for the government to get possession of seed in Canada and reduce the price to such an extent that the farmer would be able to buy the seed required to plant his crop. I suggest that the government would do well to provide farmers across the country with a fairly good idea of the amount of potato planting which has already gone forward. A good deal of potato planting could be done in Alberta, I believe, if the farmers were assured that there have not been sufficient plantings throughout the rest of the dominion.

The idea in my mind is that since Ontario, Quebec and probably the eastern provinces may not be able to seed, on account of the lateness of the year, it would be well to organize the dominion as a dominion-which probably has been done. I repeat it would be well to organize the dominion as a dominion,, so that Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,, which are slightly more fortunate in their season this year, would be able to plant a few-extra potatoes on land which otherwise would be summer-fallowed. I believe that is sufficient to illustrate the point I have in mind.

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June 3, 1943