July 1, 1943

NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mir. GRAYDON:

You gave each ration

district the same amount, having in mind the number of applicants?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

That is right; the same

amount per capita of the applicants. Some were rural districts predominantly; some were urban districts predominantly, -but nearly all were both rural and urban. We said to the ration boards, "You know your local conditions; you have so much sugar; make the distribution in the most equitable way you can." Some of the ration boards went at it and made things rather difficult for themselves. They varied it as between rural districts and urban districts; they applied various rules which they thought were equitable, and went at it in that way. Others took an easier way. That was decentralization of authority. We have been told time after time that we should not try to run everything from Ottawa. We handed this over to 550 local ration boards, and that is the thing the hon. gentleman denounces us for doing.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Just a minute; my hon. friend should not put words into my mouth again.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Exactly; he said, do not pass the buck.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I did not suggest anything like the minister says I did, and he knows that very well. I am trying to find out from the minister why certain sections are getting more sugar than others, and I think he ought to answer that question.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

I think I have given away about as much time as I should. While I cannot suggest anything that might be an

4276 COMMONS

War Appropnation-Finance-Prices Board

improvement on what has been done, I should like to point out how this has worked out in practice, and perhaps that will be considered as an indirect suggestion that will help in solving some of these difficulties. The parliamentary assistant to the minister said that a larger amount had to be given in rural areas than in urban areas.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

That was the suggestion made to each local ration board.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

There is no doubt that that was conscientiously carried out. I went upstairs a short time ago and got a file containing some evidence of how this has worked out. Later on I shall give the minister a memorandum about this. I am not criticizing the board. The minister has stated that he would try to do something should the season happen to turn quite hot, the fruit ripen quickly and it be found impossible to ship it to the larger centres. He said an effort would be made to prevent the tremendous amount of waste that might occur. As an illustration of what has occurred, in a strictly rural area the people were allowed ten pounds per person, and just a few miles away the people in two urban centres were allowed twelve and a half pounds per person. In that case it worked out just the opposite.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Did everybody in the urban centre get twelve and a half pounds?

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

That is the information I have. On a rural road running out of a smaller urban municipality a family of four got forty-five pounds, while the next-door family of five got fifty pounds. Some correction is necessary in cases of this kind.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

Were they in the same ration area?

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Definitely so; they were next-door neighbours. I have been making a study of this, or I would have drawn it to the minister's attention a week or so ago. These people say that they are not complaining about sugar rationing if it is necessary; but they do not want discrimination and desire to help to correct any discrimination. I think it should be realized that the people are trying to do their best. The hon. member for Westmount perhaps worked this out favourably in his own area, but-

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

I had nothing to do with it.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

We are in the very heart of the fruit belt.

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NAT
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

We buy a lot of Niagara fruit.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Perhaps if I give the minister or his assistant this information, something can be worked out. If there is any sugar available, I again urge the minister to give it to the fruit centres if it is needed to prevent waste when fruit cannot be shipped to the larger urban centres.

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NAT

Lewis Elston Cardiff

National Government

Mr. CARDIFF:

I want to congratulate the minister and the government upon trying to ration sugar and give approximately the same amount to each person. But the fact is that the farmer's wife must depend entirely on fruit that she cans herself, while the woman in the town or city, who perhaps never does any canning-at least a great many of them do not-is able to go down to the store and buy canned fruit. The woman on the farm must feed the threshing gang and the silo filling gang with what she puts up herself, and her own family must be provided for. The people on the farm have very few opportunities to go out for a meal, whereas those in the urban centres are able to do this. Just how this can be equalized is more than I can say, but it is something that should be given consideration. I do not think it would be fair to give everyone the same amount of sugar, because they would not use it; the country people should have a larger ration than the city people.

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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. SHAW:

In my opinion there is no fool-proof scheme for rationing anything and I do not propose to try to advance one. It is unfortunate that the housewives of Canada were given to understand that they would have an Opportunity to can more fruit this year than they could last year. However, it did occur, and I sincerely trust that the government will endeavour to prevent a recurrence of that situation.

Has the minister contemplated the rationing of jams, jellies, marmalades and honey? I have always felt that, where scarcities occur, the fairest method1 of dealing with the distribution of the commodity is through rationing. We recognize, of course, that in war time the occurrence of shortages is inevitable; we are not complaining about that. But this is my personal experience. In my own town, a town of 1,200 people, the word "jam" or "jelly" or "honey" has become a forgotten part of our vocabulary. Yet I find that on going to other centres-we do not have to name them-we have no difficulty in procuring these articles in restaurants. We find that stores secure shipments periodically, although not all that their customers require. I should like to ask the minister if he has contemplated the rationing of these commodities, as tied right up with the sugar question.

War Appropriation-Finance-Prices Board

Before I sit down I wish to say that I concur in the remarks of the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright), the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross) and others with respect to the situation which the rural housewife finds herself in at the present time. However, if there is no sugar she cannot secure it. But I suggest that if at some time in the future it is discovered that you have extra sugar, you should endeavour to provide an additional supply for rural housewives, without giving additional consideration to people living in urban centres, because, after all, it is extremely difficult for a man and his wife and, let us say, three children to get along on the present sugar rationing, even without the making of pastries, whereas if I live in a town all I have to do is go to the bakery and procure these things, which, of course, the rural housewife is not able to obtain. So that, while I am not trying to tell the minister how to do it, I suggest that if he finds he has an extra amount of sugar he should try to make it available to housewives in the more remote areas.

In conclusion, may I ask what arrangement has been made to provide canneries or processors engaged in the canning of fruits with sugar?

Mr. ILSLEY': They will be given the sugar they require for light syrup for the canning of fruits.

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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. SHAW:

What quantity is expected, as compared with the volume of processing carried on last year? Do they intend to extend the volume of production?

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July 1, 1943