May 19, 1944

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

The details are:

Treatment of Canadian fishermen and

seamen $15,000

Analyses of food and drugs 10,000

Hire of boats 14,400

Health unit-Prince Rupert, B.C 4,080

Amount submitted for 1944-45.... $43,480

Approved estimate for 1943-44 $30,680

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I notice that once

more the money apparently was not expended.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

The expenditures have been much smaller than the amounts voted. In the ease of treatment of Canadian fishermen and seamen, the amount submitted for 1944-45 was $15,000, and the approved estimate for 1943-44 was $1,000. The following expenditures were made:

1941- 42 $560 50

1942- 43 397 31

1943- 44 (to March 31, 1944) 968 23

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Could the minister

give us an idea of the kind of service given to these seamen? Was any money spent in connection with accidents?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

It is to provide for the cost of treatment required by persons employed on ships of Canadian registry and Canadian salt water fishermen who require treatment as a result of enemy action or counter action against the enemy, who are not otherwise eligible for free treatment under the provisions of part V of the Canada Shipping Act, authority order in council, P.C. 3492, dated November 10, 1939. To provide also for the care and maintenance of indigent and disabled seamen returned to Canada due to sickness and disabilities incurred while serving on board merchant ships of allied nations in dangerous waters and for whom no other provision exists.

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SC
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Not otherwise provided for.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Perhaps the minister will remember the case of a Canadian seaman I took up with him. This boy landed in Halifax and wound up in a mental institution, and he is still there as far as I know. In correspondence with the minister and the department I was given to understand that nothing could be done, but after listening to the details of this item I feel that something could have been done under it. When the father was negotiating

with the authorities in Halifax he was informed that if someone had provided the necessary funds the boy could have been taken to Halifax and given the proper treatment with the possibility that his health would have been restored.

To my mind this boy was definitely a war casualty since he served in the merchant marine for two and a half years. He had been at Crete and had undergone considerable bombing. To the best of my knowledge he is still in a mental institution. I mention this now because I think that under this vote something could have been done at least to give him a chance to regain his health.

While I am on my feet I should like to ask one more question. The minister will remember bill No. 5, which guaranteed the soldier the right to his job when he came back. The minister was on the canteen committee along with myself. When we discussed the bill I thought it was understood, or at least we intended it in that way, that the administration would rest with the Department of Pensions and National Health. I am wondering if that department has taken over the administration of this bill, or is it being taken care of by the Department of Labour? I have two cases I should like to bring up and I should like to know where to take them.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

At the present time it is administered by the Department of Labour, but the statute contains a provision that it may be administered by such minister as may be designated. The minister may be changed.

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Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Agricultural supplies board-administration, $51,300.


NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Mr. Chairman, in opening the agricultural items of the war appropriation resolution I should like to ask the minister if he is in position to give a general resume or review of the war-time activities of his department.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

Mr. Chairman, I had not intended to go into any detail with regard to the activities of the department in relation to the war appropriation, partly because we have already covered most of these activities in the discussions with regard to administration that we had when the regular estimates were before the committee. Matters having to do with the meat board, the previous bacon board, and with the agricultural supplies board, also some items relating to the special products board, and administration as related to the

War Appropriation-Agriculture

agricultural food board, were discussed quite fully when the ordinary estimates were before the house this session.

There have been only one or two important changes in the set-up in the department to handle matters having particularly to do with the war. In the first year of the war we set up the agricultural supplies board, with which this first item has to do. That board, it will be recalled, was made up of the deputy minister, the assistant deputy and the heads of the different divisions in the department. Those men laid out the plans for greater production very early in the war and have had charge of our production programme from that time down to the present. Under the board we have called together the representatives of the provincial governments and the representatives of farm organizations from time to time, and have had eleven conferences since the beginning of the war with those representatives to discuss the necessity for greater production of farm products. The plans laid out as a result of those conferences have been carried through by the farmers in the different parts of Canada. The activities of the board have to do with the different programmes which are enumerated on page 395 of Hansard of February 11, 1944.

So far as the meat board is concerned, we had in the earlier years of the war the bacon board, which handled bacon and ham and hog products marketed in Great Britain. That board entered into contracts with the British government under which we have supplied bacon and ham to Britain year by year since the beginning of the war until early in last year, when the bacon board was changed to the meat board. The reason for the change was that a surplus of beef was beginning to show up on this market partly because the United States market had been closed earlier in order to supply the shortage on the Canadian market. Early last year when we began to see signs of the development of a surplus of beef on the Canadian market, preparations were made for the marketing of our surplus beef in Britain. A very considerable amount of beef has been marketed in Great Britain since then down to the present time. The change in name simply meant that the meat board was prepared to enter into agreements covering not only bacon and ham and hog products but beef as well, also mutton and lamb, and we have been shipping these products to Britain now for some considerable time.

The one outstanding change was made a year ago when the agricultural food board was set up. That is the last item in this vote. The food board is headed by the deputy minister of the department and contains other

representatives, and associated with the board is an advisory committee composed of representatives from the different provinces and representatives named by the farm federation. That advisory committee meets from time to time and advises with regard to the handling of food products which are produced on farms.

The items in the war appropriation this year cover very much the same matters as were covered last year. They vary to some extent in accordance with the 'changed circumstances in relation to different food products, but I think those matters can be better discussed when we reach the different items.

There is considerable overlapping between the votes for war purposes and the votes in the regular estimates. That is to say, the same persons who administer the votes in the war estimates also administer the expenditure under the votes in the regular estimates, so that the fact that hon. members perhaps may not discuss on these estimates, certain matters in which they are interested would not, of course, preclude them from discussing them on the regular estimates. That is due to the fact that the next item to be discussed in the regular estimates is the vote for experimental farms, after which,. as hon. members know, come all the marketing votes, and those votes are associated with much the same kind of administration, with the same persons administering them, as the estimates now before the committee. I think that is all I care to say at the moment. Mr. Chairman, in submitting these estimates for the approval of the committee.

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CCF

Joseph William Burton

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

Mr. BURTON:

I wish to thank the minister

for giving us the background of this vote. I realize, of course, the minister's desire to have his estimates passed as quickly as possible. There may be other reasons operating-

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

None whatever. I am going next Saturday night whether they are carried or not.

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CCF

Joseph William Burton

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

Mr. BURTON:

I was going to assure the minister of my cooperation in getting his [DOT] items through.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

You must be wanting to get away too.

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CCF

Joseph William Burton

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

Mr. BURTON:

The vote this year is five times as large as the vote last year. Therefore we should not be too hasty in approving it without a full explanation of the various items from the minister. I want it perfectly understood that I am not raising any objection to the vote being five times as large this year as it was last year, but coming from different

War Appropriation-Agriculture

parts of the country I think hon. members should familiarize themselves with the reasons for these appropriations being asked.

Since the beginning of the war those who have supplied the foodstuffs for this nation and the allied nations have been operating under very difficult circumstances. I should not like to have any member think that anything which the agricultural department has been able to do for these producers has been in the nature of doing something for nothing. I think the minister and many other hon. members will agree that those engaged in this country in the industry of agriculture have made a really worthwhile contribution to our war effort. In fact I feel so keenly about it that I would go so far as to say that for a number of years they were not given the proper recognition in the war effort of the nation.

When we come to where these items, as the minister said, seem to overlap, I wondered in which way he would prefer us to proceed with the various questions we want to discuss. Would he prefer to go on item by item and discuss each one, or would he prefer to have us give him lists of questions covering the various items and then deal with them at the conclusion? I assure the minister that my inquiry is made with a view of enabling him to pass the estimates in a reasonable time, and whichever way he would prefer, I am prepared to cooperate with him.

I might remark that I have a number of questions which, when I look at the page listing the items, cause me to wonder at what point they should properly be asked. For instance, at one place we find "freight assistance on western feed grains''; a little further down we find "subsidy on western wheat used exclusively as feed for live stock". WThat strikes me first of all is that to the ordinary person that might appear to be a subsidy for the western farmers. I submit that this would be the wrong deduction, because the western farmers could have disposed of all this feed grain in other markets at better prices than they have been able to obtain this way. If my analysis is correct, this is not a subsidy to the western farmers; it is really a subsidy to the farmers in the east. I do not raise any objection to that, but I should like to have the facts clearly understood. Too often we in the west have thrown at us the reproach of seeking hand-outs from the treasury. We in the west year after year have helped other parts of the country without their realizing that we were doing so. I repeat that we could have obtained more for our grain by delivering it in other markets. We are quite prepared to have it go where it is going; we 100-195

are quite willing to have people assisted by getting this grain, but I do not think it can be fairly said under the circumstances that we are receiving a subsidy.

There is another matter about which I wanted to inquire. This item, it seems to me, contains several overlapping parts. In one part I find "seeds administrator, administration, and seed programme". Several items further down we see "special products board: administration, and seed export office". I dc not know why they are separated or how they come to be separated in that way.

In connection with this seed programme, would the minister kindly explain what is undertaken in connection with it? I find that last year $180,000 was voted; this year $500,000 is required. Again I would make it clear that I am not objecting to the item, but I think we who represent different parts of the country should be able to tell our people what these items involve. As regards the export office, the amount is very small, but I should like to know how it is related to the other seed programme. As regards the item "assistance in disposal of agricultural products rendered surplus by the war," would the minister give us a fuller explanation than he did in his brief opening remarks?

Coming to the very last item, "subsidies to producers of food products, $47,600,000," may we have a little better break-down to show what this involves?

I conclude these few remarks by again

assuring the minister that I am seeking this information so that we shall be able properly and fully to explain these matters to the people whom we represent.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

With regard to the suggestion as to how we might proceed, probably it would facilitate matters if we took them item by item. The information is compiled in that way in the books which I have, and it would be much simpler and, I think, give better information if we were to go through them item by item, deal with each one, complete it, and then go on to the next.

As regards the general remarks having to do with the total expenditure, I think a general statement of explanation is all that need be made at present.

The items themselves indicate in a general way what the difference is. The outstanding difference which brings about an increase in

1944-45 as compared with 1943-44 is the one mentioned by the hon. member for Humboldt, namely $16,500,000 for freight assistance on western feed grains. .That, of course, is due to the fact that shipments are expected to be very heavy in connection with feed grains beginning with the first of the present financial

War Appropriation-Agriculture

year and extending on throughout this summer to the following winter. If shipments are heavy, very considerable expenditures will have to be made.

The subsidy on western wheat is another item which has been increased. That is owing to the greater amount of wheat which is being fed in the eastern part of Canada, particularly, at present and probably will continue to be fed over the remaining period of the war. We are paying a subsidy on the wheat which is being fed in the eastern and other parts of Canada. The reason for that is that we have a ceiling price set on the products which are produced through the feeding of live stock. There is a ceiling price on all dairy products and on meat consumed in Canada, and it is thought advisable to have a ceiling on the feed which enters into the production of it. Therefore a subsidj' is paid in connection with the wheat which is used for feeding purposes in the eastern part of Canada, payment for< that wheat being fixed at a price which makes possible the selling of meat and dairy products at the ceiling.

The next item which is dealt with is that of the seeds administrator and seeds administration-

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May 19, 1944