-though there is a possibility that someone else wrote it. My hon. friend says that is an insult to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has proven himself on many occasions in this house capable of delivering his own speech, either read or spoken.
Another suggestion has been made; it is that I was wrong in maintaining that we had kept the crop up through summer-fallow-kept the total yield up through summer-fallow-and in order to answer that, the leader of the opposition dwells upon a suggestion that, because in a certain season I had said that the acreage ought to be so-and-so, and in another season I said it should not be any more, I was not advocating greater production of wheat.
The fact is that the leader of the opposition thinks you can get more wheat by merely increasing the acreage. I do not believe that. I have been attempting to demonstrate to the house, every time I have spoken on the question, that the one way to get a higher quantity of production in the west is to summer-fallow one-third of the land on an average, and over a very considerable part of the area one-half of the land. If we do that we can get a much higher production of wheat and feed and live stock and dairy products and all other farm products in that country, and as a matter of fact all dairy and live stock products produced in other parts of Canada, because in no other part of Canada do they produce enough feed grain to feed all the live stock they can maintain on their pastures and by other means on their land. Therefore
we must produce feed grain that is to be utilized, and elsewhere increase these productions right across the country.
In dealing with this matter, the leader of the opposition became eloquent, maintaining that I did not give sufficient credit to Providence or to someone else. I might say this,
I would far rather be guilty of not giving credit to the Lord than be guilty of blaming our difficulties upon Him, and that is exactly what the leader of the opposition did. He said it was the drought and grasshoppers, the sawfly and the cutworms-these were the things which caused the difficulties from 1935 to 1939; and because I did not mention them, I gave all credit to the government for the summer-fallow policy which I maintained had increased production from 1941 to 1944.
The fact is that I did not choose that period at all; the leader of the opposition chose that period. In his speech a week ago he challenged me as Minister of Agriculture to ask the people of Saskatchewan and of western Canada in general to go back to the acreages in the period immediately prior to the war, and I took him at his word and compared the two periods. I simply stated that we had this production in the one five-year period, not only of grain, but of live stock and dairy products and everything else that goes on the market; that we had another production in the other period, and that the production in the second period when we were encouraging summer-fallow was much higher than in the preceding period. And now he says to me that in making that statement I have said it was better than at any other time.
Probably I am a little guilty of having said that.
I certainly said that one year of the period, 1942, had produced more than any other year in our experience, but I am quite prepared to accept the criticism; for where did he go in order to check up on that statement? He went back to the years prior to 1929, in the twenties. I would call his attention to one fact in that connection.
We were told in this house that certain things have happened because of certain policies which this government had. We were told that we had certain support because of certain things we did, while there was lack of support because of things we did not do. Then he goes back to the twenties to find a period he thinks was better than this period during the war, although he does give us credit for having had the best period of all in the last three years.
The Address-Mr. Gardiner
What does that bring us to? It brings us to this fact. We have had changes of government from time to time in this country. The government under the leadership of the present Prime Minister came into power in 1922-
and continued in power down to 1930. In that period what happened? Agriculture rose from one experience to another, from an experience which it had had in the years following the first world war to the early thirties. It rose from one position to another until the only period that the leader of the opposition can take us back to in order to find better conditions than those prevailing at the present time, according to his story, is the twenties following the last war. That brings us down to about the time that a previous leader of his party whose policies he would like us to follow was in office. No one w'ould suggest we return to the early thirties. What about the period following that to- which he advised us to go the other day?
In speaking of the last three years of the war period he did not emphasize this; the highest heights to which we as a farming population ever rose prior to -the last five years were in 1928. The total gross cash income of the farmers was $1,060,000,000 The average for the total cash farm returns in this country for the last three years has been $1,600,000,000, and in one of those years, 1944, it was $1,800,000,000. In other words, if one takes the three-year period during the twenties and compares it with the last three-year period it will be found that we are from $600 to $700 million higher on an average than we were in the preceding period.
If the policies of the government have led us to the present position in the last three years, what about the next three? Yesterday I had the privilege of bringing down in this house the agreements which have been arrived at between this government and the British government. They showed on a firm basis for this crop year, the next crop year and the following crop year, price levels and other returns for farm products equal to those we have had during the last three years. I have showed in this policy that we have not only laid down for a three-year period, which is admitted by the leader of the opposition himself, a programme which will assure as good returns, but also for at least another three years which will assure as high returns as have already produced a record.
That brings me to the suggestion that I did not take into consideration pests such as wireworms, cutworms, grasshoppers and some other things.
wonder whether the C.C.F. is as much a pest as my hon. friends directly opposite. I hold in my hand a map which shows the areas that- are infested from time to time by grasshoppers. It is the same area that we speak of as the Palliser triangle. Then I have another map which shows the same thing for wire worm.
No; some of the people who gave my hon. friend some of his information made it. Then I have one with regard to the sawfly which shows -the same area. Then I have another one that shows the saw-fly in 1938, and it gives the same area. Then I have another one that shows the sawfly in 1942 and it covers the same area. I could go on throughout all the years that we have had experience with the different kinds of pests and indicate that they thrive in the drought area known as the Palliser triangle in western Canada. Then I hold; in my hand the advice which is given to the farmers from time to time by the scientists in relation to this particular problem. Here is what they say with regard to grasshoppers:
Careful planning is essential to best control. This is particularly important in the areas of open plains, where widespread infestations of the lesser migratory grasshopper are likely to be found. The work should be so timed that summer-fallows will be completed before the grasshoppers migrate from the stubble to adjacent crops.
Note that the grasshopper's eggs are laid in the stubble. They are there in the fall of the year. It is pointed out that the summerfallowing should be done sufficiently early to destroy as many of these pests as possible before they can move out of that stubble land on to the land that is growing a crop. The scientists say, "Take care of your summer-fallow, but do it early, and that in itself will assist you in treating grasshoppers." The article goes on:
As much as possible of the infested stubble land and recently abandoned land, which may be heavily infested, should be summer-fallowed and worked in a manner that will destroy the grasshoppers or- their eggs and prevent migration. In severely -infested areas it is folly to "stubble-in" any crop.
In other words, they are emphasizing cultivation and more, particularly claiming summerfallowing as a means of contesting grasshoppers.
The Address-Mr. Gardiner
I now come to another of the pests mentioned, the stem sawfly. We are told much the same thing. This statement is made:
Any type of farming practice or rotation in which wheat is seeded on land containing infested stubble or adjoining such land tends to increase the abundance of the sawfly. Infestations in large field units, which are summer-fallowed in alternate years, are usually found to be confined to the margins.
In other words, the only places where you have the sawfly in a well summer-fallowed field are where the sawfly comes in out of the areas immediately roundabout. Therefore summer-fallowing is a means of dealing with all these infestations. I do not need to say to men from western Canada who have had experience in farming that in so far as the cutworm is concerned that is more particularly true. The cutworm comes from ah insect. It lives on top of the ground. Naturally the grub goes into the ground when conditions are suitable, and they are suitable to it only when there is not much moisture in the land. When the land is properly summer-fallowed and maintained there is less likelihood of cutworm being prevalent than if that process is not carried out.
I go into this in some detail to show that not all the pests are of the insect variety. These people who are going around the country telling us that we ought to have less summer-fallow in the area when the experts tell us that we have already had two drought years are, I think, greater pests than all the army worms, wire worms, cutworms and grasshoppers that we have ever had. We ought to get rid of some of these.
Since listening to the discussion and looking at the statistics that were placed on Hansard yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that scientists when they get out of their element and into politics giving information are just about as dangerous as any pests we have ever had. We have had some experience with that kind of thing. Scientists have their noses glued to a task. They are working at it. Their minds are upon the accomplishment of it, and while they are* working at these tasks they do some wonderful things for all of us. But when a man who has been studying matters of that kind during the early part of his life and instructing the youth how to carry out those ideas and then in some way or other gets shoved into something else in which he has had no previous experience and tries to instruct the people he gets into trouble. I believe the leader of the opposition is the one man in this country at this time who demonstrates that to a greater degree than anyone else. He has been shoved over into that position. I do not know that
he desired it. I am going to deal with that in a few moments. He has been utilized in a certain way and I shall deal with that in a few moments. In the meantime all I wish to say is that we have had some difficulties as a result of scientists taking over other responsibilities and trying to give us advice in other fields. Some scientists are in the organization offices of the Progressive Conservative party and some are in that leadership going around the country talking to( our people on the ground that because at one time they were considered to be experts in agriculture, therefore every farmer should follow them. I am not greatly worried about that. It is pretty well known what the intention was when these leaders took over; it was fairly clearly stated to us yesterday. The intention, of course, was to appeal to the agriculturists of Canada, and more particularly to the agriculturists of western Canada to support a certain party. Well, if anyone benefited from that appeal it was not the Progressive Conservative party; probably it was our C.C.F. friends. The appeal made to the farmers of western Canada under the present leadership did not return more Conservatives to this house from western Canada. Two very able men at whom I used tp look across the way, coming from the province of Saskatchewan, are not in their seats this parliament. True, these leaders succeeded in removing quite a number from this side of the house, but after all they did not accomplish very much toward the objective they had in mind in establishing one set of principles as against another set of principles. I would suggest that when we go to the country again we place our principles squarely before the people and rest our case upon those principles. Then I think wd shall get much better results than by simply trying to encourage men who were scientists and experts in certain lines of activity to go out and tell our people that more can be accomplished by following some particular individual than by following sound scientific practice. v
The third point which was raised was to the effect that the government had claimed to have switched its policy, which up to 1943 had been to encourage the production of live stock; that from that time on we encouraged the production of wheat, but that we had not done so. In dealing with this matter yesterday the leader of the opposition read from the reports of the dominion-provincial conference which has been held each December since 1939, to substantiate the position he took, and said that according to those reports I had not advocated an increased wheat acreage during the last three years. Then he went on to
The Address-Mr. Gardiner
quote from a newspaper in western Canada which he said was a supporter of the government. Of course we like to get support from any quarter, and to the extent that this newspaper supports the government we appreciate it.