June 13, 1947

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, and again it must be remembered that ours is a long-time contract and the others are not. That is, one cannot tell at this stage how it will average over the entire period, but there is no doubt and never has been any doubt that cattle can be produced cheaper in the Argentine than in Canada and can be laid on the British market at a lower rate than we can produce them. There is no doubt that our natural market for a long period is in the United States.

The other factors being considered are related to the necessity for having beef supplied to Britain at present, and also have something to do with what we hope will be trading relations in the future as well as the fact that price control would be affected. But particularly, for the time being, the most important factor is the fact that this meeting is being held in Geneva, and we have stated in our discussions with everyone that, so far as this kind of contract and the arrangements for it are concerned, we think we should carry on as we are doing, at least until the conference is fairly well completed and we know the direction in which we are going as a result of the conference. That is the chief factor at the moment, although the main reason at the beginning was the reason stated in this letter; and the chief reason, I would say, still for continuing even to the end of the conference, is that Britain is in greater need of beef today than she has been for a considerable period of time. No later than today the representative of Britain was in my office inquiring with regard to the possibility of getting beef. Very little beef is going to Britain at the present time, as a matter of fact none, and little has gone over for some time. Apparently we are eating all the beef in Canada ourselves at present.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Could the minister give an approximate idea of the amount going to Britain over the last year

from the three countries? I do not want it in dollars; I would be content with rough percentages.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Exports of beef cattle to the United Kingdom, in pounds, are: for 1944, 98.000,000; 1945, 184,378,000; 1946,

123.787.000. There is a reduction of about

60.000. 000 pounds as between those two years.

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PC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

That is weight of cattle. In head that means 201.000 head in 1944, 385.000 in 1945 and 261,000 in 1946. To the United States, the numbers were: in 1944, none; in 1945 , 66,000-

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

I meant from the United States to Britain and from the Argentine to Britain.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have not those figures and I doubt very much whether you could get them. During the war the British were very particular in that regard: and I doubt very much whether we could get the figures. The British government has been following this practice all through the war, and it still is, of taking all the food it can get, whether the British produce it themselves or whether it comes from the Argentine, the United States or Canada, putting it into one pool; and, to avoid difficulty about supplying the product of any particular country, they say their people will get so many pounds of beef under their rationing system and it does not matter where it comes from. Apparently it is easier to administer that kind of thing if they do not advertise how much they get from this or that source.

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PC
LIB
PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Apparently what we are trying to do is to get all the food we can to England1. Is there not something in this point? Instead of sending S7 million odd worth of dairy cattle into the United States in 1946, could wre not have got more food to England if we had retained those dairy cattle here? Certainly the products from the dairies are most excellent food, and we might have been able to save these and send some of our beef, keeping that line open.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The main difficulty there is the one I mentioned last night, that we have not enough feed left to feed what we have. If the others had been kept here the farmers w'ould have found it difficult to feed

Carillon at Niagara Falls

them-probably they could not have fed them at all-but they have sold their live stock to the point where they can feed what they have left.

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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

Can the minister give a statement on the relationship of the export of meat products to Britain, up to the present time this year, as compared with the corresponding period last year?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We will get that for the hon. member at the next sitting.

Progress reported.

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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Monday, June 16, 1947


June 13, 1947