February 26, 1948

IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

Why not?

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. ARGUE:

The hon. member has been in business long enough to know that. Surely I do not have to explain simple accounting to the hon. member for Comox-Alberni.

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IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

The hon. member has never been in business or he would know better than that.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. ARGUE:

In reply to the accusation that the packing houses had made $11,000,000 profit, J. S. McLean was reported in the Globe and Mail of January 8 as admitting that the packers made $2,700,000 on the increased price of pork alone.

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CCF

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

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

Mr. THATCHER:

If he admitted that, they made twice as much.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. ARGUE:

Certainly. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that huge profits have been made by feed dealers and the packing houses at the expense of the farmers directly as the result of government policy. I can only assume this, that by some means the packing houses and the feed dealers, to obtain information, had a pipeline to the very government that inaugurated these price changes.

I now turn to what has happened to the bacon and hog industry in Canada during the last eighteen months. In 1946 we were debating the British contracts for bacon, and the Minister of Agriculture at that time outlined the contracts made for the years 1946, 1947 and 1948. In 1946 we were to supply Britain with 325 million pounds; and in 1947, 350 million pounds and in 1948, 400 million pounds. The Minister of Agriculture said this, and I quote from page 4779 of Hansard of August 14, 1946:

The contract for the last two years has been a contract calling for the delivery of at least 450 million pounds. In one of those years we delivered more than that amount; in one year I think we delivered almost that amount, and this year we are not hopeful of being able to deliver that amount.

Under the contract entered into we have agreed to a reduction in the quantity that we are required to deliver to at least 350 million pounds. In 1948 we have agreed to attempt to deliver 400 million pounds. In other words

we believe that we can increase deliveries in 1948 over the deliveries in 1947 and therefore we have entered into a contract under which we agree to deliver a greater quantity in 1948 than in 1947.

Just last month the Minister of Agriculture announced that the new contract for 1948 would not be for 400 million pounds of bacon but for only 195 million pounds. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture did not reach even half of his objective. On August 14 he said this, and again I think this should be emphasized:

We have attempted to avoid giving wrong information to the British as to what food would be supplied or could be supplied from year to year. Then we have written into the contracts the highest quantities that we felt sure we could deliver to the British.

Eighteen months ago the Minister of Agriculture said: "We feel sure we shall be able

to deliver 400 million pounds in 1948". In the first part of 1948 he said: "We shall attempt to deliver 195 million pounds". We are in the same position in the British market now, Mr. Speaker, as we were before the war when in 1939 we actually delivered 186-5 million pounds; and if the Danish people keep on increasing their exports to Britain, as the minister said they would, then in 1948 the Danish volume of bacon going into the British market will equal the Canadian in spite of the fact that in the year 1944 Canada delivered to Britain 692-3 million pounds of bacon as compared with no bacon at all coming from Denmark to the British market.

I should like to say a word in respect to the government's policy in regard to beef.

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CCF

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

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

Mr. THATCHER:

What policy?

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. ARGUE:

The government has said to the farmers and beef producers: "We are

not going to let you sell your beef to the United States". The Minister of Agriculture stated in the House of Commons this year what the government's policy would be, and he said this, as reported at page 804 of Hansard, February 3, 1948:

And that is the objective of government policy, to put our beef back on the United States market, at a time when the price levels of the two countries make this possible without upsetting the whole program which was put into effect by the government during the war.

He is saying to the beef producer: "You

cannot get the high prices of the United States at the present time, but as soon as the United States price level comes down to ours we shall be glad to let you have the low prices".

The farmers are also perturbed about the vast increase in farm implement prices. Farm machinery was allowed to increase through

The Address-Mr. Argue

the change in the price ceiling to the amount of 12J per cent in 1946. Just last fall the price for a Cockshutt "80" tractor was increased by 31 per cent; a Massey-Harris 10-foot self-propelled combine was increased by 21i per cent, and a Massey-Harris 6-foot one way on rubber was increased by 17 per cent, a huge increase in farm implement prices during the past year in addition to the 12J per cent increase in 1946. But the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr.St. Laurent), speaking in the house on February 2, 1948 at page 773 of Hansard said:

There were some things which actually remained under ceilings, such as the prices of primary iron and steel products and tin. Those controls did in fact put an effective brake on the prices of implements and other important supplies required by some of our primary industries such as farming, forest operations and mining.

I was interested to note, Mr. Speaker, that before this session opened in December the Secretary of State for External Affairs had made a speech in Winnipeg; but in the light of what he said about farm implement prices I would suggest that he should have gone a bit farther west and addressed a few farm audiences, and I douht very much whether he would have made the statement that he made in the house some days ago.

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CCF

John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. PROBE:

What does he know about farming?

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. ARGUE:

I regret that the government has not seen fit to provide a scheme of adequate crop failure insurance. The members of the C.C.F. party believe the benefits under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act should be increased to at least $6 an acre, and that the benefits should be paid out on an individual basis. Apparently the Liberal party has not got a policy in respect of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act; for in the legislature in Regina last year G. H. Danielson, Liberal, Arm River, moved a motion asking the federal government to amend section 7 (b) of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act-

-to provide that farmers, resident in ail ineligible township which is adjacent to an eligible township and whose average yield of wheat is eight bushels or less per acre, shall be entitled to the benefits of the act.

The opposition in Regina say, "We want the P.F.A.A. on an individual basis", but the government at Ottawa, of the same political stripe as the opposition in Regina, is doing nothing to provide crop insurance payments under the P.F.A.A. on an individual basis.

In conclusion, I would like to say this. The farmers of Canada are very much concerned over what has come out of Ottawa within 5849-105

the last year in the way of government policy affecting agriculture, and they feel that today they are facing the future in a worse position than they did one year ago. Accordingly they criticize the government, I believe, on the following grounds.

The government has: 1. Failed to implement its social security program to provide: (a) universal old age pensions at the age of seventy without a means test, paid solely from the federal treasury; (b) a comprehensive health insurance plan, 60 per cent of the cost to be paid by the federal treasury. Had the federal government implemented its own health proposals, the cost of hospitalization for the people of Saskatchewan could have been reduced from a $5 per capita tax to $2.

2. Failed to provide a parity price for wheat and to prevent an inflationary rise in the farmer's costs of production.

3. Failed to carry out, as stated by the Minister of Agriculture in the House of Commons on March 17, 1947, the government's policy to prevent profiteering in coarse grains.

4. Failed to compensate farmers for the large losses sustained as a result of the government's placing of oats and barley on the Winnipeg grain exchange-this failure in spite of the hon. member for Rosthern's announcement that the dominion government would indemnify coarse grain producers against loss.

5. Failed to maintain the British market for bacon by crippling hog production through its coarse-grain policy to the extent that the 1948 contract was reduced from 400 million pounds to 195 million pounds.

6. Failed to implement an adequate marketing policy for beef.

7. Failed to effectively control prices of farm machinery, in spite of the minister of external affairs' statement to the contrary.

8. Failed to provide farmers with adequate crop failure insurance on an individual basis.

The present session is now thirty-five days old, and the people of Saskatchewan, particularly the farmers of Saskatchewan, are looking to the member for Rosthern to stand up in his place and say what he thinks of these particular actions of the federal government wdthin the last year.

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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. ROBERT FAIR (Battle River):

Mr. Speaker, before proceeding with what I had intended to say this afternoon, I wish to commend the hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Dechene) for the stand he has taken in connection with the best province of Canada, the province from which I come-Alberta. The hon. member told us about many of the good things in that province and asked for the co-operation of those of us in this group.

The Address-Mr. Fair

I wish to tell him that he has had that co-operation ever since we came here, so long as it was in the interests of the people of Alberta.

The government of Alberta has passed legislation to bring about the good things for everyone in that province which the province is capable of producing. It has passed legislation to that end, and the hon. member for Athabaska, instead of seeking, our co-operation, should seek the co-operation of the government with which he is associated and see to it that Alberta legislation which does not encroach upon the rights and privileges of other provinces shall be put into operation.

I am glad also to co-operate with the member for Athabaska in inviting the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply to bring to our province some more industries. Let me inform the member for Athabaska that the government of Alberta, up to the present time, of its own accord has brought several new industries into the province, and now in turn I ask for the wholehearted co-operation of the hon. gentleman. I hope I shall receive it.

Since coming back here on January 26 we have been playing a game of leapfrog with the different matters before the house. We have been dealing with emergency legislation, foreign exchange conservation, the speech from the throne, the farm improvement loans act, and some other matters as well, and we have also discussed the setting up of the committee to investigate the causes of the recent increase in the cost of living. In my opinion that committee has a big job to do, and I believe it has been working steadily since it began its investigation some days ago. At present it is investigating bread prices. I shall have something more to say a little later on with reference to bread.

About eight other items have been named for investigation, but I do not think the committee should stop there, because the things it is investigating are not really the main items in the increasing cost of living. I have here an item with reference to shoes, for example-shoes for the whole family and particularly ladies' shoes. If we look at the store windows and notice the price tags on shoes for ladies, we shall find that a shoe consisting of a sole, a heel and a couple of straps may be priced at $15 or $20. That I believe can very well stand investigation, and the same applies to shoes for all other members of the family. Clothing prices could also stand investigation, and when the committee in considering prices it should also consider the quality offered at the present time. The committee should also deal with another question, one in

which the dominion government is vitally interested, and that is the amount of taxation that goes into the prices of things the people have to buy in order to live.

We have particular objection to many of the nuisance taxes included in the prices of the things we have to buy, and also the recently imposed 25 per cent excise tax.

There are many subjects that should be discussed, and as we are allowed only forty minutes I shall have to wait until another time to take them up. If the time permitted I should like to deal with health, education, old age pensions, returned veterans treatment, the soldier settlers of world war I, and many other questions, but these will have to wait because I want to deal today particularly with the basic industry of Canada, agriculture.

There are not as many people on the land as there should be, and there must be some fundamental reason for that. We find that people on the land have to work many more hours than they would if they were working in towns or cities. They have to do without many of the comforts that are obtained in towns and cities and their remuneration for the work they do on the land is much below that received by people in towns and cities.

I feel that the farmers, first of all, should have good houses in which to live. They should have many of the modern conveniences found in towns and cities, and yet a very small percentage of the homes across Canada are equipped with these things; whereas, when we look at the standard of living of those who handle the produce of the farmers after it leaves their hands, we find they are enjoying all the comforts of life. So I think something must be done to bring the standard of living of the farmers up to a proper level in order that our basic industry may be much better off than it is at the present time. By this I do not mean that the farmers should have all of the good things of life, because when we go to town or to the city to buy our goods we want the people there-the clerks and others-to be well dressed, to have a good home in which to live and to have a good standard of living. That will bring about a much better feeling among the people, and this is necessary if we are to have the conditions which this country should enjoy.

During the war years I am quite satisfied that the farmers did more than their share in producing goods for the people of our own country as well as for export to peoples of other countries, and in supplying the necessities of war. I see that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) is in his place. In the Ottawa Citizen of February 24 I find

The Address-Mr. Fair

a report of a farm forum meeting which he attended at Billings Bridge, which reads in part as follows:

The minister lauded Canadian farmers generally for their quick response to government needs during the war years. He said that at the outset of war the emphasis was placed upon the production of livestock and farmers were asked to convert ten million acres of land to the production of feed for that purpose. At the end of the war when Europe's need for wheat and other cereal foods became so urgent the farmers were asked to change over again. "Farmers from one end of this country to the other responded splendidly," Mr. Gardiner said, "and went through two complete change-overs within a space of a very few years."

A little farther along in the report I find the following:

Farmers wanted price and wage controls during the war years and for that reason were content to receive lower prices foT their produce than farmers in the United States were receiving. They did, however, want in return "floor" prices to take care of the possibility of lower United States prices later on. "We may now be approaching the point where United States prices will pass ours on the way down," the minister declared.

I am not sure that the farmers were the first to demand wage control and price control. Those things were forced upon the farmers and they had nothing to do but accept them with the understanding that if they accepted low prices during the earlier years of the war they would be compensated when the war is over.

Perhaps I should go back a short way in dealing with our wheat policy; I find that is necessary in order to justify my argument. Going back to 1935, when this government was first elected, we find that the initial price of wheat was 87J cents per bushel. A little later it came down to 80 cents, and the wheat board was to operate provided wheat went below that particular price. Still later we had legislation brought into this house providing for an initial payment of 60 cents a bushel. But about that time we adjourned for the Easter recess, and when we came back the government brought in amended legislation providing for a payment of 70 cents a bushel; and on that basis we had our initial price paid until August 1, 1942-as the house will remember, that was almost three years after the outbreak of war. In 1942 we had our price brought up to 90 cents a bushel after four hundred farmers and their friends came to Ottawa looking for dollar wheat. The government did not quite accede to their request, but they did bring the price up to 90 cents a bushel. In 1943 we had that initial price increased to $1.25 per bushel, and it stayed there until September;' 1945, when another 5849-105J

new program was brought into effect. This program, among other things, controlled the selling price of Canadian wheat. I wish to read from Hansard of September 18, 1945, at page 289. This is part of a statement made by the then Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon):

It is in the interest of Canada and of Canadian wheat growers that the importing countries should continue to obtain Canadian wheat at prices not in excess of those prevailing at the end of hostilities. Accordingly the government, by order in council, has instructed the Canadian wheat board to offer wheat for sale for export overseas at prices not higher than the current export price of $1.55 per bushel, basis No. 1, northern, in store Fort William/ Port Arthur or Vancouver.

In asking Canadian producers to forgo such benefits as might be realized in the short run through higher export prices, the government recognizes the paramount need for relative stability of income to wheat producers. Toward this end, the government undertakes that in the five-year period ending July 31, 1950, producers will receive not less than $1 per bushel, basis No. 1 northern, in store Fort William/Port Arthur or Vancouver on the authorized deliveries for each crop year. For the balance of the 1945-46 crop year, at least, the Canadian wheat board initial advance will continue at $1.25, where it was set two years ago. By providing a long-term floor price of not less than $1 the government will protect producers against the consequences of any sharp reversal in the world wheat position during the next five-year period.

I shall read1 one more paragraph a little farther down, which shows that the government, through the Minister of Trade and1 Commerce, recognized that there was a moral obligation. The statement goes on as follows:

Any further increase in wheat prices now would aggravate the problems of economic and political readjustment of the liberated areas to Canada's detriment in future trade with those areas. There is a moral obligation not to take advantage of our recent allies in their time of compelling need.

I do not think that there is any argument whatever about the moral obligation which has been accepted by the dominion government and then forced upon the prairie farmers who grew the wheat to make good the government contract. In 1916 we had the British wheat agreement entered into by this government. Under that agreement the Canadian government, not the Canadian farmers, agreed to deliver to Britain a total of 600 million bushels out of the crops of 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949. For the first year of the contract, 1946, they agreed to deliver 160 million bushels at a definite price of $1.55 per bushel; they agreed to the same quantity and price for the 1947 crop; for the 1948 crop they agreed to deliver 140 million bushels at a price not

The Address-Mr. Fair

below $1.25 per bushel, and for the last year of the contract-that is, 1949-they agreed to deliver another 140 million bushels at a price not below $1 per bushel. At the present time negotiations have been concluded as a result of which the British government has agreed to pay $2 per bushel for the next crop-that is, for the 1948 crop. We do not know what the 1949 crop will bring, because that price has yet to be negotiated. At the time this agreement was entered into those of us in this group protested strongly against the $1.35 initial payment that had been offered by the government for the five year period, 1945 to 1949 crops, inclusive. We took the stand that the initial price should be at least $1.55 a bushel, with further interim and- final payments made at a later date. Of course we did not get that at the time; the guessing on the part of the government was not good enough.

By the British wheat agreement the farmers of the west have lost a great deal of money. Again I want to emphasize the fact that we in this group were not opposed to Great Britain getting cheap wheat, but we do object strenuously now, as we have in the past, to the prairie farmers who grew and delivered that wheat having to stand all the loss under the contract. The government was not content to have us subsidize all the consumers of Canada by giving them cheap bread through supplying wheat to the millers for 77f cents a bushel for a time, then later for $1.25 and at present for $1.55. They were not satisfied with our wheat being sold for a time in all export markets of the world at the ceiling price of $1.55. Now we have to subsidize the people of Britain. Again we would not object if all Canada were participating in that subsidizing, but we do object very strenuously to the prairie fanners doing it all.

We have been told that no one can figure the loss on the British contract until the end of the 1949 crop year. I do not profess to be a prophet, but many people are keeping track of the losses up to the present time. The figures I am about to use are taken from page 1 of the letter of the Searle Grain Company dated January 21, 1948, under the heading "Cash losses to farmers". This is what it says:

(1) From August 1, 1946, to December 31, 1947, a period of seventeen months, the loss taken by our wheat growers on the wheat they have delivered to country elevators comes to the following staggering sums, all as compared with what farmers would have received had they enjoyed the full world price set daily by the Canadian wheat board itself for class 2 wheat:

(a) On the wheat hauled by farmers -and intended for shipment to Britain, 296 million dollars.

(b) On the wheat hauled by farmers and intended for domestic consumption in Canada, 152 million dollars.

A grand total of 448 million dollars lost by prairie farmers in seventeen months; a loss equal to more than the value of one whole prairie wheat crop; a loss equal to the entire dominion receipts from all forms of taxation in the year 1938; a loss -which averages $1,900 for each prairie wheat-growing family, and with the losses still increasing greatly day by day.

It will be remembered, too, that prior to the start of the wheat agreement August 1, 1946. the government had marketed our farmers' wheat for several years at less than the world price. These losses to farmers for the years 1943, 1944 and 1945, come to an additional 409 million dollars.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

From his own experience with farmers in his community does the hon. gentleman think anyone can show that those farmers lost an average of $1,900 each over the period of time he is dealing with?

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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

I do not claim that the loss can be stated definitely until the end of the contract period, which is July 31, 1950; but the figures I have quoted from the letter of the Searle Grain Company take into account all the losses sustained up to the present time. Future wheat prices will determine whether or not that loss will be reduced. Once more I want to say that if all the people of Canada were footing the bill it would not be quite so bad, but when you have the farmers of three provinces and a small portion of another footing the bill, I do not think it is right. Perhaps the Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture or the Minister of Trade and Commerce would tell us some day why this injustice has been put over on the farmers.

Then in connection with our coarse grain policy, it is recognized that the ceiling prices of cbarse grains have been tied to the price of wheat. In my opinion this should not be done, either, because again the farmers are footing the bill instead of the whole country paying the loss. In connection with the delivery of oats and barley from August 1 to October 21 of last year, I feel that the government was responsible for that situation. The farmers did exactly what they had been forced to do, and I think they should be compensated by the government for the government's blunder. Then we have the question of hog and cattle prices, which I think hon. members will agree also have been tied to the price of coarse grains. Here again the farmers of Canada have been standing quite a loss. I make that statement because, as I said before, prices of cattle and hogs have been tied to the price of coarse grains, and coarse grains

The Address-Mr. Fair

have been under ceiling prices most of the time since the beginning of the war. The farmers should not be compelled to accept all these losses.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, before you call it six o'clock, I want to make it clear that there is a guaranteed floor available to the packing plants of this country, but there is not a similar guaranteed floor made available to the producers of cattle or hogs.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

Mr. Speaker, when the house took recess for dinner at six o'clock I was dealing with the prices of cattle and hogs and the losses sustained by farmers on those prices. I am wondering how I could get the total of those losses. I am not sure whether it could be done very accurately. In the earlier part of my remarks I stated that we had been promised by the government that if we accepted lower prices during the early years of the war we would be compensated when the war was over. We are still waiting for that compensation. Up to the present time the farmers have supplied the money for their own stabilization policy and as far as we can find out it is the intention of the government to have the farmers continue to supply the money necessary for the stabilization of the agricultural industry. I say that is not fair when we take into account the losses suffered by farmers during the years 1930 to 1939, and particularly the losses sustained by farmers because of the prices they were compelled to accept for their produce after the outbreak of war.

We are told from time to time that in the near future we may expect lower prices. This is not just the opinion of people in western Canada; it is an opinion that is expressed also by people in eastern Canada. The following article appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of February 20. under the heading, "See prices drop when consumption equals production":

"When production catches up with consumption, prices will inevitably fall, even under the most favourable international agreements, to a competitive level. The law of supply and demand, no matter what price agreement or other institution we set up, will always influence trade. In other words, present farm-product export prices cannot be maintained. When they fall . . . they will carry domestic prices down with them to a comparative level."

This was the warning which H. IS. Arkell gave yesterday in his address to the Carleton county federation of agriculture at its annual meeting in the normal school assembly hall.

Mr. Arkell, former dominion live stock husbandman, called for a balanced economy under a national policy in pointing out that farm costs were out of line with farm income with Canadian farmers continuing to subsidize competition on the world market. Agriculture in the dominion was taking less for its products than the world price.

The prices of farm products are always the first to drop, and yet we find that the cost of production is going up. I should like to quote certain prices which appear in the February issue of U.F.C. Information. Previous prices are shown in brackets:

Cockshutt 80 tractor complete $2,258.00 ($1.703.90).

Cockshutt 6-foot tiller, 11 blades, on rubber $605.00 ($545.00).

Cockshutt 12-foot self-propelled combine, complete $3,843.00 ($3,458.85).

Massey-Harris 16-foot self-propelled combine, less cleaner $3,328.75 ($2,739.00).

Massey-Harris 14-foot self-propelled combine less cleaner and lights $3,791.90 ($3,379.55).

Massey-Harris 44 tractor on rubber, $1,992.75 ($1,784.75).

Those increases average 15-1 per cent. We find that the cost of every other item the farmer has to buy in order to carry on production has also increased, and there are prospects of further increases.

What protection do we get? On Tuesday we were discussing an amendment to the Farm Improvement Loans Act, 1944. That act provides for the granting of credit to enable farmers to get into debt to the banks, and it also gives the banks the right to mortgage the farm in respect of which loans are extended. It may also take an assignment of interest rights from the farmer in the form of an agreement of sale. Some people regret that more loans have not been taken under that legislation, but my regret is that any loans have been necessary. It would have been much better had the government seen fit to put into operation a policy for agriculture that would do away with the need of farmers going to banks or mortgage institutions as they have had to do in the past. Agriculture should be able to stand on its own feet without having to mortgage itself over and over in order to carry on.

Then we also have the Agricultural Prices Support Act, which is held out by many as being something worthwhile for the farming industry. In my opinion the prices that maybe set or that have been set under that act are not set on a sound basis because they are figured on prices that existed during the

The Address-Mr. Fair

years 1926 to 1929 when our farmers, who made up one-third of the population of Canada, received only 16-6 per cent of the national income. It is plain to be seen that price support on that basis will not meet the needs of the farmers. Besides that, it is effective only during the transitional period and may be wiped off the statute book at any time.

This year we were given a simplified income tax form which I am sure the farmers will feel is quite an accomplishment for the government. It is a six-page form, and it will give many farmers a headache. I am not objecting so much to some parts of the form; what I do object to is page 5. It would be impossible for a farmer to give accurately the information asked for there. He is asked to give his assets at the end of December, 1946, and at the end of December, 1947. As farmers do not keep proper records, it is impossible to give that information.

We have been told in the past that in the near future we will be paid an interim payment on the 1945, 1946 and 1947 crops. At one time it was estimated that the payment would be 20 cents per bushel, but not very many months ago the present Minister of Fisheries (Mr. MacKinnon) was in Alberta and he gave the people there to understand that it would be much higher than 20 cents. Some people have the idea that it will be 30 cents, while other's believe it will be 40 cents. In my opinion there is nothing in the world to prevent a payment of that size. Again, because the government want the farmers to build up a stabilization fund they will perhaps give us 20 cents a bushel. The farmers need this money badly, because in many parts of my province farmers were hailed out eight times in the one district during the season. They were also subject to drought, and in the harvesting season there was as much as ten inches of moisture which made it difficult for farming operations to be carried on. I would like legislation to be put on the statute book .that would ensure these payments at an early date.

As it is now, the farmers are compelled to wait five years for som; of their wheat money. For the wheat they delivered in 1945 they will have to wait until 1950 or 1951, to receive the balance due, and in the meantime many of them are paying six and seven and eight per cent interest on debt which should be taken care of by the wheat payments.

If the government is to carry out its promise we should have a wheat board, first of all to handle all grain; and should also pay losses to the farmers on subsidized wheat, coarse grains and livestock. By that I mean

that the government should take from the consolidated revenue fund and place in the wheat board fund an amount equal to the difference between the price the farmers received on delivering their grain and the price they would have received had they been permitted to sell at world prices. That may be challenged but it is the only fair way of handling the matter. If it is found during the period the agreement has yet to run that the farmers experience a loss, that loss could be made good from the wheat board fund. At the present time we have no stabilization legislation on the statute book. It is true we have contracts with Britain for beef and pork and other products up to the end of 1948, but after July 1950 we have no guarantee whatsoever of any kind of stabilization for agriculture. So in my opinion we should have price stabilization permanently by legislation. The legislation should also include a formula that would guarantee to the farmers a fair price for their products.

The prairie farm assistance legislation should be amended so that claims would be paid on an individual farm basis. We are all agreed that a farmer's success in getting crops is dependent almost entirely on the moisture he gets. The showers make no dividing line when they fall. They may fall in one township and not in another, and it is not fair to have a settlement made on the present basis. I would strongly urge therefore that the act be amended accordingly.

Some people may wonder where all the money is to come from to do these things. In conclusion I have only to suggest once again to the government that they get down to a sane system of financing the country's business. Cut out a lot of interest payments that are now being made. Cut out further borrowing from the chartered banks and have money issued direct by the Bank of Canada. In that way you can give for the first time in the history of Canada a square deal to Canadians as a whole and to agriculture in particular.

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LIB

Lionel Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. LIONEL BERTRAND (Terrebonne):

Mr. Speaker, at this stage of the debate I wish to present both to the government and to parliament a suggestion in which I as federal member for Terrebonne, and I believe other members of this house, are greatly interested, and that is the creation of a department of tourist travel. The hon. member for Lambton West (Mr. Murphy) referred to this very briefly ten days ago, and I heartily agree with what he said.

I believe that my constituency has very special reasons to lead the way in this respect. Terrebonne county has witnessed several his-

The Address-Mr. L. Bertrand

torical developments, and has been, of all regions in Canada, a tourists' land of election. Members from the Rocky mountains, northern Ontario or the maritimes may claim for their respective districts unexcelled natural beauties, but I dare say that mine is the most favoured resort not just for a short time or a brief season but the whole year round'.

Terrebonne county forms a narrow stretch of land extending from a point only ten miles north of Montreal, seventy-five miles northward along its natural backbone, highway No. 11, running toward Mont Laurier and the Abitibi district. Situated in the heart of the most highly developed region in Canada, it has been well named the Canadian Switzerland.

Summer residents, 100,000 strong, coming from Montreal, Quebec, Ontario and from different parts of Canada and the United States, boost the normal population of 60,000 inhabitants. Numerous lakes and rivers, splendid scenery and many summer sports charm the thousands of temporary residents and visitors. In wintertime, thousands of others indulge in such seasonal sports as skiing, tobogganing, sleigh-riding, dog sleigh trips, skating, and so forth. Important ski events, such as the Taschereau and Kandahar competitions, bring thousands of spectators to the slopes of stately Mont Tremblant and to Mont Tremb-lant lodge. During the summer, thousands of Canadian and United States tourists indulge in fishing, their favourite sport. The Gray Rocks inn, at St. Jovite, a tourist centre well known throughout the North American continent, is perhaps the best organized of all so far as fishing is concerned. In addition to summer and winter sports, the inn operates an air transport service. Gray Rocks inn has a booth at the Dorval airport and United1 States tourists can travel directly from Dorval to St. Jovite, a distance of seventy miles from Montreal by air. From Gray Rocks inn, tourists can travel by air to well kept camps operated by the hotel in the north country at distances varying between fifteen and seventy-five miles from the inn. There tourists can rely on guides and cooks, obtain first-class service at a moderate cost, and they may fish red trout weighing two, three and four pounds in solitary lakes and rivers. Several distinguished United States newspapermen have published fascinating accounts of such trips. Last year Look gave us a splendid article on that part of the country, where moose hunting is especially recommended in the fall.

Who does not know, at least by name, the district's main hotels of long-standing reputation? To mention only those of the Lauren-tian Resorts Association, listed monthly in the Montrealer, as well as a few other establishments of repute, there is Mont Tremblant Lodge at lake Tremblant, famed for its chair ski-tow, the only one in the country, where people ski until May on the mountain slopes facing away from the sun; also at lake Tremblant is the Manoir Pinoteau, while St. Jovite has the Grey Rocks inn; Ste. Agathe des Monts, the Laurentide inn; Val David, la Sapiniere; Ste. Adele, the Ste. Adele Lodge and the Chanteclerc; Ste. Marguerite station, the Alpine inn; Ste. Marguerite, the Chalet Cochand and the Esterel; St. Sauveur des Monts, the Nymark lodge; Piedmont, the Mount Gabriel; Shawbridge, the Maple Leaf; and St. Jerome, the hotels Maurice and Lapointe. Many other inns and hotels, mostly members of an association, are located in those towns and villages and in other spots well known to tourists, such as Brebeuf, Mont Tremblant, St. Faustin, Lac Superieur, Ivry sur le Lac, Ste. Lucie, Val Morin, St. Hippolyte, and so forth.

It is a section of the province well known to all Quebec members; for many of them spend most of the summer in those parts. At least ten cabinet ministers have often taken holidays there, while many senators have owned or still own a summer home in the Laurentians. In winter, moreover, several members from the neighbouring provinces, here for the session, spend enjoyable weekends skiing in that district. To all members I issue an invitation to visit my constituency. They will be delighted with it and with the open-hearted hospitality of my constituents.

The hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson) made the following remarks in this house on February 5 last, as reported at page 913 of Hansard:

In one of the Ottawa papers of January 23 I read of a winter hotel at Ste. Marguerite, Quebec, having been destroyed by fire, a hotel that cost over $609,000. What was that hotel for? Was it for veterans of the war? Was it for old people in Quebec who have worked so hard to produce food and commodities? No; it was for the skiers. It was foT people who want to go to that beautiful part of the world for a holiday, and in normal times it is all right for people to have holidays in such lodges. But it is not in the interests of the public, when building materials are short, when carpenters are in demand everywhere, to put up a building of this bind costing $600,009 in the Laurentians for a few rich people who want to have holidays there, winter and summer, especially when there aTe so many veterans in Canada who have not yet been -able to get homes for themselves.

Ste. Marguerite, a very popular tourist resort, is in my constituency. The Chalet Cochand, the Alpine Inn, owned by the Mount Royal Hotel, and the Domain d'Esterel are familiar names. It may be that the hon.

The Address-Mr. L. Bertrand

member's remarks make sense if you look at only one side of the question, but looking at both sides he must admit that such tourist hotels are essentially helpful to our economy. I do not know whether the hon. member's is an agricultural constituency; as for mine, in its central and northern parts it is made up of rocks, mountains, ravines, lakes and rivers. I still have the greatest admiration for those early settlers and those present-day farmers who have courage enough to till such poor land. In my own county, as in the constituencies of Montcalm, Labelle and Argenteuil, the tourist industry is providing thousands of people with a livelihood: taxi owners, instructors of all kinds, cooks and' hotel staff, accountants, carpenters, journeymen, painters, store clerks, and so forth. Thousands of farmers, too far removed from the great centres, depend exclusively on the tourist industry for the orderly marketing of their products. While the tourist hostels swarm with United States guests, they gamer United States dollars, which is quite agreeable to the Minister of Finance at this time.

The tourist industry is a big business. I believe it ranks second only to agriculture, Canada's major industry. In 1947, United States travellers spent some 1270 million in this country. But how many more millions have been spent on travel by Canadians? The exact amount expended by our own people on summer cottages, holidays and pleasure trips, is quite impossible to estimate. This winter, the number of United States tourists in Canada fell off twenty to thirty per cent. This is a point I wish to emphasize. I wonder whether the governnient-sponsored austerity program did not have something to do with this reduction. I feel that the $150 yearly limit on the amount of money a Canadian may spend in the United States is hardly conducive to attract United1 States tourists to this country.

The tourist industry has developed at a tremendous pace in Canada. Various moves and representations are being made to ask for more comprehensive action in this field. A short time ago, an appeal on behalf of United States tourists was made by the Canadian junior board of trade. It was immediately endorsed by the Montreal tourist and convention bureau. As far as my district is concerned, the Laurentian resorts association and the Provincial Transport Company have conducted a noteworthy publicity campaign through the press and on the screen.

Is the government doing enough? Has the Canadian government travel bureau sufficient funds for carrying out truly efficient work? The United States have winter as well as sum-

mer tourist activities, but the United States people have a natural sympathy for our country. The snow here is more plentiful and the air more invigorating. Canadian dishes are attractive and the hospitality of this country is hearty. The St. Lawrence river, our great lakes, our streams, our forests, and the Canadian scenery hold unsurpassed attractiveness. Fish and game are abundant. I therefore maintain that the creation of a department of tourist travel is imperative, because the tourist trade is a source of income for the dominion and the provinces and it gives a living to many thousand people the whole year long. The tourist trade is the best asset for the national employment service. Of course the Canadian government travel bureau is doing interesting work. The advertising it does in United States newspapers and magazines is valuable. Its publications, such as Rod and Reel in Canada, for instance, are among the best and the most suggestive I have ever seen. Its director, Mr. Leo Dolan, is carrying out intelligent work, but in my opinion he has not at his disposal enough funds to give the tourist trade the necessary impetus.

The functions of a department of tourist travel might be: (a) to promote through nation-wide publicity, the tourist trade in Canada, and with the co-operation of the provinces, to draw attention to the tourist resources of each of the latter; (b) with the assistance of the national film board to prepare a series of films on the Canadian tourist attractions, and to release such films widely in Canada and in the United States.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

I hope they give them proper direction so that they will know what they are doing.

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LIB

Lionel Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND (Terrebonne):

I continue with the suggestions: (c) grants to municipalities within the tourist districts for the construction and improvement of municipal roads likely to develop the tourist industry; (d) special grants to all soundly established bona fide tourist organizations of recognized merit, assisting them in their publicity, in the maintenance of their town planning committees, winter roads, and so on; (e) adoption, in cooperation with the provinces, of national laws for the protection of fish and game; (f) establishment, with the assistance of the provinces, of national schools of hostelry, for the training of competent chefs and qualified inn employees, as in Switzerland and in France; (g) annual trophies for various sports championships or the promotion of the best tourist centre; (h) a sports column, regularly pub-

The Address-Mr. Webb

lished in all the country's newspapers, as information, occasionally backed by attractive and practical advertisements.

Many more suggestions could be added here. No doubt the government will say it cannot possibly adopt such a wide program at this time. Nevertheless this project is urgent. Why not establish, at this session, a special committee of the house to look into all aspects of the tourist industry? Such a committee could this very year make useful and practical suggestions to the government. For this year the hon. the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) might be authorized to spend a few millions of dollars for the construction and improvement of so-called tourist highways. Perhaps someone will remind me that highways are under provincial jurisdiction and that provincial autonomy should not be interfered with. In my opinion nothing should prevent the dominion government from spending, in municipalities expressing such a desire, and exclusively for tourist purposes, money which would be used for the improvement of municipal roads and would thus foster general development and progress.

To wait longer, to remain inactive as regards the tourist trade, would be to forgo numerous advantages. Tourism is a great industry. Let us not ignore the millions it could bring us. The money spent by tourists remains in this country. It is money which in turn other people spend within Canada.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of privilege, may I say that this afternoon my good friend the member for London (Mr. Manross) commented on our Czechoslovakian party and I am glad to see we have a convert.

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PC

Park Manross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MANROSS:

I may say that I am paired with the member for St. Ann, who is in the same business.

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PC

George Robert Webb

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. WEBB (Leeds):

Mr. Speaker, it is rather a coincidence that the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Lionel Bertrand) made a speech on the same subject that I wish to discuss. I am sure his speech will be found to support what I have to say, and I trust that what I say will bear out what he has said with reference to the tourist traffic.

Before this debate closes I wish to speak briefly in the interests of the tourist industry in Canada, and the crying need for further attractions and accommodations of all kinds, particularly in the way of additional and improved and well equipped national parks. Especially am I interested in this as it applies to Leeds, the constituency I have the honour 5849-106

to represent in the house, and if hon. members will bear with me I would like to give the house a brief description of my county- hence you will understand just why I am particularly interested in this industry.

Leeds county has been so landscaped by nature that the changing beauty extends from the St. Lawrence river on the south, with its fairy groups of islands, to the Rideau chain of lakes on the north, which, with its hundreds of land-locked and connecting lakes, offers to the angler and to the vacationist opportunities conceded to be unsurpassed. The county of Leeds is favourably situated on No. 2 highway, half way between the city of Toronto on the west and the city of Montreal on the east, the two largest cities in Canada. Within its own borders are situated the attractive industrial towns of Brockville and Gananoque on the St. Lawrence river, and many beautiful and busy villages both on the St. Lawrence and in the Rideau lakes district, all well equipped to take care of the tourist's every need. It is a vacation land without a superior, within a day's drive of more than a third of the population of the United States.

The hon. member for London spoke in this house a few days ago, lauding the city of London, but lamenting the difficulty of being "fenced in" by government-owned property.

I am glad to say that in my county of Leeds no such condition exists. Urban centres have plenty of wide-open spaces for expansion, and not even imaginary boundaries between rural and urban peoples exist. Here friendship knows no bounds. This is our great asset, as the people tilling the soil make up our largest population, and without their efforts and co-operation our hopes for success would be futile.

Overlooking the St. Lawrence river for forty * miles is the scenic highway, running from Brockville to Gananoque, and passing different points of interest along the way. Along this highway, and located at Ivy Lea, is the new Thousand Islands bridge, the only bridge connecting Canada and the United States between Cornwall and Niagara Falls. This particular point is in the heart of the Thousand Islands and gives an unsurpassed view of the scenic grandeur of the islands. Tour boats run regular trips along this waterway, and the visitor misses an unforgettable experience if the trip among the islands is not included in his vacation itinerary.

Now that I have taken you for a short trip through my riding you will understand why I am deeply interested in adequate accommodation and entertainment for our guests.

A short time ago I was tremendously impressed by a headline in a Canadian newspaper which read1: "Tourists mean more than

The Address-Mr. Webb

money", and "Is it possible that by constantly emphasizing the money value of the tourist trade, we are in danger of unwittingly doing ourselves an injury? Every year those in charge of our tourist activities put out statements estimating what it has meant to Canada in dollars and cents to entertain so many hundreds of thousands of visitors during the season and nearly always there is a comparison with other seasons."

Quite naturally the average merchant judges a tourist season by the amount of money he receives from tourist patronage. If his sales to tourists are up, it is a good season. If they are down, it is not a success. Similarly, operators of hotels, eating houses, filling stations, overnight cabins and all the other establishments which benefit from tourist custom are inclined to assess a season by the amount of tourist money that enters their tills. It has been said that some people are not above having special prices for tourists which differ from those charged the domestic trade. I cannot vouch for the correctness of such a statement.

From my point of view the great and growing tourist business of Canada ought to mean, and does mean, something more than the money that accompanies it. For one thing, it cannot fail to do a great deal to promote international understanding, something that is needed more and more in this world where it is so often lacking. Americans and others who visit Canada, and Canadians who visit the United States, and other countries, as large numbers of them do from year to year, must obtain a new appreciation and understanding of the countries visited and of their inhabitants. The more contacts we have these days between the peoples of different countries, the better for their understanding and the better for the future peace of the world. Therefore if we in Canada welcome and serve our guests in such a way that they will carry home friendship and understanding, I firmly believe the monetary side of the picture will take care of itself. Canada has much to offer to tourists, but to make it a lasting business we must be prepared in the face of competition to give value at all times, and make sure they at least carry away friendship and understanding.

Masses of figures showing the money value of tourists have been recorded, and I am not going to labour the point as to the money value of the tourist industry to Canada. I believe we all appreciate it to the full.

I said Canada has much to offer - the question is how are we going to sell it to the world? Many opinions enter into this phase of the subject. Time at my disposal does not

[Mr. Webb. |

permit me to do more than mention a few of the suggestions I believe might be considered.

During the tourist season our hotels, tourist resorts, and all available accommodation are taxed to capacity, and doing a pretty good job, but if we are to take care of this ever-increasing population someone must be responsible for further accommodation. However, I shall touch on this later.

We have always considered two or three months in the summer as the tourist season, but I believe Canadians should begin to realize the recreational value of their winters. We should accept the responsibility of advancing in large print to the world the winter fairyland we have to offer, and promote to our. own people the idea that we have a greater opportunity than ever before for development of winter vacation places. So many more young people have become accustomed by war service conditions to outdoor life, that it is only natural there will be an urge for winter sports, not only on the part of those who have learned to ski while in northern posts, but those who seek a change from the southern climates. I maintain that the development of winter use of hotels, cabins and hostels will enable those who manage them to undertake much improvement rvhich would not be justified by shortterm summer patronage alone.

As our national parks are closely linked with the tourist industry, I have a few words to say as to their value in meeting the desires of the tourist. I have spoken briefly on this matter at least three times in this house, and I may say that after talking with hundreds of visitors, I am convinced that national parks are among our greatest tourist lures. I am not familiar with the great national parks in western Canada, but I can say without fear of contradiction that in eastern Canada accommodation falls far short of demand. I submit that my riding, the county of Leeds, is in a specially favourable position for a major development in the form of a national park in the Rideau lakes area. Possibly in all fairness to the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Blair) I should take in a piece of Lanark.

In the days of the depression, and later on during the war, the government found it necessary to economize drastically in all park expenditures; but surely the time has arrived when all existing parks will be put in first-class condition with good supervision, and, where co-operation with provincial and municipal governments can be obtained, some new parks will be opened up. Again I submit that my own riding, the county of Leeds, is

The Address-Mr. Maclnnis

the ideal place to start and I feel sure every co-operation will be extended by all concerned.

Many unfavourable reports of late have been circulated regarding the treatment of tourists and others at border points. These reports may be exaggerations, and I hope they are, as I have always received the most courteous treatment from officials. However, officials at border points receive their instructions from Ottawa, and if these instructions are too drastic we should place the blame on those in charge in Ottawa, not on the officials at the border, as they are only carrying out the duties assigned to them. And while it is necessary to have regulations, I submit that the government should make them as palatable as possible, removing all unnecessary bars. I am sure border officials will enforce them with the greatest of courtesy to men and women of good will.

There is one other type of visitor who can hardly be classed as a "tourist," and for whom I have the greatest admiration; I refer to the summer resident. These people were visitors to Canada; and so favourably were they impressed with our way of life and our geographical location for summer sports and recreation that they invested large sums of money in substantial homes, and their annual return, like that of the swallow, seems to bring the welcome promise of warm weather and sunny skies. I shall not go into the monetary advantages of having these temporary residents with us, as they are too obvious; but in spite of their value to our welfare, they are perhaps the least important of the benefits we receive.

The hon. member for Lambton West in his speech asked for a separate ministry to administer the tourist business. While it may be said this will add to the cost of the government, I must agree-with all due credit to Mr. Leo Dolan, director of the Canadian government travel bureau-that this is no one-man job. If the tourist business is to go ahead on a businesslike basis, if we cannot have a separate ministry I suggest the formation of a dominion commission which will carry on without change despite a reversal of party or government. It is essential that such a commission be formed at once in order to give the tourist business an incentive and the study it deserves; and with the heavy responsibilities which the Minister of Trade and Commerce already has, I should think he would welcome such a suggestion.

Today, when any road will lead to the ends of the world, travel is prescribed for ills of both body and mind because of the new scenes and ideas which divert the mind from 5849-106*

the old emotions. Tomorrow's citizen will be a great traveller. He will demand the best in travel by rail, by road, on water, or in the air. He will want comfortable and good living accommodation. He will demand value for his money, and there will be keen competition for his patronage. In supplying his needs, Canada will have a great opportunity.

I submit the tourist industry should be given high priority by federal, provincial, and municipal governments in partnership with private enterprise in the development of the tourist industry in Canada. I trust my few submissions will receive favourable consideration by the departments of government interested.

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February 26, 1948