March 23, 1950

PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

Has the minister compared the prices in Canada for 1943-45 with the figures for the United States for the same years?

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I do not think I have them here for the same years, but I think my hon. friend knows Mr. Galbraith. He is a native of Ontario, and has held prominent positions in the United States department of agriculture, as well as in United States universities. He has figured out prices for the United States, but has spent a considerable part of

his time in this country. If my hon. friend does not know Mr. Galbraith, I am sure he knows Mr. Hope. These gentlemen have both said that the position is a better position, if you take those years, both in Canada and in the United States, than you could get by taking any other years.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

I am not questioning Mr. Galbraith's figures for 1943-48. Mr. Galbraith took the figures from 1943-48-

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

But Mr. Hope did not.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

The minister is taking the figures from 1943-45, and is not considering 1946, 1947 or 1948.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Hope, in making his statement the next day, took the period I took, and said he had to admit that it was a better period.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

Let us get this straight, Mr. Chairman. The figures the minister has just said were taken when floor prices were fixed on these products were from 1943-45; is that correct?

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I did not say we took those figures in order to set the prices at all. I said we calculated what tlie relationship was in those three years and took what the relationship is now as between what the farmer buys and what he sells. We found that a certain figure was a better price for the farmer than if we took that particular relationship. We gave him more. We did not give him that amount.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

The only thing I can say is that it seems extremely strange that this price now with the subsidy paid by the government seems to be halfway between the old price and the new price in the contract. The same is true of both bacon and cheese. It looks extremely suspicious, as if they just divided it and said "There, take that" and let it go.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

We did not do that. I am not going to allow that to go unchallenged. We did not do that. As a matter of fact, what did happen was this. The British said, "We will not pay you any more than 25 cents for cheese. It does not make any difference what you think about it. You people can make up your minds whether you want to sell us any cheese at all or not. If you want to sell us cheese at 25 cents, all right, we will take it." They said the same thing with regard to hogs. They said, "We will take your Wiltshire sides at 29 cents but we will not give you , any more." As a matter of fact, when one of the newspaper reporters tried to put a different interpretation on it, Sir Andrew Jones himself came out in the press and said that was true. He said they refused to give us any

Agricultural Prices Support Act more. It was the highest price we could get from them. Then when they said that was the highest price they would give we figured out what the proper relationship was. I may as well be quite candid with the committee. I do not think the price of farm products is going up when they are higher in this country than they are in any other country in the world. As I say, we figured out what the proper relationship was and we gave the farmer a higher return because we had said when we brought in this legislation in the first place that for a while he ought to have more than that worked out to. When we found that it was more, we put it halfway in between. I may say that the price of hogs is $28.75 in Toronto today. If my friend gets a broad enough smile on, he will be able to smile away the fact that that is about $1.15 higher than the floor price is for hogs at $36 a hundredweight for Wiltshire sides.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

The minister has just

admitted that they did as I a moment or two ago said they did. Here is another thing. The minister has suggested that prices are higher here than in any other country in the world. I should like him to compare the price of potatoes here, for instance, with the price of potatoes in the United States; and also the price of beef here with the price of beef in the United States.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I say on the products we are talking about, the products that we have had contracts for.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

The minister said "farm products".

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

We are talking about products for which we had contracts with Britain. There were never any contracts with Britain for potatoes. This is with regard to bacon, hogs, dairy products, cattle and so on.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

The minister has quoted the price for hogs at Toronto-the prevailing price, so he says-to prove that the present price in Canada today is a certain amount above or below, I am not sure which, the present floor price. I can tell the minister that the price for B-l hogs at Winnipeg on March 16 was $28.50 a hundredweight and the price in the week of March 18 a year ago was $29.10 a hundredweight. In other words, there has been a drop in hog prices of $2.50 this year as compared with last year.

I have here the wholesale prices of eggs in Saskatoon for the month of February of this year and the month of February of last year. The wholesale price for this year is 39 cents; the wholesale price last year was 44 cents a dozen. There has been a drop in the wholesale price of 5 cents a dozen. It is therefore clear that no matter what period the minister

Agricultural Prices Support Act has taken, and not for the purposes of establishing floor prices but merely for the purpose of checking, the fact is that there has been a substantial drop in the prices of these commodities at a time when farmers' costs have not gone down. For me at any rate it is not enough for the minister to say to this committee that he is going to check a certain set of figures and then the government is going to decide the floor. If the farmers of Canada want any security under this legislation, I think it needs to be written into that legislation, and we need a proper formula. I do not know what years the minister checked a year ago when he started to buy butter at 58J cents a pound. I am wondering what years he is going to check this year when he sets the price, and if it is going to be a different set of years. I wonder if he thinks the cost of producing butter has gone down any, and I wonder if the floor price of butter is likely to drop within the next few days. I should like to ask the minister how long the floor price under hogs will be maintained, what the government hopes to do after the British contract expires in July, whether the government will endeavour to have new contracts signed after that date; and whether there is a contract signed or not, if the present support prices will continue for at least one year.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I do not know that I need to answer the questions just as they have been asked because if I did I would have to search out the occasions which suit the government least and to quote those prices. My friend quotes a price of 50 cents for eggs or 44 cents for eggs at a certain period. During 1946 the average price of eggs was 44-3 cents. He has stated that they were at that price at some particular time. The lowest price was 38-4 and the highest price was 50-5. You can, of course, take different periods in between there and compare them with some other time in some other year and get almost any result you like. In 1949 the average price was 56 cents; the low price was 42-3 and the high price was 71-5. There is therefore quite a wide range there. As a matter of fact, it was partly to take up that range that we set 38 cents right across the year as the floor price, thus making it possible for the consumers to get eggs throughout the year at a reasonable price whereas the farmers would get a reasonable price throughout the whole year and not a low price when production is up and a high price when production is down.

Then as to butter, the average price in 1945, which is the year we have been talking about, was 35-2; the low was 34-1 and the high was 36-5. In 1948 the three comparable figures were 67-8, 65-3 and 68-5. In 1949 the average price was 61, the low being 58 which

was our floor, which coyered the greater part of the year; and 68-5 was our ceiling which was the highest price that there was in the year. We had a ceiling at the beginning of last year. Those are figures which indicate that you do not get very much by making comparisons as between today and some other date at some other time. The fact is that these prices for hogs today in Canada are higher than the floor makes it necessary for someone to pay. But when you look at comparable prices in 1941, cheese was 16 cents; in 1946 it was 23-8; in 1948 it was 36-5; in 1949, it was 33 cents. That is still double what it was back at the time we started these different policies. As to hogs, the prices were $11.17, $15.86, $24.96 and $24.59. That is for live hogs. For cattle, the prices were $8.95, $13.89, $21.25.

I do not know how anyone can argue that the farmer is getting poorer when his prices are improving in that way.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

Did I understand the minister to say, in the prices that he quoted, that eggs averaged somewhere near 44 cents, with a low of 42 cents and a high of 55 cents?

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

In what year?

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

1949.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

In 1946, 44-3 cents with a low of 38-4 cents, and a high of 50 -8 cents. In 1949, 56 cents was the average with a low of 42-3 cents and a high of 75 cents. Of course these prices are wholesale prices.

Topic:   PROCEDURE IN ASKING QUESTIONS ON THE ORDERS OP THE DAY
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
Permalink

March 23, 1950