May 19, 1950

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The price on May 10 was $1.20 to $1.25. The highest price was $1.35, and the lowest, $1.15. I can hardly conceive of a product such as potatoes being more completely stabilized than apparently this product has been during that period of time. Whether it has been stabilized high enough might be another question. That is a question which can still be considered. No one has said here that we will not consider it.

But my learned friend makes the proposal that we should help out his starch company, and by doing what?

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PC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

By having these potatoes delivered at half the price which is being obtained for them on the market.

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PC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Well, that is the suggestion, that we pay dollar for dollar, and put the potatoes into the starch plant. It would not all be in my hon. friend's starch plant, but it would be in somebody's starch plant.

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PC

Heber Harold Hatfield

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hatfield:

On a point of privilege, the suggestion was made by the provincial government of New Brunswick that we pay 50 cents a barrel and the federal government pay a subsidy of one dollar a barrel. Fifty cents a barrel for starch potatoes today would not give the starch manufacturer one cent.

Mr. , Gardiner: Well, that is even worse than I thought it was. We are going to be asked to pay $2 for every one they pay. But in any case the suggestion is that we get rid of these extra 2,000 cars by putting them through starch plants, and that we subsidize the putting of them through the starch plants.

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PC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Well, that is the way I understand it; and I do not know how you can make starch from potatoes without putting them through a starch plant.

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PC

Heber Harold Hatfield

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hatfield:

It was only the effect of having them on the market.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

In any case, that is the position in regard to potatoes. We have sold 5,000 more cars of potatoes-at least, they. have been sold; I should not say we sold them, because I would imagine my hon. friend sold as many as anybody else. There are five or six exporters of potatoes in New Brunswick, and they are very successful agents in marketing their product.

The only thing I have suggested is that a probable solution for their problem down there is for those five or six men to have

themselves appointed a board by the provincial government, and then starting in and marketing those potatoes in the interests of all the producers, rather than just in the interest of the agent who happens to be marketing them. If any suggestion has been made, then it has been that one. As a matter of fact that is the plan that was followed in Ontario under my hon. friend's leader, while he was premier of that province, in connection with the marketing of beans.

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PC

Heber Harold Hatfield

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hatfield:

There are 200 licensed shippers in New Brunswick.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

But those 200 licensed shippers do just as a lot of shippers do elsewhere- they operate through a few exporters. Those exporters have done a very successful business down in that part of the country. As a result of doing that successful business they have very large plants to put the potatoes through.

I think that in connection with all these matters we should do just what we did last year in winding up our activities in connection with apples. The apple growers came to us at the beginning of the season and they said, "We want you to make an agreement with us, just the same as you did during the war. We want an agreement whereby you will guarantee a return through assisting us to export or put them in cans, dehydrate them, and eventually wind up the season so that we will have a certain amount of return for our producers."

Well, eventually we said to them that we thought the time had come when, so far as possible, we should get out of those transactions. The apple growers are very well organized in at least two areas, namely, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, and they market their apples through their own organization. We said, "Go ahead and see what kind of job you can do of it." Well, the British Columbia board marketed apples in thirty-two states in the .United States, in spite of the fact that the Americans had one of the biggest apple crops they had ever grown. The British Columbia people went to the United States and merchandised their apples over there. They had them packed properly before they were shipped. Their apples were put on the market right alongside American apples, and under those conditions they sold in thirty-two states of the union.

Then, having done that, they found they could not sell all of their apples of certain varieties, and they gave those apples to Great Britain. My understanding is that the British government, in turn, did not sell them, but that they distributed at least a large part, if not all of them, to school children. That is they had been received as gifts, and those 55946-1711

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apples were distributed more or less by way of gifts to the children in Great Britain. In any case the British Columbia people did not get any return from them. I believe it cost them about twenty-five cents to have them packed and placed on the ships; and the British paid the freight across the ocean.

Those apples were delivered in Great Britain. I might say that Nova Scotia marketed its apples just about as well as they have ever been marketed. Then, after they got through with those transactions, they came back and said, "This is our position." We checked the position with other apple producers in Canada, and did give a final payment to them indicating to them that from now on we expected them to go on and market their own product from year to year.

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PC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

There was not any by-election at the time. That was done when there was no by-election in sight. I cannot understand my hon. friend knowing the effect that could have if that were to go down to the constituency where his own candidate is running. He is the solicitor for this organization and sat in this house for a short time. When I put the question to him across the floor of the house whether there was any politics in connection with the handling of apples in the Annapolis valley, as every hon. member who was in the house then knows, his answer was that there had not been. If the story goes down from the opposition in this house that there was politics in the handling of apples in the Annapolis valley during the ten-year period in which assistance has been given from Ottawa I venture to say it will get us more votes than anything else we could do. I suggest to my hon. friend that he go right on doing that if he wishes to help us politically.

The people in the Annapolis valley know what assistance they got. They know why they got it. They know how they got it. They got all the assistance they did through their own organization. When the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre chips in I would remind him that he is becoming more and more a Tory every day. Every time someone in the official opposition wants to interfere with anything that is being said over here the hon. member gives them a little help and boosts them along.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Maybe they need it.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I would like to suggest to the hon. member that the board they have in Nova Scotia-

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PC

Heber Harold Hatfield

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hatfield:

What are you doing for Nova Scotia potatoes?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The position in Nova Scotia as well as in British Columbia is that they have commodity boards of the type that has always been advocated by my hon. friend's party. I challenge him to say that they have not. Their party has always advocated commodity boards. They have always said, that boards such as they have in British Columbia are the kind of organization that should be set up to market farm products. There is one of those boards in Nova Scotia marketing farm products. That board was organized by the growers and it is operated by the growers and they sell their apples in the interests of the producers. They are not playing politics with anyone.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

The minister has been quoting figures that have been paid for potatoes. I happen to have on my desk a letter dated May 2 from a young veteran who went into the potato business at the close of the war. This man tells me that the price to the producer today, that would be on May 2, for No. 1 table stock was 40 cents per bushel and 67 cents per 100 pound sack.

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?

An hon. Member:

Where?

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May 19, 1950