February 9, 1951

PC

Harry Oliver White

Progressive Conservative

Mr. White (Middlesex East):

I should like to say something more about this runaway inflation. This inflation has been sparked by the government's hesitancy, and the hint that controls would be put on if and when necessary. This gave the impetus to those who were in a position to raise prices. The unfortunate ones who are living on fixed incomes, such as pensioners and white-collar workers, find themselves in a position where today their dollar is only worth about fifty-six cents. Labour has been trying to keep pace with this inflationary spiral through contracts with industry, but some have not been able to do that. Every housewife is wondering how she is going to balance the budget.

Returning for a moment to the question of the threat of a Russian submarine fleet, may I say that it was not many years ago that the newspapers on the Atlantic seaboard carried pictures of Canadian boats tied up and idle, their crews paid off. At that time we lost a large portion of our merchant navy. The excuse was that we could not afford to maintain those vessels. A year or two later we find we cannot afford to be without them.

Dealing with the economic front we come to food, clothing and shelter. When the member for Hamilton West (Mrs. Fairclough) mentioned these subjects, I wondered whether we had been comparing notes. These are the three essentials. What of food? I should like to review the food situation, because a lot of the pressure which is being brought to bear on the government today is being directed towards food. After all, the essential concern of the housewife is food. I should like to review for a moment Canada's declining food production. There has been a decline in bacon, cheese, eggs, butter, and many other commodities. Soon we shall have to make a decision as to whether we want to eat. It is just that serious.

I should like to point out what has happened in the last three or four years, and to do so I shall quote an article which appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail on September 13, 1950. This article reviews another report by the Right Hon. Minister of Agriculture, and it says:

Canada in 1941 had two million fewer people to feed than she has now, yet she had 400,000 more cattle, 580,000 more hogs and more than twice as many sheep as there were at the start of this year.

Later it says:

The more than eight million hogs in 1943, the peak year, had shrunk to 4-6 million at the beginning of this year. In 1945, the last war year, poultry production was over 82 million birds. By last year it was almost halved at 42-5 million. During the war Canada supplied Great Britain with nearly 700 million pounds of bacon in a single year.

Yet today we can hardly produce more bacon than we need for our own use. If that trend continues for very long, we will certainly be in a serious position so far as food is concerned.

I have a reference here from the dominion bureau of statistics and the dominion Department of Labour concerning the quantities of food which could be purchased by one hour's wages, based on miners in Nova Scotia, carpenters in Toronto and machinists in Hamilton. I shall start to make the comparison at the year 1901, when an hour's wages brought 7-9 pounds of bread; 2-5 pounds of beef; 0-9 dozen eggs; 0-9 pounds of butter and 4-0 quarts of milk. The index for that is 100. Turning to 1920 we find that an hour's wages purchased 8-2 pounds of bread; 2-9 pounds of beef; 1 dozen eggs; 1 pound of butter and 4-6 quarts of milk. The index was 111. We go to 1939, when an hour's wages would buy 10-5 pounds of bread; 4-1 pounds of beef; 2 dozen eggs; 2-5 pounds of butter; 5-9 quarts of milk, and the index is 189. In 1948 an hour's wages would buy 13 pounds of bread; 2-3 pounds of beef; 1-6 dozen eggs; 1 [DOT] 6 pounds of butter; 6 * 6 quarts of milk, and

The Address-Mr. H. O. White the index was 155. I am sorry that I have not today's figures, but we know that an hour's wages today will buy slightly more than it would in 1948.

What does the dollar do so far as clothing is concerned? Yesterday I went to the library and looked at a copy of the London paper for July 2, 1923. I found that a man's suit, good and ready-made, was advertised at $19.50, and tailor-made for $27.50. Those were the days when a dollar was worth a dollar and not 50 cents. I shall just quote one example of today's prices and that is children's shoes at $7.50. It is almost a prohibitive price.

What about shelter? I believe probably the most ill-advised moves on the part of two ministers took place a while ago, one dealing with housing and the other with immigration. They certainly did not get their heads together when they announced their plan, because one is going to bring in 150,000 new people who will need homes and the other is going to reduce housing as rapidly as he can. Ever since the war ended, housing has been one of the problems of this country. At a time like this, to curtail housing, of all things, was I think an extremely ill-advised move. I am going to mention two subdivisions in my own constituency, namely the Hale-Trafalgar subdivision and the Byron Veterans Land Act development. The Byron V.L.A. development stood idle for several years while veterans put their names on the waiting list to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to O.K. it as a housing project. Late last year or early in this year the department finally came to a decision to open it up. Now when they are all set to go ahead the government decide that they will curtail housing. Most of the men have not more than the required down payment to start their building operations. This move is only going to aggravate the housing situation.

The immigration policy is just five years late. At the close of the war, when our housing shortage was must acute, we needed to bring in artisans of one kind and another who could engage in the building trade. But what did we do? We brought in some unskilled labour, put them on farms and in a sense froze them there-most of them have now drifted to the cities-and let the cream of the crop, shall I say, go to Australia, New Zealand and the United States. During that five-year period -and this is where the lack of continuity of effort comes in-we had five ministers responsible for immigration. I will mention their names. There were Mr. Crerar, Mr. Glen, Mr. MacKinnon, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Harris.

240 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. H. O. White No wonder we have not any concrete immigration plans. Only with a war on our doorstep do we realize that we need more men.

There is another thing that bothers not only me but, I think, every citizen who reads it. I refer to a recent editorial commenting on the fact that 70,000 tons of rubber were sold in 1950 to U.S.S.R. and 30,000 tons to China as well as large quantities of tin and wool. Most of us can remember when we were shipping scrap iron to Japan, who tossed it back at us with interest. No wonder the young men are hesitating to go into the army when, on the one hand they see the willingness, nay, the keenness, to trade with the enemy and, on the other hand, the invitation to join the forces. We can easily find ourselves in the same position as the United States found themselves in at Pearl Harbor.

I now want to pick up a few of the loose ends. Who is getting the increased prices for foodstuffs? I think everybody would like to know. I refer you, Mr. Speaker, to the Family Herald and Weekly Star of Friday, October 13, 1950. The farmers' share is not as great as most consumers believe it to be. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and his department have failed to do a public relations job for agriculture. As I understand it, the government has almost 300 ghost writers and propagandists working for them.

I would suggest that the Minister of Agriculture secure some of the good ones so that he can point out to Canadians generally the unfortunate position the farmers are finding themselves in with respect to the propaganda that the farmer is the fellow responsible for all these increases in prices. I am going to quote from this article in the Family Herald and Weekly Star:

This climb of food prices to a record level raises the question as to who gets the benefit and as to how the consumer's dollar is divided between producers and distributors . . .

The marketing charge on eggs has doubled, from 7-7 to 15'4 cents a dozen, on cheese has risen from 9 to 20 cents a pound and on beef from 7 to 17 cents a pound. On flour the price spread went up from 2-7 to 3-9 cents a pound, on white bread from 5 to 8-4 cents and on canned tomatoes from 9-3 to 16 cents per 28-ounce tin.

From that article I think it is fairly obvious that the farmer is not the one who is getting the cream. I do not wish to annoy the Minister of Agriculture again, but somewhere I believe he said something about not monkeying with the market for Canadian butter. If anyone monkeyed with the market for Canadian butter, surely it was the government that sits opposite. We heard that there was going to be importation of butter. Then we heard stories to the effect that it was going to be stopped. Then the cabinet reversed that decision and in it came. I wonder who was

interested in that butter? Could it have been Canada Packers or other large food distributors? I imagine it could be. Then again -and I only know what I read in the newspapers-

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

That is not very much.

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PC

Harry Oliver White

Progressive Conservative

Mr. White (Middlesex East):

The Minister of Agriculture said that Britain will take four times the amount of bacon she has asked for. Who would not when they are buying it for 32 cents a pound and it is worth 64 cents a pound here? I wish I could get some of it. I also want to say that it is about time we quit subsidizing socialism abroad.

I also want to point out to the government -and they have it in their hands-the brief presented by the Ontario Teachers' Federation with regard to federal aid to education. This matter was mentioned last session and I am not going to go into it in detail. But today the burden is bearing down too heavily on the people who own land. After all, we are not educating acres; we are educating people. The school taxes on some farm land have reached such a height that people are being forced to abandon them as farm lands. I say again that we must make up our minds whether we want to eat or not. Let us do what we can. I understand that federal aid has been extended to universities and to technical schools with regard to the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans. Let us do what is right in this matter.

I also want to make reference to the announcement made by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) a year or so ago to the effect that municipalities would be given grants in lieu of taxes where there was a concentration of federal property in those municipalities. That announcement sounded good, but that is all there is to it. As to results, they are nil.

There is one other matter to which I wish to refer before I take my seat. I regret that the hon. member for London (Mr. Jeffery) is not in his seat. The other day I saw a news story in which he is reported to have said that the runways at Crumlin would be extended. I want to point out what I said, as reported in Hansard of March 14, 1950, at page 753:

The runways at the London airport are not long enough to permit these North Stars to land. They have been able to go everywhere in the world but to London, Ontario. The newly acquired jet F-86 is not able to land at that airport, and so it will not be available to the student pilots who are being taught at the R.C.A.F. station there.

I am glad that the hon. member reads my speeches and receives some inspiration from them.

At the same time I also mentioned the need for emergency power there, because it was at that time that the Dow plane crashed and killed the pilot. I also hope that the anxiety of the hon. member for London (Mr. Jeffery) and his efforts towards increasing the length of the runways at London are more successful than his bid to get a grant from the minister for the arena at London.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. G. Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture):

The Address-Mr. Gardiner we would likely have 8 million pounds surplus on May 1. Those who had arranged for the importation said that they thought we would just about break even and that we would need to have the 4J million pounds at the end of the dairy year in order to carry over.

Well, we examined the figures, examined the records, and we finally agreed that if we were correct a year ago when we had discussions in this house with regard to butter, and when member after member on the other side of the house got up and accused this government of having too big a supply of butter, a surplus that was going to cause us trouble, then if that were correct and the figures we have now are correct and the figures the companies have now are correct, we were almost bound to have between 7 million and 8 million pounds of butter at the end of the year.

The next thing that was said by the companies was: We have the butter; we have purchased the butter and while it is not yet loaded, if it is going to be here toward the end of February or the middle of March, when it is expected it will be required, it will have to be loaded early in February. So they desired to have the consent of the government to have the butter brought in in view of the fact that it had been purchased.

We were not so much concerned about the amount of butter, because after all it was only 4,500,000 pounds or 4J days' supply, as we were concerned about establishing the position with regard to butter coming to this country from New Zealand. Practically all the distributors of butter must come to the government for butter at this time of year. They have been distributing their own butter up until now. We purchased 34 million pounds of butter last summer and we began the distribution of it about the beginning of December. So in January the distributors must come to the government in order to secure their supplies of butter. All four of these concerns must get butter from us day by day from now until the time this shipment comes from New Zealand or they will have little or no butter to distribute.

We said to them: You are going to require butter; and they agreed with that statement. The arrangements which were finally made after the discussions were that for every pound of butter we supplied to these four companies between now and the time the butter arrives we will get back one pound when the butter does arrive. In other words, the pounds are delivered to the dairy board to be distributed to all those who require it from that time on and from one end of Canada to the other so that none will be dealt with any differently from the others. I should like

to tell the hon. member who was making sneering remarks with regard to Canada Packers a few moments ago that Canada Packers were the first to consent to the arrangement. They stated they were anxious to co-operate in every possible way.

I think that will indicate that in so far as the butter coming here is concerned it is to be handled in a manner which will be in the interests, not only of the producer but of the consumer as well, in order to see to it that butter prices are not forced higher than they should be forced between now and the time the new butter comes.

The other question which was of greater importance than any of these matters, in the light of the fact that the amount involved is not very great, was the establishment of the position which existed here earlier with regard to butter. I shall not go back over the whole record which I have placed on Hansard. But the press from time to time have wanted to know why they did not know about certain things long ago. I suggest that if they had read Hansard they would have known all about this long ago.

The facts are these. Away back in 1931 the duty on butter was eight cents per pound under the British preferential, 12 cents per pound under the intermediate tariff, and 14 cents per pound under the general tariff. The duty remained at those levels until the time of the Geneva conference when the general rate was reduced from 14 cents to 12 cents. The duty is still 12 cents per pound on butter coming into this country from anywhere else but within the British empire.

The rate of duty on butter from New Zealand and Australia is three cents per pound lower than the British preferential rate which was put on back in 1931. It is five cents per pound and as a result of its being five cents per pound it was agreed by both New Zealand and Australia that the consent of Canada be obtained before shipment is made. My friends in the opposition should be claiming credit for this because it was done by Mr. Bennett, who had them agree that for thirty days he could place conditions on shipments of butter to this country from either New Zealand or Australia in order to have an understanding with regard to its distribution before it was landed in this country. His method of dealing with the situation in 1933 when butter was purchased, as this butter has been purchased, without the consent of the government and sent to this country, was to arrange when it was halfway across the ocean at the beginning of March that it would be placed in bond for thirty days when it arrived in Canada.

The Address-Mr. Gardiner

Immediately there was a communication from New Zealand asking to have the butter released and he suggested the conditions under which it was to be released. Those conditions were that he put on a heavy dumping duty which made it impossible for persons to make undue profits as a result of bringing butter here under that situation. That condition continued in just exactly that way to 1938. In 1938 when we were drawing up new agreements with New Zealand certain understandings were reached, one of which is referred to in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) on January 26, 1951, which accounts for what was done on January 27, 1951.

Early in the fall I had some discussions with Mr. Hislop, the High Commissioner for New Zealand. He came in to make his first call when he came from New Zealand and broached the subject of selling butter to Canada. I intimated to him that there was an understanding between New Zealand and Canada with regard to the importation of butter into this country, and that understanding would be carried out if it were suggested that any butter was to come. I said that so far as we could see at that time we did not think it advisable for them to be considering the sale of butter here as we did not think we would require it this year.

As is stated in this letter, I called him, I think on January 3, and let him know what had happened, namely, that a sale had been made. My understanding is that he did not know anything about this butter having been sold here up until the time that I discussed it with him. He inquired into the whole matter and finally wrote to the Prime Minister on January 26, and this is part of what he said in that letter:

In July, 1938, during negotiations for the renewal of trade agreements between New Zealand and Canada, Canada agreed to remove the exchange dumping duty which was then being applied to New Zealand butter but asked for an assurance that if and when, in the opinion of the Canadian government, shipments of butter threatened the interests of Canadian producers, the New Zealand government would restrict shipments to reasonable and satisfactory proportions. New Zealand gave this assurance and there was an understanding that should any difficulty arise the matter would form the subject of consultations with a view to arriving at a mutually satisfactory agreement.

That is the agreement which has been on the records ever since 1938. It was still there, and since that was acknowledged by the representative of the government of New Zealand the Canadian, government took action which removed any restrictions that might have been imposed so far as New Zealand butter was concerned until the question had been discussed with the prime minister, Mr. Holland, who was on the way to this country

at that time. When he came, as has been reported in the press, he agreed that this understanding was still to continue. That is the only matter that we had in mind in carrying on the discussions and the negotiations until the records were made complete. The records having been made complete, the situation is that we have control of the butter, and New Zealand is not sending any more butter here if we object to its coming, or until such time as we have reached an understanding as to what butter should come.

Coming back to the stories that have been told with respect to the situation within the government itself, I stated at the beginning that the discussions took place on the 28th of December. It has been suggested in many of the statements that have been made, and suggested in questions asked on the floor of the house, that other senior members of the government were not here, certain things had been done, senior members of the government return, and certain other things are done. All the senior members of the government were here on the 28th of December when we reached an understanding with regard to the handling of the butter situation.

As every member of the house knows, I was acting prime minister from that time until about the 17th of January. During that period of course the question did come up for discussion, but no action was taken in any council meeting with regard to the matter while anyone was absent from Ottawa. The understandings were reached before other members of the government went away at the beginning of the year and when they came back were acted upon when I was not here myself. The order in council passed on the 24th day of January was passed when I was not here but it carried out the undertakings that were given on December 28, and carried them out in full. The government had decided that, while the other ministers were away, if it were necessary I could have the right to issue permits in order to prevent butter from coming to Canada, not from New Zealand because we have this other control on New Zealand, but from the Argentine or anywhere else. By the time it became necessary to discuss it later on the necessity for such permits, so far as the Argentine or any other country was concerned, had disappeared, and the fact is that the government withdrew the order in council.

What I should like to say to the house and to the country is that all that means is that the statement made at the beginning of the year after the meeting of December 28 has been proven correct by everything that has happened, namely, that if it is necessary at

The Address-Mr. Gardiner any time to have the right to issue permits in order to avoid difficulties arising which should not arise then the government will see to it that that authority is there. But there is no reason for anything being done about butter between now and next December. Reason for a permit never does exist until December of any particular year, and the reason for its being in existence is completely gone by at least the middle of February, and practically altogether by the beginning of February. The reason for that is obvious. It takes more than a month for butter to come here from New Zealand. No one is going to ship butter to this country in the middle of February, without any previous knowledge with regard to it, if it is not going to be here until the middle or end of March. Shortly after the first of April our farmers are themselves producing butter as fast as we are eating it.

In other words, the time for control is only a period of about two and a half months at the outside, and the control that is needed only needs to exist for about two months in order to make it effective. We had that control for as long as we required it, and no doubt if there was any reason for having it at any other time we would have it again. That is the story in relation to butter.

I come now to sugar beets. I have in my hand the document which I had when I was at Chatham. I have here the figures which were produced at that time with regard to both soya beans and sugar beets. I think the report which appeared in the London Free Press, and from which my friend read, is a report of a press conference and not a report of my speech. Therefore the report of the two may not necessarily be the same, but nevertheless the facts in connection with the two occasions are the same. I am not going to attempt to correct the figures which were read from the report. I think the gentleman reporting must have been just listening and then afterwards made up the report as best he could, because at no time in that discussion did I make any reference whatsoever to the cost of sugar beet pulp being $7.20 or $7.80 in Ontario.

I recited something which probably the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) may remember. I said in the press conference-not in my speech-that I recalled my first experience with sugar beets. It had been in the office of the minister of finance, the Hon. C. A. Dunning, the first year that I was here. I said that one of the members making representations at the time was the hon. member for Lethbridge, and that he had used a figure which I said I was using from memory. I said that I might be a little out but

I did not think I was very far wrong. I said that the figures given by him at that time were that the cost of producing sugar beets in the province of Ontario was somewhere between $4 and $5 a ton, the cost of producing in Alberta was something over $7 a ton, and that therefore certain things possibly would require to be done in connection with sugar beets in one section of the country that were not required in another section.

I just recite that here. It has no bearing on the question raised a few minutes ago except that those are the figures used in the London newspaper report. They were not used in my speech. They were not used in any other way but in that discussion, and had no relationship whatsoever to costs at present.

Coming back to the discussion, one of the reporters at that meeting was determined that he was not going to discuss with me sugar beets, soya beans or anything of that kind. First of all he wanted to discuss the question of selective service, and I said, "Well, that is not my responsibility. The house is going to meet tomorrow. The speech from the throne may say something about it. I do not think this is the proper place for me to say anything about it." Therefore I did not say anything. Then he said, "Haven't you any personal views on the matter?" I said, "Yes, I have, but I cannot think of any place where I would be less likely to express them than here."

Another matter he wanted to discuss was the control of prices, and I said that was not particularly my subject either at the moment. He excused himself, left the meeting, and we went on with the discussion about other matters later.

We were in the middle of this beet discussion when he left; and the question that had been asked me just before he left was in what cash crop I thought the farmers in that area ought to increase their production. My reply was soya beans. He asked if I would not add sugar, and I replied that I would not; that I would recommend soya beans. Then one or the other asked whether I would say they should reduce the acreage of sugar, and I replied, "No, I have not said that."

That was about all the discussion which took place at that time. When I was speaking to them after lunch I thought perhaps I had better deal with the subject, so I picked up this document, the current review of agricultural conditions in Canada, and turned to the subject of soya beans at page 100. There it says that the acreage in soya beans increased from 103,000 acres in 1949 to 142,000 acres in 1950, representing an increase of

36 per cent over 1949 and an acreage 196 per cent greater than the 1943-47 average. This increase resulted in part from the introduction of new varieties, which has extended production over wider areas.

At that point I took a great deal of credit to the department for having produced these varieties; I think you would expect that. However, if you wish to read a proper report of what was said, it appears in the Chatham newspaper, which I do not think is a supporter of this government. That report is very complete, without pretending to quote me word for word. In that report they say I gave Mr. Bennett credit for having converted me to the idea that soya beans ought to be produced in the southwestern part of Ontario. That was during my first session here. I am sure the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) will remember the speech by the late Lord Bennett, who had just been down through the United States and had looked into the possibilities of soya beans. I have never heard a better explanation of what can be done with soya beans than was given in this house on that occasion. I went directly from this chamber to my department and asked my officials about it. I asked what could be done to speed up research and find varieties of soya beans that would grow at least in the southwestern part of Ontario, and perhaps elsewhere in Canada. We have been trying it out in Brandon and other places as well since that time.

The night after I was in Chatham I was at the agricultural college in Michigan and when I mentioned to the officials there that we were growing soya beans across the lake they immediately said, "We must get in touch with your research men to find out what varieties they can grow there." In other words we have been doing a job on the soya bean. So I told these people they could increase their soya bean acreage, and I gave the reasons. I told them we only grew half the soya beans we used in Canada at the present time, even with the increase of 36 per cent last year, and that we were not using them for one-tenth of the purposes the late Lord Bennett told us they could be used for. We have been using them largely for feed, and a few other things; but with all the other uses to which they could be put there was practically no production limit to the amount of soya beans that could be marketed in this country.

That was what I told them. Then these people wanted to know if sugar beets would not be just as good. I turned up the records

The Address-Mr. Gardiner and pointed out that in 1950 we had 102,000 acres in sugar beets, an increase of 18,500 acres over 1949 and of 46,000 acres over 1948. There were increases in acreage in all producing provinces, the largest percentage increase being reported from Quebec. Then I went on to suggest that we were discussing commodities in an area organized on the basis of commodities; and may I say right here that in Kent county they have the best organization I have seen anywhere in Canada on the basis of commodities.

I went on to tell them that, as far as Ontario is concerned, most of the sugar beets are grown in that area. I told them they had 33,700 acres on an average between 1935 and 1939, which was during the first four years I was in this house. Then I told them that during the period 1943-47 they had cut down their acreage to 16,700, and in 1948 had brought it up only to 18,400, while in 1949 they had 34,200 acres which was only 500 acres more than the 1935-39 average. Then I went on to read what is contained in this report:

Refining equipment in Manitoba and Quebec will be operating near capacity this season. A slight increase in acreage is needed to fully utilize the plant capacity in Ontario and Alberta.

After reading that I said I was not going to give them the same advice with regard to sugar beets that I had given with regard to soya beans, that they should go ahead and increase their acreage without limit. I said I was going to ask them to examine the records, not only in this country but elsewhere, in order to determine for themselves whether or not they should increase their acreage in sugar beets. I called to their attention the fact, which members from that section of Ontario will know, that for a period of time we had a very difficult time in connection with the marketing of three products, tobacco, white beans and sugar. The producers of tobacco solved their problem by having their own marketing board set up under an Ontario act. That board handles all the tobacco, and we have had no trouble in connection with tobacco since the early part of the war. I reminded them that their own board had asked them to reduce the acreage of burley tobacco, and that they had done so exactly in accordance with the request of that board. As a result their tobacco was being marketed and they were not finding it necessary to come to Ottawa for any help. So I suggested that they might find a way out in connection with sugar by doing the same thing; that their board would be able to examine conditions in the southern part of the United States, in Cuba and other

The Address-Mr. Gardiner countries where sugar is produced from sugar cane, and compare conditions there with conditions here.

I did advise them, it is true, not to listen to the agitation which might be carried on by some interested parties to go on and greatly increase that acreage, until they had all the facts. I advised them to organize as the tobacco people had and then to follow the advice they might be given by their own board. At the same time I emphasized that they should increase their acreage until they got it up to the capacity of their plant, and that then they should make a careful check to determine whether there should be any further increase. If anyone in the house has a better suggestion as to what they should have been told, I should like to know what it is, because all we want to do is help them. So I was surprised in listening to the radio this morning to hear it said I had suggested that they should cut down on their acreage. I immediately sent this wire:

Mr. Eugene King,

Chairman, Ontario Beet Growers Association,

Royal York Hotel,

Toronto, Ontario.

I learned from the radio this morning that certain misinformed executives . . .

They had called me misinformed, so I thought I might return the compliment.

. . . stated to your meeting that I had suggested that "beet acreage should be reduced". I was discussing acreage in Ontario and particularly in Kent only at Chatham and at no time suggested that either there or elsewhere should beet acreage be reduced. I stated sugar beet acreage should be increased in Kent sufficiently to take up the capacity of the plant now there and that if any change is suggested the producers themselves should through their own producer organization check world conditions related to sugar before further increasing. I recited reductions in acreage in the past and recent increases but at no time stated anything which would justify anyone saying I suggested decreases.

I assume that telegram will be placed before the meeting.

While my hon. friend was speaking I started to read another report which appeared in the local press concerning the same thing, and which I think you will agree is not very far from what was stated here. This report appeared in the Chatham Daily News and is a running record which the reporter made. This is what he says I said:

"For a time beets declined in this district because farmers found that soybeans paid much better. It is just lately that the acreage has been big enough to run two plants, and already some farmers are beginning to question the wisdom of growing too many beets."

"We should always remember," he emphasized, "that this is not the natural country in which to produce sugar."

I may say that I read in one of the other papers that I had said beet sugar. I did not say "beet sugar", I said "sugar" as this report states. The report continues:

"They can make it cheaper to the south and are able-whether because of slave labour or some other factor-to sell at cheaper prices."

"We need enough beets to keep the plants we have operating and the companies say they are running slightly below capacity-but it would be just as well not to be led into something which may involve a big risk."

That is just in accordance with what I have said. This report is just about as true a report as one can get of ten minutes of a speech summarized in a few sentences. The record is there for anyone who desires to read it. I find it difficult to understand why so many people are trying to create so much difficulty in connection with everything that is said and done these days.

On one of the occasions when I was speaking recently a very bright young fellow whom I had never seen before-I do not know to what political party he may belong -came to me with a copy of my speech in his hand. I had read it. He said "Would it be proper for me to infer when you said this you meant that?" I said, "You have a copy of the speech in your hand, why not print it; I read it." He said, "We are asked to get inference stories, and if you would not mind I should like you to give me one." I said, "I do mind; that is what I said, that is what I wanted to say, and that is what I want the public to know. If you will print it, I shall be very much pleased." If we could get that type of reporting on everything we say, no matter where we say it, it would be a lot better for everyone. I say that with regard to reports inside this house as well as outside of it. It is just as well to have a report of what you did say and let the people draw their own inferences if they wish to do so. We usually try to express ourselves clearly.

The hon. member said a lot of things to which I shall not attempt to reply. He just said them, and then went away and left them, so to speak. There was one remark, however, that I cannot leave unanswered. It had to do with the prices of food now as compared with the prices of food some time ago. The suggestion was made that there was a much wider margin somewhere, but the farmer did not get his share. Well, that may be true, but when the figures were quoted I am sure my friend will agree when I say that at the time I was first discussing this question in this house beef on the hoof was

worth six cents a pound. I should like you to look at what you would get lor six cents now.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

Yes, but the farmer is not getting his share.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

My friend says the farmer is not getting his share. All I have to say to that is that he is getting a very much larger chunk than he ever got before, whether it is his share or not.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

It takes a larger chunk to pay for what he has to buy.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Yes, it takes a larger chunk to pay for what he has to buy. I do not know whether the member for Middlesex East (Mr. White) was trying to outdo my friends in that corner, but I find it a little difficult to follow them. I have sat in this house for fifteen years, and that takes me through seventeen sessions, listening to their representatives talk about low prices, not only for farm products but low prices for everything, which meant low wages. There was a lot of reference to the terrible times in the thirties because of the depression, and the fear that they have that we are going to return to that condition. Recently they started going up and down this country saying that we must have controls in order to cut prices down, and I have heard them say in order to put wages down, in spite of the fact that some people in the house have been accusing them of not including wages. Some of their leaders have included wages.

What I have said to them in reply when I have been outside of the house I want to say now inside the house. I have never known a time when people were prosperous when prices and wages were not going up. Prices and wages go down when we are going to have a depression. I find it difficult to understand why my friends spent all the years of their existence as a political party building up the idea that returns should be higher. I am sure my friends-Social Credit-a little further down will not agree with this reducing idea, because they have always said that we ought to have more of the medium of exchange to spend. You only get greater spending power by having higher prices and higher wages. Farmers get greater spending power by having higher prices. Fishermen get greater spending power by having higher prices. Labourers get greater spending power by having higher wages. I am quite satisfied if our friends get out of the way, and let the Liberal party take the course it has always taken throughout history of being

The Address-Mr. Ferguson the real leader and defender of labour and the farmers, the country will prosper, Mr. Speaker.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

Mr. Speaker, would the minister give the date of the agriculture quarterly from which he quoted?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

It is dated October, 1950, volume 2.

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PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. H. Ferguson (Simcoe North):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the mover (Mr. McMillan) and seconder (Mr. Breton) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

Having come from a legal family, I have always had impressed vividly on my mind the picture of justice in which she is blindfolded, holding a scale in one hand. This means that nothing will change the balance but a consideration of the facts.

I cannot help mentioning a recent occurrence. It involves a man who sought refuge in this country that is known as Canada, the home of the free. Count Jacques de Bernon-ville, apparently driven from his own country and finding it necessary to seek a place of refuge, sought freedom and protection here in the great land of the free, Canada. Apparently he had been tried or would have been tried in his own country by a court greatly tinged with the ideals of communism and dispensing justice as we know communist justice. That man came to this country and has lived here as a law-abiding citizen. Just recently our country has seen fit to inform the people of Canada that, according to our immigration laws, he is going to be forced to go back to his own country, to be tried by a court that we hope will be fair. But a man would have to stretch his imagination a great deal to believe that France is at the present time in a position to give that man an absolutely fair trial. I believe that Canada could have balanced the scales of justice more equally by giving that man protection for a little longer time, until there can be no semblance of doubt about the fairness of the trial he will receive, particularly when we have impressed on our minds every minute of the day the kind of fair trial that poor soul may expect to get in his homeland of France if the taint of communism is not entirely wiped out from the minds of the people who are trying him. I do not think this is the time for that man to be sent back to his own country.

The speech from the throne contained suggestions about things that might be done in Canada, that should be done and could have been done but that apparently have not been done. The speech was not enlightening

248 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Ferguson with regard to what the people, who are anxious to find out about various important matters, could expect from this government in the near future. For instance, in this house on many occasions there have been discussions about a pension of some kind for permanently bedridden or crippled Canadians, men, women and children; but to date I and the majority of the citizens of Canada have not the vaguest idea what this government intends to do to provide help for people who find themselves unable to help themselves or to provide the necessary wherewithal to live. I believe that is a question that deserves immediate attention on behalf of the people of Canada. As the representatives of the people of Canada this government should immediately do something about that situation. We have pensions for the blind and for the aged. I want hon. members to pause for a moment and say to themselves, "Have I not seen some person who is crippled through disease and who now finds himself in the position of being utterly unable to provide himself with a livelihood?" We feel that when people reach the age of seventy-and this is true of many people when they are less than seventy years of age-it is possible for a human being to find himself or herself in a position of being unable to provide the necessities of life. That is what the old age pension is for. Surely the same sympathetic and common-sense feeling should be displayed toward any person in Canada who is not as fortunate as are we members of the House of Commons and, thank goodness, the great majority of Canadians; I refer to the person who finds himself unable to provide for himself. We who enjoy health and the wherewithal with which to provide sustenance for ourselves should gladly provide adequate pensions not only for the aged and the blind but for those who are crippled and bedridden and cannot provide for themselves.

Another matter to which I wish to refer is that of civil servants' pensions. That item should be looked into by this government in an ordinary common-sense manner. When civil servants have retired on a pension agreed upon at the time of their service but, owing to the increased cost of living, the pension is not adequate to provide a decent, respectable living for people who have given years of diligent and valuable service to the people of Canada, surely that is another item that should be gone into thoroughly by this government without further procrastination. In doing so, I am sure they would have the approval of all decent-thinking Canadians.

The housing situation is now apparently taking a turn for the worse, owing to the

actions of the government in recent weeks. We may find an increased shortage of houses which are greatly in demand and highly necessary, because of the fact that there is an increasing shortage of materials. Yet only a few weeks ago I read in a daily paper a report to the effect that a $100,000 bank building is to be erected in the city of Hull. I cannot conceive that there is an actual shortage of building materials when a restraint has not been put on such edifices as bank buildings. One bank alone in Canada owns approximately 600 branch banks. We have seen the banks mushroom up here and there, debating amongst themselves whether one bank would settle in this town and another settle in that one. Irrespective of price, they bought the finest properties in all the towns and villages throughout Canada. Surely we believe today that the banks in Canada have adequate storage space for the vast hoards of money which they are constantly garnering in. Surely they could sacrifice their interests, for a period of time, in favour of those who need homes, and could postpone the erection of what I believe are absolutely unnecessary new bank buildings. I believe that the erection of a bank building is worse than the erection of a moving picture theatre. I believe that people need entertainment but I believe that some curb should be put on the erection of such absolutely unnecessary buildings as bank buildings, when it is a matter of making a choice between them and homes for people.

Another most important matter which apparently seems to be coming to the fore is that of immigration. In this house over the past four or five years, I have repeatedly advocated that a stepping-up be given to this government's efforts on immigration. On one occasion I can remember the then prime minister giving the shipping situation as the excuse for not bringing immigrants to this country. We needed all the boats to bring our soldiers back from far-off battlefields. There was a shortage of shipping space. We could not bring in the immigrants we would like to.

I also recall, as has been mentioned today previously, there has been a continuous stream of ministers of immigration. It seems to be one department of the government that no person cared much about. They do not seem to desire to survive. They do not care whether they do or not.

I do not believe that all of the muddling of the present immigration situation in Canada is due to the present minister. I believe he took on his shoulders a situation that was worse than deplorable, owing to a lack of

government interest, and also to government mismanagement. Some things get down so low that there is little life in them. It is almost impossible for a man like the present minister to revive the department.

Only the day before yesterday the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Laing) disclosed quite clearly that he has not been reading very much about the activities of that particular department, or he has not been paying much attention to the appeals from the opposition for immigrants. He said that apparently immigration these days was taking about the usual course that it had followed over the past fifty years. I should like to remind him that that is not so. Sir Clifford Sifton in 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, and 1908 stimulated immigration for the Liberal party. At that time the Liberal party did just about the greatest job on immigration that has ever been done in Canada. From that period on they have held office in Canada as a government, I am sorry to say, and most Canadians will be sorry also, except for a few short periods. Since that time the Liberal government has never carried on or attempted to carry on the job that was carried on by Sir Clifford Sifton.

There are members in this House of Commons today, and others who hold high positions in Ottawa, who are the sons of immigrants brought out during that period. Their parents were of the right kind of stuff. They produced the right kind of children, and they have been a credit to Canada. They have set an example that could well be followed by many people who lived in this country prior to the 1900's.

In my part of Canada, Simcoe county, there are, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to say, tobacco farmers who have come from practically every part of Europe. They are diligent, hard-working, thrifty people, men who have produced wealth from the almost desert sands of that small section of Simcoe county. They have produced millions of dollars' worth of tobacco, the finest type and quality of tobacco produced almost anywhere in the world. The people who came there from Austria, Germany, Holland, France, Belgium and many other European countries are not afraid to bend their shoulders to the yoke and work with meagre, insufficient tools, and produce, by the sweat of their brow on lands that a few years ago produced nothing and were considered farms of no value, millions of dollars' worth of produce for the people of Canada. Not only that, but they set an example in the harmonious way in which they live. That harmonious way of

The Address-Mr. Ferguson living is appreciated not only in Canada but elsewhere, and is an example for the entire world.

Several months ago I was driving along the highway and I noticed that one of the tobacco kilns had' commenced to burn. Somehow or other it had caught fire. Within a very few minutes trucks and automobiles were transporting practically every nationality in Europe to that one fire to help. Without any hesitation the tobacco producers, irrespective of religion, irrespective of the origin of the owner of the kiln, came there to help. That is the kind of spirit that spells unity. These are the kinds of people we want in this country to help build up the great Canada that my forefathers envisaged when they came to this country 130 or 140 years ago. They contributed their share in order to create a Canada that would be worth while and would be open to other people to migrate to and become good Canadians.

Mr. Stalin and our communist friends must get a great deal of solace out of the treatment we have handed to people in foreign lands. I refer to the way in which we have treated people in the past ten years who wanted to come to this country. On the one hand we called them friends. We have said: You belong to countries outside the iron curtain; we are your friends. And yet until recently we were at war with the Germans. We would not let them come to this country because we were at war with them. This government took the German soldiers who had been taken prisoners, who had paid the penalty for fighting for their own country, and sent them back to pacify Russia. We sent them back regardless of the fact that these men wanted to stay and do their share in building up this great country of ours. Now if they attempt to come to Canada they will pay through the nose. They will pay an amount for their passage which is almost prohibitive. Because of the amount they will have to pay for a passage it will be almost impossible for them to come here to seek employment in our factories and on our lands. Some effort should be made to reduce the cost to an immigrant of coming to this country.

We have been endeavouring to show the correct path to the Chinese, but any Chinese living in this country and who have families in their own land love their wives and children just as dearly as we love our wives and children. But if the Chinaman in my town of Collingwood wishes to bring his wife and two children to this land of liberty, the Dominion of Canada, it will cost him

The Address-Mr. Ferguson

approximately one thousand dollars. I suggest that some form of transportation be made available so that these people, if they wish to, can travel on a steamship not any better than but just as good as lhat which was good enough for our soldiers to travel overseas and good enough for them to return in. I am sure that if the cost of the passage and the transportation was reduced we would get more of these people to come here and be enlightened and thereby enjoy our freedom,

and we would have a great improvement in our immigration numbers.

On motion of Mr. Ferguson the debate was adjourned.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I move that the house do now adjourn.

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Motion agreed to, and the house adjourned at 6.02 p.m.



February 12, 1951


February 9, 1951