June 1, 1951

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The compensation in Ontario was $16,434.52, and premises quarantined on suspicion numbered 69. The amount paid in Manitoba was $566.75, and premises quarantined on suspicion numbered 7. In Alberta the amount paid was $5,792.10 and premises quarantined on suspicion numbered 15. In British Columbia the amount paid was $842,846.63, and the premises quarantined on suspicion, 75. This makes a total expenditure of $865,640, and premises quarantined on suspicion, 166.

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CCF

Owen Lewis Jones

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

Mr. Jones:

What is the estimate for British Columbia for this year?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The estimate for this year is $250,000, and the figure for British Columbia last year was $842,846.

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CCF

Owen Lewis Jones

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

Mr. Jones:

Is the reduction due to the fact you consider the disease has now been arrested, or are the poultry disappearing?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Yes, we consider that the disease has been arrested. I do not believe we can say that it has been wiped out, but we think it has been arrested.

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Item agreed to. 29. Plant products-seeds, feeds, fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides control, including grant of $40,000 to Canadian Seed Growers Association, $1,282,268.


LIB

John James Smith

Liberal

Mr. Smith (Moose Mountain):

I presume that rust would come under this item 29. In western Canada we have experienced a new rust which I believe is known as B-15. It may not be a new rust, but it is new to us. I believe that possibly in a good many places where frost was blamed for cutting down the yield in Saskatchewan it was not solely due to frost. In my constituency there was grain that was not cut. In the location of my farm, not too far from the Manitoba border, we had no frost and the grain graded between 3 and 4. I know some work has been done in this connection, but could the minister bring us up to date on the plans for handling this B-15?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Chairman, the lab for the development of methods for combating rust is, as my friend knows, in Winnipeg. We are carrying on there as actively as at any time, and all the facts that are to foe known with regard to the development of a new type of rust which attacks the wheat, which up until very recently was considered to be rust-resistant, are known by that lab. They are still conducting experimental work to see

if these types of wheat will prove not to be rust-resistant, and to develop types which will take their place. Activities are being carried on there very intensely, and I think it could be said that everything that can be done is being done.

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LIB

John James Smith

Liberal

Mr. Smith (Moose Mountain):

One further question concerning this rust. I have heard or read that this rust originated in Texas on a barberry bush. I do not know if the minister knows whether or not that is correct; possibly he does. At one time it was said that they could not spray this barberry bush to get rid of the rust, but surely that is not the case. Someone would have done it by this time. Does the minister know if there is anything in that story?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The barberry bush has

alway been a source of rust, a sort of parent plant from which the rust comes. It is a part of the system of combating rust to do away with the barberry plant wherever that can be done. I do not believe it is generally considered that this new rust comes particularly from the barberry bush, although I am not fully informed with regard to that. My officials tell me they do not think it does. It is a new form that is not fully understood at the moment, but every effort is being made to understand it.

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PC

Lewis Elston Cardiff

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cardiff:

Will the minister explain the

$40,000 grant to the Canadian Seed Growers Association?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The grant in 1950-51 was $40,000. The same grant is required for 1951-52. The Canadian Seed Growers Association originated in 1904, and was a national organization controlled by competent seed growers for use in the production of registered seed recognized by the Seeds Act as seed of a legal grade. The association is responsible for (a) registration of crops of the quantity and quality required to provide the basis seed necessary to maintain a satisfactory standard of crops for commercial use; (b) maintenance of accurate records of crop pedigrees and issuing of crop certificates; (c) directing continuous multiplication of foundation and elite stock seed of old and new varieties to serve as the basis for the production of registered crops; (d) the acceptance of varieties for registration; (e) initiating, approving and maintaining standards of purity; (f) preparation and distribution of all distinctions of varieties acceptable for registration; (g) preparation and distribution of information to grower members; (h) holding of itinerant annual meetings to provide an opportunity to group members to meet and discuss association problems.

Supply-Agriculture

Much of the seed improvement in Canadian agriculture in the past forty years can be attributed to the activities of the Canadian Seed Growers Association. The total membership-is my friend interested in this?

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PC

Lewis Elston Cardiff

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cardiff:

No, that is not necessary. I just wondered what it was used for.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

I notice that fertilizers are specifically mentioned in this item. There has been some discussion with respect to fertilizers this evening, but this appears to be the only item in which they are particularly mentioned. I have had some representations from the farmers in my part of Nova Scotia concerning the increased cost of fertilizer. Fertilizer is very important to agricultural production in our part of Canada. We have not the advantage of having the one hundred feet of fertile soil which the minister mentioned there was in his part of Saskatchewan.

Perhaps I had better read what has been placed before me. I was waited upon by the president of the Cumberland county farmers association, Mr. Rae McCunn, the vice-president, Mr. Walton Allan, and the secretary-treasurer, Mr. Carl Embree. After they had had a meeting with the agriculturists in that county, this is what they had to say with respect to fertilizer:

Fertilizer prices are advancing and we believe that one of the main causes of this increase is due to the increase in the price of nitrate of ammonia. After the last war the government sold plants manufacturing this product to private business firms and the prices immediately jumped from $74 to $91 per ton. Through pressure brought about by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture prices dropped back to $74.50 per ton. During the past two or three years prices have steadily climbed until at present this product is costing $92 per ton.

We feel that such price increases are not justified and are due to the fertilizer cartel.

I should like the minister to make a statement with respect to the cost of fertilizer, especially in eastern Canada, with special reference to the representation, that I have just placed before him.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

As I understand the statement that was read, it is to the effect that nitrates were made at low cost during the war, that they were made in plants that were then owned and controlled by the government, that those plants were later disposed of and that the costs have been higher.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

The prices were reduced after the plants were taken over by private interests, and they have since been increased to almost $100 a ton.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

All I can say about the matter at the moment is that it is true that at

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Supply-Agriculture

one time the plants were owned, operated and controlled by the government. As a matter of fact, the one at Calgary was built by the government during the wartime as part of our effort to produce munitions. By some people it was hoped that, when the war was over, the plant would be taken over by the government. This government, however, decided that we did not desire to go into the business of making fertilizer; and the main objective in taking the plant over by anyone would have been at the time to make fertilizer. On behalf of the Department of Agriculture I asked to have the disposal of the plant held up for, I think, six months, in order that I might have an opportunity to interview any parties that might be interested in operating the plant. I took the matter up with the western governments and I took it up with the wheat pools in the west whioh had ways and means of financing projects of that kind. I was finally told by all of them that they were not interested, and so the plants were sold under an option, held by Trail smelters; and it is operated by them, so far as I know, at the present time.

The other plant, which I think was down near Hamilton, was operated for a time by the government as part of our effort in connection with munitions and supplies. It also has since been disposed of to private interests. I do not know whether or not it is correct to say that those private interests are a cartel. I have not made any examination into that aspect of the matter. I do not know whether or not I would be competent to give an opinion. In any event, they are now operating and the product is being sold. I presume the prices given are correct prices in connection with the sale of the product.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

May I ask the minister if -his department, with regard to the prices of fertilizer generally and nitrate of ammonia in particular, is safeguarding the interests of the provinces, especially those of the maritime provinces. As I said earlier, this is an important cost to producers of farm products in eastern Canada. I would presume that the department would be taking some steps to safeguard the farmers and to see that they are protected against exorbitant charges for fertilizer.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

We call attention to complaints that are made with regard to prices. Any complaints that come in are taken up by us with the parties that are responsible for those prices. They generally have the same explanation that we hear from day to day, namely, that costs are up and it is necessary for them to put the price of their product up. That applies pretty well across

the board, no matter what product you are dealing with. I must say that there is not any means that I know of whereby I could control the price, and say that they must charge a certain price for fertilizer.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

I would think the minister or his department should investigate this charge with regard to cartels and safeguard agriculturists against excessive charges being made for a commodity as important as fertilizer. May I ask the minister if any subsidy is being paid by the federal government with respect to the manufacture or distribution of fertilizer, and if there has been any such subsidy paid in former years?

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June 1, 1951