It is a very round figure. If it can be substantiated in any way I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that it is determined by the fact of including possibly certain cold storage subsidies which were paid to cold storage plants in Nova Scotia. Of course these subsidies are paid to cold storage plants in the constituency of the hon. member for Charlotte and in the constituency of every hon. member of the house, because they are paid under the act. They are fixed by statute and they have no reference to assistance whatsoever.
I suspect that the exact amount paid was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $14 million, instead of $20 million. Of that $14 million account must be taken of the fact that much was paid out for processed fruit, which afterwards was sold by the government and certain values reclaimed. In other words, the figure of $14 million is the gross figure, and the net amount paid by the Dominion of Canada on that account would be substantially less.
Then again account also must be taken of the fact that this expenditure was made for the benefit of the farmers of the valley. Of course they received the money. They received assistance, and they appreciated it. There is no gainsaying that fact. It also must be remembered, and I am sure the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, who is here, and other farmers from Ontario, recognize the fact that this money was paid out in part to prevent the destruction of the markets in Quebec and Ontario, which otherwise would have followed had the apples of the valley not received any assistance and been shipped up here to be sold at whatever price could be obtained. When you take these figures and take that situation into consideration, Mr. Speaker, I do suggest that at least it is hardly fair-it is not accurate and, in fact, it is entirely inaccurate-to say, first, that $20 million or anything like that sum was paid to the fruit growers of the valley. Secondly, whatever amount was paid was subject to the deductions to which I have referred, and the net balance would be very much less.
Upon rising to take part in the debate I forgot to do what is perhaps a conventional
The Address-Mr. Nowlan task, but one which in my case I am very happy to do. I extend my congratulations to the mover (Mr. George) and the seconder (Mr. Gauthier, Lake St. John) of the address in reply. I would refer particularly, of course, to the hon. member who comes from one of our maritime provinces, but I do congratulate both of them because they maintained the high traditions which have appertained to this procedure throughout the years in this and other parliaments. They maintained those traditions, and reflected credit upon themselves. I am sure their achievement in that regard augurs well for other successful efforts on their part in the future.
Much reference has been made in the debate to the fishing industry of the maritime provinces. We have witnessed the unique experience wherein not only members from the maritimes supporting the government have risen to ask the government to do something for this industry, but also our friends of the Social Credit party and our friends of the C.C.F. party have expressed their desire that some assistance be given to this industry. It is rather encouraging to find such a situation ensuing. Sometimes those of us from the maritime provinces feel that when we speak about maritime problems we are looked upon as parochial politicians whereas if one speaks on behalf of the grain growers . or the wheat growers, or the prairies of the west, he is regarded as a statesman.
It is a matter of satisfaction to know that, whether we be parochial politicians or statesmen, we do have the support of members of all groups and of all parties in this instance. There can be no question that the fishermen have suffered very severe losses from the storms along the Atlantic seaboard which, during the past few months, have been devastating. I know that never in our history has the fishing industry suffered as severely as it has during that period of time. And as was pointed out the other day by the hon. member for Digby-Yarmouth (Mr. Kirk), these men are not in a position to recoup their losses. They are not in a position to go back into the industry. In my own constituency along the bay of Fundy there have been many who have suffered similar losses. It is encouraging to see these members stand in their places in the house and ask for this help. It is encouraging to see government members urge that this action be taken. It is encouraging to see the parliamentary assistant from the province of Nova Scotia endorse this matter, and we do hope that when the estimates come down we will find that provision has been made for these men who have suffered such heavy loss.
But, Mr. Speaker, there is more involved in this than the mere recouping of temporary losses. I was interested to hear the parliamentary assistant speak a moment ago about the failure of the run of haddock at certain points on the Atlantic coast. I did not catch clearly the particular place to which he referred. However, I hear the same complaint in my own constituency.
I noticed in the press the other day that the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Mayhew) and, I presume, the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) had recently negotiated a treaty with the United States dealing with fisheries on the Pacific coast. I can tell you that those of us on the Atlantic coast would appreciate the negotiation of treaties with the United States, in so far as the fisheries of the bay of Fundy are concerned. I am sure the Secretary of State for External Affairs, upon searching his records, will find that there has been an open question as to the status of the bay of Fundy, that is as to whether it is high sea or whether it is not. At the present time we are suffering from inroads by American trawlers coming into the bay of Fundy and failing to comply with the regulations to stay three miles off the coast line. The only way this can be rectified is by negotiation between the Secretary of State for External Affairs in conjunction with his colleague the Minister of Fisheries, and the American government. In St. Mary bay we see inroads of the smaller trawlers. These are matters which require attention of the department, as well as recouping of losses suffered during the storms.
Then we must consider the status of the fishermen generally. The provisions in connection with the sick mariners fund are not satisfactory to the fishermen, and do not give sufficient protection to them. There could and should be some statutory enactment whereby something approaching a workmen's compensation act could be made available for all fishermen. Some such act should be considered by the Department of Fisheries. Then, later on, when we are in committee of supply and are dealing with these estimates, I would hope that the Minister of Fisheries would be in a position to indicate some relief in this connection.
The fishermen down in Digby neck, as we know it, have lost much of their equipment in their processing plants because of the storms. And, more than that, the fishermen of Digby county are suffering from transportation facilities so inadequate that, it is said, they were able to move their fish more satisfactorily 75 years ago than they can
today. There is a crying need for the installation of piers by the federal government and a ferry by the provincial government whereby those fishermen can transport their products to market. It is a crying shame that in this day and age, with the progress we have made, they actually face transportation facilities which, as they say, are more inadequate than those with which they were confronted 60 or 75 years ago.
There is another matter to which I should like to refer. I noticed that the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. McCann) was in his seat a moment ago. I have had some little experience with the Income Tax Act, as it affects farmers and fishermen. There is one section in the act which enables primary producers, whose chief sources of income are derived from farming or from fishing, to average.
It has developed that, despite the fact that they have qualified, and despite the fact that they have fulfilled all the terms of the act, they must fill out the forms or they have been deprived of this privilege afforded them. I know of farmers who, because they were not conversant with the act, did not fill out their applications for averaging until the first day of May, one day after April 30, and they have been deprived of that privilege. If the privilege of averaging is open to these farmers and fishermen, then why should they be deprived of that right because of a technical failure to file an application? I suggest the act should be amended so that automatically they would be given that opportunity, provided they had filed their returns on time, and otherwise complied with the act.
The act also refers to their principal source of income. What does that mean? Is a farmer who has had a complete crop failure to be deprived of his right to average, because of that loss? I am thinking of one farmer who operates a large farm and who has a substantial gross income from it. He also is employed as manager of a small co-operative farmers' packing plant. Over the years his chief source of income has been from his farm; but because a year ago or two years ago he had a total crop failure, an absolute failure-he spent $15,000 or $20,000 for his crop and did not get a cent back-because of that, and because he received a few hundred dollars as manager of this packing plant, the Department of National Revenue ruled that he could not average. He has lost his whole privilege under the five-year scheme because his principal source of revenue for that year came from salary rather than from the farm.
I say that that is an administrative legislation, and is not in accordance with the
The Address-Mr. Nowlan statute. The act says "income"; it does not say "net income". If one wanted to carry that case to the exchequer court, it is possible that the farmer would be able to average. But he cannot do that. I suggest to the house and the minister that some attention should be paid to this situation, and that the farmers and fishermen should have their rights under the section safeguarded in the future.
There is one other point I should like to mention. I am not going to embark upon any discussion of the foot-and-mouth disease. I do not profess to be an expert on this matter, but we had a somewhat similar situation in Nova Scotia to which I wish to draw your attention. Within the last few months there has been an outbreak of Newcastle disease, a disease affecting poultry. This matter has been debated within the last three days in the legislature of Nova Scotia and was referred to by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black) and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) on Friday last.
What happened there? On the advice of the experts in the Department of Agriculture the proprietors of these flocks were advised to inoculate against Newcastle disease. They obtained vaccine from the Department of Agriculture but the flocks which were inoculated with that vaccine developed Newcastle disease. The result was that thousands and tens of thousands of birds had to be destroyed.
We had the unique situation where proprietors of flocks followed the advice of the departmental experts, obtained serum or vaccine, call it what you will, from the department here with which to inoculate their flocks, and yet those same flocks developed the disease. There has been a suggestion of carelessness in this branch of the department in connection with foot-and-mouth disease, and I suggest that there is a real ground for charges of carelessness in this connection.
The farmers have been told and they believe that instead of sterile vaccine being sent down, the department sent down live vaccine. Instead of this vaccine protecting the flocks against the disease, it infected them with the disease. Speaking in the Nova Scotia legislature at Halifax on Friday night the Nova Scotia minister of agriculture, speaking for a Liberal government, charged the Department of Agriculture at Ottawa with being responsible for this disease and with never having attempted to deny it.
That is the situation, yet the proprietors of these flocks have had to accept the commercial value of the birds. That would have been the case with animals slaughtered in
The Address-Mr. Sinnott the west had we not amended the act. I repeat that these men were paid only the commercial value despite the fact that these were breeding flocks, despite the fact that large amounts had been spent on buildings and equipment which had to be destroyed. Many of these men have been, put out of business.
When we come to deal with the estimates I hope it will be found that the government has given some attention to this matter and a formula similar to that adopted in the west will be applied in this case. Instead of being paid the market price of old fowl, these men should be given enough to enable them to re-establish themselves in business. This vaccine did come from the department here and it would appear that it is more responsible in that case than it may have been in some of the others we have discussed.
These are some of the local matters to which I wished to direct the attention of the house at this time. There are no others which I intend to mention at this time. However, since Your Honour is in the chair I would like to say that we regret the fact that, the committee which was appointed last session to deal with the rules of the house having made its report, we are not going to follow certain of its suggestions, particularly the one with respect to the ten o'clock closing hour. Apparently we are not going to follow out that particular suggestion. I do not think it is fair to this house or to hon. members to ask them to sit until eleven o'clock. It just cannot be done.
When this debate is completed I trust that the necessary measures will be taken to provide that at least that part of the suggestion, in which I think there is substantial agreement, will be brought into effect. Otherwise some of us who are getting older are going to wonder just what we will have to do to attain those closing hours.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY