April 29, 1953

LIB
CCF
LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

-they can get for the dollars they have in their pockets to spend, and every farmer knows it.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

Here is what the federation of agriculture, which represents the farmers of this country, had to say about it:

With this thought in mind we believe that the evolving of a more adequate and more permanent national agricultural policy is the challenge which now faces, not agriculture alone, but all governments and all economic groups and the Canadian people as a whole.

They do not say that we have no problems and that we are better off than we ever were. Here is what they say about the present trends. This is the Canadian Federation of Agriculture speaking in their annual presentation to the cabinet. They say:

The seriousness of the downward trend was clearly indicated by the Hon. Mr. Abbott, Minister of Finance, in the presentation of his recent budget, when he reported the preliminary figure for net farm income for 1952 to be $1,861 million, a decrease of 12 per cent from 1951. In contrast with this decrease, official figures show that during the same period, farm costs rose 4-8 per cent.

I ask the hon. member for Rosthern who knows the agricultural position in this country better, he or the Canadian Federation of Agriculture?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

They are speaking for the farmers.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

The hon. member can make his own speech after I am through.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

He will have an opportunity to do so then.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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PC
LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

What are the Canadian

Federation of Agriculture asking with regard to prices at the present time, with regard to the position which the farmers find themselves in as well as with regard to butter prices? Here is what they say on page 5 of their brief to the government:

With the cost of cream production increased by some 15 per cent since the present floor price of 58 cents lb. for butter was established in 1950, we urge that this floor price be now increased to 63 cents lb. and established for a two-year period.

The government are continuing the present 58-cent price for a further two years. I do not know what the result of that will be; I do know what the result was two years ago when the Canadian Federation of Agriculture asked for a floor price of 58 cents and the government decided in their wisdom that

53 cents was enough. I know that as a result of that floor the production of butter dropped that year to the point where we had to import about 10 million pounds of butter into an agricultural country which should be able to produce everything we can consume in this country and some for the rest of the world. That is the result when the government fails to establish reasonable floor prices.

At the beginning of this year the government dropped the floor price of pork from 26 cents to 23 cents a hundred pounds. I know the minister will say that we are going to reach a balanced position in Canada where we shall be able to consume all that we produce. We may even go farther than that, because there has been a great decrease in the breeding of sows in this country as a result of the drop in the floor price of pork. That means that we might go back to a position where we would be importing pork into Canada, because of the shortsighted policy of refusing to place reasonable floor prices under agricultural products.

Reasonable floor prices are a protection not only to the producer but to the consumer in this country, because a reasonable floor price means that the producer will continue to produce enough to satisfy the market so you will not get violent fluctuations in prices. When the government fail to set reasonable floor prices under agricultural products they have not the interest of either the producer or the consumer of this country at heart. There should be a floor price which will not necessarily encourage the producer to overproduce, but will at least give him an incentive to supply our own market. Personally I think they should have incentive enough to produce more than just enough to supply our own market.

We are living in the kind of world today where we cannot hope to sit back and take the selfish position where we are going to produce only enough for ourselves and forget about the rest of the world. We are spending over $2 billion on defence, and we are not spending one dollar in economic aid for every $100 that we are spending on defence. I heard on the radio just last night an address by Mr. Hugh Keenleyside, our representative at the United Nations, given before a United States audience, in which he said to them what he has said in Canada, namely that in this country we are not playing our fair part in the world today in combating communism, when we are sitting back and spending $100 for arms and spending only $1 for economic aid. The quickest way to provide more in the way of economic aid is to produce more food in this country. Surely we should have a government which is far-

Supply-Agriculture

sighted, which has the interests of freedom at heart, and which wishes to see a world in which we can have peace and plenty. If they have that interest at heart then I want to say that the surest way to achieve it is to see that agriculture in this country is given an opportunity to produce to capacity. That industry does not want to sit back at half production.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

I would say yes, produce for use. I would say that we are only going to have the type of world in which we can have peace when we do produce for use.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

When the only incentive to produce is profit, people are selfish enough that they will take the profit and it does not matter to them what happens to the rest of the world. It does not matter what happens to their own neighbours. If that is the situation, then I say that you are not building a>

world in which we can have peace, and I am not afraid to go on any platform in Canada and say so. I have said it before in this house and I am going to say it again.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB

April 29, 1953