January 25, 1961

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Where were you?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Qu'Appelle):

Was the hon. gentleman in the bulrushes?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

The minister may reply later if he wishes. The hon. gentleman has a great facility for distracting attention and setting up a kind of sideshow.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The minister is one.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

The government has failed to deal with agricultural policies relating to support prices and markets for surplus commodities and in view of its abysmal failure in order to distract attention it has set up this sideshow which is nice entertainment. We are appreciative of it but it is only a sideshow in relation to the great problems facing the agricultural communities.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Qu'Appelle):

Every farmer wants to know where the hon. gentleman was.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

The minister said he was going to raise his sights with respect to getting markets for Canadian wheat. When he did so he got his sights up to a mark 20 million bushels lower than the accomplishment of the former minister of trade and commerce. This inability of the Minister of Agriculture to dispose of the surplus agricultural commodities in the world today condemns the government's over-all agricultural policy.

The third proposal I suggest in this period of depressed markets is farm storage of surplus farm commodities, particularly grain. I suggest that in conjunction with such a policy there should be guaranteed to the grain producers of western Canada an annual quota of eight bushels per specified acre. If the government fails to obtain markets adequate for producers to fulfil this quota then

they should be paid for grain held on the farm. With respect to the difference between the amount sold and that held on the farm they should be paid farm storage as well. That, Mr. Chairman, would be a great step forward in the development of an over-all agricultural policy.

I would suggest that in this resolution providing for the improvement of agriculture generally there should be a provision for national marketing boards to provide, at the producer's request, stability in the assembling, processing and marketing of agricultural products. The government should cease and desist from the policy of tearing down the stabilized marketing system for grain that has been built up by so many years of sacrifice and at such great cost in energy on the part of the people who were supporting it.

The government is wrong and in error in its policy of allowing feed mills of this country literally to steal grain from producers who are in distressed circumstances at prices lower than the Canadian wheat board-

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

Charles Edward Rea (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. The Chair has been quite lenient with the hon. member. He has been wandering all over the general agricultural field, and I would ask the hon. member to stick more to the resolution than he has been doing.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Mr. Chairman, the minister ranged very widely in his discussion. I think you will have to agree that he discussed the whole ambit of the government's agricultural policy. He did not stick to this one resolution. He talked about agricultural credit, he talked about the government's proposed support program, and so on. I am not going to deal at length with other things that I think should be in this program or to deal at length with comments on those other policies. I suggest that since the minister, in introducing this statement, discussed not only the provisions of this motion but other parts of the agricultural program, it is in order for hon. members on this side of the house to make comments, not as the minister did on the adequacy of the government's over-all program but rather on the inadequacy of the government's over-all program.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Before the hon. member proceeds, I should like to support what he has said on the point of order because it will arise in connection with other hon. members over here. I was listening to the hon. member for Assiniboia very carefully. What he was saying was that instead of doing what is recommened in the resolution, certain other things should be done first.

This resolution begins with "It is expedient". Now, surely, the main point that one is asking on this resolution is whether this is expedient or something else is expedient. It seems to me it would be an abridgment of our traditional rights to restrict the discussion as suggested. In any event, it would be an abridgment of our traditional rights to seek to limit us in the way in which the hon. member says the minister was not limited.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Qu'Appelle):

May I speak on the point of order? I should like to support the stand taken by the hon. member for Assiniboia and the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate, for this reason. This is one of the major parts of the government's national agricultural program and can be discussed intelligently only if the whole program can be referred to and discussed in toto. I would suggest it would do great harm to the discussion of this bill at the resolution stage, and certainly at the second reading stage, if we limited the discussion to the narrow terms of this part of the national agricultural program.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

Charles Edward Rea (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

May I say just one thing. Of course, under standing order 59(2) speeches in committee of the whole house must be strictly relevant to the item or clause under consideration. The Chair does not make the rules; the Chair tries to interpret them and the Chair tends to be very lenient in so far as that is possible.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

And the Chair is very fair.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I think we are all in a very generous mood at the moment. While I agree very much with the Chairman, that the rule must be enforced, there is another well-known practice in this house and that is, if there is unanimous agreement, our own procedure is in our own hands. I think, however, on the point of order the minister is correct, that in dealing with such a large part of the government's agricultural policy it is very difficult not to make reference to other parts or, indeed, to make proposals as to additional projects which should be contained in the resolution.

I was pointing out, Mr. Chairman, that I thought there should be provision for national marketing. I want to make it the fifth suggestion. As part of the government's agricultural program a board of livestock commissioners should be established to provide for scientific grading standards to protect farmers' interests in the market. I think that such a board would receive the support of the agricultural community and could do a good deal to ensure that farmers were given fair

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands grades for the products they sell and when given a fair grade get an appropriate price for that grade at that time.

As point six I suggest that if we are to provide for the stabilization of agriculture and for rural development in the world as we know it the government should have the support of this house in all of its efforts to have a workable international food pool established under the United Nations. This is another long term proposal, of course. A working international food pool is essential, not just from the standpoint of the co-ordination of the agricultural industry in exporting nations but it is necessary to the welfare of people in all parts of the world.

The seventh suggestion I have to make is that steps should be taken at an early date to provide that some of our surplus food should be made available by appropriate means to low income groups within our society. At a time when there is widespread unemployment there is naturally a growing demand that the government undertake measures to make surplus Canadian food more readily available to Canadians who have inadequate and low incomes.

At this point, I might say I hope that this government will no longer delay action in making available surplus food from Canada to help starving peoples wherever they may be, and I have special reference to starvation in the Congo at this time.

Point number eight that I have listed here, Mr. Chairman, is an improvement and an extension of the provisions of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act which I think are part and parcel of any kind of a rural redevelopment program. I think the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, which has been on the statute books for many years, is the kind of program that, if developed, will meet loss of income through crop failure much more adequately than the crop insurance scheme that is now on the statute books, a scheme that in the very nature of things will be available for many years to come only to a minority of agricultural producers, that minority being those producers who have few crop failures and therefore can afford to pay the lower rates * of insurance.

The need for support for rural income, the need for the development of an agricultural program, is very great. I want to remind the Minister of Agriculture that in his statement about the program he is putting forward there was no reference to the need of assistance to farmers in the development of a system of adequate farm to market roads. The minister may throw up his hands and say: This has no part in a national government policy. I differ. I think it is time we had a national road policy in this country.

1416 HOUSE OF

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands The United States have had one since 1912 whereby federal money and federal leadership are provided in establishing transcontinental highways and in constructing farm to market roads and roads over which school buses travel.

The cost of roads in rural Canada with its diminishing population is one of the heaviest burdens that exist for farmers today. Taxes for roads are high, and if the government wishes to do something that will assist the small farmer and will assist the development of rural areas I suggest that this is a provision that cannot be overlooked. I know that the minister has studied very carefully, and I congratulate him for it, the reports of the Saskatchewan royal commission on agriculture and rural life, and he knows from these reports that very great emphasis has been placed on the need of establishing an adequate road system for agricultural users.

There is another proposal I wish to make and it is one that has been made by members of this group for many years. There should be more adequate provision by the federal government for educational services in Canada. Roads and education represent two of the very high costs that rural people must pay and these costs increase for all rural people as population diminishes and more economic units are established.

The policy put forward in the resolution will help but by itself it is inadequate and in conjunction with other policies of the government will not, the main policy having already failed, meet the chief problems of agricultural income and agricultural markets. The minister is wise in saying that we should not be asked to proceed with second reading of the bill until the government has had a chance to negotiate with the provinces but I suggest that this leaves parliament in a rather invidious position. We are asked to support the resolution and give approval in principle to the introduction of a certain bill which will be given first reading. After we have gone that far the minister presumably will then begin a journey to various parts of the country to discuss a bill which has not been given second reading involving approval in principle by the House of Commons and which may be amended very materially in the normal course of events.

I think the government should have had more particular conversations with the provinces. I think the government should have discussed with the provinces not only its general policies but in greater detail the kind of recommendations it hoped to make to parliament and that the government should have then introduced and recommended a

bill to the house which had been drafted after having had thorough and adequate discussions with the provinces.

I tell the Minister of Agriculture, and with this I conclude my remarks, that the government should do much better in this legislation than it has done in the crop insurance legislation, that under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act over the years very little of the cost has been placed on the shoulders of provincial governments or on the backs of the farmers. The main cost has been borne by the federal government. The proportionate amount of money spent by the federal government on this program and the willingness of the government to correct its policies with regard to agricultural supports and markets will in the main decide whether or not the future will see established a successful agricultural policy.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

George Stanley White (Government Whip in the Senate)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. While:

Mr. Chairman, I listened with interest to the question about procedure and I feel that if I read one phrase from the resolution it will make what I have to say quite in order. I refer to the words: "and projects for the development and conservation of the soil and water resources of Canada".

I want to congratulate the minister and the government upon the introduction of this resolution which can be very far-reaching as far as agriculture is concerned. I must say that I have had quite a number of inquiries regarding the ramifications of the resolution and the bill which will follow. These inquiries show a very deep appreciation of the work envisaged by the minister in this resolution, and so I take pleasure in congratulating him and the government upon its introduction.

What I want to say will have particular reference to western Ontario, old Ontario. I have just been reading some words of the Prime Minister as found on page 44 of Hansard for November 21. At that time he said:

By 1990, unless something is done, Canada is going to run out of wholesome water.

That, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, is only 30 years away. It was my privilege recently to visit Australia and for those hon. members who have not had that opportunity may I say that we do not appreciate to the full the great water resources that we in this country enjoy. The vast interior of that continent is arid or semi-arid, many areas having a rainfall of only three inches or less per year and temperatures for a good part of the time ranging from the 90's to 120. The Australians appreciate water and are making great strides in conserving all that they have.

This applies also to Israel. I also had the opportunity of visiting that land and seeing the great efforts they are putting forth there to bring fresh water to the Negeb desert. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, the problems of conservation of water, timber and soil in our country are great. Many years ago a sage, whose name I cannot recall at the moment said: "Show me an eroded soil and I will show you an eroded people".

The county from which I come, namely Middlesex, has less than 7 per cent of its land area in timber. Consequently water conservation has been and is a continuing and, in fact, a worsening problem. Neither has there been enough attention paid to nor have there been sufficient rewards for those farmers who have attempted to retain some bushland. Bush cover is basic to water conservation. Dams are spectacular-I have said this before-and they may be corrective to a degree but they are not fundamental.

While what I have to say is probably pertinent to the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources it also applies to this resolution. There is pending an agreement between the federal government, the provincial government and the Thames valley authority at Fanshawe. This agreement providing for the rounding out and developing of the Thames valley authority conservation project will be signed on Saturday next. It will be signed by the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources and for the province of Ontario by Mr. John Robarts, the minister of education for the province of Ontario and also the member for London North.

This project which was commenced many years ago resulted in the Fanshawe dam as the first major step. The proposed work now being undertaken will attempt to round out this development scheme and will cost approximately $10 million. This has been welcome news to the area and I emphasize that fact. I also want to endorse the project wholeheartedly. I do not want any misunderstanding about this matter. I want it thoroughly and distinctly understood that I endorse the project. However, in so doing, may I say that there are some remarks I wish to make and some points I wish to bring to the attention of the two ministers.

However, before embarking on this Thames valley project, may I say that there are some local problems which deserve consideration at the federal, provincial, municipal and Thames valley authority level. The Canada Water Conservation Act envisages the wise use of natural resources. When the Fanshawe and Thames valley project began the federal government of that day contributed 37i per

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands cent to the cost but it was distinctly understood that federal money was not available for municipal water supply systems. However, the result has been that Fanshawe lake has become a city water reservoir. Flood control, while certainly a part of conservation, is not intended to be a flood control system for primarily one municipality. I refer you, Mr. Chairman, to an editorial in the London Free Press of July 30, 1956, which was some time ago. It states in part as follows:

A. M. Snider, chairman of the Ontario water resources commission, has warned the London public utilties that the city has no priority on water from Fanshawe lake-

However, in spite of these warnings and this knowledge there were incorporated in the Fanshawe dam facilities for the withdrawal of water that was impounded, and since that time up to 3J million gallons per day have been taken out of Fanshawe lake and put into the area adjacent where the public utilities commission of the city of London have deep wells. In other words, they are using the area as a filtration system and they are removing, as I said, 3i million gallons of water per day or 2,275 million gallons of water a year. I ask this question: What does the public utilities commission pay to the Thames valley authority for this water?

The story told at the time was that the increased flow of water by conservation methods would provide a greater flow of clean water down the Thames river through the city of London. However, what has actually happened is that the flow has not been increased to any great extent but the water was used, as I mentioned before, as a domestic supply, loaded with sewage in the process and dumped back into the river below the city to the detriment of everyone below.

The polluted Thames is a local disgrace. Local municipalities, local members of parliament and local M.L.A.'s believe that the solution to this problem is a pipe line from lake Huron or lake Erie. For over 50 years the city of London has depended on deep wells adjacent to the city for a municipal water supply. There are 57 wells, over 20 miles of pipe line and a filtration plant built during the past year at a cost of $993,000 or almost $1 million. Back in 1873, during the second session of the second legislature of the province of Ontario, there was passed a bill entitled "An act for the construction of water works for the city of London". Among the provisions of that act I want to bring this particular one to your attention:

5. It shall and may be lawful for the said commissioners, their agents, servants, and workmen.

1418 HOUSE OF

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands

from time to time, and at such times hereafter as they shall see fit, and they are hereby authorized and empowered to enter into and upon the lands of any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, in the city of London, or within fifteen miles of the said city and to survey, set out, and ascertain such parts thereof as they may require for the purposes of the said water-works, and also to divert and appropriate any river, pond of water, spring or stream of water therein, as they shall judge suitable and proper-

That provision might have been all right in 1873 when there were a few thousands of people in the city of London. However, today we have a city with a population of 162,000.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

It is a fine city.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

George Stanley White (Government Whip in the Senate)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. White:

By conservative estimates it is expected that the population of London will be 300,000 in the next 20 years. In other words, the present method of securing water is not satisfactory. In other words, water is being stolen from the surrounding farms and it is just about time that this was discontinued.

In addition to this city of London bill, there are several other provincial bills that have set up the water resources commission and others, but they have not corrected the glaring injustice that has been heaped on the surrounding municipalities. There are untold examples I could quote. However, I am going to use this one of which I know from a personal experience. I refer to a well in which the water 50 years ago was within six feet of the top. Today it is 68 feet to the water level. Yet the public utilities commission would tell us that this procedure is not reducing the water table in western Ontario. I am using this example from the county of Middlesex, but the situation applies to practically all of old Ontario west of Toronto. I am not so well acquainted with the rest of the province.

The Ontario water resources commission admit that surface wells in western Ontario will fail in the not too distant future. They also admit that deep artesian wells now owned by farmers are destined to fail if continued and unrestricted exploitation continues. Therefore I think the time has arrived when some action should be taken on the part of the governments concerned, at all levels. Today more farmers in the area are short of water than ever before. Some are drawing water from ponds and lakes; some are buying water.

In addition to this, London's water supply is known as hard water, and some industries and householders are paying more for water softeners and water softening equipment than they are paying for the water they soften. Yet western Ontario is nearly surrounded by

fresh, soft water. There is fresh water and there is soft water. There is lake Huron on the north, lake St. Clair, the river St. Clair and river Detroit on the west, and lake Erie to the south.

The London public utilities commission is now engaged in drilling for water within approximately 15 miles of lake Erie. In other words, they are pretty near out in the lake drilling for water now, but at the same time they are stealing water from surrounding municipalities. I doubt whether 15 per cent of the farm population in my area have deep wells.

The city of London is saying to these farmers, "If we dry your well, we will supply you with water". But supposing a few years hence the farmer drills a well and the water table has lowered to the point where he does not reach water? Are they going to supply it to him? No, definitely not. And if they do supply it to him, they will only supply it at a price.

We should take a look at the history of other lands once fertile, green and forested, which over the centuries have become denuded of trees, short of water, and semi-arid. They are the bible lands, Babylon, Greece, north Africa and the Mediterranean area. If we take a look to the south, to the United States, we see that there one farmer in every four is co-operating in the nation's conservation plans.

In Canada we have polluted lakes and rivers, and the hon. member for Lambton West has drawn this very graphically to the attention of the authorities from time to time. The royal commission on forestry reported in 1947 that in old Ontario over five million acres of waste land should be returned to forest.

According to Rand McNally's standard world atlas, Canada's land area is shown as being only 3 per cent arable, and then we talk rather glibly about our inexhaustible natural resources.

It is in this regard that I welcome, as I said before, the introduction today of this resolution by the minister. Following on what I have already stated, we have now arrived at a time when I believe we should protect the rights of minorities. I would respectfully refer to the other place. This was one of the duties assigned to the other place at the time of confederation.

Legislation that would define the rights to water resources is overdue. The Ontario water resources commission is so far, the only hope, as it is aware of this problem confronting all of old Ontario and is making far-reaching studies in this connection.

I apologize to the house for taking up a little time in dealing with what is in a way

a local problem, but at the same time it affects all of old Ontario. I hope the necessary steps will be taken in the not too distant future to equitably distribute this great natural resource of ours, water.

(Translation):

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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LIB

Samuel Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. Boulanger:

Mr. Chairman, like the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin) and the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) I want to congratulate the new Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hamilton) for his recent appointment as head of that department. I hope his period of office as such will be a fruitful, albeit a short one.

After three and a half years of Conservative administration, we have just heard the Minister of Agriculture, the second generation of ministers of agriculture in the third session of this 24th parliament under Conservative rule-establish a program which is supposed to save 38 per cent of our Canadian farms from bankruptcy.

After the report we just heard, we may wonder, as do the farmers in this country, whether the new minister has not come down to us from the far north, to give us a shortlived joy, as does a Santa Claus. But whether he comes from one point or another, we are pleased that he discovered the existence of a serious problem with regard to marginal and submarginal farms in this country.

I remember that the former minister of agriculture had also become aware of a serious farm problem, but, after having been at the head of his department for two years and a half, he said, as we may see in Hansard of February 23, 1960 on page 1352 when speaking of the technical evolution which was taking place in agriculture:

This evolution has created entirely new conditions which require new thinking, new approaches and new policies if the new situations which have arisen as a result of this technological revolution are to be met successfully, or if there is to be any hope of meeting them successfully. We have recognized that this is the situation, and we have demonstrated it by the numerous new policies we have put into effect and which we think have a very good chance of solving the agricultural problems which have existed in this country now for many years past.

And he said:

The numerous new policies . . . have a very good chance-

And I shall underline the word "chance", -of solving the agricultural problems which have existed in this country.

At the time he was heading that department it seemed that our farm policy was based, not on principles, but on chance. He has taken his chance, but it was not auspicious, and the former minister later fell out of favour.

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands

I intend to prove my statement and, to that end, I shall quote what the previous minister said at a conference in Calgary, as reported in the Calgary Herald of September 26, 1960:

(Text):

The minister said the government will soon start a large scale rural development program to help the lower third of Canadian farmers. These farmers, he said, have an annual income of $1,000 or less and the government is now making a study of ways for them to increase their earning power.

Such ways may involve encouraging them to develop the tourist industry in their area, to branch into forestry operation or work in small factories established with the continuing industrialization of the country.

(Translation):

So much for the achievements of the former minister. What can we expect from the second generation of ministers of agriculture? In an effort to salvage the prestige of his government, the new minister has recently made a tour of the country and delivered several stirring speeches. At the farmer's union convention in Guelph he said, for instance, the following, as reported in La Terre de Chez Nous of November 2, 1960.

For goodness' sake, let us stop once and for all pitting eastern farmers against the western farmers, and city people against farm people.

Such was the minister's plea during this the first major speech he made after being nominated to the Department of Agriculture to succeed the new Minister of National Defence (Mr. Harkness).

And he went on to say:

All of us must recognize that the basic problems of agriculture are an essential and vital matter for all areas of this country, without distinction. The solution to Canada's economic ills is "a deep and comprehensive attack on all fronts at the same time aimed at correcting their weaknesses at their very source."

A few days later, at a federal-provincial conference he made another statement outlining the major points of his program, a program he has put into concrete form by the resolution now under discussion.

I want to point out that at this federal-provincial conference, which was held here in Ottawa on November 9 and 10, 1960, 75 per cent of the subjects that were dealt with had to do with matters related to western agriculture. Eastern farmers' problems were pushed into the background. Yet, there are serious problems in the east; there are problems of family farms. There is the dairy problem. The Minister of Agriculture has not too much sympathy for eastern Canada, and we do not see him there very often.

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands

At the meeting of the Ottawa valley milk producers, according to a report of the Journal of November 23, 1960, the minister said:

(Text):

Grow trees instead of cereals on marginal and submarginal land-

Just because you have been taught for generations and generations that the tree is the enemy of the farmer and have been taught to save the soil for cereals, it does not mean that is true.

(Translation):

I would not want to repeat what he said a moment ago about those 20 million acres of land in the province of Ontario, 8 million of which are submarginal.

Again about the problems out west, he added:

(Text):

Every million acres taken out of wheat production and put into other forms of production means 20 million bushels less wheat added to our surplus each year.

He said the market for forest products was practically assured because the demand for them was expected to rise by 140 per cent by 1975.

He reiterated the 20 year old suggestion that Ottawa valley farmers could save 10 cents a bushel on western oats if they bought the grain once a year and stored it themselves.

If 50 farmers got together and bought through their local dealer western oats in bulk, saving insurance, storage rates, the price at Ottawa could be 84.6 cents a bushel instead of the 95.2 cents now paid.

One farmer said he bought locally grown oats at 75 cents a bushel.

(Translation):

That goes to prove that the Minister of Agriculture is unfamiliar with the situation in eastern Canada.

His remarks left us wondering what he had in mind. Later on we heard he had said in Saskatoon, as reported in the Western Producer for December 8, 1960, when he again referred to the conversion of Ontario land for reforestation purposes:

(Text):

The minister said much of this land could be converted to woodlots and tree farms and the farmer would get a bigger return per acre than he was doing at present. Mr. Hamilton conceded that growing trees was a slow process but suggested plans were afoot to enable farmers to obtain a good living in the interim.

(Translation):

After making such statements, the Minister of Agriculture stated again, as I said earlier:

For goodness' sake, let us stop pitting eastern farmers against western farmers, and the city people against farm people.

Mr. Chairman, I must point out that eastern farmers have no grievance against western farmers, no more than city people have against farm people. This notion exists only in the minister's mind.

Whenever farm policies favourable to the western farmers have been implemented, their eastern counterparts have rejoiced.

Mr. Chairman, if we look closely at this resolution, we find that the government has merely sought to implement some recommendations advocated by the great Liberal party of the time, headed by the Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent.

In fact, in 1957 Mr. St. Laurent asked a Senate committee to investigate the matter of land use. The duties of that committee were as follows:

To investigate and submit a report on land use in Canada and on the steps required to ensure the best possible use of our land for the benefit of this country and the Canadian economy and, especially, in order to increase our farm output and the income of those taking part in it.

That committee on land use has been sitting for four years. Today those recommendations are taking concrete form in the resolution now under discussion.

In principle, the resolution contains all the components of a policy designed to increase the income of marginal farms.

However, if only the practical aspect of the question is taken into account, it is to be feared that this legislation is a mere smokescreen to conceal the government's incompetence. Is not the agricultural stabilization act itself a smokescreen?

Does not the preamble of that act state that:

It is expedient to enact a measure for the purpose of stabilizing the prices of agricultural commodities in order to assist the industry of agriculture to realize fair returns for its labour and investment, and to maintain a fair relationship between prices received by farmers and the costs of the goods and services that they buy, thus to provide farmers with a fair share of the national income.

And what happened since? Whereas the farm produce index reached 245.5 in 1958, on the basis of 100 for the average of the years 1935-1939, it fell to 242.9 in 1959, and 235.2 in August 1960.

Now, if we look at the cost index for goods and services acquired by our farmers, we see that it rose from 259.9 in 1958 to 269.5 in 1959, and 279.6 in August 1960.

Yet, we have heard fine speeches stating that this legislation would restore to our farmers their deserved share of the national revenue.

It is to be feared that, after a three and a half years' experience under a Conservative rule, the expected results fall somewhat short of the enthusiasm expressed by the new minister.

There is, as a matter of fact, enough matter in the resolution to rouse more than enthusiasm. Credit must be given to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, for having submitted a brief to the Senate committee on land use on May 13, 1959.

The government should commend our farmers for the objective work they did in finding realistic solutions for their problems.

However, it is unfortunate that the former minister of agriculture should not have applied the recommendations which were made to him in the last two or three years.

We had to wait until Providence sent us a minister whose qualifications as a seer are greater than his farming experience.

The resolution we are now asked to approve is, to my mind, the second stage of a land improvement program.

I think that the first phase, before introducing such a project, should have consisted in setting up an advisory committee in each province which would, later, have been able to give counsel and advice and make recommendations adapted to local needs.

I did indeed advocate such legislation in this house on February 2, 1959, as we can see on page 578 of Hansard. I said this:

There would he much to say concerning another item of the Liberal program which is indirectly related to the establishment of an agricultural expansion bank. I am referring to the setting up of an agricultural advisory council in each province, on which the federal and provincial authorities would be represented.

Anyway, this recommendation was made by the committee in 1959.

This council would have to study the problems of agriculture within a province and make just and proper recommendations to the federal government.

I cannot agree with the central government enacting legislation for better land use to which the provinces would be required to contribute financially if they were not consulted. On the other hand, according to the experience of the United States in the field of assistance to marginal farms and before adopting such a program, we must define what constitutes a marginal family farm. What are the income possibilities of a family farm? What is the income potential of the members of the family both on and outside the farm? What are the available agricultural resources? What are the possible adjustments in farm operations or use to increase their revenues? To determine the costs of the program we need fairly accurate answers

Agreements Respecting Marginal Lands to all those questions. I believe that a provincial advisory committee on agriculture would have been able to inform the ministers pretty accurately if the government had created one at the right time.

In his speech, the minister did not refer to the costs of this program. He did not tell us what the provincial and federal governments' responsibilities would be. He did not say how those responsibilities would be apportioned. He did not assess the costs of this program to each government; he did not say how the farmers who will engage in retimbering will live before they get any income out of it.

A prominent agricultural expert has told me that farmers who want to retimber their lands should receive a reasonable amount for each retimbered acre until the trees are there.

Certain farmers who will retimber some five or ten acres will have to depend on an already inadequate income to provide for their families.

What will the government do to keep those families on the farm? We would have liked the minister to tell us more about that.

Mr. Chairman, the family farm is an essential part of Canadian economy. We depend on the farm to feed and clothe the ever-increasing population of this country.

Unfortunately, many farm owners lack adequate income to provide their family with a decent standard of living. Yet, it is recognized that when agriculture prospers, the whole nation benefits.

The Canadian farmer has a right to demand a standard of living equal to the level of the general economy to which he has contributed. With the policy of the Conservative government, we did not reach that goal.

Because of the cost-price squeeze, I do not feel that the present policy will improve the condition of the average farmer.

The resolution now before this house will have long term effects. Farmers will have to wait for a change of government before they can benefit from short term policies.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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PC

Louis-Joseph Pigeon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pigeon:

Mr. Chairman, would the hon. member for Drummond-Arthabaska permit me a question?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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LIB

Samuel Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. Boulanger:

Yes, but beware of the answer.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS RESPECTING MARGINAL LANDS, RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, ETC.
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January 25, 1961