January 23, 1958 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

Well, it stated in this house that it was. Agriculture today requires legislation which will guarantee the farmer relief from the cost-price squeeze. It is the government and not the producer that is responsible for the costs of production. When the previous government, supported by the Conservative party at that time, removed price controls and allowed costs to skyrocket it condemned agriculture to its present plight. The farmer is caught in a cost-price squeeze from which he cannot extract himself, and he now relies on the present government to help him out. He looks to this government for this assistance because this government promised him that help.
Members of the present government from the Prime Minister down talked about parity in this house when they were in opposition. They supported and moved resolutions in this house while in opposition which would guarantee the farmer parity. Conservative candidates during the campaign went about the country advocating a program designed to assist agriculture. The Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources had the nerve yesterday to quote in this house some of the planks of the Conservative platform having to do with agriculture, as recorded at page 3621 of Hansard of yesterday's date. I will read one or two of these platform planks:
1. The Progressive Conservative party recognizes the vital place of agriculture in our national economy, stands pledged to assure the maximum stability of income to Canadian farmers.
It guarantees nothing. These are hollow promises, empty, meaningless words.
No. 2 reads:
Our party pledges itself, when returned to power, to take action to improve the condition of agriculture so that our farm people will re-establish their rightful position in our economy, so basic to, our whole national welfare.
Splendid; now do it. Then we come to No. 3r
A Progressive Conservative government wilt maintain a flexible price support program to ensure an adequate parity for agricultural producers, based: on fair price-cost relationship.

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization
That is where this government has failed, because it is failing to ensure parity. It does not mention the word "parity" in this bill. It does not mention a fair price-cost relationship in the bill. It fails to give the guarantee which it promised. We will accept this bill when those guarantees are written into it. We will not accept this bill until they are written into it, until there are some guarantees written into it such as the Conservative party stated in the program they presented to the Canadian people, such as the people expected when they voted this government into power.
This government was elected on June 10 and hope rose in the hearts of many people. Then a resolution appeared on the order paper shortly after October 14. Speaking to that resolution the Minister of Agriculture himself used these words, as recorded at page 2187 of Hansard of December 11. In dealing with what the farmer wants he said:
First, he wants prices for his products which will cover his cost of production and leave him enough to live on-
-and second, he desires a sense of security in his price structure, the removal of his long-time fear that prices will fall away to nothing while his crop is growing or his livestock developing to market size.
Then why in Heaven's name don't you do it?

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