Warner Herbert Jorgenson
The third paragraph deals with the premiums that were suggested. It deals with questions raised by the commission as to what premium rates farmers might be prepared to pay under an insurance program. I do not intend to read it or to do other than to say that the farmers who made representation at that time, as indicated by the report, perhaps were not too fully aware themselves of what the premiums would be.
I think that is uderstandable. I do not think there is any criticism there. I recall that at that time I presented a brief myself and this question was asked me; and I shall state quite frankly that I was unable to say what I thought the premium rate in my own area would be. However, I think this is beside the point. What this bill is doing -and I think this is the important thing and that the point has been missed-or what this government is doing is providing an opportunity for a provincial government to draw up a program of crop insurance
suited to the particular needs of that province, and permitting the farmers in the area to make some contribution to the development of that program.
It has been stated by most of the commissions or bodies that have been studying this particular subject that one province attempting to go into a crop insurance program by itself would in all probability find itself in difficulties if it had a succession of failures in the early part of the program. Therefore the recommendations of the Manitoba commission, the Saskatchewan commission and of many of the reports that have been drawn up have been to the effect that the federal government must participate in this program. On no occasion has any of these commissions suggested that the federal government has to be in complete control of the development of the entire program.
What we are doing is simply providing financial assistance to the provinces in the event that they have crop failures in the initial stages of their program. In addition to this the government is paying 50 per cent of the administrative costs. The federal government is doing, in addition, something that has been suggested by no commission in connection with this program, in that the government is going to pay 20 per cent of the premiums of the farmers.
This is quite important. This suggestion has been criticized by the hon. member for Assiniboia. I have not been in this house too long, but those of us who have been here during the last two years know full well that it would not matter if the government paid 250 per cent of the premiums, the hon. member would still find something about which to complain.
I might say that I was in Manitoba just two weeks ago, and my attention has been called to the fact that the press gallery noted my absence on one particular night. At that time, in my particular part of the province, only 10 per cent of the land had been seeded because of flood conditions. The farmers arranged a series of meetings for me to attend, and at each of those meetings there was a considerable amount of interest in crop insurance. Although I was unable to give them details of the program at that time, I told them a crop insurance bill was being introduced and that it would be passed at this session.
They are anxious to have this bill put through this house. They are anxious that the provincial government in Manitoba develop a crop insurance program for that province so that next year, if the same situation exists in my constituency, they can be covered by a comprehensive crop insurance
Proposed Crop Insurance program. I did not find, amongst those farmers the attitude that was expressed by the hon. member for Assiniboia, that they are afraid to pay the premium rates. As indicated in this report of the Manitoba commission, the farmers are anxious to stand on their own feet. All they are looking for is an opportunity to take out a crop insurance policy so they can be protected from the hazards with which they are confronted from time to time.
Although we all know these things are not always perfect, I am satisfied that the bill is acceptable to the province of Manitoba. I am satisfied that as a result of this legislation we will have crop insurance in the province next year. I take a great deal of pleasure in participating, just briefly, in this debate. I should like to congratulate the minister upon bringing this measure forward and upon having the courage, despite all the procrastination that has occurred in connection with crop insurance over the years, to introduce a measure providing an opportunity for the provinces to develop programs suitable to the needs of their farmers. (Translation) :
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROVINCIAL SCHEMES