Mr. W. H. Jorgenson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture):
sure that all hon. members are aware of the widespread interest in this question of farm machinery prices. No member representing a rural constituency could possibly avoid hearing the discussion of this subject. Farmers realize the necessity of keeping production costs down to a minimum in order to compete not only in the export market but in their own domestic market, and have expressed their concern regarding the rise in the price of farm machinery since 1955. The increase in production efficiency on the part of farmers is invariably lost because of the high cost of farm machinery.
On Monday, June 6, 1960, the house ordered that the standing committee on agriculture and colonization be empowered to inquire into the prices of farm machinery and to report to the house thereon. The committee held three open meetings and the persons appearing before the committee at the last session were as follows: Mr. A. D. Holmes, Director, Prices Division, Dominion Bureau of Statistics; Mr. R. A. Stutt and Mr. G. Haase, Department of Agriculture; Messrs. D. W. McGill, Director, and J. J. A. Lefebvre, Machinery Section Head, Appraisers Branch, Department of National Revenue; and Mr. J. T. Wimble of the Appraisers Branch, National Revenue and Mr. W. Kalbfleisch, Chief of the Engineering Research Service, Department of Agriculture.
The chairman gave the following report to the house on Thursday, July 28, which reads as follows:
Your committee has noted the wide-spread interest in the subject of farm machinery prices.
Your committee held four meetings on this order of reference. It heard representatives from the dominion bureau of statistics on farm machinery prices; from the Department of National Revenue on farm machinery tariffs; from the engineering research service of the Department of Agriculture on the different types of farm machinery.
Your committee has found that interested persons or organizations would like more time to prepare presentations.
Your committee recommends;
1. That the subject of farm machinery prices be referred to it as soon as possible after the opening of the next session of parliament.
2. That the ministers of the different government departments concerned, instruct their officers to offer every assistance to the persons designated by the committee to procure and compile all available facts regarding farm machinery prices.
During the recess a summary of statistics relative to the inquiry into the price of farm machinery, under the direction of Mr. Gordon Haase of the economics division of the Department of Agriculture, has been prepared. Copies of this report will be made available to the members of the committee both in English and in French as soon as possible, when the committee is prepared to resume its investigation.
No one at this time is prepared to say just where the responsibility lies for the price increase. It is to be hoped that during committee sessions an investigation in this regard will take place following which recommendations will be made as to how to minimize the present increase and prevent any further increase.
I do not think it is necessary for me to indicate the nature of the inquiry which should take place, but I am sure that the committee
Farm. Machinery Prices will investigate that which they may deem necessary, whether it be in the manufacturing, distribution or retail field.
I might also add that the interest in all phases of the industry has been shown by the people concerned. It is expected that their views will be heard, in addition to the representations by labour and agriculture. I hope that this motion will be passed today and that the committee will be able to resume its inquiry at the earliest possible opportunity.
Subtopic: FARM MACHINERY PRICES