March 26, 1968 (27th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Henry P. Latulippe

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Latulippe:

Mr. Chairman, I shall be very brief, because I do not wish to delay the passage of the estimates of that department.
I should like to join with all other members who stated that agriculture was in a state of stagnation. It is undeniably so, like many other sectors of our economy. Small industries, especially, are in a bad way, as well as small farms and almost every sector of our economy. Therefore, that means that our economy is unbalanced. Small farms are on their way out. As a matter of fact, 70 per cent of the farmers of my riding have left their farm, and every day, others are doing the same.
I feel that premiums on cheese and milk at least should be maintained and that grants to agriculture should be increased, if possible.
Mr. Chairman, agriculture is the foundation of society; it permits the citizens to live because it provides food which is used to feed them. Without agriculture, Mr. Chairman, we would not be here tonight. Agriculture is an essential factor, indeed the number one factor of society. Agriculture is absolutely necessary to the life of human beings. Therefore, we must at least have the courage to protect it and to give it everything it needs. We might be justified in sacrificing certain sectors of the economy to give a greater share to agriculture, so that the farms still in existence could further develop and spare us the sight of an agriculture heading for disaster. In fact, our whole economy is heading for disaster.
It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to assist our agriculture because it

March 26, 1968
is the most essential field for the human being. Without it, the human being, the family could not live. Let us continue at least to do something to assist our agriculture instead of letting it die.
I could go on talking about agriculture but I do not want to delay the passing of these estimates. Mr. Chairman, I shall limit myself to those few remarks.
I should like to ask once again all the hon. members, and especially the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Greene) to take under advisement the problems of agriculture, with a view to solving at least a few of them.
It is not by lending money at an increasingly high rate of interest, as was pointed out this afternoon, that farmers will be helped, because they are no longer able to pay such rates. They are sick and tired of being asked to pay rates of interest they can no longer afford. They are asked to make debts at a rate of 15 per cent, but they can no longer take it. They are already too deep in debt, as several members have pointed out. The farmers' debts are incommensurate compared to their means to pay them.
With regard to farm loans, several farmers prefer to borrow from the federal government because they can obtain higher loans. Indeed, more can be had in Ottawa, but the rate of interest is higher than on provincial loans. A reasonable rate of interest should be maintained, since agriculture is the very basis which enables society to live. And so, every attempt should be made to relieve the farmers, by offering them a decent interest rate.
[DOT] (10:20 p.m.)

Full View