Charles-Noël BARBÈS

BARBÈS, Charles-Noël

Personal Data

Chapleau (Quebec)
Birth Date
December 25, 1914
Deceased Date
June 8, 2008

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Chapleau (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 3)

January 30, 1958

Mr. Barbes:

Mr. Speaker, may I repeat the same question and direct it to the hon. Minister of Transport.

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January 18, 1958

Mr. C. N. Barbes (Chapleau):

Mr. Speaker, at this stage I would like to offer a few remarks which I feel will be of some use to the people of Chapleau which I represent in this house and which number more than

41,000 people directly interested in agriculture.

On December 11, 1957, in committee, the house passed a resolution introducing a bill guaranteeing support prices for certain agricultural products. That is Bill No. 237 at present under discussion.

Any product which the government may wish to designate will be supported by the proposed measure. On that score I am certainly of the opinion of the hon. member who spoke before me, the member for Gaspe (Mr. English), who went so far as to request that the settlers from the Gaspe peninsula, and therefore the settlers of any area whatever, should benefit from this measure with regard to pulpwood. However as far as I am concerned, I rather wish to speak only of agriculture. I will therefore continue on that subject.

A board made up of three members and an advisory committee made up of from 6 to 9 members will see to the administration of the act. The funds are available to the government for the benefit of agriculture, and under the former legislation, of course, we already had a $200 million fund available to the Agricultural Prices Support Board.

The government now wants to stabilize to a greater extent the income of our farmers by setting base prices established by calculating the average for the ten previous years.

What the farm population is mostly interested in, in my opinion, is to know whether the cost of production, in relation to income,

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization leaves to the farmers a profit which is sufficient to give more prosperity to the farm.

The government suggests that all farm commodities should come under support prices, except for wheat, oats and barley, which are already covered by some other legislation.

Mr. Speaker, there is a large farm population in my area and we had hoped for a bill providing for more equitable prices for those who earn their living in clearing and tilling new land.

On November 8, 1957, the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin) had suggested to the house that it was urgent to discuss the legislation aimed at improving the agricultural situation. To that the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Green) had replied that we were just trying to get a little bit of publicity.

Personally, on October 29, I expressed in this house my earnest hope to see the passing of legislation specially beneficent to farmers of eastern Canada.

On December 2, 1957, the leader of the government in this house announced the business of the house for the next day and said that item number 116 on the day's order paper under government notices of motions would be taken up.

Nothing has been done during that period and yet, since the 31st of October we had been waiting for an agricultural policy which had been promised for years and which was going to bring prosperity to agriculture as a whole.

Today, our workers cannot find employment as easily as they think they should. Farmers' earnings are inadequate. Instead of finding customers for their goods, merchants are forced to take them back. This goes for farm machinery, trucks and all kinds of vehicles.

In June 1957, voters in such agricultural districts as Abitibi and the Gaspe peninsula were repeatedly told by the Conservatives that they would enjoy greater prosperity under a conservative government. They waited for this to take place, and instead of introducing active measures in 1957 to increase the income of the settlers, the Conservatives left the farmer, the pioneer, to his fate.

Now, on April 8, 1957, the present Prime Minister, then leader of the opposition, spoke in favour of a national conference on agriculture which would be held as soon as he was in power. I quote from page 3263 of Hansard of April 8, 1957. The then leader of the opposition said:

. . . we believe that the time has come when, in the interests of the national welfare of agriculture, a national conference on agriculture should


Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization be convened. This would be representative of the federal and provincial governments and of farm organizations with the responsibility of suggesting a general policy for domestic and international trade so as to assure the farmer a fair and proper share of the national income and also permit farmers to have a part in formulating policies for the promotion of the welfare of agriculture.

Then, this fall, in 1957, when the government introduced Bill No. 14 to help western farmers market their grain, the farmers of Chapleau were concerned over the stand of the present Prime Minister and we repeatedly asked for prompt action and immediate steps to help agriculture. We are still sorry to see that the present Conservative government has failed to enact the efficient legislation which it dangled before the eyes of Canadian voters last spring, when Liberals in particular were being blamed, and when tears were being shed over the predicament of farmers whose production costs for hogs were $41 a hundred pounds while the support price was but 23 cents a pound. As can be seen on page 1402 of Hansard, under the new government, imports of pork from the United States for the month of August alone, reached 377,241 lbs., if you please. And when will our farmers in the Abitibi see all those promises materialize that were made to them by the Conservatives? We do not know yet.

Together with the farmers, we could wish for new action, for new developments on the part of this government, at least since October last.

The hon. Prime Minister of today has, without any reservation, advocated collective marketing of farm products. The farmer is squeezed between rising costs and falling prices. When in western Canada, the need of the grain producers was recognized, those people were voted credits, and even advance payments. The Conservatives held out before the people in our constituencies a revision of price supports, as well as quick legislation to help the farmers first to survive and then to reach a decent standard of living. Well, the time has come, and it is only fair that I should be the spokesman of thousands of families in Abitibi and elsewhere.

According to the 1956 census, in Quebec we have 122,617 farms, and we want the government to achieve something to get results, in view of its so bombastic program announced in the spring of 1957. The people from the prairies got ahead of us, Mr. Speaker, in the first two weeks of the session. So we have been seeking action since the end of October, and we should like to have practical measures that would give tangible results.

Our farmers today, not only in Chapleau but in eastern Canada, are receiving less and paying more. In saying this, I am not saying anything new to the government, because the leader of the Conservative party, now Prime Minister, claimed the same thing in April, May and June 1957.

Let the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hark-ness) delay no longer to correct this unfavourable situation in which the farmer finds himself. What has happened is not so much that selling prices have gone down, but rather that production costs have gone up at least 20 per cent.

The average income of farmers is not equivalent to that of other economic groups in this country. The Conservative party boasted to the electors that they should soon stabilize and balance agriculture. But the farmer, Mr. Speaker, is in no position to wait for such half-measures as investigations, etc. The vice-president of the Catholic Farmers' Union was perfectly right in stating at the annual convention of the Amos federation, held at Macamic, on September 24, 1957, that the fate of agriculture is at this time in the hands of the farmers themselves.

As for us, we cannot overemphasize this point. In view of the interdependence which exists between those who work on the farms and those who are employed in other activities or services, the government must stabilize agriculture to protect the Canadian economy.

For six months now, workers, small business men, salesmen and all the other working people have been affected by the delaying tactics of this government.

The Conservative party has been saying for a long time that it could improve the lot of our farmers. May I recall here that in 1941 the present Prime Minister, then a private member, boasted that he could quickly improve the position of Canadian agriculture. As early as the 23rd of March, 1953 he held that parliament should act immediately and directly, without any recourse to an investigation commission.

In the spring of 1957 the gentleman who is now Prime Minister of this country suggested that measures would be taken immediately and that there had been far too much delay already.

Mr. Speaker, if we consider the fact that the purchasing power of the dollar which was

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization

100 cents in 1939 and which is approximately half that figure at this time, according to the price of those products used to figure up the cost of living index, we will understand how it is increasingly urgent to act, because of that fact as well as to make good election promises with regard to family allowances.

In the spring of 1957 the Conservatives claimed that farmers were headed towards economic depression. After the new government which was supposed to devise a cure-all for workers and farmers in particular has been in office for six months things are taking a turn for the worse, at least in my county. Well, is it not normal for us to ask that the wallet which before the general election of 1957 was said to be so full be opened wide for agriculture?

Eastern farmers are now anxious to be placed on the same footing by the right hon. Prime Minister as the prairie grain producers.

In Chapleau, my riding, the Catholic Farmers' Union had an investigation made at the end of last June into the main problems of farmers and on the pattern to be set in the agriculture of our area to insure its survival and expansion.

It has been found once again that agriculture today cannot provide a family with a decent living. In spite of such hard work on land sometimes difficult to farm, the desirable comfort is lacking.

About July 15, 1957, a delegation from Ontario and Quebec was received by the Minister of Agriculture; Mr. J. B. Lemoine, the general president of the U.C.C. made representations on behalf of the farmers and particularly of the dairy industry. One had really the impression that the delegates knew that the new government was more interested in promises than in new and advantageous policies.

What are the new and efficient measures offered by this government?

It has set up a royal commission. Well, Mr. Speaker, the eastern farmers, after seven months of stagnation, are still wondering what improvements are forthcoming to increase their well-being, as has been promised to them.

On the one hand, the farmer must succeed in cutting down his costs for a particular product by the use of new methods. It is a matter of internal economy and farmers are well aware of it.

On the other hand, they require that the government apply a price support policy which will be a stabilizing factor in normal times and a safeguard in periods of emergency. Organized farmers have already expressed their recommendations along those

lines. At their recent conventions, they have asked when the new government which was elected on glowing promises, will implement the safeguard of price support, when it will assist settlers and farmers in areas less favoured by the climate, so that they may enjoy a more attractive and more equitable standard of living.

Order in council 1632, dated December 10, 1957, established a commission. It is a good thing that experts such as Mr. Romeo Martin, president of the co-operative council of Quebec, have been appointed on this advisory committee of the government. But farmers had realized for many years that the present Prime Minister had confidently undertaken that, if he ever became the head of the country, he would at once apply some legislation, that would have to be adopted by Parliament, so that the new government could bring prosperity to farming families. Instead of that, we are to have now a stabilization board replacing the farm prices board. It is merely a change in name.

Having seen with what satisfaction many of our farmers had welcomed the promises made last spring, we were impartially expecting those efficient means that would spread prosperity such as had never been enjoyed in our farming areas. But we are to have only more surveys and, as for the rest of the question, the promises have brought nothing of direct benefit to our farmers. They will have to compete with the western farmers, under a less generous climate, and with regrettably higher transportation costs that are directly reflected in production costs, in view of the high prices asked for anything the farmers want to buy, like oats, for instance, or bran, or mill-feed and so on.

Our markets are often at a great distance, some lands are poorer, the climate does not change. Our people are still waiting for the results of an investigation on price spreads, instead of getting the new legislation that was announced with such great flourish for months and years, and which was to give a new drive to our agriculture.

According to the Conservatives, everything was dull and grey for our farmers before June 10. Everything was to become rose-coloured after the general election.

The Conservatives got the roses and the votes, and it is now up to them to pull out the thorns and to distribute the scented harvest amongst the farmers in the east as well as in the west.

It should be noted that before June, 1957, the Conservative candidates promised higher prices, a golden age to be introduced by them who blamed us for extravagance and overtaxation.


Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization

I have even heard a roads department engineer, just imagine, urging us to vote for Mr. Diefenbaker who would, immediately after his election, raise the price of hogs from 23 cents to 41 cents a pound. Our friends from Chapleau are still awaiting the promised gift. What does the government intend to do for our less favoured areas such as the Abitibi district, the Gaspe peninsula and the Lake Saint John district where the soil is poorer and the weather more severe and where higher transportation costs add to the burden of the farming people? Nothing new, Mr. Speaker. Through trickery the Conservatives have grabbed a few honours and a few positions, while the farmers are left holding the bag with their conventions, their requests or their resolutions.

So if the new government is incapable of keeping its promises, let it at least bring in one quite urgent measure which was actually mentioned on October 14, on the first day of this present session. To bring help all at once to a whole agricultural area, agreement should be negotiated with the provinces in order to carry out with them a forestry development such as the one I am requesting at this time for the constituency of Chapleau, that is to say the industrial development at Mattagami.

In northwestern Quebec pulpwood is one of the most important agricultural products of this region and a specialized union of the Catholic Farmers' Union is still actively occupied with the marketing of this agricultural product which, in our constituency, is of primary importance.

Mr. Speaker, in the early days of May, 1956 a well-known Montreal newspaper, he Devoir, carried the announcement by the province of Quebec, through its leader, of an 80 or 100 million dollar project concerning the agricultural mining and forestry basin of Mattagami in my constituency. It was the promise of a large industry which was to create an unlimited market for an agricultural product, namely pulpwood, which is sold at a low price at this time while cost of transportation to markets are getting higher. It seems we are still waiting for federal assistance such as was proposed by this government on October 14 last. No concrete results have come out so far of this federal-provincial co-operation, at least as far as Quebec is concerned, and it will soon be two years since this project was announced on the front page of the newspaper referred to.

This is a concrete example of a case where the government could find a new way of helping the farmer of this part of the prov-

ince of Quebec called Abitibi. It would be a new factor of stabilization and sustained prosperity for agriculture because it would effectively solve the lack of employment which means hardship for everyone. The government would thus promote circulation of goods, salaries and markets for natural or processed products of agriculture-as they are called in this bill-and farm commodities would thus have a consumers' market which would be a local factor of price support and a factor of employment and adjustment in a country which needs them.

To achieve progress it is not enough to hold conferences and implement resolutions adopted by an advisory committee. In devising concrete solutions to farm problems, due account should be taken of the interdependence which is said to exist between farmers and other workers.

Under section 2, paragraph 2, of this act, it is proposed that the governor in council will take into consideration production costs and such other factors as he deems relevant. Let me mention here the cost of transportation, as one such factor, also the harsher climate and the transportation costs to distant markets. The production cost is the most significant to my mind, and it will be necessary for the government's advisers to consider local and regional conditions in the various farming districts.

To start out and to make good on our lands, the young settler must take the trouble to clear and enlarge his acreage. The first operations comprise pulpwood production, which is our first farm product.

I therefore wish to draw the attention of the government to the fact that, as far as my district is concerned, there is a very efficient way to help agriculture become more profitable and stable, and it is to associate with agricultural work the development of resources which will take this natural product of our land, pulpwood, and transform it into finished products. This must be done through federal-provincial co-operation. I have stated a very definite case where the provincial government seems to be prepared already to accept the federal aid which should be granted, if we are to go by the suggestions of October 14, 1957, made in this house, for the development of Canada in the district I have the honour to represent. Our farm population is even more considerable than the figure of 41,000 I gave a moment ago, for this is but half of the total population of my constituency; but everyone in my con-

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization

stituency is interested in this vital problem, because we are all interdependent and we stick together.

Dealing as we are with the matter of adequate prices for farm products, I suggest that at the same time the government extend its consideration to a factor which is essential to the progress of our agriculture, and that is the combined agricultural and industrial development of our area so as to make sure that our agriculture as a whole will enjoy lasting benefits. At first, in our area, farming land yields pulpwood, our main product. I hope that the government will speed up its action and that it will not be content to repeat its promises which are slow to bear fruit. Farm products, including pulp-wood, should receive the attention of the government. This, in my opinion, is quite an urgent matter. When is this government going to achieve the objective so often referred to both before and after the election, namely put agriculture, generally speaking, in a position to yield to those engaged in it a material reward comparable to the one received by the other economic groups in Canada?

At Mont Tremblant, around September 18, 1957, at the congress of the Canadian producers of agricultural chemical products, the Minister of Agriculture advocated a more intensive use of fertilizers and favoured additional labour and machines. We are in agreement with him on that point, and if the government considers that agriculture is important, it should then help also those areas where farming is more difficult because of the climate or the land; that is what has already been proposed elsewhere in poorer areas of our country.

Under such conditions, farming will remain an important part of our economy and a factor of prosperity in our areas.

At this time agriculture owes its best results to the work of groups like the Catholic Farmers' Union and those professional associations which have brought to the farmers their most important victories. Today the Catholic Farmers' Union, as Mr. Lemoyne has so relevantly expressed it, wants the government to co-operate with its members in order to reorganize the development of agrarian resources and to create self-sustaining economic units.

All that would be very beneficial to our farming industry, and that is what we favour in order to get more vigorous and quick

action in launching industrial developments which will indirectly assist our farmers.

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December 18, 1957

1. Did the international service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation publish a program schedule for December, 1957, January, 1958?

2. If so, how many copies were distributed in Canada?

3. What was the full cost of this program


Answer by: Hon. G. C. Nowlan (Minister of National Revenue):

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation advises:

1. Yes.

2. 1,481 in Canada; 186,500 to listeners outside Canada.

3. $3,792.73.

Thursday, December 19, 1957

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December 18, 1957

Mr. C. N. Barbes (Chapleau):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I wish to make a few very brief remarks concerning the bill under discussion at this time.

The government proposes to amend the 1954 National Housing Act with a view to increasing by $150,000,000 the money made available to Canadians to further improve the housing situation in this country. The former government had set aside $250,000,000, for that purpose, and loans were being granted from these funds as late as September 1957, according to the terms of section 16 of the National Housing Act, chapter 23 of the statutes of 1953-54.

The Societe des habitations modernes incor-porees, of Amos, in the county of Chapleau, had a $372,685 loan approved on September 19, 1957 by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in order to promote the construction of 48 new housing units in the town of Amos. This money will be paid over to the construction company and eventually people will be put in a position to occupy the housing units built in this way, the amortization period in this case being spread over 40 years.

The monthly payments will be approximately $60.50 for single, two bedroom units. This step is altogether praiseworthy. I am happy that workers from my constituency have been able to find employment during a difficult period and that this work happens to be connected with housing. I am also happy that these houses are to be offered to workers who are in most pressing need of housing, as well as to their families.

It is fortunate also that the 1954 housing act and action taken by the former government have made this progress possible in my constituency. I am in favour of the amendments, Mr. Speaker. As one father who has himself bought a comfortable home for his family on favourable terms, I would like to see every one of my fellow citizens enjoy a higher standard of living through improved housing accommodation.

In 1956 we built close to 135,000 housing units and, as of September 1956, one million new housing units had been built over the last 12 years through federal financial assistance as well as through unassisted private enterprise.

Topic:   IS, 1S57
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December 13, 1957

Mr. C. N. Barbes (Chapleau):

Mr. Speaker, as the representative of the riding of Chapleau, I would like to offer a few remarks in connection with Bill 232, amending the Income Tax Act.

Back in March, 1957, the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) delighted in lambasting the Liberals, denouncing cyclical budgets and recommending numerous exemptions. But last week, after six months of hard work and just before Christmas he 96698-148

Income Tax Act

brought down in the house bits of halfmeasures, mere cracker bits.

I think that on the financial festive table to which he had invited Canadian taxpayers six months ago, there is very little to satisfy his guests, that is, the Canadian taxpayers.

Last May and June, Mr. Speaker, I urged the citizens of my own riding of Chapleau to leave the administration of this country in the hands of people who had had valuable experience and a remarkable record in overcoming difficulties through the many measures they had enacted since 1940.

Many thousands of electors were beguiled by the Conservatives and their enticing promises. At times they were even dazzled by the bright pictures of what the country would be like under a new Conservative government.

Thousands of electors felt that a tax-happy administration would be replaced by openhanded "exemption granters" who would abolish some of the taxes and promote new undertakings right across the board.

Well, after six months, it must now be realized that as far as the income tax, at least, is concerned, the new government is not giving as much as it had dangled before the eyes of large families or of plucky men who have to take jobs far from home and work hard at them but who find in this bill nothing but eye-wash, nothing but little tufts of straw-a meaningless electoral argument-compared to the promises made in the spring of 1957.

Apparently an exemption is granted for construction workers enabling them to include reasonable board and lodging expenses they have to pay when they cannot work in their ordinary place of residence.

In our area, numerous loggers, prospectors and miners travel 100, 200 and 300 miles from home for the purpose of getting work. Their travelling expenses should be taken into account.

Again, the government should provide advantages for workers in areas such as Abitibi, Gaspe, Lake St. John and others too, who have to leave their home and family and take a job far away.

An advantage is given to construction workers who are away for 36 hours; nothing is given to our workers who are away for 36 days and more.

On the other hand, the deduction for each child has been increased by $100. It is an improvement to a certain extent, although it falls far short of what families should receive,

Income Tax Act

for the forthcoming year, from those who, last spring, promised so much to our children and who had accused the Liberals of holding on to 500 million dollars, allegedly the fruit of overtaxation by a tax-happy lot. But out of all this, we are given mere crumbs that cannot substantially relieve the burden of those who have a large family.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, there was indeed a more efficient way, which the government could have used, to bring relief to taxpayers most in need of it: raising family allowances. There again, the promise had been that these would be doubled whereas the matter is merely being considered. And all this time in hundreds of our homes, you will find thousands of people who, this fall, four months after the Conservative victory, do not earn enough to provide decent clothing or food for their children. Yet, those are the allowances the Conservatives had promised to double. Let us hope that they will do so before long, for an increase is sorely needed and it has been promised. What are you waiting for? If you cannot give us jobs, give us allowances, you who felt so mighty last June.

No, there has been as yet no increase in family allowances under the new government. It is true that in 1957, in the thick of the struggle in this House of Commons, neither the Conservative leader nor the Minister of Finance mentioned the matter. It was the Conservative candidates, like the one in Chapleau, for instance, who promised everything under the sun and described us as greedy "taxers".

Today, however, the new government will at least accept my telling its members that, especially in the light of those promises, and of increases in other respects, old age pensions and so on, the children in my riding, and all the others want family allowances that will make up for the loss in the buying power of the dollar since 1945.

The Conservative leaders in La Reine, Amos and elsewhere in my own riding of Chapleau, are quite right in admitting to each other that the Conservatives have always been unlucky when they come into power. In 1957 it's the same as in 1930, and if we did not already have social legislation, the situation would be disastrous. The truth of the matter is that the people are always unlucky when they call in the Conservatives to lighten their burden.


On a different subject, Mr. Speaker, please allow me to offer my personal wishes to the Minister of Finance for Godspeed, bon voyage and a prompt return to Canada.

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