Mr. G. E. L. MacKINNON (Kootenay East):
Mr. Speaker, it is not often that I rise to say anything in this house, but I would like to endorse what has already been said regarding the plight of the fruit growers in British Columbia. It is thirty-five years since I first went into the district of Kootenay, and in that time I have watched the Creston fruit area develop from a small handful of people to a population of five or six thousand. In those years I have listened to many harrowing tales of people who sold fruit as fine as any that ever grew out of doors and got nothing for it in return, and then had to dig down to pay for their boxes and crates. In the last few years conditions have
Strawberries-Prices in British Columbia
possibly been a little better. But the war has changed conditions again. Labour shortages and increased costs have put the producers in a position at least approaching the plight in w'hich they were a few years ago.
With regard to the date line of June 17 I wish to make this point. You can get on the train at Vancouver in what might be classed as summer weather and in twenty-four hours you are in the interior in the fag end of *winter; therefore I do not believe it is possible to set a date line that can be fairly applied to all districts in British Columbia. If June 17 is fair for the coast, it is certainly not fair for the interior. On Friday I had a telegram from the Creston district stating that mo berries would be ready for shipment on June 17.
In regard to the price, it was objected that $2.88 for a 24-pint crate is too small. They stated that it was questionable whether at that rate this crop would be picked, and certainly there would not be a crop next year.
I suggest that conditions of season and climate in British Columbia be taken into consideration. If June 17 is a fair date for the lower mainland and Vancouver island it is perfectly all right with me, but a later date should be set for the up-country fruit growers. Whatever date is agreed on for the lower mainland, I suggest that a date at least two weeks later be set for the interior.
Subtopic: PRICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31