Personal Data

Drummond--Arthabaska (Quebec)
Birth Date
May 8, 1909
Deceased Date
July 13, 1989
agrologist, manager, manufacturer, teacher

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Drummond--Arthabaska (Quebec)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Drummond--Arthabaska (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 184)

March 28, 1962

Mr. Boulanger:

Mr. Chairman, has the minister a statement to make? Since he has not, I would like to say a few words about this item and examine the present state of Canadian agriculture.

I have done so on many previous occasions, but there are some matters we have not had a chance to discuss.

When we analyse our agricultural situation today, we find a certain bitterness among that class of people who, after having chosen the most humanitarian calling of all, do not receive the reward they deserve for their efforts to maintain the standard of living of the Canadian people.

In fact, the income of the farmer is decreasing every year. His family income is not sufficient to maintain the morale of the head of the family, and that is why, each year, thousands of families leave the farm and join the ranks of the unemployed in our cities.

This agricultural stagnation has been increasing since the present government has been in power.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker), who posed as the champion of the farmers during the electoral campaigns of 1957 and 1958, has forgotten his promise to give the farmers their fair share of the national income.

The two ministers of agriculture who have successively been in charge of the department and have talked and talked in praise of the farmers and promised them higher incomes, are now concerned with other things-one has to decide for or against nuclear arms and has not made up his mind yet, while the other, unfortunately, has gone into enforced silence, a fact we all deplore.

I take this opportunity to say how pleased we are to see the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hamilton) among us today.

Mr. Chairman, before referring to the

detrimental situation of our farmers, analysing its causes and making the necessary

recommendations, I should like to give the house some expert opinions, for the benefit of those members who have accused me, as well as my colleagues here, of wishing to set western farmers against eastern farmers.

My statements in this house faithfully reflect the opinion of all agricultural experts and all eastern farmers in Canada.

In an article published in La Terre de Chez Nous, on May 24, 1961 we read the following:

The federal government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year for western producers.

So much the better for them, if those expenses can he justified. On the other hand, eastern producers are entitled to a fair treatment, through an intelligent and consistent use of a few million dollars which Ottawa is spending for them on grain.

In another article published in L'Action Catholique, on August 19, 1961 we read the following:

Would Mr. Diefenbaker have any objection to letting us know how many farmers we will have to sacrifice on his account, and how many plants will have to go out of business, before he goes to the trouble of taking the train to come and see for himself the extent of the damages caused by a shortsighted farm policy. Perhaps we could add that any other minister would do just as well-we are not so exacting as those western chaps who seem to have the nerve of calling the Prime Minister over for any trifle.

I would have other articles to quote but I will let the matter rest for now as my time is somewhat limited.

I will therefore confine my remarks to the present situation of agriculture.

On the basis of d.b.s. returns, it is noted that the net farm income for the fiscal year ending in March 1961 was $1,006 million, which is the lowest farm income since 1957.

Now, if we take the net average income for the last five years, we see that it was $1,185 million whereas the average of the last ten years before that period, that is from 1949 to 1956 inclusive, was $1,459,300,000. This means that, since the Conservative government came into power, the net farm income has been $274 million lower than during the last ten years of the Liberal administration.

Going on with our analysis, it is easy to find that the 232,000 farmers in the three prairie provinces, according to the 1956 census, shared in 1960-a normal year-a net income of $706.5 million, or $3,000 per capita, while the 343,000 farmers of the eastern provinces and those of British Columbia earned an average income of slightly less than $2,000 per capita.

It is true that in 1961, western farmers only had a net income of $1,600 each, because of the drought.

But if, during the other years, farm income fell, it was due to the failure of this government to exercise that price spread control promised by the Prime Minister.

The price index for goods and services bought by farmers shows, for the period from 1956 to August 1961, an increase of 40.2 per cent, whereas the index for farm products increased from 234.6 to 243.5. Practically, it means that goods and services for which the farmer paid $100 in 1956, cost him $114 in 1961. On the other hand, for each $100 of products he sold in 1956, he only got $103.75 in 1962.

Yet, the Prime Minister said on May 16, 1958, in Manitoba:


-to farmers whose average family income has dropped from $3,600 to $3,000 since 1951, while the average income across Canada has risen from $4,100 to $4,900.


What will the Prime Minister tell the country's farmers about farm income a few months from now? If he is sincere, he will have to say that the individual farmer's net income has gone down from $3,000 to $2,000 and $1,600.

I should now like to say a few words concerning the dairy industry. At this moment, the situation as we find it is worse than ever before, due to the incompetence and lack of interest shown by the government in dealing with the dairy industry problem. If other emergency measures are not taken immediately, on top of the 12 cents per pound subsidy recently granted to butter producers, we shall find that industry on the brink of bankruptcy.

In eastern Canada, dairying represents the most important sector of the farming industry, the gross value of its production reaching a billion dollars.

Capital investments and outlays support that industry require tens of millions of dollars each year. The 1,900 different industries engaged in processing and distribution of milk products pay out $117 million each year in salaries to their 133,000 employees.

For us, in the province of Quebec, that is the main income of the farmer, since that industry represents 42 per cent of his farm income while in Ontario, it is only 21 per cent. It is 25 per cent in New Brunswick, 29 per cent in Nova Scotia and 17 per cent in Prince Edward Island.


It is in fact the main sector of farm activity since its gross production exceeds that of wheat, beef cattle, hogs, or that of any other sector of the farm industry.

Now, what is done to support that farm sector and to maintain the buying power of the people engaged in it?

The government has had a few acts adopted since 1958, among others the one dealing with price stabilization of farm products which reflects, after having been in force for four years, the sterility of the agricultural thinking of the ones who introduced it. That act to stabilize the prices of farm products received royal assent on January 31, 1958.

In its preamble, which I shall not read, it was said, among other things, that the act would protect farm income. The theory expounded in the preamble is very well drafted, but it cannot be said it is practical in its application, because the aim of that act was to influence the vote on the eve of a general election.

On May 1, 1958, the price of butter was raised from 58 cents to 64 cents a pound. That was before the general election. At that time, there was a surplus of 25.2 million pounds of butter, and at the end of the year, that surplus had increased to 79.3 million pounds.

Consumption, of course, decreased by one and a half pounds per capita. At the end of 1960, we had a surplus of 125.5 million pounds of butter. Again consumption dropped, and at the end of 1961, there was a surplus of 200 million pounds of butter.

That decrease of 4J pounds of butter per capita in the last three years is due to the fact that the retail price of butter was too high as compared to the price of margarine.

The decrease in consumption started four years ago, and the government did nothing to correct the situation.

The consumer was left at the mercy of dairy products' prices.

Actually, it is the workers and the heads of families who made up for the carelessness of the most biased government this country has ever had.

However, as the consumers are not always taken in, they have been buying margarine instead of butter. They refused to buy 70 million pounds of butter in the last three years, and, as a result, there was a 25 per cent decrease in the sale of that commodity, while the population increased by 2.7 per cent.

Is the farmer to blame for having increased his production? We could hardly blame him for improving his production technique and

we can use, both within and without our country , to fight hunger, misery and poverty, which are causing so much trouble in various countries.

Our farmers deserve the greatest tribute for their efficiency in increasing their production.

It is inconceivable that, through arbitrary measures, we should try to curtail it, when one third of the population is suffering from hunger and millions of children are dying of starvation each year.

The second principle is the following: the government should rely to a greater extent on farm organizations in the preparation, at the initial stage, of farm legislation and programs designed to improve the income of the farmers so that their standard of living may at least equal that of the working class. This obviously requires that two essential conditions be met by the farmers, and the government.

(a) The unification of the large farm organizations under a single authority which would become the one official voice entitled to speak to the federal government on behalf of the farmers. This would not necessarily exclude provincial or regional organizations, nor those made up of producers of special crops such as beets, soybeans, etc.

We were glad to hear that the country's two largest farm organizations have entered into negotiations which, it is hoped, will result in their unification.

(b) The setting up by the government of an advisory commission at both the federal and the provincial levels whose terms of reference would be to study farm matters. That commission could prepare a report each year and make recommendations according to the needs of each sector of farm production.

It is at that level that the planning policy should be discussed and the issues could be varied but comprehensive, since they would affect the production, the distribution, the processing and the marketing of farm products.

I think that marketing of farm products is the main point of a planning policy, since it is the phase the farmer is the less informed about. That is why, in the Liberal party platform, we advocate the setting up of a regular information service to work hand in hand with an independent research council which would promote the development of new food products and their marketing on both domestic and foreign markets.


At the present time we have recommendations to make to the government, which are of international scope and deal with the creation of an international foodstuff organization, similar to those already in existence for wheat and sugar.

That organization would play the part of a buffer in the distribution and pricing of agricultural products on the world markets.

There are other important principles which make up the planning policy of our party, but as I have not enough time to go into details, I will merely summarize them:

The improvement of the Agricultural Prices Support Act. That is to say, this act will have to be made flexible enough to permit the pricing of agricultural products in relation to their cost and the financial needs of the farming families.

Thus emergency measures should be taken immediately to safeguard the main industry of eastern Canada, the dairy industry.

Our party recommends-and intends putting it into practice-a system which would set a reasonable price for farm products and promote the marketing of these products, both on the domestic and foreign markets, and a program of milk distribution in schools.

In the United States, 80 per cent of the children in the public schools have access to some kind of catering service. In Canada, we have practically nothing of the sort.

Here are other policies advocated by our party: the improvement of crop insurance; easier credit for the improvement of livestock, drainage, for the consolidation of establishments, and to ease the transfer-

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March 27, 1962

Mr. Boulanger:

As usual, you misunderstood me.

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March 27, 1962

Mr. Boulanger:

I was here.

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March 27, 1962

Mr. Boulanger:

Mr. Chairman-


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March 27, 1962

Mr. Boulanger:

Mr. Chairman, I did not stray from the subject. I was on the point of making a correction, as my remarks with regard to the Canadian wheat board have been misinterpreted. I know that the Canadian wheat board was established by a Conservative government.

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