May 9, 1934

LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

As has been pointed out by the leader of the opposition, the government has intimated that in all likelihood certain amendments will be proposed as we proceed with this bill. I think matters would be expedited if those amendments were submitted to the committee. We would then be in a position to examine them and find out if they meet with the suggestions made by hon. members in all sections of the committee.

I think the suggestion made by the leader of the opposition and referred to by hon. members in the far corner merits consideration.

I think these amendments should be produced so that we may know what they are.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Perhaps the Minister of Agriculture would permit me to say a word in reply to my hon. friend, as I am under some obligation in regard to these suggested amendments. There is no doubt that the protracted discussion which has taken place in connection with this bill has given rise to certain suggestions from various parts of the committee which are worthy of consideration, I have been engaged with certain law officers

of my staff practically all morning in the preparation and revision of certain suggested amendments to various clauses of the bill. It was impossible to have them ready for to-day, but after a conference with the Minister of Agriculture shortly before the house met this afternoon I think we can say that they will be printed in the votes and proceedings for use on Friday. I do not think this need delay the discussion of the majority of the proposals contained in the bill, but some of the amendments are rather important and will probably require some discussion. I do not think it will be possible to have them in proper form before Friday afternoon's sitting.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Could the Minister of

Justice indicate the general nature of the amendments and the sections to which they refer?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The nature of the amendments has been explained before. They do not change the principle of the bill to any extent as they are framed for the purpose of clarifying what we feel is already in the bill but in connection with which there appear to be certain misunderstandings. There is an amendment with reference to the definitions; there is a change dealing more explicity with the provisions for pools or the manner in which products are to be marketed or regulated, and there is one which concerns the power of the local boards to raise funds. But in effect there is no material change in principle in the amendments. The only purpose is that of clarification.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Has the minister in mind any amendments to section 9?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Yes.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

What is their effect?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

It is not in final form to move as an amendment.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

But could the minister

give the general effect of them?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Is the minister ready to answer my question of yesterday?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The principle under consideration in the wording of clause 9 is to confine the application of power to the creation of interprovincial and export trade.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

That is a limitation of the section as it stands now.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

We think not.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

When the minister says that there is no change in principle, he will

Marketing Act

remember, as the committee remembers, that there are a number of principles in this bill, and I take it that there is some change in principle even in what he has indicated to us.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

I have one or two questions to ask the minister before we leave this clause. So far I have taken no part in this discussion and it appears that a certain section of the press in my own province is sitting up nights and worrying because I have not taken a stand on the bill. As far as this marketing bill is concerned, if it will improve the position of the primary producer in helping him to market his products profitably, then I am for the bill. But I feel sure that some of our farmers and fishermen too will have to be prepared1 to make some concessions and perhaps some sacrifices if the bill is put into effect in that province in the way it stands at the present time. I am glad however that the minister has declared today that the government is prepared to bring in some amendments to the bill. This I think will justify the criticism that has been offered not only from this side of the house but in the press of the country in connection with this matter. If we get a bill that is workable, it seems to me that this criticism should be gratefully accepted by the government; the country should be thankful for what has been said on this side of the house in having the bill amended to make it as satisfactory as possible.

As I say, if the bill is put into effect as it stands there is no doubt that some of our potato growers in Prince Edward Island will have to be prepared to make sacrifices. They must make sacrifices if the bill as it stands is adopted by a majority of the growers or even by a minority and the rest are forced to comply with the regulations, because they will have to give up some privileges which they enjoy at the present time. There is however one thing I can say for our farmers in this respect and that is that they have always been prepared to make sacrifices personally whenever they have been convinced that cooperative selling was in the interests of all, and I feel sure in this connection that they will be prepared to give the same cooperation as they have given in the past. But there is one difficulty which I see. Under present conditions in that province, very often we have United States buyers coming in the summer months. They look over the growing crop and if they see some exceptionally good fields of certified seed potatoes which they would like to buy they endeavour to buy these direct from the grower. In other words, they take an option on the crop. Possibly the price is set at 75

cents per bushel and they pay 25 cents per bushel down, the balance to be paid when the crop is delivered in the fall. Whether the grower who has been in the habit of doing this will be prevented from continuing the practice is more than I can say, but it would seem that if the whole province came under the operation of this marketing bill then all the potatoes would have to be sold through the one marketing organization.

There is a similar situation in connection with the fisheries. We have some small cooperative fishery unions which handle to a small extent the product of some of the factories. Whether the big dealer who has been backing the fishermen for a great many years and building up an individual trade will be injured in any degree should the fishermen adopt the scheme I cannot say; I do not know whether he would be willing to come under the act.

I may point out that in addition to the potato growers' association, which is a very large organization in that province, we have another quite considerable organization, the associated shippers, and there are also large private firms which advance the potato grower his fertilizer and possibly seed for putting in his crop. Under local legislation there has been evolved a plan whereby these men can be protected through what is known as the first mortgage plan with respect to crop. That mortgage on the crop is intended to protect the man who advances fertilizer and seed to the grower, and it provides that the crop must go to the person making such advances. Personally I should not like to see anything done that would interfere with the rights of these men, because our farmers cannot carry on very well without their assistance. If there are no compulsory features in the bill, as the minister said yesterday, I think it is all to the good.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

May I interrupt? I think the hon. gentleman is mistaken when he says that I gave the impression that there were no compulsory features in the bill.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

I am sorry that the

minister has not been more definite in all these things, because yesterday when the question was put to him on different occasions he skated all round it; he would not say yes or no in answer to the question.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I must object to the statement the hon. gentleman is making; I think he is doing the skating all round the question. I stated definitely that there was

Marketing Act

a possibility, as the bill stands, for producers to submit a scheme under which there would be compulsion on those under it.

Mr. MaoLEAN: I am glad the minister has cleared up that point because it is a very important one, and one in regard to which we have been endeavouring to get information ever since the bill was introduced. We on this side understood that there were compulsory features in the bill to which I am opposed, and I am glad that the minister admits now that it is so. However, all I can say is that as far as the potato growers of Prince Edward Island are concerned, their produce is largely exported either to the United States or to the different provinces of the dominion. Under this cooperative plan of shipping through the potato growers' association, the work has been proceeding fairly satisfactorily, although there are always some who pull out from their association and are not satisfied. Perhaps the result will be the same under this plan if it is put into operation. But I would like to ask the minister whether in his opinion, if the bill is put into effect and if, say, forty or fifty per cent of the producers in the province ask for the scheme, it is the hope of the government that the board then will control the total output of the province and that those who do not come under the scheme willingly will be forced to come under it and market their products through the organization.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I am rather more

hopeful to-day than I was yesterday because after four explanations and answers to questions asked with reference to what compulsion there was in the bill, at least some hon. members admit that they now understand that part of it.

With reference to the question asked by the hon. member in connection with compulsion,^ whether it is my opinion that if forty or sixty per cent of the producers voted in favour of a scheme they would have control over the remainder, I have stated over and over again that the basis of this bill is the scheme that the producers themselves submit and they themselves in their scheme will state the action that they feel should be taken in that connection.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Is it the intention to have uniformity in regard to the practice among the various boards as to the percentage that will be required for compulsion?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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May 9, 1934