May 16, 1938

SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

I had an experience similar to that of the hon. member for Qu'Appelle. I found that in certain areas these foods were distributed without regard to whether people needed them. I made a protest, and the answer I received was that the federal regulations did not state whether or not a person had to be in need in order to receive the food.

The reason I protested was that in the marginal areas adjacent to the federal drought area there was a great deal of distress, and apparently the people in that area were not eligible for the distribution of these supplies. I protested, and the answer I received was that the people outside the federal drought area, no matter how much distress there might be, were not eligible for the distribution of this food.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

There was some difficulty at the beginning, and complaints came in from the area immediately adjacent to what was known as the federal drought area where we were taking care of the people 100 per cent. An attempt was made to take care of that situation by inducing the voluntary committee to make their distributions in the area outside rather than inside the federal area. There was some difficulty experienced in having that done because there were instances where people had expressed the desire to have their carload go to a particular section, and of course where any desire was expressed to have a car that was being sent gratis to western Canada distributed in a certain place, that was done. There were other instances of church organizations having directed cars to certain places, and it was impossible to change their destination. But we tried so to distribute the voluntary relief that was given as to assist those round about the federal area to greater advantage than those who were being assisted inside that area. We depended entirely on the local authorities to make the distribution, and I would say that in 90 per cent of the cases at any rate the distribution was carried out in the very best possible manner. In other cases there may have been some misunderstanding on the part of the local authorities as to just what was to be done with the commodities, and there might have been some distribution made where probably, if we had restricted them by regulation, distribution would not have been made; but I do not think any great harm was done or any great loss sustained as a result, I think it will be found that most people, as was stated by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley), who did not feel they were entitled to the goods did not take them. That was the case over the greater part of the area.

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SC

William Hayhurst

Social Credit

Mr. HAYHTJRST:

Was any part of the fruR and vegetables that were supplied by charitable organizations distributed in the federal area?

Supply-Agriculture-Marketing

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

In Alberta the provincial authorities asked us not to make any distribution of vegetables because they had sufficient vegetables to take care of the situation in the federal area in that province, but there was a certain section that was taken into the federal area in Alberta by special arrangement with the province. We had selected forty-two municipalities that we thought should go into the federal area. They made representations to the effect that there should be fifty-three. We questioned that, and a compromise was arrived at, the amount of the cash grant to the Alberta government to take care of the area outside the federal area being cut in two. When it came to the distribution of the food we suggested, in the first instance, that we would confine the distribution to forty-two municipalities. They proposed that they would make a distribution of vegetables over the whole area provided we covered the complete area with the other commodities, and that was done.

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CON

Richard Langton Baker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAKER:

Does the minister consider that all this great quantity of food was essential out there, and that it was well used, or was a large quantity not required and therefore wasted?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I think anyone who has been through that area would agree that there was very little food wasted in that area this year. There were more people going short of food than wasting any food in the drought area last winter.

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CON
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, by the provincial government, and for that reason we did not make any distribution of potatoes.

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CON
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Pretty much from western Canada, although some were obtained as far east as Fort William, some from the newer part of western Ontario, also from Manitoba, and, I assume, from Alberta and British Columbia.

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CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

There were a great many potatoes sent out there from New Brunswick, and I was wondering if any were purchased from New Brunswick.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We did not make these purchases. I would not be absolutely certain, but I do not think they went as far east ns New Brunswick to purchase potatoes. I

think there were sufficient supplies in Manitoba and closer to the area, and therefore there would not be so much freight to pay on them.

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George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

I am not complaining at all of the distribution because I think it was a splendid thing and the right thing to do. It not only gave relief to those in Saskatchewan who needed it, but made it possible to help those in eastern Canada who had fruits and vegetables for sale. What I was complaining of particularly was that in the distribution certain people did get fruit and vegetables who did not need them, and the consequence was that those who could have done with a little more did not get it. I have before me a letter which states that the distribution in this particular locality was three-fifths of a box of apples to each person, fifteen pounds of carrots and fourteen pounds of cabbage. It says nothing about potatoes. If that was the only distribution, it would not be a very large quantity of apples for the individual, and the distribution would be less because of people getting these supplies who did not need them. The minister admits, I suppose, having approved that system of distribution, because the letter from Doctor Stapleford says that it is the special request of the minister that everyone should participate and the populations of the municipality and of the urban centres within the municipality are given to make sure that the supplies could be divided accordingly, so that each one would share in them. When the minister is replying he might also give us the parties from whom they collected the beans and also I he fish.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I just gave information about the fish and the beans.

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George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

I had reference to the

cheese.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I do not think it has been sent to us yet, but we have a complete list of all the people who got these supplies. When we sent out the supplies we arranged with every person who obtained the apples, when the apples were shipped first, to sign an application for them, to state the number of persons in each family, and to sign for the amount they obtained. The last report that I had before the office was closed up was that they had returns from every municipality regarding the apples, with one exception, and they expected to have that one in within a few days, before the office was closed. I have not inquired since if that one report was in, but the others are. It was intended that there

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should be a full sign-up on all the other commodities in addition to the apples. They got the list of persons to whom they supplied the fish, beans, cheese and other commodities from the first list of apples shipped. The apples had to be shipped before frost. We got a complete list, and knew from that list what to ship into each municipality to supply individuals. The letter which was sent out, and which, as indicated by the faon. member for Qu'Appelle, was of a general nature, went to rural municipalities. But the instructions which went to the urban centres, that is the villages and towns within the area, indicated that not more than seventy-five per cent of the population was to be supplied. It was indicated clearly at that time that those who were to be left out were persons who were on salaries and were getting along about as well as if tihe drought had not existed, because they were being paid practically the same salaries as before. It was ordered that those people were to be left out of the distribution, and I am quite sure that the instruction was carried out over the greater part of the area, because I had quite a number of letters from different places complaining that it had been carried out.

The statement as issued under date of March 10 to the department at Ottawa contains this sentence.

In answer to question twelve, the goods were distributed not only to those on relief but also to practically all farmers, on the basis that many who were not on relief were suffering even more than those who had accepted relief. To the smaller towns and villages supplies were sent on the basis of seventy-five per cent of the population; that is, it was assumed that in the towns and villages twenty-five per cent of the people would not require the supplies.

That is the answer, I think, which the hon. member for Qu'Appelle himself received on the list of questions given.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

Has the minister any

record of the enormous quantities which were given besides those to which he has referred? Added up together from the various parts of Canada, there must have been an enormous number of carloads of gifts, in the form of food as well as clothing, that went in for distribution through the area.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We had complete statements made up. I am speaking from memory when I say that I think the number that was shipped voluntarily this year was about 1,200 cars.

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George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

The minister might explain why these cars were all billed to Regina.- Is that the centre from which the carload lots were distributed?

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LIB

May 16, 1938