May 5, 1939

UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Mr. Chairman, I wish to speak as one easterner to another. I am very much aware of the fact that agriculture generally is in difficulties-and indeed stronger language than that could be used, and still be true. I am aware, too, that the farmers of Ontario and Quebec, in fact of the five provinces which met recently in Montreal at the eastern Canada conference, will not be satisfied with the legislation now before us. I know that in the minds of the farmers of Ontario, and I am sure in the minds of the farmers of the other provinces represented at that conference, there is the idea that they want boards with power which will give them control over their own production. There is a growing realization that little can be done with a majority of producers, and that they must control the whole commodity group. Each commodity must have control by the producers themselves. However, at the moment I am not going to discuss that point at greater length.

I know we are working towards a two-price agricultural policy, especially in connection with those products of which we export very little, but the export price of which depresses the whole domestic market. The farmers- and this is odd, too-without having met together or having studied it, say, "We have got to quit this nonsense. There is no use in ten per cent or two per cent or three per cent of an exportable surplus depressing the whole domestic price." And so agriculture everywhere, and certainly in the eastern provinces, is working towards a two-price system, or a two-price policy. They will not care much about the bill; in fact I do not. If it is a feeder or educator, I suppose it is all right to pass it. But I do not think it is much good, really. It certainly falls short of what the farmers want.

I should like to ask the hon. member for Prescott-and I would ask him to listen to

this, if he will-what he thinks would happen to the cheese and butter industry in Ontario if the 30,000,000 acres in western Canada or an equivalent area, now devoted to the growing of wheat for export-or what has formerly been the export market-were turned into mixed farming in western Canada? I think it is time easterners realized that if that surplus acreage in western Canada were turned into mixed farming the distressed area in agriculture, which has been confined to western Canada, would then be spread over the whole agricultural field. What is now a wheat surplus would become a butter surplus, a cheese surplus, a bacon surplus, a beef surplus, an egg surplus-in fact a surplus of almost any agricultural commodity of which you can think.

I do believe that the dairying industry is important. I believe, too, that mixed farming is important. But just as wheat growing in Ontario was ruined by wheat growing in the west, due to fertile soil and large scale production, so if we persist in driving the wheat grower of western Canada to a subsistence level or lower, we shall turn those farmers on the prairie towards mixed farming, and thereby rain eastern agriculture. If we are going to deal with the agricultural problem, let us deal with it as a Canadian problem. The wheat growers of western Canada extended their, acreage under the pressure-I think that is the right word to use-of the government during the war, and wheat became the important export industry. Surely we are not going to say as a country that we cannot carry the burden of surplus wheat, but that the farmers themselves should carry it. That is not logical or right. While we are passing through a period of adjustment we should be ready to bear each other's burdens. Eastern Canada is simply fooling itself if it believes it can save money by not voting a good price for wheat. I shall come to that question a little later on, as I do not want to get off my present subject. However I referred to it because it was mentioned by the hon. member for Prescott (Mr. Bertrand). If he wants to ruin the dairy industry of eastern Canada let him turn the west into mixed farming.

The thing that pleased me most in Montreal was the growing unanimity of agriculturists throughout Canada. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) was there only an hour or two, while I was there two days. I wish I had stayed all the time. It was more important than the Commons. He must have noticed that the farmers' organization that we have now is not a minor organization or a

Agricultural Products-Marketing

minor movement. They are not striking a minor note at all. They are not telling about their own problems and saying, "please, dear government, do something for us." They are better informed as to their problems than is the government. They have their own statisticians and their own economists and they know what they want. They are not interested in politics, they are not interested in this or any other government except that they get from the government what they require for their industry. All these things are new. It is a major movement, they are striking a major note. They are not saying, "We want something done," they are saying, "We want this done and, if you like, we will draft the bill." That is an encouraging thing. The leaders of agriculture in every province realize that you cannot isolate the wheat problem, the dairy problem or any other agricultural problem. The problem is a national one and it must be tackled by the combined thought of all agriculturists. Do not let us try to settle this problem by forcing down the price of wheat.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I would point out to

the members of the committee that a discussion of wheat is really not in order on this bill.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We did reach an agreement that we could discuss things in general on the next bill, and I think it would be as well to enforce that agreement and not enter into a discussion of other matters at this time.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I would point out to

hon. members that they should confine their remarks to the agricultural products referred to in this bill. I think almost every agricultural product is named except wheat. Perhaps we should get along better if we confined ourselves to the matters covered by this bill, and wheat can be discussed on the bill that follows.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Mr. Chairman, I do not think it is a fair inference to draw that the western members are against the agriculturists of eastern Canada. That is absolutely not the case. We have always contended that agriculture should be put on a business basis. As the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Miss Macphail) has pointed out, the agriculturists all over Canada are most conversant with their problems, possibly more so than the members of this government. We have always contended that agriculture should be on a business basis. We should stop this fooling around with this problem. The dairy industry of eastern Canada should receive at

[MiSvS Macphail.]

least the cost of production, and the wheat producers of the west should also be on a cost-plus basis. I think it is unfair to say to eastern Canada or to western Canada, "We will give you a minimum price of 60 cents per bushel," when there is no basis of fact for deciding upon that amount. Every consideration should be given to the cost of producing cheese, wheat and so on. In view of the careful consideration that has been given to the agricultural problem, both in the east and in the west, I do not think there is any question as to what the costs of production are.

I know some may say that costs vary in different localities, but an average could well be struck for both the dairy and the wheat industry. When we are referring to these two industries of the agricultural east and west I think it is only fair to mention the other industries of Canada. They should be on exactly the same basis. The dairy industry of eastern Canada should not have to pay exorbitant prices for its cream separators because of the protection the manufacturers receive under the tariff. The manufacturers of cream separators and farm machinery are guaranteed their costs of production.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

They enter free.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

The farm machinery used in the west does not enter free. There is a certain point at which adjustment should be made. For instance, if the eastern dairy farmer is allowed to have his machinery come in free, is there any possible excuse for not permitting the western farmer to have his machineiy come in free? If the manufacturing industry is to be protected, then by all means we must protect our agriculturists both in the east and in the west.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

The hon. member would not protect the manufacturers.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

We have protected them to the extent of $50,000,000 a year ever since western Canada was opened. It is estimated that there are something like

60.000. 000 acres under cultivation in western Canada. If these farmers have to produce at less than cost, at least half of that acreage, or

30.000. 000 acres, will be thrown out of production. What are the people now living on that land going to do? There is only one course they can take, they will go into mixed farming. Let me say to the hon. member for Prescott (Mr. Bertrand) that I am firmly convinced that if western Canada goes into mixed farming it can beat the east all to pieces. There is no question about that. Then what will be the condition of eastern Canada?

Agricultural Products-Marketing

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
Permalink
UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

We will have to grow onions like Hepburn.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

They cannot grow anything but wheat in the greater part of the west.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

We should get down to facts instead of just fooling around with this matter. We should not say that we will allow 60 cents for wheat or 28 cents for cheese when we do not know the exact costs of production. Let us get down to a business basis and establish costs of production the same as is done in other industries.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Does my hon. friend think that in addition to regulating prices we can go so far as to say what cost a man must put on when producing a particular commodity?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I do not think we could say what cost he must put on, but we should find out what the costs are.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

That is quite different.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

We should have a yardstick with which to measure costs.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Is it not true that in producing a certain product one farmer might put on considerably more cost than another?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Surely, and then it depends a lot on the yield. One farm may be a poor farm, while a farm just across the road may be good. There would be a variation in costs, but there should be no question as to the average cost. When it is well established that the cost of production is over 60 cents, I do not think there should be any argument that the price should not be above that amount.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

You would have to regulate it all. I think you would have to regulate the activities of the person who was producing in order to keep his costs of production at the level you have set.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I do not think you would have to regulate at all. It is just a matter of estimating the cost; and surely western Canada has done so much in regard to estimating costs of production that there should be no question about it.

We hear a great deal about over-production. Much has been said about stimulating the cheese industry. But if we do not give the west a fair deal there is no question that there will be a greater production of cheese in the west through creameries coming into the production of that commodity. We are continually complaining in this house about

surpluses of wheat and other agricultural products, yet every one of the immigrants who are being brought in-and I do not say that they should not come in, if the government sees fit-is being put on farms, and for what purpose? To increase what is already a surplus. That is not businesslike, it is not logical, it is not common sense.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT
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May 5, 1939