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
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.
Subtopic: OTHER THAN WHEAT-ENCOURAGEMENT OF COOPERATIVE MARKETING BY GUARANTEEING INITIAL PAYMENT