July 18, 1940

CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

I note at page 73 of the estimates that ten officials of the department are described as agricultural economists. These men are receiving something over $32,900, and despite the fact that this is a war year, some of them are receiving increases in salary. I presume those are statutory increases. Would the minister outline the work of those economists?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The increases are of course statutory increases. Such increases have been made all the way through the service this year. Agricultural economists are the men who make inquiries into costs in connection with agricultural production in different parts of Canada. I presume the statement made a moment ago respecting information contained in the Sirois report, and in connection with agriculture in different parts of Canada would be based upon inquiries made by departmental economists. They make inquiries in all parts of Canada respecting costs of production, and returns received by farmers in different sections of the country.

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

Was a conference of agricultural economists held last year? If so, who were the representatives from Canada, and where was the conference held?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

There was no international conference last year at which there was any representation from this department. However, there was representation at a conference held in 1938.

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SC
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

At Macdonald college in Quebec.

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

Is it the intention of

the department to hold such a conference this year?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

That conference of course was not called by the Department of Agriculture at Ottawa. It is held in different countries in different years. In view of the world war I presume there might be some difficulty in connection with arranging an economic conference of that kind at the present time. Last year an invitation was sent by the Canadian government to the international organization to hold the conference in this country, and as a result representatives from different countries gathered at Macdonald college.

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Item agreed to. Marketing service. 26. Dairy products, $355,452.


NAT

George James Tustin

National Government

Mr. TUSTIN:

A moment ago I referred to the bonus price on cheese. As I understand it now, the United Kingdom government are ready to purchase a considerably increased quantity of cheese. I should like to know what endeavour is being made to encourage a greater flow of milk to the cheese factories in order that we may be able to produce more cheese. I should like to know also what score applies on grade one, which I understand is quoted at fourteen cents a pound f.o.b. boat, Montreal.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The basis of that price is score 92. A premium of one cent a pound is paid by this government for score 93, and a premium of two cents a pound for score 94, which increases the price of those grades of cheese. Information and publicity have been given out to the effect that Great Britain is prepared to accept more cheese. Encouragement was given by the act last year to improve factories, and the government agreed to pay a premium on the higher grades. I may say that we are a little hesitant to drive the matter as far as it might appear to be advisable at the moment. Great Britain has persistently insisted that she will not state a quantity which she will agree to take. We had some experience in connection with bacon. Great Britain agreed to take

5,600,000 pounds a week, and she actually took as high as 11,000,000 one week and 10,000,000 pounds in a number of other weeks. Some of our people became a little too optimistic and began to think that she was going to continue to take that amount throughout the whole year, and they went on to make arrangements accordingly. We do not expect to have the same results with cheese, but we hesitate to encourage the farmers to produce more. It does look as though cheese will take care of itself much better than any other product with which we are dealing at the moment.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

The farm broadcast at noon to-day stated that an inventory of the cheese resources of the dominion was being taken, to be divided between the amount available for export and the amount being held for domestic consumption. I wondered if some arrangement had been made with Great Britain to furnish an additional quantity of

Railways and Shipping-Second Report

cheese over a period of time. If that could be done, it would obviate the difficulties which we ran into in connection with bacon.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We have been making an effort to get an arrangement of that kind. As a matter of fact, the initiative to get the amount increased came from here rather than from the other side. We have been suggesting to them from time to time that we could increase the quantity, and we have now had word that they are prepared to take greater quantities. But they decline to state any specific amount, even for a month's time. They tell us to keep on sending cheese, to increase the amount, and they will be prepared to take it. But they are not prepared to enter into an arrangement to take a larger amount for any specified time. That is one of the things which makes us hesitate a little about preparing unduly for that market. At the same time, we would hesitate at the moment to do anything which might stop our farmers from increasing their production.

The representatives of all provincial departments of agriculture met to-day in the Chateau Laurier with representatives of the dominion Department of Agriculture, and meetings will be held for some days this week. These questions have been discussed, the idea being that the officials of the different departments will go back to their provinces and circulate any information which it is found possible to give them at this time in connection with farm products, and particularly those which we have been discussing to-night.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Great Britain has

entered into agreements with other countries in connection with sugar, coffee and so on. I feel sure it is the wish of everyone in Canada to supply Great Britain with what she needs in the quantities she needs, but in fairness to the agricultural producers I think that government should adopt some system in older that our economy may not suddenly find itself faced with large surpluses. These would cause a certain dislocation in this country and render a disservice, not only to Canada but to the whole commonwealth. I am glad to know that the first suggestion came from this side, but it seems to me that this government should impress upon the British authorities the need for a careful study and understanding in order to protect our own economy as well as theirs.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

What cheese was imported into Canada during the first six months of 1940, and where did it come from?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The only cheese coming into Canada particularly at this time is fancy

cheese which we do not produce. The quantity is small, and I understand it is even smaller than usual this year.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

In the July letter which was in our mail boxes this evening it is stated to be about 800,000 pounds.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

That would be a small amount.

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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

When entering into agreements with the British government in connection with cheese, pork and other products, does the government take into consideration the cost of production?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We take that into consideration as far as possible, but at the present time we feel we are fortunate if we can sell at the prices we are receiving, in view of conditions existing. We feel this is better than trying to press up the price. In connection with cheese, we feel it is to our advantage to have a greater volume, and the same would probably be true about bacon at the moment.

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July 18, 1940