April 30, 1941

NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Hon. H. A. BRUCE (Parkdale):

The question of payment is of secondary importance to the stakes at issue. Let it never be said that the great Dominion of Canada was found wanting on the question of profit and loss. To-day is not the time to reduce production in foodstuffs when the existing needs of the empire are so apparent, and when the subsequent needs of a prostrated Europe stand out, even now, in bold relief. Let us produce and continue to produce. What is the wisdom and what the nature of that which dictates a policy of underproduction? What is to be gained, apart from idleness, from a policy of underproduction?

The nazi machine of war was forged, not through monetary manipulation but through production-yes, primary production. The destruction of natural wealth, as, for example, the so-called "revalorization" policy with respect to coffee in Brazil, involving as it did the destruction of the major part of coffee produced in south America, was intended to sustain an artificial price level. A similar policy with respect to cotton in the southern states was carried on regardless of the increased production of cotton in India, the Sudan and Egypt. Moreover, the withholding of wheat from the world market in 1929-30 proved a fallacious policy on the part of the Canadian government, in view of the fact that Canada had no monopoly in wheat production.

The withholding of wheat from the people of Great Britain except on a cash or credit basis can hardly be identified with a total war effort.

To-day we are not concerned with price or cost of production. We are concerned with winning the war. On the economic front, the supreme and sublime gesture has come from the United States. Great of heart and forever loyal to their antecedents, the people of the United States have cast in their lot with the people of Britain. In pursuance of this attitude of a nation, not at war, is there any logic or any explanation sufficiently convincing to condone the attitude of the Canadian government with respect to wheat?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Is the hon. member implying that the government held the wheat in 1929?

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NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

They held it at a certain price in 1929.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The government did not have the wheat in 1929.

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NAT
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

No.

Mr. GARDINER; The government was not in the wheat business then at all.

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LIB
NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

I thought that was the correct date, but I may be misinformed.

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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland):

That was about the time the hon. member did not want any truck or trade with the Yankees.

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NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

If that date is incorrect I will ask the privilege of correcting it to-morrow.

The people of Great Britain are shouldering a heavy burden. Are we in this hour of want and necessity to be other than co-partners in this great crusade for freedom?

Mrs. DORISE W. NIELSEN (North Battle-ford) : Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but feel sorry when speaking in this debate on agriculture to see that so many members are absent from their seats. Evidently they deem agriculture to be of such little national concern that their presence in the house is not needed.

So much has been said on this question of agriculture that it seems almost impossible for any one member to present any facts that are new or to present them in any new form; yet silence at this time would imply acquiescence in the government's policy, and since I know that the great majority of my people at home are not in any way acquiescent I feel it incumbent upon me to voice my protest against the government's policy.

Although I am a western member I think we western members should not concentrate wholly on the question of agriculture from the western viewpoint. I think we should have a greater realization of the plight of agriculture generally throughout Canada. The question is one which affects vitally the future of our people, since we have always believed that in time of peace we should prepare for war and in time of war prepare for peace. The question of agriculture is undoubtedly bound up with the future development of this country, as regards both the success of agriculture itself and the consequent development of industry.

I know that some hon. members of the house have criticized the government's agricultural policy, and yet they have made it very clear, in fact have definitely stated, that they do not wish to embarrass the government. I think I should be very frank with you, Mr. Speaker, and say that I feel that a government which at this time has not hesitated seriously to embarrass so many of our people should be embarrassed by members of this house if by embarrassment is meant that the whole problem of agriculture would be squarely faced by them; and opposition members I think should make very clear what

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is the general opinion of the farming people of this country with regard to the government's policy.

All of us, whether we are farmers or not, realize that we live in a machine age. During these last years we have seen vast technological improvements which have changed agriculture and are continuing to change agricultural methods. We have come in agriculture, as we have in industry, to an era of mass production, and I think the vast technological improvements which have taken place are going to be a deciding factor in the future development of agriculture. The question to-day is far-reaching. We all know that at the present time the trend is towards greater industrialization. That of course has been accentuated by the war; there is no doubt about that. But the doubt in the mind of many of our farm people who to-day would be willing to be drawn into industry is, when the present boom in war industry ceases, what will their prospects be? Will peacetime industry be able to continue to absorb men and maintain them, or will they then be forced to look back once more to the farm as a means of sustaining themselves?

During our present generation we have already heard the cry, "Go west, young man," and from eastern Canada thousands of people have gone to the western plains and settled there and developed the country. Those plains were a wilderness. Out of that wilderness they have built homes, highways, churches, schools, hospitals and all that goes to make up community life. But now these people, after years of such toil, are beginning to hear a new cry; "Go east, old fellow, go east!" and they are beginning to wonder whether all their efforts throughout the years in the development of the west are of no avail. They are beginning to wonder, too, whether if they heed the call, and go east and become absorbed in industry, that will be their final migration, or whether when this war is over there will be a new call; maybe by that time it will be, "Go north, and maybe you can live on reserves as the Indians do; you can fish a little, and for solace you can smoke birch-bark or something like that." Many of our farm people are realizing the alternatives which are placed before them, namely to continue under conditions which month by month become increasingly difficult and almost impossible, or to make an attempt once again to regain their footing as selfsupporting citizens by making a trek to the east, looking towards industry to give them an opportunity.

During the last two or three decades we have become aware that in all branches of agriculture it is large-scale production which

has proven the most economical and therefore the type we should pursue. It does not matter whether you go into dairy products, into cattle or into wheat, to-day it is those who have capital sufficient to buy for themselves large herds, or to procure a large acreage and sufficient power machinery, who are able to support themselves, making at present prices a profit substantial enough to maintain their equipment and to enable them to live according to standards to which they feel themselves entitled. During this last era of development, while adequate investment in land and machinery has enabled some agriculturists to place themselves in a fairly secure position, for lack of capital hundreds and thousands of our farmers have attempted in vain to compete with the large-scale units.

Of course the method which we have to-day of unrestricted, unregulated competition is called "freedom" by those who advocate it. It is said to stimulate initiative. That conception of freedom is of the same character as a man's "freedom" to sleep on park benches. The farmers to-day are not free. Because of these competitive conditions, only those who have the capital to invest in and maintain large-scale units are free to go on, because it is only those units which are economical enough to produce and to survive. The small farmer finds himself without freedom, and that condition, we believe, will continue. Indeed, it becomes more and more apparent as time goes on that it is impossible for anyone to speak of farmers as a group, because of the great differences which gradually over a period of years have made themselves noticeable. You have on the one hand the large unit; you have on the other hand the small homestead, the small farm; and, of course, there are gradations between them.

In listening to some hon. members who represent eastern constituencies, I gained the impression that agriculture in eastern Canada is in a more prosperous state. Yet, upon comparing the amounts of income of farmers in eastern Canada, particularly in the maritime provinces, with my own province of Saskatchewan, I am convinced that the same trend is noticeable down here; that, although you have in the east large-scale units both in dairy farming and in other types of agriculture, you have also many small farmers who are suffering as severely as our own small western farmers. In the Sirois report, page 76, there is an enlightening table of farm incomes. In 1937 among the cash net incomes of farmers in the various provinces I find: Prince Edward Island, $205; Nova Scotia, $193; New Brunswick, $108; Quebec, $313; Saskatchewan, $141.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Have you the figures for Ontario?

Supply-State of Agriculture

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UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

No, I have not, but the average income is a little higher; it is somewhere around $600.

I recall that one hon. member on the government side suggested that farmers were wasting a certain amount of time in self-pity. Knowing something of the farmer's life, I can only say that the farmer has no time to spare for any indulgence of that kind. His days are one long round of labour. It is not a sentiment of self-pity which fills the minds of small farmers to-day; it is a sense of injustice. They pick up their daily newspaper, and in odd corners they will see such notices as this:

The Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company experienced in 1940 the "greatest expansion in business in its fifty-five years of existence," the chairman of the board declared yesterday in his annual report to stockholders. Orders received totalled $400,477,724, an increase of 87 per cent over 1939. Approximately 40 per cent of the company's 1940 business was in connection with the national defence programme.

When our farmers read notices like this- and they see plenty of them in the papers to-day-they are moved not by self-pity but by a sense of injustice, a sense of inequality. They cannot help being filled with righteous indignation, having tried so nobly during these years to carry on. That is particularly true of our western farmers, who have suffered from years of drought. To-day they are-

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

May I ask the hon. member a question with regard to the figures she gave relating to the Westinghouse company? There was, she said, a large increase in the amount of business. Was there a comparable increase in the reward or return obtained by investors, or was the reward much less?

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UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

It would certainly mean, I believe, that there was a greater return.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I think the facts are that the shareholder's dividends were less, in spite of the fact that the volume of business was greater.

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UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

That may have been so in the case of the Westinghouse company, but I believe that generally speaking industry is reaping greater profits at this time and is having a great increase of business.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

The profits are not in proportion to the business.

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UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

I have no doubt that the majority of hon. members are aware that our western farmers, as well as possibly a number of eastern farmers, are, in an attempt to find for themselves a new basis of living, drifting towards the cities, particularly those cities where they believe that industry will give

them a chance. Not long ago, on April 22, in one of our western papers, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, there appeared the following report:

A large-scale movement of Saskatchewan people to other parts of Canada has taken place during the past twelve months, according to unsolicited reports which have drifted into the provincial bureau of labour and public welfare, and the Hon. R. J. M. Parker, ministei of municipal affairs.

There has been no check made of the number of people who have -moved away from the province and there is no way of knowing accurately or even approximately the number who have done. It is believed, however, to be quite substantial.

In August of last year the Canadian Finance magazine in an editorial had this to say:

It now seems quite plain that for the duration of the war only the most efficient producers of wheat are essential to our war effort. The productive efforts of all others should, in some way, be diverted into other lines of industry or war service. What does the government intend to do about it? And more important, what do the farmers and their organizations intend to do about it? The farmers must accept some responsibility in facing this issue. The government is very busy with the war.

Those of us who are interested in the question of maintaining the farmers on the land would like to know what the government policy is with regard to the need for our farming population being established either on a better basis on their farms or on a decent basis in industry. If this government has a plan for the rehabilitation or reinstatement of our surplus farm people in industry, why can we not at this time have some knowledge of it, because were our farm people to understand that there is an opportunity for permanent reinstatement in industry, I have no doubt that thousands of our small farmers, those living on the marginal lands especially, would be only too pleased to be thus absorbed? To-day, however, the position seems to be that they are to be given little assistance to maintain themselves on the land; yet they are not aware of the fact that there are channels whereby they may be diverted to industry, and the question of migrating is left to them. It is causing to-day in the minds of our smaller farmers a great amount of anxiety, trepidation and fear for the future. They cannot be assured of their maintenance on the farm; they realize that the large-scale unit, particularly in wheat, is the only economic unit. There was one hon. member, I believe the hon. member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Donnelly), who recognized that fact clearly when speaking last night. He said something to the effect that the large-scale unit was the only one which this government should legislate to protect, because it was the only unit

Supply-State of Agriculture

for wheat production which would be efficacious in the future. He said that they are the men who will hold our markets for us and will continue to grow wheat. He also said that he thought the government's legislation, or rather order in council, in connection with the bonus would assist the small farmers because it would help them to divert what would be wheat farming on a small scale to more general or mixed farming.

From my knowledge of the small farms in northern Saskatchewan I am afraid I cannot agree with the hon. member, because the proposed bonus is not going to give the small northern Saskatchewan farmer, whom I represent, an opportunity to do any better, if he attempts to go into mixed farming. The amounts of land these farmers have under cultivation are small; the opportunities they have for producing are poor and so limited and, besides that, they come into opposition with the eastern farmer who is going in for dairy produce and hogs. There is no doubt in my mind that were our small farmers, in Saskatchewan particularly, to go in for mixed farming, they would be to some extent a menace to the small farmers of eastern Canada. We have had too much division of east and west; there should be nothing further done to separate our people in that way and to cause feelings of bitterness or resentment between them; for agriculture as a whole, that is on the small-scale farms both in eastern and western Canada, is in the greatest need of assistance.

I cannot help feeling that if other assistance is not given than is going to be given by this bonus to the smaller farms, we will see an attempt on the part of these people to go to eastern Canada on their own account, where they will present somewhat of a menace to organized labour, or else they will have to relapse into what is nothing but a peasant economy. When these farmers on their small farms attempt to go in for a little dairy produce and to raise a few hogs, grow a little wheat, a little coarse grain, do hon. members not realize the needless toil on those small uneconomic units of production? It will mean that the farmers and their wives and children will have to labour from early morning until late at night to eke out a mere existence. Even then it will mean that they will not receive sufficient return from their toil to give them anything over and above the barest of livings. They have already had a taste of this; for during the years of depression many of them were forced to eat more or less only the food that they could produce on their farms; they were forced to go back to spinning and weaving in order to try to produce some of the clothing and bedding that they needed. If we are to have

a section of our farm people turning the clock back and declining into a peasant economy of that kind, I cannot see where this government is making any concrete progressive proposals to save agriculture.

There is no doubt that as far as our children in western Canada are concerned, they will suffer from this, because with a certain number of our young men being drawn from the west into industry and a certain number being drawn to the forces, there will be a shortage of labour. The small farmer, if he goes in for mixed farming, dairy products and hogs and so on, will need more help, but with the low prices we now have he cannot afford to hire labour, which means that the women and children will have to help, and, as was the situation in the years of depression, the children will have to be kept out of school to help keep the farm going. This is not advancing the people of Canada along the road of progress; it is retrogression; it is something which in its worst form we have deplored in other countries. We know that Hitler in recent years has been forced to keep a kind of land army, a new peasantry, and anything of that kind for the people of this country is to be abhorred.

I remember listening to the speech made by the Prime Minister in .welcoming Mr. Willkie at the gathering in the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The Prime Minister spoke at that time about the new heaven and the new earth which must be built, not after this war, but here and now, if we are to escape the economic chaos which may come upon us when the war is over. A policy such as we now have for agriculture is setting the clock back; we are building, not a new heaven and a new earth, but a new hell of anxiety, worry, trouble, fear, and poverty. These things must be acknowledged. Let us face the facts.

I learn from the bureau of statistics that we have in the three prairie provinces 17,987 farms on which there are fewer than 100 acres in cultivation. We have 125,583 farms with under 200 acres in cultivation. We have, of course, farms going up to 800 and 900 acres; and, finally, we have 9,480 farms of over 1,280 acres. In my opinion, any policy of the government should not be a blanket policy. What need have we to bonus these 9,480 large-scale units? These are the most economical units of production; why bonus those people? They would have summer-fallowed their land anyway; they can, if they wish, summer-fallow large areas of land, and because their costs are low they can from this bonus draw considerable income. But take the 17,987 small farms of under 100 acres; those farmers to sustain themselves cannot afford to summer-fallow more than perhaps twenty acres, and

Supply-State of Agriculture

twenty acres at $4 an acre will not bring them any recompense. It seems that in these matters the whole economy of western Canada is going to suffer. It is not only our small farmers, it is our whole communities that will suffer.

Recently I found out that the debt legislation in our western provinces is not giving the protection to our farmers that it should, acknowledging the emergency of the time. I speak more particularly, of course, of Saskatchewan because I come from that province. We have debt legislation there; we have a debt adjustment board, but I find that last year there were 800 cases of foreclosure in Saskatchewan. Of those, 135 were by mutual consent, but the fact remains that 665 straight cases of foreclosure took place. That condition is going to increase; and if our federal government has a right to override provincial legislation with regard to the tenant and owner, as it has done in connection with this bonus, it should also override provincial legislation and, because of this emergency, should provide a general moratorium for all our farmers. In that way our farmers would be sure at least of a roof over their heads. They would know the satisfaction of not being turned out on the road if they cannot pay their debts, and it is certain that they cannot pay their debts.

I have been trying to find out the amount of land in Saskatchewan which is held by mortgage or finance companies, but unfortunately the dominion bureau of statistics could not give me that information and I could not get it from the Saskatchewan government. If, however, during last year there were 665 foreclosure proceedings, and if on an average we have that number every year, there is undoubtedly a vast acreage going into the holdings of mortgage companies. These companies to-day may be farming these large units, and they may in future have a monopoly of wheat farming in the west. This will be but a natural development of capitalistic enterprise, and it will not be for the good either of Canada as a whole or of the general run of farmers. I cannot help thinking that a general moratorium would be a good thing- and I think it is as necessary for the small eastern farmer as for the farmer of the west. In this time of crisis, as a war emergency it Should be provided that no mortgage company shall turn the small farmer off his farm. Rather, by legislation, the federal government should give some protection to our farmers in that way.

When we come to the question of the price of wheat, I know there is variance there also. It has been said that 85 cents might be adequate, but I cannot in the name of these small farmers agree that such a price would

enable them to carry on. Even though they might divert some land to the growing of coarse grains, even though they might obtain a little from the bonus on their summer-fallow, and raise a few hogs and sell a little butter and a few eggs, the fact is that on the rest of their wheat, sold at 85 cents, it is impossible for them to carry on. I have lived among them; I know the way the money on the farm comes back and is used, and 85 cents will not enable those farmers to carry on.

Again, the payment of storage on the farms would be one thing which would help the small farmer perhaps in some ways; it has in the past, I believe. But there, again, a limit should be placed on the amount which the government would pay to large-scale units for the storing of wheat on their farms, because they would possibly take advantage of that in storing huge quantities, Whereas if a maximum limit were set on it, this would be of assistance only to the smaller farmer.

Again, the amount of quota allowed to the farmers is a vital matter. Suppose a man who has 100 acres in cultivation is seeking to sell his wheat. He would not have the whole 100 acres in wheat; he might have fifty or sixty acres. If the quota is only five or eight bushels to the acre, it is impossible for him with that small acreage to deliver enough wheat to carry on, pay his small store bills and buy food and clothing for his family. The small farmer must be allowed a quota of at least 1,000 bushels of delivery. If that would mean that the general quota would have to be lowered for the large farmer, we would be justified in doing that; because after all, although agriculture as a whole needs to be placed on a higher basis, the large-scale unit that can manage to exist is not as much in need of assistance as the small-scale farmer who can barely manage to live- and it is protection for the latter that we need more than anything else.

Already the agricultural crisis in the west has brought about a gradual decline in our community life. I was astounded to find that during last year in Saskatchewan no fewer than 219 of our teachers were forced to go on relief. Is that not itself an example of the inability of the municipalities to carry on? When the farmers cannot pay their taxes, the municipalities cannot pay school teachers, nor can they look after the usual run of business of which they are called upon to take care. We have the federal government declaring that it can no longer take care of the problem of supplying the provinces with money for relief, and therefore the municipalities in Saskatchewan are told that they must raise their mill rate. I had a report from one of our northern municipali-

Supply-State of Agriculture

ties in which the statement was made that out of 491 farms in that municipality there are under cultivation 166 farms of less than 50 acres and 144 farms of less than 100 acres. Three-quarters of all farms in that particular municipality have less than 100 acres under cultivation, and when one considers that these same people are to have their mill rate increased, so that they can help to provide for municipal expenses in connection with relief, he will see that it is like asking a blind man to put pennies in his own hat to ask these people to provide relief for others in the municipality.

To-day the municipalities are sending in resolutions to that effect. No doubt many members have received them. It seems that the people in western Canada on the small farms are realising the desperate condition they are in. When they know that this bonus scheme is to be set up, they begin to see that here and there among their number there will be some who will take advantage of the government scheme to put their foot into the machine and become one of the political heelers who in the past, as we know, have done so much to perpetuate the present system of government in western Canada. We have had road inspectors, relief inspectors, bonus inspectors. The people of the west have a name for these men; they call them "heelers." It is a good word, only it is an insult to dogs, because many of these men have sold their very heritage; they have given away all that they possessed for a mess of pottage. They have taken little jobs here and there and, by reason of the stress in which they find themselves, they have become a party to such things and therefore discriminate against their neighbours and so keep up the whole structure of the rotten political system in the west. One cannot prove these things, but everyone from Saskatchewan is aware of them. One has only to mention the word "heeler" to some farmers to see the look of disgust that comes on their faces.

After all, we know that the farmers live very close to the land. They know the basic, fundamental truth that when the hungry people of the world are free, they will demand the food which our western people will grow; and they know to-day that when our government is asking for a reduction, it is really denying one of the fundamental principles of life itself. In asking us to summer-fallow our land in these days, knowing at the same time that industry is doing not only as well as it has ever done before but even better, the government is asking our farmers not only to make a sacrifice but to summer-fallow their minds and to turn under their intelligence. It will leave them with the

blackness of despair during the coming months and years, and they fear to face the future.

I cannot help feeling that, were industry to be asked to-day to forgo all its profits, there would be an organized protest from industrialists. But to-day the small farmer is not organized, and under this wheat policy the farmers are asked to go without a decent standard of living. Advantage is being taken by this government of the fact that the farmers are not organized sufficiently well to protest. After all, the government to-day is making an agricultural policy which is going to have tremendous effects in the future. It is in other words, in my opinion, sowing the wind. The whirlwind will inevitably follow. In all the small farms throughout the length and breadth of Canada to-day, I have no hesitation whatever in saying there is one crop which is slowly but surely ripening, namely, the grapes of wrath.

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IND

Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBE (Laval-Two Mountains) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, on

the one hand a request for unprecedented sacrifices and a tremendous expenditure of public funds; on the other, a reduction of $131,584.o6 in agricultural .appropriations, a lack of farm labour, low prices and absence of markets for farm products, heavier taxation. Such is the future in store for the farmer. Yet, agriculture is of supreme importance in these troublous times. Last year the government cancelled the usual grants to local agricultural associations and to boys-and-girls live stock clubs. In the province of Quebec alone thirty-five agricultural fairs and the same number of boys-and-girls clubs have had to cease operating for want of the required assistance. Considering that all these restrictions represent the trifling sum of $96,504.36, the question naturally arises of what is to become of farming.

The benefits of agricultural co-operation have been proclaimed from the housetops. But how can the farmers cooperate with one another when the public authorities, on the plea of effecting a paltry saving, refuse to cooperate with them? How can they be made to love and appreciate the land when government deprives them of the few dollars essential to association and cooperation? The excuse based on war expenditures does not hold. The government cannot be unaware that agriculture feeds the armies and supplies them with many of the raw materials needed to carry on the war. Let us not forget either the insuperable difficulties with which the farmer is faced in connection with the labour supply. In many districts war industries have already engaged all the labourers who otherwise would be available for farming operations. The high wages they receive will keep them away from farm work as long as the war lasts. Everyone knows that the farmer cannot afford to pay

Supply-State of Agriculture

wages equal to those received by workmen in the war industries. The prices he obtains for his pork, his milk, his potatoes, his cattle and all his other products are constantly falling. In support of my statement I shall simply quote the average price obtained by the producer for milk delivered at Montreal in

1938, 1939 and the first part of 1940. In 1938 he received $2-076 per 100 pounds; in

1939, $2-023, and in January, February, March and April, 1940, $2-150. These months, it should be noted, are those in which the price of milk is the highest in the year. Besides, milk prices have varied very little since. Then, when butter fell to an extremely low price last summer, shameless profiteers accumulated great quantities in the warehouses. Consequently, both producer and consumer were exploited to such an extent that butter reached the high price of 38 cents a pound in late autumn and early w-inter and the profiteers made a profit of more than 15 cents a pound to the detriment of the farmer and the consumer. They had accumulated reserves at prices as low as 21, 22 and 23 cents in the summer of 1940. The government should show no pity to such miserable speculators. Must the people now have to bear the tyranny of war profiteers in addition to the heavy burden of taxation? It is imperative to fix a minimum price for butter.

Let us now consider the prices of potatoes, pork and cattle. Is it not a fact that they are lower than in recent years? In consequence of the rising price of feeds, the bacon producers have operated at a loss of late. The price of potatoes, at a time of year when they should be at their highest, is little better than 30 cents. Beef is selling at a very low price. Let it not be thought that I am giving vent to systematic criticism. The farming situation stands out in its distressful reality. Our governments have in the past established a system of colonization and settlement. They have devoted large sums to this patriotic endeavour. Should all that be lost in these difficult times, would the country be any better off? Let us be careful not to discourage agriculture by forcing it to reduce its production because of low prices and lack of labour. The entire country would suffer the consequences of an unprecedented depression. Its disastrous effects would even now be felt by us. They would grow worse in the post-war period.

Every hand is needed on the farm and the farm plays an essential part in the war effort. Farmers, farm labourers and every person employed in industries related to agriculture should not therefore be called for military training. Whether the farmer be engaged in the production of food, in the raising of live

stock or in lumbering, he supplies our fighting men with food, clothing and shelter. He is second to none in his contribution to the prosperity and the the survival of the country. It w-ould indeed be an irretrievable mistake, were the legislator to look with disdain upon the invaluable contribution of agriculture and its indispensible support toward the war effort. Farmers, farmers' sons and farm hands are needed on the land, not only at harvest time but the year round. Their services are required in winter for the care of dairy herds, for threshing and for a thousand other similar works essential to the running of a farm. Vegetable growers, in the vicinity of Montreal and of other large centres, raise their crops in hothouses or hotbeds. For all the reasons I have stated and in order that we may continue to develop our natural resources, I urge that we exempt farmers from military training.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE-AMENDMENT TO MOTION OP MINISTER OP FINANCE
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LIB

April 30, 1941