November 14, 1941

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I have obtained some information from the officers of the Department of Transport. The two projects go side by side -the seamen's manning pools and the seamen's training classes.

The manning pools are already in existence. There is a manning pool in operation in Montreal, with accommodation for about S50 seamen; there is a small manning pool in operation at Halifax, where a building is being completed for a much larger pool which is needed at that point; and plans are under way

The War-Munitions and Supply

to build a manning pool in Vancouver. In the manning pool the seaman who for any reason leaves his ship, or, rather-as many are -is sent out from the old country to fill vacancies in British ships, will go into the pool, where he will be furnished with board and lodging and will receive the pay of his rank in actual service. In other words, he will be in service and ready for assignment to a ship when a vacancy occurs.

The training project is just being put under way. As my hon. friend knows, for a number of years there have been under the Department of Transport training schools for officers. These are located at a number of points across Canada, and they will continue to serve to train officers for the merchant marine. The schools will be expanded1 and brought up to requirements for that service.

Schools for seamen are being established, one near Halifax and one near Kingston. The one at Halifax is to train able-bodied seamen, and the one at Kingston is for the training of stokers, firemen and engine-room workers.

Arrangements have been made so that seamen in training can also be trained in actual service on ships. After a seaman has had

I believe it is-eight weeks' training, a place will be found for him on a merchant ship with more experienced seamen so that he can qualify for an able-bodied seaman's ticket.

The plan for training of seamen will be extended to the Pacific coast as soon as the schools in the east are well under way.

It will be necessary for Canada to man many of the new ships as they come into service. The first ships, those which have already been launched, have been built for British government account, but even of those ships, some have been assigned for operation to the Cunard-White Star company, and one or two have been assigned for operation to the Canadian government merchant marine. Canadian crews will be required for at least some of the ships built for Britain and, of course, for all ships built for or operated by Canadian companies on Canadian account.

My hon. friend asked what is the crew of a merchant ship of that type. The crew amounts to a total of forty-five men. It is the purpose of the schools for merchant seamen, the schools for engine-room seamen, and the schools for officers, to train men rapidly enough to man these boats as they are required.

At the same time we are performing a service for the British government and for non-allied governments in maintaining pools for seamen and in looking after the welfare of seamen while they are in port and not assigned to ships.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Thank you.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

There are several questions which I wanted to ask the Minister of Agriculture, but, as the time is getting late and I do not know whether the house is going to sit to-morrow, I shall content myself with asking one question.

The Minister of Agriculture is well aware that in certain parts of the west there is a good deal of discontent at the present time at the way in which the summer-fallow bonus is being administered. I have had several complaints that the amount claimed by farmers is being cut down considerably. The other complaint is of the delay in making the payment. The reason which has been advanced by the department for the cutting down of the claims is twofold: first of all, owing to the fact that the statements filed by the farmers under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act in 1939 and 1940 did not coincide with the statements filed in 1941, and second, owing to the definition of the term "summer-fallow." I cannot understand why the department should take the stand that statements filed under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act in 1939 and 1940 are 100 per cent correct and the statements filed in 1941 are incorrect. That is apparently their stand on the question of summer-fallow. I realized when the measure was first introduced that there was bound to be a good deal of trouble with regard to the definition of "summer-fallow," and I asked the minister then whether or not in the drought area it would be recognized that land which was allowed to go to weeds, burned in the spring and seeded to wheat was summer-fallow. He replied that whatever the practice was in any locality, that practice would be recognized as summer-fallow. The farmers in the drought area were uncertain about this. I held many meetings and told them that in my opinion, if it was the usual practice the government would allow it to be regarded as summer-fallow; but to make sure a letter was sent to Mr. Barrie from whose reply I quote as follows:

If it is the custom to allow the land in your district to lie fallow, grow to weeds, burn in the spring and sow to grain, this plan of summer-fallow will be accepted.

I understand that there has been a great deal of trouble in that district with regard to that very thing. The amount of the payment is being cut owing to the fact that farmers have not cultivated the land but have allowed it to go to weeds. I do not say whether that is the right procedure, but that is recognized in the district. I was taken by a number of farmers to different fields where side by side they showed me one field that had been summer-fallowed by cultivation and the other

The War-Agriculture

field allowed to lie fallow and burned in the spring, and one could see no difference between the two groups. Possibly the grain grown on cultivated land was a little greener than the crop on the land that had been burned off. In view of the fact that the Minister of Agriculture and the department at Edmonton told these farmers-and they have letters on file to prove it-that whatever had been the procedure in the district would be recognized,

I cannot understand the government now cutting down their claims because they have not cultivated the land. Can the minister deal with that?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Answering the first

question as to delays on checking 1939 and 1940, I think the hon. member for Acadia will agree when I say that when the regulations were brought down first in the early part of the session no provision was made to take 1939 into consideration. I believe I am right in saying that the hon. member for Acadia was the first one to ask to have that done. I am not trying to place the responsibility upon him for its having been done. After I had listened to his representations and the representations of others, and giving the matter some consideration, I as Minister of Agriculture advised the government by myself to have the check made on 1939 and 1940. I must say that after having had the experience we have had with it this summer, if it were being done again I do not think I would give the same advice to the government. I think the delays in connection with the administration as a result of having taken 1939 into consideration at all have caused far more hardship, and expense to the government, than any benefits that are going to be derived from having denied a comparatively few people the payment on a greatly increased crop during 1940. Nevertheless that principle was adopted, and there has been some delay as a result of it, because we have had to take two years under consideration.

This, however, should be stated. According to the information which I was given early in the session, at least 60 per cent of all farmers who turned in applications or who filled out questionnaires during 1939 and 1940, when they put in their returns in 1941 Showed a sufficient correspondence in those returns for the three years to make it possible to pass their applications for the amount they asked for. As regards the other 40 per cent, there were such differences as between the figures they put in one year for a particular year and the figures they put in another year for the same year that further checks had to be made, and there was a great deal of delay on that account. The matter of checking was, 14873-281

as a result of that, somewhat more expensive during this year than during previous years.

While I am dealing with the subject I might answer a question raised by the hon. member for Melfort last evening. He asked as to the numbers engaged in inspection this year compared with other years. The figure which gives the fairest comparison is the figure of man-days involved in the inspections ini the three years during which we have had prairie farm assistance, and this year, as we have stated, we have had some staffs added to take care of additional work. That is the work of dealing with wheat acreage reduction. The man-days for 1939 numbered 14,676, and for 1940 the number was 17,693. The man-days up to the present for this year, which is not the complete year, number 19,503. The number of inspectors that are on is not a proper check upon the expense or even the amount of time that will be involved.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If the committee will pardon me for a moment, it is nearly eleven o'clock. Might I suggest that the house give its consent to continue in com-mitee until we conclude.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

As to why we have an inspector in each municipality, I may say that while I am not personally in entire agreement that all the inspections made were necessary, all departments of government are subject to the checks made by the auditors and by the comptroller of the treasury, and it was insisted that many more inspections might be made than probably we as a department would have made as a matter of administration. After all, however, those actually paying the funds have something to say about when they should be paid, and the inspections were made on the basis that we were required to make them.

With regard to summer-fallow, I might say that the statement which was made by the member for Acadia is practically the statement which I made to the house last year. The statement made by Mr. Barrie in general terms is the proper way of dealing with the matter of summer-fallow. I would, however, point out that after considering the question with the inspectors and others, it has been thought unwise to make a final settlement with regard to summer-fallow that is done on that basis, or according to that plan, until next spring, the reason being that if one wishes to abandon the land, he can take his payments in the fall of the year and disappear, and the land will probably not be put into crop in the succeeding year. That might not happen in many cases, but it is a possibility, and the decision

The War-Agriculture

has been made to withhold payments on summer-fallow that are claimed to be done when they are left to grow Russian thistle, to gather snow in the winter and to be cleared in the spring and seeded.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Withhold the complete payment, or part of it?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I would presume that if the payment is going to be made at all, the complete payment will be made, but the decision will be reached as to whether it is the proper method of summer-fallowing in that particular district. If it is decided that it is the usual method there, and that the individual will go right through with his programme for the year on that basis, then it will be possible to reach a decision in his favour.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

The minister is quite aware, is he not, that this is a very general practice in part of the drought area, where the farmers are probably harder up than in any other part? If payment is withheld until next spring, a critical situation will be created. Surely the government could make a partial payment to tide these people over the winter. They have to buy coal, and everything else. Could at least a 50 per cent payment not be made now?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am not aware from personal knowledge that summer-fallowing is done in that way. I have never known anyone who has done it in that way; but I have had reports from those who should know -and I presume, in view of the fact that the area where this is claimed to be done is largely in the constituency of Acadia, that I can take the word of the hon. member- that it is done in this way by some of the people there from year to year. I would, however, point out that in making the last $20,000,000 payment we shall be paying to all of those farmers certain amounts in December and March, when the money under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act ordinarily would be paid, so they will not be entirely without any payment. I would think that probably some check might be made in connection with individual cases, and where inspection renders it possible to make payment, part of the payment might be made.

The plan we are following at the moment is the one I explained the other day. All the claims recognized up to the present time are being paid immediately to the extent of 75 per cent of the amounts claimed; then we are making the adjustments from the other 25 per cent, if there is any difference of opinion as between the department and the individual.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

There is an impression abroad in certain parts of western Canada that the 75 cents bonus on the acreage is not applicable to irrigation districts. Are we to understand that to be the situation?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

As the regulations read at the moment, the payments are not applicable to irrigated districts; but the question of whether they can be made applicable and how that might be done is still under consideration. A check is being made on the irrigated districts and regulations are being considered in that connection. This is intended to be a payment to increase the income of grain-growing farmers, particularly wheat growers, in western Canada. Where a farmer merely grows a field of wheat as part of his plan of rotation, in order that he may grow beets or something of that kind, it is not thought that payment should be made. But where the type of farming carried on in an irrigation district is such as to require the greater part of the crop to be grain, then it is the intention to try to work out some plan of making the payments.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

I am very glad to hear the minister say that this matter is still under consideration. I am sure he is quite familiar with the problem. The fact of the matter is that in some irrigation districts the farmer will use water for only part of his farm, and not necessarily for that portion devoted to wheat. If the whole district is to be taken in, and the acreage bonus not paid, some of those individual farmers are going to suffer. There is the further point that these farmers are under a greater expense by reason of the fact that they have to pay for their water. I think it is correct to say also that the regulations are based on the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, under which, of course, these farmers have to make their contribution of one per cent of the wheat they grow. I shall, however, be quite satisfied if the department will consider this whole matter in the most favourable light, and decide to give those districts the 75 cents additional bonus.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Just before the close of last session there was tabled in the house the report of a special parliamentary committee containing certain recommendations, two of which I have in mind at the moment. One was the extension of the War Veterans' Allowance Act to take in certain classifications of widows. I have heard no mention of that. The other was the extension of an order in council applying to men serving in the merchant marine, to include men who served in the convoy service. Nothing has been done

The War-War Veterans Allowances

about that. I believe that is a question which the minister for the navy should take under consideration. I have come in contact with many families who have suffered a great deal of hardship by reason of this situation. Men join the convoy ships. If the ships are of British or foreign registry, their families are left for months at a time practically as the recipients of relief, while the husband or breadwinner is performing a very useful service. If the provisions of the order in council which brings the merchant marine service within the pension legislation of the government is not made applicable to this class of service, then I think the shipping offices who sign on these men for convoy service should ascertain whether or not such men are leaving families in Canada. If they are, they should be compelled to make at least an assignment of pay. That is not being done at the present time, and I know that in eastern Canada, in both Halifax and Sydney, a great deal of hardship has resulted.

While I am on my feet I should like to bring one matter to the attention of the Minister of Munitions and Supply. On many occasions in this house I have endeavoured to impress upon the responsible ministers that coal-mining in Nova Scotia is on the wane and that a great deal of unemployment, both actual and potential, exists there. To-day I picked up a clipping from one of the newspapers of that district, in which it was stated that in the town of Reserve a mine which has been employing some 350 men is about to close down, because it is worked out. This means that 350 men are to be displaced. Some arrangements were in contemplation with regard to the opening of another colliery, but that has not been done.

This is what I have in mind. I corresponded with the minister with respect to a machine shop in the town of Glace Bay, which is about two and a half miles from the town in which this mine is located. If this machine shop could be used for war purposes, it would increase employment; and of these 350 men who will be displaced from that mine I am sure there are many who can be utilized in other industries. I just leave this thought with the minister. I hope he will give

consideration to the possibility of utilizing these men somewhere else, because that mine is definitely closing. Within a week or so 350 men will be out of work, and this means the life of the entire community.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

With reference to the question the hon. gentleman directed to me I would tell him that I made a statement the other day concerning the recommendations with regard 14873-281}

to the War Veterans' Allowance Act, in which I said that the government had decided that the act would not be amended at this or the next session. I have prepared a complete report as to the action taken on every single recommendation of that committee, which I intend to table as soon as the new session opens. In the meantime I shall be glad to send a copy of the report to my hon. friend.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

With regard to the suggestion about labour, I may say to my hon. friend that I read the dispatch in the paper and I understood that a new seam was being opened up. I can say, however, that those men will be very welcome either at Sydney or at Halifax where a new machine shop with very considerable capacity has been opened for the repair of ships. Where there was a shortage last year of longshoremen there probably will be a greater shortage this year.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

I asked a question of the Minister of Pensions and National Health at the beginning of this part of the session as to whether he might have something to say respecting plans for the post-war period. I am not asking that he take the time of the committee to-night to say anything about that matter, because the hour is getting late. The war may not be over yet for a couple of months, and no doubt there will be time for him to make a statement. But are we to understand that he will make a statement to the house with regard to what his committee is doing in respect of plans for the post-war period?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

A statement was prepared for this part of the session. But from a becoming sense of modesty I did not inflict it upon the house. I shall be glad most thoroughly to discuss the whole question of rehabilitation and reconstruction, as far as the government is concerned, at the new session of parliament.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Are the regulations respecting the 75 cents an acre supplementary bonus available? I have not seen them, and I do not know anyone else who has seen them. Can we obtain copies of them?

Second, as I understand it, this bonus will be payable to all bona fide wheat producers. Is that without any qualification? For instance, will the S3,000 limitation clause in the Prairie Farm Assistance Act apply to this bonus?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

No; the matter of yield does not apply at all. Neither the yield nor the number of bushels applies-except to this extent, that there is a limitation of 200 acres upon the amount of land upon which an individual can collect. That means that SI50

Vacancies

is the limitation. So that anyone with higher quantities would not come in for more than $150. The regulations are available.

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November 14, 1941