May 21, 1943

CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

It seems to me that someone gave the figure

it may have been the Minister of Labour-of about 400,000 who went off the farm, half of whom had gone into the armed services and the other half into industry. Has the minister any information on that?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

One figure was given

some time ago to the effect that we expected

175.000 men who had gone off the farms in the fall of 1942 would go back to the farms in the spring of 1943. It was estimated that

250.000 men went off the farms last fall. It will be noted that that figure compares favourably with some of the figures we have heard

Supply-Agriculture

this afternoon, as to the numbers who have gone elsewhere. Those men went largely to the lumber camps and into the mines last fall, on the undertaking that they would endeavour to come back to the farms this spring. I do not know how many were back on March 1, but I do not think there would be very many at that time.

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LIB
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Some of them would

come back. The estimate was that at least

175,000 of the 250,000 would come back.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Did those who left the farm and went into lumbering or some other industry have to get permission of selective service to leave the farm?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

They were required to get permits to go and to give undertakings that they would come back in the spring.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Then, would not selective service have some check on those who did come back and on those who refused to come back?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

There will be some check, but men who left the farm and entered the armed forces, for instance, will not be compelled to come back, and some were given permission to remain longer at the new work they undertook, provided they would return to the farm when required.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

Can the minister give us an idea of the number of men who left the farm after the farm labour freezing order? I should like to get the effect of that order.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have not the figures to enable me to reply. They can be 'produced only by the Minister of Labour when he has his estimates before the committee. I have not those figures.

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NAT
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

They would be included in the reduction that was made in that particular year. Those who left the farm in the fall and were coming back in the spring would be included in those figures.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

May I ask a question for information with respect to the man-power situation? Is there a man-power committee of the cabinet, and, if so, is the minister a member of that committee?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes; there is a manpower committee and I am on that committee.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

What does this committee do, and what have been the results of its

labour with respect to man-power, having special reference to the needs of agriculture? In order to assist the minister I will make clear the point I have in mind.

The figures he has just read would indicate to most people who understand at all the agricultural situation in Canada one of two things, either the figures are hopelessly inadequate and convey a picture which should not, in my opinion, be conveyed as representative of the farm labour situation, or else, if they do show anything like the picture, then all the representations that have been made by farm organizations and others in contact with agriculture must be entirely wrong. When the minister speaks of one province or of one man being placed in one month in the spring of the year and intimates that all requisitions for male or female labour have been filled, it looks to me like no offers and no takers.

I am wondering whether the agricultural sections of Canada are really using national selective service. There must be some answer more than the minister has given with respect to those figures. With his knowledge of agriculture he must have felt impelled to ask the same question that I ask with respect to those figures, and I would ask him now, since he is a member of the man-power committee of the cabinet, just what those figures mean. For instance, 1,802 men would not begin to fill the requirements of Ontario for farm labour. It would not be sufficient to do more than plant a few victory gardens in vacant lots around the cities and towns. That is no approach at all to the whole question of man-power on the farm. I should like the minister to give the real reason for the figures as they have been presented1 to the committee this afternoon. I am not finding any fault with his production of the figures.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The only reason for their being presented is that they were asked for.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If the minister wishes to be facetious, all right, but he knows very well that is not an answer to the question I asked, and I want him to be serious about this problem.

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LIB
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If the minister is serious, I want a better explanation.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I did not want to appeal to you, Mr. Chairman, for a ruling. I have explained to the committee on two occasions that this is not my problem and has nothing to do with my estimates, and if I wished to ask for your ruling I am sure what

Supply-Agriculture

your ruling would be. But I did not do so.

I gave the information asked for that is on the records. I should like to know from the leader of the opposition what his explanation is with regard to those figures.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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May 21, 1943