February 9, 1944

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON REVISION OF STANDING ORDERS-CHANGE IN PERSONNEL

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That the name of Mr. McGarry be substituted for that of Mr. Isnor on the special committee appointed to revise the standing orders of the house.

Topic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON REVISION OF STANDING ORDERS-CHANGE IN PERSONNEL
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Motion agreed to.


WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS

INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET


On the orders of the day:


SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

I desire to direct two questions to the government through the Minister of Agriculture. Has the government carefully considered the seriousness of the possibility that undesirable prices and marketing conditions at present facing beef producers in western Canada may so discourage them as to cause an embarrassing beef shortage next year? Inasmuch as the present lack of markets confronting western Canadian producers might indicate that Canada does not need their beef, would the government consider permitting producers to sell their beef for a time in the United States market?

Topic:   WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

The question which has been raised by the hon. member for Lethbridge, on each of the last three sittings, I think, of the house, is answered in the following words:

During the first month of the present year, hog slaughterings have been at unprecedented levels and slaughterings of other classes of

Western Stock Feeders

live stock have been substantially greater than during the same period a year ago. Cattle slaughtered in Canada during the first four weeks of 1944 totalled 86,991 as compared with 52,279 during the same period of 1943, an increase of 34,712 head, or 66 per cent. Sheep and lamb slaughterings totalled 65,169 as compared with 44,318 in 1943, an increase of 20,851, or 47 per cent. Calf slaughterings were 24,795 as compared with 19,066, an increase of 5,629, or 30 per cent. Hog slaughterings totalled 901,767 as compared with 501,334 a year ago, an increase of 400,435, or 80 per cent.

I give these figures in order to call attention to the suggestion which is made in the question of the hon. member, namely that unless we do something now we are going to have a shortage a year hence, and to remind the house that I have heard that same story every year since the war began; and now this year, when we are entering upon the session, we are reporting an eighty per cent increase -in deliveries of, let us say, hogs, and comparable increases of other live stock coming in from the farms in different parts of Canada. The figures which I have given are only for the month of January, but comparable figures exist with regard to the three * months preceding the month of January, all of which should suggest to the house that there has' been very little in all this talk with regard to any possibility of there heir/; a decrease in meat supplies in Canada, at least in the immediate future. That, I would say, possibly would have some bearing even on the suggestion that there will be a decrease a year hence. Handling and movement of this record volume of live stock has taxed the capacity of the packing plants, storage warehouses and shipping facilities.

Purchases of bacon for the United Kingdom account have averaged over 20,000,000 pounds for several weeks, and an, average of 20,000,000 pounds for fifty weeks out of the year would be 1,000,000,000. I give these figures to emphasize the great quantities of live stock which are coming on the market at the present time.

All available storage space was used for storage, but all product over and above what could be stored was placed in cure for current shipment, and the record volume that had to be moved placed a great strain on- the shipping space available. I may say, with regard to this matter too, that recently three boats which were intended to be made available for the shipment of meat have met with mishaps, and that has made it impossible for them to take meat out until repairs are made. That too is a difficulty that governments cannot avoid during a war period,

[Mr. Gardiner.J

The following statement shows the storage stocks at January 1, 1944 as compared with January 1, 1943, the figures being in thousands of pounds:

1943 1944

Thousand pounds

Frozen beef (bone in) .. , 15,498 13,065Frozen beef (boneless).. . 4,498 8,735Veal . 2,308 5,445Mutton and lamb . 5,038 9,345Fresh frozen pork 22,142 27,582This last figure includes approximately 18,-

000,000 pounds of export bacon stored for later shipment.

While at the moment, owing to heavy slaughterings of all classes of live stock during recent weeks, there is what might be considered a surplus of meat, the fact is that the United Kingdom desires all the surplus meat that Canada can provide. What happens to be a surplus at the moment is due to lack of shipping facilities to move the surplus product immediately. The reasons, in part, for that I have already given.

Steps are being taken to divert additional shipping space to Canadian ports not only for the purpose of handling additional 'bacon but also to lift surplus quantities of beef and mutton. That is a diversion of ships from some ports further south, to Canadian ports, in order to take out Canadian meat. That would emphasize the fact that there is just as great a difficulty in handling meat on the American side of the boundary line as there is on this side. As a matter of fact, there have been controls even more stringent with regard to getting hogs into packing plants on the American side of the boundary line than there have been on this side. All one needs to do at present is to examine the price levels in the two countries to realize that difficulties are as great on the other side as they are on this side.

Our pork to-day, in the markets in Canada, is bringing a higher price, with the premiums that are being paid, than the prices quoted on the American side of the line at the present time. This is particularly true of the Buffalo market as compared with the Toronto market. I have before me the figures on most live stock products. One would find it difficult to ship many live stock products into the United States under present conditions, pay the freight and any duty which there might be upon these meat products, and land the products in the markets there at higher prices than can be obtained here, or at prices as high as can be obtained in Canada, or at any rate as high returns as are here obtainable, including subsidies in some cases.

The immediate problem is (a) to secure additional shipping space and (b) to relieve the

Western Stock Feeders

congestion in cold storages by exporting products now in storage so as to permit the packing plants to handle and store the surplus live stock that is offered. The meat board stands prepared to purchase and export to the United Kingdom all surplus quantities of pork and beef, and arrangements are being made to export some quantities of mutton as soon as shipping space is available. Notwithstanding the heavy volume of live stock being offered- and this is important as an answer to a part of the question-prices for hogs and finished cattle have not been depressed, and all good butcher cattle has remained well above floor prices. With ample meat supplies available, the packers have found it difficult to move lower quality cattle and cows in the domestic market. The meat board found it difficult to handle the quantities being offered owing to the shortage of storage and shipping space, and in that connection I think I should say that there is no diffierence in the present conditions, so far as the marketing of live stock is concerned, as compared with conditions that always prevail. A man who is bound that he will ship live stock just when he thinks it ought to be shipped is always in the position, whether the government has control or has no control, of having to accept a price lower than the market would have provided for him had he waited another week or two to deliver. In the present situation, under more or less government control, he can move his live stock, more particularly cows, and have those cows processed in packing plants, frozen if necessary in the form of beef, and shipped to Britain. That is the market which is available under the arrangements now made, and when the government says to people with cows, "You had better hold them off for another two or three weeks, or another month, if you want to get a fair price for them," I submit the hardship is no greater in doing that than it was when on other occasions one was obliged to do it in order to meet the laws of supply and demand. That is the situation which does exist at present and it is creating some difficulty.

There is one other thing I hesitate to say, but I ought to say it in view of some of the representations that have been made in the resolutions which are coming to us from the section most affected, and that is that cows that run on the range have to be marketed somewhat earlier in the season than many cows that do not run on the range. The reason for that is obvious to men who are accustomed to handling cattle in the range country. It is that the cattle have to be got to the butcher before calving time comes. I am not so sure that getting them to the bqtcher before that

time will affect the quantity of meat in the manner suggested a few moments ago. It might even increase the quantity to have the cattle kept off the market. That may not meet the wishes of those desirious of selling cattle at present, though it does affect somewhat the price that can be secured for the quality of beef obtainable from a cow that is heavily in calf. While an ample meat supply is available, the packers have found it difficult to handle the lower quality cattle and cows in the domestic market. The meat board found it difficult to handle the quantities offered owing to the shortage of storage and shipping space. During the past few days, however, the board has been able to accept immediate shipment of some seven million pounds of beef, and this movement has had an immediate effect on cow prices, which moved sharply upwards in all markets. There is every reason to believe that in future all surplus beef available will be handled and lifted as offered for export. There has been a decline in sheep and lamb prices as a result of the temporary over-all meat position. While there is no floor price established for mutton and lamb, steps have been taken to export some of the surplus accumulation now in storage with a view to creating a better market for this class of live stock.

That, I think, covers the position pretty well with regard to the matter of beef, particularly the lower qualities which are not required on our home market. There does not appear to be any difficulty in connection with the quality of beef which is required on the home market.

Topic:   WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET
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PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. M. C. SENN (Haldimand):

In view of the statement of the minister with regard to the surplus of meats throughout Canada, will the government consider the discontinuance of the meatless Tuesday and of the rationing of meats in Canada?

Topic:   WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

Consideration can be given to that.

Topic:   WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The minister says "consideration can be given." Consideration can be given to anything. Is consideration being given to it?

Topic:   WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Perhaps I should have said "will be given".

Topic:   WESTERN STOCK FEEDERS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DISPOSAL OF BEEF CATTLE AVAILABLE FOR MARKET
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CONDEMNATION OP 500.000 POUNDS IN GOVERNMENT WAREHOUSES IN QUEBEC CITY


On the orders of the day:


LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

I should like to give an answer to the question asked yesterday by the hon.

Wheat Exports

member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) with regard to the beef which had been found spoiling in Quebec. I may say this beef was in the storage of the national harbours board at Quebec. As I understand it, the inspector, Mr. C. A. Rose, assistant chief veterinary inspector, was called in to make a report, and has made a report, which I now table,

INQUIRY AS TO EXPORTS TO THE UNITED STATES On the orders of the day:

Topic:   CONDEMNATION OP 500.000 POUNDS IN GOVERNMENT WAREHOUSES IN QUEBEC CITY
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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce based on a report appearing in the western papers to this effect, that the United States are after all the wheat they can get from Canada. The report goes on to say that the United States government have purchased forty million bushels of wheat from Canada and have sent twenty-seven hundred cars to Canada to transport it. It also says that this is necessary to prevent the rationing of flour and bread in the United States. When similar sales have been made by the Canadian Wheat Board the minister has always made a statement to the house. Would he care to make a statement as to the conditions under which this wheat is being sold, the price and the conditions in respect of duties, freight, et cetera, and what Canadian export agencies are handling the transr-action?

Topic:   CONDEMNATION OP 500.000 POUNDS IN GOVERNMENT WAREHOUSES IN QUEBEC CITY
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I think, Mr. Speaker, that I can give the house at a very early date a statement on the point raised by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle.

Topic:   CONDEMNATION OP 500.000 POUNDS IN GOVERNMENT WAREHOUSES IN QUEBEC CITY
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CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

QUESTION OF PROVISION FOR DEPENDENTS OF THOSE IN WORK CAMPS


On the orders of the day:


February 9, 1944