February 25, 1944

CCF

Joseph William Burton

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

Mr. BURTON:

The minister made a statement a week ago that I was surprised to hear.

I thought he was just pulling off a nice little joke when he made the reference to which I am referring. I shall quote a part of his statement which is found at page 676 of Hansard. He said:

I know there are fellows who live outside large cities like Winnipeg who pride themselves upon being farmers, but they spend most ot their time in Winnipeg sitting on boards of one kind or another.

First of all, I think a man who has had the experience of the minister and who has served the length of time he has in parliament and in public life would have had a little more consideration for a new member, but he used

Privilege-Mr. Coldwell

the language I have just quoted in connection with my colleague. I think he simply could not overcome the temptation to use that little paragraph. After thinking it over more seriously I have come to the conclusion that in an unguarded moment when the opportunity arose to use that little crack the truth came out. The policies of his department and of the government have been for years that we farmers should stay out on the farm and do the slugging and grubbing and let the other fellows run our business. For too long we have let armchair farmers and swivel-necked politicians run our business. The time has come for us to do more along the line of that which the hon. member for Selkirk was doing, take an active part in our affairs and have something to say in what is going on.

I noticed throughout the evening while the discussion was going on in regard to these estimates that practically every hon. member on the government side of the house failed to recognize the main point that the hon. member for York ton made when he was delivering his speech, namely, that while we are prepared to admit, and no sensible person will deny that at the present time as far as the farmers are concerned they are receiving more money for most of their products than they have for a long time, the hon. member for Yorkton was pointing out something which is undeniably true, namely, that for all these years we have been so far below parity that you can go out into the homes and on the farms of the farmers and you will find that it will take a whole lot more than one or two years of fair prices before these people can get anywhere near to what they are entitled.

I believe it was the hon. member for Qu'Appelle who said that he did not believe in going around knocking. I agree with him; yet at the present time it is necessary for us to face facts. There is no person in his right senses who can say that just because we have had one or two years in which we have been receiving-in fact it is not even two years, it is not even one year-anywhere near a suitable price for our wheat, everything is all right. But admitting that, in one or two years you cannot erase the past ten or twelve years that the farmers have faced. It will take quite a number of years of decent prices for us to be able to say that now the farmers are enjoying that security to which they are entitled.

I would urge the minister in all fairness and sincerity to look upon those farmers who are doing the farming as men who are prepared also to do their share for the welfare of our country. I say that the farmers are becoming

more and more concerned about what is to be done, and they are going out to see that it is done.

Item stands.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink

At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Monday, February 28, 1944


February 25, 1944