If I may proceed, Mr. Chairman, I would ask the minister to tell us how he proposes to keep farm income at a high level. Has he any formula? Or is he unable to give the committee and the country the assurance that farm income will be maintained at a high level?
Would the minister also tell the committee whether he still entertains the view that agricultural prosperity depends upon and can only be maintained by foreign trade? That is the view which this government held in the past. Our farmers were told that they could not possibly expect better times because we could not sell our wheat abroad. Will the minister tell the committee whether this government feels that immediately after the war the Canadian people can be assured of an adequate income, or must they again hear the excuse that because we cannot sell our products abroad the people must go hungry at home?
Would the minister also tell the committee whether or not he is satisfied that under his administration it will be possible to make available to the farmers sufficient credit to enable them to carry on their farming operations as they would like to do? I must say that in the past, and it is partly the case now, this government has chosen to put the farmers on a sort of relief system. The farmers were forced to live on relief, and they still do, whether it be in the form of subsidies or other assistance that the government gives the farmers from time to time. I believe in subsidies for both the consumer and the producer. But first of all we must endeavour to
set and maintain a parity price on farm products. I believe that subsidies should be used only for the purpose of adjustment.
Another item which I should like to mention, and to which brief reference has been made to-day, is the condition of farm machinery. For the past five years the farmers, particularly those of western Canada, have been operating with old machinery. Much of it is broken down and some is beyond repair. Will the minister tell the committee and the country what he proposes to do in this matter? I should like to hear an assurance from him that repair parts will be available, and they must be made available if the farmers are to carry on their operations efficiently.
The minister seems able to produce statistical information on practically every question which is asked, and I congratulate him upon his knowledge of this information. But he should also from time to time indicate to the farmers what they may expect in the future. It is well to tell them what the country expects of the farmers, and it is well to inform the farmers what they may expect of the country.
At the appropriate time I intend to make a few more remarks with particular reference to the beef situation and the marketing of bacon.
I listened to the minister's replies to some of the questions asked this afternoon, and, as the hon. member who has just spoken indicated, the minister gave a very nice speech. But I am endeavouring to find a solution of some of the problems which have been outlined. I have before me a petition which was sent to me by my constituency and is signed on behalf of a number of farm organizations, complaining about the unsatisfactory marketing of hogs. I am aware that the minister on May 8 gave quite an explanation of why the packing plants could not handle the large dumber of hogs which were being brought to them, and he returned to the subject to-day, saying in general that many more hogs had been brought into the packing plants this year than in any other year since the war started. I do not suppose there is any question about that; the minister has given the figures and I accept them as correct, but that does not solve the problem. The condition complained of still exists. The minister went to quite a length 100-1971
this afternoon to show how well the farmers have responded to the "leadership", as he called it, of the Liberal party in raising the required production. I do not know whether that is evidence of leadership. I would have thought that when the government asks the farmers to raise a large number of hogs to supply war demands, the government should be in a position to handle those supplies. But that is where the minister's explanation stopped; he did not go on to say that the government have plans to take care of this production for which they asked. That does not show planning, or leadership.
I will finish now what I had to say, and then I need not repeat my remarks if the minister will answer the question. The point is, that while the minister has reviewed the facts I have indicated he has not solved the difficulty which faces the farmer, and I have been waiting for his explanation so that I can answer the great number of letters I have received and tell the farmers just how soon their problem will be solved. It is all very well to say that the farmers are very patriotic in their response to the call. That is true; but the fact is that, in making that response, they, like those in other industries, should receive proper remuneration for their labours. I recall having visited about a year ago some aircraft plants, which, too, are doing a good job; but in this industry, as in the building of ships and the manufacture of guns, industrialists receive a profit on their labours. The full costs of production, including labour, raw material and overhead are ascertained,, and upon these outlays their profit is calculated. It seems to me only fair that the farmers, when they raise hogs at the request *of the government in a time of national war emergency, should be guaranteed the cost of production plus a fair and reasonable profit I would not claim for them an excessive profit, and they are not asking for it. But
the situation is that they complied with the government regulations in every detail; they bring their hogs to the stockyards to be sold, and quite frequently-this was revealed to me only about a week ago-they are forced to take their hogs home again and hold them for another two or three weeks. Immediately they are required to do that they undergo a loss. If they continue to feed the hogs, there is a danger of overweight when they are 'brought in again; if they feed them just enough to maintain the required weight, they are out the cost of the day to day feed; if the hogs lose weight, again the farmers lose. It seems to me that the problem should be tackled in a different manner. If an aircraft manufacturer makes a plane which the government is not prepared to take from him at [DOT]once, he is allowed the cost of storage, insurance, and like charges. The farmer should be treated in the same way; when he brings his 'hogs into the stockyard the government should be prepared to buy those hogs then and there.
The planes belong to the government and not to the aircraft manufacturer. It should be the same with the farmer; when he brings his hogs into the stockyard the government should take possession of them. If they want to have a feeding lot there or something of the sort, that might be the solution; but delivery should be taken of the farmer's hogs as he brings them in. Then the nation itself would assume responsibility for any loss incurred after the time the farmers had delivered the stock.