August 12, 1944


Item agreed to.



Special- }76. To provide for administrative expenses, agricultural Prices Support Act. 1944. $25,000.


LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

This reminds me of a long distance call that I made last year with regard to butter. The production of butter was large enough but it was rationed. The wholesalers could not buy more because the cold storage warehouses were probably not large enough and the butter was purchased by the government from the farmers and then sold at a much higher price to the United States without the farmer receiving any further benefit. It is quite strange that it happens in this country. There has been a severe rationing of butter within the last few weeks and I cannot understand it. How is it that the government has purshased a large quantity of butter from the farmers of Canada which has been sold to the United States at a much higher price than that prevailing in Canada at the time without the Canadian farmers receiving any more benefit? That question has been asked many times.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
PC

James J. Donnelly

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DONNELLY:

I should like to say a word or two in regard to the price administration of agricultural products. I found on my trip to Australia and New Zealand that there was no subject that one heard more often than the price of agricultural products. AVherever

we went and wherever I addressed1 a meeting the one question that was asked was: "How are you in Canada able to keep the price of agricultural products so high, so much above the world price, because we sell our goods at the world price and they are much lower than what you people in Canada are obtaining for yours?" I was obliged under those conditions to explain why; but before I go on to explain why, I wish to give the committee the prices which the people in Australia and New Zealand are obtaining for their farm products, so that we may be able to get some idea as to whether Canada is being legislated properly or whether she is being poorly guided and governed. With regard to the prices which they are obtaining for their agricultural products-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Have you the cost of production?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
PC

James J. Donnelly

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DONNELLY:

Never mind the cost of production. I am giving you the prices that they are getting. You can find out the cost of production, you have plenty of time. In regard to butter, they receive for butter wholesale twenty-seven cents a pound or one shilling. sixpence. Butter retails at thirty cents a pound, or one shilling, eight pence. In Australia and New Zealand wheat sells for seventy-four cents a bushel. If they sell more than three thousand bushels they get a lot less; it runs down to sixty cents. I will not tell you, sir, what we are getting because you know as well as I do, about $1.25. They get three shillings and eight pence for barley, or about sixty-six cents; we get somewhere in the neighbourhood of seventy-nine cents. In Australia and New Zealand a steer weighing about a thousand pounds is sold for about $61.20. In Canada we get about $110 or SI 15 for a steer weighing that much, or nearly twice as much. In Australia and New Zealand a pig weighing 200 pounds sells for $21.60. It sells in our country for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $27 or $28. These are some of the prices which they receive for their agricultural products and they have a socialist government or a labour government, there. The only people who seem to be discriminated against in that country are the agriculturists or the farmers and not the labourers. They have a labour government. Wherever you go you find discontent. I never was in a country where I found more discontent among the farmers than I did in Australia and New Zealand.

I shall now give you what they pay for agricultural implements. The prices run something like this. These implements are manu-

Supply-Agriculture

factored and sold by the Massey-Harris company in that country. A hoe, 16-run small seeder drill, very few of which are manufactured in this country now sells for S375.30; a three-furrow disc plough sells for S412.20. An eight-foot binder, four-horse hitch, sells If or 8525.60; a mower, six-foot, sells for $202.95; a nine-foot rake sells for $79.65; a 26/36 horse-power 102 senior sunshine Massey Harris rubber tires sells for $2,187. In other words, the price of the agricultural implements that they have to buy is nearly one-third higher than in this country and the price of the goods which they have to sell is about one-third less. Is it any wonder that there is dissatisfaction in that country among the agricultural people with regard to the way in which they are being treated? On the other hand, some of our friends over in the corner do not seem to know that we sell our goods at the world's price too. The fact of the matter is that when England wants to buy wheat we ask her how much she is going to pay and we sell to her at the world's price. It may be 75 cents it may be seventy cents; it may be 80 cents; it may be SI.50. We sell it to them at the world price, whatever it is. Supposing the Englishman says he will pay us seventy-five cents; we take the other fifty cents, to make up the $1.25 that we receive, from the mutual aid appropriation. We do the same in connection with pork, beef, butter, cheese and all our farm produce. That is why we are able to get the prices we are receiving at the present time, regardless of what world prices may be. These are things I think we should tell our people, because they do not know how well they are being treated. In my opinion there was never a time in western Canada when the people had as much money as they have now. They should realize in what manner they are receiving the prices they are being paid for their products at the present time.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Would the minister please tell me why some Canadian butter has been sold to the United States at higher prices than those prevailing in Canada, without any extra benefit to Canadian farmers?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am afraid I cannot give my hon. friend the information for which he is asking, although I will request the officers of the department to send him the explanation if there is one. To-night I am pinch-hitting for the Minister of Agriculture, who is away'. As a matter of fact, the point raised by my hon. friend is not covered by any of the items in the list of supplementaries. If it had been so covered I would have endeavoured

fMr. Donnelly.]

to inform myself as to the matter, but I really must ask my hon. friend to be kind to me to-night because I have not the information here.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

The minister knows the regard I have for him. I could have brought up this matter under the floor prices measures, or it could1 have been mentioned under item 466, which has to do with cold storage warehouses. It was because the cold storage space was insufficient that this extra quantity of butter, which could not be stored, was sold to the United States.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Permalink

Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE


47. Departmental administration, $581,751.


LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Will the Minister of

Finance be kind enough to inform the committee if it was the practice during the last war to have Sir Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia, as perpetual acting minister of finance? I wonder how the present Minister of National Defence can find time to be also acting Minister of Finance. This is something I cannot understand, and I would ask the minister to give me some information about it.

Mr. .ILSLEY: The Minister of National Defence was Minister of Finance for a period; and owing to his experience, as well as his outstanding ability and qualifications, it is thought desirable to have him named as Acting Minister of Finance in my absence. I am very grateful indeed to him for acting in my behalf when I am away.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

That is the minister's view about it, and it is most complimentary to the Minister of National Defence, but the hon. gentleman does not touch the grave of the late Sir Sam Hughes, who was busy as Minister of Militia and who was never the perpetual Acting Minister of Finance.

Here is the reason I object to it. I believe that in time of war the job of Minister of National Defence must be a full-time job, and that a member of the cabinet who acts in both capacities must neglect one of them. Either the Minister of National Defence pays no attention to his duties as Acting Minister of Finance or the perpetual Acting Minister of Finance pays no attention to his duties as Minister of National Defence. I am reminded of a world character who has lost some of his popularity-Mussolini, who held five portfolios. The Acting Minister of Finance is the deputy Prime Minister, a fulltime job; he is Minister of National Defence, a full-time job, and he is Acting Minister of

Supply-Finance

Finance. It is none of my business to decide who is to be Acting Minister of Finance, but I can criticize what has been done. I believe that after the Minister of Finance himself the man best informed in regard to his departs ment is his parliamentary assistant. I do not see why a member of the cabinet should hold three cabinet jobs, while the parliamentary assistant, who is a learned member of the bar and who has done exceptionally well in substituting for the Minister of Finance when he could not attend the meetings of the house or the committee of the whole, should be kept in the kitchen if not in the cellar or the attic. As one of the colleagues of the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance I protest, as it is my right to protest. It is not my business to appoint, but I have the right to protest when an injustice is done. That injustice is made worse because at the present time the international commitments of Canada are not made by the Minister of Finance but by the Acting Minister of Finance. When the perpetual Acting Minister of Finance goes to Great Britain or anywhere else he makes the commitments, and then the Minister of Finance has to defend them. That is the point; that is what I protest against, and I do so because it is commonly and openly felt that Charlie Dunning is still the boss of the Department of Finance, through his friends who are there.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

You are being silly.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Absolutely.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I do not protest because I attach no importance to his remarks. But does he not remember the time when the then Minister of Finance, Charlie Dunning, decapitated him by taking away the right to make commitments for the Department of National Defence, by creating the national defence purchasing board?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Nothing of the kind; that was my personal recommendation and you do not know the difference.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I know very well. I have made the statement in the house, and it was never contradicted until the facts were forgotten by the minister. He must remember that I am the only member who defended him against the action of the then Minister of Finance who wanted to control even the purchases of cups and swords and bayonets.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Permalink

August 12, 1944