May 17, 1946

PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

The hon. member for Lambton West (Mr. Murphy) is not here, but he spoke to me about a matter which I should like to bring to the attention of the minister. It concerns a disease which is affecting the sugar beets in that hon. member's constituency.

.Speaking on this matter last year he explained that certain of the streams running into lake Huron were filling up at their mouths, causing a flooding of certain areas used for the production of sugar beets. The suggestion was made that something should be done by cooperation between the dominion and provincial governments and the municipalities. Has the minister any report to make on this matter?

63260-103J

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The sugar beet nematode has been present in the sugar beet area of south western Ontario for several years, but the infestation is still confined to a restricted area centering on Blackwell in Lambton county. The crop losses, however, have increased within this area. In 1945 cabbages and cauliflower grown in infested fields were severely damaged by this nematode.

Experiments in soil fumigation to control the sugar beet nematode were repeated in 1945. The results of these experiments indicated that some of the commercial fumigants greatly reduced but did not eliminate the nematodes. However, the results indicated a sufficient control to treble the yield. No satisfactory method of control is known at present and as a result every possible field sanitary precaution is taken to prevent the spread of the nematode. It is also advised that farmers use a rotation which keeps sugar beets or other host plants out of known infested fields for at least five years. Experiments with soil fumigants will be repeated in 1946, using better methods of applying the fumigants over larger acreages.

I understand that a drastic method is adopted to- deal with this disease-sugar beets are not marketable off a field affected by nematode. The cooperation with the province is continuing.

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PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

Is there any suggestion that the provinces and the municipalities are going to share with the dominion the cost of opening up the mouths of these streams so that they will not flood and carry the fungus into the beet fields?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I remember there was some discussion about that last year but I am told that there has been no arrangement made to that end. I assume that means they are not convinced that that is the difficulty. I would imagine if they were convinced that that was the real cause of the spread of this disease, some action of the kind would be taken.

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PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

I understand that the municipalities are willing to go ahead and that the provincial government would do their share if they could get the consent and cooperation of the federal department.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I will look into that. I would imagine that if our people through their experimental work are convinced that that is a solution or at all events a help the matter would be considered; but possibly in carrying on their investigations they do not agree with those who contend that this would be a cure or assist in the cure.

Supply-Agriculture

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

What has been the experience of the department in using sprays to kill weeds in standing crops? What effect have the sprays had in killing the weeds, and what effect have they had on the standing crops? We have all seen display advertisements that these sprays can be used to kill weeds in standing crops without effects detrimental to the crop.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I can give more information on that w-hen we reach the item for experimental farms and Doctor Archibald is here. *

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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHARLTON:

Reference has been

made to cars. In view of the scarcity of cars has the department bought any used cars from War Assets Corporation?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We have bought very few. As a matter of fact we prefer to buy new cars, for obvious reasons.

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

On page 85 of the details there is an item, insignificant in amount, $1,500, for rent and taxes, but a principle is involved which prompts me to ask, what taxes does the dominion government pay?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We pay taxes on only one plant, and that is a fumigation plant in the city of Vancouver which belongs to the railway. The court has ruled that we must pay taxes on it. I cannot go into the details, but the court ruled that we had to pay the taxes, and the estimates provide for that.

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Item agreed to. Experimental farms service- IS. Experimental farms service administration, $70,755.


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Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

I am glad to see an increase in the vote for the experimental farms service. The vote was cut during the war, and while there might be some justification for reducing it in war time, I think now is the time' to increase it. What I am going to say bears generally on the experimental farms service.

If we look over the salary schedules as shown in the details we are struck by the fact that the salaries still remain at a very modest level. Under "Administration" I notice that there are only four salaries over $3,000 a year, and if you look through the entire list of positions in services which I regard as very important, such as prairie reclamation, you will find that the same thing holds good. While we must do all we can to prevent any extravagances in the government service, I feel that generally speaking the salary schedules of our civil service are too low to

attract into the service the people we should attract. I am not derogating in the slightest from the qualifications of those already in the service, because I know from personal experience that some of them have remained in the service in spite of attractive offers to better themselves in private employ.

In the period we are entering a scientific approach to all our problems, including those of agriculture, is essential, and we should do everything we can to encourage young men to come into and remain in the public service and devote their lives to improving, for instance, our agricultural products. When wre look back over the years we begin to realize how great a contribution has been made by science to agriculture. Think of the contribution that one scientist made to western Canada, Doctor Saunders. In some material the other day I discovered that while, he was actually working on marquis wheat he was getting a salary of $100 a month. We have improved a little on that; nevertheless we should encourage the minister to do all he can to make these services-experimental farms, prairie reclamation, branch farms and so forth-sufficiently attractive to induce the best qualified people to enter the service.

The schedules reveal that the salaries are still comparatively low. Seven or eight years ago they may have appeared to be moderately attractive, but many hon. members know the high salaries that are being offered to-day by private industry to attract well-qualified young scientists.

The minister has said on one or two occasions that after all, these men are serving agriculture, that the returns to the man actually working on the land have never been very high, and that.the salaries paid to those in the agriculture service must not be very far out of line with the returns the farmer is getting. While there is some merit in that, I do not think it is really a sound argument. I would say rather that we must so stabilize the prices of agricultural products as to give the farmer reasonable returns upon which much higher salary schedules for agricultural scientists can be based.

I should like to say a word now, if I may, on item 16, as I tnay be called out of the chamber in a few minutes. This item, like many others, contains the phrase "notwithstanding anything contained in the Civil Service Act." I do not know just what that means, but again may I say to the minister that he or somebody else has been keeping many of our younger scientists on the temporary staff when in my opinion they should have been made permanent. I do not know

Supply-Agriculture

just how far that practice has gone. I have not been in close touch with Saskatoon lately, but I do know that a group of young men who were engaged there a year or two ago on the scientific soil surveys were still on the temporary staff at exceedingly low salaries, although it is admitted that- they have done magnificent work for our provinces. The very fact that the new assessment has been largely based on the soil surveys and has proven so satisfactory to the people of the province is a tribute to the value of the work that these young men have done. I am very anxious indeed to see that the civil service is a real civil service, and I should like to see temporary positions occupied by qualified men on a temporary basis made permanent and brought under the Civil Service Act, with appointments, so far as possible, made in the usual way by the civil serivoe commission.

But I rose to suggest that we should endeavour to support the minister in any attempt he may make to attract to our public service, particularly our agricultural service, the very best qualified young agricultural scientists who are coming out of the faculties of agriculture in our Canadian universities.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

If I might clear up one point just made by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar, I have never compared the salaries paid to scientists with the wages or returns in the farming communities.

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?

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

I did not quite mean that.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

No, but I just wanted that made clear. Every time we discuss the experimental farms service the question of labour on the farms comes up. Take for example the one that we both know best- Indian Head. There are people who live in Indian Head and labour on the farm whenever they can get work, some of them all year round, some of them a number of months out of the year.

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Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

I intended to mention that.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

These men are paid on a basis which has some relationship to farm labour in the surrounding community, because they really do farm work in the fields which is the same as is done by others who are working around, I think the pay is usually higher than that for other farm labour, but not sufficiently high to make everyone want to work there.

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?

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

What is the hourly rate there now? It used to be 25 cents.

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May 17, 1946