Right Hon. 'J. L. ILSLEY (Acting Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, discussions of the world food situation have taken place over the week-end between members of the Canadian government and Mr. Herbert Morrison, M.P., Lord President of the Council, of the United * Kingdom, who came to Ottawa for this purpose following similar discussions with United States representatives in Washington at which the Canadian ambassador was present.
The Canadian government has taken note of the joint statement issued by the United Kingdom and the United States on May 17, following Mr. Morrison's discussions in Washington and has expressed general agreement with the proposals it contains for continuing consultation and collaboration to meet the world food crisis.
During the discussions in Ottawa the steps already taken by Canada and the United Kingdom to alleviate the disastrous effects of world food shortages were reviewed and broad lines of future policy were discussed.
The maximum supplies of bread grains that are at present likely to be available from May through to September, 1946 have been assessed at some ten million tons, of which Canada expects to supply 2-3 million tons. Screened requirements for the same period were expected to total 13-4 million tons leaving a deficiency of 3-4 million tons or about 25 per
cent. A further intensive review and scaling down of these requirements to the barest minimum needs are likely to reduce the gap over this five-months period to something under one million tons. Inevitably severe hardship will result and great danger of famine will continue. The Canadian government has agreed to associate itself with the United Kingdom and the United States governments in maintaining constant review of the situation, and to put forth its best efforts to secure and make available additional supplies of grain.
The Canadian ministers described the comprehensive programme of agricultural production and of conservation of food which their government is carrying out to meet this situation. In anticipation of the urgent world need for food that would arise immediately following the conclusion of the war, Canadian food production had been expanded during the war years. This high rate of expanded production has been maintained and in some cases even increased. Wheat acreage has been raised to a very high level. Rationing and restrictions on sales of certain foods to help provide more for export were continued and even extended; meat rationing was reimposed. Complete control of agricultural products, in particular grains, has been retained in order to ensure that as much food as possible may be made available to the hungry of other nations.
When, some months ago, it became apparent that the expected serious food situation in the world would be greatly aggravated by drought in large areas, and by other difficulties, the Canadian government took still further steps to meet the threat of famine. On March 17 the Prime Minister announced a nine-point programme upon which the Canadian government had decided in order to increase supplies of foodstuffs for export. This programme included:
1. Reduction by 10 per cent below 1945 of wheat released for human consumption in Canada.
2. Reduction by 50 per cent of wheat released for distilleries.
3. Special income tax arrangements to encourage immediate marketing of wheat stored on farms.
4. Measures to release increased quantities of oats and No. 4 wheat for export.
5. Special priorities for rail transport of wheat for export.
6. Modification of regulations affecting bulk shipment of flour and feed.
7. A campaign to urge Canadian farmers to plan their production to obtain the maximum yield of foodstuffs over the next four years.