Right Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture):
Mr. Speaker, it has been suggested by a number of members of the house that as soon as possible a statement should be made with regard to the production of coarse grains in 1947. With your consent, I should like to read that statement to the house now.
The production of dairy products, meat, poultry and eggs in 1947-48 will depend upon the feed supplies available in the form of pasture, fodder, and grain crops.
The pasture, and to a large extent the fodder, acreage for 1947-48 are already determined. Farmers may increase the yields of both of these by the use of fertilizers to the extent that they can be made available, but the weather will be the determining factor in the quantity of feed produced from these sources.
The summer production of beef and dairy products largely depends on pasture, but the quantity of the product can be increased and the quality improved by the use of grain.
The winter production of beef and dairy products will depend upon the supplies of fodder and grain available. The production of pork, poultry and eggs, however, is dependent upon feed grain supplies throughout the year.
Practically all the feed grain supplies produced in 1946-47 have been consumed in the production of meats, dairy products, poultry and eggs. It is therefore not possible to increase the production of meats, dairy products, poultry and eggs in 1947-48 above the quantities produced in 1946-47 unless larger feed grain supplies can be made available.
In order to stimulate production of feed grains and to assure domestic supplies, the government has therefore decided to make a number of changes in policy affecting oats and barley. These changes are as follows:
1. Effective tomorrow, March 18, the system of advance equalization payments will be discontinued and the Canadian wheat board will stand ready to buy all oats and barley offered to it at new support prices. In the case of barley these prices will be based on 90 cents for No. 1 feed barley, in place of the former support price of 56 cents, in store Fort William/Port Arthur, and other grades at appropriate differentials to be fixed from time to time by the wheat board. In the case of oats, the new support prices will be based on 611 cents for No. 1 feed oats, in place of the former support price of 40 cents, in store Fort William/Port Arthur, and other grades at appropriate differentials to be fixed from time to time by the wheat board. These support prices will remain in effect until July 31, 1948.
2. At the same time, price ceilings for all grades will be raised, in the case of barley to 93 cents and in the case of oats to 65 cents,
basis in store Fort William/Port Arthur, or
Vancouver. The ceiling prices correspond with the support prices for the highest grades of barley and oats.
3. In order to avoid discrimination against producers who have already delivered barley during the present crop year, an adjustment payment will be made of 10 cents per bushel in respect of deliveries between August 1, 1946, and March 17, 1947, inclusive, thus raising overall returns to about 90 cents per bushel. As there is a loss in the barley equalization account for the 1946-47 crop year, no further payments are to be expected in respect of barley delivered during the present crop year. The oats equalization account for the crop year 1946-47 will, however, remain open, and net profits in that account, if any, will be distributed later to producers who delivered oats during the period August 1, 1946, to July 31, 1947.
4. In order to avoid the fortuitous profits to commercial holders of oats and barley that would otherwise result from the action that has been described, handlers and dealers will be required to sell to the wheat board on the basis of existing ceilings of 64} cents for barley and 514 cents for oats, all stocks in their possession at midnight tonight, March 17. Under certain conditions these stocks will be returned to the holder for resale. Allowances will be made for the purpose of taking care >f such items as carrying charges in terminal jositions, special selection premiums, etc., which are considered, in the judgment of the board, fair and reasonable.
5. For the time being, because of the continuation of price ceilings on animal products, payments of 10 cents per bushel for oats and 25 cents per bushel for barley will be made within the same conditions as the 2S cent payment on wheat purchased for feeding purposes. The payment of these subsidies will have the effect of leaving the cost of these feed grains to feeders approximately at their present levels. I might add that I will shortly ask that a sum be voted to cover the cost of these feed subsidies.
6. And, finally, the wheat board, either
directly or through agents will become the sole exporter of oats and barley. Any exports by the board will be from grain acquired by the board under the price support plan and the net profits therefrom will be paid into equalization accounts for the benefit of producers. [DOT]
It is necessary to make a fairly detailed statement of these changes so as to clarify the position of the various interests concerned, but, from the point of view of producers, the important point is that they will now have
an additional return of approximately 10 to 13 cents per bushel for all the barley they market from this date forward and several cents a bushel on the better grades of oats, over and above the total returns they have been receiving during the present crop year. In addition, producers will continue to receive any net export profits realized by the board as an additional payment at the end of the season. *
Feeders, on the other nand, will be protected against any important increase in costs of the oats and barley they buy by appropriate subsidies, until the release of the products they sell from ceiling price controls. It will be observed that under this plan buyers and sellers may trade with each other without the intervention of the board, within the limits of the new floors and ceilings.
As I have indicated on previous occasions, it is the policy of the government to continue to pay freight on grain for feeding purposes and mill feeds shipped east from Fort William/ Port Arthur and west from Calgary and Edmonton into British Columbia until July 31, 1948.
As these decisions come into effect, floor prices will be maintained for meats, dairy products and eggs, mainly through the operation of the British contracts. For butter, which is not under contract for shipment to Britain, the dairy products board will be authorized to establish a floor by making purchases during the season of heavy production.
In order to assure supplies to fill the contracts and to make adequate provision for Canadian needs, it is proposed to regulate exports and imports of all products which are subject to contract. This would be done under authority of legislation which is now before the house.
In any case in which a price increase or substitution of a price for a subsidy would have the effect of giving unwarranted profits to holders of stocks, such stocks will be purchased by the government at the old price and returned to the holders or sold at the new price. This procedure will make it possible to recover subsidy or prevent chance profits to the holders of stocks. I want to emphasize this point in order to discourage any hoarding in anticipation of increases in ceiling prices or withdrawal of subsidy that may take place in the future.
The government also wishes to announce that it intends to authorize the wheat board to increase its buying price for flaxseed, effective on August 1, 1947, from the present level
Supplemental Anstvers to Inquiries
of $3.25 to $5.00 per bushel, basis in store Fort William/Port Arthur or Vancouver and to buy sunflower seed and rapeseed at 6 cents per pound under the regulations at present in effect.
In reply to questions asked by the hon. members for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) and New Westminster (Mr. Reid) I wish to state that the floor price on eggs was increased by one cent a dozen for the months of February to August, and by two cents a dozen for the months from September to January, prior to the increase in the cost of feed wheat. In addition, provision has been made for an increase of one-half cent per dozen to cover increased cost of packages, which increase would otherwise have been charged to producers. Furthermore, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance I am announcing that the wartime prices and trade board will remove the ceiling on shell eggs forthwith.
Topic: AGRICULTURAL PRICES
Subtopic: CHANGES IN POLICY WITH RESPECT TO OATS AND BARLEY
Hon. BROOKE CLAXTON (Minister of National Defence):
Last Thursday the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Archibald) asked me a question as to a letter said to have been written by General Eisenhower, regarding the closing of the Haines cut-off from the Alaska highway. At that time I thought the hon. member's question was primarily with regard to General Eisenhower's letter and I said that I had not seen this and did not know what it said but that as the road had never been completed it was not going to be closed in the ordinary sense. On.Friday, the hon. member made another inquiry as to what was meant by this.
The Haines cut-off, as it is called, is a road 145 miles long, running from the Alaska highway through sections of the Yukon, the province of British Columbia and Alaska to Haines on an inlet from the sea. The Haines cut-off was under construction by the United States government during the war and it was never completed in that several portions are not gravelled and certain bridges are of temporary construction only. In dry weather in summer time there has been no difficulty in travelling the road with any ordinary vehicle, and as far as the Canadian government is concerned the road has not been closed. Over part of the road the snowfall is heavy and the location of the road makes it very difficult to clear the snow. Steps are not now being taken to complete or maintain the road.
Mr. Speaker, on Friday last the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) asked me a question arising out of a statement I had made on Thursday as to the discontinuance of international allocation of fish. I had said that allocation of salted cod and other salted groundfish from Canada's 1946 production would come to an end on June 30 next and that there would be no allocation of such fish from 1947 production. My hon. friend mciuired whether I had reference to all types of salted fish or only to groundfish and, in particular, he wished to know whether restriction on the salting of herring would be removed.
My reference, Mr. Speaker, was to salted groundfish onlj-. As a matter of fact, no other salted fish were ever under international allocation, although, for a time, certain of these other salted products were subject to allocation by our own food requirements committee. This latter control ended on December 31 last. As for herring salting, my hon. friend presumably had in mind dry-salting of herring on the Pacific coast. During the war we halted this dry-salting in certain areas so that a maximum quantity of herring might be available for canning. This restriction ends on March 31.
Topic: CANNED AND SALTED-DISCONTINUANCE OF INTERNATIONAL ALLOCATION
for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) directed my attention to an item in the Halifax Herald of March 13 relating to coal subsidies, and asked me to make a statement on the matter. Before doing so perhaps I should explain what the general policy is with respect to import subsidies on coal for consumption in private dwellings. Bituminous coal imported into Canada for consumption in private dwellings, apartments and rooming houses, but not including hotels or institutions of any kind, and anthracite are eligible for subsidy to the extent necessary to reduce the cost of such coal to the point at which it can be sold under established price ceilings. That has been the policy of the government since the establishment of the over-all price ceiling.
The newspaper report in question dealt only with the manner in which claims for subsidy may be made under the policy to
which I have referred. Some confusion had arisen with some of the smaller retail coal dealers of Halifax in regard to the method which should be followed in claiming the subsidy which is payable on imported coal. The coal administration simply explained the manner in which claims ought to be presented in order to expedite payment to some of the smaller retailers who have not been accustomed to dealing with imported coal.
No new government policy has been announced because the government subsidy policy under which imported coal has been eligible for subsidy as part of the price stabilization programme has been in effect since 1941. The particular payment to which my hon. friend calls attention represents no change in that policy, which is of course applicable to any section of Canada when coal has been imported for the type of consumption I have described.
past very little imported coal has been sold in Halifax, but perhaps my hon. friend knows better than I do about that. If imported coal was sold in Halifax since 1941, subsidy would be payable in order to enable its being sold under the ceiling price.