May 7, 1948

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

ATTENDANCE OF UNITED STATES CONSUL, TORONTO, BEFORE ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD


On the orders of the day: Mr. JOHN T. HACKETT (Stanstead): Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Secretary of State for External Affairs whether he is in a position to make a statement concerning the attendance of the United States consul general, located in Toronto, at the Ontario municipal board when sitting in Toronto on Thursday of last week. Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): No, Mr. Speaker, but I can assure the hon. gentleman that the matter has not been overlooked. Some of the pertinent facts have already been brought to our attention, but we have not yet obtained all the information I should like to have in making a statement. I can say at once we have been informed that the consul general appeared before the board in response to a public notice published in the Toronto papers inviting all those, who might have any interest in the matter, to appear before the board. I have not yet all the information, but I hope to have it early next week.


PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

The point is he said he had been instructed by the Department of State to appear.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I have not yet precise information on that point.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ATTENDANCE OF UNITED STATES CONSUL, TORONTO, BEFORE ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD
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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

INQUIRY AS TO USE OF U.S. FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF WHISKY


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. A. M. NICHOLSON (Mackenzie):

I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Finance. Has the attention of the minister been drawn to the article in the Toronto Globe and Mail, May 4, reporting that Distillers Corporation-Seagrams Limited, has

concluded the purchase of eight million gallons of whisky for the sum of 340,000,000? Will the minister make a statement as to whether this amount of foreign exchange has been authorized or not?

Topic:   FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO USE OF U.S. FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF WHISKY
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, my hon, friend was good enough to send me notice of his question, but I received it just a few minutes ago. I have not seen the article in question. I shall look into the matter and will no doubt be able to make a statement at the appropriate time.

Topic:   FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO USE OF U.S. FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF WHISKY
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

I shall be glad to send the article to the minister.

Topic:   FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO USE OF U.S. FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF WHISKY
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

What do you mean, the whisky or the paper?

Topic:   FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO USE OF U.S. FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF WHISKY
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Not the whisky.

Topic:   FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO USE OF U.S. FUNDS FOR PURCHASE OF WHISKY
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COST OF LIVING

INQUIRY AS TO FURTHER INCREASES IN PRICES OF STAPLE FOOD PRODUCTS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. G. H. CASTLEDEN (Yorkton):

Mr. Speaker, I directed a question to the Minister of Finance on Wednesday last. The parliamentary assistant to the minister said that he would draw it to the minister's attention. I should like to know whether or not he is in a position to give a reply.

Topic:   COST OF LIVING
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO FURTHER INCREASES IN PRICES OF STAPLE FOOD PRODUCTS
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I was notified that this question had been asked1. The question was as follows:

In view of the further increase in the cost of living as reported by the bureau of statistics, what action does the government intend to take to prevent further increases in the cost of at least staple food products, such as milk, meat, butter and bread?

This is a matter, of course, of government policy which will be announced in due course. However, I might point out that the price of milk, for instance, is, and has been for some time, under the control of the provinces. Butter is controlled by a ceiling price at present. I have no indication or information that the price of bread has been increased unduly.

Supply-Agriculture

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.

Topic:   COST OF LIVING
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO FURTHER INCREASES IN PRICES OF STAPLE FOOD PRODUCTS
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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Administration service- 1. Departmental administration, $234,297.


PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

When we went into supply in agriculture on April 27 I asked a few questions of the minister and he intimated that he would give the answers later. Since then I have received other information which I should like to discuss for a moment or two and on the basis of which I will submit one or two more questions which the minister can answer along with those I have already submitted to him.

I have here a journal called Foreign Trade, issued by this government on May 1, 1948, in Ottawa, in which I find an article under the heading: "Slight improvement indicated

in world food situation this year". This article is by G. R. Paterson, agricultural counsellor, Canadian embassy. It is in the form of a dispatch from Washington on April 8, 1948. I quote:

On January 1, 1948, the international emergency foqd committee of the council of the food and agriculture organization of the united nations assumed the functions of the former international emergency food council in the field of international distribution of foodstuffs and fertilizers continuing in short world supply.

The article points out that there was a slight improvement over last year, which was a very serious year in the matter of foodstuffs throughout the world. I quote further:

Many problems-*

That is, food problems.

Many problems still remain. Rations in some countries have been lower than in the winter of 1946-47 and operating stocks have been less adequate. The gap between available supplies and requirements cannot be wholly closed. While moderate improvement is at present indicated for the period following this year's harvests, nevertheless even the most favourable weather and other conditions would not produce food supplies sufficient to provide pre-war levels of consumption in many countries.

Food shortages in 1948-49 will continue to affect industrial production adversely, to create problems of inflation in many countries and to constitute a continued heavy drain on the foreign exchange resources of many importing countries.

I think that last sentence is significant to agricultural producers in Canada. I raised a question on April 27 with reference to quantities of beef stored in Canada, and having in mind the article from which I have quoted, I should like to repeat-I have said it before

that Canada is the only country

which deliberately channels exports where the producers will not be paid for them. Other countries use controls to send exports where they will be able to secure United States dollars, but the Canadian government does the exact opposite. It imposes embargoes on the shipment of agricultural products to the United States, and it exports to Britain at reduced prices, even though Britain lacks dollars to pay for those exports. Surely this is a mistaken policy, especially wrhen we are the only nation in the world that fosters it. A recent press report indicated that sixty per cent of the $45,000,000 contract figure in respect of beef has been purchased by the meat board for export to the United Kingdom. The year is only one-quarter finished, and our heavy fall marketing period is still ahead of us.

As I have often done in the past, I wish to appeal, with all the eainestness at my command, to the Minister of Agriculture to use his influence with the Minister of l.ade and Commerce and the Minister of Finance to have immediately lifted the embargo against Canadian beef cattle entering our most natural market in the world, the United States. This is tremendously important.

I asked some question about what prospects we had of marketing during this year our agricultural products through the Marshall plan, or what is now known as ERP. According to a press report yesterday, Britain is to get $33,000,000 through this plan in Canada; wheat to the extent of $17,000,000, wheat flour $5,500,000, and bacon $11,000,000. This has been authorized by Paul G. Hoffman, economic administrator of the fund in the United States.

The article in Foreign Trade, issued by the government, to which I have already referred, mentions the possibility of foodstuffs being produced this year under very favourable this country today. I do not think that anyone, judging from past experience, will deny that the wheat producers on the prairies should have their wheat seeded before the 10th of May. It is almost that today, and while we are having difficulties the very opposite of those we experienced in the nineteen thirties- not a dust bowl but extreme flooding even for the prairies-even where flooding has not taken place we have had a tremendous loss up to the present time.

I listened the other morning to an expert who, speaking over the radio, was telling about a survey that had been made, and he said that with favourable conditions from now on, wheat seeding could not become general until

Supply-Agriculture

the middle of May, in the southern part of the prairies, and the end of May in the north. That will be quite late. An exceptional season will be necessary if we are to garner a good wheat harvest, and the weather has not cleared up yet. At the present time, therefore, the prospects for a good wheat harvest are not bright. I am pretty much of an optimist, and I am not yet downhearted about it, because it is marvellous what this country can do in short order. The situation, however, could be a serious one, especially with respect to the marketing of beef. Even the beef producers had great difficulties this spring and are still having difficulties because of the flooding.

Once more I urge the minister to give us a lead as to when the embargo can be lifted from the shipment of beef cattle to the United States, which is by far the best natural market we have in the world. It would mean a good deal to the producers from the standpoint of breeding in the future if they could have some intimation from the minister on that point, and I trust that he will be able to give it to us. I should also like to have him state the figures for meat in storage in the countiy. I asked for that on April 27.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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May 7, 1948