May 17, 1948

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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CCF

Harry Grenfell Archibald

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

Mr. ARCHIBALD:

A ruling of the Department of Trade and Commerce removing the restrictions governing the export of fish livers and permitting them to go to the United States is affecting the west coast.

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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I suggest that if the hon. member has a question to ask, he ask it now. Is it the pleasure of the house to adopt the motion?

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CCF

Harry Grenfell Archibald

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

Mr. ARCHIBALD:

Before we go into

supply I want to take a few minutes, Mr.

Speaker, to protest the removal by the Department of Trade and Commerce of the restrictions governing the export of fish livers, particularly to the United States. The restrictions which have been in effect over the last ten years have built up extracting plants on the British Columbia coast. Now the raw product is being allowed to go across the border into the United States, and these industries are in danger. The industry was not forewarned of this step, and repercussions will be serious, especially among the fishermen and their co-operatives. The people involved in the industry want the restrictions put on again.

A little while ago we listened to the requests of the canning companies and put restrictions on the export of raw salmon going into the United States. It seems that these same companies are not protesting the lifting of the restrictions on fish livers, but others interested in the industry are vitally concerned. I believe the government should reconsider its plan and not knuckle under to this thing known as the Geneva trade agreement. which will completely ruin the fishing industry on the Pacific coast if affairs continue as they have been drifting. I would ask the government to reconsider its stand and again put into effect the laws governing the export of raw liver to the United States.

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IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. J. L. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to add a word to what has been said by the hon. member for Skeena. I am amazed that such an order should have been issued by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, or by anyone else, without giving British Columbia some hint of what was being done. I certainly appreciate the many problems that come before the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I am sure that many hon. members would be glad of the opportunity to assist him in any way they could. I am amazed to have learned of this order from the hon. member for Skeena. It is most unfortunate that we did not have an opportunity to discuss the matter with the minister before the order was issued.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. F. S. ZAPLITNY (Dauphin):

Before we go into supply, sir, I should like to raise a question arising out of a news item which appeared in the Winnipeg Tribune of May 15, which is headlined. ''Builders charge 'racket' in nails," This news item goes on to say:

A grey market and racket in distribution and sale of nails in the city was charged Friday by the Winnipeg housebuilders association.

I want to make it clear that I am not on this occasion speaking on behalf of the housebuilders association. I am not in a position

Distribution of Nails

to know whether the charges which are being made are based entirely upon facts. But the charges are so serious and the nail situation is so serious across the country that the government at the earliest opportunity, preferably today, should make some statement as to what steps are being taken in the matter. The charges of this association may be summarized in the following points: the nail shortage has reached alarming proportions; it is seriously restricting the construction of houses in Winnipeg; the prices of nails are excessive; certain organizations apparently have cornered the nail market, and the same situation exists in other cities across Canada.

If even a few of these five charges are coirect-if the prices being charged are excessive, if there is profiteering in the business of distributing nails, and if the situation is as serious as is pointed out in this news item, then the government should take immediate steps to remedy the situation.

I should like to quote further from this news item. The association deplored the activities of-

"certain organizations" which hail "apparently secured a corner on nails and, for the sake of a quick profit, are making the public pay . . ."

We have a prices committee which is delving into matters of the kind, and I think this emphasizes the utter futility of a committee sitting while prices soar. If the government are serious about this matter of prices, I would say that with the information that is coming out in the public press and what has already been brought out by .the prices committee, they have enough material and enough grounds now to move in the direction of setting prices right.

Here are some figures, and the government should let us know today whether they are correct. We are told that United States nails are quoted at $8 a keg f.o.b. shipping point, plus 55 cents for duty and freight, which makes them $8.55; but in Winnipeg the purchasers of nails are being charged from $12.50 to $13.50 a keg. which leaves a profit of $5 on each keg.

The association says this-and we should also know whether it is true:

"All appeals to the government, the manufacturers and the wholesalers seem to fall on deaf ears," the association says.

Apparently representations have been made, and no satisfactory reply has been given. Then there is this statement which is very direct, and it is a serious charge if it is true:

We are the victims of a racket in the distribution of nails. Unfortunately, this racket

seems to be within the law, but it is high time the government stepped in and made an investigation.

Further down it states that nails, on what is called the grey market, are available at from $15 to $18 a keg, which is almost double the regular price.

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I wonder if the remarks that are being made by the hon. member should not be made in the committee on prices.

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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?

Mr. COLD WELL@

Mr. Speaker, this matter has not been referred to the prices committee. It is a matter which concerns the house generally, I take it, and on the motion to go into supply the hon. gentleman, I submit, has the right to bring it up at this time. When the committee was set up, the Prime Minister gave a categorical undertaking that it would not preclude hon. members from raising questions of this kind in the house.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My hon. friend has read a good part of the Winnipeg Free Press-the Winnipeg Tribune rather-and I suggest that he has covered the subject pretty well.

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

If the minister is rising to a point of order I will sit down. If not, I will continue with what I have to say. As it happens. I was not quoting from the Winnipeg Free Press.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The Tribune, was it?

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

Yes. I wish to point out -because I think there is something behind this whole thing-

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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I do not think I should permit the hon. member to continue as he is proceeding now. There is another standing order, which is well known to all hon. members, that there should be no debate in anticipation of a motion already before the house. If hon. members will turn to page 10 of the order paper they will find the following under No. 8:

May 12-Resuming debate on the motion of the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply for the second reading of Bill No. 280, an act to amend The National Housing Act, 1944.

The hon. member knows perfectly well that the question of nails and of other materials necessary for construction has been discussed previously. It was discussed at the resolution stage, both before and after it went into committee. I doubt whether I should permit the hon. member to duplicate discussion on the same matter.

Distribution oj Naib

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

Mr. Speaker, I understand that this is an opportunity that hon. members have to air any grievance, and I am discussing a grievance which is widespread across Canada. We must -bear in mind that nails are used for other purposes than building houses. There are flood conditions in western Canada, and great damage has been done to property. This will necessitate a great deal of repair work, both on the farms and in the towns, and people will require nails. If these charges appearing in the press are true, the situation is serious, because apparently a monopoly or cartel is being formed for the distribution of nails and the public is being squeezed. The public is being charged almost double the regular -price for nails. If that is true, it is time the government put back price controls, with some system of allocating nails, so that all the people, farmers and city dwellers alike, may receive their fair share without being called upon to pay through the nose.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. A. W. STUART (Charlotte):

Mr. Speaker, with reference to the views expressed by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Archibald) and the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Gibson), may I say, in reply to any opposition expressed to the action taken by the oil controller or the fisheries department in allowing fish livers to be exported to the United States, that such action meets with the approval of every fisherman in the maritime provinces. It meets with their approval for this reason. During the year 1947, fish livers in Canada, on the border where I live, were selling at four cents a pound in Canada, while in Maine they sold at eight cents a pound. The fishermen were compelled to sell to Canadian processors. The oils were purchased for the large drug companies in Canada, and after refining the oil they were allowed to ship it into the United States and take advantage of the high price of cod oil there, at the expense of the fishermen.

I can assure the wartime prices and trade board or the fisheries department, or whoever is responsible for the action taken, that it has the wholehearted support of every fisherman in my riding, and, I believe, in the maritime provinces.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a word in support of the remarks made by the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Zaplitny). I believe a protest has been made by the Federated Co-operatives of Saskatchewan, who are unable to get steel rods for the manufacture of nails. I understand that

complaint is being made to the combines investigation officers, and certain correspondence which I have seen has been or will be forwarded to them. That, I believe, indicates clearly that the large steel companies of Canada do not wish to supply nails to new customers of the type of the Federated Co-operatives of Saskatchewan.

Seventy-five thousand members of the federated co-operatives rely for their basic supplies nowadays mainly on the society itself, and every attempt has been made to supply the farmers with nails, not only for the building of homes, barns, granaries and so on, but also for such uses as those to which the hon. member for Dauphin referred.

I rise to ask the minister to look into the matter of a suspected combine in connection with the manufacture of nails and the distribution of steel generally, because I believe that the steel companies of Canada do constitute a virtual monopoly in the production of some of these commodities and are able to decide who shall distribute them. That is against the spirit at least of the legislation now in effect in Canada, and I support the hon. member for Dauphin and ask the government to look into the phase of the situation which I have mentioned.

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IND

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

Independent C.C.F.

Mr. H. W. HERRIDGE (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of the house a serious grievance on the part of the registered apple growers of British Columbia. I mentioned this matter a few nights ago, and since I spoke on that occasion the growers in my constituency have held a meeting and are protesting strongly against the loss of the British preference. Furthermore, they have passed a resolution in which they indicate their willingness to take British securities and sterling in payment for their apples. The apple growers in the Okanagan in British Columbia are also considering the same approach.

Some of the growers in my district are willing to take British securities in payment for their apples, but we have been told that the British market is not now available or worth considering. I trust the Minister of Trade and Commerce will give his attention to what I am saying.

As a matter of fact, Great Britain has been importing large quantities of apples from Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, and as late as March 15 the British government made an offer for the purchase of 500,000 boxes of apples from Belgium and Holland, but without success. We believe that some arrangement could be made whereby our growers would be enabled to ship to Great Britain certain

British Market for B.C. Apples

varieties which are in short supply there. Dessert apples are not grown in quantities in Great Britain. In fact, dessert apples are generally off the market about the end of December. I urge the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Finance to give this matter their serious attention. When these growers are willing to take sterling and British securities in payment, I submit that under the circumstances their views and suggestions should receive every consideration.

May I indicate to the minister the position so far as gift apples to Great Britain are concerned. Prior to the war we were in the habit of shipping from British Columbia hundreds of carloads to Great Britain. The apples were assembled in the Okanagan and Kootenay and then shipped to the old country for delivery to the customer by carriers. That is not possible at the present time. The matter was taken up with the food minister, Mr. Strachey, who advised that the apples could be sent in bulk. We could send carload lots, 750 boxes to the car, provided we shipped to the British ministry of food without designating the recipients, and the ministry w'ould distribute the apples as they saw fit.

I suggest that the Minister of Trade and Commerce take the matter up with the British officials. Many. Canadians are prepared to pay for gift apples to Great Britain. This year we could send overseas as gifts to Britain between 300,000 and 500,000 boxes of apples- don't forget 500,000 boxes of apples represents 606 carloads. I wish the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Finance would go into the matter and see if something cannot be done to help the growers of British Columbia and the people of Great Britain.

Mr. JAMES'SINCLAIR (Vancouver North): I rise on this occasion. Mr. Speaker, because of the remarks just made by the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart). I should not like it to be thought that the fishing industry of British Columbia has the same outlook as apparently they have in the maritimes with regard to this matter of fish livers. In our part of the country our great complaint has been that we have been to a much too great extent the producers of raw materials only, and have not done enough of the actual processing in our province. For that reason the British Columbia fishery members have opposed the export of raw sock-eye salmon to the United States, and have done so successfully. To have fish livers in raw form exported now to the United States to be processed is simply an aggravation of that offence.

I submit that, so far as the United States dollar situation is concerned, it is far better for

this country to get a larger return from the manufactured product, the fish liver oil, than a low return from exporting the raw material. I join the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Archibald) and the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Gibson) in urging that the export of raw- material in the form of fish livers be stopped.

I concur in what the hon. member for Comox-Alberni has said with regard to consultation. Two years ago the then minister of fisheries, the late Mr. Bridges, made it a point to consult the fishery members from both coasts on every issue before it came to the house. Hon. members will recall that on fishery matters we got along rather well in that way. Suddenly to find out today, as a result of the announcement made by one member, that the action to which he refers has been taken, must lead to needless waste of time in the house. It is a matter which could well have been discussed with the fishery members of the house, either in the committee on fisheries or with the minister himself. I join with the hon. member for Comox-Alberni in urging that henceforth we be advised before matters of this kind are tossed into the House of Commons.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I should perhaps say just a word particularly about nails. The production of nails has been increasing each month. Distribution is carefully watched. The price of the Canadian product is a stable price. The price at the mill is kept in proportion with the price of basic steel. I think it is a credit to the industry, and perhaps to the government, that the steel industry has not responded to the urgent demand but rather has kept a stable price. The pattern of distribution has been most carefully watched. Full protection is given to the building of low-cost houses. Under any government housing plan, nails are given complete priority. Nails have been going into essential houses to the full extent required.

It has been suggested that there is a monopoly in nail wire. I wish there were more nail wire; then there might be an excuse for a monopoly. The position is this-and I will speak of the Steel Company of Canada as an example. The Steel Company of Canada have $90,000,000 invested in facilities for making basic and finished steel. They draw the wire and they have nail machines. They make nails. Those nail machines are running at only about sixty per cent capacity. Why? Because the demand for their wire for various uses-baling, barbed wire and agricultural uses; it is used largely in making agricultural implements-leaves only so much

Distribution oj Nails

wire to be put into nails. The same is true at Dosco, which also has a large investment in primary facilities and in nail making machinery. Those two firms make, I suppose, seventy-five per cent of the nails in Canada. There is a firm on the Pacific coast-the name escapes me at the moment-which has been a traditional customer of Dosco for nail wire, and the requirements of that firm have been protected. There may be two or three other small users, and their requirements have been protected. They were part of the prewar pattern of distribution, and that has been maintained. It is not a matter of shortage in any one locality; if there is a shortage, it is a shortage which is pretty well uniform across Canada, because the pattern of the distribution of nails has been carefully watched.

A while ago I made a statement in this house that something drastic was going to be done; we are going to make no barbed wire at all in this country for two or three months, and we are going to put all the rod into nails, with the idea of being able to build up stocks that will make the difference between the so-called acute present shortage and sufficient to provide for the current rate of consumption. I dare say that in a month or two someone will rise on the orders of the day and complain bitterly that he cannot buy barbed wire.

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

Right here now.

Topic:   EXPORT OF FISH LIVERS-DISTRIBUTION OF NAILS -BRITISH MARKET FOR B.C. APPLES
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May 17, 1948