May 28, 1948

PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

In view of the minister's earlier remarks that the. cause of all this flooding we have had is the destruction of forest cover to the north, I have a question to ask which has a particular bearing upon northern Ontario. What steps, if any, are being taken to replace the forest cover?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

All the work being done to replace forests I presume is done by the provinces because the forests belong to the provinces.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

If one province refuses to adopt the recommendation of the water board with respect to the allocation of waters of a specific river, are we to understand that all development of water storage will be held up until such time as the recommendation is adopted?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We are spending the money and that is exactly the point of view I took with the provinces. I said, "If you are going to delay expenditures I do not think anyone here is going to insist that we spend money in the province". This is doing work

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which, according to the discussions we have been having, is really the constitutional responsibility of the province. We are prepared to drop that and do the job up to a point. So far as we are concerned in this department, we have our troubles in getting money. We have to discuss the matter with the Minister of Finance, with the whole council and with all those who are interested in the matter. We have our own difficulties the same as any department has in getting the amount of money which we think ought to be expended. If the provinces are going to say, "We do not want it expended," that will make it more difficult. But I think you will find as you go along that the provinces will expedite it. I do not think there is any occasion for setting up hypothetical cases and saying they will not.

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LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. JUTRAS:

Has the minister had any communication with Manitoba with regard to work being done in the southeastern part of that province? The minister will recall that last year and the year before, I pointed out that there was a great deal of work to be done in the southeast corner of the province, east of the Red river. This area has two or three very large swamps which overflow every spring. There are only two small rivers, the Rat and the Roseau, to take the water away and their banks are not high enough to take care of the flow, so that there is an overflow over the country generally every spring, which makes it very difficult for people to settle there. They have to restrict their settlement to the higher places.

In the past the argument brought forward by officials of P.F.R.A. was that it was more a problem of drainage than irrigation. However, an engineer has come out with the suggestion that probably one storage dam located somewhere on the Roseau about the centre of the area would hold back the main waters from the swamp, and the rivers would then be able to take care of the rest of the drainage. There are several thousand acres that could be settled and cultivated and put to real use in that area with proper drainage. I commend this project to the minister. I was given to understand that he had discussed it on many occasions with the officials. Is the minister in a position to make a statement on that?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The present situation is that the area east of the Red river in Manitoba is in much the same position as all other parts of Canada outside the P.F.R.A. area, which is the Palliser triangle, and the area east of the Red river is not in that triangle.

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LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. JUTRAS:

I was referring to the eastern side of the Red river but only to the extent

of five or six townships east of the Red river. As I understand the present regulations, most of this area would come under P.F.R.A. because it includes the water basin of the Red river, and the area I am speaking of is part of the water basin of the Red river. I was given to understand that by the official.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

If it is in the P.F.R.A. area, of which I have some doubts, it would come under P.F.R.A.; but, if not, it would have to come under another item which provides a special fund for doing works in different parts of Canada.

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LIB
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

If so, it could be considered.

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LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. JUTRAS:

Has the minister had any communication from the province about it?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Not that I recall.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

I should like to bring up a matter which seriously affects Dauphin constituency. I assure the minister that it will not require any subterranean dams or anything of that kind. The minister will recall that about a year ago-

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Order. I wonder if the hon. member would give way to the hon. member for Northumberland, Ontario, who was out when we were dealing with item 29 and wanted to ask a question on it?

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

Yes, certainly, Mr. Chairman.

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PC

Robert Earle Drope

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DROPE:

Thank you very much, and I also wish to thank -the Chairman for his courtesy and to assure him that we make good progress when he is in the chair.

My question was in regard to the marketing of cheese. Is it the intention to requisition cheese for overseas shipment this year? We were interested in the announcement the minister made this afternoon concerning that other great dairy product, butter. It appears doubtful whether this country will have enough butter next winter, with the low price announced today, which I think will have a tendency to discourage production. We have to bear in mind that our population is increasing in this country, and it is questionable whether we can go on exporting dairy products fox any length of time and still have enough left for the home market. We know the tremendous shortage of butter that we experienced last winter and the great demand by consumers for a subsidy. I would hope that the policy of the government will not lead us into that position another year. At

Supply-Agriculture

least the ceiling should be taken off butter at the present time. Would the minister make a statement on that?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

With regard to cheese, the price in the contract is thirty cents. It sets a floor under cheese. The requisitioning of cheese depends on two or three things. One is whether we can buy cheese from week to week as we go along in order to fill the British contract. Another one is whether we shall be able to get funds to be able to pay for all the cheese in the month or two toward the end of the season. In my opinion we ought to be able to get our proportion of the cheese every week during the summer, and I have expressed that opinion to the cheese producers in the last two or three days. They are discussing that matter with the possibility of bringing it about, so far as the cheese producers of Quebec and Ontario are concerned.

I am not in a position to say anything more until those discussions are completed. It is not our desire to requisition cheese, and I hope we shall not have to do so. We hope to get the cheese as we go along, rather than have to take it in the last month or two. I think that is advisable. Nor do the British want it all in the last month or two, but week by week, and that is the way we ought to deliver it. But if we cannot deliver it in that way we shall have to make some different arrangements from what we have now.

We have not lowered the ceiling on butter. We have simply said that if it goes down to fifty-eight cents we are prepared to buy it. But butter has not gone down to fifty-eight cents, and I do not know whether it will or not. We have not lowered the ceiling. It is still sixty-seven cents. The papers said seventy-three cents, but there is no such ceiling on butter. The ceiling is a wholesale ceiling of sixty-seven cents, and the fifty-eight cents is in relation to sixty-seven cents, and not in relation to seventy-three cents. The selling price, as everyone knows, is sixty-seven cents, basis Montreal, and the price at which we shall buy, if it goes down to that, is fifty-eight cents.

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PC

Robert Earle Drope

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DROPE:

Does the minister think we shall get enough butter to supply the consumer demand next winter at that price?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am not sure that it will go down to that price. The price today is sixty-three cents. It has gone down from sixty-seven to sixty-three cents within the last three or four days. Whether it will go lower I do not know, but we are hopeful that butter will come in at these prices. As a matter of fact, the greater part of the surplus butter

comes from places where cheese is not produced.

Item stands.

Progress reported. ,

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

May 28, 1948