April 29, 1949

PC

Mr. Murphy:

Progressive Conservative

1. What subsidy is paid to, or mail contract made with any air transport or steamship company or companies operating to and from Pelee island, Ontario?

2. Is there any public authority responsible for tolls or rates charged to the general public, and if so, what authority?

3. If not, how are such tolls and/or rates arrived at?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   *PELEE ISLAND, ONT. CONTRACT FOR TRANSPORT SERVICE
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

In so far as the Department of Transport authority over the transport commission and the air transport board is concerned, there is no steamship or air subsidy paid to companies operating to and from Pelee island. There is therefore no object in answering questions 2 and 3.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   *PELEE ISLAND, ONT. CONTRACT FOR TRANSPORT SERVICE
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QUESTION PASSED AS ORDER FOR RETURN

NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE

IND

Mr. Dorion:

Independent

1. What are the names of the doctors in the employ of the Department of National Health and Welfare?

2. What was the domicile of each of the said doctors before being employed by the department?

3. What are their respective salaries?

4. From what university or universities did each of them receive a diploma?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
Sub-subtopic:   DOCTORS
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MOTIONS FOR PAPERS

PC

Joseph Warner Murphy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Murphy:

For a copy of all deeds, leases or other such documents made by the dominion government, or any department thereof, relating to the lease or sale of Bob-Lo island.

Trade

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Sub-subtopic:   BOB-LO ISLAND
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KINGSVILLE, ONT., GOVERNMENT DOCK

PC

Joseph Warner Murphy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Murphy:

For a copy of all agreements relating to the use of the government dock at Kingsville, Ontario, for coal storage and wharfage purposes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   KINGSVILLE, ONT., GOVERNMENT DOCK
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

No agreements have been entered into for the use of the Kingsville wharf for coal storage purposes. With respect to the handling of coal and other commodities over the dock, no agreement is necessary. As it is a public wharf, shippers may handle goods over it in accordance with the wharf regulations. To that extent the motion could carry.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   KINGSVILLE, ONT., GOVERNMENT DOCK
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PELEE ISLAND, ONT. CONTRACT FOR TRANSPORT SERVICE

PC

Joseph Warner Murphy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Murphy:

For a copy of all agreements between the government of Canada and any steamship and air transport or other common carrier company relating to subsidies, mail contracts or payment for other services in connection with the steamship or air routes operating to and from Pelee island.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PELEE ISLAND, ONT. CONTRACT FOR TRANSPORT SERVICE
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

The remarks which I made a few moments ago with respect to the Department of Transport in reply to a question asked by the member for Lambton West (Mr. Murphy) apply also to this motion, and it might pass with that reservation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PELEE ISLAND, ONT. CONTRACT FOR TRANSPORT SERVICE
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

When government orders were called this morning the only application I made was that questions and notices of motions for production of papers be taken up at three o'clock. I understood that as soon as they were disposed of the hon. member who was speaking in the debate on the motion for committee of supply would take the floor and continue his address.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

I would refer to the proposal I made this morning, that the Atlantic treaty, the international wheat agreement and the pipe lines bill be dealt with. At that time the Prime Minister indicated that it was his intention to discuss this matter at two o'clock with his colleagues. In view of the fact that these are important matters, which nevertheless will require little debate and about which there appears to be unanimity, I would urge strongly that they be dealt with now and disposed of before other matters are proceeded with.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I think it appeared at the end of the morning sitting that we had just about reached the conclusion of the debate on the motion that Mr. Speaker do leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into

committee of supply. If it becomes apparent that it will take some time this afternoon to conclude this debate, when we are in committee the chairman can report progress and ask leave to sit again this day. It would be desirable to have the debate completed.

The house resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Abbott for committee of supply.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order which I am reluctant to press because the debate has gone on today for nearly two hours. It seems to me that there is some question as to whether there should be any debate on this matter. This is Friday and under standing order 28 on Fridays Mr. Speaker leaves the chair for the house to go into committee of supply without question put. I would remind Your Honour that on Wednesday a motion was passed suspending standing order 28 with respect to Thursday, but it was not suspended with respect to Friday. I leave it to Your Honour to decide where we are.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

The government thought that it would be only fair when asking for interim supply not to rely upon the terms of the standing order. When the motion was made we had hoped that the matter would be disposed of yesterday. It has not yet been disposed of, but I think it will be within the next few minutes. It appeared to be satisfactory to the house that we should not attempt to get interim supply by virtue of the special rule applying to the ordinary applications for supply in connection with the estimates generally. I think that this question will be disposed of within a few minutes.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

Wilbert Ross Aylesworth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. R. Aylesworth (Fronienac-Adding-ion):

Mr. Speaker, before lunch I was

referring to our exports of canned tomatoes. British imports in 1948 increased by about 100 per cent while Canada, which formerly supplied about fifty per cent of that market, now supplies none.

For the past ten years our farmers and primary producers have had a market for practically all their production. Because our production is so like that of the United States a very important part of this production found markets in the United Kingdom and other European countries. These purchases were made first as war needs, then under Canada's loans and credits to the United Kingdom and European countries. Latterly a high percentage of these purchases have been financed from European recovery funds provided by the United States.

Trade

In 1948 our exports to the United Kingdom were valued at $688 million against imports from the United Kingdom of $299 million, leaving a balance of trade in our favour of $389 million. From this it is obvious our exports to the United Kingdom and other European countries are being maintained at a high level because of purchases in Canada through the European recovery program. This program, however, is tapering off and present plans call for its completion by 1952. The question now is what action, if any, is our government taking to fortify itself against the problems that are bound to arise when purchases in Canada, paid for out of ERP funds, are discontinued. Nor have we any continued assurance of a market, particularly for some of our agricultural products now being purchased with United States funds for export to Europe, even though the European recovery program is to continue until 1952.

One of the stipulations in this program is that products for which the United States is unable to find markets shall be declared surplus and as such they may not be purchased outside that country with money given to those European countries under the European recovery program. It is quite possible that increased agricultural production in the United States this year may result in such products as wheat, bacon, eggs, et cetera being declared surplus and not subject to purchase in Canada under the authority which provides the funds.

Our shipments of foodstuffs to the United Kingdom in 1948 and our contracts for foodstuffs in 1949 clearly indicate the extent to which we have already lost the United Kingdom markets for our farmers. During the period 1939 to 1949 we made 142 contracts for foodstuffs with the United Kingdom, and had as many as 22 in force at one time in the year 1946. Today we have only three, and these are all for reduced amounts. The stark truth is that the United Kingdom has turned elsewhere for foodstuffs formerly supplied by Canada. Britain has turned to countries which accept English pounds sterling instead of dollars.

During the past two years the United Kingdom has made over 40 agreements with other countries, some within the empire and some behind the iron curtain, whereby in exchange for foodstuffs she supplies machinery, tools, coal, electrical machinery and transformers, chemical and allied products-all goods in short supply in Canada. In the meantime Canada, in an effort to find markets for our production, has turned to the United States where an outlet for a considerable volume of goods has been found.

To the extent that this is a temporary situation the results have been favourable and have greatly assisted our dollar problem. The question arises, however, as to the degree to which our farmers can depend on continued availability of the United States market. The record of the past is not at all promising, and indications of increased productions of farm products in the United States in 1949 would indicate the danger to our economy and to our farmers of continued dependence upon the United States market as an outlet for our production. The alternative to this not too promising outlook for United States markets is markets in the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom we are confronted with a trade policy which has been planned for the next ten years. The effect of these long-term agreements which the United Kingdom has made and is making today will be to exclude Canadian farmers from markets in the future, and at a time when it is hoped the world dollar problem will have eased so that trade may be allowed to flow unhampered to the degree to which it is flowing today. We are told that this unfavourable situation arises because of the United Kingdom's shortage of dollars for purchases in Canada. The question in the minds of many Canadians, however, and upon which the government has failed to assure the Canadian people, is this: Has it exerted every effort at its command and has everything possible been done that could have been done to make trade between Canada and the United Kingdom possible?

Has every effort been made by Canada to secure exportable goods from the United Kingdom which are in short supply in Canada? In my opinion it has not, because goods in short supply here today are being shipped to other countries, including Russia, at an average price below the return for goods shipped to the Canadian market. So there will be no mistake about this, I would direct the attention of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) to the British government's official publication "Accounts Relating to Trade and Navigation for the United Kingdom for the Year 1948."

In that publication on page 205 under the heading "Exports, Class III, Electrical Machinery", which includes such articles as converting machinery, transformers, power house equipment, you will find that in 1948 the United Kingdom exported these articles to the value of over $53 million. Of these particular exports $1,121,000 worth or a gross volume of 493 tons was shipped to Canada. This same equipment shipped to Russia in

1948 constituted a volume of 1,719 tons valued at $4,052,000. The trade record indicates that the United Kingdom exports of these goods totaled 33,745 tons at an average value of $1,573.72 per ton.

The average value of the goods sold to the Canadian market is reported at $2,274.53 per ton or over $700 per ton more than the average price received from shipments to all other countries. This hardly indicates an inability to sell in the Canadian market because of prevailing Canadian prices. The return, however, for these goods sold to Russia was $2,357.15 per ton or $82.62 per ton more than was received from Canada, and $783.43 per ton more than the average received for exports elsewhere than Canada.

A further study of British trade figures shows that these goods, in short supply in Canada, were being shipped elsewhere to pay for exports of foodstuffs previously secured from Canada. For the first eleven months of 1948 United Kingdom imports from Russia totaled about $105-5 million as against exports to that country for the same period of $26-5 million, about one-sixth of which were these electrical goods and machinery in critically short supply in Canada. I believe a considerable portion of the responsibility for the present situation which threatens the stability of our whole agricultural economy rests with the government.

It was obvious to everyone, and particularly the farmers of my constituency, that such goods as electrical transformers were in short supply. It is because of shortage of transformers that rural electrification in many parts of Canada has been held up. In parts of my constituency electric power lines have been constructed along the concession lines; the power is available but the farmers are unable to get it owing to a shortage of transformers. Is it any consolation to these farmers to know that, while the bacon they produce is being sold in the United Kingdom market at $5.31 per hundredweight below the price paid for imports from other sources such as Denmark, the Argentine and other foreign countries, the transformers they need are available in the United Kingdom but are being shipped to Russia, Poland and elsewhere because the government at Ottawa has failed to do anything about it?

Is it any wonder our farmers are asking why, in a market where we sell our wheat for $2.16 per hundredweight below the average price paid for imports from other countries, our wheat flour for $3.10 per hundredweight, our cheese for $3.15 per hundredweight, and our eggs for $0.70 per hundredweight below the average price paid for similar imports from other countries, our government cannot

Trade

secure goods that are urgently needed in Canada and which are available for export? This is one question that I should like the Minister of Trade and Commerce or the Minister of Agriculture, before this debate is completed, to answer for those people I represent in this house.

These startling facts reveal that the government is losing, if it has not already lost, the British market for the primary producers of this country. The real seriousness of this situation becomes evident when one realizes that since confederation the British market has been the mainstay of our agricultural economy. True, we have at different stages in our history diverted a considerable volume of our exports to the United States, but the stability or permanence of this market has always been questionable. History showed us in 1921, 1926 and 1930 that as soon as surplus production appears in the United States we are almost immediately excluded from that market. Such conditions are bound to arise again because of the likeness of our production.

Today the grim prospect of farm surpluses is beginning to threaten our agricultural economy. The supply of many products already exceeds current market needs, and the export markets we have had in the United Kingdom are now being filled from Europe and other places. Our agricultural production in Canada normally exceeds our domestic requirements; and with export demand now rapidly falling, the outlook for Canadian agriculture is threatening. Unless some action is taken now to regain lost markets or to open new markets for this production, we shall be faced with surpluses which invariably result in lower prices and smaller farm incomes. The effect would be disastrous not only to agriculture but to our whole economy, because the number of people engaged in agriculture comprises one-quarter of our population. If, because of lower incomes, they are forced to curb this spending, this is very soon reflected in the domestic markets for consumer goods and the whole country suffers.

While all parties in parliament are committed to a policy of price support for major farm products, this may prevent drastic price slumps; but it will not solve the problem nor assure even an adequate income for farmers, to say nothing of a fair return for their labour. The solution to this problem depends upon our ability to export and our ability to increase consumption at home. To the extent that we can increase home consumption, the less dependent we shall be on export markets. One of the major steps we can take to increase home consumption of agricultural products is

2756

Interim Supply

to increase the take-home pay of those in the urban centres who constitute our domestic market.

The government has in its hands the power to do this by reducing taxation. A step in this direction, long advocated by the Progressive Conservative party, has been taken in the recent budget. This year the government proposes to extract from the Canadian people $369 million less than it did last year. This will help greatly, but of this $369 million 1 would point out that $282 million comes from reductions in income taxes; and only about forty per cent of those gainfully employed in Canada earn enough to pay these taxes in the first place.

In the field of indirect taxes, however- which every consumer pays, hidden and all as these taxes may be-there is much the government can and should do. This year the government proposes to extract in hidden or indirect taxes alone an amount estimated to exceed $1,072,500,000. These indirect taxes constitute about forty per cent of the total taxation of approximately $2,242 million. If the government really wants to do something in the way of assuring increased consumption of agricultural and other products in the home markets, steps should be taken to cut costs of government and to reduce taxation, particularly in the field of indirect taxation which everyone pays, because these taxes go into the cost of almost everything one has to buy.

The question of food surpluses, while not critical at the moment, will in all probability constitute a serious crisis within a year unless steps are taken now to meet this possible danger. Canada's export trade, in both agricultural and manufactured goods, is faced I believe with the greatest danger since confederation. Upon that trade depends the whole economy of Canada. Unless' prompt and effective action is taken to regain the markets which the policy of this government has lost to us, every Canadian will be faced with less employment and less income. Canadians have a right to receive better treatment than that; and I will say that, with the next government under George Drew, they will receive better treatment than that.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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April 29, 1949