September 20, 1949

CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

It is a pleasure to see him doing so well. While we do not always agree with with him back in the province of Saskatchewan, we always enjoy a fight with him out there. Sometimes he wins and sometimes we win. This time he believes that with the return to this house of a number of rural members from Saskatchewan there is an indication that there is agreement generally in Saskatchewan with his agricultural policies. However, I would point out that there were other matters besides his agricultural policies which entered into it.

One of the things causing a great deal of concern, not only to farmers but to consumers, is the increased cost of living in this country. A great many people when looking at the cost of living indexes which are issued from time to time are inclined to blame the major part of the increase on the increase in the cost of food. I am sure that if they will go into the matter more deeply they will find that, while that is a major item, it is not the farmer who is getting all of the benefit of the increase in the price of foodstuffs. If you consider what the farmer was receiving in 1944 and 1947 during the war and compare it with what he is receiving today you will find that today there is a greater difference between what the farmer receives and the price the consumer pays than there was during those years. The processors and the people selling agricultural products have increased their margins. The increased cost is not all going to the farmer.

One thing which is particularly alarming to the farming population of Canada is the loss of our markets for certain products. In reading a bulletin on foreign trade issued by the Department of Trade and Commerce, I was surprised to find, in the issue of August 27, certain figures which indicate a tremendous drop as far as our markets for agricultural products in Great Britain are concerned. The Minister of Agriculture may say there are factors there over which his department has no control, such as currency, and so on.

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I will admit that, but nevertheless the policies of the government have largely been the cause of the loss of those markets, either by reason of refusal to reduce tariffs in this country to allow British goods to come in and thus provide the necessary dollars with which Great Britain could purchase our foodstuffs, or by reason of other policies of the government.

The bulletin to which I have referred states:

Results of the policy of substituting soft-currency countries for dollar countries as sources of supply for imports into the United Kingdom are apparent from the trade returns for the first six months of the current calendar year. Typical Canadian products like oats, beef, poultry, apples, canned tomatoes, canned salmon, chilled and frozen fish and linseed oil have disappeared entirely from the list of imported commodities.

Then the article proceeds to give a further list of products which have been greatly reduced. It goes on to state:

For the second year in succession, there were no sales of Canadian oats to Great Britain; practically the only source of supply was Australia with

979.000 hundredweights.

The article proceeds to point out that the market which we formerly had has gone to Russia and some of the other eastern European countries. Then the article continues:

In over-all imports of flour (6-1 m. cwts.) there was a drop of 20 per cent. Canada's contribution (41 m. cwts.) fell by 46 per cent, while Australia (1-6 m. cwts.) supplied nearly ten times the previous year's quantity.

Further on the bulletin states:

With the exception of bacon, Canada has now been practically eliminated from the United Kingdom market as a source of supply for meat.

The article states, as to poultry:

The poultry market imported a total of 237,000 hundredweights or nearly double that of the previous year. Australia, Poland, Ireland and Hungary shared this increase, but there were no purchases from Canada.

As to shell-egg imports, the article states:

The rise in shell-egg imports by 23 per cent to

116.000 dozen was principally due to substantial increases in imports from Denmark and Ireland. Canada's shipments (9,000 dozen) were only one-third of those recorded for the corresponding months of 1948. Purchases of liquid or frozen eggs totalled 364,000 hundredweights, more than double the 1948 figure. China, Poland and Australia stepped up their consignments. Canada's share fell to 2,000 hundredweights as compared with 38,000 hundredweights in the first half of the previous year.

As to dried eggs, the article states:

Canada supplied 14,000 hundredweights as compared with 50,000 hundredweights in the corresponding period of the previous year.

It is the same story with fish and timber.

Another matter in which we are particularly interested in the province of Saskatchewan is the export of various seeds,

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alfalfa and grass seeds, et cetera. The bulletin states:

There was a heavy cut in purchases from Canada of agricultural seeds. The quantity recorded during the half year was 30,000 hundredweights, only one-quarter of the previous year's figure . . .

Much of the Canadian business was switched to Denmark and the Netherlands, which contributed

48,000 hundredweights and 84,000 hundredweights respectively.

This is a serious matter as far as Canadian agriculture is concerned. In western Canada we are starting to export more and more grains rather than finished products. That inevitably will result in the depletion of soil fertility. The Minister of Agriculture was one of those who advocated diversified agriculture in the province of Saskatchewan. I think he was right, but today he seems to have forgotten that policy. He has told us during his remarks that during the war his department was able to direct the production of agricultural products in Canada, was able to switch from dairy products to grain, and from grain back to other products which were needed by the markets during the war. If that is possible in wartime, if it is possible to direct agricultural production in our economy toward certain ends, then I say it is equally possible in peacetime to direct agricultural production toward the end which will produce more dairy products, meat products, and those other products which will protect the fertility of our soil.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

May I point out that in wartime we had the War Measures Act, and in peacetime we have not the War Measures Act.

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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

If we have not the War Measures Act then it is time that the minister, after consultation with the provinces, did some of these things. I am sure the provincial departments of agriculture throughout Canada would co-operate with the minister if he would get together with them to formulate an agricultural program extending over a period of ten, fifteen or twenty years in order to direct agriculture in Canada toward ends which would be of benefit to the country. The minister may smile. He has not tried very hard to co-operate with the government of Saskatchewan on a great many matters, but I do not want to go into that now. We may go into it at a later date.

Agriculture is a matter which comes under the jurisdiction of the provinces and the dominion. It is a matter in which we have to have co-operation if we are to have an agricultural policy in Canada that will look to the future, not merely from year to year, not merely contracts which you make this year and renew next year, and then again the year after. Agriculture is something

which must be planned and directed toward retaining the fertility of our soil.

I have an article from the Lethbridge Herald which reads:

In 1944 Canada exported 291,000,000 bushels of wheat, 40,000,000 bushels of barley and 83,000,000 bushels of oats. Those exports represent 219,126 tons of nitrogen, 94,234 tons of phosphorus and 47,341 tons of potash besides the trace minerals from the soil needed to produce the grain.

Further on the article reads:

We cannot go on forever drawing from the fertility bank without making some deposits to our account.

I think that is quite right. I think the minister should give the house some idea of what his department is planning for agriculture. Toward what end are we directing our agriculture? I can see in the future even more difficulties in maintaining our markets in Europe than we have had in the past, because of the recent devaluation of the pound. Today it takes more pounds to buy the products which the farmers of Canada have to sell. It is true that as a result of the devaluation of the dollar by ten per cent we get an advantage on the United States market, but what good is that market to us for most of our agricultural products? Unfortunately in the United States there is an economy which produces to a large extent the very things that we produce here. We have a market there for beef at the present time, but that is the only agricultural product that I know of for which we have any extended market in the United States.

In the United States they are faced with some very serious problems. I have in my hand a clipping from the Christian Science Monitor which reads in part:

It took world war II to ball the government out of its previous spending spree in farm commodities. No such "solution" is now in sight. And things are now piling up faster than 10 years ago. After five years of such accumulations, the government still in 1940 had only about 10,000,000 bales of cotton, 500,000,000 bushels of wheat, and 200,000,000 bushels of corn. But in little more than a year it has now sunk almost twice as much money in farm products as its cumulative investment in the entire 1930's. And the recent twelve months' investment looks like not only a total but an annual rate.

The article goes on to state that at the present time the corn crop is being stored in oil tanks, university dormitories, and every place in which storage can be found. It indicates that in another year meat production will be increased in that country, so we might not have that good market for our beef which we have today. It is my opinion that our long-term market for agricultural products is Europe. We must do something to retain those markets.

Within the next month or two I expect our contracts for agricultural products, such as the one we have with Great Britain, will be

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coming up for renewal. I should like the minister to give us some idea as to the prospects for renewing those contracts. I should like him to tell us what the prospects are with respect to other markets for agricultural products which we can raise in quantity. Those are some of the things about which I should like to hear the minister speak. I do not want him to go into details on the various items in his department. We will do that at a later stage. I do insist that two things are important at this time: one is markets and the other is production in a manner which will retain the fertility of the soil in this country.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. Quelch:

I should like to make a few comments at this time. I believe that, generally speaking, agricultural prices are fairly satisfactory today. On the other hand, there is a good deal of fear and uncertainty in the minds of the farmers as to what the future holds in store for them. I believe that is holding back a good deal of the capital development on the part of farmers because, unless they have some assurance as to what might happen in the future, they are going to be hesitant about making any large-scale investment in capital developments on their farms.

The farmers remember that since 1942, as part of the government's program, they were compelled to accept less for their farm produce than they might otherwise have received. That program was carried out in the name of stabilization, yet so far the only legislation on the statute books is the Agricultural Prices Support Act. True, there is the international wheat agreement, but apart from that the only legislation is the Agricultural Prices Support Act, and that expires on March 31, 1950. So far the government has given no assurance that, upon the expiration of that statute, the operation of the act will be extended.

As I say, at the present time prices are fairly satisfactory. On the other hand, unfortunately, crop conditions in many parts of western Canada were very unsatisfactory this year. In the district I represent, Acadia, crops were disappointing. Up until July 15, in the eastern part of the constituency crops were generally good. It appeared as though a bumper crop might be harvested. Unfortunately, after July 15, hot dry weather continued and in a short space of time the crops deteriorated, and as a result large parts of that area will harvest no crop. Strange as it may seem, the reverse was true in the western part of the constituency. The first half of the year was very dry and on July 1 most of the fields were still black; little or no grain had come up. After July 1, there were heavy rains and the grain came up. The grain was so late, however, that when heavy frosts

occurred on September 9 most of it was frozen and a great deal of it will not be worth cutting. Consequently, a large part of that area will be eligible for payments under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act.

The people of Acadia constituency do appreciate the assistance that is granted under that act. I agree with what the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) stated when he said the federal government had some responsibility for helping to rehabilitate those people. The people in that area were encouraged to go there while it was still under federal government control. They were encouraged to settle there despite the fact that the federal government had received word that the land was not suitable for settlement. The history of that area has been tragic. Over sixty per cent of the population have moved out. With the help that has been given them under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, the remaining forty per cent are now getting on their feet.

This area, however, will never be a safe area for agriculture until irrigation has been established. A program for irrigation was first set up in 1922; I believe that is when the first survey was made. Since that date surveys have been made from time to time, until today we have a project known as the Red Deer diversion project. I think it is unfortunate that that project has been made a political football. At no time has that project been made such a political football as during the last federal election. During the last election campaign, the Liberals in that part of the country told the people that unless Liberals were elected that scheme would never be put into operation. On the other hand, if they elected Liberals, the federal government would start construction of that project next year.

At this point I should like to compliment the Minister of Agriculture, because when he went out to the Acadia constituency during the federal campaign to speak at my home town of Morrin, and at the town of Hanna, he refused to take any part in that type of propaganda. He said that whether or not a Liberal was elected, he was afraid it would not be possible to start that program next year. He wanted them to elect a Liberal, but he wanted to make it clear that if they did he was not going to promise the government would commence work on the Red Deer project. While I appreciated his attitude at that time, it was not appreciated by the local Liberals.

In that area work has been done on small projects. Two dams were built on Berry creek and I believe a third is being built this year. Unfortunately, these projects depend entirely on the surface runoff to provide water

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for irrigation purposes. Unfortunately, the dam which was built last year did not contain a single drop of water this year and consequently was of little use in taking care of the drought condition that developed. I am hoping that at the earliest opportunity the government will proceed with this project.

I quite realize that what the Minister of Agriculture states may be sound when he says that, first of all, the government has to complete the St. Mary river project and the dams on the Bow river. We have had his assurance -'*I hope I am correct in saying we have received his assurance-that when these projects are completed the government will then be prepared to proceed with the construction of the Red Deer diversion project. This can be regarded as a self-liquidating project. It would irrigate a half million acres and it would be possible to increase the population of that area by thirty thousand people. Services are already established. It would be a worth-while project and would relieve the government of a great deal of expense in the way of Prairie Farm Assistance Act payments, because those payments are not made on irrigated land.

I notice that when the last dam was built on Berry creek, instead of making provision for taking the water by ditches onto the land, provision was merely made for letting the water out into the creek, and that any lands to be irrigated from that project will apparently have to be irrigated through the sprinkler system. I believe the sprinkler system is becoming recognized as the most efficient form of irrigation, and that over a long period of time the actual cost of irrigating the land by this method may be just as cheap as, if not cheaper than, when it is done by ditches. But on the other hand the initial cost is heavy for the pumping equipment and the pipe. I understand from the local P.F.R.A. representative in Acadia that the federal government are making a grant of $350 toward the purchase of aluminum pipe. At a later time I hope the Minister of Agriculture will be able to say something on that matter, because there seems to be some uncertainty as to whether or not that money is actually being paid. I should like to have an assurance that it will be paid. Then I hope it may be possible to get the provincial government to match that payment, because if irrigation is to be done by the sprinkler system instead of by ditches there will be a great saving of money not only to the federal government but to the provincial government as well; and the provincial government may very well make a contribution toward the cost of the pipe in order to avoid paying for the cost of ditches.

There are other matters that I should like to discuss with respect to the Prairie Farm

Assistance Act but, as the minister has already suggested, I think it would be better to leave matters of that kind until we come to the individual items. When we come to the item with regard to the P.F.A. Act, I hope the minister may be able to intimate briefly what form of amendment is to be brought down. I am not asking him to tell the house what the amendment is, but if he will tell us whether or not the amendment has to do with the establishment of the basic unit, it would be a guide to us in a discussion of that kind; because if an amendment is to be brought down to deal with the very thing we want to have done, it will not be necessary to take up the time of the house in discussing that point at this time. On the other hand, if the amendment that is to be brought down is not of that type, a number of us would like to make suggestions as to what type of amendment might be brought down.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

In answer to that last question I might say that I thought I stated to the house in the last session that the bill which was prepared has to do entirely with that question, namely, the unit upon which payment is to be made. As far as I know, the bill will be brought down in the same form as that in which it was then drawn. I also think I said in the last session that I was quite prepared to submit that bill to the committee on agriculture so that it could be discussed there and so that all ideas could be brought forward at that time.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

I do not propose to make a speech, but I should like to ask the minister a question which I am not certain comes within any specific item under his estimates. Would he care to say whether he thinks the announcement made by the Minister of Finance last night with regard to the devaluation of our dollar will have any effect on the present agricultural agreements with the United Kingdom? I know that the minister is aware of the wizardry performed by these economic experts, which goes on behind the scenes. He expressed himself on that subject when he was in England some time ago. Some of us are not so conversant with that wizardry. I am quite certain that the farmers of this country are not crack economists, but I am sure they are concerned as to whether or not the dollar devaluation will affect those agreements. I know that some of those agreements are in force for only another year. But considering the little that we know about the operation of international exchange, I think that the committee should have an expression of opinion from the minister on this matter.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Just in a few words I would say that the agreements which we have with

Britain, including the wheat agreement, specify that we are to be paid in Canadian dollars. Britain will pay us in Canadian dollars and therefore the farmer will get the same number of dollars for his wheat and for his other products as he is getting. I think that has been stated by nearly all of the experts who are not employed by the government and who write the financial pages of the papers across the country. As far as I have been able to read, they have made a statement to that effect. There is a possibility that the action which we took may be of some benefit to the farmers on the long-time wheat agreement. I am not going to attempt to explain how much that will be or what it will be. I do not think anyone can at this moment tell what it will be or what the exact result of the action is going to be. All I can say is that I satisfied myself, before agreeing with what we were doing, that it was going to be in the interests of all of the people of Canada, including the farmer, to do that particular thing. I think that is all I care to say at the moment.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I am going to speak briefly, but in view of the concern of my farmer constituents-fruit growers, poultry producers and others-about the insecurity of the future with regard to markets, I feel that I should make a few comments.

I realize that the Minister of Agriculture has one of the most responsible positions in Canada at this time. I am quite sure that any fair-minded person would sympathize with him in the problem he is facing, under present world conditions, in attempting to find outlets and markets for Canadian agricultural production. In reviewing the main estimates I regret to notice that those of such an important department show a reduction Df $10,635,000. I think that is unfortunate when we consider the basic importance of the agricultural economy to the prosperity of Canada as a whole.

At the present time we hear a great deal about the arsenals of democracy. But I want to preface my few remarks by saying that finally, after all we have done and all that we can do in the nature of armed defence, in my opinion the basic arsenals of democracy rest in agriculture. The peace of the world and the security of the peoples of the world are to be found, finally and fundamentally, in well-fed, well-clothed, well-housed and contented people.

The agriculturist is faced with a dilemma at this time. To reduce production is unthinkable, in my opinion. Yet in some industries, particularly in the fruit industry, there is some thought of reducing production in certain varieties because of lost markets. In that connection I wish to quote briefly from our

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British Columbia farm paper Country Life. The article deals with the question of production and increase in production.

How can a reconciliation of these factors be effected? The answer is not available but progress is being made towards working it out. Note this: "Less than ten per cent of the world's food production is exchanged today between country and country, representing only three-quarters of the volume before the war,'' so the FAO council reports. A large share of the present movement originates in North America. Naturally, variations in output in Canada and the United States have now a greater effect on supplies and prices in the producing countries and entail more serious consequences for consumers elsewhere than would be the case if the volume of international trade were greater and were more widely distributed between suppliers throughout the world.

At a time when hundreds of millions are still hungry, the inability of the world to devise policies which would enable the surplus-producing countries to avoid a deliberate curtailment of efficient production, should not be tolerated, the FAO council proclaims and every humanitarian will agree with it.

No question presents a greater problem to the minister and to all of us, sir, than the welfare of agriculture in Canada at this time. I hold in my hand a report of the department of agriculture of British Columbia for 1948. This report deals with the question of increasing world population in relation to a declining agricultural production. While this is a very complex question-I do not think the solution is going to be easy or simple- we must recognize certain principles in approaching it. I think the first one is this. We profess to the world that we are a Christian nation, a Christian democracy. In view of that, do we think that we can see starving millions of the world go without food because we will not produce it? No doubt the question will be faced from the ordinary commercial point of view. The minister and his officials will do what they can do to find markets through the regular channels; they will try to make sales agreements and so on. But if we are going to face this problem satisfactorily and find even a partial solution in the near future we have to do some unorthodox things. We have to convince the Canadian people that the stability and the prosperity of the Canadian nation depend on a stable agriculture. If that is going to be possible under present conditions all of the Canadian people must make some contribution to the stabilization of our agriculture and to the sale of our commodities. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, in a few words I suggest that in addition to finding a market through normal channels, commercial bulk sales agreements, or personal trading, we have got to be willing to supply these people who require food with food when they require it and where they require it, in other ways: in the first instance on long-term loans

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at low interest and in some cases as straight gifts. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that if the position of Canadian agriculture was explained to the Canadian people, if the seriousness of the situation in general was explained to the Canadian people as a whole, they would understandingly assume the burden of extra taxation required to finance such a program. That is all I am going to say in that respect at this time.

Before proceeding to make a few remarks concerning my own constituency, I want to emphasize my complete agreement with the remarks made by the hon. member for Mel-fort when he was dealing with the necessity for a long-term over-all agricultural policy in Canada. I readily recognize that during the war period such a policy could not be developed under abnormal conditions, but I do think it is necessary, and it can only spring from and be the result of much closer agreement and much closer co-operation between the federal and provincial governments. We need a long-term marketing policy worked out between the government. We need a long-term production policy. In going around my own district and other districts I am amazed to see-and I give credit to the scientific staffs of our departments of agriculture for the excellent work they have done-that necessary information does not reach all the people settled on the land. 1 find people, after all these years of experience, planting the wrong varieties of trees. I find people clearing land which should have been left in timber. I find people attempting to produce crops which are unsuitable, and as a result they gain their experience through unnecessary cost and labour. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I heartily support the hon. member for Melfort in his contention that we need a long-term over-all agricultural policy, devised as a result of joint and increasing co-operation between the federal and provincial governments.

I am going to deal with one or two things which are not strictly within the purview of the Minister of Agriculture. They come within his purview only in the sense that I think the minister is doing what he can as a member of the cabinet and within the cabinet to improve rural living conditions. We have to give every consideration to that if we are to keep our younger people on the land. I should like the Minister of Agriculture to use his influence toward doing all that is possible in the development of a trans-Canada highway, because if a trans-Canada highway is built across this country, and the provinces are assisted, not only will the food producers, the egg producers and others in many parts of this country have better roads to market their products, but the

[Mr. Herridge.l

provinces will have more money to surface and improve feeder roads. That is an important item when it comes to moving soft fruits and other commodities of that type in the constituency which I have the honour to represent.

In my constituency there are a large number of people living in isolated areas who get very poor radio reception. In fact, the only programs most of them enjoy in the evenings are American programs. I trust that the minister will use his influence within the cabinet to see not only that the urban dweller gets good radio reception but that people in the backwoods, people in the country, have every opportunity to enjoy Canadian programs.

Farmers of my district are concerned about the grading of hay and the inspection of cereals imported particularly from Alberta. I think without question there have been some quantities of low-grade hay, poor hay and very questionable feed imported from Alberta. The farmers I represent are anxious for me to bring that to the attention of the minister. They are urging increased inspection facilities so far as hay and feed commodities are concerned.

In addition to that, we find some of our people living in the backwoods who are trying to build houses. Some of them are log cabins, others of frame construction. They are really living a pioneer life under present-day conditions. During the last year or so they have found it very difficult to obtain baling wire and barbed wire. It has been almost impossible to obtain barbed wire, fence staples and things of that type for some time. I do hope that the Minister of Agriculture will use his influence within the cabinet to make certain that the first people who receive these things will be the rural people who are developing the backwoods areas of this country and need them badly.

The people I represent are also interested in the operation of the Canadian farm loan board. I made a forty-minute speech on this question in the session before last but I wish to refer briefly to the subject again. Personally I am still of the opinion that the Canadian farm loan board does not serve the pioneer in the backwoods communities to quite the same extent as it serves the well-developed communities. In my opinion these people are somewhat of the impression that the backwoods farm, where the farmer is making possibly, in the early years, 75 per cent of his living from the sale of logs, poles, cordwood, is not as good a risk, not as good an investment, as possibly a well-developed farm which is paying far higher taxes. The type of man who goes to the

aackwoods and develops a farm under pioneer conditions is often the best type of credit risk you can obtain in Canada. I hope the minister will use his influence to see that the Canadian farm loan board gives every :onsideration to those who are wanting some assistance in the pioneer districts of the west. The farmers I have the honour to represent believe, too, that interest rates on loans made through the Canadian farm loan board should in fairness be reduced.

Let me add, to what I have said, that our poultry producers are greatly concerned about the uncertainty of the future. Here is in illustration where there is great necessity for provincial and federal planning in production and marketing. Owing to the recent slump in poultry prices and the loss if poultry markets-and in this I am sure the ion. member for Fraser Valley will bear me iut-in recent months hundreds of poultry producers have gone out of production.

The poultry industry is in a most unstable condition. It is not fair to permit people without knowledge and experience to enter into the production of poultry on a large scale. No doubt the minister is familiar with the conference which was held at Regina, upon which occasion poultrymen expressed their desire to have floor prices placed under eggs and poultry, according to the terms of the Agricultural Prices Support Act.

I offer these few remarks so that the matters I have mentioned may be placed before the minister, and in conclusion I express the hope that he will use his influence within the cabinet to remedy the conditions I have mentioned.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Mr. Chairman, I shall not take much time-just about an hour and a half. I shall cover a number of subjects, but first of all I would say to the Minister of Justice, who is now in his seat, that I hope he takes my advice when he is considering the appointment of judges, or anyone else, in my riding in the future.

I shall now digress from fruit and eggs-

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LIB
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

The hon. member for Coast-Capilano must know that I happen to have ability he does not have, in that I can judge anything satisfactorily.

The remarks I shall now direct to the Minister of Agriculture might have the support of the hon. member for Coast-Capilano. May I say to the minister that the minimum price at which we can produce filbert nuts in British Columbia is 25 cents a pound, and that at no profit to ourselves. Those nuts are being sold on the Winnipeg market today, and on European markets, at 15 cents a pound. The Americans have a protection to the extent

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of a duty of 5 cents, but we have no such protection, with the result that they are being imported into Canada.

I would ask the minister to consider this matter seriously, particularly in view of the fact that it requires from five to seven years to produce filbert nuts. Yet they can be brought to Canada to sell at 15 cents a pound. These nuts come from Sicily and Italy-and I do not know what either Sicily or Italy ever did for this country.

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LIB
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

There are only two free traders here, the Minister of Agriculture and the hon. member for Fraser Valley. I would submit, particularly for the benefit of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and the junior member for Coast-Capilano, that to add insult to injury, a company from Hamilton is now installing a margarine factory in my riding. Surely there should be some law against that.

I speak seriously when I refer to the filbert nuts, because this is a matter which affects my district in which we have about 500 acres in production. There would be that much if my riding and New Westminster were taken together. We can produce figures to show our cost of production, which indicates that we cannot possibly produce them for less than 25 cents a pound. Yet they are being sold today at the low price I have mentioned. Further, I am informed by the association of growers that many of these imported filberts are diseased. We do not want the disease to affect our production.

I shall not discuss eggs or other matters, because I shall have time to do that in the future. The Ottawa Journal is a newspaper of note, and I have been interested to see that in one week it contained an editorial praising me, while in the next week it condemned me. So it must be a pretty good paper. It carried an editorial yesterday in which mention was made of a few of the scrub apples grown in Ontario. I want everyone to know for sure that we in British Columbia do not ship our scrub apples; we do not even make them into cider, as was mentioned in the editorial. We just send them out to the Pacific coast for pig feed.

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PC

Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harris (Danforth):

Before the hon. member leaves the matter of nuts, would he tell the committee the percentage of oil or fats in the nuts he proposes to grow in his community. No doubt the fat from the nuts to be produced there will find its way into the margarine factory he has mentioned. I imagine it would run about 30 or 40 per cent fat.

Supply-Agriculture

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

I cannot answer the hon. member's question, but I do not wish to be turned aside into a discussion of margarine, because in most cases it is made out of whale oil and any other useless kind of oil one can get. However, I cannot answer the question which I have been asked.

While I do not wish to discuss dairy products at this time, I would ask the minister to give serious consideration to a floor price, or some protection for the Albert growers in British Columbia, not in my constituency only.

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CCF

Owen Lewis Jones

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

Mr. Jones:

I should like to take some time to deal with a subject which I believe has been neglected, namely the fruit of the Okanagan valley. I know it has been suggested that we talk a good deal about this subject, but we do so because we are not satisfied that it has received the recognition it deserves throughout Canada.

First of all I would express my thanks, and those of the industry in general, to the Minister of Agriculture for producing and passing the marketing act at the last session. The growers have worked hard for some protection of that kind, and I can tell him truthfully that the reception given the news was as great as that given the news of a victory overseas during the war. It was only just that the government should take away the great element of gambling from the growing of fruit. They have had to gamble with the weather, with pests and other hazards of the fruit-growing industry, and I cannot see any reason why they should not be given all the protection the government can give them, particularly in the domestic market. This bill can be the source of that protection as far as the domestic market is concerned, and I fully believe that the minister has that in mind.

But we must consider other markets as well. A couple of weeks ago I was in England for the summer holidays and I went out of my way to find out the type of apple that was being offered for sale. I was amazed at the low-grade apples that were displayed in the stores of London, Manchester, Liverpool and other cities. These were apples which, I think the hon. member for Fraser Valley will readily admit, would be considered in British Columbia as culls of a very inferior type. They would not be allowed to be offered for sale in that province. I understand the statement has been made that the British people are .getting all the apples they want, but I can state definitely that that statement is not correct. The apples they are getting are of a most inferior grade.

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?

An hon. Member:

Where are they from?

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CCF
?

An hon. Member:

Fraser Valley.

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CCF

Owen Lewis Jones

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

Mr. Jones:

Most of the dealers and consumers that I spoke to told me that they regretted the Canadian apple was not available. They all felt that the best apple that had ever been offered on the British market was the Canadian apple. As far as they were concerned-I am referring now to the consumers and dealers, not to the government- they were willing to do anything reasonable in order to get the Canadian apple back again.

I should like to deal briefly with the domestic market. As is known, we in British Columbia have geared our production of fruit to the needs of the British market. We selected and pruned our trees in order to produce the varieties demanded by Great Britain. They do not care for a large apple or one that is too small, so we pruned our trees to produce an apple that suited the British market. But the British market has been lost and the apple we are producing is not suitable for United States or domestic consumption. Therefore, this apple has become a heavy member of the cull group, not because of quality or colour but simply because of size.

We contend that we have suffered a terrific loss through losing the British market for this particular variety of apple, but what alarms us most is the fact that dumping of apples and other fruit products by the United States and Europe is being permitted. I should like to read extracts from two resolutions which were passed this spring by the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association. One reads as follows:

Whereas the West Kootenay was put on a quota of 27 per cent for processing of Bing and Lambert cherries for the 1948 season, and Whereas the growers of the district, covered by the Sunshine Bay local of this organization, would like to know definitely whether the above quota will be maintained for the future, and whether there is any definite hope of an increase-

In other words, the growers of cherries were placed on a quota. At the same convention, possibly the same day, the following resolution was passed:

Whereas a processed cherry industry of considerable importance has been established in Canada during the past seven or eight years, and Whereas, growers have been encouraged to produce cherries suitable for this industry, and

Whereas our market for these cherries is seriously threatened by the importation of similar cherries from Italy, packed in brine and subject only to a tariff of 17J per cent ad valorem.

The implication is that the policy of the government is to allow cherries to be imported from Italy in direct competition with cherries that could be produced and processed in the Kootenay valley. I am going to suggest to the minister that consideration

should be given to this industry and if possible the dumping duty regulations should be enforced when necessary. I feel that as long as we can grow first-class fruit in the valley we should be given the preference in the domestic market. Another resolution was passed as follows:

Whereas for many years the government of Australia has imposed an embargo against the import of Canadian apples on the ground that fire blight might be carried to Australian orchards, and

Whereas horticulturists agree that it would be impossible to transmit fire blight through shipments of packed apples.

The resolution goes on to ask the government to take steps to have this embargo removed, and I support that resolution. I feel that we have been most generous with the Australian people. Last year and the year before we carried on certain trade with Australia. All the imports from Australia were agricultural products while all the exports from Canada were manufactured goods. I think a balance should be arrived at whereby a break could be given to the fruit growers of British Columbia.

At the same time the Australians have been sending onions into British Columbia duty free. A shipload of No. 1 hard arrived in Vancouver last year. Our first crop of onions are not No. 1 hard; they do not reach that grade until they are matured. Our onions had to go on the market in competition with the Australian No. 1 hard with the result that in the opening week our price had to be dropped from $60 per ton to $40 per ton, which the growers claim is $2.50 per ton less than the cost of production.

At six o'clock the committee took recess.

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September 20, 1949