Before the recess I was speaking of some of the difficulties encountered by the fruit and vegetable growers of Canada in regard to the importation of certain agricultural commodities, resulting in depressed prices generally. I realize that the government is faced with certain difficulties, and particularly the Department of Agriculture, in putting a stop to this condition. I have in mind an instance last year when United States carrots were imported into Canada long before ours were ready. They were brought in in such vast quantities that naturally our carrot growers were anxious to know if the market was going to be flooded. The minister co-operated to the fullest extent by placing a stop order on the importation of United States carrots as soon as ours were ready, but unfortunately the damage was caused by allowing importation in such vast quantities that they were put in cold storage
throughout the dominion and kept there in order that they might be released week by week. That practice went on for several weeks.
As our young carrots came on the market, United States carrots stored prior to the stop order were used to depress the market. I realize the difficulty in meeting that situation. Possibly drastic action would have to be taken by allowing the importation of quantities sufficient only for the immediate needs of the market, and not for storage purposes.
The same is true of the importation of soft fruits, particularly in the province from which I come, where apricots, peaches, and other soft fruits are brought in from California and the state of Washington. They are more or less dumped in British Columbia because the best market for United ^ States products, as for our own, is in their home country. After the home market is supplied, the residue is usually dumped in another country. That has been particularly true of peaches and apricots along the border between British Columbia and the state of Washington. We are very anxious to stop this practice, because we have an industry that is growing rapidly and is expanding far more than we thought was possible. I have figures for peaches, apricots, et cetera, but I will only mention peaches. In the year 1939 we had 503,000 packages and in the year 1947 we had close to 2,000,000. In the current year that amount will be greatly exceeded.
"Dumping" probably is not the correct word to use, but it is one that might be applied to the existing condition where fruit is allowed to enter the country at a lower price in competition with our own. Vegetables also enter in the same manner. I have a letter here from the British Columbia Pea Growers Limited. They are speaking not only on their own behalf but on behalf of the pea growers of Alberta, Ontario, and other parts of Canada where peas are grown. I will not read the whole letter, but in part they point out that:
. . . prices of peas have been arrived at in a very-logical manner. They have been scaled to give a return to the farmer on a parity with what he could get growing wheat on the same land. Therefore they have tried to keep that price in order to induce the farmer to grow peas. There is a tie-up between the price of peas and the price of wheat. This year a serious threat to the Canadian dried pea business is posed by the surplus of peas in the United States.
The letter points out that there are many bags of peas left over from last year's crop, and there is a large increase in the crop of peas for the current year. The letter goes on to say:
The impact of this situation has been felt here where samples of last year's whole dried green peas
graded U.S. No. 1 are offered at $3.50 per cwt. f.o.b. country shipping point which is eastern Washington. Green split peas are similarly offered at $4.50 per cwt. This price is less than we must pay our growers to produce in competition with wheat offers. It is the opinion of this office that American dealers are sloughing last year's surplus at a sacrifice in preparation for a plugged market this fall.
The letter goes on to deal with the various prices quoted and also points out that the United States government has a parity price on peas of $3.50 per hundredweight. These peas have been offered f.o.b. Moscow, Idaho, at a price of $3.85 per hundredweight which is 35 cents extra for cleaning, packing and bringing the peas to market. Canadian producers of the same commodity claim that these services cannot be given for less than $1 per hundredweight. This letter is very fair, and goes on to point out:
We realize and were advised . . . that dumping is a very difficult fact to establish, even though we may be completely sure that such activity is occurring. We are advised, therefore, to plead our case on other grounds. These may be outlined as follows:
The government support price of wheat in Canada is in direct competition with our own price to growers for acreage; the government support price in the United States to peas has encouraged much speculation and overproduction in pea growing; and from what we gather in the newspapers and from the radio, the recent agreement of the American government to allow ECA funds to purchase Canadian wheat in the face of an American surplus of wheat puts us in a very difficult position, because by way of compensation for this to the Americans, surplus American fruits and vegetables are apparently to be allowed entry into Canada. You can readily see how disastrous this action is to us, who with no government supports or favours, must operate a business in what ultimately is government competition-both here and abroad. It is on the grounds of these latter-mentioned facts that we must base our plea to Ottawa to re-impose the emergency restrictions on the importation of American peas (and beans), which were removed about one year ago, and which have subsequently piled up surpluses of Canadian canning and edible peas.