March 28, 1950

LIB

John James Smith

Liberal

Mr. Smith (Moose Mountain):

I agree with my hon. friend that the farmer, when he seeds his crop in the spring, should know what he is going to get for a bushel of wheat. In the past that has been the big mistake in the set-up in the west. You talk about machinery. If I sow grain in the spring

1186 HOUSE OF

Agricultural Prices Support Act I will gamble with the weather. But if I know what I am going to get for a bushel of wheat I will buy my machinery accordingly. No machine agent can come along and sell me a $4,500 combine if I know that I am going to get only a certain price for wheat. I would know whether I can pay that amount of money for the combine or any other machine.

I am speaking strictly about the western farmer. The farmer in the spring sows his crop, and if he does not know what the price of wheat is, he will take a chance on buying, say, a combine or any other machinery at a big price; then when he comes to sell that grain the price may be down, and that is where he gets into trouble. The same thing applies if you buy land or anything else. I maintain that if we get a set price for wheat that will stabilize the price of everything else that the farmer buys; because the machine companies will put the price of their machinery in line with what the farmer is getting for wheat, or else they will keep it.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

Is that what they did in the thirties?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

John James Smith

Liberal

Mr. Smith (Moose Mountain):

I am not talking about the thirties. In conclusion I want to put on the record a clipping from the Estevan Mercury of February 1, 1950. I do not often read from newspapers, but as it is often done in this house, I presume it is in order for me to do so.

The article is headed "Farm prices down in 1949-First decline in ten years", and reads as follows:

Ottawa.-Canadian farm prices were down in 1949, the first decline in ten years. However, the general average still remained more than 21 times higher than during the 1935-39 period. The bureau of statistics reported that farm prices of Canadian agricultural products dropped 1-3 per cent from the 1948 record high of 252-6 to 251-3. This index is based on 1935-39 equals 100.

Responsible for the over-all drop were declines in prices of grains, dairy products, potatoes, vegetables and furs. Increased prices of livestock, poultry and eggs, fruits, tobacco and maple products failed to make up the loss.

The regional picture showed that there were small increases in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. These were offset by decreases in the other provinces.

Here are the indexes for western provinces, with 1948 figures in brackets:

Manitoba, 251-9 (254-6): Saskatchewan, 239-4

239-3); Alberta, 257-2 (256-2); and British Columbia, 244 (238).

During December there were price decreases from December, 1948, in almost all commodities. Compared with last November, however, the prices for livestock and dairy products were higher, while potatoes, poultry and eggs were down. General indexes in all provinces were down from the same month a year earlier.

The bureau reported that lower grain prices were largely a result of government authorization of the wheat board to undertake marketing of western oats and barley delivered by producers during the 1949-50 crop year.

Under this arrangement the wheat board pays to producers on delivery of these grains an initial payment only. Not included in present figures is the money which will later be paid to farmers in the form of participation payments.

The bureau gives a statistical review of farm price indexes dating back to 1935. The review shows a drop from 1938 to 1939 but yearly increases from then on, right up to 1948.

Here are the indexes for the last sixteen years:

1935- 88

1936- 96-9

1937- 119-7

1938- 105

1939- 91-8

1940- 96-8

1941- 110-2

1942- 133-1

1943- 157-8

1944- 172-4

1945- 184-2

1946- 200-8

1947- 212-5

1948- 252-6 (all-time high) 1049-251-3

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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?

An hon. Member:

Are you with us or against us?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

John James Smith

Liberal

Mr. Smiih (Moose Mountain):

I join with my friends in the opposition who have asked this government for contracts. They have said, however, that the government of the day had done nothing to get contracts. I should like any member in the opposition, or anywhere else in the house, to show me where the government of the day with regard to agricultural products have refused to sign a contract with any country in the world if they figured they were getting a fair deal for the farmer. If you can do that, I will sit down and never open my mouth again in this session. Well, no reply. It takes two to make a contract. I join with my friends in asking the government to get contracts; I cannot join with them, however, in their amendment to ask in one breath for a contract and in the other to tie that department down so that it cannot sign contracts. We know perfectly well that when a contract is made the Department of Agriculture must initiate it or must deal with the appropriate department of other countries and make that deal and the other country has something to say about the price. I am therefore not supporting the amendment.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. A. C. Slewari (Yorklon):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to drag out this debate, as I think the sooner this matter is dealt with, either by a vote or otherwise, the better.

The other night the minister announced that the statute with which we are now dealing will run out on Thursday night. In addition to other things, the amendment proposes to throw out the statute. It proposes that this bill be not read a second time.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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?

An hon. Member:

Not now read.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Siewari (Yorkion):

Yes, not now read, which means a hoist of the bill, and a killing of the bill.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Siewarl (Yorklon):

Yes, it means killing of the bill.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):

I am making my speech, and you can make yours later. I know how often we have heard from those one-and-a-half farmers in the C.C.F. during this session.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

What kind of a farmer are you?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):

What is that?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

What kind of a farmer are we hearing from now?

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):

I will tell my hon. friend, if he wishes to know, that I was born in the west, before he ever saw it. In addition, let me say this, that I farmed four and a half sections of land, which I don't think he has ever done. And in addition to that I wish to say this, that when I took over that farm-

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I must ask hon. members to address the Chair.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):

I wish to advise you that not only did I take over the weediest farm in the district in which I now live, a farm which I was told was hopeless, but that farm now has on it six happy families, and it is cleaned up.

In addition I wish to tell my hon. friend that I raised as many as two hundred head of Hereford cattle, and sold them; and that is more than he has done. And in addition to that I was in the delegation which came here to Ottawa to ask for prices from the government. I asked for dollar wheat, Mr. Speaker, but I did not see one C.C.F. member of parliament on either of those occasions. Some of them have wiggled over since we were through that. While we did not get dollar wheat, we got ninety cent wheat at that time.

To return to a discussion of the bill before the house, let me point out that section 9 of the act provides for the setting up of a board. That section provides that the board, subject to and in accordance with the regulations made by the governor in council, shall have authority-

(a) to prescribe from time to time, with the approval of the governor in council, prices at which the board may purchase agricultural products in the market:

(b) to purchase at such prices any agricultural product, if such product, on inspection, meets standards as to grade and quality prescribed by or under any act of the parliament of Canada . . .

(c) to pay to the producers of an agricultural

product directly or through such agent as the board may determine the difference between a price prescribed by the board with the approval of the governor in council . . .

Agricultural Prices Support Act

And then under section 10(2) there is provision for a revolving fund of $200 million of the money of the people of Canada to protect the producers. The act does not cover wheat, but it covers other farm products, under the authority of the governor in council, from time to time.

Now my hon. friends propose, in amendment, that the bill be not now read; and they go further and suggest that the government bring in a bill which would have the effect of guaranteeing to the producers a price-cost relationship. The mover of the amendment has suggested no prices; he has suggested no costs, except that certain years are taken. Those who support the amendment do not deal with any particular product.

As has been pointed out by the hon. member who preceded me, the government will have to deal with other countries, and it will have to deal with the Canadian consumer. It will have to make international deals, and otherwise; but in connection with certain products, it will have to deal chiefly with the Canadian consumer. From time to time those prices change, either up or down.

We do not know whether there will be another war; we do not know what will happen in connection with surpluses at any time. We do not know whether the British will buy more of our products. And I venture to say that if the government undertook for a term of years to accept prices which were not satisfactory during all those years, there would be another howl from members of the C.C.F. party in the House of Commons-and in no uncertain terms. The government has been fair, and so far as the farmers in my constituency are concerned, it has satisfied them.

I do not believe it is our duty when we come to the House of Commons merely to set up a whine to which the people of eastern Canada have to listen. We in the west do appreciate what the government of Canada has done. Particularly is that true in our dried-out area. We appreciate what has been done under P.F.A.A. and P.F.R.A. We believe that the farmers of Ontario, on the other hand, appreciate what the government has done in paying $20 million a year toward the freight on our coarse grains brought down here to feed their cattle and pigs. We believe they appreciate that. We are already getting certain benefits for our farmers from these actions.

When the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith) spoke last night I could not make out what he was driving at. However, I noticed that when he had made his speech he was applauded by members of the Progressive Conservative party; they and their leader applauded it.

a

Agricultural Prices Support Act

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

So did the

Minister of Agriculture, and others on the government side of the house.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):

I do not think they did. This is what the hon. member said, as reported at page 1160 of Hansard:

I venture to make a suggestion which I think will be quite unpopular in the farming portion of the constituency in which I live. I am going to say now that I am quite content for another year.

So are we.

That may indicate how I shall vote.

I trust my friend will vote for the bill before the house.

I do think it is about time that this parliament ceased to be operated by pressure groups. The farm group is one of the most important, and the labour pressure group is the other group.

Then he went on to say this:

I am in favour of holding the prices support act, as called for in the bill. I think that if we quit playing with our economy, if we quit this patchwork business, and let our goods find their own level in world markets, the better it will be for Canada. I do not mean world markets of the kind we have established recently, for example, in coarse grains. I know that what I say now will be very unpopular with all those pools and farm organizations in western Canada, which have been operated on a basis of hatred for the Winnipeg grain exchange, hatred, selfishness-[DOT]

And then he implies at the end of his speech that he is going to vote for the subamendment. Well, there is no subamendment; but there is an amendment. He says this- and I agree with him-

Why should we tie our prices in this agricultural matter to 1944-48? The answer is that it certainly suits the producers of farm products because it was in that period that, if we did not reach the peak, we reached a very high level. . . I support the idea of the extension of the Agricultural Prices Support Act.

That is the stand of my hon. friend.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950
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March 28, 1950