June 13, 1950

PC

Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harris (Danforth):

What about No. 3?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
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LIB

James Lester Douglas

Liberal

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Chairman, following the remarks of the senior member for Queens- I can never satisfy myself which he is-I wish to say that Prince Edward Island produced about 10 million bushels of potatoes in 1949. We shipped 11,000 cars, which is approximately 8,250,000 bushels. If we take another million for domestic purposes and another million for seed, that is approximately 10 million bushels. As to the price, I sold potatoes last fall in our own district through a co-operative company, and the price paid in November for foundation A cobblers was 75 or 80 cents. Later on it dropped as low as 60 cents per bushel. I think one week it went up as high as 92 cents a bushel to the farmer, which is no more than the cost of production.

I kept a record of a sixteen-acre field three years ago as to the cost of fertilizer, seed and labour, and it cost $112 an acre to produce an acre of potatoes. I kept a record of a twenty-acre field last year, and it cost $116 an acre. You can understand that the growing season has a great deal to do with the crop of potatoes. The average production in Prince Edward Island is 200 bushels per acre, and some farmers get as high as 350 and 400 bushels. The revenue from the potato crop accounts for about thirty-five per cent of our annual income.

A great many things could be said about the potato business as I look back over my years of experience since we commenced producing certified seed. The first thing we should have is sufficient storage to look after our crop. Last year I made a survey of storage facilities in Prince Edward Island. There are 102 stations on the Canadian National Railway where potatoes and turnips are assembled and shipped, and at those stations there are frost-proof warehouses with a capacity of 1,600,000 bushels. If you compare that with our production of ten million bushels you will see that we are far short of meeting our storage requirements. At our own station of Douglas we can store forty cars of potatoes. That serves a radius of about ten miles, or four school districts. We have been operating that warehouse on a co-operative basis for the last three years to the satisfaction of everyone, and the farmers have had good returns.

I believe the grant of $100,000 which we receive from the federal government through the Department of Agriculture, as well as the assistance we get from the provincial government, should be used to the fullest extent possible to provide warehouses at the points where they are needed. At Summerside, Charlottetown, Georgetown and Souris we have large warehouses that are used for only about two months in the year for assembling potatoes for water shipment. However, those are not cold storage warehouses where potatoes could be kept for six or eight months. Our potato shipments are not made in one or two months; they extend over eight months of the year.

I believe we should have more storage capacity in order that the marketing of potatoes could be better regulated. We need an orderly marketing system. During the last few years a great deal of cutthroat competition has been going on among the dealers, large and small. I keep track of the markets in the larger cities, such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, as well as western Canada. Many times I have been in those centres and have seen wires received in the morning quoting potato prices varying from ten to twenty-five cents per bag. You can see how confusing that is to the buyers. If we had an orderly marketing system we would be able to do away with this competition, as well as with the consignment of potatoes to over-depressed markets.

When I was in Toronto this year potatoes were selling for as little as $1.18 for a 75-pound bag, delivered. When you take away the price of the bag and the cost of freight, the dealer back in Prince Edward Island has left only about 60 cents, and you can see what the grower gets after the dealer takes his small commission. In the last eighteen months the freight rate has increased by 16 cents per hundred. For the last ten years the rate to Toronto was 39 cents. Now it is 55 cents. Someone says that can be passed on to the consumer, but I do not know whether that can be done. This high freight rate has made a great difference in the returns to our potato growers.

Over the last twenty-five years our producers have learned all about growing and grading potatoes. As I see it, the only problem now is marketing. As I said a moment ago, if we had an orderly marketing system I believe many of our difficulties would be overcome. We have the finest potato inspection service in existence, both with respect to table stock and seed potatoes. This service has been developed under two able men. One is Mr. Peppin, of the seed department, who I am sorry to say is leaving the service next year because of his age, and

who has done a wonderful job over the last thirty years. The other is Mr. Chester E. Shaw, the chief table stock inspector, who is also retiring in about another year. I am sure everyone who knows what he has done for the potato growers of Prince Edward Island will have a word of praise for him.

I could go on for an hour; in fact I could write a book on the potato business, having been connected with it since 1921. I have seen many ups and downs. Many people have gone broke in the potato business, though for the last few years the growers, and the dealers especially, have done very well. To solve our problems, however, we should have more and better storage facilities, and the growers themsplves should make some suggestions to the government that would bring about a system of orderly marketing. I have been speaking to many people in Ottawa and Toronto who say they would be quite willing to pay a decent price for potatoes, which this year were much cheaper than other foods on the market. I believe we must blame ourselves for this system of marketing, which can be corrected by those in the industry. I do not think we can blame the federal government.

Last year many representations were made to the Department of Agriculture with respect to a floor price. Well, if you start paying floor prices you never get to the end of it. I do not believe in a floor price unless you have control of the acreage, because if a farmer is making the cost of production he will keep on growing potatoes. In Prince Edward Island and the maritimes we are like the people In western Canada; we are great "next year" people; we always hope that next year will be a killer and we will make a lot of money.

I do not believe it is necessary for me to say anything more. The senior member for Queens understands the situation in our little province as well as I do, and I am sure both he and I will be glad to do everything possible to help the potato growers. I should like to give just one quotation that I read in the newspapers, credited to the New Brunswick minister of agriculture, who said: "We are still carrying on the same old antiquated marketing system we had fifty years ago." I thought that was the truest thing I had heard in many a day, and I heartily agree. It is up to ourselves to improve the situation and help our people who, after spending their time and money, after getting up at three o'clock in the morning to spray potatoes, after wearing out machinery, at the end of the year find they have scarcely enough money to pay the fertilizer bill.

Supply-Agriculture

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
?

Mr. Karris@Daniorih

1 hope hon. members realize that the hon. member for Durham raised a question-

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

If you will allow me, I will answer it. I have tried three times to do so.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
PC

Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harris (Danforlh):

I am just trying to interpolate something else I think the minister should know, if I may. I quite agree that potatoes are the No. 2 item, but it has been my happy privilege to realize that central Ontario is in the apple business. We have heard only about the apples grown in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, 'but I might say that Ontario is also in the apple business. I want to say, Mr. Chairman, that there are other parts of the world, largely within the confines of the British empire, that are in the apple business. I do not apologize for taking a few moments of the time of this committee to inform the members that I saw an area in Tasmania one mile long by several rods deep covered with red apples. This was during the war, and they were not being harvested because there were no bottoms to handle them. I realize that the socialist government subsidized the farmers who grew those apples. I realize, sir, that the time is coming when those orchards will again be in production, and the markets of the empire will be supplied from Tasmania.

Did I say one mile? Yes, one mile on one side of the valley and a mile on the other side, as far as the eye could see, there were thousands of bushels of apples lying awaiting ships which were not available. Ships are now available in the harbours of Tasmania to bring those apples to the British market. I am putting these facts on the record for the benefit of the Canadian apple industry, because I believe that within the next decade that industry will be in a precarious position. The member for Northumberland (Ont.) asked the minister a question, which has not been answered, concerning the apples grown in central Ontario. I believe that within the next decade our apple industry will find itself in difficulty. It is my duty, Mr. Chairman, to put these facts on the record, so that those charged with the responsibility of the No. 3 item-bread first, potatoes second, and apples third-can give them some consideration.

Since we have to depend on export markets for the revenue to keep this industry going, we must consider the various places that produce this No. 3 item. In my opinion apples will come from Tasmania in the future because that area's production is of such magnitude, and of such a nature, that the producers of central Ontario should carefully consider what they are going to do

Supply-Agriculture

about expanding this industry. My real reason for rising, Mr. Chairman, was that I thought the member for Northumberland (Ont.) should have an answer to the question which he brought up about twenty minutes ago.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Chairman, as I recall the remarks which were made by the member for Northumberland and the member for Durham, they were calling attention to the fact that financial assistance had been given to the apple growers in other parts of Canada but not the Ontario growers. That is true, of course. On a previous occasion I believe I indicated that other assistance had been given the Ontario apple growers during the war period. It was indirect assistance, because the apples from British Columbia and Nova Scotia were ruled out of the central Canada market until permits were issued for the marketing of them. This left the best market in Canada open to Ontario and Quebec apples.

Later the action taken was not quite so drastic, but we did have an understanding with the Nova Scotia and British Columbia apple producers that they would not put their apples into that market until a certain time of the year. This understanding was religiously carried out until last year. The result has been that the apple growers in Ontario, and I think they will agree with me, received the best returns they ever had for their apples during that ten-year period. Last year again there was considerable care taken with the marketing. When the season opened we told both British Columbia and Nova Scotia that we were not making an agreement in advance this year covering the marketing of the crop. We were prepared to consider what had happened at the end of the marketing season, and deal with the situation on the basis of actual results.

When the end of the season arrived, we checked the returns which the Ontario growers received as well as the returns received by the growers in the other two provinces. Even after assistance had been given to British Columbia and Nova Scotia, the returns obtained for apples in Ontario were considerably higher than in those areas. There is no reason, therefore, why the government should assist Ontario in obtaining a higher level than that which has been attained, unless we are prepared to raise the returns received in British Columbia and Nova Scotia to a higher point. The Ontario returns are still higher than the returns in either of the other places.

As I understand the question, it related to whether assistance is to be given in the future. The only legislation under which

assistance could be provided in connection with price levels is the Agricultural Prices Support Act. The apple producer has a right to expect consideration under that act, the same as any other agricultural producer in Canada. The question would be considered on its merits when the application is made. No undertaking can be given in advance. It is a matter that will be dealt with on its merits when the time arrives.

At one o'clock the committee took recess.

The committee resumed at three o'clock. Marketing service-

27. Fruit, vegetables and maple products, and honey, including grant of $5,000 to Canadian Horticultural Council, $989,000.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

Before this item passes I should like to refer for just one moment to the subject of apples. This morning, and upon previous occasions, representatives from the apple growing areas of Canada expressed considerable alarm about disposal of the Canadian apple crop at remunerative prices. At the time that that discussion was going on there went through my mind a recent press dispatch. I looked it up and I found that the Ottawa Evening Journal of Wednesday, May 24, 1950, carried the following dispatch from Montreal:

Port officials said today that the freighter Port Alma carried coals to Newcastle. The freighter brought 30,009 cases of apples from New Zealand to Canada, one of the world's largest apple producers.

My questions are these: Can the minister give us an indication of the total value of apples imported into Canada during the past year, and the total exports during the same period and the prices in each instance, that is, the retail prices of the New Zealand apples as compared with the market price of the Canadian apples?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I am sorry but I have not the exact figures on the exports here, but they are very small. I presume-

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

Is the minister speaking of

exports?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Imports, rather. Imports that come into this country from outside are very small. I have not the exact figure here.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

Would it be impossible to get it?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

No, it would not be impossible; it could be obtained. I think likely I have it in this pile, but it would take a while to look it up.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink

Item agreed to.



Marketing service- 28. Livestock and livestock products, $1,204,012.


PC

Clayton Wesley Hodgson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hodgson:

I should like to say a word or two on this item. Since quite a number of farmers and hog producers in my riding are quite perturbed about the way being made possible for United States' meat and meat products to be allowed on to the Canadian market I ask the minister to make a statement as best he can as to how long the market will be left open, and what effect it might have upon our Canadian market.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

What is the first part of the question?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
PC

Clayton Wesley Hodgson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hodgson:

Has the minister any idea

how long the embargo will be off products coming in from the United States, and what effect it will have on the Canadian market?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

A question was asked the

other day with regard to what the government's intention is in connection with the payment of a premium on pork which goes to Britain following the thirtieth day of June. I said here I was under the impression that from the nature of the announcement made on the 3rd of January probably a further announcement was not necessary. I have read the press reports of that time carefully, and I would say that a further report is necessary. Because of that I have, since discussing it in the house the other day, taken it up with council, and the government has decided that the premium will continue to be paid, or a subsidy will continue to be paid, until we have taken in the 60 million pounds. That means it will go right on just as it is from the 1st of July on; and all other regulations with regard to the handling of pork products will go along in the same manner as they are going along now.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
PC

Clayton Wesley Hodgson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hodgson:

I have a supplementary

question. Can the minister give us any reason why bacon took such a big jump just lately from 90 cents a pound to as high as $1.25 a pound?

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Well, I suppose it is because hogs took a jump from $26.50 to $32.

Topic:   METEOROLOGY
Subtopic:   APPROVAL OF CONVENTION OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SIGNED AT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 11, 1947
Permalink

June 13, 1950