June 22, 1951

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The producers in Ontario,

for example, are producing as much as they ever produced. They are producing as much in Quebec, generally speaking, as they ever did. The place where the pork is not being produced is largely in the prairie provinces, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Manitoba is down as well. The only time when we were producing any considerable amount more than we are producing now was during the wartime, in the middle of the war. At that time we were not able to sell our grain. We wanted cash, so we fed even wheat to hogs to get cash. For example, in Saskatchewan, where there has been as big a drop as anywhere, we were producing about four times as many hogs in the middle of the war as we are producing now. The only reason for that is the fact that we prefer to produce grain on the prairies and to sell it rather than to feed it, if we can sell the grain. We are selling all the grain at the present time. There is no difficulty, as there was during the war, to find a market for the grain. It is being sold; and we are selling it rather than feeding it. That is a choice we make out there under these circumstances. I do not know that there is much that could be done about it.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

Are we selling the frozen wheat to greater advantage than, we could sell it through hogs?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I do not think so. On my

own farm I am feeding frozen wheat; but many of my neighbours are not doing so.

In western Canada we seem to prefer to sell feed rather than to feed hogs under these circumstances; and that is what we are doing. I am not arguing whether it is right or wrong. The farmer himself makes that choice. Some farmers go on feeding hogs and others do not.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

Is there any possibility

that the prices for hogs are not sufficiently high or that there is not sufficient stability in the price?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

There is. I do not think

there is any question about that. Hogs have been selling at a much higher price than anyone ever anticipated. If you start to figure what you could make by feeding wheat to hogs, you will find that you can get considerably more by feeding it to hogs. But our people prefer to sell the wheat at the present time. They make a fairly good return out of it and they are selling it.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

A few minutes ago the

minister mentioned this frozen wheat or low-grade wheat. Is the situation not that the price of the wheat has been higher, relatively, than the price of barley, with the result that anybody in the hog business would much prefer to buy barley-and did so- and feed it to hogs than to buy wheat?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

That is true. As long as

there is barley available, the farmer prefers to feed barley. But there is not a sufficient volume of barley to take care of all the requirements and they feed wheat.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I think that is probably going to be one of the difficulties in getting rid of this wheat. The food value per pound in relation to the price you have to pay for it is not as great as the food value per pound of barley for which you pay a lower price. It would seem to me that if we are going to get rid of this low grade wheat through feeding it to hogs it is probably going to be necessary that the price of it be brought down so that it will be more comparable with the price of barley.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The difficulty of that is that the low grade wheat is selling higher proportionately than the high grade wheat at the present time. The present indications are that a higher final payment will be made on some of the lower grades than will be made on the higher grades. There is quite a demand for feed, and that is one of the reasons why they sell it.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I should like to ask the minister this question. Is it not the situation that we have a large amount of this low-grade wheat in elevators and that, as a matter of fact, it is to a considerable extent

clogging what you might call our wheat handling facilities at the present time?

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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Dion (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall the item carry?

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

No. I wonder if the minister would just answer that question?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Of course the hon. member is rather outside my department; but nevertheless it is the old question. The bidding for the low grade wheat is high and I do not know how you are going to get the price down while other people are bidding the price up. They are offering more for the wheat in order to get it.

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SC
PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

The minister has not

answered my question at all. Is it not the situation that our handling facilities-our elevators and so on-are actually to quite an extent clogged with this wheat because people have not bought it at the prices it is being sold at?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

My understanding is that there is a considerable amount of wheat in elevators largely because they have not been able to get cars to ship it out. We have had members of the house getting up here from time to time bringing that fact to the attention of the government. But it can be sold if it can be shipped.

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PC

Item agreed to. Progress reported.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Tomorrow we will proceed with the second reading of three bills: Bill No. 395, to provide for old age assistance; Bill No. 396, to provide for allowances for blind persons; and Bill No. 397, to amend the Federal District Commission Act, 1927. Then we will go into supply and consider the estimates of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Resources and Development and the Department of the Secretary of State.

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June 22, 1951