January 19, 1956

LIB

Donald D. Carrick

Liberal

Mr. Carrick:

Will the hon. member permit me to put a question? Before we concluded at six o'clock I understood the hon. member to say that if Trans-Canada Pipe Lines purchased the northern Ontario sector they would pay no interest. I should like to ask the hon. member whether he agrees with the interpretation of the agreement contained in the release put out by the Department of Trade and Commerce on November 21, 1955 in which it was stated that if the northern

The Address-Mr. Weselak Ontario section were purchased the government would receive 31 per cent on its capital investment.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

I regret that my time is so short, but may I say that I am aware of what the hon. member has referred to. It is also a fact that in the interim the pipe line company is permitted to depreciate its capital at the rate of approximately 31 per cent, so the result will be the same as an interest-free loan.

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LIB

Donald D. Carrick

Liberal

Mr. Carrick:

That is not an accurate statement.

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

I wish merely to say in reference to this whole pipe line deal that in my opinion it is an improvident deal. It is an alienation of the natural resources of this country, and the activities of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) in the formation of the company with which this agreement was entered into runs very close to a violation of the Combines Investigation Act. As a matter of fact I am not too sure that there was not in fact a violation. Perhaps the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) would do his colleague a favour by looking at section 32 and also at the interpretation to make sure that the activities have not involved this government in the formation of a monopoly which is not in the interests of the public, which in fact is detrimental to public interest and therefore a violation of the act.

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
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LIB

Anton Bernard Weselak

Liberal

Mr. A. B. Weselak (Springfield):

Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I join with other hon. members of the house in congratulating the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The hon. member for Timis-kaming (Mrs. Shipley) had the signal honour of being the first woman since confederation to move the address in reply and I am sure that the women of Canada were proud of the manner in which she acquitted herself. The hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Laflamme) also did as well and could be considered representative of the youth of our country and his splendid speech reflected the increasing activities of the younger people of Canada in the affairs of this country which affect their present and future welfare.

This debate has progressed into its fifth day and it is almost impossible to enter the debate at this time without being repetitious. However, considering the speeches by opposition members I think one would have to go a long way to compete with them in that respect. A great deal of criticism has been levelled at the speech from the throne as containing little for the people of Canada. It is true that the speech from the throne is comparatively short, but on the other hand, as the member for

Springfield, I find a great deal in it which will affect the people of my riding and be of benefit to them.

The speech opens with a reference to our international problems. It reasserts our support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of the United Nations Organization, of the Colombo plan and of the United Nations technical assistance program. With the recent change in attitude of the leaders of the communist bloc, which I do not think came as a surprise to anyone, these programs and organizations are of vital importance to us to assure our security and to provide a deterrent to aggression and communist expansion. Had we accepted the smiling diplomacy of the Russians and disposed of NATO as suggested by them, I am afraid that the consequences would be with us now and we would be reaping the harvest of our folly.

The hon. ministers of external affairs, of fisheries and of health and welfare are to be congratulated on their efforts-which in the case of the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Sinclair) has resulted in serious and painful injury- to find some ground by which peace could be assured in this troubled world. The efforts of the Canadian delegation at the United Nations have brought honour to Canada and are a credit to her statesmanship.

The speech also indicates that the government has been at grips with the western wheat problem, and in the proposed legislation for which it seeks the approval of parliament measures will be brought forward which will alleviate and assist the wheat growers of the west in their present difficulty.

Reference has been made in this debate to the proposal by the government to pay the carrying costs of temporary wheat reserves owned by the Canadian wheat board in respect of board stocks of wheat in excess of 178 million bushels as a form of charity.

In the course of this debate statistics have been placed on the record which do indicate that the prairie farm economy in contrast with many other sectors of the country has steadily declined. The farmers of western Canada have in the past pretty well carried their own load in spite of protective devices such as tariffs and patents which have contributed so much to the development of industry and the betterment and security of labour. The advantages obtained by tariffs and patents for the other sectors of the economy have to be paid for, and are paid for by the consumers of the country. Farmers are notably large consumers of industrial products per capita, and on a per capita basis pay a substantial portion of this cost. The farmer must buy in a market geared to our high economic level, yet must sell in competition in markets where the economic level

is much lower than that of Canada. Protection by way of tariffs and patents, though they produce revenue are nothing other than a subsidy paid for by the consumers of Canada.

It might be of interest to note some of the other subsidies paid in this country. My findings show that since 1944 $2 million was paid to the maritime potato growers; $7 million to the apple growers east and west; $6 million to butter producers in Ontario and Quebec; approximately $6 million to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia potato growers under the prices support act.

Freight rate assistance from the prairies on feed grain for the benefit of producers and feeders from 1941 to 1954 resulted in assistance to feeders: In British Columbia

to the extent of $22,462,939.52; in Ontario, $72,191,724.89; in Quebec, $87,510,638.70; in the maritimes, $38,347,090.19; making a total of $220,512,453.30. To which should be added approximately another $14 million for 1955 making a further total of over $234 million. These are some of the subsidies paid to various sectors of the agricultural economy in an effort to raise them in some measure to our general economic level.

In addition to these agricultural subsidies, in the year 1954 alone a total of $51 million was paid in other federal subsidies. The breakdown given in a statement of national accounts of income and expenditure prepared by the dominion bureau of statistics shows that in the year 1954 $15 million was paid in gold subsidies, $11 million was paid under the Maritime Freight Rates Act, $12 million was paid on coal subventions and $13 million in miscellaneous subsidies.

I have no quarrel with the payment of the subsidies I have referred to. It is far better to temporarily assist those sectors of our economy which are temporarily depressed in this manner than it is to legislate in such a manner as to reduce the economic level of the country as a whole. In this respect our prairie farm economy has temporarily become one of the soft spots and deserves the attention and assistance which is being proposed by the government.

The principle of mutual assistance by Canadians in Canada is further exemplified by the constant efforts of our Prime Minister to finalize and complete the renewal of dominion-provincial agreements which have done so much to equitably distribute the wealth of the nation. The Winnipeg Free Press in its editorial of January 13 made no mistake when it stated:

The federal government's new tax offer to the provinces is excellent. When the history of our

The Address-Mr. Weselak times comes to be written this can be expected to rank as one of the acts of true statesmanship to the credit of Canadian Liberalism under Mr. St. Laurent's leadership. It is a major contribution to the economic and political progress of our federal system.

The revised proposals, according to the editorial, will within the general scale of federal-provincial tax dealings give Manitoba a just deal in relation to other provinces, and under the new proposals we unquestionably do get this, along with all the advantages of the existing tax rental agreements.

The construction of the trans-Canada pipe line will be welcomed by the people of Manitoba. Manitoba has been very fortunate that within the boundaries of the constituency of Springfield, which I have the honour to represent, there has been developed on the Winnipeg river 788,000 horsepower of cheap hydroelectric power. We find now we must go farther afield for power, and its production and transmission is going to be far more costly than that produced in the past. The supply of natural gas to Manitoba will provide additional source of energy which will certainly contribute to the expansion of our provincial economy.

Further amendments to the National Housing Act to make it more effective are always welcome, since any incentive to improve housing conditions in Canada will result in a healthier and happier nation. The only suggestion I have at the moment for the government, is that some study be given to reducing the income requirement for country towns, where living costs are comparatively lower. In many deserving cases, this could be lowered, instead of being set at an arbitrary figure. In these towns the local bank managers are making the advances. They are familiar with local conditions and know the circumstances of the individuals involved.

The speech from the throne indicates that parliament will be asked to increase the size of the loans to be made by the Canadian farm loan board and to amend the Farm Improvement Loans Act.

With the increase in the size of a farm now required to establish an economic farm unit, and in the amount of capital required to reasonably equip such a farm, the increased amount available certainly will be a welcomed amendment to the act. The increase in the amount of loan available will not, however, solve the problem if the loan to value ratio is by conservative appraisals brought down to a comparatively low level. In addressing the house on February 1st last year, I pointed out that there was a need for a scheme of longterm credit for the rehabilitation of young farmers and at that time made reference to the success of the work that had been done

The Address-Mr. Weselak by the administrators of the Veterans Land Act in settling veterans on farms following the last war. I believe the Canadian farm loan board could administer a program similar to that instituted for the veterans, under which supervised long-term credit loans could be made to young deserving farmers to establish them on farms, particularly in cases where ordinary commercial credit is not available, which is the case in many of the farming districts of Canada.

The Farm Improvement Loans Act has been good legislation and has done a great deal to provide farmers with low-cost credit to enable them to equip their farms with modern labour-saving equipment, which is so necessary to them to reduce their cost of production. In our area, as in others, considerable advantage has been taken of this available credit; and it has been of great assistance, particularly to those whose farming operations are in the development or expansion stage. It is therefore quite obvious that any amendment designed to improve the operation of the act cannot help but be of further benefit to those concerned.

Amendments are also proposed to the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. In our area, 1954 was the first year in which the act became generally applicable. My experience during the summer months while at home, in this respect, certainly gave me an appreciation of the difficulties encountered in the administration of this legislation. In 1954 the Manitoba government, aware of the dissatisfaction in Manitoba with regard to the operation of the act in many areas, authorized the appointment of a commission to make a study of the act itself and of alternative crop insurance schemes which might possibly be used as an alternative to the present legislation. The report was submitted to the government of Manitoba on September 9, 1955, and I would recommend it to all western members for thorough study, since it contains a wealth of information not only in regard to prairie farm assistance but also in regard to the experiences of the United States federal crop insurance corporation. The report also contains the commission's views regarding the Prairie Farm Assistance Act in Manitoba and suggested amendments to the act, which no doubt have received the consideration of the government and its officials.

In the constituency of Springfield we have the Berens River, Bloodvein, Brokenhead, Fort Alexander, Hollow Water, Little Black River, Little Grand Rapids and Poplar River Indian reserves, which comprise a substantial portion of the Indian population of Manitoba. The Fort Alexander and Broken-head reserves are located at the south end

IMr. Weselak.]

of lake Winnipeg, while the others range to the north on the east side of the lake a distance of 160 miles. The two reserves at the south are located on reasonably arable land, and I believe a great deal can be done, provided financing and guidance are made available, toward agricultural development of these reserves. I understand that preliminary surveys to this end have been made and I am sure that the interest shown in our Indian population by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mr. Pickersgill) will result in the closest co-operation between him and our newly appointed regional supervisor of Indian agencies to the advantage of the Indians of Manitoba. I am sure the proposed amendments to the Indian Act will be designed to facilitate the department's work in this connection and will be looked forward to with considerable interest.

Since my entry into this house, I have never made reference to the part the constituency of Springfield has played in the history of western Canada, nor of its importance to the economic welfare of Manitoba. Springfield borders on the province of Ontario north and south for a distance of 222 miles. On the west it is bounded north of the town of Selkirk by the east shore of lake Winnipeg, and south of the town of Selkirk it extends across the Red river to Stony Mountain and then skirts the city of Winnipeg and the town of Transcona. The constituency is representative of almost all occupational, ethnic and religious groups, who live and work amicably together for their common good.

On both sides of the Red river, extending from the city of Winnipeg to the town of Selkirk, are located mixed farms and large market gardens as well as other people located on small holdings and employed in the city nearby. This area is steeped in history, for here is located Lower Fort Garry, built 124 years ago, wholly intact and in an excellent state of preservation. It was in this area along the Red river that the early history of western Canada was enacted and where the story of Louis Riel began.

The central portion of the constituency is located in the Red river, Brokenhead and Whitemouth river valleys, and is one of the finest farming areas in western Canada. I say this despite the fact that in the past two years, owing to excessive moisture, we have had comparatively poor crops and the farmers in this area are at present hard pressed to meet their obligations and carry on their farming operations. This may seem an odd statement, but in 1954-and results will show that 1955 was not much better-the average wheat yield in the municipalities of Brokenhead was 9-5 bushels as against a long-term

The Address-Mr. Weselak

average of 19-7; of Lac du Bonnet 5 bushels as against a long-term average of 21-8; of Whitemouth, 5 bushels as against a longterm average of 16-8. One can readily see that they have been affected not only by price squeezes but also by drastic losses in production.

The eastern area of the constituency bordering the Ontario boundary and extending north between lake Winnipeg and Ontario is in the Precambrian shield. Through this area from the lake of the Woods to Fort Alexander on lake Winnipeg flows the mighty Winnipeg river, which has contributed so much to the economic development of Manitoba. It was along this river that the first discoverers of the west travelled to reach lake Winnipeg and then to travel south to where the city of Winnipeg is now located. On this river are located hydro plants generating 788,000 horsepower daily which supply the present needs of the province of Manitoba. On the river also is located the huge pulp and paper mill which provides employment for the communities of Pine Falls, Powerview and St. George and which also supplies winter employment to farmers in the area. This area also provides the finest fishing, hunting, swimming and boating within the areas of the two provincial reserves, namely, the Whiteshell and the Agazis.

Along the shore of the lake there is a great deal of fishing activity and fur farming. The mineral potential of this area has only been scratched. Gold has been mined for some time at Bissett. This area is rich in nickel, lithium, chromite, gold, copper, beryl and molybdenum. The Lithium Corporation of Canada, Falconbridge and Viola-mac are in the area doing development work and it will only be a matter of time until this area becomes a very important factor in our mineral production.

The problem of surplus wheat stocks has received in this debate a considerable amount of attention, and the opposition have made every attempt to lay the blame for this situation at the feet of the government. The minister and other speakers on the government side of the house have placed on the record facts and figures which show that in spite of ever-increasing difficulties Canada has retained and maintained the bulk of her markets. These speakers have shown that the situation is not an isolated Canadian problem but is a world problem which has developed as a result of several factors over which the government has no control. The first of these is within the country itself. It is the fact that Providence has been good to us and has given us bountiful crops which 67509-22

have resulted in greater quantities being made available for export consistently over a period of years. The second is the fact that crops throughout the world also have been good and that production as a result of subsidization by governments has had the effect of increasing production in traditionally importing countries, thus reducing their requirements and also making more wheat available for export in this country.

In an address to the Manitoba pool elevators at Winnipeg on October 28, Mr. Graham Spry, agent-general for Saskatchewan in the United Kingdom and Europe, a recognized authority on the problem, stated that the prairie wheat problem was not created in the west but is part of the world wheat situation. He went on to explain that it was not Canadian policy which had created this situation. Canadian farm policy, he explained, was stability at a price level which covered the cost of production and met fair and sensible competition. Fair and sensible competition, he said, does not exist and our Canadian wheat is being marketed in a world of production incentives and trade restrictions which have disturbed our normal markets.

In addition, the change in status of the United States from a marginal small exporter to the status of the largest wheat exporter of the world has further disrupted our trade in traditional markets. He described the Canadian wheat policy as the least artificial, the most sane in any country. These remarks were made with the thought that only a meeting of minds at the international level and a return to sane, sound and economic wheat policies throughout the world would solve this vexing problem which is facing the world today.

Previous speakers on this side of the house have placed on the record figures covering production, marketing and export which show that had we had normal production years there would have been no surplus. The solutions suggested by the opposition have been acceptance of sterling and soft currency, barter, giveaways and credit sales, and finally a more aggressive sales policy.

On the question of accepting sterling and soft currency I would refer the house first to an editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press headed, "Duping the Farmer", which reads in part as follows:

The most important of these is the one that Premier Douglas of Saskatchewan fastened on once again in a speech on Wednesday night. It is that Canada should take "payment" for wheat in foreign currencies-particularly in sterling-where sales cannot otherwise be made. This idea makes a certain superficial appeal. That is why it has been around for a long time. But in the form in

The Address-Mr. Weselak which it is usually put forward it is simply a deception a smart-aleck idea from people who ought to know better and care more about the farmer. There is of course no difficulty whatever about taking in return for wheat or anything else, sterling or any other currency. The question is what we can do with the sterling when we have it. The Canadian farmer does not want pound notes. He wants dollars or goods.

The proponents of "sterling sales" talk as if we could get goods in exchange. That is untrue- not by wish of ours, but by obvious wish of the British or anyone else, in their own interests. If, having taken sterling, we are then allowed to spend the sterling on buying goods for Canada, or on making foreign investments that appeal to Canadians, then from the point of view of the United Kingdom they might just as well have paid us in dollars in the first place.

I would refer also to a statement made in Winnipeg before the farmers' union convention by Mr. W. G. Coventry, United Kingdom trade commissioner. In the issue of the Winnipeg Free Press of December 6, 1955, there is the following report with respect to what he had to say:

In an address to the Manitoba farmers' union fifth annual convention in Winnipeg and in a later questioning period, W. G. Coventry, United Kingdom trade commissioner, explained why these much advocated policies were not economically reasonable. But the speaker did suggest two practices which he said would stimulate movement of Canadian commodities into foreign markets.

The article goes on to say:

Canada could not sell more wheat to Britain, or to other countries, by accepting sterling, Mr. Coventry said, because it was only "payment deferred". The account would have to be settled with the Bank of Canada later. "You will never get the Bank of England to allow purchase in Canada for sterling", he added. The eventual need to settle with the Bank of Canada would be "a threat hanging over its head". By the same token, no other country would pay for Canadian goods with their own currency.

Giveaway programs were all right at times, Mr. Coventry said. They were better than "destroying the produce". But the British had "a dogged pride" and would not accept a bushel of free Canadian wheat. Mr. Coventry said he did not feel barter agreements were profitable because they called for specific orders to manufacturers to produce goods, specially designed for the other country in the agreement.

With regard to credit sales, sales on credit have been made to Poland, Brazil and Yugoslavia through the medium of the export credit corporation for substantial quantities of grain, and I am sure that should credit be required by any country it will be similarly made available.

With respect to giveaways, I might say that perhaps the United States can afford this luxury but I do not believe we can. In 18 months their giveaway program has cost the United States $1,692 million. To bring this giveaway program into its proper perspective, I think we must recognize that we in Canada export approximately 75 per cent of our wheat production and consume at

home approximately 25 per cent. The United States, on the other hand, consumes within their own country approximately 80 per cent of the wheat production and exports a small surplus of 20 per cent. The United States is in much the same position as we are with our butter.

We must also recognize that in Canada any giveaway program of the scale entered into by the United States would have to be paid for by a mere 16 million people compared with the population in the United States of over 160 million. The funds available to the United States government for this purpose can be indicated by the fact that this year's budget in the United States will be in excess of $68 billion while ours is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $4 billion. '

I think these comparisons should be kept in mind when we suggest that our wheat surpluses be disposed of completely by giveaway programs. I have no objection to the giving away of wheat to countries which require it and are in need, but I do not think we should disrupt world markets by entering into a war with the United States in this respect. An example of the type of deal entered into by the United States under this program is illustrated by the fact that an agreement was entered into by the United States last October with Japan to provide Japan with $170 million worth of farm products over and above her usual imports. In the deal made with Japan the United States is to accept local currency. Thirty per cent of this local currency is to be held in Japan and used by the United States for offshore installations, military housing, exchange students and to develop United States markets in Japan. The remaining 70 per cent would be used by Japan for the erection of hydro stations, the development of agriculture and the promotion of a Japanese productivity centre. Not a cent of this money will return to the United States. It is nothing but a dead giveaway program. Similar deals have been made by the United States with Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Egypt, Israel and Yugoslavia. The result of the United States program has been that while her average exports before the war were roughly 56 million bushels, she now exports in excess of 300 million bushels. These deals are bound to affect and to be reflected in our Canadian exports.

What are some of the things that our government has done to meet this situation? During this parliament the Canadian government entered into an agreement with Japan. It is a reciprocal trade agreement which gave Japan certain concessions and under which Japan also undertook to purchase certain

commodities in this country. For a year or two, as the result of that agreement, we had a splendid market with Japan. We had a very good market and our exports to Japan rose to high levels. But since the United States have entered into their disposal program-and you can hardly blame Japan for this when you consider the deals I have just related-our exports with Japan have decreased. In the long run I believe Japan will be a valuable market of ours but our exports to Japan have been reduced. The Canadian wheat board has been pressing sales by inviting trade delegations from various countries with whom we deal in order to acquaint them with our method of handling growing and shipping our Canadian grain which is the best grain in the world and which has created standards which are acceptable the world over. The wheat board has also worked in our interests by appearances before official bodies in the United States to protect the interests of the Canadian grain producer. Finally, the wheat board has taken a realistic approach in the matter of grain pricing. Where necessary and where it has been advantageous they have reduced the price of grain and have refused to be panicked into a price war. I think the statement of the minister to the effect that orders are coming in at a rate exceeding that of last year certainly justifies this stand on the part of our Canadian wheat board.

The Canadian government itself has twice recently sent delegations to the United States to discuss this problem and to try to arrive at an amicable solution. I understand that a further conference is arranged for the latter part of January to discuss the problem once more. Finally, our adherence to and support of the principle of the Geneva agreement on tariffs and trade is one of the things which is doing a great deal to preserve our markets throughout the world. I feel satisfied that the wheat board and the right hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) have left no stone unturned to promote sales. As I said before, his statement to the effect that orders are coming in at a fairly good rate certainly seems to justify our confidence in our Canadian marketing policy.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I should like to express to the right hon. the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) the appreciation of westerners for the investment announced last June to be made in western Canada in the amount of $650,000 for the erection of a rust research and science building on the campus of the University of Manitoba. If conditions are favourable to rust, losses on 67509-22i

The Address-Mr. McBain the prairies can exceed $1 billion in an individual crop year. The rust research laboratory in Manitoba over the years has kept pace with the appearance of new races of this scavenger. Anything that can be done to facilitate this work is a sound investment. I am sure our eminent scientists in Manitoba will welcome the building which will no doubt improve their working conditions and increase their efficiency.

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PC

James Alexander McBain

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James A. McBain (Elgin):

Mr. Speaker, I wish at the outset to add my congratulations to those that have already been extended to the mover (Mrs. Shipley) and the seconder (Mr. Laflamme) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I perhaps feel a little bit more justified than would many other members in this house in extending those congratulations to the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mrs. Shipley) as it was in the riding that I have the honour to represent that the hon. member first saw the light of day and gained her early education. I would assume that her desire to serve in the municipal field was gained from the fact that her father for many years served as councillor and reeve of the township in which I happen to reside. As to the youthful member for Bellechasse (Mr. Laflamme), I was pleased to see him taking an active part in the deliberations of this house.

I wish to turn my thoughts to a few of the problems that face the people engaged in making their living in agriculture. These problems are extremely difficult ones and they face many people in the country. The problems I wish to discuss are possibly more directly the problems of Ontario farmers, although indirectly they concern all the farmers of Canada.

The yearly net income of Ontario farmers has dropped more than $1,000 per farm since 1951. Much of this drop has been the result of the cost-price squeeze in agricultural production. To recover lost income as well as to improve long-term earnings is the prime concern of most farm operators. The question is h-o-w. I may come to the other one later. By how much and how fast can the goal of improved earnings be attained? There are many standards for measuring the success of farm operations. Some may consider a farmer to be a success if he has a beautiful homestead, has well-bred livestock or if his family have a standard of living comparable to that of other dwellers; if they have inside plumbing and a good motor car; and he need not be criticized if it happens to be a Buick or something better. But how is he going to maintain

The Address-Mr. McBain the standard of living he deserves with the agricultural outlook of 1956 staring him in the face?

Other hon. members have spoken on the butter and the cheese situation and on the situation with regard to wheat and other cereal grains. If we are going to sell our surplus butter behind the iron curtain for 20 cents a pound or more below the floor price and not give the consumers of Canada an opportunity to purchase this storage butter at the same price as that at which it is now being sold to these communistic countries, it would appear to me that something is seriously wrong in the administration of this government and in the handling of our surplus butter.

Let us look at the pork situation. The forecast as predicted by the marketing service of the Canadian Department of Agriculture has this to say:

For the first quarter of 1956, the increase is forecast to be 5 per cent over the first quarter of 1955 and for the second and third quarters of 1956, a decrease of 3 per cent is looked for, based on surveys of breedings and farrowings. The increase forecast for the next six to nine months would scarcely supply the natural increase in population if the rate of pork consumption on the domestic market remains about the same as during 1955, and exports continue as in the past year.

It is to be hoped that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) maintains the present floor price on hogs because this forecast of marketings shows that farmers do not see hogs as a profitable business and present breedings are light. It is estimated that around 40 per cent of the population of Canada depends directly or indirectly on agriculture. Therefore, if agriculture continues in a depressed condition it can readily be seen how rapidly this would reflect on the other 60 per cent of the population.

How are the farmers overcoming this high cost of production? I think the farmers as a whole are appreciative of the assistance they have received from the agricultural colleges, the agricultural experimental farms, plant breeders and all of those connected with the science of agriculture. In Ontario I wish to give credit to the Ontario soil and crop improvement association for the outstanding work they have done in the last 15 years in assisting farmers to produce higher yields on the same acreages. Agriculturally speaking, the year 1955 will not be a particularly pleasant one to remember. Farmers can look forward to the year 1956 with less farm workers, higher priced land and less money with which to buy costly equipment. There is a challenge requiring all our mental, manual, scientific and financial resources.

Modern farm practices have resulted in higher yields per acre for the last 10 years.

(Mr. McBain.]

Those yields have been the highest in any 10-year period in the history of Canada. The biggest increases have occurred since 1950. Present day know-how can still increase the production per acre provided the farmer has a market for the products he produces. How far and how fast yield increases can be continued will depend on the returns farmers might reasonably expect for the hours of labour it takes to produce the product. I sincerely suggest, Mr. Speaker, to this government that they give more serious consideration to the difficulties of the agricultural producers than they have in previous years.

(Translation) :

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
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LIB

Maurice Breton

Liberal

Mr. Maurice Breton (Jolieile-L'Assomplion-Montcalm):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased, at the outset, to extend my sincere congratulations to my hon. colleagues for Timiskaming and Bellechasse (Mrs. Shipley and Mr. Laflamme) for their excellent speeches on the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

The reason I rise tonight is to refer to the federal-provincial conference on health insurance projects which is to be held January 23.

The numerous representations made to us by the public, the personal commentaries of doctors and medical bodies, the large amount of data compiled by the Department of National Health and Welfare, the legislation passed by the present government at the time of the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King to prepare a health program in 1948 and the additional credits voted since then are excellent groundwork to the study of a national health insurance plan. As far back as 1935, the Bennett government had created a survey commission to investigate the problem of health insurance in Canada. It may be recalled that the scheme submitted at that time had been declared ultra vires.

In 1937 the recommendations of the Rowell-Sirois commission included suggestions with regard to health and health insurance in Canada.

In February, 1942, the Mackenzie King government instituted an advisory committee on health insurance and, in March, 1943, that body submitted a draft bill to the social security committee of the house. In 1943, the parliamentary committee on social security approved the general principles of the bill, but proposed some amendments which went through in 1944. In 1945, the Hon. Brooke Claxton suggested to the federal-provincial conference held at that time a

national health insurance scheme whereby the federal government would pay 60 per cent of the cost, and the provinces 40 per cent.

On May 14, 1948, the Right Hon.' W. L. Mackenzie King announced a national health scheme entailing an annual expenditure of approximately $35 million up to a total of $167 million.

In 1953, an additional amount was provided until 1958, bringing the grand total to $386 million, to be expended over a period of ten years, from 1948 to 1958.

As a result of that preliminary plan, about

46,000 beds have been added in hospitals for the care of adults, together with several thousand beds for children, not to mention the many spheres in which the government provided subsidies for sanatoriums, for tuberculosis control and so forth, all necessary elements in the implementation of a national health program.

At the federal-provincial conference of last October, and following the preliminary talks of April 1955, the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) made a proposal involving support of a national health insurance plan provided it did not require constitutional amendments, and provided that the majority of the provinces and of the people were in favour of the scheme.

The necessity to provide for a health insurance plan is a result of two very important factors. First there is the obligation to maintain the standard of health in Canada. But in view of the vastness of our country, and of the special characteristics of its various areas, the government must step in at all levels to ensure medical care to the whole population. The second factor comes from the tremendous rise in the cost of medical care and hospitalization, which again requires government assistance if we don't want more and more of our people to be deprived of adequate medical care. Thus, a medical board connected with army recruiting and entrusted with preserving and organizing medical care for the whole of Canada, made some remarks concerning the extent of our territory and the difficulty of providing medical care for everybody.

At a forum organized by this committee throughout Canada, a citizen of Bury, I think, in the province of Quebec, said: "We have here with us two undertakers and no doctors, so we can die when we please." Over the radio, another one from Lennoxville

The Address-Mr. Breton stated: "All of us dread doctors and hospitals, knowing that many of us have spent a lifetime paying for the costs of a couple of operations or of protracted illness." These twc statements summed up the comments which had been made throughout the country.

It is for these reasons that the government must help. Already, in some parts of Canada, several provincial governments have adopted legislation to help the public through compulsory health insurance.

British Columbia, for instance, has a compulsory health and hospital insurance plan Alberta and Saskatchewan likewise have plans whereby the public is obliged to contribute to the costs of health insurance.

British Columbia has a general hospitalization service covering all hospital costs, excluding medical costs. A 5 per cent sales tas serves to pay the cost of the program.

Alberta has a municipal hospitalizatior plan and a provincial plan for maternity cancer and polio cases. Municipal plans are financed by means of a local land tax anc provincial subsidies. The provincial plan is financed through the general revenue of the province. One hundred and seventy-three municipalities of Alberta, involving 93 pei cent of the population, contribute to a compulsory insurance plan.

Saskatchewan has set up a compulsorj hospitalization insurance plan for the entire province. This plan covers hospital costs, drugs, laboratory costs and operating-room costs. This insurance is financed by means ol an annual tax of $10 per capita to a maximum of $30 per family. In addition, Saskatchewar is trying out a regional compulsory medical and hospital insurance plan in Swift Current In 1953, 20,400 families were covered by this complete medical, dental and hospital protection plan. In 1954, the annual tax amounted to $18 for a single person and could reach a maximum of $44 for a family of four oi more. This is a personal as well as land tax. It will be recalled that a referendum was held in Swift Current a few months age in which a farm population in general voted against the establishment of a system oi compulsory insurance, which, of course, forced the local government to revamp its policy in the matter of health insurance.

The province of Newfoundland has what is called a voluntary hospitalization insurance plan, known as the Cottage hospital plan. Hospitals are made up of 18 cottages

334 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Breton :omprising 503 beds for adults and 113 beds for children. The cost of this compulsory insurance varies from $7.50 to $18 for single persons, according to localities and from $15 ,o $36 per family, also according to localities served.

In the rest of Canada there is no compulsory insurance for the time being, although he province of Ontario has just stated that it vas necessary to organize an insurance sys-;em, apparently compulsory, which would [DOT]equire the co-operation of the federal and provincial governments. This means that >ur people are more than ever ready to try lut the plans being carried out in certain provinces and in other countries. Thanks to he experience gained in the world, particu-arly in England, Sweden and France, people ire getting more and more convinced that, for he protection of the public and the attain-nent of a higher standard of health in this ountry, a national system of compulsory nsurance must be adopted.

As early as 1942-43, an inquiry committee et up by the federal government showed hat 32 countries had a compulsory health nsurance system. On the other hand, nine ountries had a voluntary insurance plan, rnong them Sweden, which, in my opinion, is ne of the most advanced countries from the oint of view of social legislation. Around 942 the president of the Canadian Medical association, Dr. McPhedran, who was also member of the medical investigating com-nittee, stated that the tendency of medical cience was to specialization, because general ractitioners are unable to earn an adequate icome without resorting to surgery, and that ny system of medical organization should, rst and foremost, be based on preventive ledieine. What Dr. McPhedran said in 1943 i even truer in 1956.

It is quite interesting to note the present sndency of medicine in this country. For istance, in 1954, 73-7 per cent of Canadian octors practised in communities of 10,000 eople or more. In the province of Quebec, lore particularly, this proportion was 77-6 er cent, and a little above that, which means aat only 22 per cent of physicians practise in ities of less than 10,000 population. Furthermore, the tendency to specialization rat began several years ago is gaining mo-lentum. Indeed, in 1954, only 43 * 2 per cent f doctors in Canada were general practi-oners, although the proportion did not ex-eed 38 [DOT] 7 per cent in the province of Quebec,

whereas in 1948 the percentage of general practitioners in our province was 47-9. The reason for this, according to a doctor friend of ming, is that preventive medicine is altogether unprofitable for the physician. The necessity of earning a living is driving doctors to hospital service where they command substantial fees. The ordinary physician does not dare send his patients to a hospital for a medical examination that might well cost them $200 and even $300, and would not be covered by some insurance scheme. On the other hand, whereas a hospital examination today is costly, a consultation by the family doctor only brings him $2 or $3. Therefore, Dr. McPhedran was perfectly right in stating that health insurance should first of all be based on preventive medicine.

In 1956 as in 1943, doctors naturally tend to establish themselves where they can more readily specialize either in surgery or some other branch. Doctors fear that health insurance will ultimately protect only hospitals and specialists and afford no protection to the public at large or to the family doctor. We must therefore organize health insurance plans that would enable them to make reasonable profits through the practice of their profession without having to take up surgery or some other specialty.

Many people come in to see us-I am sure that all hon. members have received the visit of some of their constituents who showed them fantastic bills for hospital and medical care. Only a few days ago a postmaster who earns but $150 a month was telling me that he had paid out $7,000 for hospital treatment, operations, fees and medical care for his son. It is not surprising that these people should come to us to request assistance from the government. They say outright that they cannot bear this expense.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is it normal that, in a country like ours with well organized medical services-there is one doctor for 983 people, that is 16,000 in all in Canada-half the population should be unable or unwilling to go to hospital.

We have, particularly in the province of Quebec, a system of public assistance which, to my mind, is altogether inadequate and is a real disgrace, especially to the patient who has to beg for charity when he is under public care.

In 1952 the public hospitals of the province of Quebec took in 52,326 charity cases.

The provincial and municipal governments paid about $7.00 a day for these patients, while in 1954 hospital expenses in Quebec rose to $10.26 per capita, which means that our hospitals had to carry a daily deficit of $3.26 for each public patient. This kind of patient remained an average of 19 days in hospital, while private patients, who were obliged to pay their own way, only stayed about 10 days. Therefore, public patients now get 19 days paid, and those of average means must carry the burden of the deficit. These are the people who, when they call on us, show us hospital bills that might be called utterly fantastic.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that it is time for a concentrated action by the governments in the field of health insurance. People criticize the English scheme, which in 1953 cost 486 million pounds sterling for 48 million people; yet this insurance, which covers dental expenses, medical expenses at home, drugs, hearing aids, all hospitalization costs, diagnosis and doctors' fees and even capital investment for the building of hospitals and their maintenance, cost only $28 per head, whereas our own medical costs are much higher and cover only a small part of our 'medical needs. If a critical comparison is made between the English and the Canadian systems, the conclusion is not in favour of our system.

France, which attaches great importance to public health, has a system of preventive medicine. Every French citizen has a health booklet and has to undergo at least four complete medical examinations during his lifetime. These examinations include laboratory tests and X-ray inspections which are free, in that they are paid for by the insurance plan.

There are now in Canada 17 non-profit health insurance companies, such as the Blue Cross, which offer group insurance.

In addition, some 60 private companies specialize in health insurance. Unfortunately, in the province of Quebec, no insurance company offers to individuals the advantages of group plans as in Ontario. In Ontario, the Blue Cross is the only company offering to pay the full cost of hospitalization; there is only one limitation to that insurance, that is 120 days in hospital.

There are at present in Canada 4,300,000 people who have insurance policies in various companies or non-profit organizations.

The Address-Mr. Breton

Needless to say that the figure is impressive at first glance, but one must also consider that those insurance plans are divided into two categories.

There is the extensive plan which is called in English the "Comprehensive Plan" and there is the limited plan. The comprehensive plan includes medical and hospital care and covers a fairly large field; the limited plan offers some kinds of hospital or medical care as provided in the policy.

There is an untold number of insurance policies which are absolutely illusory and which are sold by companies not much concerned with the interest of the patient. Here is an example of an insurance costing $40 for a family of three people. A child of a subscriber was involved in an automobile accident. The cost of treatment of a fractured leg was $500. The insurance company paid $60 to cover all expenses. When I think of the millions of insurance policies which are drawn up this way, I can say that this protection is fictitious. I could mention an impressive number of such cases.

In the province of Quebec only 35,000 people are protected by comprehensive plans such as that offered by the Blue Cross. I am aware that some workers are covered by excellent group insurance plans but these, unfortunately, only protect a part of the population. That is why I have nothing against group insurance plans which are of great service to a large number of Canadians.

Personally I am opposed to a compulsory insurance plan for Quebec since I am still a believer in the virtues of private enterprise, as long as in the field of health insurance, it is assisted and controlled by the governments.

If we consider Canada's infantile mortality rate, we cannot say that we are living in the best country in the world. Canada ranks thirteenth among the countries of the world in the matter of infantile mortality. The rate of Canada's infantile mortality is 38 per

1,000, but in Quebec it is 50 per 1,000. This province's mortality rate among pregnant women is higher than elsewhere. Its mortality rate from tuberculosis is too high. We have much to do if we want to improve public health. If we want our people to benefit from medicine, we have to put medicine within their reach. I do not think that doctors are opposed to a plan of health insurance; quite

336 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Breton the contrary is true. But doctors in general believe that preventive medicine would bring them absolutely no revenue, if they are not effectively protected by insurance plans.

In all insurance companies, there is nothing at present which permits protection against disease or maintaining a person in good health.

Someone had this witty remark one day about medicine in the Orient: it seems, he said, that over there the doctor is paid to keep his client in good health and that he has to attend him for nothing when he is sick. That may seem paradoxical, but what could be more logical after all?

If we examine the health problem in Canada, due to the immense size of our country, we must conclude that governments have to act. I know that the federal government has been working for a number of years on the preparation of a program which will permit every citizen of this country to participate in an insurance program that can protect them.

I repeat that in the province of Quebec I do not believe that a compulsory contributory insurance system would be practical. There is a big difference between compulsory insurance and a program of protection for the public. That is why I would like our province to co-operate with the federal government, which is ready to pay the larger part of the costs, 60 per cent, with the provinces paying 40 per cent. I believe that in order to ensure medical care, the better part of the public is willing to insure through insurance companies, without any necessity for coercion. We must allow people to buy protection from insurance companies as individuals at reasonable rates without having to belong to a group. These insurance companies should be allowed to band together and to carry the main load themselves, especially as regards hospital and medical costs. The federal government should ensure that policies be uniform. As you know, at this time a great many insurance policies are sold by agents on commission. In certain cases these policies are sold to people in good health but are cancelled by the companies as soon as the insured party falls sick. If insurance companies agreed to be integrated in a global plan, I believe that the provinces, with the help of the federal government, could pay the costs of preventive medicine, of diagnosis, laboratories and analyses and also assume, as suggested by Premier Frost at the last conference, the costs of hospitalization after a period of 50 days.

The protracted illness is what many people are afraid of. A good number of people can afford the cost of 15, 20, 30 and even 40 days of hospitalization. But when it comes to chronic disease, they are absolutely helpless and these people are definitely ruined and in final analysis, become dependent on the government. That is summed up in the following statement made by the Lennoxville farmer on the occasion of the forum I spoke of a while ago. "We are all afraid of hospitals and doctors because we know that one or two operations or even a protracted illness will put us in debt for years to come".

I wish to draw a few conclusions before closing these few remarks in French. We could talk at great length on health insurance as there is so much literature on this matter. Once you delve into this problem, you can find literally tons of documents in the Department of National Health and Welfare, which proves that the government has had the matter under active consideration for years. If the problem has not yet been solved, it is because it is very complicated.

There is certainly much to do to set up a health program in Canada. Whether such a program be compulsory or not, it still remains that the provinces should organize a system that could be integrated into a national health insurance scheme. I am confident that the present government will co-operate in that direction as the Prime Minister has given to understand.

To conclude, I would like to summarize the four main points of my remarks-I made them as they came to my mind, and there may have been some overlapping of the ideas I put forth.

1. Health insurance must encourage and organize preventive medicine which so far has not been the case; this is, moreover, in accordance with the recommendation of medical associations;

2. The ordinary physician must be reasonably compensated for his services and especially for preventive medicine care which he is called upon to practise more and more if he wants to conform with the spirit of medicine;

3. National health insurance is not necessarily compulsory insurance. Voluntary plans integrated into provincial legislation may be very useful;

4. The formula of public assistance, such as is now implemented, is unfair to needy

people as well as to the middle class which, under the present system, must pay prohibitive hospital costs.

In closing, may I say that a complete national plan of health insurance would require the payment of unemployment benefits to unemployed people when they are sick. I know that this might require a constitutional amendment, a problem which would be solved at the next federal provincial conference which will open this coming January 23. It would be good to broach this problem. If we really want to deal with the problem of health and health insurance, we must also guarantee unemployment benefits to the head of a family when he is sick. True it is that he gets benefits at present but only if he is sick while unemployed. All that would be required would be to state that illness is a cause of involuntary unemployment.

(Text):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to repeat in English what I have already said in French on the problem of health insurance in Canada. However, I should like to sum up this subject by saying that, according to the declaration of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) at the federal-provincial conference of October 1955, the federal government is in favour of helping the provinces in promoting a national health insurance plan.

Personally, I am not favourable to a compulsory health insurance plan in the province of Quebec. It is my opinion that each province should organize at its own choice either a compulsory or an optional insurance plan, provided it can be integrated in a national plan.

We already have 17 non-profit insurance schemes in Canada and about 60 private corporations offering insurance plans throughout the country. It seems to me that these private corporations could institute a plan which could be integrated in a provincial scheme by co-ordinating their plans with those of the provinces.

There is no doubt that the average person cannot pay $40 to $50, which amounts approximately to $200 a year for a family of four people, to be protected against the risk of sickness. I believe, however, it would be possible to have a comprehensive insurance plan by which the private societies could bear the bulk of expenses, the provinces providing part of these expenses by paying

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough the cost of diagnosis and laboratory examinations along with the hospitalization cost for sickness over 50 days, as was proposed by the Hon. Mr. Frost.

I may add, because I forgot to point this out when I spoke in French, that the costs connected with the treatment of sickness are rising very rapidly in our country and are reaching the point where they exceed the capacity of the patient to pay them. In 1945 these costs were ascertained to be about $21 a year per head. At the conference of last October they were estimated to be about $38 per head, and Mr. Frost estimated these costs to be $44 a year per head. The cost of caring for the insane amounts to an additional $8 or $10 per head. Therefore we are obliged to consider that for full protection of people against sickness it would cost about $50 pei head a year. That means about $200 for a family of four persons. There is no doubt tha1 the ordinary people of Canada are unable tc carry these costs of sickness. That is why I am in favour of a national health insurance plan

It is impossible for me in these few words to cover all the arguments in favour of a national health insurance plan but I should not like to resume my seat without congratulating the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) on the considerable amount of preliminary work he has accomplished to date in the field of health insurance in order to round out the differenl social security programs which are so vital to the welfare of the people of Canada.

Mr. E. G. McCullough (Moose Mountain)

Mr. Speaker, the only true way I can express my feelings in entering this debate is to saj that they are feelings of anger and deep concern over the attitude of the governmenl with respect to the issue before parliament The C.C.F. have moved a vote of non-confidence in the government on the basis of the treatment being meted out to our westerr farmers and the fact that the governmenl have done nothing about the urgent anc serious problems facing not only westerr Canada but, indeed, the whole agricultural economy of this country.

The C.C.F. are asking that there shall be paid to the farmers cash advances on farrr stored grain of not less than 75 per cent o] the initial price in order to alleviate the serious financial crisis now confronting westerr farmers. First of all, may I say I am quite disappointed that western members of parliament of the Liberal party have, in my opin ion, failed to put before the house the true aspects of the situation prevailing in tha part of the country. I am truly disappointed

338 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough that the hon. member tor Qu'Appelle (Mr. Mang), the hon. member for Meadow Lake (Mr. Harrison), yes, and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) have not seen fit to get up in the house during this debate and place before hon. members the true situation respecting the plight of western farmers.

I say it is not sufficient for the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) or the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker), who is in his seat at the present time, to try to intimidate any western member, the farmers or the farm organizations so far as their support of the wheat board is concerned. I challenge the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who is in his seat, to bring before the house an amendment to the Canadian Wheat Board Act to bring rye and flax under the control of the Canadian wheat board. I guarantee him that every last member of this party will support it.

I say too, to the hon. member for Rosthern that he cannot intimidate the farmers of western Canada. The hon. member has a right to his own opinions but I feel that for many years he has been doing the same thing he did in 1945 when there was a discussion before the house with respect to the taxation of co-operatives. I recall well, as will all hon. members who were in the house at that time, that in his formidable and emphatic way he asked himself the question how he should vote. The hon. member for Rosthern oad his hand raised in an emphatic gesture. He said, "I ask myself the question", and m hon. member sitting in front of me replied md said, "You will get a foolish answer."

[ think the hon. member for Rosthern has oeen getting foolish answers down through ;he years.

I say to him that I do not think he will ind one farm organization in western Canada which does not support the Canadian wheat Doard. I say too that he will not find a western farm organization which does not ;upport cash advances, interest free, to west-:rn farmers. The hon. member for Swift "urrent-MapIe Creek (Mr. Studer) spoke in ;his debate but from what I heard him say it would seem the only solution he has to offer o solve the glut of wheat we have in the :ountry is that people should eat more. I ;uggest that is comparable to the reply of (farie Antoinette of France when the authori-ies said to her that the populace did not lave bread and she answered, "Let them eat :ake".

The western farmer today is in the worst :ash position he has ever been in. Speaking rom personal experience, because I have armed for some 20 years, I have never seen

the western farmer in as difficult a cash position as he is at the present time. I have been lucky in my farming down through the years, and through good luck, good health and a host of friends I have achieved a reasonable amount of success. However, I say to the government that they have betrayed many young men who came back from the forces in 1945 and took up farming. They have betrayed them because they took off price controls in 1946 and 1947, and since that time the price of agricultural implements has risen by leaps and bounds.

What is the government doing today to keep faith with these thousands of boys who came back and went on farms? I can take any hon. member and show him within two hours driving distance of my farm dozens of young farmers who came back, went into farming and today are loaded with debt because their gratuities were not sufficient to enable them to carry on and maintain a decent standard of living. I say to the hon. member for Qu'Appelle, who has not seen fit to rise in this debate and tell the house what the conditions of the farmers are in his constituency, that I recall during a debate on agriculture and the wheat situation last year he rose in his seat and said to the house that when coming here he had flown over Port Arthur and he knew that all was well because from the aeroplane he had seen the boats going out of the port. That is not a true picture of the situation. The true picture comes to us through various sources, but sometimes the sources do not assist in presenting a true picture.

I want to refer to some of the newspapers of this country that have tried to put before the people of Canada the true position with respect to the farm situation. I have here a clipping from the Globe and Mail of December 1, 1955. In dealing with the plight of western farmers the editorial points out that the farmer's income has been cut by two-thirds in four years. The editorial goes on to say:

The question does not concern the western farmer alone. It concerns all three prairie provinces, and all the people living in them, who are as dependent upon the farmer as he is dependent upon wheat.

It goes on to say that these farmers have a right to prosper. This afternoon an hon. member from the Liberal benches who sits over in the far corner asked the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. Castleden) how many farmers were bankrupt in his constituency. Is that the attitude, is that the philosophy of the Liberal party, that we are going to meet this situation by finding out how many bankrupt farmers there are? If it is, I am going to say that not only will the situation in

respect of agriculture be a deplorable one and one which will get worse and worse but it will also take the Canadian economy down with it. I can truly say that we have a situation which is perhaps comparable with that of the 1920's.

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
Permalink
LIB

Claude Sartoris Richardson

Liberal

Mr. Richardson:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
Permalink
LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
Permalink
CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough (Moose Mountain):

Is the

hon. member rising on a point of order?

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
Permalink
LIB

Claude Sartoris Richardson

Liberal

Mr. Richardson:

May I ask the hon. gentleman a question?

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
Permalink
CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough (Moose Mountain):

I have not sufficient time. I have less than 15 minutes. If it were an intelligent question or a more intelligent one than that which was asked this afternoon, I should be quite happy to answer it.

Mr. Speaker, the Globe and Mail in an editorial of August 3, 1955, has this to say. It states that in the United States during the 1920's the agricultural situation was comparable to the situation we have in Canada today. It first took place in one sector of the economy and gradually grew until we had the calamity in the late twenties. That could very well happen again. I am not predicting it. I do not want it to happen. But if more attention is not paid to that sort of thing, it might well happen again in Canada.

In addition, I want to refer to the falling sales of farm machinery. This article is taken from the Ottawa Journal of August 15, 1955. It illustrates the fact that the farmer has been forced into mechanization in order to increase his efficiency. All during that time he has had to buy on a highly inflated market, paying those prices which We have had gradually increasing since 1945 when this government threw price controls out the window, allowed prices to go up and allowed these machine companies to gouge the farmers for all the traffic would bear, or indeed for all their pockets would bear. This article points out that in 1954 sales of all farm implements in Canada dropped 38 per cent or more than $92 million, and that even the sale of parts went down 14 per cent.

This situation can mean only one thing, Mr. Speaker. It means that if the situation continues we are going to have less efficient operation. It is going to mean that the farmer will not be able to continue to operate with the efficiency that he has shown in the past. The article continues, showing that it is going to mean fewer jobs in other parts of Canada. For instance, it says that the sales in Saskatchewan have dropped by more than one-half. It also shows that the people working in plants manufacturing agricultural

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough equipment in eastern Canada have fewer jobs than they had in the better years prior to 1952.

Then again we have the Montreal Gazette coming to our rescue in a way by trying to point out to this government the situation in respect of farm income. I refer to the Gazette for October 20, 1955. It shows that the income is now down to the 1947 level. Surely all hon. members can understand the plight of the farmer when this sort of thing prevails. It indicates that the farmer is receiving less and less income while many of the segments of our economy are enjoying greater prosperity. It is not fair or just when we have-as we have in Canada today-about 20 per cent of our people working on farms, engaged in agriculture, and receiving somewhat less than 8 per cent of the national income.

Again we have the price squeeze spoken of in many editorials in papers across this country. The Winnipeg Free Press points out that this government has not seen fit in any way to effect some assistance to the farmer. In an article of September 17, 1955, it indicates that even with the tariffs and customs on certain farm implements, the farmer is paying one-third more than he would otherwise have to pay. We in Canada are living in an economy which' is in some measure protected. By that I mean that industry is protected. However, the farmer is obliged in many cases to pay for his farm machinery and parts one-third more than he would otherwise be obliged to pay. This article goes on to say that the sales of parts in Manitoba in 1954 dropped by 12 per cent from the 1953 figures and that parts sales in Saskatchewan dropped by 30 per cent.

This situation affects our whole western economy. It affects our merchants and of course it affects our municipalities as well as our everyday living. It is a matter about which we are tremendously concerned. The truth is that we have a depressed farm income.

The Windsor Star comes to the rescue of the farmer and tries to point out to the people what is happening. Surely this government reads these things and should know them. It indicates that Professor K. A. H. Buckley of the economics department of the University of Saskatchewan says that Canada is suffering an economic problem with regard to agriculture. It goes on to say this:

That being the case, the Canadian government is riding along with the wheat problem, hoping something will turn up.

These are facts, Mr. Speaker. They are not something concocted by any C.C.F. group in this country. I think this government

340 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough should measure up to its responsibility at this time. In the Ottawa Citizen of December 22, 1955, it is said that farm income has dropped 23 per cent in the last four years. Mr. H. H. Hannam, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, states this and he has this observation to make:

"How would anyone else like to take a 25 per cent salary cut?" he asked. "We are not hollering blue ruin or depression, but now is the time when the downward trend must be checked."

That is why, Mr. Speaker, we of this party hope that this government will take some of these statements seriously and that they will do something in respect of the farm problem.

It is true that Saskatchewan is the hardest hit of all the prairie provinces. I have here an article which appeared in the Globe and Mail of September 17, 1955, and which indicates that in the first half of 1955 farm income was cut by $30 million. You can see what that means to our Saskatchewan economy. We are not asking for something unreasonable, Mr. Speaker. But when the Canadian economy is rather buoyant and when we have corporation profits as they are today as indicated in the Financial Post, we think we should have the type of policy which will fit the situation and result in building this nation from coast to coast, giving equity and justice to all our people.

I have here a clipping from the Toronto Star of October 7, 1955, indicating that the profits of corporations were 27 per cent higher for the second quarter of that year and that they rose 22-6 per cent over the $664 million for the corresponding period the previous year, according to the bureau of statistics.

I am happy to know that industry is doing well but I think we can have policies of justice. I think we can have policies which will give fairness and equity to all our people. This year the farm people have worked and provided foodstuffs-as they have done in the last five years-not only for this country but for a hungry world. We find them today with their bins full of wheat. In the last two months, because of the fact that they have not been able to provide proper storage facilities, thousands and thousands of bushels of wheat have been ruined by the high winds. The wheat has been blown for miles where it will never be able to be used. We have other grain stored where it is deteriorating month by month. Yet this government, with a gross national product of $26 billion, sits idly by and never lifts a hand to help our farmers build proper storage for their grain. All we are asking is that we have a second look at this problem.

I do not believe western members who represent agricultural constituencies here are doing justice to themselves or to the people they represent. They should be coming down here and telling the true story.

I want to say a word to the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Mang). I have farmed on my farm for over 20 years, yet it is difficult to provide proper storage because the income has never been sufficient to do it. When you have young veterans returning to these farms, who have been farming during these difficult years of rising costs, trying to store their grain and then losing their income year after year-no wonder we are mad. I made an assertion to myself that if I ever had the opportunity to come to this house I would speak for my people.

Over the years I had some military training. I took training at the royal school of artillery and enlisted for active service in the last war. I was denied the opportunity to fight for my country, but-I am prepared to come down here and fight for the boys who fought over there so they will have justice. When this government sees fit to allow this kind of situation to prevail and to allow these cartels and monopolies to take out of the people the kind of profits and the kind of prices they are doing today, I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that they have betrayed those boys who went to fight for the country.

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I have just been informed by the Clerk that it is now 9.45 and pursuant to the provisions of standing order No. 38, paragraph 3, it is my duty to interrupt proceedings and forthwith put the question on the amendment to the amendment.

Topic:   REQUEST THAT GOVERNMENT SUPPLY PORTION OF HOUSING ACT FUNDS
Subtopic:   IS, 1956
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

EXPLANATION RELATING TO SOME PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER 38

LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

With the indulgence of the house I should like to very briefly explain two points in relation to standing order 38, paragraph 3, because several questions have been put to me. The speech of the hon. member who was in possession of the floor at 9.45 must be considered as concluded, even if he had not then spoken for forty minutes. He has, however, full right to speak on any subsequent amendment or subamendment. This is my first point.

The second point relates to time. The monitoring of the time limit imposed by standing order 31 has been controlled by the Clerks at the table. Their timekeeping is always most accurate. Therefore I relied, as hon. members may have noticed, for the exact time at which I had to interrupt the proceedings and forthwith put the question on the subamendment this evening, not on the clocks surrounding this house, which although very well supervised may go out of order, but on the announcement by the Clerk that it was 9.45. If it meets with the approval of the house I shall be guided likewise in the future for all similar interruptions contemplated by our standing orders.

It being ten minutes after ten o'clock, the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.

Questions

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPLANATION RELATING TO SOME PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER 38
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January 19, 1956