April 9, 1957

PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

My friend the Minister of

Agriculture said we were not going to have a recurrence of it. From 1921 to 1930, this government that sits to your left-

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LIB

Colin Emerson Bennett (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Bennett:

His right.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Yes. You will be on the left after June 10; after June 10 when you are on the bench they will be on your left.

This government had a market in Britain for 255 million pounds of bacon and we sold that bacon. We also sold 77 million pounds of beef. In 1921 when these apostles of free trade on your right came into power those markets were left as a legacy for them. When they went out of power they had lost those markets entirely and we were importing Danish bacon right into the minister's own province of Saskatchewan. Danish bacon had to be imported to feed the people of your province. This situation has continued to develop. They have lost every market that was gained overseas.

The minister talked about eggs with glowing pride and at great length and he says

that the government has put a floor price on eggs of 38 cents a dozen. I know something about the poultry business; at least at one time I had 2,000 laying hens.

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PC

Clayton Wesley Hodgson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hodgson:

Were any of them cluckers?

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

I know something about the poultry business in Canada. The cluckers I had did more for me than any of these tired old cluckers in the government are doing today.

Any man in Canada who knows anything about business realizes that you cannot make any money in the poultry business even if your hens are laying 70 per cent with eggs selling at 30 cents a dozen.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

That is the price they were when you were in.

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PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lennard:

You shut up.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

The signs of the times are to be found hanging on every garden and gate post across this country. Everybody knows that the farmers are having difficulty. The minister tonight as on every other occasion paid no heed to the opposition. He did not answer one syllable of the argument put forward so cleverly this afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition. He did not reply to one syllable. He talked about the cluckers in the poultry business and about bacon and he told us what a nice place farms are to raise one's children. A farm is indeed a nice place to raise children. If you have beautiful shade trees and a stream, why, it is a grand place to raise a family.

The Minister of Agriculture in the last 20 years has never touched on anything having to do with the stability of prices of farm products. He talked about floor prices and every one of us is aware that floor prices today are below the cost of production. Despite this he proceeded to ridicule the Leader of the Opposition who fully realizes that agriculture is vitally important in the life of our Canadian economy to the extent that we must make it a responsible and remunerative enterprise. Agriculture is vital to this country in times of peace, and it is fundamental in times of war.

We live in a cold country. I am speaking for the fruit and vegetable growers up in Dufferin-Simcoe and in other parts of Canada when I ask why we should increase our imports of these products into this country every year. Figures indicating the volume of our imports of these products have already been placed on the record and I am not going to repeat them; as a matter of fact, I do not have time enough to do so because the Minister of Agriculture took up not only his own time but also the time that would have

been allotted to me in putting forth his case so cleverly, glibly, blatantly, but so loudly, barrenly and bleakly so far as the facts are concerned.

But, we know very well that about $100 million worth of fruit and vegetables have been brought into this country that we could have produced here.

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?

An hon. Member:

Oranges.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

That is all right for young fellows like you. We brought in approximately $5 million worth of turkeys. While you were drinking orange juice, our turkey growers went out of business. We brought in $1 million of canned meats and, as I say, we brought in $5 million worth of turkeys while our own turkey growers closed up their pens. We brought in many millions of dollars worth of poultry while returned soldiers who thought they could make a few dollars out of poultry closed their doors and went on relief.

The government and those who support them talk about fixed prices and talk about floor prices, but they are still clinging to this doctrine of free trade, and they would rather see our poultry men go out of business than put a tariff on turkeys. Now they are rushing in before the election with a few duties on new potatoes and have reduced our quota to the United States by a million bags. It shows how these apostles of free trade, when they try to adopt reasonable protection policies which they know to be necessary at times, do the job so clumsily that they upset the works.

I hope hon. members who listen to me tonight will realize that I play the game with regard to any mutual agreements. I have now exhausted my time. I could tell you how this government which is supported by the Minister of Agriculture lost every market we had over the years between 1921 and 1935. I could tell you how they lost every market we had between 1935 and 1936.

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?

An hon. Member:

Oh, oh.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Someone said "Oh, oh". Some of you young squeakers across the way do not know what the cost has been of these doctrines of free trade under which we find we are importing beef and other products into Canada and telling the farmers at election time, when they wonder why prices are not better, that the law of demand and supply must govern. "We will let the law of supply and demand govern" the Minister of Agriculture tells us. "We cannot stop these things coming in because the American price is lower than ours."

This is our country, this is Canada. Let us observe the economic independence we

Agricultural Products-Support Prices have and tell the United States that we are minding our own business, economically and in every other way.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. F. S. Zaplilny (Dauphin):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that in the limited time we have left I shall be unable to compete with the pyrotechnics we have experienced in the last hour or so; I have neither the eloquence nor the many years of experience which the previous speakers possess; I cannot go back into the dusty corners of history and discuss the agricultural policies of governments gone by.

Nevertheless I do hope in the few minutes that are left that I may be able to bring this discussion back to the central theme of this debate. I listened very carefully to the whole of the speech made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). I enjoyed his speech, as I always do, but in trying to formulate some idea of what government policy the minister was outlining as far as agriculture was concerned for the future-and after all it is the future we are concerned with rather than the past-I found myself in a rather frustrating position; it was somewhat like looking for a black cat in a dark room, particularly when the cat is not there.

The minister talked about hens. He talked about clucking hens, about little red hens and big red herrings. He built up a straw man by saying that someone has been seducing young farmers from the farms and that that was a terrible thing for agriculture. But let me say this to the minister-and I think he will agree with me on this-that I do not think anything said in this house either by hon. members on these benches or those on the other side is going to be the deciding factor as to whether a farmer stays on his farm or leaves it. I give the farmers of this country credit for being able to make up their own minds on the basis of their own economic circumstances rather than on anything which may be said on either side of this house.

If the farmers are leaving the farms, and obviously that is the case because statistics show quite clearly what is happening, it is not because of anything anybody has said; it is because those farmers are finding that their reward is not satisfactory on the basis of the money and the labour that they have put into their farms. No amount of talk, either by the minister or by anyone on this side, will convince me that such people would continue to farm if they felt they were not receiving a proper return for their labour. That is elementary, and I think the minister might have put it in that way instead of trying to put the blame for what arises from an economic situation on somebody else.

Agricultural Products-Support Prices

What is the central theme of this debate? The reason members of this group felt it necessary to move an amendment to the amendment before the house was simply because ever since there have been C.C.F. members in parliament-ever since 1935- they have championed a system of parity income for agriculture. One of the hon. members of the official opposition party spoke of the year 1948 and made reference to the Leader of the Opposition at that time. With regard to parity prices, one has only to look through the record to find that the C.G.F. members who have been in this house since 1935, and those hon. members who were here prior to that time and who later became part of the C.C.F. party, were the ones who fought for the principle of parity prices during the years. They are still doing it, and this is the only party which has consistently fought for that principle.

I am not going to take time in defining parity in view of the discussion we had earlier, but I will say this: a few days ago the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson), speaking in his own constituency at a nominating convention, was reported in the press to have said in reply to a question put to him by a farmer who complained about the position in which agriculture finds itself today that the position of agriculture arises not because prices for agricultural products are too low but because the cost of production is too high.

That is a statement made by a minister of this government, and I put it to the Minister of Agriculture that if this is the case, and if his colleague was stating a view which is held by the government, then the government has done very little about it. I ask the minister: what has the government done in the last ten years to bring down the cost of production of agricultural products? Though production costs in the last eight or ten years have been rising there has been a decline in the net income received by farmers for their products. That process is going on day after day, yet the government has not placed before the house one idea or one solution with regard to it. They have done nothing to bring down the cost of production, and now a minister of this government goes to the farmers and tells them: "Your troubles come about because the cost of production is too high." It is all right for the Minister of Agriculture to quote figures on agricultural prices and compare them with prices across the line, but at the same time he should have put down another column of figures and shown what the costs of production of United States farmers are compared with those of Canadian farmers. He should have quoted the

prices of farm machinery, farm fertilizers and all the things that enter into the cost of production and we would have had a slightly different picture from the one that he tried to present.

I think it is time that the government said frankly to the people of the country that they do not feel they can do anything to bring about higher prices for farm products but that they are going to do something to bring down the costs of production. If they would at least go that far we would then see some glimmer of hope that at some time we would reach a basis of parity with regard to farm income compared with other incomes. It is the duty and responsibility of the government to do so.

I have only a minute or two left, but one way I can recommend to the government by which they could help to bring down the cost of production would be through the tariff structure. We hear competitive claims by the official opposition and the government as to which is responsible for the high tariff structure. I will leave it to them to divide the honours amongst themselves, but the fact is that by lowering the tariff on those imports which are necessary factors in the farmers' cost of production the exorbitant prices that the farmers have to pay for the things they have to buy could be brought down. That in itself could be the controlling factor in bringing down the farmers' cost of production.

The government could also set up an export-import board which would be responsible for bringing goods into the country under a barter system in order to provide the farmers with many of the things they require at more reasonable prices and in that way help to bring their net income up to a parity level. Regardless of what method is used, I think what is needed now more than ever is for parliament to declare itself clearly on the question of parity prices.

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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Applewhaite):

Having been informed that it is 9.15 p.m. and pursuant to the special order adopted by unanimous consent and confirmed at eight o'clock tonight, it is now my duty to put the question on the subamendment.

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LIB-PRO

William Gilbert Weir (Parliamentary Assistant to the Prime Minister)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. Weir:

I was paired. Had I voted, I would have voted against the amendment to the amendment.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Is the house ready for the question? The question is on the amendment to the main motion. Those who are in favour of the amendment will please say yea?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

NAYS Messrs:

Anderson

Applewhaite

Arsenault

Ashbourne

Balcom

Batten

Bennett

Blanchette

Boivin

Bonnier

Boucher

Bourget

Breton

Brisson

Brown (Essex West) Bruneau

Cameron (High Park)

Campney

Cannon

Cardin

Caron

Carter

Cauchon

Cavers

Cloutier

Crestohl

Denis

Deschatelets

Deslieres

Dickey

Dumas

Dupuis

Enfield

Eyre

Fairey

Follwell

Fontaine

Forgie

Fraser (St.John's East)

Gardiner

Garland

Garson

Gauthier (Lakg St. John)

Gauthier (Portneuf)

Gingras

Gingues

Girard

Goode

Gour (Russell)

Gourd (Chapleau)

Gregg

Habel

Hanna

Harris

Harrison

Henderson

Henry

Hollingworth Houck Huffman James Jutras Kickham Kirk (Antigonish-Guysborough)

Kirk (Shelburne-Yarmouth-Clare) Laflamme Lafontaine Langlois (Berthier-Maskinonge-Delanaudiere) Lapointe Lavigne

Leduc (Gatineau)

Leduc (Jacques Cartier-Lasalle)

Leduc (Verdun)

Lefrangois

Legare

Lesage

Lusby

MacEachen

McCann

McCubbin

McHraith

Mclvor

McMillan

McWilliam

Mang

Marler

Martin

Masse

Matheson

Menard

Meunier

Michaud

Monette

Murphy (Westmorland)

Nixon

Philpott

Pickersgill

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Those who are opposed to the amendment will please say nay.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Nay.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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April 9, 1957