-that while it is very important indeed to work out bilateral relationships of that kind which increase trade between countries, and no country has more at stake in this matter than Canada, it is of even greater importance to expand this area of freer trade beyond two countries. I would have suggested that perhaps the British proposal could have been discussed within the context of Atlantic freer trade so that all this talk about economic interdependence in NATO might eventually result in some action towards economic interdependence. I trust that my hon. friend is completely satisfied now that if we had been in power we would have known how to deal with this matter,
Topic: RELATIONSHIPS WITH UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM
I suggest that the record is clear that this party throughout the years has stood for freer trade and has realized freer and expanding trade between Canada and other countries and that this party when in power has always attempted to avoid those restrictive trade practices which in the past
have done us harm when they have been put into effect by governments of the party of my hon. friends. I can assure my hon. friends opposite that that will be our policy in the future, freer and expanding trade between all free countries.
Topic: RELATIONSHIPS WITH UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM
I would describe it as a grievance relating to governmental trade policy with respect to the United States but it seems to me that unemployment was added to it. I would describe it as a trade grievance.
Topic: RELATIONSHIPS WITH UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM
Mr. Speaker, on the assumption that what the hon. member for Algoma East (Mr. Pearson) was talking about was chiefly trade, I should like to make a few brief observations in connection with what he had to say. He started by referring to the lack of information with regard to the proposal made by the British government to the Canadian government for a free trade area and also to the proposal made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) during the course of the election campaign for a diversion of 15 per cent of our trade with the United States to Great Britain. I think he scored at least one point when he pointed out quite effectively with respect to the question of diversion of trade from the United States to Great Britain that about all the government has been able to accomplish so far is to lose some trade with the United States without gaining any from Great Britain.
I fully expected to see the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Churchill), the Prime Minister or some other responsible minister rise immediately to make a comprehensive statement on behalf of the government as to what, if anything, has transpired with relation to the proposal of Great Britain for a free trade area. That matter has become even more important since the original proposal was made due to the fact that a European common market is now in the process of being set up in which the United Kingdom apparently is going to play a part. We know that if we sit back and do not show any interest whatsoever in the proposal made by Great Britain to Canada the chances are that we will be the loser if that common market expands and absorbs a larger number of nations, as seems to be the prospect. I think the government certainly shpuld go so
far at this time as to make some statement of policy with regard to the British proposal.
The hon. member for Algoma East has gone quite a distance today in showing his sympathy for the proposal. At one point I almost expected that he was going to come out in favour of it. However, he very skilfully stopped short of that and did not really lay the policy of his own party before the house. But I think the time has come when parliament and the country deserve to be told exactly what the plans of the government are with regard to trade with Great Britain. A Canadian trade mission went to Great Britain at considerable expense to the Canadian taxpayer. No doubt the members of the mission were very interested in what they saw and the discussions they had, but we are still waiting to hear of any practical results from that mission. We are still waiting to hear from the Minister of Trade and Commerce or any other member of the government as to what field of endeavour they covered and as to what the intentions of Canadian business people are so far as imports from Great Britain are concerned. We are waiting to hear what if any actual discussions were held with the government of Great Britain with regard to a trade agreement between our two countries. We are being left entirely in the dark.
Before this discussion is over I think that parliament and the people of Canada deserve a statement from the Prime Minister speaking on behalf of the government in order to clear up some of the doubts and misunderstandings which are developing over this question. I am not going to repeat at this time what I have had to say before on the subject of a free trade area. My views have been expressed in the house and I am prepared to stand by them. I think there are some very distinct advantages to be gained by Canada in accepting that proposal and if there have been any misunderstandings about the matter in my opinion it is due entirely to the fact that the government has failed to make its policies known and to place its views before parliament.
I think one misunderstanding has been created by the impression that has been left in the country that the acceptance of such a proposal would mean the complete wiping out immediately of all tariffs between the two countries, and from that point of view there are certain industries and certain groups which, of course, are apprehensive. As a matter of fact, that was not the proposal at all. The proposal was a most reasonable one. It was that we begin now to sit down around the table and try to find out how to extend the free list already in effect between the two countries. The proposal
was that this should be done step by step over a period of years and that we should try to see how we could reduce trade barriers so as to make the exchange of goods between the United Kingdom and Canada flow more freely with the objective or the ideal, if you wish to call it that, that in the end over a period of 10, 15 or more years we will arrive at a position where the two nations can trade freely, which is the only natural state of affairs that should exist between such countries within the commonwealth as Great Britain and Canada.
In my opinion, what the government has been doing so far in that respect has been very disappointing. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming), since he became the head of that department has been busily referring certain tariff items to the tariff board. Almost every second or third day we receive in the mail a new list of items which have been referred to the tariff board.
Many of these items are items which have to do with tariffs against British-made goods. We know from experience what that means. Any time the Minister of Finance refers a tariff item to the tariff board it is for but one purpose and that is to get a recommendation to justify increase in certain tariffs. The minister will argue that it could, in some instances, mean decreasing certain tariffs also. Theoretically he would be right. However, we know that over the period of the last 10 or 15 years any time the Minister of Finance has referred certain tariff items to the tariff board it has been for the purpose of getting a recommendation in order to justify an increase in these tariff items.
As a matter of fact it seems to me quite clear now that this government instead of moving in the direction of freer trade between Great Britain and Canada is actually moving in the direction of a more restricted trade policy. In other words, we have the very opposite of what the Prime Minister advocated during the election campaign. From that point of view, this whole question of the trade mission looks a little bit ridiculous. Here we are going to the trouble and expense of sending a group of people over to the United Kingdom to induce the producers of manufactured articles in that country to find a market for their goods in Canada, creating the impression that we are willing and anxious to have their goods brought to Canada and exhibited to the Canadian consumer. On the other hand, the Minister of Finance is busily finding ways and means by which he can further restrict that trade, by which he can place higher trade barriers against the trade between the two countries. In other words, he is trying
to find the means by which he can stop British-made goods from being sold in Canada.
Surely it is time that the government made its policy known. If they are going to follow restrictive trade practices, if they feel they do not want British-made goods sold in Canada because they constitute competition for certain industries in which the government is interested or which they feel require protection, let them say so. Let them stop kidding the people of Canada. Let them stop kidding the people of the United Kingdom. If, on the other hand, they really mean business when they talk about freer trade between this country and the United Kingdom, let them take some practical steps to indicate that they really mean business. The first practical step could have been taken as early as last September or October, and that would have been to indicate they were interested in the British proposal for a free trade area; that they were prepared to sit down with representatives of the British government to try to find ways and means by which some tariff barriers between the two countries could be removed and in that way improve trade between the two countries. They could also make it quite clear that they are not going to do anything from now on to increase tariff barriers against British goods.
Until we see some indication of action on these questions, or at least get a statement of policy from the Prime Minister, then the only thing we can conclude is that the government is quite happy to continue tossing the ball back and forth with the official opposition while leaving the matter as it was before. I listened with great interest to the foreshadowed leader of the Liberal party, but I could not help but recall having heard those words before from former Liberal leaders in this country. We have heard exactly the same phraseology in the period between 1930 and 1935 when we had a Conservative administration in this country and which adopted the same trade restrictive psychology as seems to be evident now. When the Liberals came back into power they fiddled around with the tariff structure but left it pretty much in the same condition as they found it. In some cases they increased trade barriers instead of reducing them.
It is for these reasons we say, so far as this group is concerned, we believe that until the government is prepared to carry on our trade in a logical manner, until the government is prepared to set up export-import boards which would be for the purpose of exchanging goods and not for the purpose of making profits for private corporations; until
we are prepared to approach the whole question of trade from the point of view of the Canadian people rather than the welfare of a few individuals or a few corporations, we will never have a satisfactory system of trade relations with other countries. I think that eventually we will have to get away from this idea of competition. We will have to realize that today we are living in a world where we have to co-operate and improve our position in that fashion. If we continue to compete in the same way as each individual tries to exploit the other or one nation tries to exploit the other, if we follow that line then we will be getting deeper and deeper into trade barriers, trade restrictions and eventually into a world depression again.
Until the government of Canada is prepared to accept a rational and sensible system of trade relations through import-export boards then the least the people of Canada should expect from this government is some statement of policy on trade. I hope that before this debate is concluded we will hear from either the Minister of Trade and Commerce or the Prime Minister as to what their attitude is with regard to this proposal of Great Britain for a free trade area; what their attitude is generally on the question of tariffs in so far as the United Kingdom is concerned, and as to what practical results have already been achieved or that they expect may be achieved as a result of this rather expensive trade mission that was sent to Great Britain and about which they have not given any detailed report whatever. In the absence of such a statement we shall have to assume the government has no policy or has the kind of policy they are anxious to hide until the next election is over.
Topic: RELATIONSHIPS WITH UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM
Mr. Speaker, I have a grievance I should like to bring to the attention of the house. It is a matter that concerns the Department of Agriculture, and I am sorry the minister is not in the house tonight. However, I understand that he is ill so I wish him a speedy recovery.
This matter concerns a number of people residing in what is known as the Bow river development project, who are under contract with the federal government. I should like to read into the record a letter that was sent to me and a copy of a plea that was sent last month to the Prime Minister (Mr. Dienfenbaker). The letter reads:
Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter that the Hays F.U.A. No. 1415 sent to Hon. Mr. Diefenbaker.
P.F.R.A.-Bow River Project We trust you will give us your full co-operation in seeing that our plea is acknowledged.
This letter was signed by 104 farmers in the area. I should like also to read that plea which was sent to the Prime Minister. It reads:
We the people of Hays, Alberta, wish to make a plea to you to make a thorough investigation of the Bow river project "Hays Area", as it is practically impossible for us to make a living on the small plots.
We are all people who have come from the unsuitable farming districts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta or veterans. We have been placed on parcels of land consisting of approximately 120 acres, these units are just too small to make a reasonable living.
Some of us have been here since 1952 and not one of us to this day have a land deed, even though the P.F.R.A. took our land in trade which land was clear of all debts.
Some of us who had no land to trade in have been on the rental basis, and none of the crop share has been deducted from the principal, as we were promised verbally when first interviewed. It has come to the stage now that we cannot carry on our operations any longer, with our present rate of income from these small units.
We are not allowed to rent a neighbour's parcel should he be forced to go working for wages, because he can not make ends meet on his unit of land.
Should some of us be able to get money enough to buy our neighbour's unit, he cannot sell because he does not hold any deed, nothing even giving him permission to have buildings on the places.
We trust you will get in touch with your minister of agriculture and mend the mistakes the former minister of agriculture made in establishing this irrigation project, or the majority of we farmers will have to turn to social welfare, which in this day and age is a shame.
In this regard, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that before you can resolve a problem you must first of all recognize that a problem exists. I took this matter up on the orders of the day. As reported at page 2650 of Hansard I asked the acting prime minister-because the Prime Minister was away in Paris at the time- whether he had looked into the matter. He referred me to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Harkness) who, he said, would deal with the question. Here is the reply that I received at that time. I am quoting the
minister as reported at page 2650 of Hansard:
Mr. Speaker, I have not the particular petition referred to. I will be glad to look into the matter when and if I receive it. However, I think the matter referred to is one which was contained in a long letter addressed to the Prime Minister and forwarded to me containing numerous but confused complaints with regard to the difficulty of a certain family group of Hays. I might say that those complaints were investigated by the local of the Alberta farm union at Hays, and the local did not seem to think there was very much in them.
I may say that I was in the Hays area during the Christmas recess and I found that it is not a family problem. It is a problem that concerns every one of the farmers who are settled in that area. I went to
2974 HOUSE OF
Unemployment-Magdalen Islands see the secretary and the president of the local farmer's union and they were surprised to learn that they were supposed to have investigated this matter. They had not heard anything along that line at all. They knew that they had sent the request to the Prime Minister but they had never been asked to investigate the matter.
I realize that when the P.F.R.A. took over the existing irrigation district in that area it was necessary because it had deteriorated and renovation was necessary. I realize also that when they were renovating it they expanded it to a certain degree. I think this was also a proper thing to do, in view of the fact that they were going to do the work, and there were several hundred thousand additional acres that could be brought under the ditch when renovation was done on that scale. I agree also that possibly the setting up of the contour farms, in size from 90 acres to 120 acres or approximately that size, was a proper thing to do but I think it is also essential that we realize that these farms were designed for irrigated crops. They were designed for those specialized crops that can be grown under irrigation but they are not economic units if they are to be used for growing wheat, oats and other grains in competition with dry land areas. There are several reasons why that is true. One is that there is not sufficient production of that kind of crop, and under the present quota system these small units do not allow each farmer sufficient income to make a living.
I hope the day will come soon when this land, that has been put under the ditch can be used properly for the growing of crops that are particularly adapted to irrigated farming. Those crops I suggest are sugar beets, various vegetable crops and other specialized crops where there is a high dollar return per acre.
I do not wish to go into that matter at length now. However, I should like to ask the government review the economics of these small units in view of the recent advances in the mechanization of agriculture and the tendency toward larger farm units. I would also ask the government to give immediate consideration to two things that would alleviate the situation until such time as this land can be used properly. First of all, I think the government should consider allowing temporary absence from these farms of those farmers who would like to do something else where they can make a living, get a job for wages and so on, and thereby allowing their neighbour to rent their unit while they have to grow these crops which, as I suggest, are not adaptable. Then also I think the government should give these people now-not some time later-a reasonable clear-cut
contract so that they will know where they stand. They do not have this contract at the present time.
Mr. Speaker, this is not a plea for any subsidy or anything of that nature. It is simply an attempt to get the government to realize that unless the government is prepared to give recognition to this situation these people are going to be on relief. If they would allow temporary absence and give the farmers that stay on the land a clear-cut contract to their land so that they know where they stand then I think possibly they can get along until general agricultural conditions improve and reach a better level.
Topic: PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION
Subtopic: BOW RIVER
Mr. Speaker, on behalf on the electors of the Magdalen islands, I wish to give my full support to the remarks made by the hon. member for Algoma East (Mr. Pearson). It is quite important for us that the Canadian external trade with the United States should continue, as far as the exports of our fish products are concerned.
A few years ago, the United States tariff commission recommended an embargo or higher tariffs on the imports into the United States of Canadian fish products, and only the veto of President Eisenhower saved us from such an action which would have been disastrous for all the fishermen of eastern Canada and in particular for those of the Magdalen islands.
Indeed we export' to the United States a great quantity of lobster, of frozen cod fillets, and of fish meal and oil. The export of all these products is essential to the economic welfare of the Magdalen islands and, if the steps taken by this government or by any other Canadian government should have harmful effects on the good work of our American friends who protect us in circumstances similar to those I have just mentioned, I say, Mr. Speaker, that such an action from the Canadian government would be absolutely disastrous for the Magdalen islands.
That is why I fully agree with the hon. member for Algoma East when he says that what Canada needs, as far as trade is concerned, is the expansion and not the diversion of her trade from one friendly country to another.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Algoma East has also dealt with a question which is of interest to the Magdalen islands as much as to the whole of Canada, that is the unemployment situation. So the grievance which I wish to express to the house and to bring to the attention of the government
Edmonton Public Building-Parking
concerns the unemployment problem in the Magdalen islands which must be checked without delay. The most populous and the most industrialized of the Magdalen islands . . .
That is what I am saying, Mr. Speaker. I am speaking about unemployment and "chomage" in French means unemployment. I am speaking about unemployment and I say that, to remedy unemployment more public works should be carried out in the Magdalen islands. The grievance which I am expressing in this house is one of great importance to the Magdalen islands.
The main wharf of Cap-aux-Meules island was damaged by a storm last fall and it is very important that it be repaired before the opening of navigation. On this point, I should like to make two suggestions. I suggest first that the steel should be obtained for the pilings and then that tenders be called in advance so that the contract be awarded and the wharf repaired as soon as navigation opens.
Then, Mr. Speaker, I submit that this grievance has to do with unemployment because, through repairs to the wharf, jobs will be given to unemployed people, and thus the unemployment which we all deplore will be spared those people.
Before concluding these remarks, I would like to submit to the government and more particularly to the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Green) and the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hees) a list of works whose implementation would help relieve unemployment in the Magdalen islands.
The landing strip at the Havre-aux-Maisons airfield should be completed. The wharf at Cap-aux-Meules should be repaired. The port at Baie-aux-Huitres should be developed. The port at Dune-du-Sud should be repaired. The runway at the airfield at Havre-Aubert should be improved, enlarged
and lengthened. The port at Havre-Aubert should be improved, as well as the fishing ports of Etang-des-Caps and Etang-du-Nord, by the construction of a new breakwater on the west side. There should also be constructed a breakwater at Millerand which would also serve the adjoining communities, more particularly l'Anse-a-la-Cabane and l'Anse-Lebel. Improvements should also be made to the harbours at Havre-aux-Maisons and Pointe Basse.
These are a number of suggestions which I put to the government and which would help relieve unemployment. I hope that the government will give them sympathetic consideration and will give the necessary instructions so that these various public works can be carried out as soon as possible.