January 25, 1958

PC

Charles Edward Rea

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Rea):

I will have to request the hon. member once more to confine his remarks within this clause and the amendment or I shall have to ask him to take his seat.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Mr. Chairman, I am suggesting that a discussion of the cost of production means the cost of goods and services. I think it is most unfair for a government member to suggest that the expense of going to California is one which a western farmer would ask to be included before this legislation is passed. I am protesting against a cabinet minister throwing in a suggestion of this sort.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Qu'Appelle):

That is all nonsense.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

I am arguing that the cost of production means the cost of goods and services necessary to the production of the commodity and should include a fair return for investment and labour. I submit that hon. members should be willing to include this principle in this measure.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough:

Mr. Chairman, in my opinion the amendment moved by the hon. member for Kindersley is a most reasonable one. I believe it points up what I said before lunch. Here we have written into the bill that the governor in council in setting a prescribed price is asked to be guided by the estimated average cost of production of that commodity. I submit that in all reasonableness we should have written into the bill some idea about what the government is going to consider the average cost of production to be. So far all we have had from the minister and hon. members of the Conservative party has been the slurred suggestion that hon. members in this group are seeking to be political and attempting to delay the passage of this bill. As soon as the minister gets on his feet and assures us that he has a formula that he will be prepared to place before this committee so we can have some assurance that when the governor in council is going to be guided by the estimated cost of production he will have an indication which will at least give the efficient farmer a reasonable cost of production we will-

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Mr. Chairman, I again rise on a point of order. What the hon. member

is saying is an exact repetition of what he said on this subject this morning and I believe he is transgressing the rules of the house by being completely repetitive and using the very words he used previously when discussing this subject.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. Tucker:

Closure.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I submit that the hon. member is repeating what he said when we dealt with this question this morning.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. Tucker:

You did not talk like that last session.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

The question before the committee is not one of a formula or anything of the sort. We are discussing the amendment on which I have already expressed the opinion that its inclusion is unnecessary.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough:

Mr. Chairman, the minister is, of course, quite confused. He has been in a state of total confusion since he first introduced this bill.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Nonsense.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough:

Certainly he is confused when he said that the governor in council is going to be guided by the estimated cost of production of any specific commodity if the minister is not prepared to accept this amendment moved by the hon. member for Kindersley. The amendment seeks to amend the bill so we will know what the government considers the average cost of production to be.

Rather than repeat what I said this morning I want to make some further arguments as to why that should be written into the bill. I would point out to hon. members of the committee that we have no assurance that the prescribed price will meet the general average cost of production of farmers throughout Canada as the bill now stands.

I have in my hand a copy of a report issued by the Searle Grain Company Limited which contains an article entitled "Farmers' Costs of Production". The article says in part:

The latest dominion bureau of statistics index number of commodities and services used by prairie farmers (the farmers' cost of living and production) stands at 240.5 (1935-39 equals 100). In other words it now costs prairie farmers $2.40 to buy what one dollar would buy in 1935-39. This means, therefore, that the $1.40 initial wheat payment is worth only 58.2 cents in 1935-39 value of money, basis 1 Northern Fort William, or at the average country elevator point it is worth approximately 50.5 cents a bushel.

The same thing could be said about livestock products; the same thing could be said about eggs. What we are trying to find out is how the government is going to be able to establish the average cost of production. I

want to make some suggestions to the minister. I think we probably have the facilities in this country to establish what we would consider the average cost of production. The hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort has indicated that in the United States they have formulas and that they have arrived at those formulas by going into designated areas where it is feasible and scientific to produce various agricultural commodities. I think the same thing could be done in Canada.

The minister said on an earlier occasion that there is authority in the bill to prevent anyone from participating excessively under price supports. I am sure all members in this group agree with that. What we want to do is to protect the family unit farm. We do not want to protect uneconomic farms. But today, Mr. Chairman-we had the same situation for a number of years under the former Liberal government-we have not got the average cost of production. The former minister of agriculture is sitting in his seat and I say that he and his government were completely dis-:redited in the minds of the farmers of western Canada so far as price supports under the Agricultural Prices Support Act were concerned. The objective of that legislation was stated to be to endeavour to ensure adequate and stable returns for agriculture and to endeavour to secure a fair relationship between the returns from agriculture and those from other occupations.

We are fighting today to try to get the bill amended for the very reason that the western farmer has not had a fair relationship and the Agricultural Prices Support Act has not functioned to provide supports for the farmer. We want to know what we are talking about. We want to have some assurance that the farmers will not have to rely upon political moves on the part of the government involv-ng price supports at certain times in order :o obtain some degree of justice.

I may say that we in this group do not want >ur farmers to be mollycoddled because we io not believe in it, but the farmer has to jo out and buy certain things in order to be able to produce. He has to buy them from nollycoddled industries in this country operat-ng under high tariff, protectionist policies and ;he farmer has to pay for the protection they [DOT]eceive. Along with other people in this lountry the farmers are probably paying ipproximately $400 million in order to pro-;ect many of these industries. In earlier days t used to be said by other governments that hese infant industries had to be protected in >rder that they might be able to survive but oday some of these industries have become luge monopolies.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Order!

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough:

I am speaking about the cost of production. The Minister of Agriculture always wants to interject. What I am trying to point out is that the people on the land are faced with these factors.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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?

An hon. Member:

That is untrue and you know it.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough:

But here we have members opposite doing nothing but chortling and trying to interfere with what I have to say. Unless a principle is written into the bill by which we will know what the average cost of production is going to be and by which the farmers in general can be guided we will have an empty bill. There is no guarantee. It may be that the minister will be able to put adequate supports under farm commodities but there is no guarantee. There is simply no guarantee. The bill is as open-ended as the former legislation, and here we on this side of the house are spending days trying to get better legislation and at the same time actually trying to help the government.

I point out that we are doing so seriously and that if the government would accept some of our recommendations I am sure they would get the credit throughout the country. Instead, they are just trying to hurl insults at us and saying that we are not trying to do anything that will help our farmers. In my opinion this legislation could more properly be termed a bankruptcy act for agriculture rather than a bill which does anything for the farmers. What does it mean? It means that unless we can attach some meaning to the average cost of production, if the prescribed price is going to be estimated-

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I really must insist that the hon. member stay within the terms of the amendment now under discussion and the terms of clause 2 of the bill. He is giving a second reading speech again at this point and that is absolutely and distinctly out of order. I would ask you, Mr. Chairman, to ensure that general speeches of this sort are not repeated at this stage.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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PC

Charles Edward Rea

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Rea):

I should like to say to the hon. member that I have been listening very carefully to what he has been saying. It is true that he keeps bringing in the words "cost of production" periodically but I feel that he has wandered a little bit and therefore I would ask him to please come back and keep as close as he can to clause 2.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
Permalink
CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough:

I have been attempting to do that. I shall try to conform strictly with what you have said. We are, of course, discussing clause 2 of the bill and the whole principle of the bill is involved in that

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization clause. I think I have made my point quite clear. In moving this amendment the hon. member for Kindersley is just trying to get the government to accept an amendment which will give us some assurance and some definition of what will be the average cost of production. I think I have made my point and I hope that the government will see fit to accept the amendment.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
Permalink

January 25, 1958