January 25, 1958

CCF

Willis Merwyn (Merv) Johnson

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

Mr. Johnson (Kindersley):

Before this clause carries I should like to take a moment or two to express my disappointment, and I am sure the disappointment of farm organizations all over Canada, at the refusal of the government to make this bill really operative. The refusal to put into the bill definition of cost of production will make the act meaningless because

it will not even guarantee to the farmers that the fair price will meet their cost of production.

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. Mr. Chairman, we have dealt with this matter.

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

Willis Merwyn (Merv) Johnson

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

Mr. Johnson (Kindersley):

The Minister of Agriculture says we have dealt with this matter, but I am certain that in the years to come much more will be heard of it, because it will be shown that by refusing to improve the measure by following the suggestions that the farm organizations have made the bill has been deprived of its value.

Clause 2 as amended agreed to.

On clause 3-Board established.

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

Frank Claus Christian

Social Credit

Mr. Christian:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to refer to clause 3, subclause 1, in which it is stated:

There shall be a corporation to be known as the "agricultural stabilization board" consisting of three members appointed by the governor in council.

Is it possible that these three members could be appointed and could come from one province of the dominion, or is it the intention to make the appointment of the members on the geographical basis, or on some basis which would be truly representative of the various provinces of Canada.

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, as far as the stabilization board is concerned, it will be the chief administrative group carrying into effect the provisions of this act, and therefore the people appointed to that board must be appointed primarily from the point of view of their ability as administrators and the background of experience they have along those lines so that they may be capable of carrying out the purposes of this bill satisfactorily.

Perhaps hon. members do not realize that this really involves a big commercial operation. The agricultural prices support board which has existed for the past 11 years, as was pointed out by the right hon. member for Melville, has bought and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of agricultural products. The stabilization board to be set up under this bill will, I expect, buy and sell a very greatly increased volume of agricultural commodities. Therefore the members of the board must, essentially, be businessmen and capable of carrying on what amounts to being quite a big commercial enterprise as far as one phase of their operations are concerned. In consequence, they must be secured primarily with that qualification in mind, as people who are capable of satisfactorily administering what amounts to a big business.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization

On clause 5-Advisory committee.

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, it has been indicated that there is an amendment to be moved in clause 5. The amendment is that subclause (2) of clause 5 be amended by inserting immediately after the word "shall" in line 17, on page 3, the words "meet at least twice a year and shall".

The purpose of this amendment is to meet requests which have been made by farm organizations that it should be made absolutely clear in the bill that this board shall meet regularly. One of the views which were expressed was that the board, or the advisory committee which had been provided for under the Agricultural Prices Support Act, had not met regularly. It ordinarily met once a year, or sometimes twice a year for two days. It was a board composed of the deputy ministers of agriculture of the various provinces together with some representatives of the various farm organizations. The request was for an assurance in the bill that this board would meet regularly in order to advise on the commodities which should be put under guaranteed yearly price support, and the level of that support. I will ask my colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, to move this amendment.

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

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

I move, Mr. Chairman:

That subclause (2) of clause 5 be amended by Inserting immediately after the word "shall" in line 17, on page 3, the words "meet at least twice a year and shall".

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

James Garfield Gardiner

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I am in support of the amendment. I simply want to say that I do not recall there was any year in which the advisory committee met less than twice, and there were occasions on which it met three or four times a year. But I have no objection to this, and I would expect that the board would meet at least twice a year. Perhaps the procedure which was followed previously might have been a little different. We met whenever the advisory committee suggested to us that we should meet, and there were occasions when we called for a meeting when it had not made that suggestion. I am quite satisfied we met the conditions provided in this bill by the amendment.

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

Hugh Alexander Bryson

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

Mr. Bryson:

Mr. Chairman, subclause (2) of clause 5 reads in part:

The advisory committee . . . shall advise the minister and the board with respect to such matters relating to the stabilization of prices of agricultural commodities under this act as are referred to it by the minister or the board.

I am just wondering how the minister squares that with his statement of a moment ago that this committee would act under the advisement of agricultural organizations. He

3824 HOUSE OF

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization made that statement a moment ago, and I should like to have some clarification with regard to it.

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 think the hon. member is not talking about the amendment. I wonder if we might have the amendment carried. I would then deal with the hon. member's question.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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Amendment agreed to.


PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Mr. Chairman, in connection with the question just asked I have said on several occasions at various stages when this bill was under discussion that the way in which it was envisaged this advisory committee would work was that they would be called in and, to begin with, would advise on what commodities they thought should be put under price support and needed price support at that particular time or needed the guaranteed annual price put under them. They would also give advice in regard to the level at which the support price should be established. I am assured by the law officers of the crown who drafted the wording of this provision that they consider this the most appropriate way to carry into operation the idea that I expressed to them.

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

Jacob Schulz

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

Mr. Schulz:

Mr. Chairman, the minister just said that this committee would meet and advise him as to what commodities they thought should be supported and at what level the support should be established but as the bill now stands they can only advise him on such products as are referred to them by the minister and therefore the initiative has to come from the minister. He must refer something to the committee even before they can discuss it or advise him on it. I am in favour of the amendment that was passed providing for the committee to meet twice a year but even though they meet twice a year they are powerless and can do nothing on their own initiative. They must wait until the minister refers a question to them. I believe that this is completely inconsistent with the policy we have followed up until now. If the committee is to mean anything and if anything of value is to come from their meeting twice a year as now provided for they should be empowered to suggest to the minister what commodities they feel should be supported and at what level the commodities should be supported and not wait for the minister to refer something to them.

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

James Garfield Gardiner

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Chairman, probably I was out of order on second reading when I raised this question but I do want to raise it again at this time when I am in order in so doing. I have found it a little difficult to understand why the last part of subclause 2 of clause 5 reads as it does.

-relating to the stabilization of prices of agricultural commodities under this act as are referred to it by the minister or the board.

The advisory committee which we had before was quite free at all times to bring up matters that they thought should be discussed when they were meeting with us. I cannot see any disadvantage in that and I have just been wondering why the minister has not adopted the same plan in this bill. As it stands it leaves itself open to the kind of attack that has just been made by the hon. member for Springfield to the effect that only those matters which are referred to it by the minister or by the board can be advised upon. I would think it would be better to leave it as wide as it was under the Agricultural Prices Support Act.

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, the advisory committee established under this bill is not the type of committee which the hon. member for Melville called together when he was minister of agriculture which, as I say, consisted chiefly of the deputy ministers of agriculture of the various provinces. They constituted the biggest group in that committee and its purpose was a continuation of a wartime committee which had existed, the function of which was to give advice on general agricultural questions. The present committee is for the specific purpose of advising what commodities should be put under guaranteed yearly prices or given price support and the levels of that support.

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

James Garfield Gardiner

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Chairman, nothing under the Agricultural Prices Support Act or under the regulations required that deputy ministers be on the committee at all. I may say that the first suggestion of forming a committee was made by farm organizations and particularly the federation of agriculture. The chairman of the board was always the president of the federation of agriculture no matter who that might have been. It is true that it was the same man for all the years and therefore it has been Mr. Hannam all the way through but at the time it was set up the regulation which was put out was to the effect that there would be someone there to represent the various farm organizations and that there would also be representatives of the provincial departments of agriculture. In the first appointments that were made perhaps half or not quite that many of the provincial departments of agriculture named persons other than the deputy. They were not members of the staff of the provincial departments in all cases and quite often they were members of provincial farm organizations. It may have been that at some times and perhaps for most of the time they actually sent their deputies but they were free to appoint even a farm representative. I think

he total number rose to 19. I am under the mpression that it was the highest number ve had at any time and this was after New-oundland entered confederation which irought in another representative from that irovince.

I agree that there has been some change n the situation and I do not think it has been or the better. It was announced early in he session that the conference that was ilways held in the first week of December vas not being continued. Of course the idvisory committee had some relationship to he fact that that conference met from time o time and it would not be possible with he numbers who are now provided to have epresented so many farm organizations or irovincial departments of agriculture on this ommittee if it is going to consist of nine nstead of 19 members-.

I feel that I should point out it was never he intention that the provincial departments if agriculture should have their deputies epresented here and no one else. I also subnit that it is sometimes a good thing to have epresentation from the provincial depart-nents of agriculture because in agriculture nore than in any other field there is over-apping as a result of our constitution which ilaces the responsibility with both. I would ather think it weakens the position of agriculture not to have this sort of representation.

would not say there should be a stipulation n this bill to the effect that they must be epresented but when the minister is giving onsideration to any appointments that might >e made I would hope he would not lose sight if the fact that the provincial departments if agriculture must have a considerable part o play in the administration of an act such is is foreshadowed by this bill.

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, the main con-ideration here is one I have pointed out >efore. The committee which is provided for n this bill is a totally different committee rom the one which met under the nominal iUthority of the Agricultural Prices Support tct which was constituted, as the hon. mem->er for Melville has just said, of a majority if deputy ministers of agriculture from the irovincial departments or farm represent-itives. This committee is for the purpose if giving general advice on agricultural natters to the federal Minister of Agriculture.

have had some discussions with various leople in regard to the question of whether ir not the committee would be continued in he form in which it existed. I have no ntention of doing away entirely with that type if committee which I think perhaps one night have inferred from what the hon. nember for Melville said. The same is true vith respect to the annual dominion-provincial

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization conference on agriculture. It is not my purpose to do away with it completely. It was not held this year because the majority of people who normally attend thought there had been a great many recent conferences with regard to agriculture and the need for it did not exist this year. As a matter of fact some of them stated that even if it were held they did not think they would attend because of the fact they had been to Ottawa two or three times already to meet the new government, the new Minister of Agriculture and so forth. That was essentially the reason why it was not held this year.

We have reached no decision up to the present time of doing away with the holding of that annual conference. What I have in mind on the advice of many of the people who attend is to change the form of it to some extent and probably to tie in the meetings of that conference with the meetings of what was essentially this advisory committee which, as I say nominally was called together under the Agricultural Prices Support Act and in this way save people the trouble of coming to Ottawa twice.

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, in view of the fact that the minister has included clause 5 making provision for an advisory committee, I think he should be prepared to accept an amendment such as has been proposed by the hon. member for Springfield and the right hon. member for Melville. The clause now reads:

(1) The minister shall appoint an advisory committee, consisting of a chairman and at least six, but not more than nine, other members, composed of farmers and representatives of farm organizations.

There is no question about that.

(2) The advisory committee established under subsection (1) shall meet at least twice a year and shall advise the minister and the board with respect to such matters relating to the stabilization of prices of agricultural commodities under this act as are referred to it by the minister or the board.

If the minister decides not to refer anything to the advisory committee it has nothing to do. Therefore I should like to move the following amendment:

That subclause (2) of clause 5, as amended, be amended by deleting the word "such" from line 18, and also by inserting a period after the word "act" in line 19 and by deleting all the words from this point to the end of the said subclause.

If the clause were amended in that way it would then read:

The advisory committee established under subsection (1) shall meet at least twice a year and shall advise the minister and the board with respect to matters relating to the stabilization of prices of agricultural commodities under this act.

3826 HOUSE OF

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization

The minister is not obliged to accept such advice but if there is to be an advisory-committee I think the committee should have the authority to offer to the board or the minister whatever advice the committee may think fit.

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

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston (Bow River):

I should like to say something along the same line before the minister answers. I understood the minister to say a few moments ago when replying to the right hon. member for Melville that the purpose of the advisory committee was to advise the government on agricultural problems generally. I think probably the intention is that the advisory committee shall be free at any time to give the minister such advice as they think he should receive but having in mind the way the clause is worded I am inclined to disagree with the minister because he is limiting the functions of the committee. If the clause is carried as it stands the committee will only be permitted to advise the minister on such subjects as are referred to it by the minister or the board. For instance, if the advisory committee decided that woodpulp should come under the legislation and was of the opinion after consulting people in different parts of the country that woodpulp should be given consideration, the advisory committee could not so advise the minister or the board because that subject had not been referred to them first by the minister or the board.

It seems to me the minister is defeating the very purpose he has indicated as the reason for setting up the committee and I believe some consideration should be given by the minister to making a change. I do not have an amendment prepared, but it seems to me it is quite clear that the committee can only make recommendations to the minister of the board on subjects specifically referred to it by the minister or the board. It is just not the case under the wording of the clause that the committee has freedom to make recommendations or discuss matters with the minister as the members of the committee see fit. I suggest that the minister give consideration to changing the wording of the clause so as to give the committee the power to do those things which he said a moment ago it could do.

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 outlined earlier what the purpose of the advisory committee is and how it is envisaged it will work. The drafting authorities in the Department of Justice drafted the clause in this way and advised that this was an adequate and proper way for the matter to be expressed. Therefore I do not feel inclined to start shifting it around and make some

sort of change when it is difficult for me to know what the effects might be.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.
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January 25, 1958