Mr. Smith (Battle River-Camrose):
this group have always strongly argued that support prices should be related to some period of years when the prices of agricultural products and the costs were in approximate equivalence one to the other. Several such basic periods have been suggested; the years 1925 to 1929 have been used for several years now by the Canadian Federation of
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Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization Agriculture and the administrators of the agricultural prices support board use the period 1943, 1944 and 1945 as their base years. The period 1948 to 1957 is also a stable period of years and it is close to being as effective as the other two periods I have mentioned.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has pointed out that this basic period using the 80 per cent average as proposed in this bill would establish prices which are slightly below their 70 per cent of the parity for such items as hogs, butter, eggs and cheese.
The present Prime Minister, in speaking in this house on March 12, 1956, is recorded at page 2021 of Hansard as having said with respect to the best period of years:
The squeeze which the farmer suffers results from the disparity in the relationship between the prices of farm products and the prices the farmer has to pay. When they are in proper relationship parity is established, and it is parity that the farm organizations across this country are asking for today. Not charity but parity. When one looks at the general price relationship one begins to realize how far in recent years that desirable end has been departed from. As far as parity is concerned, it must be related to a basic period-
I wish to repeat, Mr. Chairman:
-it must be related to a basic period which is regarded as one in which prices and costs are in approximate equivalence one to the other.
During the course of the same speech the Prime Minister gave a definition of parity in the following words:
I know of no better definition of parity than that which appeared in yesterday's New York Times. I have made the necessary changes in the definition to'meet the situation in this country. It is as follows:
Parity prices are the dollars and cents prices that give to farm products the same buying or purchasing power they had in a selected base period when prices received by and prices paid by farmers were regarded as in good balance.
In view of this, Mr. Chairman, I wish to move, seconded by the hon. member for Vegreville:
That section 8, subsection (2) be amended in lines 3 and 4 by striking out the following words: ''the ten years immediately preceding the year in which the base price is established" and substituting the words "the ten year period between 1948 to 1957, all years inclusive."
I would point out that section 8, subsection (2) as amended would read as follows:
The base price for an agricultural commodity shall be the average price at representative markets as determined by the board for the ten year period 1948 to 1957, all years inclusive.
Subtopic: MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.