February 6, 1959

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

COLOMBO PLAN

PC

Sidney Earle Smith (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Sidney E. Smith (Secretary of Stale for External Affairs):

On August 28, 1958, Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Finance reported to the house on a special meeting that had been held in Washington under the auspices of the international bank to consider means of alleviating India's foreign exchange difficulties. The Minister of Finance stated at the time that in the light of that meeting it appeared that the most helpful thing Canada can do is to continue to provide India with the Canadian goods she may require in her development program.

In the intervening months there have been detailed discussions between Canadian and Indian officials as to the type of assistance that would be most effective in helping India carry forward her economic development program and which Canada was in the best position to provide. I am pleased to be able to inform the house today that as a result of these discussions it has been agreed that $17 million will be made available to India out of the Colombo plan appropriation for the fiscal year 1958-59 to enable the Indian government to purchase in Canada essential commodities and equipment which they have requested from us.

Of the $17 million, $1 million will be applied to the Canada-India reactor to enable the work on that project to go forward; $10.5 million will be devoted to the provision of industrial raw materials including aluminum, copper and nickel, which are urgently needed by India in various phases of her development program and which will help sustain adequate levels of industrial activity and employment; $2.5 million will be provided in the form of railway sleepers-which I interpret as railway ties-to assist in the expansion and improvement of railway facilities in India; $2.5 million will be made available in the form of fertilizers which are required in connection with India's program to increase her food production; $120,000 will be devoted to the purchase of another three Cobalt beam therapy units for use in Indian hospitals. Discussions covering allocation of the balance of the funds

being made available to India in the current fiscal year are still in progress.

In all cases where Canadian aid is taking the form of commodities, the Indian government has agreed to establish local counterpart funds equivalent to the amount of the Canadian grant. These counterpart funds, as in the past, will be used to cover the local costs of economic development projects agreed upon by our two governments.

The house will be aware, Mr. Speaker, that over the past 15 months Canada was also able to assist India in meeting her requirements of food grains by making available a total of $48 million in the form of grants and loans for the purchase of Canadian wheat. Of this amount $7 million has been provided under the Colombo plan and $41 million over and above the assistance available to India under the Colombo plan.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   COLOMBO PLAN
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AID TO INDIA
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure all members of the house will welcome the statement the minister has just made with regard to the assistance which is to be provided to India under the Colombo plan. I understand from his statement that from the appropriation of $50 million which the government intends to ask from parliament, $17 million will be used for assistance to India. I am glad that the minister has emphasized the desirability-I think he emphasized it-of giving this assistance in the form which was originally contemplated under the Colombo plan, that is capital assistance, and that the amount of $7 million for wheat that was made available last year for India, to which he referred, is not to be taken as a normal practice under the Colombo plan. I think the minister will agree that it was the intent of the Colombo plan that the assistance given should be capital and technical and not in the form of consumer goods, except when there was an emergency and when the country concerned, because of that emergency, desired that form of assistance.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   COLOMBO PLAN
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AID TO INDIA
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, we welcome the announcement that has been made this morning. We of the C.C.F. recognize, as I am sure other members of the house do, that India is the bastion of freedom in Asia and that with her second five-year plan she has experienced some rather serious difficulty. I am sure the Canadian people will welcome any assistance to India to help her develop her economy.

752 HOUSE OF

Wheat-Change in Pricing Policy

Our position with regard to economic assistance is clear. We believe that the government should have set aside a much larger sum of money than has been done on any previous occasion in order to provide for economic assistance to undeveloped countries generally. We feel that the main purpose of the Colombo plan has been capital and technical assistance. We have always said that whenever it became necessary, from India's point of view, to use part of these funds in an emergency for the purchase of food, we were quite in agreement that that be done. We feel the two things generally should be kept separate, namely the Colombo plan for capital assistance and economic development and the other necessary measures taken to assist India to meet her difficult problem of feeding the people of that nation.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   COLOMBO PLAN
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AID TO INDIA
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PC

Sidney Earle Smith (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Haslings-Fronienac):

Mr. Speaker, in order to keep the record accurate may I say this. I may have misunderstood the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson). The figures and the plan of projects I gave to the house this morning relate to the fiscal year 1958-59. We will ask the house for $50 million, an increase from $35 million, for next year, 1959-60.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   COLOMBO PLAN
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AID TO INDIA
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WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY

PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I have an announcement to make with regard to the Canadian wheat board pricing policy. Due to the fact that with the opening of the St. Lawrence seaway the largest lake vessels will be able to carry wheat directly from the lakehead to St. Lawrence ports, with a consequent saving in transportation costs, the Canadian wheat board has introduced a change in its pricing policy.

The board announced that effective January 30, 1959, there would be an increase in the lakehead price of wheat of 5f cents per bushel, exclusive of a J cent exchange adjustment in price due to a decline in the premium on the Canadian dollar that day. As wheat is usually purchased by the buyers, and ocean freight arranged several weeks ahead of the intended date of shipment, the Canadian wheat board found it necessary to announce these changes in selling prices at this time, even though the seaway will not be open to navigation until late April of this year.

This increase, which represented the board's preliminary estimate of the gross saving in freight likely to be realized, was put into

[Mr. Argued

effect to ensure that the benefits of the seaway would be reflected in an increase in the final payment to western producers.

The increase applies only to the board's lakehead prices. Other than the daily exchange variation to which they are subject, no change was made in the board's selling prices for wheat for shipment from St. Lawrence, Atlantic and Pacific coast ports, or from Port Churchill.

The laid-down prices of wheat in the United Kingdom, European and other markets from these ports have not been affected by the increase in lakehead prices.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the minister a question. As a consequence of the minister's statement, or the announcement which he has made, does it not follow that there will be a reduction of 5 to 6 cents per bushel on wheat, as announced several years ago by the former government?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

A reduction of what?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Perhaps I could put the question in this way. In view of the announcement the minister has just made, does it not follow that because of the reduction in transportation costs, as announced by the former government there will be a reduction in the cost of the movement of grain of 5 cents to 6 cents a bushel?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Will the minister allow the hon. member for Assiniboia to comment on his statement before replying?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, the increase which took place in the price of wheat at Fort William and Port Arthur a week ago today, according to press reports at that time of 51 cents a bushel-the minister says today 5f cents a bushel-was a very important one. This will result in an increased return to western grain producers on almost one-half the total wheat crop that is marketed from the three prairie provinces. This is a dividend that the prairie region is receiving, or will receive, from the St. Lawrence seaway. When I first saw the announcement in the press stemming from Winnipeg I wondered if the government's footwork in parliament was not just a little clumsy, because I had expected that this very important announcement would be made here perhaps simultaneously with the change at Fort William and Port Arthur. Nevertheless, it is a very important announcement.

I may have misunderstood the statement of the hon. member for Laurier (Mr. Chevrier), but I think the action taken in this case by the Canadian wheat board was the right one, namely that the advantage

should accrue to the western grain producers while maintaining the principle that they have followed now for a few years of selling the grain at lakehead ports and the Pacific coast at the same price. This, Mr. Speaker, I calculate, based on recent history, should result in a one-year period in an increase in income to the grain producers of western Canada of something between $7 million and $8 million.

This is a very important step which has been taken. I express the hope now that other action with regard to wheat will not take away any substantial part of this advantage. As a matter of fact, some part of this increase has already been lost by a change in demurrage charges, and I hope there will be no increase in handling charges of grain in the future to detract from this very important step that the Canadian wheat board has now taken.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

In answer to the question of the hon. member for Laurier, this is a reflection of the reduced transportation charges which will come about as a result of the opening of the seaway, and the western producer will get the benefit of that reduction in transportation charges. It will not necessarily be to the full amount of 5| cents. It might be somewhat under that; nevertheless it will be substantial.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. D. M. Fisher (Port Arthur):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce related to the announcement he made. Did the wheat board take cognizance of the tentative seaway tolls on lake shipping in setting this price increase? If so, is an adjustment in the price increase either up or down possible if the tentative toll schedule is changed?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the question very clearly because of some noise in the chamber. Perhaps I might take it as notice and have a reply for the hon. member on Monday.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   WHEAT-STATEMENT ON CHANGE IN PRICING POLICY
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REQUEST FOR STATEMENT ON DELIVERY AND QUOTA POSITION


On the orders of the day:


PC

James Ernest Pascoe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. E. Pascoe (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce based on a newspaper report that there is space in Saskatchewan country elevators for 24 million bushels of wheat. In view of this elevator space for 24 million bushels of farm-stored wheat, will the minister inform the

Inquiries of the Ministry house what steps are being taken by the Canadian wheat board to see that delivery quotas are available for this amount of wheat?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT ON DELIVERY AND QUOTA POSITION
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to thank the hon. member for giving me notice of his intention to ask this question. The delivery situation in western Canada is much better than it was a year ago, and there is obviously elevator space available for farmers who wish to deliver their grain.

For all provinces, taking 1957-58, there were as of January 26, 241 delivery points on the 1-bushel quota, 1,146 on the 2-bushel quota and 650 on the 3-bushel quota. This year 598 points are on the 2-bushel quota, 1,091 on the 3-bushel quota, 298 on the 4-bushel quota and 41 on the 5-bushel quota, showing a decided improvement in the delivery opportunities for western farmers.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT ON DELIVERY AND QUOTA POSITION
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February 6, 1959