Now, I want to express my appreciation for the courtesy with which the Minister of Agriculture has attended to any of my complaints, that is, to individual complaints, not complaints relating to the whole farming industry. I have found the hon. gentleman courteous and co-operative in that respect and I appreciate it. I suppose it would be fair to say that the Minister of Agriculture is the roving ambassador for the government. From his remarks when the discussion of these estimates began, there appears no doubt that while he has not been able to present substantial solutions to many of the problems now facing agriculture he is finding out what the problems of the farmer are. I also wish to express my appreciation of the good work of the senior staff and the field men of the department. We must not forget, when we discuss these estimates in the relative comfort of this chamber-that is, the comfort of all of us except the minister-that the field staff do a lot of slogging
day by day. It is not very glamorous work; it does not reach the newspapers, and to many people it is unknown. However, the department has some excellent field staff officers. I have known many of them for a goodly number of years, and I want to express the appreciation of this group for the work they are doing.
I do not intend to speak at length at this stage of the discussion because I shall have various things to say on the particular items as they arise, but I do want to speak briefly on one or two matters. I think one of the first things to be done is to get the public to recognize the importance of agriculture to the Canadian economy and to the country. There is a tendency to underestimate the importance of agriculture because, shall I say, of the dynamism of the growth of industry and things of that sort.
I notice that the hon. member for Essex East is listening intently, and I want to say this in connection with that hon. member. The member for Essex East is not a farmer but I know from lengthy discussions with him that he is a student of farmers' problems and needs, and that is what is required at this time. There has to be a greater recognition on the part of the people of Canada as a whole of the importance of agriculture, and this is lacking in many quarters. There is a tendency to underestimate it and in some cases almost to jeer at the maintenance of the economic family farm and agriculture of that type.
I think there a responsibility falls on the Department of Agriculture, as well as on the provincial departments and the farm organizations, to improve their public relations so as to inform the remainder of the population of the importance of the agricultural sector of the economy. In this connection, I wish briefly to read from a magazine called "Canadian Commentator" which often contains some very informative articles. The issue of June, 1960 to which I am referring contains an article by Mr. George R. McLaughlin on the Canadian farmer which I think puts the question very well indeed. I quote briefly from this article:
I have been concerned these last few years about the misunderstanding which exists in the minds of non-farmers with regard to the economic position of farm people in this land of plenty. This misunderstanding has grown for quite obvious reasons, and there seems little indication that agriculture's public relations, if there is such a thing, has done much to correct the situation.
It goes on to say:
Not many people realize that the farmers of Canada represent a consumer's market of some $2.8 billion a year, about $1.7 billion of which is spent for the goods and services required in the production of food, and another $1.1 billion
for the requirements of family living, such as radios and cosmetics, children's toys and lawn mowers, coffee and canned goods, skates and cameras, furniture and overcoats, and all the hundreds of other goods and services required by any family, urban or rural. In the United States it has been said that the farmer as a consumer of goods and services is worth two and a half times as much as any other individual consumer in the country. I see no reason why the same comparison should not be used in Canada.
I think that is very well put indeed. There should be a public relations job done to inform the people of the importance of agriculture not only to the farmer but to the rest of the economy.
I could not help noticing, in the quotation I read, a reference to the purchase of cosmetics. What a change there has been in the world in which we live. I remember 50 years ago talking to a farmer who had to drive many miles along a mountain trail to get his groceries. He did not use cosmetics, nor did his wife. He got into the habit of putting a rooster into the crate to accompany him on his journey so that he would not be lonely. What a difference in the way things are done today. I have lived in the same circumstances, and I am proud of it.
It is only fitting when speaking on the estimates of this department to make some reference to the fact that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary. I was very closely associated with the British Columbia federation of agriculture and on that account I realize what good work the organization has done throughout the years for the Canadian farmer. In saying this, I fully recognize the excellent work which has been done by other organizations, such as the farmers' union and those organizations connected with particular branches of the industry. In the early days our first president was the Hon. E. D. Barrow, former Liberal minister of agriculture of British Columbia and a great personal friend of mine.
Chilliwack. He was a practical farmer who spent many years of his life working for his fellow farmers in British Columbia. I think we should remember these things. There was also Mr. Charles Hayden, the first secretary-treasurer, who lived in Vernon. Under his guidance the work of the organization was greatly developed. At the present time the British Columbia federation of agriculture has a membership of between
16,000 and 17,000 which shows how important the agriculture industry is in British Columbia when we relate it to other industries in the province.
I am pleased to see the hon. member for Cariboo has his hearing aid on and is listening to me, determined not to miss a single one of my words of wisdom.
Before taking my seat, I want to refer to some of the matters brought to the attention of the government by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. I will avoid repetition and mention only those points that are important to the farmers I represent and farmers generally across the country.
In their brief, the federation indicate great interest in marketing farm products in commercial markets overseas and also in the development of the world food pool under the United Nations as well as other agencies for the proper use of our surpluses. In their representations they presented a resolution to the government in these words:
1. Receive from nations having the ability to do so, undertakings to contribute to an internationally conducted program of food distribution to areas of need. Such contributions could take the form of commitments to supply food, or could take the form of funds, or necessary services for transporting food contributions to needy countries.
2. Receive and appraise information on food needs, and, on the basis of such information and the requests of participating nations, carry out the equitable distribution of the food supplies made available.
3. Co-ordinate and advise on the orderly conduct of non-commercial food distribution in its broadest implications. The aim of such consultation and co-ordination should be to give direction and purpose, through the United Nations, to all programs and activities contributing to the goal of an international food program.
To indicate what farmers are thinking I wish to quote a statement made by the president of the British Columbia federation of agriculture:
H. D. Arnold of Duncan, president of the B.C. federation of agriculture, told the B.C. fruit growers association that Canada could do more for the world by helping backward nations in peaceful development than it could possibly achieve by its own armament.
He urged all sections of agriculture to press this viewpoint.
Mr. Arnold agreed that arms expenditure should be slashed-but instead of cutting taxes with the money so saved, he would spend it building up and developing backward countries.
He suggested Canada should select one or two countries and concentrate on them, or contribute to a master international fund for the same purpose.
"From a propaganda viewpoint alone," he said, "the other countries would not stand by and let us do it on our own."
"A tractor or a plow sent to Nigeria, for instance, would do more for world peace than providing another tank for our armed forces; better a fruit ladder to Nigeria than an aircraft.
That is a growing sentiment among farmers and I was pleased to see that this gentleman thinks along lines similar to those of hon. members of this group.
I shall mention one or two other matters of particular importance to the people in my
district. In addition to supplying food overseas, all sections of the British Columbia Federation of Agriculture are concerned about the cost of taxation of the land for educational purposes. This reference is found at page 7 of the brief of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and I will quote briefly from it because it concerns British Columbia farmers who believe that there must be some change in taxation, in view of the increased costs of hospitals and education, if the economic family farm is to continue to exist. The brief reads:
One subject which we would mention only briefly-although it is a matter of very great importance-is that of education costs. It is becoming more and more widely recognized that as the importance and the cost of education increases that two things are necessary: first that a high standard of education and educational opportunity should be assured for every Canadian child; second, that the real property tax imposed by the local school district is becoming increasingly inadequate and inequitable as a basis for meeting education costs. This inadequacy and inequity does not concern the farmer alone, but as a heavy investor in land in relation to his income the farmer tends to feel the situation much more keenly.
They propose that this matter must receive the attention of the government.
The federation also deals with the question of transportation, with which I shall not deal at length. They deal, too, with the question of land and water use and rural development. This is the subject of a resolution recently brought forward by the Minister of Agriculture, which I hope will come forward again in the near future.
Will the hon. member permit me to point out that at the bottom of page 10 of the brief, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture expresses the hope that the legislation on that subject introduced by the minister by way of resolution will be passed at this session of parliament and not postponed as the minister proposes.
I am surprised that the hon. member is ignorant of what has happened in Ottawa in recent weeks and months. I am reading from a presentation of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to the Prime Minister of Canada and members of the cabinet on February 28, 1961. Incidentally, that is my birthday and a very important event. I was
born in London but only because my mother was visiting there that day. No doubt the hon. member has received a copy of this brief.
Mr. Chairman, I thank the hon. member. I certainly have a copy of the brief but I attend the meetings of these organizations and rarely read briefs. I must congratulate the hon. gentleman on celebrating his eightieth birthday.
The federation in its brief deals with land and water use and rural development and expresses the hope that the legislation will be passed this session, as the hon. member for Essex East so kindly reminded me.
There is another subject in which I am interested because of its increasing importance. I shall deal with it and one or two other matters only briefly. I dealt with research at some length on the minister's estimates last year and if anyone wishes to be well-informed as to the needs of agriculture in respect of research I suggest he look up the speech I made last year on item No. 1 of the minister's estimates.
The federation is still interested in medical health insurance. The recommendation in the brief on this point reads:
We do think no time should be lost in moving forward in the study of ways and means of aiding the provinces in the establishment of provincial medical health insurance plans.
This subject does not come directly under the Minister of Agriculture but the quotation shows that farmers are interested not only in their own problems but in problems of national scope and importance.
The federation also deals with unemployment insurance for farm workers. In this respect, I urge the government to act as soon as possible to institute a plan for unemployment insurance coverage for farm workers, either on voluntary or on a suitable selective basis.
It has frequently been said that farmers operate under severe circumstances. They may not want to work in industries or occupations covered by unemployment insurance. In conditions of full employment, nine times out of 10 an individual given a choice between working on a farm or accepting a position in industry will accept an industrial position. I urge the Minister of Agriculture to use his influence with the Minister of Labour to again stress the importance to the farmers of Canada of this subject.
I believe it was the British Columbia Federation of Agriculture which first brought forward a request with respect to land expropriation and easement, which subjects are also dealt with in the brief of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. We in British Columbia suffer from iniquitous laws in
respect to the expropriation of property for utilities, whether publicly or privately owned. There is absolutely no respect at all for the rights of the farmers or the land owners under the present legislation. Numerous instances have been brought to my attention of farmers whose timber had been cut down without any prior arrangements being made, of surveys being made, of fields being crossed, and things of that sort. This has created such concern that the British Columbia federation of agriculture has given the problem a great deal of study and has employed legal counsel. A good number of my constituents are concerned because, as the committee knows, the Minister of Justice has a plan under which 2,000 of them will be drowned in the near future if he has his way. They are all working together as a unit with the British Columbia federation of agriculture to try to protect their interests because, as I said before, the laws of British Columbia do not offer the proper protection. We are told that farmers are all for free, private ownership. Why, the government is destroying private enterprise, legitimate free enterprise and the small scale industry of farming right and left. Whenever the rights of the ordinary farmer come in conflict with the big corporations they go over the small farmer like a steamroller.
I should like to read a paragraph from page 18 of the brief of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture:
Land expropriation and easement.
The Railway Act provides that proceedings for drainage works arising out of the location of railways may be taken either under provincial law or under the provisions of the Railway Act. at the option of the land owner. It seems to us that this is a very reasonable principle in relation to problems of compensation and expropriation. We think this option principle should be extended to include all utilities operating under federal charter, and also to apply to proceedings not only for drainage works, but to proceedings for compensation and works connected with expropriation and easements generally.
I think it is the responsibility of the federal Minister of Agriculture, at the dominion-provincial agricultural conferences which are held annually, to work in co-operation with the ministers of agriculture of the provinces to provide some federal and provincial legislation which will protect the rights of Canadian citizens against vested interests and those who, up to date, have had the economic power to do what they like.
The federation commends the government's decision to hold an inquiry into farm machinery prices. We are glad that matter has been referred to a committee. I am also very pleased to see that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has passed a resolution with respect to nuclear weapons, as follows:
Resolved that Canada should provide leadership in a plan to control the spread ol nuclear weapons by promoting an agreement of all nations that they will not test, manufacture, or possess any nuclear devices for warfare, and Further resolved that Canada should encourage that this agreement be under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.
I hope the minister will draw this resolution to the particular attention of the Secretary of State for External Affairs because I am sure that when he deals with the Minister of National Defence he will welcome the additional support he is receiving from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture reiterates its strong support of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I have mentioned briefly the majority of the questions which the Canadian federation brought to the attention of the cabinet. I do urge that the minister give these serious consideration as representing the views of a very responsible segment of our economy, upon which a great deal depends in Canada, and for the welfare of which we should recognize our responsibility on all occasions.
I shall have a few things to say when we discuss the various items.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a few words on the agricultural estimates, since Waterloo county is a farming district equal to most counties in Ontario.
Although the growing of wheat, oats, corn and turnips is predominant, this county is well known for producing outstanding livestock and has on various occasions won prizes at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto as well as at other well known places.
The Waterloo county federation of agriculture was formed in 1944 and, along with junior farmers, has assisted the whole agricultural economy. The Waterloo county farmers have contributed much to the welfare of farming and the Mennonites, long established here, have carried on this work in a successful way.
Perhaps one of the problems is the lack of help on these farms, as many of the young people are entering other fields of activity. Last year a farmer friend of mine was unable to secure help. This was finally supplied when a Negro working in our district, being an agriculturalist, carried on the duties to the utmost satisfaction of his employer.
On a previous occasion the hon. member for Halton and I mentioned in the house the limited facilities which were available for hog testing programs at Waterloo, Ontario. In 1938, a 48-pen piggery was opened in Waterloo. The building program for the advanced registry station was resumed after the second world war and in 1948 a 60-pen
piggery was constructed at the Waterloo station. In 1959 the capacity of this station was 112 pens. Yet, the capacity of this station appears to be inadequate, as a number of entries have had to be turned away from time to time owing to the lack of sufficient facilities. While there has been some unused space in recent months, I should like to suggest to the government and the minister that they consider in detail the problem of more room. Mr. Ken Cappindale deserves a great deal of credit for his splendid work here. This station has played a prominent part in the breeding and selection of better hogs, and it must be increased in size if it is to continue to fulfil this objective.
The 4-H clubs have increased greatly, and I understand that today we have well over
77,000 boys and girls in this movement. They learn good practices at an age when they have no time to learn bad ones. They are a real credit to the agricultural set-up of our country, and their contributions are outstanding.
Elmira is the egg and chicken capital of Ontario. I understand that the largest broiler breeding farm in Ontario is located five miles from my home and operated by the Selling hatchery. The output last year was 2,500,000 chicks. In addition, three other major chick hatcheries are located in our area. They are the Reliable, the Bonny Chick and the Produce. It may be interesting to know that Mr. Seiling of the Seiling hatchery developed his own incubator and holds a patent on it. He has been in the business over 40 years. A few years ago the hatchery discontinued hatching laying chicks and now concentrates on the broiler market. Broilers are hatched the year round.
In my travels across Canada, especially across Ontario, I have been deeply impressed with the value of fall fairs in our villages, towns and cities. After all, they are the show windows of agriculture in our country. Displays of baking, dairy and good food products, crafts and art exhibits, along with a showing of cattle, hogs, horses and so on have provided a great deal of interest in many communities. Horse racing, of course, is always popular, as the hon. member for Victoria, Ontario, well knows.
In my own town of Elmira we held our 106th annual fall fair last year over the Labour day week end, at which time the attendance was 22,000 people drawn from a wide area.
In order to provide better facilities for our patrons the Elmira and Woolwich agricultural society are building a new grandstand to seat well over 1,000 people. It is interesting to know that all the directors of this society are farmers, or those having business dealings with them or a background of rural life. Their [Mr. Weichel.l
efforts have provided this fair with real possibilities for the future. Our memorial arena built on land owned by this society has seating accommodation for 1,500 people and many of the exhibits are shown in this building. As mentioned before, a new steel and cement block grandstand and exhibition building is being erected this year. Better facilities will be provided for the comfort of the people and also for the junior farmers and 4-H clubs which are all important in today's rural relationships. I hope that financial assistance will be available for this worthy project. In closing, may I commend the minister and his department for their efforts to bring about better conditions in agriculture.
Mr. Chairman, I listened very carefully to the remarks of the hon. member for Jasper-Edson and the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Bagot. I cannot reply to the remarks made by the member from western Canada because I am not a farmer. I am an agriculturalist. So that there may be no mistake about the distinction between the two, may I say that a farmer is a man who makes his money in the country and spends it in the city while an agriculturalist is a man who makes his money in the city and spends it in the country.
The hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Bagot spoke very glowingly of his constituency. I only wish I could speak as glowingly of mine because not since the hungry 30's have we had anything like the unemployment that we have in Renfrew North at the present time. The hon. member referred to the Farm Credit Corporation. May I say to him that he has very little cause to be worried for no organization of the government has done a better job, thanks to the personnel largely secured from the Veterans' Land Act administration, than the Farm Credit Corporation is doing at the present time. We have great hopes that the efficiency which was so evident in the administration of the Veterans' Land Act will be continued under the Farm Credit Corporation.
The hon. member for Jasper-Edson dealt with problems facing the farmers of western Canada. With that I have no quarrel, but not one word was spoken tonight, other than by the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Bagot, with regard to eastern farmers. I am interested in having the question of the differences between the viewpoints of western farmers and eastern farmers aired in the standing committee on agriculture which is now sitting, and I would therefore ask the Minister of Agriculture to refer to that committee the problem of feedstuffs which is a sore spot in the economy of eastern Canadian farmers. I think this matter should
be referred to the committee so that we will be allowed to call witnesses both from the west and the east in order to see if we can solve this problem which is a serious one, particularly to the feed manufacturers and farmers of Ontario and Quebec.
Sometimes I really worry about the situation as far as eastern and western Canada are concerned. I once heard the remark made that if the North American continent had been divided at the Mississippi river conditions east and west of that line would probably be better than they are today. I do not want to suggest that we should have a minister of agriculture for western Canada and one for eastern Canada but nevertheless, having regard to the situation that exists in this part of the country, in my opinion this might be a brilliant idea.
That was three years ago and nothing has been done yet. I presume that these statements by the Prime Minister were not made for the purpose of gaining votes but I am afraid that is exactly what the tobacco growers have accused him of doing.
In 1953 the present Minister of Finance stated that in his opinion the tax on cigarettes and tobacco was too high and that if there was smuggling at the United States border it was largely due to the actions of the Liberal government in imposing sky-high excise taxes. What action did the Minister of Finance take when his government took over? He increased the excise tax on a package of cigarettes by two cents. The increase in the sales in 1959 was only 3.8 per cent, compared with an increasee of 7.5 per cent in the previous year.
The general value of flue-cured tobacco far exceeds the value of any other agricultural commodity. There are approximately 4,500 qualified farms in Ontario growing tobacco in 16 counties. The estimated capital investment in these farms is $300 million or an average of between $65,000 to $70,000 per farm. The farm buildings and equipment required to cultivate flue-cured tobacco is upwards of $40,000, depending on the size of the unit. Salaries and wages of the tobacco industry amount to over $30 million and the number of employees is over 10,000. There are over 50 tobacco products establishments in Canada.
When we examine the production figures we find that the total yield of all types of tobacco products from 1949 to 1959 was 1,600 million pounds and the excise tax and duty on cigarettes alone totalled $1,960 million. In 1958 the Conservative member for Norfolk, who is himself a substantial tobacco grower, urged the government to reduce the excise tax on cigarettes. A reduction in the taxes on cigarettes has been proved to be advantageous to the government because the reduced tax results in higher sales and yields a higher tax level. The accuracy of this statement was proven in 1952-53 when the minister of finance at that time, Mr. Abbott, cut the tax by two cents a pound and the revenue then increased by $7,800,000. I must say that Mr. Abbott raised the tax by two cents a pound the previous year but realized his mistake in so doing.
It has been pointed out to the government that if Canadian cigarettes could be made longer, without this additional cost of two cents per package, there exists the probability of a greatly increased export trade in Canadian cigarettes. It is obvious that it is highly advantageous to increase our export trade.
The total excise tax, including sales tax, on manufactured tobacco products in the fiscal year 1958-59 amounted to $294 million. In comparison, the total excise tax levied on Canadian cars-