May 19, 1964

LIB

Auguste Choquette

Liberal

Mr. Choquette:

I do not think there were any, Mr. Speaker, I have the impression-

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE-QUEBEC CLOSING OF RADAR STATIONS
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE-QUEBEC CLOSING OF RADAR STATIONS
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LIB

Auguste Choquette

Liberal

Mr. Choquette:

-that the acoustics are bad, because there were not any dissenting voices.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE-QUEBEC CLOSING OF RADAR STATIONS
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?

Mr. Speaker-Mr. Deputy Speaker@

I would ask the hon. members to resume their seats. It was suggested that the hon. member could continue if he had the unanimous consent of the house; he did not get it and I must now ask the Minister of Industry to reply to the hon. member.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE-QUEBEC CLOSING OF RADAR STATIONS
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LIB

Charles Mills (Bud) Drury (Minister of Industry; Minister of Defence Production)

Liberal

Hon. C. M. Drury (Minister of Industry):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Choquette) has drawn the attention of the house to what in the view of the government is a very important question. As all hon. members are aware, a considerable number of large installations are in the

process of being closed down by the Department of National Defence.

With a view to ensuring that the transition from national defence operations to some other useful purpose is as rapid and smooth as possible, the government has charged the area development agency, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Industry, with the responsibility of canvassing all the possibilities there might be of making effective use, in the national interest, of these installations which are being closed down.

The radar station at St. Sylvestre is one of these to which the area development agency has, since it learned the Department of National Defence was closing it down- and I add parenthetically it has not been closed yet-directed its attention to exploring the best possible uses to which it can be put.

To this end a canvass is made of all the federal government departments. Subsequently a canvass is made of all the relevant provincial government departments. Third, a canvass is made of municipal efforts or municipal organizations, and finally private industry. In the case of St. Sylvestre it has been determined to date that there is no federal government utilization that could be made of these facilities.

Discussions have been under way for some two weeks with the government of the province of Quebec with a view to canvassing the possibilities of using the radar station at St. Sylvestre for institutional or other purposes. I am glad to tell the hon. member that we have not yet exhausted all these possibilities.

Finally there does remain a possibility, which the area development agency is exploring, of making use of these facilities by private individuals, or a private organization, for recreational purposes in the general interest.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE-QUEBEC CLOSING OF RADAR STATIONS
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I have to interrupt the minister to tell him his time has expired. The hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE-QUEBEC CLOSING OF RADAR STATIONS
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AGRICULTURE

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPPORT POLICY

PC

Clément Vincent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Clement Vincent (Nicolet-Yamaska):

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday I asked the Minister of Agriculture the following question:

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPPORT POLICY
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PC

Clément Vincent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Vincent:

Could the Minister ol Agriculture tell us whether he has received a request signed by the cheese producers of central Quebec areas regarding that new policy he announced to the house on April 29 of this year? If so, has the minister any comments to make?

The new policy was announced by the Minister of Agriculture last April 29 and it

came into force a few hours later. As I stated last Friday, it should have been announced at least 15 days before the new year. Following that announcement, Canadian producers, especially those of the eastern part of the country, had to send petitions and requests to the Minister of Agriculture in connection with the new policy. That request, which deserved the immediate attention of the federal authorities, was signed by producers who sell a total of 3,202,884 pounds of cheese on the local market.

Because of the new policy, they had to raise the retail price of cheese by 4 cents a pound on the local market; this constitutes an increase of $128,155.36 for consumers.

The following people signed the request:

Marcel Descoteau, of St. Gregoire de Nico-let, Paul-Emile Dionne, the farm co-operative society of St. Germain, Drummond county, Marcel Lemaire, of St. Cyrille, Drummond county, Francois Richard, of Kingsey Falls, Gerard Grenier, of Victoriaville, Henri Pro-vencher, of Princeville, and Felicien Lemaire of Ste. Perpetue, who have sold, as I said, a total of 3,202,884 pounds of cheese on the local market. Allow me to read this request:

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPPORT POLICY
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Mr. Minister@

We are all cheese producers of the central part of the province of Quebec, more particularly in the counties of Nicolet-Yamaska, Drummond-Artha-baska and St. Maurice-Lafleche.

We are informed of the new policy concerning the subsidy on the production of cheese.

We submit that in order to conform with the regulations established on May 1, 1964, while at the same time providing consumers with the fresh cheese they are looking for, we would necessarily have to increase the price of cheese by 4 cents a pound or reduce by 30 cents per cwt. the price paid to farmers.

In each case, there would be an obvious prejudice which could entail very serious effects on our economy.

Consequently, we ask you to reconsider the matter in order to find a fair solution. In fact, we add that this problem is really urgent, which is quite evident.

Yours truly.

In my opinion, the Department of Agriculture should give favourable consideration to this request. I do not intend to refer to all the points I brought up last Friday, but I should like the Department of Agriculture to announce officially that the request has been received, considered and that the department will allow cheese producers who sell their products on the local market to benefit from a subsidy of 3.6 cents per pound with respect to first class cheese.

At present, these producers have to keep the cheese for a period of eight to ten days then send a piece of about 20 pounds for grading in Montreal. If they were allowed

19, 1964 3383

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion to sell this cheese immediately, while it is fresh, provided they kept a 20-pound piece in storage for a period of ten days, to be sent later for grading, I think it would be possible to do so. This would also enable those producers to benefit from this 3.6 cents a pound subsidy on grade "A" cheese and they would not be forced to raise by 4 cents a pound the retail price of cheese because efforts should tend to increase and not to discourage consumption.

Mr. Speaker, it is in this aspect of the new government policy that I am particularly interested and that is why I am asking the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Beer), to answer my question tonight, as I know that this question has been carefully examined by the department's authorities. Therefore, I hope that this answer will favour the producers-manufacturers of my constituency.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPPORT POLICY
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LIB

Bruce Silas Beer (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forestry; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. B. S. Beer (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for his question, which I think might be divided into two parts: First of all, did the Minister of Agriculture receive a request from certain manufacturers of cheese in the province of Quebec, and second the hon. member asked for some clarification of policy. This petition was received by the Minister of Agriculture and was appropriately-

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPPORT POLICY
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PC
LIB

Bruce Silas Beer (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forestry; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Beer:

-discussed and dealt with. I think it is necessary, Mr. Speaker, to clarify the fact that we are dealing with cheese made from pasteurized milk, where the policy is that the cheese must be held for eight days; it is then graded, and if it grades 94 a premium of two cents is available; if it grades 93 a premium of one cent is available. The question, of course, has to do with the sale of fresh, or green cheese. If the manufacturer of cheese wants to dispose of his cheese prior to the eight days, of course he immediately forfeits the premiums that are available. But arrangements have been made whereby if an amount of cheese is held by the manufacturer until a grader arrives, then all the milk from which the cheese was made will be eligible for the 3.6 cents per pound assistance. I believe that is a clarification of the policy which the hon. member wished, and I think it is probably a tribute to the alertness of the department officials that this matter was taken into consideration even before the petition was received.

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPPORT POLICY
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THE CANADIAN ECONOMY

STEPS TO MEET

PC

Gordon Harvey Aiken

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. H. Aiken (Parry Sound-Muskoka):

Mr. Speaker, the question I wish to raise concerns the alarming increase in the cost of living index as indicated in a dominion bureau of statistics release of last Friday, May 15. I want to begin by urging that we must not get too involved in emotional issues, such as the flag, to notice what is happening to our national economy. The bulletin that was issued last week indicates that within the last year there has been an alarming increase in the cost of living index.

To go back over the last five years, there has been a gradual increase in the cost of living. Perhaps I may give these figures briefly, Mr. Speaker. In April, 1959 the cost of living index was 125.4 points up .2 point over the previous year; in 1960 it increased 2.1 points; in 1961 it increased 1.6 points; in 1962, 1.2 points; and in April, 1963, 2.0 points. The current increase is 2.7 points, all based on the 1949 index. This is the greatest increase during the last five years. There were two previous indexes, in the years 1956 and 1957 which were slightly higher. The figure for 1956 showed an increase of 4.3 points over that of the previous year, and in 1957 the increase was also 4.3 points over the previous year. Before that there had been an increase in the cost of living index as high as 10.5 points in 1951 and 5.1 points in 1952. There has been a gradual increase, but this year it is rather alarming and I think the government should be, and probably is, quite concerned about this very great increase.

The anomaly of this situation is that in the very release which indicates that the food index has increased-that is, the cost to the householder-the price index for farm products is down. The farmer got less for his product but the householder paid more. For example, the price of beef given in the current release shows that it went up .5 points, or half a point, in one month, from March to April 1964, but in the same period the price paid to farmers for beef went down 1.3 points. This is a recurrence of the great complaint we had in 1955 and 1956 of a price spread between the farmer and consumer, and we certainly hope this is not a return of this problem which during the years of the previous government diminished so rapidly.

I do not want to make comparisons, but it is a fact that this increase has been brought about by the inflationary policies of the government and the expansion of the money supply at a greater rate than the gross national product has increased. There are a lot of other forces at work here. I think the large spending program for non-productive activities that the government has undertaken in the last year has contributed to the inflation.

In concluding, Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand a clipping from the Toronto Telegram of December 12, 1963, the heading of which is: "Bold plan by P.M. hits living costs". We should like to hear of this bold plan, because if it hit the living costs it certainly c|id not hit very hard. In December of last year the cost of living index was 134 and it is now 135. It has gone up one point, which is almost as much as it went up during a whole year in previous years. I should like the assurance that the government is giving very serious consideration to this problem of the cost of living, and general inflationary policies.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   STEPS TO MEET
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTED INCREASE IN COST OF LIVING
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LIB

Edgar John Benson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. E. J. Benson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I

will reply rather briefly to the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka who raised this question about the increase in the cost of living. The government is, of course, always concerned at increases in the cost of living. However I should like to point out that while in the years 1957 to 1960 the cost of living did not increase, during the same period unemployment increased in this country rather tragically.

There are three main points I should like to make in reply to the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka. First of all, increases in consumer prices have been moderate and in line with the experience of the past few years. Second, they are only fractionally higher than those of the United States, even though the Canadian economy has been absorbing the effects of devaluation of the Canadian dollar. Third, the moderate increases in Canadian consumer prices are well below those of most European countries and Japan, which have been experiencing substantial price increases. Consequently, Canada's international position has not deteriorated; if anything it is improving, and this has been proved by the strengthening of our trade balance.

Motion agreed to and the house adjourned at 10.32 p.m.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   STEPS TO MEET
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTED INCREASE IN COST OF LIVING
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END OF VOLUME III

May 19, 1964