July 24, 1964

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS


Third report of standing committee on public accounts-Mr. Baldwin.


AGRICULTURE

POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING FEED GRAINS IN EASTERN CANADA

LIB

Maurice Sauvé (Minister of Forestry)

Liberal

Hon. Maurice Sauve (Minister of Forestry):

I have the pleasure of announcing to the house that the government has authorized an interim policy on feed grains. Henceforth western grain moved by trucks within eastern Canada will also be eligible for freight assistance. Moreover, the government has decided on a new basis for the payment of freight assistance.

These two reforms were necessary. The original policy goes back to 1941. Many changes have occurred since its introduction. Methods and rates of transportation have changed and the fact that freight assistance was available only on inland movement by rail tended to prevent the decrease of certain inland rates. Some inequities in the balance of costs to various destinations have resulted.

We wished to correct these deficiencies immediately in order to follow up the measure concerning reimbursement of winter storage costs in authorized eastern elevators, introduced last autumn by my colleague the Minister of Agriculture. This measure, established simultaneously with the extension to barley and oats of the Canadian wheat board's policy of deferred pricing, encourages a more economical movement of grain during the navigation season, and sufficient stock-piling of grains in the east for winter needs. For this reason eastern prices of grains and millfeeds have fluctuated much less during the last year.

The changes now made should therefore permit the most economical transportation of feed grains to their destination. More active competition will lower a number of rates.

As to its consequences for livestock producers, it can be said that this new policy

will result in substantial reductions in the spread between balances of transportation costs payable by producers in various regions. This spread under the former policy ran from an excess of assistance paid over the actual transportation cost of $1.80 to a balance of cost payable by local producers reaching $6.20 in certain areas. Under this new policy we have sought to narrow this spread of approximately $8 to $2.60 in eastern Canada, and we expect truck competition to eventually reduce it to less than $1.60.

All regions of British Columbia will see their balance of cost reduced by $0.60. Northern Ontario and northwestern Quebec will benefit from reductions reaching up to $3.60. There will be an appreciable reduction at most points north of the St. Lawrence, in various regions of the maritimes farthest from ports of entry and in some zones in Newfoundland. Furthermore, in other regions an effort has been made to standardize balance of cost wherever possible, while ensuring a readjustment for destination points receiving assistance in excess of cost of transportation.

I may say that rates to the maritimes are based on water movement. We plan to keep a close watch on supplies as the season progresses and should stocks in storage in the area be inadequate by the close of navigation, the government is prepared to re-examine the matter.

We repeat that our new policy, which will come into effect on August 31 next, is only an interim policy. We are waiting for the report of the house committee on agriculture and the result of certain studies, before establishing a more permanent feed grain policy.

Moreover such a permanent policy must be coherently integrated with overall legislation aimed at the agricultural renovation of eastern Canada.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING FEED GRAINS IN EASTERN CANADA
Permalink
PC

Clément Vincent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Clement Vincent (Nicolel-Yamaska):

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Forestry, who is now responsible for the feed grain policy, has just announced a temporary program concerning the transportation of feed grain by truck to eastern Canada. That is a step to help the trucking industry and, indirectly, in a small way, eastern agriculture. But in no way is it what we expected today from the Minister of Forestry.

Grain Policy in Eastern Canada

The Minister of Forestry just said he is waiting for the agriculture committee's report on the feed grain situation before bringing forward a new policy. Now, on May 22 of this year he stated on television that he was waiting for that report before introducing his new policy on feed grain.

Mr. Speaker, last year we asked the government to set up a committee to examine the question of feed grain in eastern Canada. The committee on agriculture met several times to consider the situation. A certain number of people gave very valuable information enabling the government to establish a new policy instead of a political scheme and thus ensuring what we, Conservatives, have sought to realize: stability of supplies, price equalization, encouragement for feed grain production in the east and price stability for feed grain throughout eastern Canada.

Mr. Speaker, it is all very well to say that the report of the committee on agriculture is forthcoming, but ever since December 1963 we have repeatedly asked that the committee be reconvened to examine the alarming situation in eastern Canada.

And as things are going, we shall come back to this matter only this fall, in October or November, and once again we shall find ourselves in the same situation as last year. Prices will fluctuate just as they did from August to January 1964, when there was a difference of $8 a ton.

Well, we are not satisfied, even though this statement of interim policy is a step forward; we are not at all satisfied with this announcement and the responsible minister, instead of telling us that he is waiting for the committee report, should force the government to bring pressure to bear on the committee on agriculture to have it submit its report without delay. We are ready. There were always from 15 to 18 members present at this committee, and we intend to see to it that the government gives us the necessary instructions.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING FEED GRAINS IN EASTERN CANADA
Permalink
NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, we wish to thank the minister for the announcement he made this morning, which I believe was divided into two parts. The first part concerns a change that has been made in the policy previously followed of giving subsidies only to the railroads on the movement of grain inland for feed purposes. There are many areas in which the railroads are not the most efficient means of

transporting grain, and there are other areas solely dependant on road transportation. These areas have not received the benefit of this subsidy.

We believe the policy of extending the subsidy all across Canada is very good. It is one that has been recommended by many members of my party for a number of years because of the disparity which has existed between areas in this country. If this policy is implemented immediately it will eliminate some of thi problems we had last year when storage charges were paid. We found that even in the Ottawa area, which is close to the terminal elevators, the price fluctuated from $5 to $6 during the winter months. In my opinion this new policy eliminates the last reason the feed operators have for making these additional charges.

I believe the minister is completely wrong in the second aspect of his announcement relating to the whole problem of feed grain in eastern Canada. As the previous member has said, the government has shown no interest in having this matter again brought before the agriculture committee. In the committee last year there was general agreement that there should be a marketing agency established similar to the Canadian wheat board which would operate in the eastern feed grain areas. This suggestion was violently opposed by government members, with the result that the committee has not dealt with the problem again.

I think it is wrong to put these two problems together because obviously, in my opinion, they do not mean the same thing. We are now extending to road transport a subsidy that has previously been available only to rail transport. The other problem of eastern feed grain is not going to be solved this easily. It will only be done when the committee gets down to making formal recommendations to which the government can give consideration. I personally hope the government refers this matter to the committee in the very near future.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING FEED GRAINS IN EASTERN CANADA
Permalink
SC

Marcel Lessard

Social Credit

Mr. Marcel Lessard (Lake Si. John):

Mr. Speaker, of course, members of the house had been waiting for such a statement from the minister for some time. Personally, I brought up the matter many times in the house, and again recently.

Even if we are not completely in agreement or entirely satisfied with the minister's announcement I think we must all recognize

that it is a step in the right direction, a step which we hope will be followed by many others shortly.

Farm organizations in eastern Canada often have made suggestions to officials of the Department of Agriculture and I think the minister should, in the near future, implement several recommendations made by those organizations, especially the setting up of a feed grain agency for eastern Canada. Then feed grain could be controlled directly by that agency, which in turn would follow the directives of the boards themselves.

Another thing I would like the minister to consider is the securing of markets for the farm production he wants to increase with the help of that new policy.

In any case, I feel it is my duty to thank the minister for that first step which, I hope, will be followed by others shortly to better protect the farmers and give satisfaction to the parties concerned.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING FEED GRAINS IN EASTERN CANADA
Permalink
RA

Charles-Arthur Gauthier

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. C. A. Gauthier (Roberval):

Mr. Speaker, we, in this corner of the house, appreciate to a certain extent the improvement that has just been announced with regard to the feed grain situation. Of course, as those who preceded me have stated, we expected a greater improvement. But, as it is often said, when the child begins to walk, it has to take its first steps, and I consider this statement by the minister as a first step toward the improvement of the feed grain market.

On the other hand I am happy, because by allowing the trucking industry to benefit from a subsidy which had always been kept for public enterprise, the government at least made a small gesture toward remedying the troubles of private enterprise, which has been ill-used in the last few years, so much so that it had to pay taxes that the Canadian National Railways might compete with it. This morning's gesture is somewhat of an act of justice toward the trucking industry, because I am sure that with the competition that industry will be able to offer the railways, our eastern farmers will certainly obtain the needed feed grain at a better price.

As do my colleagues, I wish that the committee on agriculture and colonization would take up the study of the feed grain question as soon as possible, so that we may one day see the creation of a feed grain agency for eastern Canada to enable eastern farmers to deal more freely with western farmers in this respect.

Introduction of Bills

Last year the committee on agriculture and colonization left the feed grain question pendant, so to speak, and was to take up its work as soon as possible during the present session. However, I think that "as soon as possible" has been rather delayed, because we have now almost reached the end of the session without having tackled that famous feed grain issue.

Since the beginning of the session the committee has accomplished some very important work, to my mind, but I think that the question of feed grain is most important and that, in a general way, it is of interest to all farmers in Quebec. Indeed, the committee should have been formed right at the start of this session, and the question considered immediately, so as to enable this autumn the eastern farmers to benefit from this subsidy granted private industry.

This subsidy will enable private industry to prove what it can do, in comparison with public enterprise, because the latter reduced its prices, which is help of primary importance for eastern farmers.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister very sincerely and urge him to take the second step as soon as possible.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING FEED GRAINS IN EASTERN CANADA
Permalink

PROVISION FOR DEFINING LENGTH OF PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS

LIB

Sylvester Perry Ryan

Liberal

Mr. S. Perry Ryan (Spadina) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. C-113, to provide for the length of sessions of parliament.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINING LENGTH OF PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Explain.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINING LENGTH OF PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS
Permalink
LIB

Sylvester Perry Ryan

Liberal

Mr. Ryan:

This parliament is one of the few remaining parliaments in the world which fails to foreordain or govern the length of its sessions and much of its own business, and this bill is designed as a first step to correct this situation.

The bill would give everybody who desires to have dealings in or with parliament a better opportunity to plan and perform his parliamentary business. It would give parliament a fixed, mandatory session at the outset and an optional one later in the year. The bill defines for parliament the length of sessions but, Mr. Speaker, it defines for the House of Commons only the length of its sittings. It in no way interferes with the sittings of the other place, which is free to control its own sittings.

There are exceptions in the bill. One is in the case of dissolution and the other is in the

Inquiries of the Ministry case of an urgent emergency of national importance. There is a device in the bill which is of interest, I am sure, to all hon. members because it permits the house to be represented by the Speaker, the Clerk of the house and the Sergeant-at-Arms after the house has concluded sittings. This enables the Senate to go ahead with a bill which it passes without amendment and it can become law. The royal assent procedure can be maintained by this device. There are other interesting features about this bill.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINING LENGTH OF PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS
Permalink

OTTAWA TERMINAL RAILWAY COMPANY

IMPLEMENTATION OF AGREEMENT RESPECTING RAILWAY RELOCATION

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Transport) moved

the first reading of Bill No. S-33 (from the Senate), to incorporate the Ottawa Terminal Railway Company.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   OTTAWA TERMINAL RAILWAY COMPANY
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF AGREEMENT RESPECTING RAILWAY RELOCATION
Permalink

SHIPPING

REPEAL OF NEWFOUNDLAND ACTS RESPECTING HARBOURS AND PILOTAGE

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Transport) moved

the first reading of Bill No. S-40 (from the Senate), to repeal certain acts of the province of Newfoundland respecting harbours and pilotage.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF NEWFOUNDLAND ACTS RESPECTING HARBOURS AND PILOTAGE
Permalink

COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS

July 24, 1964