April 1, 1965

LIB

Harry William Hays (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Hays:

Of course, as the hon. member knows, it is a complicated set-up, now, with the price based on London prices. But a year ago they were receiving up to $17 and $18 a ton for beets. This raises the average. If the producers do a good job of negotiating this could be $15, and it is satisfactory when they figure out just what it really means to them.

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PC

Harold Warren Danforth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Danforih:

May I ask the minister in conclusion whether it is his opinion that the price will be in excess of $15 for the 1965 crop?

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LIB

Harry William Hays (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Hays:

I cannot say. It depends on how well the producers negotiate with the factories. I am sure some of our producers are astute enough to see that the price is very close to this amount.

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PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

Mr. Chairman, I was most surprised a moment ago to hear the minister draw a bright picture of our farmers' situation. In my opinion, he is not yet aware that in 1964 the basic income of Quebec farmers went down by $4 million.

I submit that before making such inaccurate statements he should take a close look at the situation; that would prevent him from making statements like the one he made recently when he claimed that a Quebec farmer could earn an adequate income with six cows and two pigs. I would say that it is irresponsible statements like that which irritate Quebec farmers the most and make them hate this government.

I was also surprised to hear the minister say that the sugar beet producers were most satisfied with the increase of 63 cents per ton granted them a while ago.

For his information, I must say that the figures I obtained about a week ago is to the effect that there was no contract signed with respect to sugar beet until last week. Producers do not want to sign contracts unless they have a guaranteed price of $16 per ton. In fact, in an article published on February 4, 1965, in Le Courrier of St. Hyacinthe, it is said that to grow an acre of sugar beets, the farmer must spend the sum 20220-827

S upply-A gricu Uure

of $181.85 in administrative and farming costs. They also say that with a minimum price of $16 per ton, the producer could make a net profit of $42.15 per acre.

Mr. Chairman, I should like the Minister of Agriculture to give consideration to the growing of sugar beets and also to a support price for soybeans. As far as the latter is concerned, he could get information and assistance from his colleague from Essex East (Mr. Martin), because, in the past, the Secretary of State for External Affairs devoted particular attention to that kind of product. This is why, today, I ask the Secretary of State for External Affairs to advise his colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, who really needs it.

It is said that two heads are better than one and I think that if the ministers put their heads together, the farmers would benefit.

But I will repeat that up to last week not a single producer had signed a contract with respect to sugar beets, because the producers believe that unless they get a guaranteed price of $16 a ton, it is not worth their while to grow sugar beets.

Although the minister has just depicted a very optimistic picture as regards agricultural conditions, I suggest he is wrong and that he should not keep on misleading the farmers, who merely want to earn a living and secure the share they deserve from the national revenue.

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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall this vote carry?

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Subtopic:   I, 1965
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?

Some hon. Members:

Carried.

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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Vote No. 85d.

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PC

Edward Nasserden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nasserden:

Could the minister tell us how many thousands of eggs were supported during the past year, the number of farmers receiving the support and the amount of payments by provinces.

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Subtopic:   I, 1965
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LIB

Harry William Hays (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Hays:

I do not have this information in my head, but I will be pleased to get it for the hon. member.

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PC

Edward Nasserden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nasserden:

Would the minister mind leaving this vote stand until we have the information?

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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Vote 80d was called and carried.

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PC
LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Of course the Chair is in the hands of the committee. I called 80d. The hon. member was not on his feet. If the com-

Supp ly-A griculture

mittee agrees, I could go back to 80d, or if the hon. member wishes to make a motion he can do so.

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PC
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

I did not look the other way. I knew the hon. member had a special interest in that item and I looked his way. If the committee wishes to stand the item it is up to the committee to do so, or the hon. member can make a motion to that effect.

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Item agreed to. 90d. Estimated amount required to provide for the operating loss of the Farm Credit Corporation for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1965-$1,540,000.


LIB

Vincent Drouin

Liberal

Mr. Drouin:

Mr. Chairman, with regard to vote 90d, we are asked to vote an amount of $1,540,000:

90d. To provide for the operating loss of the Farm Credit Corporation for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1965.

Can the minister tell us what those operating losses cover? Are they related to loans which were not paid back? Are they related to an unexpected rise in operating costs or to a difference between the interest rate paid by the Farm Credit Corporation and the one charged to borrowers?

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LIB

Harry William Hays (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Hays:

This amount is the operating cost of the corporation. The losses of the corporation due to bad debts is something less than $6,000. The $1,500,000 is the operating cost, and this is the way they handle their bookkeeping.

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LIB

Vincent Drouin

Liberal

Mr. Drouin:

Is there any explanation for or any particular reason why such a large amount as $1,540,000 is required over and above what has already been provided to cover an operation deficit? I presume that an item had been provided in the main estimates to cover that deficit. Now, a further amount of $1,540,000 is required. Is there any particular reason for this?

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April 1, 1965