March 1, 1968

SC

Howard Earl Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

Would the hon. member for Kootenay East permit a question? He made a rather remarkable statement about one area of the country being so fortunate as to have two representatives here. When he makes his forays into Okanagan-Revelstoke, as I make mine into the Kootenay area, I wonder whether it might not be better if he would tell the people there that he represents Kootenay East just as I tell the people of Kootenay East that I represent Okanagan-Revelstoke. Then the ultimate choice as to who will represent the combined area would be left to the wisdom of the voters.

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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

Mr. Chairman, it is difficult to comprehend just what the question was but I should like to assure the hon. member that when I visit the Okanagan I never fail to tell the people of the attributes and high character of their representative and his most charming wife.

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PC

David Vaughan Pugh

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pugh:

Mr. Chairman, I am glad to return to the subject of agriculture. At the outset I should like to say that I hope the hon. member will continue to be a tourist in Okanagan Boundary. When he finished speaking on the subject I wish to discuss I was not

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clear about his position on the matter. I think he has perhaps been brainwashed by other government members.

I attended a banquet sponsored by the Oliver Chamber of Commerce not long ago when the general manager of the British Columbia Tree Fruits Limited gave a most interesting address on the problems created by the unfair importation of Australian canned goods into Canada. It is interesting to note that although I had been involved in this problem for quite some time I did not take an official stand until the government had had an opportunity to examine the brief which was presented last October. Finally, however, I could not stand aside any longer and I asked for a copy of the brief which had been delivered. Copies were sent to the hon. member for Kootenay West, the hon. member for Kamloops, I believe the hon. member for Kootenay East or someone in his party in that constituency and also to the hon. member for Okanagan-Revelstoke. They all had an opportunity to examine it before I did.

I should like to tell the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Finance who is not here, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce that Canadian processors of fruits and vegetables in western Canada do not mind fair competition. No Canadian objects to this no matter in what industry he is engaged. But we cannot continue to compete on the export market unless those countries which export to Canada practise fair trade and fair play. I wish to state immediately that the Australians are not doing this. The Minister of Agriculture and the other ministers must be aware of this because obviously the matter must have been discussed in cabinet. We are being treated unfairly. When I say this I am speaking not only on behalf of the processors in western Canada but also the processors across Canada.

Last October the Canadian fruit processors in conjunction with the Canadian Horticultural Council presented a brief to the federal government. When they came away they said they had been received very well but now they say they would like to hear further about the matter. No word has been received since that time. I venture to say that no government member would have dared to get up on his feet and say anything about this matter had he not been a member from a Kootenay riding.

Much has been made of the fact that the Australians are laying down canned peaches in Toronto at prices far below our price or the United States price. The Australian price

is $7.62 a case. The best price we can offer is $8.63 and the best price the United States processors can offer is $8.31. The Australians have a subsidy which enables their exporters to compete unfairly in this part of the world and elsewhere. There is an excise tax on sales in Australia which is reflected in the price paid by Australian consumers. This excise tax is applied in order to subsidize the canned goods which are exported into our market. A special income tax allowance of 200 per cent is allowed for export promotional schemes but not for promotion of sales within Australia. I am pretty sure of my figures because I obtained them from the fruit industry and they can be checked. After everything is considered, such as the rebate on tin plate and the rebate on sugar, the Australian processors have an advantage of $2 a case and in some instances more than that.

I should like to know whether the government has looked at the brief which was presented or whether it has been tossed in the ash can. Why has an interim report not been made to the industry? I might also ask whether the Australian government has been approached and whether this unfair practice has been pointed out to it.

In a few moments I intend to refer to the recommendations contained in the brief presented by the fruit industry. Before doing so, however, I should like to correct the hon. member for Kootenay East because I wish to be helpful to him. The processing business in Canada and the Okanagan area did not come about in order to take care of overproduction. It is an essential part of the soft fruit industry. To appreciate this fact one must understand how this industry was developed. We produce soft fruits in the Okanagan and we have access to processors. They are not in the business to sell these products to the Canadian people at an excessive profit. Over the years these processors have had to import soft fruits from other countries of the world in order to fill the cans they must put on the grocers' shelves. We produce a pretty good brand.

[DOT] (3:30 p.m.)

I am sure the minister knows how necessary this processing industry is. It was not developed by an outside company. Every dollar put into the industry was put in as a result of contributions made in one way or another by the growers. Many millions of dollars have been invested in plants and equipment in the Okanagan valley. These processing plants are necessary to the whole fruit

March 1. 1968

industry in Canada. If one part of the industry is lost, the whole industry will be jeopardized. The processing industry must operate on a 12 month basis. If it operates for any less than 12 months it will operate at a loss.

In view of present attitudes I cannot help but wonder whether the government and the minister have taken account of the recommendations of the industry. Seven recommendations were proposed in the brief presented by the industry and I should like to refer to them. The first recommendation is:

Immediately opening negotiations with the Australian government to renegotiate the 1960 Australian Trade Agreement Act to rescind the concessions accorded tender fruit imports.

Has the government taken any action in this regard? The second recommendation is: Reviewing the Australian tax incentives applicable to their tender fruit industry. If considered a direct subsidy, appropriate action should be taken to reinstate our Canadian anti-dumping legislation with Australia. If not a direct subsidy, Canadian legislation should be implemented to remove inequities.

The minister knows full well that there is a saving clause in that agreement to the effect that if damage is being done steps can be taken. Why has the government not done something in this regard? Why has the government not kept in touch with the fruit growers and fruit processors in Canada? Will the minister tell me what steps have been taken, and if any steps have been taken why has the department not informed the industry? Recommendation No. 3 is:

Establishing tariffs equal to those enjoyed by Canadian competitors.

I am not in favour of an increase in tariffs. As I said earlier, no Canadian industry minds fair competition but unfair competition is something else. Whether the industry involved is small or otherwise the Canadian government should look into the matter. If we do not want the fruit industry to continue we should say so, but we should waffle no longer in this regard. Recommendation No. 4 is: Establishing a quota system as a temporary measure.

One might as well ask for the moon because the government manifested its attitude when it removed the quota system on turkeys and practically ruined the market for Canadian producers. As the hon. member for Kent (Ont.) suggested, the government is not in step with agricultural requirements in Canada. One does not fix a policy and then let it remain forever and ever. One has to keep up to date, and if you do not keep up to date

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in this competitive world you might as well cease to exist. Let us not lose our home markets. Recommendation No. 5 is:

If it is not possible to remove the present inequities, the Canadian government was asked to establish a subsidy program similar to that offered sugar beet, poultry, dairy and other industries.

I am not in favour of this recommendation. We have a strong fruit industry in British Columbia and Ontario, and these are the areas vitally affected. I am not in favour of paying a subsidy because this is not necessary if the unfair competition is removed. Recommendation No. 6 is:

In co-operation with the industry, establishing a promotional program for the domestic and international markets.

This is much along the Australian idea. I am sure the minister has looked into this aspect and I would be interested to hear his comments. Recommendation No. 7 is:

In co-operation with the growers and processors, conducting an economic survey of the tender fruit growing and processing industy, with the objective of determining ways of making the industry more competitive.

This industry is competitive. I should like to know the circumstances surrounding the bellying up recently of a cannery which had been in existence for many years. I should like to know whether this is company policy and what effect it has had on that part of Ontario. We cannot do anything about killing competition but has the minister looked into the circumstances? What are the freight rates on fruit for Canadian producers compared with the freight rates for Australian producers who ship fruit in all-inclusive shipments from Australia to Toronto?

The member for Kootenay East suggests there may be difficulties facing this industry but that we should not take a stand. Perhaps this is the government's view but I was surprised when he said that in the house. It is a very irrational statement to make in respect of any Canadian industry.

The brief to which I have referred came to the attention of the minister and the department some time ago. I should like to know whether any representations were made before that time. I am sure officials of the Department of Agriculture have known for well over two years about the Australian fruit industry's influence in this country. One has only to look at what has happened since 1957 when Canada produced 103 million pounds of canned fruit goods and imported 72 million pounds. Only ten years later, in 1966, this

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picture had been reversed. Canadian production dropped from 103 million pounds to 88 million pounds while imports increased from 72 million pounds to 132 million pounds. While ours is a growing economy and Canadians need more food, there should be some protection provided Canadian industry.

[DOT] (3:40 p.m.)

I think I have made my case, and I am glad to see that the hon. member for Kootenay West is in his seat as he has always been a champion on behalf of the fruit industry. I am glad that this agricultural debate has started off with everybody who has spoken demanding action. If I alone had made these requests of the minister I think he would have said to me that nobody else was bellyaching, but when the demand for action is so widespread I know the minister will stir himself a little and will get something done. He will probably start talking again to the Minister of Finance, if he has not done so already, and to the Minister of Trade and Commerce about these problems.

I say to the minister in all seriousness that if he knocks out the processors in my area he will knock out the fruit industry, probably including the apple industry, and I would point out that we produce apple juice as well. If the minister knocks out the processors in Canada the whole of the soft fruit industry and possibly the whole of the fruit industry will suffer irreparable loss in dollars and cents and perhaps the extermination of the whole fruit industry. The situation is as bad as that.

Even though the government knows about this situation, small beginnings and lack of control could lead to the extermination of this industry. People in the industry may find that in the end they will get nothing out of it. I ask the minister not to let the people engaged in the fruit industry feel that because it is a smaller industry than those concerned with huge coal sales to Japan, exports to the United States or wheat sales to places around the world, they are forgotten by the government. The minister should remember that the fruit industry is a very vital and important part of the economy of Canada and must be maintained.

I now wish to speak briefly about the people who presented a brief to the government. The minister knows what the Canadian Fruit Processors Association is; he knows what the Canadian Horticultural Council is. Every growers' association, every shipper, every wholesaler and everybody connected with the

fruit and vegetable industry in Canada is behind the brief of the Canadian Horticultural Council. I should now like to refer to an illustrious former holder of the portfolio of minister of agriculture, one of the same political ilk as this minister. I refer to Hon. James Gardiner, or Jimmy Gardiner. Hon. members should refer to Hansard of his day to see what he thought about the Canadian Horticultural Council.

That organization does not cry wolf with regard to matters that are not important. Its members examine every request put forward to the government and if it does not have merit and is not completely worth-while it does not bear the hallmark of the Canadian Horticultural Council. The minister knows that the council met here last week. He knows that its deliberations are for the benefit of all growers throughout Canada. The council aims at helping the whole of the industry from the producer down to the consumer. I shall not deal with the position taken by the fruit processors because it might be felt there was bias, but obviously they had to present a brief.

There are many other things with which I could have dealt today. I think this subject has been very fully covered but a short recapitulation of the situation would not hurt. Australian canned peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, etc., are being sold in Canada at prices with which we cannot compete. We cannot produce these fruits at the price for which the Australian product sells here. The reason the Australians can do this is that they are receiving a direct form of subsidy from their government. The minister has heard what I have said about rebates and all the other factors involved in this question. In other words, the Australian government helps the canned goods industry of that country. Australian canned fruits are sold at a lower price on the shelves of stores in Toronto than are Canadian products. They are sold at a lower price despite the freight rates and everything else involved in their shipment to this country. The price of the Australian product beats ours by $1.01 a case.

I say this is unfair competition. I hope that the Minister of Agriculture who is here, the Minister of Finance who is away, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce who is in a state of transition, will get together, forget the leadership race for a short while and take strong and immediate action to solve this problem. I hope they will get in touch with the Canadian Horticultural Council and the

March 1, 1968

Canadian Food Processors Association and say: Gentlemen, these are the steps we have taken; these are the steps we propose to take; this is an interim report only but we will keep in touch with you. The fruit industry cannot afford to wait any longer for government action to solve its problems.

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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey

Liberal

Mr. Honey:

Mr. Chairman, it is with some temerity that I enter this debate which seems to have polarized into a Kootenay-Okanagan discussion. Nevertheless, I think the debate has been very helpful. The three speakers who preceded me pointed out-I see that my hon. friend from Kootenay West is in the chamber and will no doubt be entering the debate-their concern with respect to the agricultural industry in another area of Canada but I am concerned particularly with Ontario.

The remarks of hon. members have general application in this debate and I wish to associate myself with the concern expressed by hon. members from British Columbia. At the same time, I think all hon. members are aware of the very difficult problem the government faces in this respect, bearing in mind that Canada is one of the world's great trading nations and that when we make decisions in these matters we must do so responsibly, keeping in mind all the many ramifications that flow from decisions made with respect to international trade. I say no more on that subject, other than to point out what my colleagues on this side of the chamber and hon. members opposite have already said, namely, that we are aware of the very intricate and difficult problem of international trade.

I wish to deal with a few matters this afternoon. I believe this is a particularly appropriate time to deal with them because we are concerned with a debate on agriculture and this week a brief was received from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. I only regret that it was not possible to have before us the brief of the National Farmers' Union. I expect it will be presenting its brief next week. I hope that before this debate concludes we will have the benefit of the views of the National Farmers' Union.

Having mentioned those two national agricultural organizations I wish to say to them through the medium of Hansard that I think it is an unfortunate situation that in Canada we do not have one voice speaking for the agricultural industry.

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[DOT] (3:50 p.m.)

I think hon. members on all sides of the house will join me in that sentiment. I know the difficulties which the minister and his officials face sometimes when, for example, it is not certain who has the authority to speak for the dairy industry. That of course applies to other segments of the agricultural industry. Perhaps I could leave the thought with our farm groups in Canada-and I know attempts have been made to do so, negotiations are in progress and studies are being initiated-that it would be helpful for the industry, and certainly for the government and parliament if a grouping in the federation, or a union, could be formed after preliminary discussions have taken place on this matter. We would then know that we had one organization speaking with authority for agriculture in Canada.

I am sure the minister would want to know which of the many groups of people who see him and his officials, and who see members of parliament from time to time, speak with authority in the various areas of agriculture. It seems to me that this situation must cause the minister some difficulty. I should like to say with reference to the minister-and I shall try to do so with tact, because of the situation we have with respect to the choosing of a new leader for our party-that I think the minister is doing a good job in his portfolio. It has been my experience from meeting agricultural groups in Ontario that the departmental officials and the minister, by and large and with some exceptions, which is always the case, are considered to have been acting responsibly and constructively in the interests of the agricultural industry.

The task force, the establishment of which was announced last year by the minister, which is now busily engaged in the performance of its duties and which I hope will report some time this year, is a constructive and useful body. I was pleased to see the support which the Canadian Federation of Agriculture gave to the idea of the establishment of the task force, in the brief which it presented this week. I wish to support the suggestion made by the federation in paragraph 7 of its brief, that the task force approach its job and structure its report in such a way that it could most effectively serve as basic documentation for a national conference on agricultural policy, such a conference to be jointly sponsored by the federal and provincial governments, and planned with the participation of farm organizations. I

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hope this will be one of the many results which would flow from the report of the task committee on agriculture.

I wish to spend a few minutes dealing with the dairy policy, which was referred to extensively in the federation's brief. I think it might be helpful if I quoted from paragraph 19 on page 6 of the brief, where the federation puts forward the following constructive opinion:

It is a source of considerable satisfaction to dairy farmers of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture that we now appear to be moving, grdually but constructively, toward a well conceived and carefully developed and integrated framework of dairy policy. In co-operation with the federal government, and with supporting provincial policy, we believe that we are beginning to achieve in the industry a prospect of some security of reasonable returns for the farmer's productive effort, in a known and understood framework of policy respecting prices, quotas, marketing organization, quality requirements. There is increasing recognition too, we believe, of the need for adjustment policies for the improvement of the income and earning opportunities of the less favourably situated producers.

I concur in that statement of the federation. I think that Canada's dairy policy under the present minister has been a good one. May I say also that in my opinion both the chairman and the members of the Canadian Dairy Commission have approached their job with a great deal of knowledge and understanding of all the problems of the dairy industry, in so far as it comes within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

I should like to comment on two aspects of the policy which might reasonably be considered both by the minister and by the commission. One is an old chestnut which the federation has brought up in previous years. To my knowledge no action has been taken on it, but I hope the minister and the commission are giving some consideration to the recommendation of the federation that adjustment payments be made to cream producers. At present no differentiation is made between the payments to cream shippers and those to shippers of manufacturing milk, such as milk sent to cheese factories. This seems to be rather unfair to cream shippers, and we might reasonably consider the suggestion or the recommendation of the federation that, in addition to the present subsidy, a special assistance payment be made to cream shippers. I think the federation suggests 7 cents per pound of butterfat, which they say would give the producers of farm separated cream a more adequate return, one more

comparable to that of the producers of industrial milk, after taking into consideration the value of the skim milk retained on the farm of the cream shipper. This is one suggestion which I asked the minister and his officials to consider seriously.

The second suggestion is with reference to quotas for the shippers of industrial milk in the 1968-69 dairy year, and in the following dairy years as the policy of the commission evolves. I am pleased-and I know this was of considerable concern to the hon. members on both sides of the house-that the originally suggested policy of the dairy commission with respect to the 1968-69 quotas has been considerably modified. It was suggested that it might be the policy of the commission not to grant quotas to producers who in the dairy year 1967-68 produced less than 50,000 pounds of industrial milk or 1,750 pounds of butter-fat. I think it is good that the policy was changed. I understand that the stated policy of the commission now is that the production of 12,000 pounds of industrial milk or 420 pounds of butterfat in the 1967-68 dairy year will enable those producers to qualify for a quota in the 1968-69 dairy year.

Having said that, I want to say that the principle enunciated by the commission, of gradually increasing production so that the moneys available to the commission from parliament may be used increasingly for the bona fide dairy producer who is making an effort to operate a viable and economic dairy production unit, is a good one.

[DOT] (4:00 p.m.)

However, Mr. Chairman, in encouraging increased production in the dairy industry I think the commission should keep in mind that there are going to be some dislocations. The principle is good, as I have said, but I think it should be applied in a reasonable and rather leisurely fashion so that all producers are given ample opportunity to increase their production. With regard to those unable to do so, the federation recommended that serious consideration be given to making adjustment grants to assist producers who find it advisable to turn to some other form of production.

I am sorry that the hon. member for Okanagan-Revelstoke is not in his seat, but he referred in rather descriptive terms and a little dramatically to computer breakdowns which sometimes delayed cheques sent to producers by the dairy commission. My experience with the commission has been that they

March 1, 1968

are extremely co-operative and helpful. In view of the number of dairy producers who receive cheques from the dairy commission, one can only marvel that the system has functioned as efficiently as it has. I think my hon. friend from Okanagan-Revelstoke was a little too critical because I have found that wherever there was delay in sending out cheques the officials of the commission were more than anxious to make a special effort to find the source of delay. In the great majority of cases it was at the local level, usually because the purchaser had not sent in his return to the commission; the fault was not with the commission itself. I think I should say that in fairness to the commission because they are doing an extremely competent and efficient job.

Reference was also made to the concern of the dairy industry regarding filled and synthetic dairy products. Driving to Ottawa a week or two ago I stopped at a roadside restaurant situated in a dairy area. I was served synthetic cream with my coffee, and to me this was warning of the sort of concern the dairy industry should be showing. Some aspects of the problem are the responsibility of this government, though some fall to the provincial governments.

If I may give some gratuitous advice to the dairy industry, it seems to me that the industry should be mounting a campaign, whether by means of public relations or some other means, to impress on the Canadian consumer the importance of avoiding filled and synthetic dairy products. I appreciate that the packaging and labelling of such products may very well be the responsibility of the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, and I hope the minister of that department is concerned about protecting purchasers of dairy products who may be unaware that they are actually purchasing a synthetic product.

I am not trying to interfere with the right and freedom of Canadian consumers to purchase whatever they wish to purchase. I also think that if restrictions are to be placed upon these products this is a matter for the provinces. However, I think it is the responsibility of this parliament to ensure that the description of these articles printed on the labels is properly regulated and supervised, in the interest of the Canadian consumer as well as in the interest of the dairy producers.

There are just two further matters I want to mention, Mr. Chairman, before I close. I want to leave the dairy industry and to talk for a moment about farm credit. I appreciate,

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as I am sure all hon. members appreciate, the problems and considerations that may have led to what has been suggested will be a cutback or decrease in the amount of funds available to the Farm Credit Corporation. If this is the case, then I hope that the government will look once more at this question. If the operations of our Canadian farmers are to be viable, so they can make a reasonable margin of profit, then it is important that an adequate amount of long term credit at a reasonable interest rate should be available to them through the Farm Credit Corporation.

Another aspect of farm credit is the improvement loan arranged through the chartered banks. The maximum limit of $15,000 seems to be pretty badly out of line with the realities of our present day agricultural society. I should like to endorse the recommendation of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture that the government increase the maximum limit to $30,000. I appreciate that this matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Finance, but I know that his colleague the Minister of Agriculture is also concerned with this question.

I also think we should take a look at the policy of the chartered banks in connection with these loans. The information I have from farmers in Ontario today is that the Farm Improvement Loans Act is gradually becoming a pretty academic measure. I am advised that this is because the chartered banks take the position that they do not have funds available for this kind of loan. If this legislation is to mean anything at all and is to be helpful to Canadian farmers, I think the Minister of Finance and the government should review with the chartered banks their policy relating to loans made pursuant to the legislation. The legislation will be of no particular benefit to the agricultural community if the bankers ignore it. I suggest that the government ought to indicate clearly to the bankers that it is in the national interest, in the agricultural community's interest and in the interest of the chartered banks of Canada that full and adequate operative force be given to this legislation. a (4:10 p.m.)

I wish to mention another item, and this will bring me full cycle, because in my introductory remarks I spoke of international trade. For a moment I want to talk about the tobacco industry in Ontario and in Canada. Mainly, I want to talk about flue cured tobacco, about 96 or 97 per cent of which is produced in Ontario. I wish to emphasize the

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concern which has been expressed by the Ontario Flue Cured Tobacco Growers Marketing Board to the Minister of Trade and Commerce, the Minister of National Revenue and the Minister of Agriculture about the importation to Canada of South African tobacco.

Though not much tobacco has been imported to date, an important principle is at stake. It has nothing to do with another principle to which some speakers referred, having to do with the importation of fruit. With respect to tobacco the suggestion has been made, and I do not assess its accuracy, that tobacco imports to Canada from South Africa are being made possible because Rhodesian produced flue cured tobacco is available to South Africa. Under present government policies there is an embargo against importing to Canada, direct, tobacco and other goods that are being produced in Rhodesia. I only make this observation, that because of trade between Rhodesia and South Africa it may be possible that Rhodesian tobacco has become available in Canada. If so, I hope our officials will look into the matter-and I think they are doing that. I hope that the Minister of National Revenue is considering the application of the dumping legislation with respect to this importation.

No one will quarrel with this government's decision that it is in the national and international interest for us not to trade with Rhodesia. If that decision is being circumvented by tobacco companies in Canada which purchase tobacco from South Africa, the matter should be looked into and the practice stopped. It is a matter of concern to Canadian producers and to all Canadians. I will leave it at that. I know the minister has noted my remarks and I know that the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of National Revenue, with whom this matter has been discussed, are concerned about the situation.

That is about all I want to say. May I mention the concern that is being felt by those in Canadian agriculture about the government's moving away from-if I may use that term-the system of subsidizing agricultural products. It is not possible to stop all subsidies at this time because in some areas the government must help. I spoke of the task force, and I hope its report will be carefully considered. I also hope that the various farm groupes will amalgamate into one authoritative farm group with which we can consult. Armed with the report and in consultation

with this group we shall be better able to move away from subsidizing some areas of agriculture. Until then we must shoulder our responsibilities. We must maintain those producers who could not produce economically without government assistance. We must be realistic and we must make the best possible use of the funds allocated by parliament, so that the agricultural industry in Canada may maintain and increase its contribution to the Canadian economy.

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PC

Warner Herbert Jorgenson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jorgenson:

Mr. Chairman, the speakers who preceded me in this debate, including those from the government side, have shown that there are serious defects in our agricultural industry. The hon. member for Durham who directly preceded me chided the government gently for failing to bring some measure of relief to the industry. That industry today is suffering-for lack of a better term-from the weaknesses of a government that vacillates and never has time to settle down and do what is necessary to make sure that the industry is treated fairly.

I recall that in the three past election campaigns members of the government went from one end of the country to the other loudly proclaiming they had all the answers. It turns out that not only do they not have the answers; they do not know the questions.

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PC
PC

Warner Herbert Jorgenson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jorgenson:

They had to set up a task force to look into the matter. I do not oppose the appointment of the task force; I know some of those who are on it. I can say to the minister that on that task force are some of Canada's best agriculturists. I only hope, if they bring down recommendations during the life of this government, that those recommendations will be acted upon.

I was interested to hear the hon. member for Kootenay East, who hoped that we on this side would be fair, and give the government credit for what it has done for or to agriculture. I am not sure which term he used. I am inclined to think that "to" is what he meant, though he used the other term.

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PC
PC

Warner Herbert Jorgenson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jorgenson:

We have not sufficiently debated the present state of our agricultural industry. Outside of mentioning it in budget debates and in throne speech debates, this is the first time during this session that we have had an opportunity to discuss agriculture. The

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main estimates of the department went through somewhat hurriedly, though they had been considered earlier in the committee. I always thought that the practice was to allow hon. members an opportunity to say a few words in the House of Commons and I hope, because of this, and because of the number of people who are planning to take part in this debate, government spokesmen will not go about the country saying the opposition is holding up the business of the house. I cannot think of anything more important to the house than paying attention to solving the problems of agriculture.

As previously mentioned, there is ample evidence throughout the country that serious difficulties have arisen. The number of demonstrations, protest marches and briefs since the minister assumed office should have convinced the hon. gentleman that he has a formidable task before him. I do not suggest for a moment that the minister is not interested or that he does not care: I think he is concerned. But I believe some of his cabinet colleagues are much less concerned, and that he has not been able to exercise the degree of authority within the cabinet necessary to enable him to do the things we feel need to be done.

I recall one of the promises made in the speech from the throne a year ago-that legislation would be introduced to provide assistance to agricultural societies across this country by way of grants or loans. This subject has been raised on several occasions and questions have been asked in this house, but we have never been told that the minister is likely to be able to get his legislation on the order paper, let alone on the statute books, in this current session.

When he sums up the debate the minister may, with some justification, point to figures which indicate an increase in farm income and say: Well, we are not doing too badly. If those figures told the entire story, if they gave a real indication how agriculture is faring, perhaps we would believe that agriculture was not doing too badly. But they do not tell the whole story, and all of us know it. Those in this house who are actively engaged in farming are deeply concerned about the position in which farmers find themselves as a result of the tremendous increase which has taken place in production costs. If there has been any increase in farm income it has been exceeded out of all proportion by the increase in the cost of the things farmers have to buy.

Supply-Agriculture

This increase in cost is to a large extent a result of actions taken by this government -higher taxation, higher costs due to taxes placed upon taxes, higher interest rates and so on. The kind of prosperity which farmers are enjoying today makes them wonder whether they should not have saved their money during the depression, so they could enjoy it. Talking about increased cost, these seems to be a creed, a solemn promise among those who supply farmers, that they will exact every last nickel out of his pockets so that there may be nothing left for him at all. As a result, the farmer finds himself having to run faster than ever in order to stay in the same place.

The commission which was set up to study the increase in farm machinery prices is one which should be supported by every member of this house. My experience is that if farmers do enjoy a good year-and there have been some good years in the past-there never seems anything left over after increased costs of production have been met. Farmers continually find themselves in this position and I am beginning to wonder whether it does not have something to do with the fact that a Liberal government is in power.

We recall the attitude of the party opposite toward the Canadian Wheat Board in the early years; when they took office in 1935 it was one of opposition to that agency. They only began to embrace this concept of marketing after the war had ended and the dangers of inflation were apparent. The signing of the wheat agreement with Britain at that time seemed to be nothing more than an effort to keep prices down and to use the farmer as a scapegoat in order to combat inflation. This pattern has returned and again we see a reduction of wheat prices, despite the contribution the farmers of this country have made toward solving the balance of payments difficulties experienced by this government a few years ago.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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?

An hon. Member:

By your government.

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PC

Warner Herbert Jorgenson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jorgenson:

One would have thought the government would finally have recognized the importance to this country of agriculture and of the wheat farmer. Nevertheless we once more find ourselves in the position where despite rising costs of production prices of practically every agricultural commodity are falling. Is this because the government intends once again to use the farmer as a scapegoat to combat the inflation which their own actions have so largely brought about?

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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouelle:

Mr. Chairman, I listened very carefully to the remarks made by the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Jorgenson). He is right in saying that the farmer is quite neglected and forgotten by the government. However, the hon. member should realize that the present situation in the field of agriculture does not date from today nor yesterday but that it did exist in all its seriousness when his party was in office, that is from 1957 to 1962.

Agricultural associations have been making representations to the government for a great many years. I was here from 1946 to 1949 and, at that time, farmers were asking to be recognized, better treated and better understood by government authorities.

I notice in the supplementary estimates (C), that the Department of Agriculture is asking for an additional sum of $33,383,166. Therefore, it means that at the time the officials prepared the estimates for the year ending on March 31, 1968, they underestimated their expenditures by $33,383,166.

Let us compare the estimates of the Department of Agriculture to those of the Department of Finance, which amounts to $2,122,694,590, and to those of the Department of National Defence which will cost us, this year, the sum of $1,747,269,001. Let us also compare them to those of Department of National Health and Welfare, a department that would deserve to get more so as to increase pensions and allowances, and we will see that the Department of Agriculture takes about one tenth of the amount required by the Department of Finance. Yet, all the members, all the political parties, all the citizens, easily recognize that agriculture is the very basis of the whole economic and social structure of our country. We know full well that if Canadians could not be fed, they would cease to exist within the space of a few days. We are all subordinated to the prime need for life, we must eat to live, and agriculture enables us to survive.

[DOT] (4:40 p.m.)

Yet, the farmers are treated in this fashion, by being granted a budget of $282 million for the year, that is one tenth of the expenses incurred to serve the dollars in Canada, to feed the population and to help the farmer. One really does not know what to make of it.

Mr. Chairman, we, of the Ralliement Creditiste, have asked repeatedly in the last six years for greater help to be extended dairy producers. The government waited; it

Supply-Agriculture

took its time, there was no hurry. Promises made before an election are soon forgotten. Everybody knows that a dairy farmer must now spend five or six times more than a few years ago, merely to keep his farm going, to feed his herd, to buy machinery and to operate his farm.

For instance, a tractor which cost $1,500 not so long ago, now costs $4,000 and it is the farmer who must pay for it. In western Canada, a combine could be bought for $6,000 not so very long ago. Today, it is selling at $15,000 or $16,000. The same holds true in respect of spreaders, milking machines, in short all farm machinery. Prices have doubled, tripled, they have increased fourfold and even fivefold, and it is always the farmer who must foot the bill.

There are no longer any limits. The farmer works just to buy farm machinery. Yet there is no lack of work on the land. Farmers work hard, from four or half past four in the morning to nine thirty or ten at night, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The farmer cannot go on strike; he must stay on his land. He cannot dream of having a 36, 40 or 45-hour working week; he must work 98 and even 100 hours a week. In fact, he never stops.

Yet we are asked to vote the fantastic sum of one-tenth of the budget of the finance minister for agriculture.

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to take up any more of the time of the house, but one thing is sure, and that is, that the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Greene) is now asking us to pass supplementary estimates (C) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1968, that is, thirty days from now.

I would only like the Minister of Agriculture, in his next budget, to suggest to his cabinet colleagues that subsidies to the dairy industry should be substantially increased, in order to aid the farmers-and not oppress them-allow them to live on a par with all Canadians and be recognized in Canadian life as other classes of workers.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw this minister's attention to vote 5-C, which reads:

-to extend the purposes of vote 5 of the main estimates for 1967-68 to include a contribution of $10,000 to the town of Kapuskasing towards the construction of a road.

Kapuskasing is a little bit in our area. I wonder where the road will be built and for what purpose. Would it be to give access to new land in this area?

March 1, 1968

Supply-Agriculture

If so, Mr. Chairman, I shall ask the Minister of Agriculture to grant us an equal subsidy for the construction of a road from La Sarre to James Bay, where there are vast economic and agricultural possibilities.

It is a good thing to contribute $10,000 to Kapuskasing, which is a little bit in our area, towards the construction of a road? In my opinion, the minister should consider granting a similar subsidy to the town of La Sarre or the economic organization of La Sarre area, towards the construction of a road to James Bay. Otherwise, I would be inclined to think that the contribution of $10,000, paid to the city of Kapuskasing, was some sort of a political gift. Political considerations must not enter into the granting of subsidies, even if in the past there was political patronage in granting contributions or subsidies to cities, counties or regions.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I ask the hon. Minister of Agriculture to consider the possibility of granting a subsidy to the region of La Sarre for the construction of a road to James Bay.

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NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Chairman, I always enjoy discussion of these estimates because I come from a long line of pirates, poachers, preachers, politicians and plowmen. In fact I never get away from the land. Even now I wake up at six o'clock in the morning ready to milk the cows that are not there.

First of all I should like to bring to the attention of the minister that the ridings of the hon. member for Okanagan-Revelstoke, the hon. member for Okanagan Boundary and the hon. member for Kootenay East are all within the county of Kootenay. I should like to support the recommendations made by these hon. members. I know the fruit industry very well, having attended the first convention of the British Columbia Fruit Growers Association in 1919. I am aware of their problems.

Before being elected to the House of Commons I was a rancher and lived on an income slightly above the social welfare level. Since then my standard of living has continued to improve. In respect of the importance of agriculture as an industry, and with regard to the development of agricultural policy, I think we must move into new fields. We should consider the need for an incentive income policy and the retraining of our younger people. I represent a riding which includes a large number of small farmers who are quite happy to live the type of life they

are leading. Some of the younger people, however, because of the lower income which can be derived from agriculture are lured away from the farm into employment in industry or into jobs in the city. I do not believe they would leave the field of agriculture if they were assured of a fairly reasonable income on the farms, and if they had a bent in that direction, e (4:50 p.m.)

I should like to quote briefly from the Agricultural Institute Review for March and April of 1967 at page 24. The article written by David Suderman, is headed "We must review our agricultural policies'', and it says:

The agriculture industry is reaching the point where the policies governing it and guiding it can no longer be left to the few in governments and farm organizations. The challenge of the next two decades will demand that the industry make maximum use of its resources; the combined brainpower of agrologists, no matter what field they are in, will be needed to enable farmers to put the best technological know-how to use.

It's all very well to say that known technology is already well ahead of practice. It's equally as valid to claim that productivity in agriculture is already increasing much more rapidly than in other fields of endeavour.

That has been proven by experience in the last 20 years. The article then states:

Technological developments have helped the farmer do his job better, but they haven't helped much to improve the farmer's net income relative to the rest of society.

The article then continues under the subheading "Gordian knot":

The three, use of technology, productivity and income, are entwined in a Gordian knot. As long as returns in agriculture are insufficient to attract significant amounts of new investment, technological improvements will not be adopted as rapidly as they should. And as long as farm incomes remain uncompetitive with wages and salaries elsewhere, migration off farms will continue. In cold economic terms, this isn't necessarily bad since the economies of scale point to the need of fewer farms. But one sad feature in this movement is that it reflects the traditional misconception that "book learnin' " is for those leaving the farm. Few of the young leaving home to pursue their educations ever return to the farm. How much longer can the farm industry afford such a "brain drain"?

I agree with those sentiments. Later in the article Mr. Suderman states:

Some sort of a forum must be established to allow the agriculture industry to draw from the combined brain power of everyone in agriculture, whether he be the plant scientist, the economist, the educator or practical farmer, to develop policies which will make agriculture in this country more intensive, more productive and more profitable to those engaged in it. There is little time left. In

March 1. 1S68

fact, if F.A.O. predictions on population growths are to be believed, agriculture is the only industry in this country worth worrying about.

This is one industry we should worry about, because it those in many other occupations were to die tomorrow we could carry on with very little difficulty, doing the things we wish to do. This article continues at some length, and I heartily agree with Mr. Suder-man's contention in respect of the need for a review of our agricultural policies.

Another article appeared in the same issue written by B. H. Kristjanson entitled "Incentive-Incomes Policy for Canada", and states in part:

In the absence of facts and figures, I will make some heroic assumptions:

(1) The typical efficient family farm operator has as his primary goal the good life. He is not farming because he wants to become rich, but rather because this is what he wants to do and because he can do it better than anything else.

The article then continues:

(2) There is no clear evidence that an efficient family farm operation is a stable community well-served by aggressive co-operative organizations of all types cannot produce food at a price acceptable to consumers.

(3) There would be real value in a national policy designed to keep food production at maximum levels, allowing prices to reflect domestic and international market forces. In other words, a low-cost food policy to contain inflationary forces in the economy and to maximize our competitive advantages in international markets.

(4) Cost of public services could be stabilized and the services could be rendered with increased efficiency since the many functions provided in a rural region could be rationalized within a stabilized system.

(5) Most heroic of all, the general public could be brought to the view that income transfers of this type of agriculture are in the individual consumer's interest.

The mechanics are easy to state, but unfortunately resist easy application.

I think there is an opportunity for farmers and consumers to co-operate, so everyone in Canadian society could have the benefits of the agricultural industry. This could work to the benefit of the food needing populations of the world in general.

I have a few references I wish to make regarding the need for training in agriculture. I am very keen on this and I should like to quote again from the Agricultural Institute Review for January and February, 1968. It contains an article by E. H. Lange entitled "Technical and Vocational Training for Agriculture", which says in part:

The overall goal of agricultural training must be the optimum, broad development of the manpower in the agricultural industry, the development of

Control of Air Pollution all those people who require agricultural knowledge and those who have positions of influence and leadership in the industry. Some of this training must be at the professional level. At the technical and vocational levels, the specific purpose of the total program should be: (1) to train farmers,

farm managers and farm leaders; (2) to train competent manpower for farm-related business in occupations where a knowledge of agriculture is essential; (3) to train technicians to assist agrolo-gists (and veterinarians) in their programs and (4) to train skilled workers for farming and farm-related business.

Broadly speaking, there are two areas of employment, and therefore of training, on the technical and vocational levels: (1) employment and selfemployment in agricultural business, on and off the farm and (2) employment as technicians or technologists to assist agrologists.

There is excellent work being done in this respect by the university at Guelph. This is considered as a provincial problem, but I hope our federal Department of Agriculture will do more in co-operation with provincial governments to provide the training required.

In concluding my few brief remarks let me say that governments, the people and farm organizations should co-operate in the development of policy and income incentives, as well as in the development of training facilities for future farmers.

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@Deputy Chair(man)? of Committees of the Whole

Shall the resolution carry?

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PC

Malcolm Wallace McCutcheon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McCutcheon:

Mr. Chairman, my remarks are brief but I cannot finish them in the time remaining. May I call it five o'clock.

Progress reported.

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LIB

Herman Maxwell Batten (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

It being five o'clock, the house will now proceed to the consideration of private members business as listed on today's order paper, namely public bills and private bills.

[DOT] (5:00 p.m.)

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AIR POLLUTION

MEASURE TO ASSIST GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE CONTROL AGENCIES

LIB

Stanley Haidasz (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Liberal

Mr. Stanley Haidasz (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) moved

the second reading of Bill No. C-25, to control air pollution.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I have been waiting for this occasion since May 11, 1967, when the House of Commons gave the proposals in Bill C-25, an act to control air pollution, the privilege of first reading. At this period of our national development air pollution is one of the most vital and urgent problems confronting Canada. Pollutants in the air are steadily

March 1, 1968

Control of Air Pollution causing injury to people, animals, vegetation and physical property.

The progressive results of air pollution brought upon us by greater urbanization, growing industrialization and the increasing number of fuel-driven vehicles call for vigorous national leadership and intensified efforts to ensure clean air for our citizens. Clean air is a most precious and vital national resource. Within the limits of federal jurisdiction I think this bill provides for action to assist recognized provincial, regional, municipal and private agencies, as well as citizens, to abate air pollution.

Both as a physician in a dense urban and highly industrialized centre, and as the member of parliament for Parkdale, an area with many manufacturing plants, I am very concerned about the ill effects of air pollution. In my medical practice I have been alarmed at the increasing number of cases of emphysema, bronchitis and lung cancer. I welcome the assistance of many experts in this field who have helped me to make some proposals which I have included in this bill. I welcome also with great joy the assurance of the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. MacEachen) who in this house has told us that the occupational and environmental branch of his department is preparing a clean air act for Canada.

In this bill I am proposing that parliament grant the Minister of National Health and Welfare immediately, or as soon as possible, duties and powers to deal specifically with certain aspects of air pollution. In my study of this problem of air pollution I had meetings with Mr. W. B. Drowley of the Ontario pollution control branch, Mr. H. A. Belyea, director of the air pollution control division of metropolitan Toronto, Alderman O'Donohue of Toronto, Dr. Norman Delarue and other experts in air pollution matters.

This bill states that air pollution means the detectable presence in the outdoor atmosphere of any air contaminant or contaminants in amounts that may cause damage or discomfort to the health of persons, may cause damage to animal life, may produce injury to vegetation, may damage physical property, or may interfere with visibility or the normal conduct of transportation, occupation or business.

Many factors have contributed and are increasingly contributing to the pollution of our air. Most of the air contaminants are in man's atmosphere because of his own activity. An extensive bibliography, readily available,

reviews epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data which pertain to the health hazards of community air pollution. Also, the present trend to longevity may mean that a segment of our citizens are very susceptible to the aggravating effects of air pollution that now exist in polluted Canadian urban areas.

In clause 3 of this bill I have suggested that the minister consider the expediency of encouraging co-operative activities of municipal, provincial, interprovincial, federal and international governments for the investigation, prevention and abatement of air pollution. Also in this clause I have suggested that the minister consider the expediency of initiating and conducting appropriate research across Canada in the field of air pollution and, in particular, undertaking studies in air quality, weather conditions and monitoring programs in order to determine ambient air quality national guides and criteria of the known air pollutants.

I have also suggested that in the federal field the minister consider the expediency of controlling air pollution from vessels in Canadian waters by effective investigation and enforcement of the provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, from interprovincial railway operations by means of the railway board of commissioners, through the Atomic Energy Commission the air pollution caused by ionizing radiation, air pollution which may be caused by contaminating our soil when it is treated with pesticides and, above all, I suggest that the federal government take initiative in controlling air pollution being emitted from federal buildings, equipment and vehicles used by federal authorities.

I also suggest in this bill that the minister encourage regular federal-provincial meetings and seminars to set air quality standards, and establish a special federal air pollution control division with adequate central and regional personnel and laboratory facilities in the Department of National Health and Welfare to collect data and information on air pollution, to determine criteria and guides helpful in setting ambient air quality standards in accordance with the principles of the report of the World Health Organization on air pollution.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I have proposed the establishment of a federal anti-air pollution agency to co-ordinate this program and also the establishment of a national anti-air pollution agency and advisory council to assist in fighting air pollution.

March 1, 1968

In clause 4 of the bill I propose that the governor in council make regulations requiring motor vehicles or engines to have installed thereon or incorporated therein one or more devices to prevent or lessen the emission into the outdoor atmosphere of any air contaminant or contaminants, prescribing the specifications and standards of any such device; classifying motor vehicles and engines for the purpose of any regulations and exempting any class or type of motor vehicle or engine from any regulation; classifying the quality of equipment and fuels for use in industrial processes, steam and electric generation, and domestic heating.

Many factors contribute to air pollution, but during our study of this problem we were told that they emanate from two major forms, namely a reducing form which consists largely of soot and sulphur dioxide, and an oxidizing form which consists of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and photochemical decomposition products such as oxides of nitrogen, ozone, and many others. Air pollution is also influenced by the topography of the area and weather conditions such as humidity, brilliant sunshine, air stagnation and atmospheric inversion. The health hazards of air pollutants are also influenced by age, cigarette smoking and pre-existent diseases.

At a public meeting and panel discussion in which I participated at the University of Toronto last December, Dr. Alfred Bernhart, a civil engineer, described how much air pollution there is in the city of Toronto and how much damage it produces. He estimated that in one year Torontonians, by burning 8.8 million tons of coal, oil, heating gas, garbage, and also 3 million tons of gasoline and diesel oil, emit 5.2 trillion cubic feet of polluted exhaust gases into our air. In addition, 65,300 tons of dust is blown into Toronto every year. He stated also that 47 per cent of this pollution is caused by cars, buses and trucks; 20 per cent by power plants; 20 per cent by heating, 10 per cent by manufacturing plants; and 3 per cent by garbage incinerators. This pollution, he also stated, causes material and health damage amounting to approximately $120 million annually in Toronto alone.

[DOT] (5:10 p.m.)

Health authorities have stated that the intensity of urbanization and industrialization producing air pollution may have a residual influence on lung cancer mortality. Some medical specialists are of the opinion that lung cancer deaths among cigarette smokers 27053-453

Control of Air Pollution are more frequent in large industrialized cities than in rural areas.

Studies have also shown that there is a reduction in visibility when air pollution is at its peak. In several studies of deaths during severe urban pollution, air and train crashes accounted for some of the peak mortality. Highway safety crusaders should note, therefore, that the effect of air pollution may be augmented by smoking cigarettes and inhaling carbon monoxide-a combination which increases the risk of automobile accidents.

What is alarming is that on the one hand there is an increasing air pollution hazard to humans, animals, vegetation, and physical property, and on the other hand there is an inadequate nationally co-ordinated research, a lack of ambient air quality standards, ineffective regulations, and inefficient enforcement agencies, all of which is steadily contributing to the air pollution problem in Canada.

To date I know of no authority in Canada which deals with interprovincial air pollution problems. That is why there is a wide variation in air pollution legislation and enforcement across the country. To date, Ontario has the most comprehensive air pollution program, as contained in the air pollution control act of 1967. The other provinces are said by experts to have inadequate air pollution control measures. Countries like the United States, the U.S.S.R., West Germany and Poland are far advanced in the task of setting ambient air quality standards, control regulations and other means of enforcement.

As, to date, we in Canada do not have the financial and scientific personnel to set national ambient air quality standards, we should try to learn from these countries and try to determine whether it is practical to adopt some of their measures. For general guidance in this matter, the World Health Organization's expert report on atmospheric pollutants has been available since 1964. Mr. W. B. Drowley, chairman of the Canadian Standards Association committee on air pollution, stated in an address at a conference in Montreal in 1966 that the government of Canada should place a co-ordinated policy in the hands of one agency or department to avoid duplication and fragmentation of effort.

I believe that the proposals I outlined in Bill No. C-25 meet the immediate needs which are urgently required. The Minister of National Health and Welfare will be able to fight air pollution in Canada more effectively

March 1, 1968

Control of Air Pollution by accepting the proposals outlined in clauses 3 and 4 of the bill. I also hope that he will prevail upon his colleague, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Sharp), to grant tax incentives to private citizens who would instal anti-air pollution devices and use clean fuels.

It is most urgent to attack vigorously the problem of air pollution in Canada. I believe this bill will assist in abating air pollution in our country and help to ensure better health and a higher quality of life for our citizens. Therefore I express the hope that the members of this house will either pass this bill, or at least refer its subject matter to the appropriate committee of the house for further study.

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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

I wonder if the hon. member would permit me to ask him a question before he concludes his remarks. In view of the fact that he is the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Laing), or a kind of junior cabinet minister, I wonder whether, in the light of the importance of this subject which he so ably outlined and the urgency of dealing with it, he has had any intimations from the government as to whether or not it accepts the concept contained in the bill.

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March 1, 1968