March 5, 1968

PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Simpson (Churchill):

I wonder whether the Prime Minister is now in a position to answer the question I put to him on

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February 9 in relation to the conflict between the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Indian treaties.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

I apologize to the hon. gentleman for the delay in dealing with this. I will look into it right away.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Batten in the chair.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Research-

Sc. Administration, operation and maintenance- 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 toward the construction of a road, $1.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

Richard Russell Southam

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Southam:

Mr. Chairman, I welcome this opportunity to make a few comments on the supplementary estimates of the Department of Agriculture which are now before the committee. My first words must be words of congratulation to my hon. friend the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition who last evening in his speech on these estimates gave a most comprehensive and factual review of the problems facing agriculture today. His intervention in our discussion very ably demonstrated his wide knowledge of one of Canada's most basic industries.

On the other hand, I am sorry to say, the Minister of Agriculture, in a reply which was both bombastic and political, left the very opposite impression on the committee. It would appear to me that through lack of knowledge, indifference and in some cases sheer stupidity, the government opposite has been responsible for placing agriculture in its worst financial position in years. This is the government which talked about 60 days of decision, the government which set out to challenge the weak and excite the daring. What has happened instead? They have stumbled from indecision to indiscretion and from crisis to crisis.

The minister's speech last evening was a replica of the one he made on October 31 last as reported in Hansard on pages 3725 to 3728, in which in effect he spent all his time telling the farmers of this country that they never had it so good. He reminded me of the shades of the late Right Hon. C. D. Howe at that fateful meeting in Morris, Manitoba, in 1957. I suggest to the minister that after last night's speech he will now be running well behind Mayor Lloyd Henderson of Portage la Prairie in the leadership race.

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The hon. gentleman spent a great deal of time last night quoting statistics of wheat sales from 1961 to 1967. But he forgot to tell the committee that these sales were based on policies developed by the former government. I well recall that from 1957 to 1962 members of that government paid special attention to the development of stronger wheat marketing policies. The prime minister at that time, together with officials of the Departments of Trade and Commerce and Agriculture, made a tour round the world inviting trade groups to visit Canada and arrange trade deals. This resulted in a visit by a Japanese trade mission the following year, and after negotiations involving the transfer and exchange of textiles Canada was able to double wheat sales to Japan.

Later a great deal of time was spent in the house debating amendments to the export credit insurance policy. A brand new policy emerged in consequence of which we were able to treble our sales of wheat abroad. In particular, sales of wheat to China on credit were approved despite strong opposition from hon. members now sitting on the other side of the chamber. I well remember one of them telling us that in his opinion it was close to treason to sell to our friends for cash and to our enemies for credit.

The hon. member who represented As-siniboia at that time waved his arms and said it was all a hoax, it was preposterous, we would never get our money. Events proved these people to be wrong. As a result of our perseverance and the hard work of our committee at that time we developed the sales policy which this government inherited. This is why the minister was able to spend most of his time last night praising the record of his party though, in fact, he cannot not take credit for it at all. If anything the shoe is on the other foot, bearing in mind what has happened in 1967 and 1968.

I do not propose to cover the whole spectrum of agricultural problems. In passing, however, I should like to say that looking at the headlines today one finds nothing but trouble. Wheat prices are down, hog prices are down, egg prices are down, poultry prices are lower, turkey prices are down, rapeseed prices are down, soybean prices have declined, potato prices are down, farm improvement loans have dried up, wheat exports are falling farther below the 1967 level, and so on.

Here is a headline reading: "Wheat Exports Sharply Under Year Ago Total". The article begins:

Export clearances of Canadian wheat for the first three months of the current crop year at 64,487,000 bushels were down almost 60 per cent from last year's comparative total of 163,249,000 bushels.

Another headline in the Globe and Mail reads: "Higher Costs Expected To Offset Increase In Foreign Production". On the same page we read a headline, "Wheat Trade Expected To Toughen". Another headline, this one in the Western Producer of December 7, asks: "What About PFRA?" The writer states that one of the great pieces of legislation introduced in parliament years ago is being neglected. A headline in the Manitoba CoOperator states: "ARDA and PFRA Are Not Effective Says Report". The reason given is Liberal inefficiency. The report of a special study commissioned by the Economic Council of Canada is dealt with in Farm and Country under the headline: "Blast ARDA Waste". In the Western Producer of December 14, Mr. Roy Atkinson, president of the Saskatchewan Farmers' Union, is reported as calling for greater farmer unity. Mr. Atkinson is quoted as saying:

It is clear in the light of sharp reduction in quota opportunity, that the defence of the minimum will prove inadequate in maintaining farm income in light of continuing lower quotas due to loss of export sales and increases in the cost of production.

In other words, he is saying it does not matter whether or not the price per bushel is fixed at $1.95 if the wheat cannot be sold. In the Western Producer of December 14, 1967, there was an article headed. "Wheat-A Time for Reassessment," being the report of an address by Charles W. Gibbings, president of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. In the Manitoba Co-operator of February 29, 1966, there was a report headed "National Meeting Asked On Agricultural Policy" in which the following appeared:

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

J. M. Bentley of Edmonton, president of the C.F.A., in presenting the brief was critical of the eventual success of the agricultural task force appointed by Ottawa last year.

So the story goes, Mr. Chairman. Getting back to wheat marketing I point out that last night the minister referred at great length to sales statistics, but I think his argument was hollow inasmuch as I gave facts a few moments ago to show that these sales were based on policies that we developed and were not due to anything this government has been able to do.

March 5, 1968

The problem in wheat marketing today is a direct result of the lapsing of the international wheat agreement. What has happened is a replica of what happened under previous Liberal governments. In 1935 the government of the late R. B. Bennett brought in legislation setting up the Canadian Wheat Board. The first thing the succeeding Liberal government did was to throw it out, but because of the protests from farm organizations in western Canada that important piece of legislation was replaced on the statute books and ever since the Canadian Wheat Board has been a most effective agency in assisting farmers to market their crops.

To emphasize the lack of policy and the indifference of the Liberal party to agriculture I bring the story up to the war years. With their policy of trying to show love for their mother country the Liberals, encouraged by co-operation from farm organizations, introduced the British preferential wheat agreement under which farmers in western Canada were forced to sell wheat at $1 per bushel under the world market price. It is estimated that this cost western agriculture some $600 million. In other words, our agricultural industry and farm community were asked to sacrifice that amount of money in the interests of Liberal policy.

In February, 1965, the Minister of Finance, who then had the Canadian Wheat Board under his wing, involved the board in a price war with the United States which lasted several months and cost Canadian farmers well over $100 million. This came about owing to the fact that our friends across the line were trying to dispose of some of their large wheat surplus and were testing this government to see what its stability was and how concerned it was about agricultural policies.

One morning we woke up to the fact that the Americans had dumped quite a large amount of grain into our markets at six cents per bushel below the wheat agreement price. Instead of the Minister of Finance going to the United States and pointing out to our friends that they were breaking the rules he went to the Canadian Wheat Board and said, "We will compete with them; we will cut the price too." This is exactly what our friends in the United States wanted. Next day they cut six cents a bushel off the price of No. 3 and No. 4 wheat and within a week the price dropped a further four cents. Over all, within ten days the price of Canadian wheat was allowed to drop 18 cents per bushel, which

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cost the Canadian farmers between $90 million and $100 million. This amply demonstrates the indifference of the government to wheat policy and to the western farmers. Then we come to the fiasco of 1967 in allowing the international wheat agreement to lapse for 11 months, and the indications are that we will have to wait years for a renewal of that agreement.

This afternoon the hon. member for As-siniboia questioned the Minister of Trade and Commerce about the international wheat agreement. He has been questioned about it many times previously. I have questioned him on many occasions about why it was allowed to lapse and we have never received a logical answer. Despite the protestations of the minister we are still very concerned that the new agreement will not come into effect this year because the latest reports indicate that even those countries which signed the protocol to show they were in accord with the principle of the agreement have not yet ratified it. The new wheat agreement was supposed to come into effect on July 1. It is high time the government took strong and definite action to undo the damage it did in allowing the old agreement to lapse. As I say, the Minister of Trade and Commerce has been questioned many times about this and he has tried to assure us that everything is well. In fact he tried to defend himself by stating that farm organizations in western Canada were in agreement with the action taken. This statement is absolutely contrary to the facts.

Only last Wednesday morning, with 40 members of the house present at the meeting at which the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canada's largest farm organization, presented its brief, Mr. James Bentley, president of that organization, flatly stated that they never had any warning or knowledge of Canada's intention to agree to the lapsing of the international wheat agreement, and that this was basically the cause of Canada's wheat marketing problem today. This is similar to the surprise expressed by the leaders of western wheat pools, farm unions, and other farm spokesmen.

Why should the minister try to kid our Canadian farmers in this way? The meat packers have a word for that-boloney. We find American sales going up day by day while our sales are going down. We have sold only a small amount of wheat to Japan this year while the United States has entered that market on a big scale. We have turned back the clock 20 years and are now back to the

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law of the jungle so far as wheat sales are concerned. With the price cutting that is going on it is simply dog eat dog.

I would like to refer to some notes, Mr. Chairman. I do not want to bore the chamber with a long address on this matter because I know that most members of this party are well aware of the problem, and if the minister is not already aware of it I hope that as a result of what I say he will become aware. The United States price-cutting tactic became effective following the announcement by secretary of agriculture, Orville Freeman, that he had set the national wheat export target for this year at 750 million bushels, with a smaller proportion of exports to be devoted to food give-away programs. The Minister of Trade and Commerce went to Washington. There he pleaded with Mr. Freeman that the United States and other wheat exporting countries were bound by a gentleman's agreement to hold the agreed price floor. Mr. Freeman was courteous but pointed out that no legal requirements bound the United States to observe any price but that dictated by supply and demand and, further, he had far less control over or impact upon the wheat exporting business in the United States than did the Canadian government through the Canadian Wheat Board. This again points out the indifference and, as I said a while ago, the stupidity of the government in allowing this situation to develop.

To give a brief review of the energy and time which went into bringing about the first international wheat agreement I point out that for 12 years prior to 1947 western farm organizations were very interested in accomplishing such a development and worked very hard with their counterparts in other countries to establish the agreement. That agreement has now been in effect for about 18 years. When you have a formula that works so effectively I just cannot understand why the government participated in the Kennedy round of talks at Geneva and agreed to the lapsing of the agreement, turning back the clock as it were and allowing the agreement to lapse for 11 months. It should not have been allowed to lapse for even one month. Had there been continuity of the agreement we would not be in the trouble we are in today.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce returned to Ottawa from Washington without any assurance that the price-cutting method of moving the large United States wheat surplus would stop. The seller's market that

[Mr. Southam.l

existed at the time the international wheat agreement lapsed changed during the summer of 1967 to a buyer's market under the impact of bumper wheat crops in many areas of the world. This fact emphasizes more than ever the need for an international wheat agreement. And so the story goes.

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

Before concluding my remarks I should like to touch briefly on one other matter of serious consequence to my riding and several neighbouring areas. I refer to the question put to the Minister of Agriculture in the house yesterday, which appears on page 7233 of Hansard. I put the following question to the minister:

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Agriculture. Is the minister aware of the possible collapse of the new and expanding P.M.U. estrogen drug industry in western Canada because of the terms of Bill C-190? If so, has the minister consulted with his cabinet colleague the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs with a view to saving this new agricultural industry?

The answer from the Minister of Agriculture was:

Mr. Speaker, I have not specifically considered it with the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, but I shall be glad to take the hon. member's suggestion and consult my colleague.

This would indicate to me that the minister was not even aware of this new industry and had not been on top of this new problem which has developed over the past month or two. If so, he would have already conferred with his colleague on the matter. Here is a new industry in western Canada and in other parts of Canada which is just two years old but in which millions of dollars have already been invested by Canadian farmers. This industry is about to collapse unless something is done about it at once. This is another indication of the serious predicament of agriculture today and particularly the western wheat farmer. This is again a result of the lack of policy on the part of the government. There would seem to be a lack of knowledge in this regard and in some cases sheer stupidity.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

John Patrick (Pat) Nowlan

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Mr. Chairman, I too welcome the opportunity to speak on these supplementary estimates of the Department of Agriculture for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the horticultural council along with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture last week presented recommendations to the government and tomorrow I understand the National Farmers Union

March 5. 1968

intends to place recommendations before the government concerning what it and other farm organizations consider should be the policies of the government. I welcome the opportunity to speak in view of the fact that these agencies are presenting their views, but if this had not been sufficient incentive certainly the minister's speech last night was enough to persuade any member on this side, and I would hope even on the other side, to make some comments in respect of this problem and the minister's remarks.

I know it will come as a tremendous surprise to the farmers in eastern Canada, certainly in Nova Scotia, to learn that farmers' net income increased by over 30 per cent. This is one figure the minister threw around last night. In fact the tenor of his remarks seemed to be that the farmers in Canada never had it so good. This was the attitude of the minister last fall when he spoke on the estimates and quoted many gross figures. When I say "gross" I do not mean in the sense that they were repugnant to us on this side of the house but in the sense that they were total figures without taking costs into consideration.

He repeated this performance last night when he jumped into the debate after the Leader of the Opposition had spoken in fairly calm, cool and even tones. This minister, perhaps seeking some political hay because there is a question of his ability to make hay, decided to risk his reputation and that of the government merely to get some desk-thumping. If rose-coloured glasses are worn by the candidates on April 4 the Minister of Agriculture will be well up in the pack because he was certainly wearing rose-coloured glasses last night. In a situation of reality a minister should sometimes take off his rose-coloured glasses. When this minister takes his off, if he ever does, I am afraid he will be as glum and disappointed as the agricultural industry in Canada is with the lack of initiative, concern and leadership on his part. I do not wish to be too dogmatic in that statement because it would not have surprised me, although it might have surprised some members on this side of the house, if the minister had admitted that there are some fundamental problems affecting different areas of Canada which cannot be solved by any one minister. It takes time and the efforts of a number of ministers to solve certain problems.

We all appreciate that quiet revolutions are taking place and we see the problems that the quiet revolutions cause. We have had much

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discussion in this house about the quiet revolution in Quebec. We hear about the quiet revolution in society with people moving from the country to the city and we know the problems this causes. We have seen something resembling a fundamental change in parliament right in this chamber not too long ago. When there are fundamental changes there are fundamental problems. Much is left to be desired when a minister stands in his place, with agriculture engaged in a quiet revolution, and attempts to make short-term political capital out of long-term economic problems.

There is a quiet revolution taking place in the field of agriculture. The members on this side of the house who represent the majority of the farm areas of this country from coast to coast are the first to admit this fact. The livelihood of many of these members is influenced by this quiet revolution which involves a change from manpower to machine power and from family farms to commercial farms. There are problems involved in these changes on the farm but there are some problems which differ between east and west.

Sometimes when I sit here with my fellow colleagues from the west I shake my head because I would love to be in their position of having to deal with only one basic crop which brings some cash to the producer in a matter of several months while the farmers in my area have a variety of crops, a 12-month work program and still have difficulty in obtaining any cash. The minister could not have endeared himself to members on this side of the house but his remarks would have been received more warmly had he taken off his rose-coloured glasses and admitted that there are problems which all ministers inherit and said that he at least was attempting to do something about them rather than pretend that the farmers across Canada never had it so good.

While there is a quiet revolution in agriculture, some aspects of it are not so quiet. Any member of this house who was on the front lawn of parliament hill when the farmers gathered there will understand what I mean. When there are parades of tractors on highways this must be a symptom that something is wrong somewhere even though the minister says that the farmers never had it so good. The hon. member for Moose Mountain in his comments said that part of the fundamental problem with regard to agriculture in this country is that the industry is sick. It is

March 5, 1968

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affected by a cost-price sickness. The unfortunate thing is that the doctor, the Minister of Agriculture, does not even know that the patient is sick.

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

I cannot give figures in respect of agriculture in the west but I certainly can give them for the Annapolis valley, the basic agricultural area of Nova Scotia. Perhaps later in the debate the minister will give statistics regarding agriculture in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the eastern part of Quebec to show that the statistics I intend to quote in respect of Nova Scotia do not apply to eastern agriculture generally. I hope the minister or some member opposite will be able to stand in this house and quote statistics in relation to eastern agriculture showing that the situation is generally better than I suggest it is in Nova Scotia.

I suggest agriculture is suffering from a cost-price sickness. Last night and on previous occasions the minister has presented a symptom of that sickness. He made a lot of noise about higher prices, but what does not cost more today than a year ago? These higher prices can be likened to a high temperature. I suggest that our agricultural industry is suffering from high blood pressure, which should give the doctor, the Minister of Agriculture, some concern. I suggest this high blood pressure symptom is even more serious than the high temperature symptom or the high prices.

It is very important when examining a patient to find out whether he has a pulse or a heartbeat. I am not suggesting the minister does not have a heart. Many amazing things have been done in the world, including heart transplants. So far as agriculture is concerned I suggest that the pulse, which indicates the strength of the heart, is as low as it has been for many years. It is low because there is a low net return. Regardless of whether prices are high, the fundamental factor to a farmer is his net return. Agriculture in Nova Scotia ;has hit bottom, and we are looking to the Minister of Agriculture to make some diagnosis and prescribe some treatment in order to rehabilitate this industry.

I should like to quote some statistics in relation to agriculture in Nova Scotia. There are fewer farms, but that is not surprising in view of the consolidation of farms on the basis of efficiency. This may also be the result of increased technology and more efficient farm machinery. It may also account for the .decrease in the number of farmers. However,

[Mr. Nowlan.l

the most important statistics are those which show a decrease in the amount of land under cultivation. This fact should give any minister a great deal of concern.

Last night the minister suggested that we should recite the facts and that the Leader of the Opposition had spoken in platitudes and generalities. He said that figures do not lie. While that may be true, I suggest they often smoke out the prevaricators. The statistics for the period from 1951 to 1961 show a decrease in the number of farms from 23,815 to 12,518 or a drop of 47.4 per cent. During that period there was a change in the D.B.S. classification of farms. Even taking that change into consideration there was a decrease during that period in the number of farms from 23,815 to 18,264 or 19.1 per cent.

During the same period there was a tremendous decrease in the number of farmers. We have heard a great deal about school dropouts and what the government is attempting to do to rehabilitate workers in view of technological change. What is the government attempting to do about farm dropouts? According to D.B.S. figures the decrease in the number of farmers in that ten-year period was from 115,414 to 58,000. In terms of total farm population this represents a decrease from 18 per cent in 1951 to 7.9 per cent in 1961.

Last night the minister referred to the ratio of Canadians engaged in farming compared with the total population. He suggested it was around 8 per cent. Perhaps that figure is not significant, but we must also consider the decrease in land under cultivation during the same period. The statistics I have indicate there was a decrease from 661,975 acres to 497,521 acres. This is important even though with improved technology fewer men can work larger farms. The average size of a farm in Nova Scotia is 40 acres. These statistics should give the minister some concern about the general state of agriculture in this country.

The agricultural situation in Nova Scotia can be fairly summarized by quoting from an independent survey produced in July of 1966 by the Nova Scotia voluntary planning board. At page 5 the following is stated:

Generally, then, the statistical evidence gathered in the 1961 census indicates the transition taking place in the structure of primary farming in Nova Scotia since 1951; the number of farms decreasing along with a declining number of acres farmed, some improvement in improved land acreages, a dramatic increase in the use of machinery and other equipment, and corresponding increases in total

March 5, 1968

value of products sold. Even though on the basis of this last statistic it is apparent that Nova Scotia farmers are improving their relative position, it is also evident that the low value of products sold per farm in the other farms category is one of the main problem areas in provincial agriculture in the sixties. In fact, if the value of products sold was given in "real" terms, that is discounting price movements, and if this group in 1961 was on the same 1951 definitional base, average cash income per farm would be at a lower level than that recorded in 1950.

I do not know where the minister got his figures regarding the general picture across the country, but certainly the statistics I have indicate a grave picture for agriculture in Nova Scotia and in the eastern part of Canada generally. To illustrate this grave situation further let me refer to table A-3 at the back of this report. It indicates an increase in gross income from 1960 to 1964 from $43 million to $44 million but a drop in net income in the same period. In 1960 net income was $15 million, in 1961 it was $14 million, in 1962 it was $12 million, in 1963 it was $11 million, and in 1964 it was $8 million. This indicates there was a drop in net income between 1960 and 1964 of 54 per cent, with more than a 30 per cent drop between 1963 and 1964. Yet the minister says that the farmer is 30 per cent better off with respect to his net income. I do not know where the minister got his figures because in the area of Nova Scotia I represent, which is a farming region, the drop in net income according to D.B.S. figures is over 30 per cent.

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

I suggest that this situation should be a matter of concern and consideration rather than one of short term, political advantage because of the personal or political problems which face the Minister of Agriculture. The per capita income of Nova Scotia farmers was $871 in 1951. There was a slight increase by 1961, but the per capita income of the Nova Scotia farmer in that year was only $1,184. I do not know where the Nova Scotia farmer is going to obtain relief and improve his abnormally low net income figure.

In spite of these figures the minister rose in the house last night and outlined a new ground rule for economic success on the farm. Just a few days ago we had the Pearson precedent so far as parliamentary problems are concerned-I will not debate that matter right now-and last night we had Greene's ground rule for farm success. If we accept the argument put forward by the minister last night, farmers are better off because they are borrowing more money. One can see the 27053-459

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corollary of that theory by looking at the D.B.S. figures I have quoted. Farmers are borrowing more and receiving less. I seriously question the suggestion that farmers in this country are better off because they are borrowing more money. I suggest that one of the reasons they are borrowing more is that the income they derive from their operations does not provide them with enough funds with which to purchase the equipment necessary for soil development. Soil development is very necessary if our farmers are to compete in international markets.

I should now like to deal with the question of farm capital. In this area there should be a new look and an emancipation of thought as to what type of policy should be developed. We appreciate, as I think the minister does, that the farm improvement loans program is not working out in these days of high interest rates because there is a fixed interest rate of 5 per cent. It is perhaps not surprising that banks will not lend money at an interest rate of 5 per cent. I think it is time the government reconsidered the fixed rate of interest and decided upon a floating or flexible rate something like the interest rate in respect of housing. I think this would be more appropriate. Then our farmers could obtain capital. It would not be frozen and the banks would not be reluctant to lend money.

In this brief period I have shown my concern about the minister's attitude that the farmers have never had it so good. I do not understand how the minister can apply that statement to my area. It does not work that way down east. Farmers in my area have had better times and their net income has never been lower.

There is another area in which the government might reconsider its agricultural policy. I refer to feed grains. This is a provocative and sensitive question that all of us in the house appreciate. I will not debate the matter today, but the government pays a subsidy in order to move feed grains into the eastern part of Canada. I wonder whether it is not time to reconsider this policy. I believe it would help the Canadian taxpayer and the farmer if there were some flexibility in the program whereby if a farmer wanted to produce feed grains locally he could receive the benefit of the grant which the government is now paying in order to bring feed grains from western Canada to the east.

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Western Canada is not too happy about the feed grains problem. Ontario is rightly concerned about the premiums paid on western feed grains. That province has produced more corn and would like to develop its feed grains market. There are areas in eastern Canada where feed grains could be developed if the soil were cultivated and farmers had the money to invest for this purpose. If they had the money I think they would be prepared to take a chance on developing feed grains.

There should be a change in the policy of the department to allow a farmer to develop feed grains if he so desires. The situation is that farmers are in effect being subsidized to the extent of $12 a ton to bring in western feed grains. This $12 a ton subsidy could be used to build a grain drying and storing plant over a three-year period. I know one farmer who has developed a grain drying and storing plant with a capacity of 600 tons, at a cost of $16,000. With the subsidy of $12 a ton, which is a federal expenditure, on 500 tons the amount involved is $6,000. In three years that $6,000 multiplied by three would produce $18,000 which could be used for building a grain drying and storing plant. There would be an incentive for the farmer to develop his own feed grains and he would not have to rely upon the Canadian taxpayer to subsidize a program which has caused a good deal of comment and division in agricultural and political circles across Canada.

We could use the subsidy in another way, namely, to improve productivity in local areas. The subsidy could be applied as an incentive to the farmer to develop feed grains and it could also be used to improve the productivity of the land. Very few farmers have the money to apply to the development and improvement of land. If they were able to obtain a subsidy and use it in a fixed direction for two or three years, this would be all that would be required to improve the productivity of the land in order to produce their own feed grains. Again, Mr. Chairman, money would not have to come out of the Canadian taxpayers' pockets to bring feed grains from the west. This is an area in which the government is spending money and I suggest that there should be some flexibility in the policy in order to allow eastern farmers to develop, if they so desire, their own feed grains. This could be done if they were able to benefit from the subsidy now being paid by the Canadian government to bring feed grains to the east from the west.

[Mr. Nowlan.l

At long last a task force is studying the different problems of agriculture. I hope that the task force leads in time to a national conference on agriculture. All farm organizations have been calling for such a conference. But a task force or even a conference is no substitute for policy. I believe that the concern of people in the east and all across Canada is that unless the government is prepared to develop a national policy for regional development there will continue to be regional disparity in agriculture.

So far as agriculture is concerned the east needs massive capital assistance. It is a strange anomaly that in so many fields capital aid can be obtained. Such assistance is provided to industry in my province and all across Canada. If someone wants to build a boat he can obtain capital assistance but if he wants to build a barn he cannot obtain a capital grant. The directors of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture have calculated that grants and subsidies to industry and fishing in that province alone totalled over $200 million from 1961 to 1966 but in the same period agriculture in the province received only $20 million.

[DOT] (4:10 p.m.)

I think the outgoing president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Mr. Harvey, in his presidential address to the annual meeting of the federation, as reported in the Chronicle-Herald of December 28, 1967 summarized fairly succinctly the problem of massive aid to the east in the following words:

Commenting on governments' place in the picture. Mr. Harvey said in the past it has often entered too little or too late. All farmers can ask of government is an equal opportunity, and this they have not had in the past. In too many cases farmers have to sell on an open market and buy on a protected one. During the past seven years, he said, agriculture in Nova Scotia has received $14 million in freight assistance, while coal has been assisted by $120 million.

According to the figures given by the directors of the federation of agriculture, the sum is close to $200 million compared with $20 million. The report continues:

For years farmers have been paying more than their share of municipal taxes. When a fish company desires to build a boat, a large federal grant is available, but when a farmer builds a barn he pays the federal government 11 per cent on the materials.

All the farmers are asking for is equal opportunity, a chance to participate and a chance to produce. Unless this government develops a policy for regional areas, some areas will not be able to contribute to the

March 5. 1968

mainstream of society. Such a policy is long overdue. Perhaps it would have a better chance if the Minister of Agriculture would recognize the problem as did the president of the United States in the 1930's with respect to southern agriculture. From reading reports of those times I understand he considered that while it was a regional problem it had national implications and a national significance. Thus the Tennessee valley authority was created, and other policies were evolved to help resolve agricultural and other problems in the south. So far as eastern Canada is concerned it will take not just a broad, general, universal policy across the land but a regional policy to help this area.

Not only because of the area I come from but because I have travelled through and worked in different parts of Canada I believe that if we have a healthy farm situation we are bound to have a fairly healthy Canada. This may be a cliche but it is true. I believe that all the problems we have in the country today and the symptoms of unrest, disillusionment and disenchantment start right back at the beginning, that is, on the land. I think it is a legitimate concern of the people on the land to wonder what type of deal they will get and what type of policy this government has. I suggest that the minister should not be satisfied with the short-term political plaudits of his fellow supporters but rather should develop policies for a healthy farm situation which will produce a healthy Canada.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

Edison John Clayton Loney

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loney:

Mr. Chairman, for the past two days this house has heard criticism levelled at the politically inept and ineffective agricultural policies of the present administration. The Minister of Agriculture, one of the aspirants to the Liberal leadership, rose in his place last evening and again, contrary to opinion in rural Canada, told the farmers of this country that in fact they never had it so good. I challenge the minister to deliver that speech word for word to the National Farmers Union when they submit their brief on March 7. If the Minister of Agriculture were truly to emulate his political hero he would be better served to quote to the farmers of Canada those words of Lincoln which he has used on other occasions, namely:

Ii we could first know where we are. and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.

In reply to the leader of the official opposition the minister opposite, in mocking tones, 27053-459J

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decried humility. May I point out that humility has long been considered one of the outstanding qualities of truly great men. We on this side of the house do not subscribe to the minister's conclusion with regard to the advice of Christopher Hollis on political ambition. I refer to the minister's words when speaking of the Liberal leadership, namely:

I can only thus conclude that those who would be prime minister, must be those who claim they are the most vain and most vulgar among their confreres.

The minister of Agriculture, when addressing the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in Victoria on January 25, concluded his remarks by quoting in part the famous devotions of John Donne: "No man is an island, entire of itself". The minister expressed these words at the conclusion of a text which proved, contrary to Donne's words, the exact opposite. In matters pertaining to agriculture the minister has proven in his recent speeches that in fact he has isolated himself from the problems which are the prime responsibility of his portfolio. Perhaps the hon. member for Renfrew South is preoccupied with thoughts of other prime responsibilities. This is also evident in his remarks at the C.F.A. meeting.

In the first two paragraphs of his text he repeats the words "prime minister" five times. If repetition has the power of suggestion, then the delegates representing Canada's farming community were left in a state of mind that they would think the Minister of Agriculture wished to vacate his position in search of other goals. I submit that on hearing the conclusion of the minister's address they might have been right. With this I tend to agree.

There is ample evidence that the minister could better serve his party in another capacity, and before the minister smiles I hasten to say that judging from the text of his speeches, which are excellent in content, well-documented with facts according to Liberal thought, and flowing with quotations, he might be a candidate for the post of poet laureate of the Liberal party. That the minister is not conscious of the problems which are his responsibility is evidenced by his flagrant misunderstanding of what is expected of him as Minister of Agriculture.

On February 12 the minister spoke to the Agricultural Institute of Canada. In his address-and I must emphasize that it was an excellent presentation-the minister, an

March 5, 1968

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experienced practising counsellor who evidently considered himself on trial, presented an expansive catalogue of his considerations of the problems of national unity and constitutional reform. This was a speech which should have been delivered in the House of Commons. It was a speech which I suggest should be tested by delivery in Trois Rivieres in the English language and in Victoria in the French language. In fact, it is a speech on which I compliment the author. But let us examine the forum. These words, covering 28 pages, were directed to the Agricultural Institute of Canada, an assembly of the professional elite of agricultural business, a select group dedicated, among other purposes, to providing advice respecting legislative matters common to professional agricultural bodies throughout Canada.

A moment ago I used the word "flagrant". In his address to those most concerned with the administration of his department the Minister of Agriculture did not once use the word "agriculture". He did not once use the word "farmer". It appears that the learned counsellor, while presenting an excellent case, failed to realize he was in the wrong courtroom.

[DOT] (4:20 p.m.)

The minister has displayed numerous examples of misunderstanding and a lack of comprehension of agriculture. I do not wish to fault him personally but he has either been ill informed, ill advised or is such a tyrant in his office that those who are conversant with the situation as described by my colleagues have been reluctant to give constructive criticism and proper direction.

What is the minister conveying to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He is again speaking in the same style, employing quotations and cliches to impress his audience. But what of that audience, what of the intent and purpose of that audience of practising farmers from across Canada? These delegates are determined to bring about, through consultation, some relief, some alleviation of the problems of Canadian agriculture. These problems were created mainly by government bumbling, by lack of policy, by lack of foresight, lack of direction and lack of a minister who understands the workings of his department.

Speaking to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture the minister referred to the pressing issues of the Liberal future. It is the minister's Liberal future which is of concern to him. The farmers of Canada have had enough Liberal present and they cannot

afford a Liberal future. The minister spoke about housing, pollution, education, research, all of which are most deserving of our consideration, I agree. However, how seriously can we take the minister when, according to page 5 of his text, in referring to our gross national product he stated:

To the best of my knowledge we, as a nation, do not have even a goal, only the solemn hopes of the economic council.

This is the statement of a minister who would be the leader of the government. For about 17 pages, or the first half of the text of this speech, no mention is made of farmers, farming or farm problems. Suggestions are made, however, as to how the administration of the departments of his fellow candidates could be improved. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is said about his own department. The minister has certain suggestions to achieve more beneficial planning of productive capacity. His suggestions cover business and government and, second, government and business.

When we go over this speech we ask ourselves, where does the farmer come in? After all, this is the Minister of Agriculture speaking. It is stated that the Liberal philosophy is predicated on social services which place an economic floor under each citizen. Well, the minister should hear what has been said about some of these social services. Ask the farmers about the Canada Pension Plan, the unemployment insurance scheme and so on. Ask the farmers about the dairy commission. Now there is an example of Liberalism. This dairy policy was shoved down the throats of dairymen and regurgitated by the senator for socialism, who introduced an amendment in the Senate to correct deficiencies in the government policy.

Speaking of deficiencies, I draw attention to the fact that no mention is made of farm improvement loans or of the inability of farmers to arrange such loans. The minister, however, did find time to comment upon the inadequacies of small business loans and the Industrial Development Bank. Surely the Minister of Agriculture could be expected to devote some time to farm problems. It is not enough to slough off the difficult problems, as he did on January 25 when he spoke in Victoria. At that time he asked:

And what of the farmers of Canada? They represent a very substantial proportion of our population. They make a great contribution to Canada's economy.

March 5, 1968

This is the statement the minister made when speaking to a farm organization. He does not say, you represent a very substantial proportion of our population. He does not say, you make an important contribution. However, the minister did say:

The main reason we enjoy so high a standard of living-have money for skidoos, outboard motors, a car in every garage, and all the other goodies, is because the efficiency and productivity of our farmers is the highest in the world.

Then the minister continues:

Hence, we have cheap food,-

When he says "we", does he mean the government of today?

-as compared with other lands and the vast proportion of our incomes is left for the so-called good things of life.

Does the minister compliment the farmer? Does the minister congratulate the farmer? Does the minister even acknowledge the farmer's contribution? He does not. He does say that the right to food, and food at cheap prices, we take for granted. He stops right there. The minister did say, however, that we are very proud of our accomplishments in the industrial sector. Again I ask, when he refers to "we" does he mean the government of today? Far from being constructive in his remarks the minister stated three times what the farmer already knows, that it is the farmer who is at the mercy of the marketplace over which he has virtually no control. In addition, he stated that the prices the farmer receives have gone up at a slower pace than the prices of the things he must buy.

Now, what about farm organizations? The minister has said absolutely nothing about his department's reaction to the agricultural dilemma of 1968. What methods should be adopted in order that the farmer may gain a greater degree of control over the marketplace? I quote what the minister had to say about methods of farm organization:

The first method would be for the farmer to gain a greater degree of control over the marketplace. This might be accomplished through farmer organization, and the realization of one strong and unified voice to speak for farmers.

I wonder whether the minister will say the same thing to the farmers union when their delegation is here on March 7?

Such an organ could readily achieve the right to negotiate an adequate price structure. The plenitude of marketing boards in various jurisdictions is evidence of the effort by farmers to obtain a degree of control over the marketplace.

The alternative road to a more equitable income pattern is direct government intervention, whereby

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the farmer would be recompensed for his production through some form of governmental income policy. I think most would agree that measures to achieve equity through a more effective control of the marketplace should be explored to the full before resorting to the second expedient.

[DOT] (4:30 p.m.)

In an incomes policy lie the inherent dangers of government control-the waste of an expanding bureaucracy to administer the programs, and the inevitable loss of freedom and individual flexibility.

I honestly do not believe that the minister would seriously consider the second method. He stated when he announced his bid for the leadership in Regina that he did not believe in a national farm policy that would tell farmers what to plant, when to sell their crops and how much they would receive for them. That socialist concept has fallen flat on its face in socialist countries.

These methods might be adopted by the member who considers himself the successor to the present minister, but I suspect they would never be implemented by the minister who considers himself a reform Liberal and on one occasion he said that things are better done if the people do them for themselves.

But what happens when people do things for themselves, Mr. Chairman? An example was provided last May 24. The minister speaks of one unified voice for agriculture. On May 24 last there were 20,000 unified voices on parliament hill and to date their demands have not been met. Last night the minister spoke of sums of money running into millions and billions. Therefore I ask, why the shifting and evasive reaction to the dairymen's request for $5 milk? The minister talks of millions while in effect failing to act over 25 cents.

What did the farmers ask for last May? These 20,000 farmers asked for $5 a hundredweight milk. No action has been taken on this request. They asked for a coherent, comprehensive, long-range program for all segments of agriculture. They asked for a publicly stated policy for agriculture, including a set of goals, for the institution of government programs to achieve those goals, for forward planning by the government that would let farmers plan their own business. Yet no action has been taken.

No action has been taken on a realistic minimum level of income for those engaged in agriculture. Neither has action been taken on commencing specific food export programs, or on a standard of living for farmers equal to comparable operations in industry, or on making adequate provision for those

March 5, 1968

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moving from farms as well as those remaining.

No action has been taken to bring about a stronger policy to prevent corporate encroachment into agriculture or on the government plan to pay the cost of cheap food. We need a clear government policy on land use and tighter regulations to stop food dumping in Canada by other countries. In this respect the situation today is worse than it was last May.

These 20,000 farmers also asked for more public discussion on farm policy, and this they have achieved. However, from the sound of the discussion the minister can expect another march in May. The C.F.A. once more has requested that action be taken on these matters. I ask the minister what action he is going to take.

On March 7, the National Farmers Union will be submitting their brief on the future of farming. I have challenged the Minister of Agriculture to deliver his speech of last evening to the National Farmers Union. Let the minister ask them about farming. Let him ask the farmers of Canada. If the minister has the courage of his convictions, as he appeared to have last night, then he might ask them about the prices of wheat, barley, sugar beets, hogs, cattle and sheep. Let the minister ask them what they think of his dairy policy. It is the farmers who must live on the returns of their enterprises, and they have the answers, Mr. Chairman.

Let the minister tell the farmers of Canada how good things are, how rosy their future looks. The minister has made two speeches in the House of Commons on the estimates of his department. What he said on October 31, 1967, in effect, was that the farmers have never had it so good, that they were actually looking a gift horse in the mouth. The minister repeated that performance last night. The farmers of Canada today know that it is no gift horse they are looking in the mouth; it is the other end of the horse.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Chairman, yesterday and today the committee of supply has been spending some time discussing the estimates of the Department of Agriculture, and I think it is extremely appropriate that they should be so discussed. For many decades, not just during the period the government has been in office but for decades, agriculture has been the Cinderella of our economy. While other parts of the economy enjoyed a certain measure of affluence, agriculture has always been

the industry that has been the last to enjoy the benefits of a period of advance and the first to feel the effects of a period of economic contraction.

I am not interested in debating whether conditions in agriculture were worse when the Progressive Conservatives were in office or worse now that the Liberal party is in office. What concerns me is that agriculture has not been getting its fair share of the national income but is rapidly becoming a depressed industry in Canada. I am convinced that parliament needs to thrash out agricultural programs that will make it possible for farmers to stay on their farms and to make a living somewhat commensurate with that enjoyed by people engaged upon other endeavours.

Last night I listened with great interest to the minister who I noticed spent a good deal of his time pointing to the improvement in farm income and in the sale and export of farm commodities from 1962 to 1966. The minister, of course, was replying to the Leader of the Opposition and seeking to point out that under the present administration farmers were better off than they were under the previous administration.

The minister was very careful, I should point out, to deal with farm income and farm sales up to the end of 1966. However, we are now in 1968 and must deal with the crisis facing agriculture today. If the minister wants to take credit, as he did last night, for the improvement in farm income and farm sales from 1962 to 1966, then he must now accept the blame and the responsibility for the fact that farm income and farm sales have been falling off since 1966.

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

Let me point out to the committee what is happening with respect to farm income as far as we have statistics available. The D.B.S. figures show that net income received from farm production, seasonally adjusted at annual rates for the first three quarters of 1967 compared with the first three quarters of 1966, works out as follows: The net cash income in 1966 was $2,060 million; for the first three quarters of 1967 it was $1,864 million, a decline of $196 million. This, of course, is what is causing concern in farm circles because the decline in the first nine months of 1967 was continued in the last quarter of that year and is being continued at the present time. Furthermore, if we take the trouble to

March 5, 1968

look at the index of prices received by farmers we find that in 1962 the index stood at 272.2 while in 1966 it was 297.2. So there has been an increase of 25.2 points or 9.26 per cent. But if we look at what happened in the first ten months of 1967 we find that the index of prices received by farmers for the commodities they sell declined to 290.1, a reduction of 7.1 points or 2.4 per cent. Whatever the minister may say about the situation from 1962 to 1966, the fact remains that in 1967-and I am sure the same will be found true for 1968-farm income has declined. The index of farm prices is declining.

It should be noted that while the index of the prices which farmers receive for their products is declining the index of the prices farmers have to pay for the things they require in order to produce has been rising steadily. The reports show that the composite figure for prices paid by farmers for everything they buy, except their actual living costs, was 290.7 in 1962. In 1966 it was 343.2, an increase of 52.5 points or 18 per cent. But in 1967, when, as I have just shown, the farm index for the prices the farmers received was going down the index for the prices they have to pay for the things they buy went up to 362, an increase from 1966 of 18.8 points or 5.4 per cent.

May I pause to ask the committee to look at that figure? The statistics we have from the Dominion Bureau of Statistics show that the cost of living for all Canadians went up by 4J per cent. But the prices which the farmer has had to pay for the goods he requires went up by 5.48 per cent, almost a whole percentage point more. So the picture for the past 12 or 14 months is crystal clear. At a time when the index of the prices of the things the farmer has to sell has gone down by 2.4 per cent the prices he has to pay for the things he requires have gone up by almost 5J per cent.

This cost-price squeeze is not something which has just come about recently. The whole story of agriculture is told in the D.B.S. figures. The publication I have in my hands is, I think, the most recent. It gives index figures for both the prices which the farmer receives and for the things he must buy. A base period from 1935 to 1939 is taken as being 100. By August, 1967, the index price for the commodities and services used by farmers had risen from 100 to 367.1. On the other hand, the price index for the materials used by farmers had gone up to 302.1. Here we have a spread of some 65 points. The

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price index of the commodities and services used in farm living had increased by August, 1967, to 264.6.

The whole story of agriculture is summed up in these indices. Over a period of years, taking 1935-39 as the base period, a gap of some 20 per cent has arisen between the prices the farmer has been receiving and the prices he is compelled to pay, even assuming that in the base period they were comparable, which they were not.

One of the major factors in the increase in the farmers' cost of living has, of course, been farm implement prices. I remember that when the minister was appointed to his present portfolio following the last election in 1965 he made a trip through western Canada. The farmers welcomed him. It was the first time they had had an eastern Minister of Agriculture for a long time, and I must say the minister made a very good impression. And he made some excellent speeches. No one could deny the minister's ability to make very eloquent and impressive speeches.

[DOT] (4:50 p.m.)

The minister told the farmers what they already knew, namely, that their farm prices were much too high, and he said he was going to do something about them. Well, the interesting thing is that the index for farm machinery prices issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics shows that in 1965 it was 284.9 and in 1967 302.5, an increase of some 17.6 percentage points or almost 6 per cent.

It is true that the minister has appointed a royal commission. I am never sure whether these royal commissions are appointed to do something or to give the government an excuse for not doing anything. Over the years we have had investigations into the price of farm machinery. I was a member of the agricultural committee back in the 1930's when we had a two-year investigation into the high price of farm machinery. We have had investigation after investigation.

There is no doubt about the fact that the high price of farm machinery has been a major factor in raising the farmers' costs of production. There is no doubt about the fact that the labour cost per unit of machinery has actually gone down, so that wages cannot be used as an excuse for increased farm machinery prices. Yet the fact remains that farm implement prices have continued to increase steadily. Even in the past 12 months they have increased by 3.2 per cent.

March 5, 1968

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Like most members, I will be glad to hear what the minister proposes to do about the high price of farm machinery. It is now over two years since he promised to do something about the fact that the farmer was being exploited by the farm implement monopoly. Everyone is prepared to give the minister ample time to investigate, to gather the facts, to work out a policy, but surely something over two years is more than adequate for the minister to bring some concrete proposals before parliament. So far he has failed to do so and the cost of farm machinery continues to rise.

Last evening the minister talked about sales of wheat and the price of wheat. The plight of the wheat producer in the prairies was summed up by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in their brief, and just one paragraph is all one needs to quote:

The Canadian wheat producer has faced a combination of rising costs, falling prices, and shrinking world marketings-a combination calculated to sharply and seriously undermine his income position.

The decline in the sales of wheat is something which is causing great concern not only to the prairie farmers but to the entire prairie economy. The minister quoted with great glee the large sales of wheat made under the present administration in 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966. One could point out that these sales of wheat were largely due to the fact that there were very serious crop failures in certain parts of the world. These increased sales were due to a windfall of large exports of wheat to the communist countries, but last night the minister took all the credit for these increased sales of wheat. I submit that if he is going to accept praise for the increased sales he must now accept the blame for the very serious decline in the sales of wheat, and not only himself but also the Minister of Trade and Commerce who is primarily the minister responsible.

From July 1 to February 14, which is the latest figure we have, wheat sold by Canada for export purposes amounted to 126.5 million bushels compared with 283.1 million bushels for the same period in the previous year. That is a decline of 156.6 million bushels. That means that in the present crop year we have sold only about 40 per cent of what we sold in the same period of the previous crop year. When we get down to selling only two-fifths of the wheat we sold in the previous crop year then I suggest that the wheat economy is in trouble.

The minister, of course, will argue that this is due to the international situation but I would point out that the United States, which is a much larger exporter of wheat, for the same period of time has had a decline in its wheat sales of only 28.7 million bushels, and the United States department of agriculture is confidently predicting that in this crop year they will sell 750 million bushels of wheat compared with 742 million bushels in the previous crop year. They are confident that they will sell more wheat in this crop year than they sold in the last crop year.

It may be that the prediction of the Minister of Trade and Commerce that we shall sell 350 million to 400 million bushels of wheat in this crop year will be realized. I certainly hope it will, but even if it is, this will be considerably below previous years. But if we are going to sell 350 million to 400 million bushels in this crop year we will have to do much better than we have done so far this year.

It is not only a matter of sales of wheat-I will come back to those in a moment-it is also a matter of price. There is good reason to be concerned about price. On May 25 last, as recorded at page 577 of Hansard, when discussing the new 1967 international wheat arrangement the Minister of Trade and Commerce said:

On the matter of price, it is understood in trade terms that this means the new price range which I have reported to the house will be observed in the months ahead until the new agreement becomes fully effective.

Of course we know that those were empty words. The minister may have intended that the new price range would be observed in the months ahead but, as every member from western Canada knows, when the international wheat agreement expired on July 31, 1967, the United States began to dump wheat well below the price range which had been proposed for the new international wheat arrangement. It was because of this that the government was compelled to introduce a floor price of $1.95J for Canadian wheat What the farmers are concerned about is what happens after the end of June because the $1,954 floor is effective only until June 30 this year.

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

Does the government intend to guarantee that floor? Will sufficient importing countries sign the agreement that we will be assured that all the wheat we sell will bring the farmers a minimum of $1,954? For an 11-month period we have been without the protection

March 5, 1968

of the old international wheat agreement. The only protection the wheat farmer has now is the temporary guarantee the government has given of $1,954 a bushel basis Fort William effective until June 30.

What about the future? What are the prospects? I think the Minister of Trade and Commerce owes the wheat farmers of western Canada a clearcut statement concerning what the prospects are for the future and whether the government will continue that floor price or whether it will be the present floor price or another one. I do not need to tell the committee that on March 7, 1963, in the city of Saskatoon the Prime Minister made a firm commitment to the farmers of western Canada that there would be a guaranteed floor price of $2 a bushel and, moreover, that there would be a two-price system for wheat. We have never heard any more about that promise. That was a firm commitment made by the leader of the Liberal party and the man who is now Prime Minister of Canada.

I believe the government owes it to the farmers to state what the government's policy is with regard to wheat prices because since 1963, when the Prime Minister talked about a guaranteed price of $2 a bushel, the cost of living has gone up by some 14 per cent and the cost of producing a bushel of wheat has gone up by more than that amount. This is why the Federation of Agriculture is talking now about a guarantee of $2.12 a bushel for wheat sold in the export market and $3.12 a bushel for wheat sold on the domestic market. Fortunately or unfortunately for the government-I do not know which-western Liberals at a conference a few weeks ago attended by the Minister of Agriculture adopted a similar policy.

It is not enough for the Prime Minister on the hustings and for the Liberals in conference in Winnipeg to talk about a guaranteed price of $2.12 a bushel for export wheat and $3.12 a bushel for domestic wheat unless this is put into effect. Are we to believe that the government when it makes these proposals to the farmers during a political campaign or at a political conference is simply talking for public effect and has no intention whatever of doing anything about establishing a reasonable floor for wheat prices and establishing a two-price system?

May I conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying that no one thinks the Minister of Agriculture has a simple problem. As I said when I began, agriculture undoubtedly has been the depressed industry of Canada for a long time.

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Part of the plight of agriculture is inherent in the type of economy we are developing in Canada and in North America. We are developing increasingly an economy of which a very large part is controlled by what Galbraith has called the oligopoly, a collection of gigantic monopolies which are able to establish prices of things like steel, automobiles, farm machinery and a whole score of items. These corporations are so powerful that they can generate their own capital requirements, control their own supplies and virtually set their own prices. Among them there is little in the way of competition price-wise. Their competition may be in service, advertising or in gimmicks. But the prices of the commodities in the administered section of our economy are largely set by the industries themselves.

Against this is the fact that part of our economy still operates on a competitive basis. This includes the service industries, some of the smaller industries in the retail trade, and particularly the agricultural industry. Consequently we have in our economy, on the one hand, a great oligopoly with fixed prices uninfluenced by the law of supply and demand and, on the other hand, the competitive part of our economy in which the farmers who must buy in the protected administered market must then turn around and sell in a competitive market whether they are selling domestically or overseas. They sell on the basis of competition while they buy the things they require in a protected market.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order. I must advise the hon. member that the time allotted to him has expired.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Continue.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Does the hon. member wish to continue?

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

I should like to finish if I may, Mr. Chairman.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the committee to continue?

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

The point I wish to make, Mr. Chairman, is that of course we cannot turn back the hands of the clock. We cannot go back to a completely competitive system or reproduce the laissez-faire system of the nineteenth century, even if it ever existed. The fact is that a large part of our economy

March 5, 1968

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is now controlled; it has administered prices and we will not be able to abolish that. We must now look at the competitive part of our society which has no protection and which, as I said, must buy in a protected administered market and sell in an open competitive market with very disastrous results. Therefore, what Canada needs is a national agricultural policy that will take cognizance of the fact that if agriculture is left to sink or swim in this kind of economy it does not stand a chance of survival.

This means there are a number of things that this or any government in office must do. It must take some steps to protect the agricultural producers against unfair competition. The greenhouse industry, the potato growers and the dairy farmers are already experiencing this kind of unfair competition.

I am not suggesting that we build great tariff walls behind which the prices are exorbitant; I am pointing out that there are periods of time when unfair competition can so completely wreck the market for domestic producers that they may be put out of business and we may find ourselves at the mercy of importers who, having eliminated the domestic producers, are able charge us any price they like. It seems to me that one task this government must undertake is the provision of adequate measures of protection against unfair competition.

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

I think the government is going to have to adopt a system of guaranteed prices for a great many farm products. If the prices which the farmer has to pay for machinery, for a car, for steel, lumber and other construction materials are going to be set by monopolies over which he has no control, then surely the economy must be prepared to see that there are some guaranteed prices for the farmer.

I want to suggest also that the government is going to have to bestir it itself in order to do something about overseas markets for our farm products. We listened to the minister speak yesterday about the large exports of grain, about which we are all delighted, but we must remember that a very large part of these exports resulted from sales to Communist countries which had experienced drought and crop failure. In the crop year 1965-66 we sold 765 million bushels of grain, but there is no evidence that this is going to recur. So far this year I believe we have sold some 75 million bushels of grain to the Soviet union and 78 million bushels to China. What is

(Mr. Douglas.]

being done about these markets and what is the government doing to encourage these countries to continue to buy from us?

I am not just talking about exports credits. In the main these countries can only afford to trade with us only if we work out two-way trade relations; otherwise they will be merely occasional buyers. They will buy from us only when they are in desperate straits. There is no doubt about the fact that so far as the Soviet union is concerned, for instance, it would be much cheaper for them to buy Canadian wheat for their Siberian requirements and have it shipped from Vancouver through Vladivostok than to bring it up from the Ukraine. There is no doubt there will be a growing market for Canadian wheat for many years in China provided China can pay for it. The problem involved in paying for it is related to the earning of Canadian dollars. What are we doing about building up twoway trade so we can have a permanent market there?

We have a market in Europe and we want to hold on to it, but that market is not likely to expand in keeping with the increased productivity which our farmers are capable of demonstrating. If we are going to sell the increasingly large amount of wheat our farmers are likely to produce on the prairies we will have to develop markets in the Orient, in China and in southeast Asia, if the Viet Nam war ever ceases, and in Siberia. This is only going to be done on the basis of two-way trading agreements. I hope the Minister of Trade and Commerce is going to tell us what he is doing about this.

Finally, the government must look at what part the Canadian farmer can play in foreign aid programs in many parts of the world. It is a reflection of the lack of ingenuity on the part of human beings that in a world where 1,500 million people go to bed hungry every night we should be worrying about the huge surpluses of food we have in this country. There are markets abroad, and to sell to them in some cases may involve loans. In some cases it may mean accepting soft currency and in some cases it may mean outright gifts. I suspect that the outright gifts we might have to make would still amount to much less than what we are spending on armaments, and I have the strong feeling that outright gifts of food would do more in the long run to preserve the peace of the world than the money we are spending on obsolete military hardware. This is a field that has to be considered.

March 5, 1968

The consumption in our own country must be considered. What has happened to the school lunch program that was talked about and the tree milk for children in schools? The United States has experimented very successfully with a food stamp program which allows elderly people, old age pensioners and people below a certain income level to obtain food stamps so they can purchase food more cheaply. Surely there is no end to the possibilities for disposing of food. There is no doubt about the farmers' ability to produce food. No industry in Canada has increased its productivity more per individual employed than agriculture. The agricultural industry has produced so successfully and efficiently it has almost put itself out of business. No other industry has shown such a remarkable capacity to increase its commodity per person employed. The farmer has done his part.

The responsibility now lies with the government and with parliament to work out, first, the kind of programs which will give to the farmer a reasonable return for his commodity, which will enable him to maintain himself and his family and meet his obligations and, second, to work out programs by which the large quantities of food produced by farmers in this country are made available to people who need them both in this country and in many lands around the world.

I have no desire to make picayune criticisms of the minister, because this problem is much larger than any small, single issue. The real need in Canada is for the government as a whole, including not only the Minister of Agriculture but the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Finance, to work out a national agricultural policy which recognizes that farmers in a competitive economy, and part of a large administered economy, must have government assistance and government direction. If the government is prepared to work out such a national agricultural policy I can assure him that he will have our wholehearted support. I say to the government that if it continues to ignore this problem and merely puts patches on what is a badly torn garment, the situation will go from bad to worse. Every time the agricultural industry gets worse this in turn has an adverse effect on the economy as a whole. The people of the cities are to a very large extent dependent upon the purchasing power of the people on the farms. A healthy agricultural industry is a basic prerequisite to a strong and expanding Canadian economy.

Supply-Agriculture

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

Lawrence E. Watson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Watson (Assiniboia):

Mr. Chairman, after listening to the minister speak last night I could not help but think of that beautiful picture he painted of western agriculture. I was reminded of jet streams at 37,000 feet above Saskatchewan. The view the minister had of the prairies must have been from that distance.

It is now obvious to all farmers that the Canadian negotiators at Geneva, including the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Agriculture, were simply taken into camp by the wheat importing countries. Wheat is now selling at 22 cents below the price in April and 4 cents below the minimum of $1.95J.

The situation in which the western farmer finds himself is particularly serious in view of developments that tend to put the farmer in a cost-price squeeze from which there is no escape. The prices that farmers must pay have risen all along the line to the point where they have to pay nearly double what they were paying seven or eight years ago for the things they need. The government is directly responsible for a great deal of this inflation. This is the unanimous opinion of economists, the provincial premiers, newspaper writers and even the president of the Economic Council of Canada, Mr. Smith. Recent reports of the Economic Council of Canada and an article which appeared in the New York Times written by Arthur J. R. Smith, the president of the council, in January reveal that government spending has been growing at an unsustainable rate.

[DOT] (5:20 p.m.)

Many of the things farmers buy are subject to the 11 per cent sales tax. Building materials are still subject to this tax. The farmer has been heavily taxed through rising prices of consumer goods, since he is one of the nation's major consumers. In the past five years he has paid a heavy indirect tax amounting to 18 per cent and 20 per cent on almost everything he buys. Yet the rise in the price of farm products has been small in comparison and in many cases there has been a decrease in the price of the things the farmer sells, such as wheat, cattle and hogs.

In 1951 for the entire year prime steers averaged 31 cents a pound at the Alberta markets. Though costs have soared cattle prices are well below what they were 15 years ago. At the same time, the consumer is paying for beef twice what he paid at that time. Somebody is making a tremendous

March 5, 1968

Supply-Agriculture

profit, and I can assure the minister that it is not the farmer. Now the ministers of this government tell us that the farmers have never had it so good. If this is a joke, I say it is certainly in bad taste with the farmers. The government has made no move to protect the interests of the farmer. Western farmers realize that this is a normal situation under a Liberal government.

Everybody in western Canada recalls the mountains of wheat we had out there in 1956 and 1957. That was also a time when a Liberal government was in office. The attitude at that time was: If people want this wheat, let them come and get it. The attitude now is: Let us give it away. I say to the minister and the government that they cannot even do that this year. '

I have here a clipping from last Saturday's Leader-Post which says that wheat exports are down 58 per cent. The article reads in part:

Canada's wheat and flour exports were down 58 per cent in the first five months of the current crop year, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics reported today. Sales from August to the end of December totalled 110 million bushels in terms of wheat equivalent, compared with 260,800,000 bushels for the same period of the previous crop year.

Another article headed, "Lower Beef Prices Seen," reads:

While prices of other meats may strengthen in March, beef prices are easing downward.

Despite these facts the minister in his speech last night left the impression that the farmers of western Canada never had it so good. This government has perpetrated a betrayal of the interests of the western farmers. At the same time it has neglected and ignored the farmers of eastern Canada. Last summer we saw on parliament hill 10,000 eastern Canadian farmers who put their views before the government. Ministers who have no conception of the problems the farmers have to face told them to be good boys and that they never had it so good. Then they locked the doors of the parliament buildings.

We now have a situation which all the eloquence of the Minister of Agriculture cannot conceal. Wheat prices have slumped drastically because two ministers who know absolutely nothing about wheat went to Geneva and gave away everything to the serious detriment of the western farmer. I can understand the predicament of these ministers. They go on the international circuit and do not want to hurt the feelings of anybody but the western farmer. Apparently they were ready to

agree to anything. Why is it that every time a Liberal government is in office the western farmer has the rug pulled out completely from under him? When the Conservative party was in office these things did not happen.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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LIB

John Maxwell Roxburgh

Liberal

Mr. Roxburgh:

Nothing happened.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

Lawrence E. Watson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Watson (Assiniboia):

We did not see

the hon. member for Qu'Appelle going to these conferences and handing over the interests of western Canada on a silver platter. Under this government we face sagging prices, diminishing markets, uncertain prospects and a refusal to face facts. Why do they not admit they have made a mess? Why try to kid the western farmer?

The Minister of Agriculture found out, when he met the western stock growers in Calgary a couple of weeks ago, that you do not kid the western rancher either. The trouble with this government is that there are on the other side of the house so many leadership hopefuls that to them running the country is just a part time occupation. What do they care if the western farmer faces higher costs and has to pay $16,000 for a combine that in 1962 could be purchased for $12,000? What do they care about the small farmer who could buy a 30-inch combine from 1950 to 1955 for $5,000 and who today have to pay $10,000 for the same type of machine?

A few years ago the Minister of Finance, who was minister of trade and commerce at the time, was playing around with the wheat board. At that time he went to western Canada, I believe to the city of Moose Jaw, and asked the farmers to cut back on their production. Then a little later he came out west and asked them to grow all they could.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Agriculture went to Geneva representing our farmers, and again the western farmer was taken for a ride. Those ministers must have been consulting the Minister of Finance because they decided the Canadian farmer did not need protection during the period when there would be no wheat agreement.

What has happened? While the Canadian farmer has been completely unprotected the Americans have forced down prices in order to unload as much surplus wheat as they can. They have done this with the consent or through the ignorance of this government. Talk about the blind leadings the blind. United States markets have stayed up while

March 5, 1968

Canadian markets are down 58 per cent. During this time the costs of the western farmer have increased.

On October 31 the Minister of Agriculture told us how wonderful it all was, and again last night in his speech he told the farmers of western Canada and those concerned with agriculture in general that they never had it so good. While prices were falling all around he spoke of the high prices we have enjoyed on the average in the past five years. I point out that we have also enjoyed very high costs, and these costs are getting higher. At the same time the price of farm products is falling. The government and its members have only one thing in mind, the leadership convention that will take place in the first part of April.

Is this parliament going to sit by while the western wheat producer is taken for a ride? On October 31 the minister in his speech mentioned that an average farm in the province of Saskatchewan contains 763 acres at the present time. I would like the minister to look at a 700-acre farm in Saskatchewan. The Canadian Wheat Board has said that we will be lucky if we get a six bushel quota. That means that 4,200 bushels is all that a western farmer can sell. This will bring in approximately $6,500. In what situation does this put the western farmer with a family to keep, taxes to pay, the increased cost of machinery to face, and debts to pay off? What other group of people in Canada would be expected to pay for all these things on a $6,500 income, and on top of that to buy the land and the machinery to go with it?

[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)

A drop in the economy of western Canada, which we appear to be facing in the next few months, will produce repercussions right across the country, in the automobile showrooms, the farm implement business, retail merchandising, and also in investment. A drop in western prosperity will be immediately reflected in eastern Canada. If there is a continuing rise in unemployment we will be able to thank this government and its policies. Just recently the Saskatchewan government released a white paper showing a 37 per cent drop in farmers income in 1967. I should like to quote the following article from the Financial Times of February 12, 1968, headed, "Saskatchewan Tightening Its Belt After 'Only Average' Crop":

As wheat goes in Saskatchewan, so goes the provincial economy and in 1967 several areas of the provincial economy deteriorated.

Supply-Agriculture

A government white paper last week showed drops in total income, net value of commodity production and housing completions. ...

Total personal income dropped 6 per cent to $2 billion in 1967-a drop of 37 per cent in farm income...

Farm machinery investments dropped, though, because of the smaller crop.

The wheat crop for 1967 totalled 339 million bushels, about 37 per cent lower than in the previous year-but higher operating and depreciation costs are expected to reduce net farm income to about $329 million-about 37 per cent lower than in 1966.

Having been a farmer in western Canada and knowing what the real pinch is, I think this is a very true picture. We in Saskatchewan have a wheat crop of 339 million bushels, which is 37 per cent lower than in 1966. The average yield is 17.7 bushels, 10 per cent under the 1957-1966 average. Net farm income in Saskatchewan was $329 million in 1967, down 37 per cent from $751 million the previous year.

We have heard the Minister of Trade and Commerce congratulating himself on having extended the range of the agreement. This does not help the farmer at a time when we have a low minimum price and prices which go below that minimum as well as a falling off in general sales. The western wheat farmer, in view of his massive commitments, cannot be expected to view the situation with calmness. I am sorry I cannot take the same optimistic view of the situation as do the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Since neither of them is caught in a cost-price squeeze in the face of falling prices and falling markets they can afford to be unmoved, but the western farmer cannot.

What about the final wheat payment in 1969? This is when the western farmers will realize that as a result of the lack of sales in the current crop year there will be practically no final wheat payment in 1969. It was an unpardonable example of gullibility for these ministers to leave Canada and the Canadian wheat producer without the protection of the international wheat agreement for a whole year. It is all right to be an international good fellow, but already this action has cost the western farmer and the Canadian economy more than Expo-well over $100 million. At the same time, wheat sales are sagging because of United States undercutting made possible by the failure to insist on maintaining or extending the wheat agreement. Many countries have held off their wheat purchases in anticipation of falling prices.

March 5, 1968

Supply-Agriculture

It is all very well for the Minister of Trade and Commerce to rush down to Washington and extract a few cents out of them when what we should be getting is at least 25 cents more for a bushel of our western wheat. That is what the western farmer wants and what he needs. What is the use of producing the world's finest wheat if the government is going to dump it on the market like so much garbage? The farmer does not want throwaway wheat, nor does he want give-away wheat. The western farmer is feeling the pinch and the whole Canadian economy will feel it when the returns are in. The government can look to itself for having bungled the wheat situation by its amateur tactics.

On September 27 the minister said in the house that he was disappointed with our sales to Japan. The western farmers are also disappointed. We are disappointed with the whole sorry story of government bumbling and inability to drive a bargain on behalf of the producers. We have done our share and we do not relish being undercut by the government's incompetence. We realize that the wheat boom is over at present. It is not over because people all round the world do not need our wheat. It is over because the government has not done its job properly. I suggest that if they cannot sell wheat and carry on successful negotiations they should take the advice of the hon. member for Qu'Appelle who has an outstanding record in this respect.

In recent years wheat has become the mainstay of our nation's economy. Under this government it is once again being relegated to a secondary position. Here is a government which spends its time and the taxpayers' money on phony publicity stunts like the war on poverty, reports on American investment, without which we could not five in this country, and a host of other meaningless and time-wasting schemes and programs. At the same time it is unable to look after the basic housekeeping of this nation, such as the sale of wheat, keeping prices and taxes down and giving to Canadians the opportunity to expand in the prosperity which should be ours. The government has frittered away prosperity. Now they come to us expecting congratulations because, as they say, they have kept us out of the poorhouse. Canada's wheat is needed. The market is there. The production is there. It is up to the government to come back to reality and forget about the leadership ambitions of some of its members. They should rather look after the essential business of the country.

Another factor leading to insecurity is the question of how much wheat China will take next year. The government is saying nothing about that. If there is a serious falling off in the amount of wheat that China buys from us the economy, not only of western Canada but of the nation in general, will be in deep trouble. We want the government and the minister to give us the facts on these matters. We want from the minister an assurance that he and his department will get the wheat moving. We want an assurance as to prices and the volume of sales so that farmers can have some idea of what the future holds under this government.

[DOT] (5:40 p.m.)

The whole picture is one of uncertainty and it is growing worse day by day. The decline of 100 million bushels in exports this year at a time when United States sales are picking up cannot be explained to the Canadian farmer. I suggest that neither the Minister of Agriculture nor the Minister of Trade and Commerce go to western Canada and attempt to justify that situation. If either of them really has leadership ambitions he should think very seriously of a way to solve the wheat problem. There has to be a stepped-up selling campaign. We do not intend to return to the days when the western producer was a sitting duck for the lack of activity on the part of the government. The wheat situation is extremely grave, so not only the western farmer but the whole Canadian economy and the government had better get moving on it at once.

Western agriculture is in a serious situation. The constituency I represent includes approximately 45 rural municipalities. Of those rural municipalities, approximately 38 will receive P.F.A.A. payments during the year 1968. Whenever this number of farmers receives P.F.A.A. payments it is a good indication that western agriculture is in a serious situation. Last evening the minister mentioned the Farm Credit Corporation and the amount of money that had been borrowed from that organization. I believe he said that in 1962 about $78 million had been lent by the Farm Credit Corporation and in 1966 the amount was $234 million. I can assure the minister and the members of this committee that no farmer in western Canada is proud of borrowing money. If he had the money in his pocket which he should have he would not have to go to the Farm Credit Corporation to borrow these amounts.

March 5, 1968

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

Harry Andrew Moore

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Moore:

Mr. Chairman, I welcome the first chance for some time to discuss the present state of agriculture in Canada. I intend to confine my remarks specifically to the dairy industry. Before I commence may I say that I listened to the minister last evening comparing two government's policies. I think it is enough to say that the farmers can judge between the two policies. What they really want to know is, what comes next? They were not told this. After the minister's speech last night, however, I am sure the farmers will know that they have nothing to fear. They have been making more money than they thought they were.

In so far as the amount of money farmers are now borrowing is concerned, I point out that in most cases farmers borrow because they have to, not because they want to. They know how difficult it is to repay this money. I base my opinion on personal experience of over 30 years as a dairy farmer. The government's policy seems to be that rural poverty can be eliminated by getting rid of the farmers. If you get rid of the farmers, you get rid of the poverty. I would not like to try to tell the small dairy farmer who gets no subsidy that he never had it so good. I would not even like to tell the fluid milk shipper on a small quota that he never had it so good.

This government is not noted for having an agricultural policy but it does introduce a dairy policy each year, and a different one each year. The government hopes that this will keep the producers reasonably quiet until next year. The result is that the dairy farmer, who is running practically a lifetime operation, cannot make any long term plans. Policy is changed every year, sometimes even in mid-year, so a planned program is impossible. Guess who is left holding the bag as usual.

The Department of Agriculture, aided now by the Canadian Dairy Commission, has two separate pieces of advice for the dairy farmer designed to help him with his problems. These are two very interesting, separate pieces of advice. The first piece of advice is that he must increase his efficiency, enlarge his unit and work longer hours. This means working longer than the average of 13 hours a day for a dairyman. He must also cut his costs of production, and tell us how he does that these days. Finally, he must improve his herd.

[DOT] (5:50 p.m.)

With regard to herd improvement, what is the record achieved by Canadian stockmen

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Supply-Agriculture

who are breeders of dairy cattle? A couple of years ago Canadian breeders sold a dairy cow for the record sum of $42,000. Shortly afterwards another sold for $43,000. The highest price ever obtained at auction for a dairy bull by Canadian breeders was $115,000. Shortly after that a bull was sold to the American breeders association for $140,000, and since then $150,000 was paid for a sire used in Ontario in an A.I. unit. These sires are used by Canadian dairymen through the A.I. program.

Let us see if milk production has improved at all. A few years ago it was not very common to get a cow producing 20,000 pounds of milk a year. However, today it is common among the high producers, some of which have produced over 30,000 pounds. I believe that three such cows in Canada achieved this figure last year, though I could be wrong there. That means that over 1,000 pounds of butterfat, sometimes 1,200 pounds, is produced by a single cow in one year. If that is not an improvement I should like to know what is. I should also like to know what more the dairymen of Canada can do to improve their livestock.

The second piece of advice is that the dairyman should produce less milk. How you can produce less and at the same time increase production I have not yet figured out, though I may in time. If this does not solve the dairymen's problem, it will at least solve the problem of the minister and the dairy commission. How ridiculous can you get, Mr. Chairman?

A new dairy policy is due soon, though what it will consist of no one knows. If the dairy farmer is a good guesser he will be prepared to take advantage of the goodies it offers. Let us look at the last dairy policy for a moment since it is the one now in operation. More money was spent on subsidies than the year before but there was greater dissatisfaction, and I should like to know why. I can tell you why, Mr. Chairman. Producers who shipped under 50,000 pounds of milk or the equivalent in cream received no subsidy at all. This was one of the rank discriminations of the policy.

Who were the farmers affected by this discrimination? They were the smaller mixed farmers to whom the sale of milk from a few cows was an important part of their operation. I should like to know what principle the minister is adopting here. This discrimination could be removed to a certain extent when the figure drops to 12,000 pounds from 50,000

pounds. The yearly production of one good cow is 12,000 pounds. Any farmer who produces more will come within the policy. Nevertheless, the principle is still the same, and we must not forget that a large number of dairymen are affected by it. If the principle is correct, then any farmer who ships one pound of butterfat or one pound of manufacturing milk should receive the subsidy. The present policy discriminates against the fluid milk shipper, who must produce milk of highest quality and at even greater cost, with a huge outlay for equipment. I am having a little competition from across the aisle, Mr. Chairman.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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LIB

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

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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PC

Harry Andrew Moore

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Moore:

For example, Mr. Chairman, fluid milk shippers are required to instal a $4,000 or $5,000 cooling tank. The barn cleaning equipment costs $2,000. Most large dairymen have this equipment but fluid milk shippers must have it and also many other items of equipment. Yet they receive no subsidy for a large part of their milk which may be used for manufacturing purposes. In many instances the quota for the higher priced distribution milk is very small, and it is to these dairymen that I refer, not to those with a full quota. The provincial board may increase the price for this portion, thereby increasing the cost to the consumers and causing them to buy less milk. In turn, this cuts the farmer's quota even further.

I should like to give you an example of this, Mr. Chairman. Some months ago I met a group of fluid milk shippers in Alberta and they had their milk cheques in hand. We carefully figured out the average price that each received. One young man-I pick him because the government seems to feel that the older men should pack it up-received an average price of $3.31 per hundredweight before haulage charges were deducted, and believe me, Mr. Chairman, they cost enough. This is hardly in line with the minister's widely published $4.75 per hundred pounds for manufactured milk. This man operates in an area where the cows are stabled eight months a year and fed on hay costing from 50 cents to $1 a bale.

The dairy policy of the government has been one of discrimination and expediency. The method of payment and the administration are just too awkward to describe, as many members of the house who have dairy producers in their constituencies can testify.

March 5, 1968

Incidentally, Mr. Chairman, the government recommends that our farmers be more businesslike. The stabilization board and the dairy commission did not set a very good example during the past dairy year to the farmers who were supposed to be businesslike. I should like to quote from page 2 of the Canadian Dairy Commission statement of January 15, 1968:

-the commission gives notice that this is the last year newcomers may receive subsidy quotas except by reallocation.

Is this common business practice or is it the action of a dictatorship? In a democratic country such as Canada it certainly amounts to arrogance. Has any man who purchases a herd of milk cows and is given a quota any guarantee that the quota will be honoured? This is a question that the Minister of Agriculture should answer. We are waiting for the answer and I hope we will have it today. I think the whole quota system requires very close scrutiny. May I call it six o'clock, Mr. Chairman?

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF HUNTING RIGHTS UNDER MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION
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March 5, 1968