October 4, 1968

AGRICULTURE

IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26

PC

Harold Warren Danforth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. W. Danforth (Keni-Essex):

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to move, seconded by the hon. member for Lambton-Kent (Mr. McCutcheon), the adjournment of the house under standing order 26 to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely the failure of the government to take appropriate measures to protect the Canadian farmers by preventing the dumping of American com in Canada at fire sale prices, as well as the government's failure to take action to stabilize prices for Canadian corn producers, resulting in the disastrous collapse of the Canadian corn market.

If Your Honour finds some difficulty in determining the urgency of the matter, I am prepared to debate it at this time.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. As the hon. member realizes, it is not the urgency of the matter that most concerns the Chair at the moment but the urgency of debate on the matter. I would invite the hon. member to address the house on this limited aspect of the matter.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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PC

Harold Warren Danforth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Danforth:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The urgency of debate arises from the subject matter of the motion, which relates to antidumping provisions. I am firmly convinced there is no way in which the question of anti-dumping provisions can be debated at this time. It is urgent that the debate take place now because measures would have to be implemented immediately in order to save for the farmers any substantial part of the 1968 market.

[DOT] (11:10 a.m.)

A further factor relating to urgency of debate is the fact that only this morning was it fully apparent that the government had absolutely nothing to offer to relieve the disastrous situation in which the com producers find themselves. Up until yesterday the

minister had left the impression that some kind of action would be taken by the government.

That suggestion was completely dissipated today. Now that we know nothing is being done to deal in a practical way with the situation resulting from the dumping of cheap United States corn at fire sale prices, it is up to this parliament to act. That is why the farmers have arrived here today to bring their case to parliament, and I submit, Mr. Speaker, they have a right to have their case heard. On another similar occasion last spring the farmers found the doors of parliament locked in their faces, the only time in the history of this nation that this has happened. I maintain that this is an urgent and an important case nationally, and if parliament is to be once again closed off to the farmers, where are they to turn?

A great principle is involved here, and surely it must be admitted that it is not every day that the deliberations of this chamber are interrupted by the primary producers of this country seeking justice from this house; because that is all the farmers are asking. There is no other way in which this matter can be dealt with, no other way in which the farmers of this country can find justice other than to ask this house to interrupt its deliberations at this time to deal with the question of according them the opportunity to sell their products without interference.

For my part I do not feel the least embarrassment in asking this house to deal with this question now, because it is a question basic to our institutions and to the survival in this nation of the important producing industries which are at the very base and foundation of our economy. I am proud to make this request on behalf of the farmers of Canada. I wish the Minister of Agriculture would join me in my view that parliament would be fulfilling its functions nobly if it interrupted its proceedings now to deal with this very real, urgent and pressing grievance of the farmers of Canada at this time.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few

words in support of the request that this motion be allowed, and I do so in terms of its procedural aspects. The citations regarding

October 4, 1968

Importation of U.S. Corn the use of standing order 26 are many and lengthy and they have often been put on the pages of Hansard, so I shall make only two brief quotations. The first is the first sentence of citation 100(1) in Beauchesne's fourth edition. It reads:

The definite matter ol urgent public importance for the discussion of which a member may ask leave to move adjournment of the house under Standing Order 26 must involve the administrative responsibility of the government.

The motion placed before you by the hon. member for Kent-Essex refers to the dumping of com in Canada at fire sale prices. When one is asking for something to be done against dumping, this clearly involves a matter that comes within the responsibility of the federal government. The urgency of the matter itself has been demonstrated by the number of times that questions have been asked in the last few days. It is also demonstrated by the presence of the farmers who are affected on parliament hill this morning. But of course Your Honour will bring us back to the point that urgency must apply to urgency of debate. Therefore let me read citation 100 (3), which is as follows:

"Urgency" within this rule does not apply to the matter itself, but it means "urgency of debate", when the ordinary opportunities provided by the rules of the house do not permit the subject to be brought on early enough and public interest demands that discussion take place immediately.

I draw Your Honour's attention to the fact that two or three efforts were made yesterday to have a discussion of this matter. In the first place an attempt was made to get the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) to agree to revert to motions so that his statement could be read and the matter could be discussed on the floor of the house in that way. There was not unanimous agreement to this procedure. Later in the day serious effort was made to get the committee to agree to discuss this question of the plight of the corn growers during discussion of the legislation that was then before us.

There was not unanimous consent that this be done, so the chairman of the committee of the whole had no option but to apply the rule of relevancy.

The business for today has been announced. It relates to advance payments for grain, which affect the grain producers in the western provinces. The business for next week has been announced, in accordance with a practice recently instituted. If one looks over the items scheduled for next week one does not find an item under which this problem

could be discussed. Frequently Your Honour is in a position where there is a supply motion coming or estimates or something of that nature to which Your Honour can draw our attention. There is nothing of that sort at this juncture. We are therefore faced with the fact that it was not possible to discuss the matter yesterday, it is not possible to do so today and there will be no opportunity to discuss it next week. I feel, therefore, that the motion by the hon. member for Kent-Essex comes within the purview of citation 100, subparagraph (3), and I hope Your Honour will see fit to allow it.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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RA

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the motion of the hon. member for Kent-Essex (Mr. Dan-forth) is of major interest, not only to the Ontario corn producers but also to the population as a whole.

We are in favour of the adjournment proposed by the motion, and our attitude is justified by the presence on parliament hill of the com producers delegation who have come to ask some measure of justice in regard to their work.

As a representative of agriculture, I must, with my colleagues, support the motion of the member, and I am happy to do so.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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PC

Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. B. Nesbitt (Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, many of the points I wish to make in support of the motion have already been covered by the hon. member for Kent-Essex and the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. However, there are one or two matters which have not been brought to your attention.

One relates to this question of urgency. Your Honour may assume that while there is no immediate supply motion planned nor are there any estimates to be considered shortly, this question may well be discussed within the next three or four weeks. However, I am afraid that would not be satisfactory because of the United States corn which has been dumped on the markets of the United States and this country by the United States government. This corn is having a depressing effect on the Canadian market. I am reliably informed that com prices yesterday in Chatham, which is the centre for much of this product in southern Ontario, were $1.05 per bushel, and the price is still falling as it has been falling all week.

It has been pointed out already in this house that the cost of the production of this

October 4, 1968

item is about $1.22 per bushel. If the price continues to fall at this rate, and if the debate takes place only in three or four weeks, then the farmers will be ruined. There is therefore urgency of debate in connection with this matter now.

There is one other point I should like to mention. Your Honour might very well say there is agricultural legislation before the house. Second reading of some bills will be called shortly, and there will then be a rather broad latitude in debate to discuss agricultural matters. If Your Honour refers back to decisions of your deputy and the deputy chairman of committees, even during the resolution stage when very broad latitude is normally permitted, Your Honour's juniors in office would not permit discussion of this subject.

[DOT] (11:20 a.m.)

For that reason, Mr. Speaker, there will be no opportunity to debate this matter at an early stage. If this state of affairs continues for several weeks it will be too late to take any action. Therefore I respectfully submit that there is urgency of debate and that we should deal with this matter today.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. H. A. Olson (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, I agree that a very serious problem is involved here in view of citation 100, to be found at page 89 of Beauchesne's fourth edition. That citation says that a motion to adjourn the house under standing order 26 must involve the administrative responsibility of the government.

I agree, Mr. Speaker, that import and export control does in fact involve the administrative responsibility of this government. However, I think it would be stretching it a long way to argue that changes in the price of corn in the market place involve the administrative responsibility of this government, notwithstanding the fact that we do recognize that there is a serious problem here.

Paragraph 2 of citation ICO says the matter must be so pressing that the public interest will suffer if it is not given immediate attention. I agree that the matter needs immediate attention, but I suggest to Your Honour that immediate attention has been given and that action has already been taken. The decision was announced yesterday that negotiations would be initiated at once with the United States government to find ways and means of dealing with the problem created by United States corn coming into Canada at distress

Importation of U.S. Corn prices. I am sure all hon. members of the house realize that under our international agreements this is the first essential step to be taken in seeking such a solution.

Paragraph 3 of citation 100 deals with urgency, and this means not urgency of the matter but urgency of debate. Debate should only be had when the public interest demands that discussion take place immediately. I suggest that the action that is essential in seeking a solution to this problem has already been taken, and that any discussion in this house would not immediately add anything to the action already initiated.

However, Mr. Speaker, there is a prohibition in paragraph 5 which reads:

The adjournment of the house cannot be moved with reference to critical conditions generally prevailing in certain parts of the country.

I should like to couple that with part of paragraph 8 of citation 100, which quotes the Speaker of the British House of Commons as saying in part:

What I think was contemplated, was an occurrence of some sudden emergency, either in home or in foreign affairs. But I do not think it was contemplated-if the house will allow me to state my views-that a question of very wide scope, which would demand legislation to deal with it in any effective manner, should be the subject of discussion on a motion for the adjournment of the house, because, if that was so, we might have repeated motions made by the opposition of the day, not so much in the direction of censuring the government for action which had been taken or not taken, for bringing to notice some grievance demanding instant remedy, as in the direction of wishing to introduce legislation on some particular subject.

The citation closes by saying:

That is not the purpose of the standing order-

That has reference to standing order 26.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Will the minister permit a question?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

I suggest that-

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Will the minister permit a question?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

After a while-all the action that ought to be taken and that has been taken meets the provisions of standing order 26, and that the government already has moved to take appropriate action to try to deal with this matter. In conclusion I say there is no evidence of the dumping of corn by United States growers in Canada when one considers the usual definition of dumping.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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PC

John (Jack) Henry Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

The minister has invented a new definition

October 4, 1968

Importation of U.S. Corn

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I hesitate to interrupt the minister, but I must remind him that we are discussing at the moment the question of urgency of debate, and perhaps at this point the minister is going beyond that limit.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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PC

John (Jack) Henry Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

He is entering into debate.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

There is one more point I must mention. Hon. members of the opposition have based their argument on the premise that there has been dumping in Canada of United States corn. We have investigated, and we do not believe there is any evidence of corn coming in here and being dumped or sold at prices below the price offered in the United States. If one applies the usual definition of dumping one must concede that corn is not coming into this country at prices low enough to constitute dumping.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prince Albert):

Will the minister permit a question?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

Certainly.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

In view of the minister's explanation, if there is no dumping why did the government belatedly, after knowing for a week that the farmers were on their way, decide officially yesterday that they were going to get in touch with the United States authorities to stop the dumping?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION OF U.S. CORN-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
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October 4, 1968