January 22, 1969

LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. I must interrupt the hon. member to advise him his time has expired.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Carry on.

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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is that agreed?

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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

[DOT] (12:50 a.m.)

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PC

Albert C. (Bert) Cadieu

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. C. Cadieu (Meadow Lake):

Mr. Speaker, I would feel very remiss if I did not take part in this important debate tonight. I want to congratulate my colleague from the Mackenzie riding for bringing this very important subject before the house. Because our constituencies are adjoining, I am sure we have similar problems.

On September 25 last, as recorded at page 466 of Hansard for that date, I addressed several questions to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson). The first one reads:

My question arises out of the very serious situation that has been created in western Canada owing to the very wet and impossible harvest conditions. Many farmers are going to be up against a serious feed shortage unless they have especially good weather in the late harvest season. Has the minister and his department asked the P.F.A.A. officials to make a survey of the seriousness of the situation?

The minister replied that this was being done. My supplementary question, which was ruled out of order, was as follows:

-have any plans been made to assist farmers with regard to drying facilities for wet grain? In order to get feed for livestock many farmers will be forced to take tough or damp grain off the land.

At that time the minister said a survey was being conducted. I wish to point out that many people who have had a complete crop failure have not received their P.F.A.A. payments as yet and they do not know when they are going to receive them. Much of the crop in that area was damaged by frost, and when farmers got the rest of it off the land it was tough and damp.

Cabinet ministers talk a lot about the three bushel quota. I would like to tell you, Mr. Speaker, what the three bushel quota means

Grain

in my area. When the three bushel quota was established the officials had not made a survey. The local elevator was full of grain from last year, yet in a letter to me the wheat pool chairman said that the largest shipping point in Saskatchewan had not received one single box car in a four-week period. Can you tell me what good the three bushel quota was when the elevator was full and there were no box cars? This demonstrates the seriousness of the situation.

The three bushel quota was really detrimental to many of the farmers in the area because they harvested lots of grain that would have been far better if it had been left in the swathe. Now, they find it impossible to buy the necessary drying equipment, or hire it. It is impossible to dry the grain because of the adverse weather.

The situation is not a laughing matter although I notice that a lot of members on the government side tonight seem to think it is a laughing matter. It would not be a laughing matter to them if they received some of the letters sent to me telling of the seriousness of the situation in which people find themselves. In the past few days I have received letters from people who cannot provide for their families. These people have no grain to ship. They cannot haul it out. The elevators cannot take some of the grain because it is too wet. It is certainly no laughing matter.

I notice that the Minister without Portfolio from Saskatchewan (Mr. Lang) talked about doubling the cash advances on farm store grain. This is not too much help to a farmer who doesn't have any grain, but it brought back to my memory how members on the government side, when in opposition, criticized the cash advances legislation my party introduced. They said the Wheat Board would walk off the job if we did such a thing, but now they double the amount of the cash advances. I think this was a necessary move. I know a great many parts of western Canada will reap benefit from it, but it certainly will not benefit a farmer who has not any grain.

I think this matter is so important that I would remain here even if it meant having my breakfast here in order to represent my constituency. Members of the opposition have continually brought the urgency of the situation to the attention of the government. I notice that the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) did make a statement in Winnipeg that he did not think it was up to the government to sell wheat. That is all right; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce throws his

January 22, 1969

Grain

hands up in the air and says, "What do you expect me to do." He should not wonder what he should do. What in the world is he doing there? He might be a very good fellow, but if he is not doing a good job let someone do something about it. I do not think a country such as Canada can afford, in a situation of this kind, to have a member from Montreal trying to represent western Canada. If he does not know what he is supposed to do, then for God's sake let the government put someone in there who does know what to do.

It appears to me that the government is doing everything it can to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. I suggest that we let our mind wander back not too many years. The government in office at that time had western Canada stripped right down. But under a Conservative government the farmer of western Canada was given an opportunity. Look how quickly that government put all the factories to work and everything began to move. The unemployment situation was cured. But look at the predicament in which western Canada is today. Where has the buying power gone? All one need do is look at the record of machinery sales. I believe these are some of the things the government should consider. Not only the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce but also the Minister without Portfolio should realize the seriousness of the situation, as should the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson).

I was home during the holidays and never before have I seen a situation in my constituency as serious as that which exists today. Yet members opposite sit here tonight and laugh. This is not funny; this is a serious situation. We have heard about the seriousness of the situation in Vancouver. We heard from the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch). He certainly knows something about the situation in Vancouver harbour. I had the opportunity to see what a really great institution that is for handling grain. If the grain is not moving and we have to pay demurrage charges, then they will have to come out of the price we receive for the wheat. It only brings $1 a bushel. My father received twice that much 30 years ago for a bushel of wheat. How can a farmer carry on in this day and age when that is all he can get for his wheat, and out of that he has to pay all this demurrage expense.

I was very happy that Mr. Speaker allowed this debate to take place. I feel it is very important that the people whom I represent should have heard from me on this important

subject. The Minister of Agriculture and others have heard the plea from one of the former prime ministers that they should go out there and look into the seriousness of the situation. If they do not think it is serious, let them come to Meadow Lake. I will show them, and I will also show them some letters I have received. Many farmers will be in serious difficulty when they come to put in new crops. This is something that should be considered. I heard a very good suggestion today. The government should encourage elevator companies to instal grain drying equipment.

[DOT] (1:00 a.m.)

During the Christmas recess I discovered that a lot of small dryers are not operating efficiently. I discovered that a great deal of grain has not been dried properly and has been rejected. A great deal of grain in western Canada has been overdried or burnt. Farmers cannot sell this grain. Most of the farmers do not want to spend another 20 cents per bushel on this wheat because they feel they cannot sell it.

If anyone thinks this situation is not serious he should go out and observe it first hand. This government should be worried about the situation. It is not a laughing matter that we are here at this time of the morning. It is very important to the western farmer that the government take some action when the farmer is saddled with tough and damp grain.

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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, the hour is getting late. I do not represent a western Canadian farm riding but I have been very interested in this debate and I hope the government has learned something. I note that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) and other long standing members of the agriculture committee are standing outside the curtain. They must know that over the years agricultural problems have changed. These problems have been brought to the attention of the government since I have been here but the government has found no solution.

The new minister from Saskatchewan has suggested that somebody has pushed the panic button. This is a very interesting remark, particularly to the unemployed in this country. I suggest the minister is unemployed, but the farmer in this country is not interested in that fact. He has too much to think about because of his own problems.

January 22, 1969

These farm problems are always regional. When they occur the farmers get after their members of parliament to do something about them. Unfortunately, there is insufficient action on the part of the government. Some years ago we had an opportunity to consider the problems in respect of wheat production. The committee on agriculture at that time presented a report to this house, but obviously the minister has not read it. He is not aware of the recommendations that committee made. Had those recommendations been implemented many of the problems in respect of box cars would have been alleviated.

It is my opinion that the minister should not have control of the Canadian Wheat Board. This government agency has been transferred from one minister to another over the years. I have a great deal of respect for this minister who has inherited this responsibility. Since I have been a member of this house the responsibility for the wheat board has rested with the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Trade and Commerce and one or two others.

Perhaps the minister should consider putting the wheat board under the direction of one of the ministers without portfolio because this agency is responsible for many problems which affect the entire country. The production and sale of wheat is an important part of our economy. I do not know what ministers without portfolio do, but one of them should interest himself in this matter.

The minister responsible for this government agency is now handling an extremely important portfolio and the addition of this responsibility is ridiculous. To throw the Wheat Board, which is a major responsibility, on top of his other responsibilities is idiotic. The minister has great capacity but I am sure that even he cannot pay full attention to these four major responsibilities. I suggest that at least two of them, and probably all of them, are running into some difficulty because of his inability to cope with all these problems.

One had only to look at the minister's desk this evening to realize how much responsibility he has. He had on his desk a pile of correspondence that he had been answering for four or five hours. And this is on overtime; it is not done in normal hours.

The Wheat Board is an important agency, but let us face another problem. The chairman of the Wheat Board is a great propagandist. He has a personal machine that never allows him to come out at the worst end of

Grain

any question or mistake that may occur. The minister or somebody else may be blamed for a mistake, but in my experience Mr. McNamara will not be blamed-and my experience covers a long period of time. The chairman of the Wheat Board does a good job and looks after himself.

Many things could be done to solve this problem. There have been in the past a great many problems in this industry. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) thinks he has to defend himself against all these problems. He does not. I do not think all members of parliament would accuse him of having been responsible for the weather, the mistakes created because of the quota system or those of the industry. They may. However, I think they would be speaking figuratively and really would not hold the Minister of Agriculture directly responsible for all these problems. But they hold the government responsible in the sense that action could be taken to solve the problems but it has not been taken.

The government has not taken action to solve the problems faced by this industry. One or two solutions to the problems were contained in the report of the committee which studied the matter. First, we have a very lousy transportation system for moving grain. We obviously cannot continue to handle the quotas produced by the farmer. The committee said that if any emergency arose we would be in serious trouble. We had probably the best co-operation in respect of our transportation facilities, the country elevators and terminal elevators in the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert and at the head of the lakes for a period of two or three years when we handled much more than we should have been able to handle with the facilities at our disposal.

In respect of this industry we are operating out of a box car. We do not operate the potash industry or any other industry in this country to the best advantage. Modernization will have to take place in the grain elevators and other facets of the agricultural industry. It does not behoove us to continue the practice we have followed in the past. We must build new elevators. We should not use elevators which were designed 50 years ago simply because the people in the community have a vested interest in them.

We would be much better off if we built elevators which had drying facilities in them. Farmers should not have to have drying facilities on their farms. There may be a drought for three years, good crops for five

January 22, 1969

Grain

years, and two years of an excess of rain. For eight or ten years a farmer may have to use drying equipment on only one or two occasions. We cannot afford this situation in regard to our elevator arrangements.

When we went out to western Canada I am sure every member of the committee was shocked when he learned something that probably even the farmers do not know. When we walked into the Moose Jaw terminal we found it had in it less than 20 bushels of grain. This had been the situation for many months. They had 40 employees. If each of them had taken one bushel of grain home, that elevator would not have been needed at all. That terminal facility could be putting class II wheat into export shape for marketing in three or four days. All you would be doing at the elevators, either at the head of the lakes or in Vancouver, would be moving the grain into the ships that were tied up in that area. The necessity this year for drying grain as well as for putting it into export position has made things much more difficult. The situation could have been coped with much more easily in the terminal elevators than the elevators at the ports.

[DOT] (1:10 a.m.)

As everyone knows, there has been great reluctance to use the port at Churchill. The facilities at Churchill could have been used to a far greater degree for European export of wheat, probably three or four times as much. This recommendation has been made by all transportation people in the Churchill area. They have said that if grain were moved to the port at Churchill the cost would be less than in moving it to other ports. Yet this was not considered until an emergency arose.

I suggest to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce that he set up the commission which has been recommended. He has the choice of either setting up a commission to co-ordinate the transportation or one to handle the whole co-ordination of the grain movement. The grain commissioners have a responsibility in this field, as have the country elevators and the Wheat Board. It is difficult for each and every one of them to be in contact with each other. For instance, I am told tonight that there has been another bad train wreck in the Edmonton area. If this is so, these shipments could be rerouted by a transportation commissioner with teletype facilities in his office. He would know the movements of the C.N.R. and C.P.R. and could make appropriate arrangements.

If we do not have such a facility I suggest we will be in continual difficulty. The facilities we do have are archaic and we should seriously consider what to do about this problem on a long term basis. Everyone concerned with the industry and with agriculture has done a very good job in their own field to make possible the deliveries that we have made over the last four or five years. This is a unique year because of the drying problem. There is also a general problem in the field of agriculture which is developing very rapidly. I refer to the high interest rate on purchases which the farmers have to make. Obviously this has had some effect on the ability of country elevators to buy drying equipment. So there have been special problems this year.

If the minister considers himself big enough to sit on this whole problem he will find himself in exactly the same situation as the one which his great predecessor, C. D. Howe, had to face. He was not big enough and he had to obtain the help of other competent people. If the minister wishes to call these people executives and appoint them to his own staff in charge of specific aspects of this problem I would not be opposed to such a move because I believe it would get the job done. But if he waits until each of these boards reports to him and carries out the work of co-ordination on the basis of those reports he will find he is considerably out of touch.

This problem has been with us for a number of years and until Members of Parliament get up and make a noise nothing ever seems to be done. The present situation has developed to some degree during every one of the 12 years in which I have been here, and I think the Minister of Agriculture will bear this out. Nothing new has been said in this debate. There is no emergency with which we are unfamiliar. For God's sake let us sit down in the agricultural committee and settle some of these problems or at least those which are capable of solution.

I do not say these things in a partisan way. The object is to maintain as much of the export market as we can, and this involves not only supplying the desired grain in the proper condition but supplying it on time to fill the ships as they arrive. It means that grain should be moved uniformly so that all farmers have an appropriate quota and so that no dislocation arises in connection with our transportation or harbour facilities. The

January 22, 1969

movement of grain should be co-ordinated in such a way that the right grain reaches the right place at the right time. If this can be done Canada will have a future in the marketing of grain.

I have no personal or constituency interest in the grain industry but from the experience I have gained as a result of the opportunity of travelling across western Canada I am sure that unless some major changes take place, originated by the government, there will be a serious calamity affecting our ability to export at prices which will allow farmers a reasonable return while enabling us to meet the international price structure.

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PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Simpson (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, having listened to the debate this evening on this important subject I should like at the outset to offer my hearty congratulations to the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Korchin-ski) for instituting this discussion.

We have listened to what the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) had to say. He attempted to show that the government had done everything in its power to alleviate the present situation at Vancouver, and he ended by asking: What is my job? I suggest that the minister responsible for the Wheat Board should work in close harmony with the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) and that the two should get their facts and figures straight. No doubt they have to a certain extent. But on one hand we found the Minister of Agriculture telling us that the unloading of cars at Vancouver was going on at a very good rate-he said some 300 cars a day were being unloaded-while on the other hand the Minister of Trade and Commerce tells us that because of damp grain and weather conditions it has taken an hour on many occasions to unload one car. I wonder how those figures can be reconciled.

[DOT] (1:20 a.m.)

We also had a lecture from the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Lang) who attempted to tell the opposition what they should be doing instead of bringing to the attention of the government the damp grain situation. He went over some aspects of the problem and said that we should spend out time finding solutions instead of panicking when the damp grain problem manifested itself last fall, panicking again when deliveries could not be made on time, and panicking further when ships were held up at anchorage in Vancouver harbour. If the Minister without Portfolio feels that the opposition is panicking, then it

Grain

is very fortunate that the hon. member for Mackenzie and those who have supported him panicked, as the minister called it, on this occasion.

One point that has been brought out very forcibly in this debate is that in spite of the minister's statement that the government has no authority to dictate to the Wheat Board or to any other body that handles grain in Canada, the farmers of western Canada will be amazed when they discover that one result of this debate today has been the announcement in the house that orders have been given to ship with all haste all of the No. 2 grain that can be shipped from elevators at Moose Jaw. I am also amazed by the very caustic criticism that has emanated from government benches in regard to matters that opposition members have brought to the attention of the house in this debate. I am convinced that had it not been for this debate the order to ship No. 2 grain from Moose Jaw would not have been given. I understand it was also ordered that overtime should be worked to the limit in order to get the grain moving as quickly as possible.

If those on government benches are in no position to dictate or even to suggest to the Wheat Board or the Board of Grain Commissioners what they should do, then I would be interested to find out where this order came from. Regardless of where it came from, it is a good thing that the order was given. Shipments will be made from Moose Jaw as rapidly as possible so that some of the ships that are waiting at anchorage at Vancouver will be loaded with No. 2 grain and requirements met. When we know a little more about this order we will be able to ask questions and I hope we will be given answers. However, I am sure the western farmers will realize what initiated this order to get grain moving.

In view of the fact that a great number of members who have taken part in this debate have made the point that a number of improvements are necessary not only in our grain handling facilities in western Canada, at terminal and prairie elevators but also in rail transportation arrangements, this would be a very opportune time to mention briefly shipping arrangements through the port of Churchill. There are a number of reasons for bringing up this important matter at this time. Over the years the government has announced prior to the opening of the shipping season that in the year to come a record number of bushels would be shipped through Churchill. I have no figures in front of me

January 22, 1969

Grain

but I think the figures I will mention are accurate.

The year before the Conservative government took office in 1957, 16 million bushels were shipped through Churchill. From then until 1962 grain shipments increased each year through Churchill until about 24 million bushels were shipped. My constituents feel that Churchill is capable of handling more wheat than the port is handling at present. The Liberal government on taking office assured us that record shipments would be made through Churchill. If one looks at the figures one will find that in only one year since 1962 have more than 24 million bushels been shipped through our port. I think 25.5 million bushels were shipped one year. In other years shipments were drastically reduced. During the past season I think about 22.5 million bushels were shipped through Churchill, a drastic reduction, particularly after the government had assured us we would be handling record shipments.

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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

I bet you a dollar your figures are wrong.

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PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Simpson:

I am sure anyone checking with officials of the National Harbours Board will learn that Churchill has the reputation of being the most efficient port in Canada in turning around ships and in loading and unloading them. Churchill on many occasions has been declared the most efficient port in Canada; yet grain shipments through that port are not being increased to the extent they ought to be. Perhaps the minister may produce figures showing that Churchill had a record year this past year. The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Lang) lauded the government for the grain traffic handled by the port of Vancouver. I wish he were here to tell us why grain shipments through Churchill have been decreasing each year. Is the government being influenced by some who are lobbying on behalf of other Canadian ports? A port of Montreal official, J. C. Bourguignon, secretary of the Montreal Port Council, made a statement in 1965 which has been repeated many times. He called government promises to increase freight shipments through Churchill "electioneering", adding that he could hardly believe that could happen "without consultation between the federal government and eastern port managers". He went on to say:

The council has strongly opposed any move to increase the use of Churchill because it is an artificial enterprise opened due to the war. We don't mind the status quo, but we'll rise up against any government plan to increase its use.

[DOT] (1:30 a.m.)

Considering the need for us to modernize grain handling facilities across Canada and remembering what Montreal port officials are saying about Churchill, it seems that those Montreal officials as well as others are influencing the government to hold the line on shipments through Churchill. There are many reasons for saying this and bringing this matter to the attention of the house because, just to quote a few figures, storage charges at the Churchill elevator are six cents a bushel for nine months while storage charges at other terminals are nine cents for nine months. It costs 12 cents a bushel to take wheat from Saskatoon to Churchill, and 27 cents a bushel to take wheat from Saskatoon to Montreal, pointing up the fact that it is much cheaper to ship it out of Churchill than out of any other port in Canada from the Churchill designated area of grain shipment in western Canada.

I would also like to point out that on June 20, 1966, the day the first Russian wheat sale was announced, the price of No. 2 wheat at Montreal was $2,205 a bushel, and the same day the price of No. 2 wheat at Churchill was $2.13 a bushel, a difference of seven cents a bushel. This means that it is not only cheaper to ship wheat out of Churchill than it is out of these other ports but it is also cheaper for the purchaser to buy it. There is a saving for the purchaser and for the farmer. These are only some of the reasons why the port of Churchill should be considered in the improvement which hon. members think is so necessary for our grain handling facilities across Canada.

There is also talk about the shipping season at Churchill. It should be extended and there are various ways in which it could be extended. A report I have here says that in 1927 the McLean Commission spent a season on the Hudson Bay route and reported that there could be a shipping season of 120 days without the assistance of icebreakers. Today, 42 years later, we have only 88 days. So the extension of the shipping season at Churchill to not less than 120 days is a definite requirement if we are going to improve our grain handling facilities in western Canada.

Along with that there should be marine rates of insurance available for the port of Churchill comparable with those available at other ports. To this end immediate consideration should be given to the use of the new Alexbow-Hammerhead and Gibson icebreaker systems. Members of the government should

January 22, 1969

know what I am talking about because the government has a considerable financial interest in the Alexbow itself. Incidentally, the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hellyer) did not even know the name of it when I brought it to his attention.

Mr. Scott Alexander, the inventor of the Alexbow, has told me personally that the port of Churchill would be mush easier to keep open with the Alexbow than any of the St. Lawrence ports in the wintertime, and he sees no reason whatever, if he is given the opportunity, that he could not take a barge in from an eastern seaport to Churchill in midwinter-January, February, or any time you wish to mention.

I am not advocating that next year or the year after the port of Churchill should be kept open during wintertime, but I am advocating that the port of Churchill could be kept open for a much greater length of time if the government would take action to see that it is kept open. I again refer to my belief that the government is listening too closely to shipping interests in other Canadian ports. In 1905 and 1910 ships were coming into the port of Churchill after the middle of November without the aid of icebreaking equipment, without any radar and without lighthouse services. So there is no reason in the world that this port cannot be kept open much longer each season.

One other facility that should be located at the port of Churchill-and this is something the government should look into-is a pilot boat in order that pilot services can be rendered at all times regardless of weather conditions because the present pilot boat is not suitable for all weather conditions. There should also be an increase in the storage capacity over the present 5 million bushel capacity to 10 million bushels. The larger ships are now capable of loading up to one million bushels and therefore the present storage of 5 million bushels is not sufficient to guarantee there will be sufficient grain at the port at all times. The additional storage capacity would also make it possible to carry stocks of other types of grain besides wheat in addition to providing for more grains of each type.

In conclusion I would say to the minister and members of the treasury benches that a good look should be taken at this port. They will recall that a few years ago some sales were made to Czechoslovakia and representatives of that government came to Ottawa to talk with representatives of this government

Grain

or their predecessors. Every assurance was given to me in the house at that time that those representatives from Czechoslovakia would be made fully aware of the facilities at Churchill and the savings they could enjoy by taking their grain out of Churchill.

I am not in a position to make the charge that this information was not given to them. But Mr. Jim Gray, the secretary-treasurer of the Hudson Bay Route Association, in talking to these Czechoslovakian representatives was told they never received this information. We did clear up the situation when the Russian sales were made by Canada because these people were in the gallery and I had the opportunity of telling them there was the opportunity of shipping through Churchill.

[DOT] (1:40 a.m.)

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RA

Gilbert F. Rondeau

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Gilbert Rondeau (Shefford):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words on the important problem which is before us to-day, and I will try to remain within the ambit of the matter now under discussion.

The problem concerns mainly western Canada, but this situation is not germane to us, for if there is a lack of box cars to carry wheat to the port of Vancouver, that reminds us of a familiar situation that we, of the Creditiste Party, have been denouncing for many years, namely the accumulation of wheat as a result of the lack of box cars. Needless to say that hon. members knoW it, and more particularly the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson).

We have denounced the economic bottleneck which is affecting Canada. There is obviously an abundance of wheat in western Canada and there is a market for our production, because foreign countries are willing to buy our wheat. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) shakes his head; I would like to know which argument would convince him. We are having difficulty with wheat exports and transportation, a problem which has already been mentioned in this house, since the Creditistes are represented here since 1935. The situation is the same, from the economic point of view. In other words, it is production in relation to consumption, and the transportation facilities are inadequate.

Complaints are now heard about the lack of box cars, while we, Creditistes, complain because for the last 30 years the transportation facilities do not make the link between

January 22, 1969

Grain

production and consumption. This is why we have denounced in the past the economic congestion that has prevailed, especially in the past 30 years, and tonight the special congestion in a certain sector of production.

Now there is a solution to those problems. Some will say, as some ministers did, that it depends on the weather. It reminds me of a problems which occurred a few years ago in the Ukraine-where a lot of wheat is grown -and which was similar to the one which is now raised. There was a bumper crop of wheat, but the officials of the communist government of the Ukraine had not delivered the necessary permits to the farmers of the state to enable them to harvest their wheat on time.

It did happen that all the wheat was lost under the snow. There was a lack of planning, and the technocrats, the officials of Ukraine, a socialist and communist country, stated that the bad weather was responsible for the crop being left under the snow.

Here, in Canada, planning could not be achieved concerning the operations in Vancouver harbour, one of Canada's main ports, to make it suitable for receiving wheat shipments. Moreover, and this is even more serious, financial planning was neglected- although we, of the Ralliement Creditiste, have been requesting it for a long while-in order to ensure the development of national harbours to meet export needs.

For instance, if you read the question the honourable member for Portneuf (Mr. Godin) asked in this house a little while ago and which appeared on the order paper for January 15, you will see that the Ivory Coast refused the wheat which Canada wanted to give it.

We also learned, through other official documents of the house, that a small country, that is Niger, has its own merchant marine. Its boats are ploughing our rivers and the Great Lakes to get our wheat or other products. A small country gives itself an adequate transportation system, to meet its needs, but here, in Canada, weather conditions, we are told, are responsible for the present situation. And yet, I think what is most regrettable and astonishing is that the Minister of Agriculture knows the solution to our problem. He has been preaching it for more than 30 years. He must have liked that solution since he supported it in and out of the house. Because he met with some minor problems in the Social Credit party, he left that party. Now he is in the Liberal party,

where he is experiencing a much more serious problem than the lack of box-cars in Vancouver. If the Minister of Agriculture left the Social Credit party because of very minor problems, I think he should also leave the Liberal party, because he is now in a strait-jacket and therefore is unable to solve our problems, and he knows it.

I know he is intelligent and I respect his integrity. I know he remembers the Social Credit doctrine but I am convinced that despite his intelligence, he will be unable to apply the principles he loved and defended and for which he even paid dues for thirty years when he was a respectable and an out-and-out Creditiste. Today, he is a sort of straitjacket within the Liberal party. He now blames the weather for the lack of box-cars in western Canada, the same way Canadian economists, during the depression held sun spots responsible for the economic crisis. We have transportation problems-

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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Deputy Speaker:

Order. I think the hon. member is wondering a little from the subject under consideration.

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RA

Gilbert F. Rondeau

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Rondeau:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to point out to you that during the depression, the sun spots were in the heads of the economists and that, at the present time, there are problems out West which are comparable to the false sun spots of the depression.

Now, we have come to grips with a similar problem. First of all, let us speak of the economists. The Minister of Agriculture should not trust economists too much, for the last report of the Economic Council of Canada recommends to increase production. On the other hand, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) tells us: Tighten up your belts and increase production. There is a contradiction in that. This is the illogical consequence of an absurb economic system, and it explains why, today, we are faced with a transportation problem out West and why tomorrow, another problem will come up in the Mari-times.

We are also grappling with a wheat problem in the province of Quebec. Indeed, our farmers cannot buy Canadian wheat at the same price as the Chinese Communists; when our wheat sold for $1.50 a bushel in the province of Quebec, it was about twice what they paid. These are not stories but facts that are born out by the figures of the Department of Trade and Commerce. We are now grappling with the problem of the export of wheat

January 22, 1969

which is perhaps not directly our problem in Quebec but in which we are interested as Canadians.

It is the same problem that exists now in western Canada and that is reflected in other segments of the economy because there is no planning by the federal government.

First, they do not plan their financing. Consequently, they are now grappling with a given problem and to-morrow there will be another one. Instead of solving our problems, we make enquiries and we create royal commissions. Big deal. Instead of trying to solve the problem tonight, why not form a royal commission and study still another year, because that is the solution which the Liberals have been putting forward for many years.

How is it that tonight the Minister of Agriculture announced-I believe I was absent from the house at the time-that the C.P.R. had issued orders to make available in the port of Vancouver all the cars required to meet the needs of the present crisis?

Why did the C.P.R. not do it a few weeks ago? Why is it possible today when it was not at that time?

Tomorrow, hundreds of cars will stand on the sidings in the port of Vancouver, but how much will it cost us for the cars that will thus stand idle for whole days? Might it be that the C.P.R. wants to replenish its coffers or that its shareholders stand to make greater profits?

For weeks and weeks we needed them, and there were none, but now we have them all together at the same time!

Such are the questions that could be directed to the Minister of Agriculture and which deserve an answer. Those questions are of concern to all Canadians. Why? Because we are facing a financial problem and tonight, it is a transportation problem.

It is just the same in the field of economics: a transport problem, an economic bottleneck, a bottleneck affecting the means of transport in Vancouver. The minister will no doubt explain it, by putting the blame on the weather, just as the socialist technocrats, several years ago, explained to the whole world how they had lost their crops on the farms of Ukraine by blaming it on the snow, the frost and on permits which arrived too late.

In the present case, things were not planned in good time and this vindicates the Credi-tistes who want to decentralize production. The Minister of Industry and Trade and 29180-298

Grain

Commerce is grinning; he has listened to nobody but the technocrats and now he is confronted with the situation which arose here tonight. He should seek the advice of experienced entrepreneurs, of successful businessmen, rather than of technocrats who try to explain away their carelessness by speaking of the weather or some such nonsense.

[DOT] (1:50 a.m.)

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald Maclnnis (Cape Breton-East Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to note that some hon. members to my right have indicated pleasure that I am participating in this debate. I mention this especially for the benefit of the hon. member for Okanagan-Kootenay (Mr. Stewart) who previously indicated he did not wish to be here any more. However, the fact that I mentioned him will bring to the attention of his constituents that he is present in the house at two o'clock in the morning, and if it takes a Conservative member to draw that to their attention I am happy to do so, since he can find no other way of doing so himself.

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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):

Why not name everyone who is here?

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton-East Richmond):

It has already been suggested to me by another hon. member that the question of wheat has gone through the mill this evening. I hear another familiar voice, which reminds me that possibly this evening Liberal members were moved by the importance of this debate. Some of them may even have telephoned British Columbia and said: "For God's sake, someone give us some figures; they are pounding us down here". I leave it to members of the house to guess just who that member is.

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?

An hon. Member:

Name him.

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton-East Richmond):

He is not worthy of it. For somebody from the east coast to participate in a debate on wheat may come as a surprise. However, it is a subject which the Speaker considered of national importance and worthy of debate. It is surprising to me that throughout the evening Liberal members, including the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson), have cast reflections on the opinion voiced by the Speaker, and so did the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Lang).

However, I consider that this matter concerns the economy of Canada, and what is good for the west is bound to be good for the east. Today the economy of this country is

January 22, 1969

Grain

facing a staggering loss from the mismanagement that has been going on since this government, and especially the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, has tried to run the affairs of the Wheat Board.

At this time I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Korchin-ski) who has brought this important matter to a head and, as is evident from the announcement made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson), forced the government to take steps that have already been suggested by a number of hon. members. There has been an announcement tonight that all available amounts of No. 2 northern are to be moved as quickly as possible.

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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

That action was initiated a long time ago.

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton-East Richmond):

It still took the debate to get it moving. Before the minister made his announcement he knew very well that members of the house were aware of it since the early afternoon.

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?

An hon. Member:

Nonsense.

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January 22, 1969