March 14, 1969

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

FINANCE, TRADE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS


Eleventh report of the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs, in French and English-Mr. Gaston Clermont (Gatineau). [Editor's Note: Text of foregoing report appears in today's Votes and Proceedings.]


INTERNATIONAL GRAINS ARRANGEMENT-DISCUSSIONS TO STABILIZE PRICING AND MARKETING

LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the International Grains Arrangement entered into force on July 1, 1968 at a time when international prices were under some pressure. It was recognized at the outset that it would take some time and a considerable measure of restraint to achieve effective operation of the price provisions of the arrangement. Progress was made in this direction, encouraged by frequent meetings both among exporters and within the International Wheat Council. Canada has consistently observed the minimum prices established for Canadian grades of wheat.

In recent weeks there has been a significant deterioration in prices for high quality wheats traded in European markets. In some instances and for certain grades and classes these prices have been substantially below established I.G.A. minimums, and a significant volume of business has been done by our competitors.

I went to Washington on March 11 and met with senior officials of the department of state and with the Secretary of Agriculture to see if a greater degree of co-operation in pricing matters could not be achieved. The results of these talks hold some promise for the future, but in the present competitive situation 29180-420

amongst exporters it is not likely that immediate restoration of price levels can be achieved. In view of this the Canadian Wheat Board has come to the conclusion that it must meet the competition in the marketplace.

A meeting of the Prices Review Committee of the International Wheat Council is taking place next week and an early meeting of exporters has been called to determine actions necessary to restore price stability in keeping with obligations assumed under the arrangement. Canada will exert every effort to improve the degree of international cooperation with respect to prices through the I.G.A. and in discussion with other exporters. It should be noted that the I.G.A. itself provides procedures for temporary adjustments of minimum prices, since relationships between type and qualities of wheat fluctuate with competitive circumstances.

International co-operation in wheat marketing remains a cardinal principle of Canadian policy and while remaining competitive every effort will be made by Canada in consultation with other exporting and with importing countries to improve and strengthen co-operation with respect to prices and the operation of the I.G.A.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL GRAINS ARRANGEMENT-DISCUSSIONS TO STABILIZE PRICING AND MARKETING
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PC

George Robson Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George Muir (Lisgar):

While we welcome the announcement that the Canadian Wheat Board intends to remain competitive with other world grain exporters and that efforts will be made to stabilize prices, I should like to point out that in present circumstances large amounts of Canadian wheat are being sold at prices greatly below those paid by the Wheat Board. We hope this situation will not be allowed to get worse as a result of refusal by the government to accept some reduction at certain times in international prices. This applies not only to wheat prices but also to prices of coarse grain. We have lost several sales because we allowed our competitors to undercut us in this latter market. I hope that in the future there will be some degree of elasticity in pricing so that we may sell our grain and meet the competition from other exporters in the world.

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

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL GRAINS ARRANGEMENT-DISCUSSIONS TO STABILIZE PRICING AND MARKETING
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, I fear that the minister's statement is the forerunner of some very

March 14, 1969

Grain Marketing

bad news for the western wheat producers. I think this is the first step toward breaking the bad news that the price of wheat is going to be reduced.

The minister quite properly points out that for certain grades and classes of wheat the prices have been substantially below the I.G.A. minimum. He says that a significant volume of business has been done by our competitors. I would have hoped that the minister would have told the house who are the competitors who are breaking the agreement into which Canada, along with other exporting nations, entered.

It is a well known fact, of course, that the United States, during an interim period between the expiry of the International Wheat Agreement and the coming into effect of the International Grains Arrangement, was selling wheat some 18 cents a bushel below the minimum, despite the fact that we had the assurance of the former minister of trade and commerce that there was a verbal agreement that all parties concerned would adhere to the minimum set out in the proposed I.G.A. agreement.

I hope the minister will take an early opportunity to give the house some further information as to whether or not these competitors of ours who have been selling below the agreed minimum are members of the I.G.A. and, if so, who they are, or whether these sales have been made by exporting countries who are not members of the I.G.A. I cannot think of any outstanding exporters who are not members of the I.G.A.; therefore, I can only conclude that the I.G.A. agreement has been violated by members who have agreed to certain minima and who are now disregarding the agreement. I think this is a very sad affair and must cause the minister, and certainly the farmers of this country, a good deal of concern.

If the situation continues, I agree that the Canadian Wheat Board has no choice but to adjust its prices to meet world competition. But this will mean disaster for the wheat producing industry of Canada. It will mean hardship for a great many farmers in western Canada. I hope that the meeting the minister has announced will be able to restore some price stability.

I am a little worried about the clause in the minister's statement which indicates that the I.G.A. has provided procedures for making temporary adjustments to minimum prices. Unfortunately, these temporary adjustments tend to become permanent. If we are to have a permanent price decline for the balance of

[Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands).!

the term of this agreement, then this will work great hardship on our wheat producers, and of course on the Canadian economy generally.

I am sure that members of the house in all parts of the chamber will wish the minister well in the meeting that is proposed. I am taking it for granted that the minister will press for an adherence to the minima provided by the I.G.A. agreement, rather than for any temporary reduction in price, if this can possibly be avoided.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL GRAINS ARRANGEMENT-DISCUSSIONS TO STABILIZE PRICING AND MARKETING
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RA

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, I well understand the disappointment of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) with regard to the international grains market, and especially the wheat market. However, I commend him for keeping the house informed on those problems, and for the efforts which have been made in conjunction with the United States authorities with a view to finding favourable solutions.

Nevertheless, I hope that western grain producers will not be too seriously affected financially by those market difficulties. That shows that even when our production capacities are large enough to help supply food to the whole world, there are problems due to competition between men.

I hope the minister will continue his efforts with the co-operation of the Canadian Wheat Board and all those interested in the matter so that happy solutions will be found and that the western wheat producers will not be affected too severely by the consequences of this competition on the international market.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL GRAINS ARRANGEMENT-DISCUSSIONS TO STABILIZE PRICING AND MARKETING
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INDIAN AFFAIRS

TABLING OF PART II OF HAWTHORN- TREMBLAY REPORT

LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Chretien (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):

Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to table the French and English versions of part II of the Hawthorn report. At the same time, I am tabling the French version of part I of this report, as the English version was tabled in the house on March 10, 1967.

For the information of the house, I wish to indicate that I have ordered that copies of this report be made available to all Indian band councils, all Indian associations, to all provincial premiers as well as to the commissioners for the Territories and to members of their office or council. Of course all hon. members will get a copy today.

March 14, 1969 COMMONS

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF PART II OF HAWTHORN- TREMBLAY REPORT
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CANADA ELECTIONS ACT

AMENDMENT TO PERMIT ARMED FORCES VOTE IN BY-ELECTIONS

LIB

Leonard Donald Hopkins

Liberal

Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew North) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. C-181, to amend the Canada Elections Act (Canadian forces voting).

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PERMIT ARMED FORCES VOTE IN BY-ELECTIONS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Explain.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PERMIT ARMED FORCES VOTE IN BY-ELECTIONS
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LIB

Leonard Donald Hopkins

Liberal

Mr. Hopkins:

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to give members of Canada's armed forces a vote in federal by-elections. Military personnel declare their places of natural residence for purposes of general elections and should be permitted to vote in by-elections, when one occurs in the place they have declared as their place of natural residence. There is no provision in the Canada Elections Act giving the right of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to vote in such byelections. This is a denial of a basic right in a free society and I recommend this bill to the house to correct this situation.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PERMIT ARMED FORCES VOTE IN BY-ELECTIONS
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Motion agreed to, bill read the first time and ordered to be printed.


ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

WHEAT-DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY TO PREVENT DETERIORATION IN INTERNATIONAL MARKET

PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Sianfield (Leader of the Opposiiion):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce. In view of his announcement, which struck me as a disaster of the first magnitude for this country in that there is a deterioration in our international wheat market, will he give us further information, which I think is owing to the house and country, as to why he believes there is no hope for an early correction in the situation. I ask the minister what countries are causing the difficulty? The implication to be taken from the statement is that possibly the United States is one of those countries. As a result of visiting there, has the minister formed that opinion? May I also ask what other countries which participated in any international wheat agreement are undercutting Canada? What countries are creating the difficulty?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   WHEAT-DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY TO PREVENT DETERIORATION IN INTERNATIONAL MARKET
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March 14, 1969