April 25, 1969

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS


Sixth report of Standing Committee on Transport and Communications, in French and in English-Mr. H.-Pit Lessard (LaSalle). [Editor's Note: The text of the foregoing report appears in today's Votes and Proceedings.]


FISHERIES

SALT COD-ANNOUNCEMENT OF DEFICIENCY PAYMENT PROGRAM

LIB

John (Jack) Davis (Minister of Fisheries and Forestry)

Liberal

Hon. Jack Davis (Minister of Fisheries):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to announce, in broad outline, the nature of the deficiency payment program which the government is establishing for salt cod fishermen in 1969. The object of this plan is to ensure that our salt cod fishermen will receive a price for their product which is comparable to that which they received in 1966 and 1967.

As hon. members are aware, devaluation of a number of foreign currencies together with an oversupply of salt fish in world markets resulted in a sharp price decline in 1968. The return to the average Canadian fishermen was down about 25 per cent as compared to 1967. Incomes, particularly in Newfoundland, were also depressed. These developments, together with increased costs of equipment, fuel and other supplies have resulted in severe hardship in many Atlantic communities.

While export prices in 1969 may increase, this is by no means certain. The government has therefore decided to make deficiency payments to salt cod fishermen this fall. These supplementary payments will bring the total price they receive up to a level which is more in line with the price which they received for their fish in 1967. These deficiency payments will be made directly to the

fishermen after the fishing season is over and after the salted cod has been sold to the exporters. Payments will be made only on certain grades. Those of a high or medium quality will qualify for assistance. Ungraded fish and fish falling into the lowest grades will not. This selective approach is being followed in order to encourage the production of better quality fish. Inquiries in our traditional export markets also confirm the view that success in our salt cod industry lies in the direction of quality improvement. Our longterm plan therefore is to assist our fishermen to produce a better product.

In consultation with fishermen's representatives and the fish trade, my department has prepared a list of "target" prices for these select grades of salted cod. The prices may not be achieved in 1969. For this reason the government is prepared to supplement the prices which the fishermen actually negotiate with the buyers and exporters to an extent that will bring them reasonably close to the "target" price levels which we believe will be achieved in the early 1970's. More specifically, the government will pay directly to individual fishermen an amount in dollars equal to half the difference between our published "target" prices and the amounts actually received by the fishermen from the fish buyers. If, for example, the "target" price for a quintal of prime light salted fish is $28 and the buyer negotiates a price to the fishermen of $20, then the government will pay the fishermen an additional $4 in the fall. The end price will vary, of course, depending on size, quality and grade. But the 50 per cent support formula will be the same in all cases.

I wish to stress the fact, Mr. Speaker, that this deficiency payment program is intended to compensate the salt cod fishermen for the decline in prices which has taken place since 1967. Other measures, such as the establishment of a Salt Fish Development Corporation which will assist in the reorganization of the industry in 1970 and subsequent years will be announced shortly. An advisory committee, representing fishermen and the salt codfish trade, is being appointed to assist me in the administration of this new program and to assess its impact on the incomes of fishermen

April 25, 1969

7952 COMMONS

Salt Cod Deficiency Payment Program in Newfoundland, Quebec and the maritime provinces1.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SALT COD-ANNOUNCEMENT OF DEFICIENCY PAYMENT PROGRAM
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PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James A. McGrath (St. John's East):

Mr. Speaker, when the government announced the end of the salt rebate program last year it was supposed to be the end of the interim programs to deal with various crises facing the fishing industry. In the words of the Minister of Supply and Services (Mr. Jamieson) it was to be the end of the band aid philosophy. Yet here we have another interim program, another band aid. The problems facing the salt cod industry are unique, complex and stem from two factors. They are, a lack of quality control in production and the necessity for control of marketing. There is no question but that this is hurting us in our principal market in the West Indies. In my view this situation can only be coped with adequately by the establishment of a marketing board. The minister in his statement of February 20 said there was an examination into "the possible advantages of a salt cod marketing board", yet instead of an announcement in respect of this marketing board, today we have another band aid interim program. I agree that this program was necessary to correct the very serious situation that existed in 1968, when the prices were so low that the very survival of the industry was threatened, not to mention the very important aspects' in relation to the hardships imposed on the fishermen, because it is the fishermen who suffer.

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

In this regard, in the preparation of what we hope will be the government's policy on this matter, it is necessary that steps be taken to eliminate the archaic barter system whereby a fisherman is outfitted by the merchant and repays the merchant at the end of the season from the returns from his catch. This imposes very severe hardships on the fisherman, and I hope the government will take steps to alleviate this archaic barter system, which amounts to a yoke on the fisherman, who is the producer. He has to bring in the fish and he depends on his catch for his livelihood.

In my view we should be taking greater advantage of our position to produce a top quality product, in view of the fact the fish is practically cured on the day it is caught. This gives a great advantage to Canada. Consideration should also be given to the packaging of

the product for retail merchandising, thereby eliminating some of the middlemen.

Most important, Mr. Speaker, we must end the cut-throat competition that is doing so much to hurt us in respect of our principal markets. In the final analysis of course this is hurting the fishermen as well. In my view this can only be accomplished by the establishment of a marketing board. I also believe, and I think the minister shares my view, that this marketing board can be set up adequately under the Fisheries Prices Support Board by taking advantage of provincial agencies.

This important industry is today in a state of suspended animation, yet we are stuck with another interim program and faced with the prospect of having to go through the same thing next year. I have just about concluded; but on a final note I should like to state that I am very pleased to note that the government will be paying deficiency payments under this program on the basis of a target price system, thereby insuring that the minimum does not become the maximum and that the fishermen will benefit from the advantages of improved marketing conditions.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SALT COD-ANNOUNCEMENT OF DEFICIENCY PAYMENT PROGRAM
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CANADA PENSION PLAN

AMENDMENT PERMITTING MENNONITES TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO ALTERNATE FUND

NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Max Saltsman (Waterloo) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. C-190, to amend the Canada Pension Plan.

Topic:   CANADA PENSION PLAN
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT PERMITTING MENNONITES TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO ALTERNATE FUND
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?

Some hon. Members:

Explain.

Topic:   CANADA PENSION PLAN
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT PERMITTING MENNONITES TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO ALTERNATE FUND
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NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Saltsman:

Mr. Speaker, in the years to come, the value of government programs like the Canada Pension Plan will receive increasing support and recognition.

Although the effectiveness of such programs depends upon universal coverage and contribution, care must be taken that adequate opportunity is given to groups who, for reasons of religious beliefs cannot accept the benefits and whose non-participation in the program would not jeopardize its success, if they were to exclude themselves therefrom.

The Old Order Mennonites of Waterloo County is such a group and this bill seeks to recognize their right on religious grounds to make payments into an alternate fund equal to the amount of their Canada Pension Plan premium.

Topic:   CANADA PENSION PLAN
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT PERMITTING MENNONITES TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO ALTERNATE FUND
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Motion agreed to, bill read the first time and ordered to be printed. April 25, 1969


ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

INCOME TAX

PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Minister of Finance whether, in view of the expressed determination of the President of the United States to reduce the burden of taxation on the lower income groups in his country, the minister is reconsidering his unfortunate proposal to increase the burden on the same groups in this country; and in particular, is this perhaps the reason for the delay in his bringing forward the legislation to implement the so-called social development tax?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX
Sub-subtopic:   COLLECTION OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT TAX BEFORE APPROVAL
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LIB

Edgar John Benson (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. E. J. Benson (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I believe the Leader of the Opposition is talking about the tax reform proposals in the United States being put forward by the President. As the house knows, our tax reform proposals will be presented in the form of a white paper, hopefully by the end of June. With respect to the tax measures contained in the budget, I am hoping to introduce the bill on Tuesday next.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX
Sub-subtopic:   COLLECTION OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT TAX BEFORE APPROVAL
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THE CANADIAN ECONOMY

EFFECT OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS ON COST OF LIVING

PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that yesterday the Minister of Finance indirectly received honourable mention in the resignation statement of his colleague, the Minister of Transport, when he referred to the delay in dealing with inflation, is it the position of the government of Canada that constitutional problems are responsible for the continuing increase in the cost of living in this country?

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   EFFECT OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS ON COST OF LIVING
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April 25, 1969