January 22, 1970

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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 rise on a point of order. It has to do with the order of business for this day's sitting. In view of the understanding, and I think it is common knowledge, that the hon. member for Athabasca will be proceeding with his motion under Routine Proceedings, I wonder if the Government House Leader would be willing to ascertain whether there is unanimous consent to the oral question period being called before we deal with that motion?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Donald Stovel Macdonald (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Donald S. Macdonald (President of the Privy Council):

I have already done so, Mr. Speaker, and I think the general feeling is that we should get right on with the debate to be instituted by the hon. member for Athabasca.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

NDP

Francis Andrew Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Andrew Brewin (Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent of the House to move a motion, which will be seconded by the hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom), under the provisions of Standing Order 43. The urgency of my motion will be apparent to anyone who has watched television or read the newspapers in the last two days, and I will not elaborate on it. The motion is:

That this House requests the government to make immediate representations to the government of Nigeria urging that journalists representing news agencies, newspapers and television networks throughout the world be given full rights of access and full freedom to report facts and to file dispatches throughout the former secessionist territory of Biafra, and that in view of the appalling conditions of starvation revealed by journalists who have been in the area, calls on the government now to

make a last desperate effort to secure the consent of the Nigerian government to the acquisition by the Canadian government of the available stocks of food at Sao Tome, their transportation by air and their distribution within the area where this tragedy is taking place.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION UNDER S.O. 43
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Hon. members have heard the motion proposed by the hon. member for Greenwood. There can be a debate on the motion proposed by the hon. member only if there is unanimous agreement.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION UNDER S.O. 43
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION UNDER S.O. 43
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION UNDER S.O. 43
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

There is no unanimous agreement; therefore I cannot put the hon. member's motion for consideration by the House at this time.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION UNDER S.O. 43
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AGRICULTURE

STATEMENT ON 1970-71 CAPITAL BUDGET OF FARM CREDIT CORPORATION

LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in order that plans may be made and programs developed for the fiscal year 1970-71, the government has now approved the capital budget of the Farm Credit Corporation. There are certain aspects of this budget that will be of considerable interest to members of this House and to farmers across Canada.

[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)

Adjustment of production practices is taking place all across Canada. In the prairie provinces many farmers are currently shifting or planning to shift to the production of livestock as an alternative to producing grain for direct sale. In other parts of the country dairy farmers and others are facing decisions of the same nature. Such changes of enterprise must be carefully planned, with due regard for the long-term market prospects as well as other considerations such as the provision of buildings, machinery, and the alternative of farm rotation to meet the changing pattern. Such changes must also be properly financed on a long-term basis. I wish to confirm that the Farm Credit Corporation may provide long-term credit to farmers who wish to adjust their resource utilization to

January 22, 1970

Farm Credit Corporation better meet the market demands. The budget of the Farm Credit Corporation for the coming year has been adjusted to provide additional funds to meet the increase in demand which is expected for loans for this purpose in the coming fiscal year. The field officers of the Farm Credit Corporation can be a valuable source of information and assistance to farmers in these matters.

An additional feature of the new budget is that it will provide funds to permit farmers who find it necessary and desirable to refinance current liabilities. These loans will be made available to cereal grain producers operating viable farm businesses who under ordinary circumstances would be able to operate satisfactorily but whose ability to do so has been impaired by inability to market their grain and who thus may need to refinance short and intermediate-term liabilities over a longer term. Applications for such loans, of course, will be subject to the usual other criteria for loans from the corporation.

The corporation will take steps to inform farmers that this assistance is available to them.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON 1970-71 CAPITAL BUDGET OF FARM CREDIT CORPORATION
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PC

Harold Warren Danforth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. W. Danforlh (Kenf-Essex):

Mr. Speaker, the statement of the Minister of Agriculture regarding the capital budget of the Farm Credit Corporation will certainly be studied with a great deal of interest by the agricultural industry across Canada.

His statement is very modest in tone when it says that "adjustment of production practices is taking place all across Canada." In essence what he is alluding to is the fact that the agricultural industry is staggering because of the lowest return it has experienced in its history.

Although the minister states that money will be made available for long-term loans for the provision of buildings, machinery and the alternative of farm rotation to assist in shifting production from grain to livestock, I think this program is weak. There are two apparent weaknesses which will be evident to the farmers immediately. First-and this concerns the west particularly-it is stated that loans will be made to cereal grain producers operating viable farm businesses who under ordinary circumstances would be able to operate satisfactorily but who may need to refinance short and intermediate-term liabilities over a longer term. This point will need some clarification on the part of the department because what the farmers need especially is not money to refinance short and inter-

mediate-term loans but immediate operating capital. I hope this will be taken into consideration.

The other weakness, Mr. Speaker, which I think is more apparent and is a major one, is the fact that the government is proceeding now to lend the farmers of this nation additional capital for the purpose of refinancing, which will put them further in debt. The weakness lies in the fact that the farmers of this nation are not aware of the long-term policy of the government regarding agriculture. It is of no value to refinance farmers with respect to a particular field of endeavour if it is long-term government policy to curtail the production of the essential products in which they are involved. It is a fact that many farmers have undertaken a tremendous amount of debt only to find there is no longer an economic market for the supplies produced and they are therefore unable to finance the debt.

Until the government is able to spell out its program in its entirety and say whether it is going to enter the field of supply management and under such a program curtail production to meet domestic requirements only, the Farm Credit Corporation will not be able to solve many of the problems farmers face today merely by granting long-term loans.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON 1970-71 CAPITAL BUDGET OF FARM CREDIT CORPORATION
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NDP

Alfred Pullen Gleave (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. A. P. Gleave (Saskaioon-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, this program is, of course, another ad hoc approach to the problem that exists in Canada as a whole and in western Canada in particular. If the Farm Credit Corporation makes additional moneys available to the farmers, undoubtedly some of them will borrow.

One bad feature of the announcement is that nothing has been mentioned about adjusting interest rates to meet the probable ability of the farmer to pay. Apparently he is expected to borrow money at high interest rates for a long term.

The second weakness I wish to point out lies in the fact that we know changes are taking place in production patterns in western Canada. Indeed, some provinces are already assisting these changes; Manitoba and Saskatchewan are two examples. If money is now made available these changes probably will be accelerated. What is needed is an assessment of the market situation and the demand for various farm products. Some people may have to go out of grain production on a long-term basis. The question is, how much land should they take out of production? In a recent news-

January 22, 1970

letter the Department of Agriculture made an estimate of 20 million acres.

We have seen in the past crop year that a change in pricing and marketing practices has increased substantially the marketings of barley, a feed grain. What we need is an accurate assessment of the potential market for grain, feed grains and oilseeds in the years immediately ahead, and the probable absorption by the market of livestock production. Only on forecasts of this kind can the farmer make a rational judgment. That, of course, is the real basis of his problem. He must be able to make a rational judgment.

The government of Canada through the Department of Agriculture is making increased amounts of money available. If this money is utilized for types of production that will be in trouble in a few years, we shall not have solved the difficulty. Therefore I plead with the government and the Minister of Agriculture to get some people working on a long-range as well as an immediate-range program along the lines I have outlined so that the farmer may, hopefully, make intelligent decisions.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON 1970-71 CAPITAL BUDGET OF FARM CREDIT CORPORATION
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RA

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, the minister's statement seems interesting in many regards. However, one should also refer to a statement he made in Quebec on January 29, 1969, and I quote:

In many sectors ot agriculture, scientific progress is just beginning to be felt and to promise for the first time revolutionary innovations. The history of mankind teaches us that technology-

"Technology" is a very big word, and already we have begun to suffer from it. The statement goes on:

-is an international commodity. Gunpowder, a Chinese discovery, reached Europe like a train of powder, so to speak, and revolutionized the art of war.

Improvements in the field of agriculture may be due to experiments in genetics carried out in Mexico, in a laboratory in the United States, in Europe or elsewhere. Whatever their origin, their effects will finally be felt in Canadian agriculture. It is precisely the high-geared pace of technological developments that makes it so complicated to devise an agricultural policy.

We are given another proof today that we are living in an extremely complex world, when we read the following part of the minister's statement:

Adjustment of production practices is taking place all across Canada. In the Prairie provinces many farmers are currently shifting-

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on the advice of experts I would imagine,

-or planning to shift to the production of livestock as an alternative to producing grain for direct sale.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

In the eastern provinces, learned economists, those who come up with solutions when we are in a complete state of stagnation, have advised our processed milk producers to take the same course of action. They said: "There are milk surpluses. Produce alternate goods. Take up cattle ranching." Then, in western and eastern Canada, farmers are encouraged to raise cattle. And when there is a meat surplus on the market, farmers will be blamed and told: You are the most stupid, because you are all producing the same goods. You alone are responsible. You produce too much beef, prices fall, bear your rate patiently.

In advocating this policy, the minister necessarily wanted to create new debts. Indeed, to undertake a new kind of production, the equipment must be changed. The new production will have to bear the burden of debts accumulated during a deficit period. This change of program will be called debt conversion in order to prolong the martyrdom which is the fate of farmers already burdened with terrible debts, while an appeal is made to them to have patience in these words: Wait, exercise patience, the situation will improve.

The minister is well aware that to make sure that eastern and western farmers can live reasonably and enjoy a fair share of the national revenue, prices must correspond to production. The minister knows it very well because he said it often and I congratulate him. I hope however that his memory is good. He said that the problem in 1966 was one of "cost-price", and the problem is still the same. We are in a squeeze, we are choking and we are trying to get out of that.

In my opinion, if we really want to improve the condition of eastern and western farmers, interest rates will have to go down so as to reduce the production cost and leave the producers with a small profit. It is thus that, in my opinion, we will be able to give to farmers a fair share of the national revenue.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON 1970-71 CAPITAL BUDGET OF FARM CREDIT CORPORATION
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NATIONAL FILM BOARD

TABLING OF REPORT BY ANDRE SAUMIER- STATEMENT BY MINISTER

LIB

Gérard Pelletier (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Gerard Pelletier (Secretary of Slate):

Mr. Speaker, on December 18 last, at the

January 22, 1970

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request of the Government Film Commissioner and Chairman of the National Film Board, I entrusted Mr. Andre Saumier with the task of making an analysis of the staff reductions planned by the management of the National Film Board as a result of the budgetary restrictions imposed by the government's austerity program. This appointment of a person outside the NFB seemed at the time to be the best way of studying the difficulties between the board's top management and its production staff arising from the reductions announced for December 15, 1969. The report was submitted to the commissioner on January 15 and I am tabling it today, together with the commissioner's comments.

The primary finding of the report is that the board is not threatened with imminent paralysis, as certain persons have given to understand during the past few weeks. It is true that its over-all production level for the 1970-71 fiscal year is to be reduced to what it was in 1964-65; nevertheless, this represents a net budget of $10 million, which is far from negligible.

In order to gain a proper perspective, the National Film Board's activities must be viewed within the broader and more realistic context of the government's activities as a whole in the field of cinematography; here I should like to emphasize the continuous growth in this sector and the unremitting attention given to it by the Secretary of State. The Board's present difficulties should not hide the activities of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or of the Canadian Film Development Corporation. In 1964, the CBC spent the sum of $9,500,000 on the production of films for television; in 1970-71, this sum will be $13,000,000.

In 1964, there was no such thing as the Film Development Corporation; during its first year of existence (1968-69) it invested $366,639 in the production of 20 feature films and made awards amounting to $100,000. In 1970-71 it plans to invest a total of 2.5 million in Canada's film industry.

In addition to this, the government is negotiating co-production agreements with a number of countries with a view to helping Canadian films gain admission to the international market. Thus it is obvious that the government is taking an ever-increasing interest in the film industry as a whole, and that NFB activities must from now on be considered in this global context.

The question that must be confronted is this: what should be the role of each of the institutions involved in this over-all activity and what relations should they have with one another? This question has been under consideration for several months now and we hope to offer an answer before the present session comes to an end.

Furthermore, the difficulties the NFB is now experiencing are forcing it to take a hard look at its structures and policy, having regard both to present-day realities in the realm of cinematography and budget restrictions. I feel certain that the Board will have no trouble finding its place in this new expanded context and that its contribution therein will continue to be essential. Obviously, the transition must take place with minimum delay while respecting the fundamental integrity of the organization itself.

It is also essential that following the present difficulties the number of inevitable layoffs among the production staff be kept to a minimum. This objective has been given particular attention. I have been assured today by the management of the board that the number of lay-offs on the English production side, which was to have been 37, will be reduced to 32 and that 12 of those affected will receive a one-year termination notice instead of the usual three months. Following these lay-offs there will be 146 employees in the English production unit and 70 in the French production unit. It is therefore obvious that the National Film Board's vital creative staff will be maintained. Its development will be assured by a dynamic new definition of its role, and the unique contribution it has to make to the cultural life of Canada will also be assured.

Topic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Subtopic:   TABLING OF REPORT BY ANDRE SAUMIER- STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. G. Dinsdale (Brandon-Souris):

Mr. Speaker, there are two initial comments I should like to make in connection with the Saumier report. The report came into my hands only just before the opening of the sitting this afternoon, so I have only been able to peruse it briefly.

[DOT] (2:30 p.m.)

On the basis of that perusal, I can say that it is an excellent report and one which goes far beyond the original terms of reference, which were to inquire into the dismissals at the National Film Board. Mr. Saumier has gone far beyond an examination of that immediate problem and in the process has

January 22, 1970

given us a very excellent outline of the problems that beseige and beset not only the National Film Board operations but also the whole cinematography industry in Canada. Actually most of these difficulties were known prior to the tabling of the report because the problems were discussed as recently as a year ago by the Standing Committee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts, which came to the same conclusions.

In addition to Mr. Saumier's outline of the broad problems in his report, he pointed out the immediate crisis which precipitated the demonstration on Parliament Hill by employees of the NFB, and which eventually forced the government to look into the matter, arose from the implementation of the current austerity program in a rather crude and blunt fashion. I am sure this same criticism can be made of the application of the austerity program in other departments and government activities.

Those of us who took the trouble to meet with the employees of the National Film Board when they were on Parliament Hill just before Christmas heard them outline the main difficulties that are again enumerated in the report. Mr. Norman McLaren, one of the most creative individuals not only in the industry in Canada but throughout the world, was one of the spokesmen on that occasion. The substance of the points made was that creative talents were going to suffer from the blunt application of government austerity. It was said that the English division of the National Film Board was going to be starved under the application of the austerity program. It was also said that there was an emphasis on management at the expense of production and creative talent in the National Film Board.

The report, as the Secretary of State has indicated, has reaffirmed these comments and criticisms made by representatives of the National Film Board early in December, and already some corrective action is to be taken to deal with this difficulty. With reference to management problems it is worth while to note that on page two Mr. Saumier emphasized that difficulty in these words:

It should be emphasized here that the senior management of the board, located moreover far from the capital, had scant knowledge of the mysterious workings of government in Ottawa.

He is not the only one who has that difficulty, Mr. Speaker, because even those of us in this House could make the same observation. This statement indicates that the highly

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controversial move of the NFB in the 1950's from the capital to Montreal was a mistake, as many said at that time, and is perhaps one of the major reasons for the worsening position of that branch of government service.

The main difficulty, which should be emphasized in respect of the broad perspective, that is, other than the immediate crisis caused by austerity, has been pointed out in Mr. Saumier's report in these words:

There does not exist at the present a comprehensive federal government policy with regard to information or cultural affairs.

He enlarges on that general criticism by saying that the major difficulty in the whole field of cinematography and audio-visual communications is that there is no comprehensive federal government policy regarding information on cultural affairs. This not only affects the operations of the National Film Board but also deeply involves the private sector of the industry. I remind hon. members that during a series of meetings of the committee last year it was pointed out to us that the whole audio-visual industry in Canada, the motion picture industry and the cinematography industry are in a state of crisis at the present time and as a result are forming a Canadian motion picture academy in an attempt to come to grips with the problem. Much more expeditious and vigorous action on the part of the government is required to find a solution than such palliatives as the establishment of the Canadian Film Development Corporation and some of the other measures the Secretary of State has referred to in his brief statement this afternoon. In particular we will have to deal with the invasion of the motion picture industry by that great republic to the south of us. This represents one of the main areas of difficulty.

Finally, Mr. Saumier also dealt with another aspect which I think is of primary importance. If the objective outlined by the Secretary of State is to be realized, namely, to make the National Film Board more visible, we must remember that one result of the present austerity program has been to cut out free distribution of National Film Board productions to community film councils. The NFB has been one of the main sources of adult education in the more outlying parts of the country. I urge the Secretary of State, as does the Saumier report, to review this matter carefully. It is quite possible that in this regard the government is being penny wise and pound foolish.

January 22, 1970

National Film Board

Topic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Subtopic:   TABLING OF REPORT BY ANDRE SAUMIER- STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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January 22, 1970