May 5, 1970

RA

Roland Godin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Roland Godin (Portneuf):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make a few comments after what the previous speaker has just said. His observations were quite relevant and I intend to support the position he will take as regards the legislation now before us. Bill C-197, entitled "An Act to establish the National Farm Products Marketing Council and to authorize the establishment of national marketing agencies for farm products", will merely create a new body to enable the government to find well-paid jobs for friends of the party.

I have serious doubts about the effectiveness of this legislation because we already have the Canadian Wheat Board whose responsibilities are becoming less and less important as sales are down throughout the world. Ever fewer sales, but still the same, well-paid staff. There are no lay-offs at the Canadian Wheat Board, nor any fight against inflation. The report of the Board shows that the wages of its staff are always increasing.

DEBATES 6605

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill A few years ago, in the spring of 1967, the Canadian Livestock Feed Board was established. After three years of operation, we realize that Quebec farmers and millers must pay $1.06 or $1.07 per bushel for barley, while it can be bought at 76 and 78 cents per bushel on world markets.

In spite of those famous boards, we are still facing obvious injustices. We witnessed the creation of the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs which, so far, has not brought any results. This situation exists because the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs must accomplish dual functions, which creates a conflict right from the beginning. How can he approve and disapprove something at the same time? Can a department make a stand against the speculator and encourage the consumer at the same time? Can one encourage the consumer while protecting speculators? This is utterly ridiculous and in the light of the bill now under consideration, we realize that this is going to be done.

Indeed, clause 6(2Kb) reads as follows:

(b) have regard to the interests of consumers of farm products and of those engaged in the marketing thereof as well as to the interests of producers of farm products.

Mr. Speaker, this is utterly ridiculous. Can a lawyer speak for the plaintiff and the accused at the same time? This is inconceivable!

[DOT] (9:00 p.m.)

Until now consumers have never asked for protection. In Portneuf riding as elsewhere in Quebec consumers are not at all afraid of the farmers because the latter are not evil-doers but mere producers. The enormous quantity of products accumulated in warehouses and stores creates a surplus problem for the government but shows that the farmer has fulfilled his task well.

What consumers want is simply more purchasing power. All things considered, with a little money in your pocket, you can get anything you want. You buy what you want, both from the standpoint of quality and quantity, when and where you want it.

Clause 6 (2) of the bill states, and I quote:

In carrying out its duties the Council shall (a) consult, on a continuing basis, with the governments of all provinces having an interest in the establishment or the exercise of the powers of any one or more agencies under this act or with any body or bodies established by the government of any province to exercise powers similar to those of the Council in relation to intraprovincial trade in farm products;

May 5, 1970

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

When has the federal government taken into account the decisions or the representations of a province? What rulings have been made following investigations conducted throughout Canada since 1950? Was the inquiry made by hon. members and senators throughout the country and on which the joint committee reported in 1967 followed up? We are still waiting for the decisions which should have been made after this famous report.

We are also waiting for the report of the Committee on Agriculture, which toured the country last year, including Toronto and eastern Canada, going through Quebec in order to meet representatives from the CFU, the Cooperative federee and milk producers.

We all know that this famous report has been tabled, but we are still looking for it in the Clerk's desk because we think that the report was actually hidden so that we could not speak about it for the time being.

The protection granted during the past years has simply been reduced. You will remember that the government paid rather important subsidies. You will recall also that the CFU and all the organizations of this sort in eastern Canada asked not only that these subsidies should still be granted, but that they should be increased according to the rise in the cost of living, that is to say by 5 or 6 per cent each year. However, these recom-mandations were simply ignored. The decision of a few persons was abided by and the dairy producers of the province of Quebec were penalized by 8 per cent if one takes into account the money they have lost. However, the associations made these recommendations quite voluntarily. It is probably for this reason they have not been considered.

Today, we are getting ready to establish another board, another council to which will assuredly be appointed the party's friends, some of them have perhaps failed under the present economic system while others could hardly earn their own living otherwise, but they will get salaries of around $20,000 or $25,000 a year. This will be an excellent muzzle which will keep them from recommending whatever farmers demand and refrain from making public the objectives already decided upon by another team. This is most unfortunate. I was not wrong when I said it, because if one considers the present situation, one realizes what is happening in Canada today.

Bill C-197 is a piece of legislation which simply makes agriculture dependent on the State.

In clause 3, for instance, we see that the chairman and the vice-chairman of the National Farm Products Marketing Council are appointed by the Governor in Council.

Clause 5 provides that members of the Council become public servants.

The purpose of the act, as defined in clause 6, is to maintain and promote an efficient and competitive agriculture industry. We can therefore guess right away that this just means that small farms will disappear.

From a political viewpoint, this would be tremendous, because the government is playing a winning game since at present 92 per cent of Canadian voters are non-farmers. The government listens to the urban population and will be able to handle the farmers at will.

Clause 6(2)(b) makes it clear that it is intended to protect both the consumers and the producers and with only 8 per cent of the population engaged in agriculture, the workers will be the winners. I am not against the workers but the figures are there, Mr. Speaker.

Let us see now what are the Council's powers. Under clause 7(a)(i)(ii) and (iii), the Council may require any person engaged in production or marketing to register with an agency and to maintain books and records in such form as it may require.

As indicated in clause 18 (2), the Governor in Council may designate the new products which will be regulated anywhere in Canada.

The objects and powers of the agencies are to promote a strong, efficient and competitive industry. An agency may purchase, package, process, store, export and sell any product as indicated in clause 23.

As far as arrangements with the provinces are concerned a federal agency may perform on behalf of a province any function relating to intraprovincial trade on any regulated product. It may also grant to a provincial body powers of regulation in relation to the marketing within the province.

The powers of the inspectors are described in clause 34 which indicates that the inspectors may enter any place if they are convinced there is any regulated product or a product intended to be marketed in interprovincial or export trade and may examine the records or other documents in such place.

I shall now deal with penalties. I refer to clauses 36 and 37. With respect to failure to

May 5, 1970 COMMONS

comply with a requirement of the Council, this is what we read, and I quote:

-is guilty of

(a,) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

We are therefore making arrangements to jail farmers. It is obvious that if they are put in prison they will not be able to produce. We will then be able to cut down surpluses.

Penalties have already been imposed. All farmers are not in jail, but we have reached a point where the situation is deteriorating, and I wonder whether many of them would not be more in security behind bars.

I am very sorry that the milk production problem was not dealt with before introducing Bill C-197. I regret that this bill was introduced by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson). In the final analysis, we know that when the worker has problems he goes to his fellow-worker to negotiate his working conditions. If the union leader has some competence, negotiations will be fruitful. When a student has problems, he goes to his professors or to counselors who help him.

When we have health problems, we go to a doctor. If he says he is unable to help us, he then sends us to a specialist.

[DOT] (9:10 p.m.)

Unfortunately, the officials of the federal Department of Agriculture have proved their ineffectiveness, and consequently we are always up against the same so-called "champs", so-called "know-it-all", even though they know nothing.

We know the Minister of Agriculture operates a farm and that he does not go in for dairy farming although he has a 500-cow herd. Thanks to his herd, and nature, the Minister sells 400 to 500 calves every year. And so, he owns calving cows.

Today, if we are facing a serious problem, it is in the dairy farming industry. It is obvious that the minister is beyond his depth.

In spite of everything, we still expect him to introduce a beneficial policy, but because of his ignorance, he must appeal to the hon. member for Richelieu (Mr. Cote) who is quite pleased to make his remarks. It is common knowledge the minister and his parliamentary secretary merely keep floundering along. Moreover, it must be remembered that the hon. member for Richelieu hastened to sell his cows three weeks after his election and it can be inferred therefore that dairy farming was more or less important to him. It is

DEBATES 6607

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill unfortunate that the farmer who is now directing the government's dairy policy has found no other way of showing his knowledge than to sell his cows.

Perhaps he found out that having one in Parliament is as profitable as 25 in the cowshed. At any rate, it is remembered that the hon. member for Richelieu, who is messing about with the dairy policy now, was not even a dairy farmer but a cattle farmer and dealer, and especially a good dealer.

One can remember also that he was part of the gimmick, that he could export all his cattle to Mexico, Spain and South America. All that to say that while the hon. member for Richelieu is still spluttering in English, it could be that the last calves he sold can speak Spanish fluently.

Mr. Speaker, I say once more that dairy farming was of little importance to that exfarmer and I am convinced he would sell his wife to save the Liberal government's dairy policy.

The Minister of Agriculture announces a $10 million reduction for the Quebec farmers. He cannot indeed be commended for that. The costs of exports have gone from 26 cents in 1968 to 51 cents in 1969. It can be recalled that the farmers of the province of Quebec, and more particularly those of the eastern part of that province, have been imposed quotas in 1967. In fact, at that time, owing to the bad weather, crops had not been good. Milk production had suffered from it. That opportunity was taken to set production quotas. It is surely a good deal for the government, but I am not prepared to admit that it is honest. The hon. member for Richelieu does not object to that.

If a farmer-

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LIB

Florian Côté (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Florian Cote (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

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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:

Order. The hon. member is rising on a point of order.

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LIB

Florian Côté (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Richelieu):

Would the hon. member for Frontenac-

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?

An hon. Member:

for Portneuf.

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LIB

Florian Côté (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Richelieu):

-for Portneuf (Mr. Godin) allow me simply to explain what happened at the Committee on Agriculture when two of his Creditiste colleagues were there

May 5, 1970

6608 COMMONS

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill and the committee report was unanimously-approved? If he agrees, I shall read him the minutes of the proceedings of the committee. He knows nothing about agriculture and was not on the committee. He could-

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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:

Order, please. The hon. member might like to do that when he speaks in the debate, but I hardly think that Is a point of order.

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RA

Roland Godin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Godin:

Mr. Speaker, I am the eldest of a family of ten children and my father was a farmer. I, myself, was a farmer for many years before I became a co-operative manager. As for the famous Committee on Agriculture, I do not want the hon. member for Richelieu to call to witness my friends of the Ralliement Creditiste in this matter. He knows very well that each time amendments were moved by members of the Ralliement Creditiste, they were defeated when put to a vote. The report of the Committee on Agriculture is not unanimous and I should not want anyone to cite it as an example.

I continue, Mr. Speaker.

Incidentally, it is always the same thing over and over again. Every time someone-

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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:

Order. The hon. member for Trois-Rivieres (Mr. Mongrain) on a question of privilege.

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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Liberal

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Speaker, I am a little mixed up. I listened to what my colleague said, which was that the report had been voted on unanimously, but the hon. member now tells me it was not voted on unanimously.

Mr. Speaker, since my hon. friend of the Ralliement Credististe does not understand English-because he never did go to the trouble of learning it-I shall reply in French, if I may.

As a rule, I abide by the Standing Orders which stipulate that a member must accept the word of another member in the House.

My colleague from Richelieu (Mr. Cote) has just told me that the third item of the Agriculture Committee report was unanimously adopted, but the member for Portneuf claims it was not. I should like to know who is right, because I feel I am entitled to know as a member.

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RA

André-Gilles Fortin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Andre Fortin (Loibiniere):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

I consider that the hon. member for Trois-Rivieres (Mr. Mongrain) has deliberately and voluntarily misled the House a moment ago when he said that I refused to learn English. That is absolutely untrue!

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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Liberal

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on another question of privilege. I never said anything of the sort.

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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:

Order, please. Would the hon. member resume his seat. There is no question of privilege before the House. There is a debate before the chamber, and I suggest that we allow the hon. member for Portneuf to continue.

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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Liberal

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

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RA

André-Gilles Fortin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Fortin:

I too rise on a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

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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:

Order, please. I can hear only one question of privilege at a time. I will hear the hon. member for Trois-Rivieres.

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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Liberal

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Speaker, I have always thought that every member had a right to know the truth.

Two honorable members are therefore contradicting each another. I would like to hear the official version of the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, for example, to see who is right.

Has that section been unanimously passed? It seems to me that it is my privilege to know. I will have to vote Mr. Speaker, so I would like to know the truth.

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RA

André-Gilles Fortin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Foriin:

I rise on a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

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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:

Order, please. I suggest to the hon. member that he consult the record on this matter. This is hardly a question of privilege; it is a matter of debate. The hon. member has the right to consult the record to determine who is right. It is hardly an unusual feature of this House to have two points of view which are different.

May 5, 1970

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RA

André-Gilles Fortin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Foriin:

I rise on a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I was coming to it when I was interrupted a moment ago.

Mr. Speaker, when the members opposite say that the Creditiste members in committee and elsewhere were favorable to the government's dairy policy, with all due respect I must say that they deliberately mislead the House. We were opposed to that policy to such an extent that we were not afraid to attend the farmers' demonstration in Sherbrooke, where no federal Liberal member was present, not even the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Cote), and this because they had cold feet.

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May 5, 1970