April 28, 1971

LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

I am prepared to table the ad, Mr. Speaker. It does not say anywhere who is responsible for it. The

April 28, 1971

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill headline reads: "All Ontario Farmers!'' It deals with a lot of erroneous arguments and at the bottom it says: "Mail to Jack Horner, MP, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa". There are some other names but it does not say who they are or what they are doing. It doesn't say that they inserted it or that it is being sponsored by them. There are the names, "Maurice McCallum-Carp" and "Omer Beriault-Green Valley", and it says: "Representing a group of farmers". It does not say who put the ad in the newspaper or that they sponsor it. Anyway, I accept the hon. member's assertion that he is not responsible for these ads.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

You tried it and did not succeed, Mr. Minister.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

John (Jack) Henry Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

I will give you the coupons.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

I have a few coupons too. I want to deal with the substance of the ad, if I may. It reads that this policy "inevitably leads to total and arbitrary government control". The fact is, Mr. Speaker, that the bill provides that no agency will be established unless a majority of the producers of the commodity wish it.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

John (Jack) Henry Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

How is that majority determined?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

That is specifically stated in clauses 7 and 17 of the bill which provide a wide range of the type of agencies, from those solely involved in promotion to those which come under provincial legislation to control production-that is, under the delegation of provincial authority. The nature of the agency will depend upon the plan that is negotiated between the provinces and the federal government. Producers will decide whether they like a plan, because Bill C-176 itself does not provide for production controls. This bill does not give authority for production controls in any way, shape or form. It says what the marketing agencies may administer, but no attempt is made to give authority to those marketing boards nor to give them the right to control production. The reason is that this is entirely under provincial authority-

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

John (Jack) Henry Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

Read clause 2(d) of the bill.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

-and at the present time all provinces have acts that provide for this. Dealing with the amendments before us now, in motions Nos. 1, 5 and 22 there are no exemptions from provincial legislation of any specific commodity whether it be beef, pork, apples, potatoes or anything else. Another point I want to make, Mr. Speaker, concerns the statement in this ad that "government appointees shall set prices of farm products without negotiations with farmers." The bill provides that the make-up of the agency will be as set out in the plan; thus, it could be by farmer election or any other method that is accepted in the plan. Indeed, there are other places where the committee did in fact strengthen it. We knew it was going to be that way without it being articulated, but the committee spelled out that there must be a majority of producers both on national council and in the marketing agencies.

The next point I wish to deal with is where the ad asks: "Why are there no import controls in C-176? Because imports are the regulator of the farmer's price..." Mr. Speaker, import controls are not provided in Bill C-176 because ample authority exists in other legislation. There are other matters I could deal with in this respect, Mr. Speaker, but I shall not take up any more time on it. I hope that my remarks convey to some degree how inaccurate the assertions in this ad have been and the extent to which they have misled farmers all across the country. I hope these people will realize that they have done a very great disservice to the farming community.

The amendment before us would place in jeopardy the meaning of an agricultural product since it proposes to delete all the words after "agriculture". I do not believe I can accept this amendment because it would remove those words which are used to clarify but not to restrict the term "farm product".

Amendment No. 5 which is also before us would delete paragraph (ii) of subclause (g) of clause 2. If this were accepted, in effect it would allow an agency authorized to operate within seven provinces to exercise its power in all ten provinces. We made it very clear that we do not intend to impose this and indeed I am not even sure that we could if a province did not agree. This paragraph was introduced to ensure that the agency could only exercise its powers, (a) with respect to production produced within the area of its jurisdiction, and (b) within its area respecting production produced elsewhere in Canada outside its jurisdiction. I think there is need for the latter power because it is only with respect to entry into the region, and only then should circumstances arise which would make it evident that there was an attempt to circumvent the purpose of the agency within the designated region. There has been argument about this with respect to amendment No. 5. I suggest that it would completely frustrate the purpose, and that is one of the main reasons why provincial legislation by itself has been insufficient to cope with the situation.

When the marketing orders and the application of that legislation is confined to a very small area or a restricted area, then of course there are ways of circumventing and therefore frustrating the purpose of the provincial government. We want to make sure this does not happen. The argument that some provinces other than those which have joined in a marketing plan ought to have open, complete and free access to the market that is being regulated under a plan agreed to by other provinces completely negates the purpose or some of the solutions which Bill C-176 is designed to correct.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, since I suspect that there will be several other opportunities to speak on the amendments before the House may I say a word or two about the other amendments included in the group which we are discussing. The amendments contained in paragraphs (a) and (b) of motion No. 22 seek to inhibit the successful operation of an agency. They propose that an agency may not be given authority to protect its opera-

April 28, 1971

tion from those who are outside the designated area and operating in a manner that is designed to circumvent that scheme.

I think it must be appreciated that this subparagraph of clause 18 is written in such a manner as to provide authority to the Governor in Council to set out in a proclamation whether or not an agency shall have authority to deal with products from outside the designated region. Written in this fashion, it allows the Governor in Council to give or to withhold such power. Furthermore, it gives the Governor in Council the opportunity to indicate to what extent such authority may be given respecting products produced outside the designated area. So, Mr. Speaker, we must be vigilant.

In bringing forward a plan that will work for the orderly marketing of the particular product of a majority of farmers, we must be vigilant in case we leave loopholes by which other farmers may benefit as a result of circumventing the purposes of the act or its administration, thereby being put in a favourable position because they are able to do their marketing in isolation from conditions which the overwhelming majority of farmers have approved. Having made these comments may I say that so far as I am concerned I do not think we should accept the amendments in the group now under discussion.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

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

Mr. Speaker, the proposals in this bill received a great deal of amendment and consideration in the standing committee over a long period of time. They were first considered when introduced in the former bill and were subsequently considered when introduced in Bill C-176.

At the outset may I say that one of the unfortunate aspects of the situation is the time when the bill was presented to the House for consideration. By that I do not mean that the government deliberately picked the time; I do not know whether they did or not. The fact is that the bill came forward to Parliament and to the standing committee for consideration when agricultural marketing in this country was in a turmoil and when the marketing of agricultural products was being interfered with by provincial governments and agencies of provincial governments.

This had the effect of stirring up a great deal of fear and misgiving in the provinces concerned and among the producers of some products who found their free access to certain markets to which up to that time they had undisputed access, interfered with and curtailed. That drastically affected their incomes. The point I wish to make is that no matter whether this bill is passed or is rejected, this situation exists.

The government expects a great deal from this legislation if it thinks that the legislation alone will correct the situation which exists. The most serious charge that can be brought against the government has nothing to do with what is in this bill; it is that they did not move immediately to establish the right of free movement of farm products across Canada and to any market in Canada.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gleave:

I said this in committee when we first met to consider Bill C-176. The government's lack of action and its lack of concern for action has been the cause of much of the fear that has been engendered in the country. I have seen some advertisements similar to the one the minister spoke of. They reflect the fear to which I allude. Those remarks are by the way; I am merely alluding to the circumstances under which this bill has come forward for consideration.

I think that at least the federal government should associate itself actively with the undertaking which the government of Manitoba has under way to bring this matter before the Supreme Court. This government ought to offer assistance to the government of Manitoba and leave no doubt that they are concerned about establishing the right of farm products to move freely back and forth across this country. Unless that right is established I have grave doubts whether this legislation will be able to accomplish what is hoped of it.

This is enabling legislation. The amendments before us, if passed, would probably restrict the legislation to some extent or make it less effective than it otherwise might be. My thought is that if we are to have such legislation, let it be effective and workable. If it is not, it will hold out a hope of effectiveness to participating producers which does not and will not exist. If we do not want to pass effective legislation, it would be much better for us not to pass any legislation. If we do not want to give the producer a vehicle that will work, it would be much better if we were to give him no vehicle at all. At the same time we must establish a climate, if we want the legislation to work, in which it can and will work.

Mr. Speaker, when I have listened to arguments on this subject I have sometimes concluded that some people think that farm marketing legislation is a brand new idea. The farm organizations of this country, the Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union, have asked for national marketing legislation for years. I can show you briefs which they submitted to the government, and you will find such requests in those briefs. The first legislation to establish marketing boards was passed in the 1930s. At that time there was a different government than now sits in this House. Further legislation was passed by a succeeding federal government. Perhaps enabling legislation is not the correct term, but it permitted a sharing of power with the provinces. It was passed by a forerunner of the present government.

The legislation now on the books of provincial governments was probably passed, amended or changed by gov-erments of every stripe and political hue that we have had in Canada. I find it strange that it should come as a great shock that we are asked to consider this type of legislation, since the principles are not new. In the final analysis, this is the government's legislation. They are responsible to see that it is effective legislation and to establish a climate in which it can work. One reason why we had some difficulty with this bill is that it was not well-drawn in the first instance. It did not provide for sufficient participation by the producers on the regulato-

April 28, 1971

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

ry bodies. Much of that has been corrected by the members of the committee, including opposition members.

I wish to deal with the protection or lack of protection which it will or will not give to the producers. As the bill has been changed and amended, there are plenty of safeguards. It is abundantly clear that in the case of each product the majority of producers have to be in favour before an agency can be established. That is an important point. It is important because we were asked to accept certain exclusions that we did not accept. If there are no exclusions we must be sure that the producers of a given product who do not want to come under the act will not be forced to accept an agency. One of the shortcomings of the legislation is that it does not deal adequately with ensuring income to the producer. There are at least two amendments to come before the House which will deal with that question. This legislation should concern itself with income.

The basic approach of the provincial legislation both when it was established and throughout the years was that the provincial agencies would be bargaining agencies designed to achieve a fair, reasonable or adequate market price and income return for the producer. That is the basic approach. One of the failures in this bill is that there is no stated concern about farm income. By inference, this is left to the agricultural prices support legislation which we have on the books. With regard to many farm products, this is inadequate and is not administered effectively.

Hon. members have repeatedly asked why the prices support act is not used to assist farmers who are in considerable difficulty because of the present low prices for hogs and other farm products. If the Agricultural Prices Support Act is not going to be effectively used to protect the farm income position, we should consider ways and means of doing it through this bill.

The position of the provinces with regard to this bill is not one of total unanimity or of total disagreement. I know one province which changed its position while this bill was being considered. This was a public move. I do not know what has been said to the minister behind closed doors or what opinions hav.e been privately expressed by the provinces. When this bill is passed, it will be permissive for the provinces and producers. Those provinces which in their wisdom do not choose to use it with regard to certain products will not have to do so. By the same token, if the producers of eggs, hogs, apples, potatoes or cattle consider that this type of legislation is not of use to them, they will not be required to use it.

If they consider that the marketing system which they have is adequate and they can live in the same manner as the producers of hogs in my province are attempting to do with $19 hogs, it will be their right to do so. As free citizens of Canada, they will be able to continue in that manner because this bill will not force them to do anything else. We must keep this in mind.

I have reservations which can be dealt with by further amendments which we intend to move. We hope they will be considered and accepted by this House. They

would make the bill a more effective instrument and make it possible for farmers to use it more effectively. The first order of business of a Parliament should be to ensure that products move freely and have access to the markets across Canada. If that is done, this should be a workable instrument. There should not be any coercion. Farmers and producers should have the right to either use or not to use this legislation. They should have free access to the markets in Canada as well as those outside Canada. When marketing farm produce we should have available all the markets we can find. We should not approach the marketing of farm produce from a restrictive point of view but from an expansionary point of view.

Representatives of the Dairy Commission appeared before the standing committee yesterday. They were asked whether they were taking advantage of the present market for powdered milk which appears as though it might be expanded. In our agricultural production we should not have a policy which will box us into the Canadian market. After all, this country has only 20 million people. Our agencies, whether privately or publicly-owned, should provide an opportunity to expand into other markets so that we can use the available agricultural resources in terms of people, land, know-how and ability to produce. Our over-all policy should be one which is outward-looking.

It would be a mistake to consider this bill as a restrictive instrument. Our approach should be that this is an instrument which will enable us to more effectively market our products and exploit all markets that may be available to us both domestically and overseas.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, the bill under study, Bill C-176, supersedes Bill C-197 which having been discussed at length prior to the adjournment of the previous session, comes back to this House under a new form but with the same basic principles. It was then a highly controversial bill and some people were in favour of it while others were dead set against it, but all these points of view were from the producers or farm associations concerned.

During this session this bill has been discussed at some considerable length. The House asked the Committee on Agriculture to travel across the country and consult provincial agriculture ministers and hear the views of the various farm organizations.

I was really amazed at the continuing interest for all our sittings, be it in eastern, central or western Canada. I am convinced that each member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture worked very seriously. We all had the purpose of collecting information so as to be able to provide farmers with a helpful piece of legislation, while preserving the interest of consumers and agencies concerned with the trade of agricultural production.

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, at the provincial level, in Nova Scotia, for instance, the Minister of Agriculture expressed the views of his government in a very extensive brief. I could summarize the minister's attitude by

April 28, 1971

quoting the following sentence from Committee Proceedings No. 11, of Thursday, January 21, 1971:

Our chief concern, however, is with the wider implications of the Bill. We recognize that this is enabling legislation and that it must be of a general nature. Yet it seems to us that the Bill is raising almost as many problems as it is attempting to resolve.

Mr. Speaker, that was the opinion of a minister from Eastern Canada. Now coming to central Canada, we have the provincial minister of agriculture who said the following in his brief on January 22, 1971 and I quote:

-and the effects, whether they are favourable or not-

-of the act, following the passing of Bill C-176-

-whether they are favourable or not, according to the point of view of the people affected, or according to what you expect from it, means that in the field of Agriculture, in the province of Quebec and elsewhere it will call for reactions which are as varied as the various vested interests involved and which tend to develop in this very important sector of our economy.

I continue the quotation:

In the face of these various different stands, not only different but often contradictory, the Department of Agriculture of the province of Quebec hesitates to put itself in the position of an arbiter because circumstances do not justify such a role.

Further on, the minister added:

However, Quebec does not feel that this Bill C-176 will ipso facto, just by being put into effect, bring an automatic solution. This solution can only be brought about after frank and open discussions between the provinces directly involved and can only be applied, if the provinces are willing to agree to the sacrifice of certain special interests for the general welfare of Canadian agriculture.

For the past months the situation in Canada has been truly disastrous. For example, we see the Ontario government passing legislation to protect producers in that province while seriously harming those of other provinces.

I am under the impression that the situation, far from improving, will, if I am well informed, be getting worse. In fact, I am apprehensive about the future of Canada should such a situation persist and I doubt that Bill C-176 can really represent a completely adequate solution.

I do not mean that Bill C-176 is not an appropriate tool to start discussions and to correct a situation which should be improved, but we must not forget that, in the end, the farmers' only objective is to put their products on the Canadian market in order to meet the producers' needs and to receive a fair reward for their work.

It does not matter much whether butter produced in Quebec is sold in Vancouver, Edmonton or Regina, as long as the producer receives a retribution for his work. That the pound of beef produced at Edmonton or Regina should be sold in Montreal, Quebec or Toronto matters little as long as the producer is paid for his work.

I think it is necessary first to consider things from both the national and the regional point of view. Unfortunately, as a committee member I could notice during the trip

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

that the tendency was to think on a regional rather than on a national basis.

Marketing councils will be able to establish marketing agencies upon request from the majority of interested producers. These agencies will evidently be able to operate if there are provincial agreements, agreements which could be quickly negotiated if there is good will and if everybody sees the possibility of helping producers all across the country.

If such marketing agencies are contested, discussed and their case brought before courts, who is going to pay for all this which is going from bad to worse? It will still be the producers. Who is going to suffer the consequences? The consumers!

That is why I deplore the fact the the marketing council does not have the required powers to negotiate in an intelligent manner. In the end, however, there must always be some authority having the power to decide, to settle the question.

Having studied all the briefs submitted to them, the members of the committee came back to Ottawa and sat for long hours trying to put down on paper the amendments suggested in order to make this legislation as perfect as possible.

Some amendments were accepted, others were not. Maybe they will again be discussed in the House. One of them deals with the exclusion of certain products: beef and veal for instance.

If Bill C-176 is such as to help egg, poultry, wool, maple syrup or honey producers, I firmly believe that it could also help the other producers provided this is their desire.

I am gratified to see that the bill provides that a marketing agency may be established by the Marketing Council upon the request of a majority of a class of producers.

This is a safety valve. As is the case with other members, I have received representations from beef producers across the country, through their association, asking that this class of products be excluded from the bill as, according to them, they have no need for these provisions at the present time.

I am willing to believe that they are right and that this is not absolutely necessary for the time being, but at the national level we must pass legislation which will be available to all producers.

I entertain no absolute confidence in the effectiveness of this legislation, and I think that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) is able to anticipate that its administration will be extremely difficult. A considerable amount of goodwill will be required to achieve the establishment of marketing boards that may actually operate and provide practical results that will satisfy all producers.

There is a problem, however. I have listened attentively to the minister. If I am wrong, he can correct me. I understood that he had stated that there was no question,

April 28, 1971

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill under this bill, of controlling production. If I remember correctly, the provisions of the bill which provide for the establishment of the boards enable these boards to issue production permits and, by the same token, to determine, if required, production quotas. I think that at the same time the bill should include a special provision to guarantee producers the prices that would enable them to get a decent income.

The problem in agriculture is always the same: we constantly struggle to get decent prices without fleecing consumers, in short, prices which will allow producers to make reasonable profits.

The bill also contains provisions to balance production volume and makret possibilities. I do not quite agree on that because market conditions are always determined by consumer purchasing power. And heaven knows it is a problem in too many families.

The real extent of the market is not known, according to surveys made by the Senate Committee on Poverty. The only way the committee may have helped the people was by determining to what extent the economic system may have prevented production from reaching the table of the consumer. In any event, there seems to be disagreement with regard to the report of the committee and rich people were certainly not found in every area of the country. Indeed, there are families that do not have exactly what they need, not only to eat but to dress decently.

That is why I say the bill will not achieve all its aims; but it will help get more agricultural produce into the stores and that will be one step ahead. One organization will enable the producers to prove that they have worked, that they produced something which the consumers can use.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, for all those reasons, I think that we should continue to seriously consider the proposed amendments in order to find out whether there might not be one which could likely improve the bill, so that it could unite Canadians instead of dividing them. For no consideration whatever would I like hon. members to my right, who represent constituencies of other provinces, to think that our positions are those of mean Canadians who consider only their area or their province. But the fact remains that every member is conscientious enough-I am sure-to represent honestly and properly his constituency, his electors and to follow up on the representations made to him.

I would not like it to be said that because the province of Quebec supports the best provisions of this bill, it regards the bill as perfect. That is not what I mean. Even if only 50 per cent of the provisions of the bill were good, we should use them and later on improve the legislation so as to really reach its objective, namely to put all farm products on the national market so as to make them available to the Canadian people.

As I already said, I think it is extremely regrettable that this bill does not include a provision enabling those marketing boards to channel in the same way all the products that will be imported from other countries.

I see that an amendment in this regard has been put on the order paper. A few moments ago, the Minister of Agriculture mentioned it and said that other agencies and departments were sharing this responsibility and that we should not multiply the number of agencies in the same field.

I submit that it does not amount to multiplying the agencies. They could remain under the authority of the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce but with the possibility for the marketing boards to demonstrate that they are acting in a relevant way when they grant import licences for some farm products which are in direct competition with Canadian products.

I am well aware that there is presently such a possibility of control by the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce but God knows how difficult it is to have this legislation applied, these restrictions enforced when it is necessary. We had to make representations to our farm organizations. Federated Co-op had to take action several times to draw the attention of the authorities on a particular field so as to give fair protection to Canadian farmers. For this reason, I hoped the bill would have contained a provision to regulate the activities of people engaged in international trade with a view to profits only and not as a service to the community.

This form of trade must be regulated in an intelligent way so as to allow farmers to fulfill the objectives spelled out in the bill, namely to give farmers the possibility of living decently.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

Harold Warren Danforth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. W. Danforth (Kenl-Essex):

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) with a great deal of interest. I was disappointed in that I felt he might have spent less time dealing with the picayune matter of an advertisement in a newspaper and more time defending the reasons for the government's adopting the measures in this bill. This is one of the most important bills to be dealt with by the Committee on Agriculture in the last 50 years.

In the short time allotted to me I should like to deal with the necessity of the amendments to this legislation. As you are aware, we in the province of Ontario are familiar with marketing schemes, agencies and marketing commissions. A number of marketing operations and bodies are now operative in this province as in other regions of Canada. The reason is very simple. One of the earliest marketing schemes was started in my own riding, in Chatham, Ontario. Similar schemes were commenced many years ago in the province of British Columbia. We are very familiar with this type of operation, as they are in the province of Quebec and in most provinces where marketing schemes exist to varying degrees.

A previous speaker stated that the concept of national marketing legislation is not new. For many years successful marketing boards have been working for the betterment of the farm community in their local or regional areas. These people naturally felt there was no reason why this proposal, if extended nationally, should not work to the benefit of a great many more engaged in the production of agricultural products. This is not a new

April 28, 1971

concept. When this legislation was introduced it received a great deal of approval in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and other regions of Canada where marketing agencies are operative. Once this matter was brought before Parliament with the concept that the federal government would enter the field, the idea began to percolate in the agricultural communities of Canada. As a result, a great deal of concern has developed in these communities.

Let me point out why I feel there has been tremendous concern and an abrupt change in attitude on the part of many toward this bill in its present form. In the production of any commodity there is not, and never will be, total support for a marketing scheme. Some people feel such a scheme is not in the interests of the primary producer. Perhaps the majority feel that it is in their interests. As a result, we have in every province, region and community a nucleus of people who believe in free enterprise and that mandatory marketing legislation is not in the common interest.

Let us also consider what is happening in respect of this legislation. Producers in Ontario and other regions of Canada are concerned about the government bringing in an omnibus bill. The bill before us is such a bill. Its concept is based on the fact that all agricultural products in all areas of Canada should be covered. The bill itself speaks not only of primary products but any portion or any manufactured part of a primary product. This is certainly an omnibus concept.

The minister said in his speech that nowhere does this bill indicate there should be production control. I cannot agree with his interpretation. Let me put on record why the majority of producers in Canada cannot agree with this assertion. Over and over again the minister and this government have stated that the bill is patterned on provincial legislation which gives production control. They have pointed to the Canadian Wheat Board and the National Dairy Council as prime examples of how this concept can work. Anyone who is familiar with agriculture knows that the Canadian Wheat Board and the National Dairy Council are based on the concept of production control and supply management. For the government to suggest now that nowhere implicit in this bill is such a provision is, to say the least, misleading.

Let us consider what has happened in respect of the Dairy Commission. It was set up to protect dairy interests in Canada. We find that small enterprises have been forced out and that it is almost impossible for new farmers to get into this business. An apt description of what is taking place as a result of such legislation is that large producers are placed in a comfortable position, protected against encroachment by government regulation. Another grave concern in Ontario relates to the provision in this bill which makes it possible for the government to delegate provincial authority to national marketing agencies and the federal authority. It is expected that the two working together in harmony and within the democratic process will bring about the hoped-for adjustments. But this is immediately eroded by the fact that the minister in his explanation left the impression that the provincial authority is delegated only perhaps by negotiation and

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

that it is within the purview of the provinces to opt out of the measure entirely or on a commodity by commodity basis. I think this is a major weakness.

The second major weakness is that no import control is inherent in this legislation. It is all very well for the minister to say we do not need it in legislation of this type because it is inherent in other legislation which is available to the government and that therefore there would be duplication. In respect of the practical application of marketing schemes already in existence in Canada, we see that every time an application is made to the government for import control either it is not granted or the delay is of such a nature that it becomes almost impossible to make a profitable sale of the commodity in question.

A prime example of this arose in the House yesterday when the hon. member for British Columbia, a proponent of this bill, criticized his own government because there was no import control on strawberries coming into his province. This shows why import control is absolutely necessary. I join with my colleague in the allegation that this bill will not, and cannot, solve the problem of interprovincial trade and the restrictions we now face, because the only tool it has is negotiation. As the minister has indicated, it will provide a forum for negotiation of differences. There is no legal way under Bill C-176 in which there can be a determination or real assessment of the problem facing the provinces. So I agree with my colleague that the only way in which this matter can be solved is by reference to the Supreme Court. I agree with him that a proper assessment of Bill C-176 is not possible until we know the decision of the Supreme Court, because if the decision should be what we expect it to be, then the terms and provisions set out in this bill will not be applicable.

Another matter which is very upsetting to me and to others who are familiar with the workings of marketing agencies and the way in which they provide aid to primary producers is that during the committee hearings, while listening to the government's defence of its own bill it became readily discernible that the government is more concerned about control over agriculture than with providing a democratic method of supply-marketing in a regular fashion.

I think we will find that the major difference between this measure and a provincial measure is that there is not spelled out in this bill the basis for the success of such schemes in the provincial field. It is all very well for the minister to state that there will be a democratic process and that the majority of the primary producers of any commodity will have to solicit the government in order to be placed under the terms of the legislation, but that is only half the story because the reverse is not equally true. If the primary producers should find that rather than being of benefit to their industry it is a detriment, then there is no provision for a plebescite or any other means of adopting a negative approach to the bill so that such an agency could be disbanded. This is a basic weakness as between the federal and provincial legislation.

April 28, 1971

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

Over and over again the minister has emphasized that this is a democratic approach and this will not be done unless the majority of producers wish it. I maintain that the minister immediately loses his credibility, because there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the majority of cattlemen in this country do not wish to come under the provisions of this measure. They have said so over and over again. They want no part of it.

Mr. Speaker, the government is interested in only one thing. It is interested in bringing a bill before the House in a manner which includes cattlemen whether or not they wish it. It is all very well for the minister to say they are only being brought under the umbrella of this bill and that it will not be implemented so far as cattlemen are concerned unless they wish it. What bothers me is that in the terms of this bill we are giving tremendous authority to public servants who are answerable only to the minister and this House. I am concerned that this measure is of such importance that if we should be wrong it could mean the economic ruin of hundreds and hundreds of farmers in this country.

I do not hold a brief for those who moan and whine about the length of time spent on this matter by the House and the committee, because if in our deliberations we can amend the bill in such a way that we save only one farmer from bankruptcy then in my opinion the time will have been well spent. If we make a mistake it could take years to bring in an amendment in order to redress the wrong, especially when we see the degree of esteem in which this government holds the farming community of Canada.

We must look at this bill very carefully. We will have to amend it in order that it can be operative and can solve the various problems facing Canada today. I am terribly disturbed that we have not been able to obtain a Supreme Court ruling on the very cornerstone of this bill before we are asked to give it final passage. This is major legislation.

I am very sorry the minister did not adopt a more moderate course in dealing with something which primary producers across the country have wanted for many years. I had hoped the minister would bring in a measure of national scope as he did in respect of the dairy industry and as was done in respect of the wheat industry.

If the government had brought in such legislation for the poultry industry, which dearly wanted it, it would have received rapid passage through the House. If such legislation had been brought in and operated successfully, then the other commodity groups would have been lining up at the minister's door demanding similar legislation. The minister did not do that. He is trying to bring it in all at once to cover a tremendous number of commodities and regions. This involves many different personalties and ten different governments. In my opinion it will be impossible to achieve rapid implementation of this measure once it is passed, because the problem of interprovincial barriers is growing each and every day and is becoming more and more ominous. I think it is misleading for the minister to say that this measure will settle the problem. Even if it did provide a solution, I submit it

would take a minimum of 12 months to draft all the regulations and negotiate them with the provinces. I have no hesitation in supporting the amendments proposed by my colleague.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

Cliff Downey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cliff Downey (Battle Hiver):

Mr. Speaker, I have great pleasure in speaking in this debate, not so much because of the content of the bill but because I wish to point out to the thinking people in this country what will be the effect if this measure is passed. I believe that the result will be a disaster. The bill was first introduced a year or so ago as Bill C-197. At that time the standing committee heard many witnesses. There was a general rejection of what that bill encompassed and we rather suspected that after it died on the Order Paper last June, on being reintroduced it would be redrafted and contain many improvements. It was very disheartening to see it come forward in this form.

The suggestion was made that this bill is a product of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) and he has received a great deal of the blame for it. It was pointed out earlier today that much of the thought behind the bill originated with the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and that he elaborated on it in a speech at Winnipeg on June 2, 1968. In other words, the bill was not proposed by anyone with an agricultural background but by what you might call a playboy from Westmount, a world traveller from Westmount. When you read the bill you can easily see that this was the case. To substantiate that statement I quote from the speech he delivered in Winnipeg on June 2, 1968, as follows:

In order to meet the difficulties of divided jurisdiction in the area of marketing of agricultural products, the government would undertake to raise for discussion with the provinces the possibility of providing over-all authority for the marketing of agricultural products as a federal responsibility.

That statement was made before the members of the present government knew they would be appointed to the positions they hold. I want to make it abundantly clear that the thought behind the bill did not come from the agricultural community. Marketing boards are not the main thrust of the bill. The main thrust will be restricted provincial trade policies and government control-nothing more and nothing less. The Minister of Agriculture has made many speeches to the effect that this bill is what we need. We will all wait with baited breath to see if the bill, when proclaimed, will solve the interprovincial trade situation, the so-called chicken and egg wars which have been developing and have given rise to increasing trade restrictions between provinces.

As has been so well pointed out by the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) and by the hon. member for Kent-Essex (Mr. Danforth), in reality the whole situation boils down to a decision that should have been made by the Supreme Court. In reality we are wasting our time in this debate in the House. Time and time again members of the government rise and say, "We must get this legislation through, or that legislation through. We are in a

April 28, 1971

hurry; we are short of time." Then why, Mr. Speaker, are we wasting our time debating this matter now, when it is a matter to be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada?

I heard a very prominent judge say that this will be the most important decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada in the last 50 years. I would say it could probably be the most important decision ever made by the Supreme Court, since confederation itself may hinge on the decision. The decision, in effect, may be on whether Canada is in reality a nation, or ten nations. If the decision is made that there should not be free trade between the provinces of Canada, then the die will be cast, separatism will spread and we will truly become ten nations. But if the Supreme Court decision is to the effect that there should be free trade between the provinces, this bill will mean nothing and the agencies or boards set up under it will mean nothing. However, if the Supreme Court decision goes the other way, in effect saying that each province is a separate nation, we will need something resembling an interprovincial GATT agreement and the provision in this bill giving provinces the right to opt out of any arrangement will mean nothing. In effect each province will have to become part of an over-all agency in order to get part of a national quota. Some provinces may set up barriers against the importation of goods from other areas.

We could very well run into a situation in the western provinces, where they do not have the people to consume the goods they produce and rely on the export of their farm products, where they would set up barriers to the high-priced industrial goods they have been bringing in from other parts of Canada. They could start looking to places like Japan and the U.S. and make their own international trading arrangements.

On many occasions the minister has made light of the fact that we need this bill to create another forum for consultation wherein the provinces can get together and discuss these trade arrangements and agencies. But we have all the forums we need now, and there is nothing to stop the ministers getting together. The creation of one more forum to solve the matter of interprovincial trade is only a joke. There are the federal-provincial conferences with ample opportunities for provincial ministers to get together. The argument that this bill will set up another forum is only a red herring and has no value at all.

The Supreme Court ruling which will be handed down probably toward the end of next month will be one of the most important decisions made since confederation. It will be the deciding factor on the way in which Canada will go. We have had many divisive pieces of legislation from this government. I think the official languages bill has been most divisive and this is substantiated every day. But no legislation has ever been brought forward that will be as divisive and detrimental to this nation as the bill before us.

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

To return to the matter of another forum for consultation, I think this is just idealism. In this regard I should like to quote from the Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Standing Committee on Agriculture when that committee met in Halifax on January 21, 1971. In answer to a question, Mr. Callahan, the Minister of Agriculture for Newfoundland, said:

Mr. Chairman, in the first instance I do not agree that the provinces are agreed on this bill. They are not. So far as I am aware, no province has come out and said, "We agree with this legislation", and X have already indicated that at a full meeting of the ministers six months ago-and I have quoted from the proceedings of that meeting-there was a consensus which, as I have said, is the lowest form of opinion, which seriously questions vital aspects of the bill, so I do not agree that the provinces are asking for this. I know what they have been asking for. I have been among them and I know what we have asked for.

If this is the way some provincial ministers see the bill, how can any new forum created under this bill sweep that away and make everything glorious and fine and create a wonderful agreement on the question of provincial trade? I do not think anyone here who truly represents agriculture would not support the bill if they could see that it provides one extra dollar for the producer. Where is there anything in the bill about pricing or giving producers more money in their pockets?

We repeatedly saw amendments turned down in committee. I recall an amendment to put the word "viable" into the clauses to replace the words "efficient and competitive", but the latter phrase was chosen. This would mean just another cheap food policy. Time and time again we have heard the word "efficient" used in regard to business where it generally means a greater profit margin, but as it relates to agriculture it can only mean a cheap food policy.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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PC

Cliff Downey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Downey:

We were given no assurance that the word "competitive" does not mean competitive with another country. What are we to be competitive with- Mexican tomatoes, Australian beef? The terminology of the bill gives no assurance that this would not be the type of competition producers would have to face.

I think the most ridiculous concept of this bill has been the matter of controlled production, though quite a few people may not be in agreement with this. However, I think anyone could and should be ridiculed for bringing forth control of production without control of imports. This is one of the most ridiculous assumptions ever made. Surely the minister would not try to implant in the minds of the farmers that their standard of living could be raised by controlling production and granting licences to farm with no mention at all of imports.

The apple growers and beef producers appeared before the committee. I recall that the apple growers of Nova Scotia and British Columbia said they had no problems and did not need this bill, that the only thing they

April 28, 1971

Farm, Products Marketing Agencies Bill suffered from was imports because they had to leave their apples under the trees; it was too expensive to pick them. They questioned how it was proposed to raise the income of farmers without doing anything in this regard. The amendment was moved in committee on several occasions. It is the same type of amendment that has been written into other bills such as the textile bill, where a product was protected-but it was turned down in regard to agriculture.

Initially this bill contained clauses which ensured that the interests of consumers would be looked after before the interests of producers. I supposed that this was an agricultural bill brought forward by the Department of Agriculture to look after the interests of farmers, yet its language suggests that consumers are to be placed on a higher level than producers.

Controlling production without controlling imports simply means that the government will have the right to set the price of agricultural products. It will be able to perpetuate a cheap food policy in this country by allowing imports in or by shutting them off at will. If the price of a commodity rises to a level at which farmers can survive if they produce it, the government can simply import that commodity and control or lower its price. That is what is done with beef. For one month in 12, Canadians eat beef produced in Australia. The minister has been questioned about this in the House and has said, "Well, the need is there. We do not have the beef available." You do not mean to tell me that if beef was not brought in people would not buy Canadian beef that is already on shop shelves, and thus raise the price to the level that beef producers ought to get. Why, back in 1952, 18 years ago, beef prices were higher than today. You can imagine what the costs of production were 18 years ago. Look at the current prices of machinery and at the costs of labour.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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LIB

Jean-Thomas Richard

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Richard):

Order, please. I must advise the hon. member that his time has expired.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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SC

Léonel Beaudoin

Social Credit

Mr. Leonel Beaudoin (Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to make some remarks on the amendments proposed by the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner), namely amendments Nos 1, 5, and 22 which deal with certain implications of Bill C-176.

As members of the committee, we have travelled throughout Canada from Halifax to Vancouver and found that producer associations, mainly primary producers, were seriously worried. As for the bill, Primary producers are sceptical about the bill because most of them throughout Canada are used to work on their own.

A farmer wants to be his own boss. He wants to sell his products himself and be the master of his production and his prices. He also wants in all regards to be the master of his future.

I think that with the passing of Bill C-176, the producer will no longer be his own boss. He will have to

think in a different way, to act in a different way and also to decide his future in a different way.

Particularly when we visited Ontario, we found that many producer associations were concerned about the implications of Bill C-176. In the course of our trip, we met 78 producer associations, 90 per cent of which grouped primary producers.

I should like to call the attention of hon. members on the most frequent questions raised in the briefs that were presented to us respecting the producers' concern. They asked: Who will control imports? Who will control the boards? Who will pay the administrative costs? Will some provinces be allowed to withdraw from the marketing agencies? Can such a system generate local favoritism? Will the farmer or the producer take the decisions within the marketing agencies? Will the producer be entitled to prosper at an equal rate in all provinces? Will the rights already secured under the British North America Act be more or less diluted by this bill? Will the farmer now have to decide or negotiate on quotas? Are the quotas transferable? Will all farm products be regulated by a quota system?

All these questions were put to us by farming groups. Many were in favour of the proposed measures; however, almost everybody agreed on the implications of the bill, though mildly. Almost all expressed the wish that their member should move amendments to the bill.

In committee, 29 amendments were proposed. Some were approved and others were rejected. However, I believe that all of them would be essential for friendly understanding between the producers from the various provinces.

We are sorry, indeed, to see that some provincial governments, namely the Ontario government, have already placed an embargo on Quebec products.

We know a bill like this one is necessary to put an end to this type of thing. But before approving it on third reading, I feel we should give it further thought.

Mr. Speaker, may I call it six o'clock?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PC

Thomas Miller Bell (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bell:

Mr. Speaker, could the government House leader tell us what business the House will consider tomorrow?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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April 28, 1971