Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The bill deals with the subjects I have mentioned. The bill indicates that provision shall be made, after land has been sold, for an individual to remain on that land if he does not want to move away. The bill looks at that situation. May I point out, with all respect, that it looks at the situation in which
May 3, 1972
the farm operator is of advanced age and chooses to remain on the farm. In that case, he may retain some buildings and a small plot of land, and let somebody else work the farm.
If I understand the bill correctly, it also provides that the farmer may operate another enterprise on the farm in addition to what is regarded as a legitimate farm enterprise. I think I am right in saying that, and all these matters are part and parcel of the bill. The minister or the department, as the case may be, were quite right in producing the document I hold in my hand. I fully expect that it will be discussed in the House and in committee. If I am wrong, I hope the minister will tell me. May I go on record as saying that I believe it will be discussed. The matters mentioned in this document are well within the scope of this bill. There is a nice chart on page 10 which shows the direction one can go if one chooses either the course of farm development or the course of non-farm employment. This document suggests the amounts of money that will become available from the Farm Credit Corporation to help to make this sort of program possible. For instance, it will help to make farm counselling possible; the corporation will help to make farm management programs possible. That, I understand, will be part of the program.
It is envisaged that programs will be developed in cooperation with the provinces if possible or, if that is not possible, at the federal level entirely; these are to be farm management or farm advisory programs and their purpose is to assist the borrower obtain a better income pattern than he achieved in previous times. That sort of thing happened immediately after the second world war under the Veterans' Land Act or the veterans land credit program. I cannot remember the right name of the act. In those cases, management and advisory programs were tied in with the lending function so that assistance could be given to the borrower. At that time, the plan worked reasonably well.
Anyone aware of what happened in economics immediately after the war knows that between 1946 and 1956, roughly, a combination of circumstances arose such as the farmers of this country have rarely enjoyed. Prices for farm products rose steadily. The price of the farmer's produce was going up, while the price of those things the farmer had to buy was stable or increasing very gradually. Those conditions, combined with a good credit program, enabled farmers to make progress. Those who returned from overseas and decided to take up farming as an occupation were able to make real progress.
This afternoon I am trying to emphasize this: if this credit program is to be effective, the circumstances which existed in the postwar years must be recreated. Prices must increase enough to enable the farmer to keep up with the cost of production. Also, the government must act with regard to the cost of production and control within reasonable or practical limits, or even workable limits, the increases in the cost of the farmer's operation. Unless that is done, I suggest that the result in X number of years will be unfortunate. That is what I have tried to emphasize this afternoon, and it is most important for us to remember that. Conditions such as I have described are more important than mere quantities of money. The effect of those conditions may or may not be more impor-
Farm Credit Act
tant than the effect of the document in my hand. I agree that this document will have very, very important effects. I am sure that the minister and others who worked on it within the department also regard it as an important step forward in policy. I am sure they knew what they were doing and what they were proposing. I therefore hope that we give this measure and the policies involved the thorough examination and thought which they require.
Subtopic: FARM CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic: AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND POWERS AND CAPITAL OF CORPORATION