Mr. R. E. McKinley (Huron):
Mr. Speaker, the statement that has just been made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) is in effect a fowl buying program, although he did not wish to call it that. Another fowl buying program was announced last October 29-I have that statement here, Mr. Speaker-which was to be carried out over an eight-week period. So there is a familiar ring when in the present statement the minister says that this program will be in effect for an eight-week period. Following the earlier program I asked the minister the following question on March 16, 1972, as recorded on page 889 of Hansard:
Surplus Egg Reduction Program
With regard to the fowl buying program announced by the government last year under which assistance was going to be given to producers, how much money was paid to producers under that program?
The minister's answer was:
None, Mr. Speaker.
Most of us know of the terrible situation in the egg-producing industry in Canada today. Over 202,000 30-dozen cases a week are being produced. That is about 10,000 or 15,000 too many, and there has to be a cutback in order that egg producers can make a decent living in this country. This situation has gone on too long.
I am happy to see that the federal government and the Minister of Agriculture have negotiated on a little better terms with the egg producers and the provinces than they have with the provinces in regard to the small farms development program which we heard about in committee this morning from some of the provinces. I hope the minister has listened to better advice in working out the details of this program than he did on the previous one and that the program will do some good. I do not know whether the minister is aware of the normal laying period of a hen, but I think he should suggest that all hens that have been in production for ten months or more should be marketed through this program. That might be of some assistance. More direction has to come from the minister and he should listen to people who know what they are talking about.
Subtopic: ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM TO REDUCE EGG SURPLUS