Mr. Jim Schroder (Guelph):
Mr. Speaker, I have great pleasure in speaking this evening in this debate. My experience in agriculture has not been limited to that of practising my profession. In any case, I am proud to be one who has been of some service to the agriculture industry in this country.
The farmer needs help but he needs different kinds of help. For example, he is probably the most misunderstood person in our community. He produces a perishable product and he produces a biological product. Many businessmen are upset if they are stuck with inventory and have no way of getting rid of it, but at least they can pack it away until the next season. If fall clothes are not sold this year, they can be put away until next fall. The farmer cannot do that with his produce. He is stuck with it. Sometimes he does not have enough and sometimes has too much, and so it is very difficult to cope. He has to be a small businessman, a big businessman and an agri-businessman.
Some suggestions have been made today relative to our minister. I should like to say that his has probably the most difficult ministry in government. He has a great urban group to contend with that does not really understand very much about the difficulties of agriculture. He has to talk for the farmer and he has to act for the farmer. I should like to go on record as saying that in my experience I think our minister does a good talking job and a good acting job. He certainly does his very best to convince members of the government and the people of Canada that the farmer is somebody who really is somebody.
Some reference has been made today to the fact that we should have a fourth veterinary college in Canada, situated in the maritimes. A report was commissioned from the former dean of the Ontario Veterinary College, Dennis Howell. I should like to read from his report as follows:
Setting aside the contribution which a fourth school would make to the manpower needs of Canada, it must be remembered that, currently, an area of Canada where animal industry, both aquatic and terrestrial, dominates the economy is devoid of an animal health educational resource. In almost every brief submitted the opinion was expressed that a veterinary school located in one of the Atlantic provinces would add a much needed dimension to the livestock industry of the region by virtue of its scholarly activity, its research program and its inevitable role in professional refreshment. A second and no less significant point is: Can the young people of the Atlantic region continue to be denied, subtantially, the opportunity to fulfil their career objectives?
It follows, of course, that you cannot give this type of service to agriculture, with both the teaching facility and research facility, without the necessary faculty. There is considerable doubt about whether we should be robbing the other veterinary colleges in Canada in order to supply the necessary manpower to a fourth school. I think the following comment in the report is relative:
In general, veterinary medicine lacks opportunities comparable to those enjoyed by the medical schools of Canada under the programs of the Medical Research Council.
The exception to this is a fellowship program under the Medical Research Council which has been particularly useful for research in veterinary medicine. The report continues:
What is needed is a program, possibly administered by Agriculture Canada through the medium of the Agricultural Research Council, designed to train
young veterinarians at various levels for future academic careers. Such a program should include summer studentships for undergraduates, scholarships for graduate studies, and fellowships for graduate studies, and fellowships for study in a post-doctoral sense. The stipends need to be attractive and should be at the same rates provided by the Medical Research Council for its comparable programs.
This government has shown a fair amount of leadership in trying to establish a fourth veterinary college. I believe that we will see it in the future and that it will provide the necessary service to make sure that our animal industry in particular is provided with the kind of diagnostic service and care which will make the economical production of livestock possible.
I am sure that my colleagues from the west can recall the days when we tried to establish a third veterinary college in Canada. It was finally established ten years ago and was called the Western Veterinary College. We had the same doubts then about whether it was feasible to establish another faculty of veterinary medicine to serve the agricultural industry in Canada. We had all the same questions about where we would get the faculty, whether there would be enough jobs for the graduates, and whether it was feasible to support it. Of course, we met the same kind of arguments and in many cases the conclusions were that we would be foolish to attempt to establish this very expensive school for training veterinarians for the future.
I am pleased to say that with the co-operation of the western provinces and the federal government, which supplied 50 per cent of the necessary funds, the third veterinary school was established in Saskatoon. Within a very short time it became one of the finest veterinary colleges in Canada. It has sent graduates all over the world and I am proud to say that it has proven to be a good investment in animal health.
Recently, I travelled with the North-South task force in various Asian countries. I was very pleased to see the number of graduates in agricultural and veterinary science that there are in the Third World as the result of their training in Canada. As far as agriculture is concerned, I like to think that our profession has served well and valiantly through the years. I hope that the fourth veterinary college will be established. Some kind of fellowship program could be set up to help provide the necessary faculty so that our agricultural industry in Canada will be the leader because of the kind of support it receives.
Probably many of you do not know that we in Canada have a reputation around the world for having healthy livestock, which means that markets are open to us because we have been able to keep out those diseases which ravage livestock in many other countries. We do this by maintaining an animal population free of disease. We have inspection services which are able to spot immediately when a disease has been brought into the country. We get rid of this disease by eliminating it. Therefore, we are free of diseases such as foot and mouth and hog cholera. Obviously one disease affects hogs and the other affects livestock. These two diseases are the scourge of many countries in the world. Canadian livestock is welcome almost
everywhere in the world because of our high health standards. I do not want to take all the credit for the veterinarians but this standard is maintained because of the very fine management provided by farmers not only through their training in agriculture but through the usual Canadian ability to do things and to do them properly. However, this standard could not be maintained without the kind of veterinarian support they receive.
I think we can be proud of our inspection service. We can be proud of the fact that all our animals, because of their good health, are acceptable in almost every country in the world.
1 am sure hon. members know that to be a veterinarian requires a very long training program. But looking at the total agricultural picture, it is a case of everyone working together to make sure that our animal industry is the finest that is possible. To my hon. friend who spoke before me I want to say that we have the finest agricultural industry in the world. With development of confidence, with service programs, particularly relating to animal health, which I am proud to say the present government supports and in which the minister is showing great leadership by promoting these activities in Canada, we will go on with a very fine agricultural industry. In spite of our problems with credit, in spite of the fact that we are producing perishable goods, in spite of the fact that we have a biological product, in spite of the fact that some farmers want help and some do not, in spite of the fact that we do not have unanimity as to what programs there should be to help farmers, there is no question that our government is convinced that farmers are very important people in Canada. The agricultural industry is the basis of our tremendous growth. Canada is the great country it is today because we have a healthy, vibrant and strong agricultural industry.
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic: ALLOTTED DAY. S.O. 58-EFFECTS ON AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY OF HIGH INTEREST RATE POLICIES