Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):
I wish to advise you that not only did I take over the weediest farm in the district in which I now live, a farm which I was told was hopeless, but that farm now has on it six happy families, and it is cleaned up.
In addition I wish to tell my hon. friend that I raised as many as two hundred head of Hereford cattle, and sold them; and that is more than he has done. And in addition to that I was in the delegation which came here to Ottawa to ask for prices from the government. I asked for dollar wheat, Mr. Speaker, but I did not see one C.C.F. member of parliament on either of those occasions. Some of them have wiggled over since we were through that. While we did not get dollar wheat, we got ninety cent wheat at that time.
To return to a discussion of the bill before the house, let me point out that section 9 of the act provides for the setting up of a board. That section provides that the board, subject to and in accordance with the regulations made by the governor in council, shall have authority-
(a) to prescribe from time to time, with the approval of the governor in council, prices at which the board may purchase agricultural products in the market:
(b) to purchase at such prices any agricultural product, if such product, on inspection, meets standards as to grade and quality prescribed by or under any act of the parliament of Canada . . .
(c) to pay to the producers of an agricultural
product directly or through such agent as the board may determine the difference between a price prescribed by the board with the approval of the governor in council . . .
Agricultural Prices Support Act
And then under section 10(2) there is provision for a revolving fund of $200 million of the money of the people of Canada to protect the producers. The act does not cover wheat, but it covers other farm products, under the authority of the governor in council, from time to time.
Now my hon. friends propose, in amendment, that the bill be not now read; and they go further and suggest that the government bring in a bill which would have the effect of guaranteeing to the producers a price-cost relationship. The mover of the amendment has suggested no prices; he has suggested no costs, except that certain years are taken. Those who support the amendment do not deal with any particular product.
As has been pointed out by the hon. member who preceded me, the government will have to deal with other countries, and it will have to deal with the Canadian consumer. It will have to make international deals, and otherwise; but in connection with certain products, it will have to deal chiefly with the Canadian consumer. From time to time those prices change, either up or down.
We do not know whether there will be another war; we do not know what will happen in connection with surpluses at any time. We do not know whether the British will buy more of our products. And I venture to say that if the government undertook for a term of years to accept prices which were not satisfactory during all those years, there would be another howl from members of the C.C.F. party in the House of Commons-and in no uncertain terms. The government has been fair, and so far as the farmers in my constituency are concerned, it has satisfied them.
I do not believe it is our duty when we come to the House of Commons merely to set up a whine to which the people of eastern Canada have to listen. We in the west do appreciate what the government of Canada has done. Particularly is that true in our dried-out area. We appreciate what has been done under P.F.A.A. and P.F.R.A. We believe that the farmers of Ontario, on the other hand, appreciate what the government has done in paying $20 million a year toward the freight on our coarse grains brought down here to feed their cattle and pigs. We believe they appreciate that. We are already getting certain benefits for our farmers from these actions.
When the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith) spoke last night I could not make out what he was driving at. However, I noticed that when he had made his speech he was applauded by members of the Progressive Conservative party; they and their leader applauded it.
Agricultural Prices Support Act
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR CONTINUATION IN FORCE ON AND AFTER MARCH 31, 1950