I was amused today to hear the leader of the opposition make reference first to the high cost of food. I never heard him say, though, that the farmers were getting too much money. Then he said that the proportion of increase in retail prices had not kept pace with the increased prices to the farmers themselves. I think that is an indication that he would like retailers to have a bigger profit than, they now have.
I want to make it clear that I am not falling for any bait or any attempt by the opposition to lead me to vote against the government in this debate. I want to make clear to the government my opinion in this matter, and I think that, taking a cross section of the country, I can say 1 represent what would be pretty close to the average individual in Canada. I am sure all hon. members will agree that it is necessary to curb the ever-soaring and rising prices.
In looking over the current review of agriculture, with particular reference to records in Canada, we find a larger population with a greater working force earning a higher income than in any previous record in Canada's history. As a result there is now a much greater demand for farm products, especially livestock and livestock products. We find that the volume of exports of farm products has now declined for the first time since 1940, and that there is no longer a Canada-United Kingdom food agreement.
Nevertheless production does not meet with the increased consumption which is taking place in Canada today. This is partly due to the small output of some farm produce, and partly due to the international currency situation. And, as the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) has rightly said, it is partly due to the export of cattle to the United States.
In spite of the conditions I have described, the demand for agricultural products still continues, and the wholesale prices of farm products at the major domestic markets have
Cost of Living
continued to rise since the end of 1950. Prices to the farmers have improved somewhat, as in the case of cattle but receipts on Canadian markets are not unduly heavy. During 1950 Canadian farmers have realized a cash income of $2,169-3 million. Comparing this with 1949, the income for 1950 is down by 11-7 per cent for the farmers. Parliament was called on January 29, 1959.