March 9, 1953 (21st Parliament, 7th Session)


Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

-and as the result of answers to questions. They are found generally throughout the country. I will not go into detail on that. I just stopped in time, Mr. Speaker.
I should like to turn now to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). Speaking in this debate he attempted to show that there was no justification for the amendment moved on behalf of this party which condemns the government for its failure in the budget to-
-offer any encouragement to Canadian farmers in meeting the serious consequences of lost markets and lower prices resulting from the government's agricultural and marketing policies.
That was part of our amendment. The Minister of Agriculture attempted to show

that there were practically no surpluses of farm products for which we were searching for markets, and thus of course by inference was attempting to show that we had not lost markets. As a matter of fact his own figures which he placed on the record confound him.
I should like to deal with those figures which are found at page 2663 of Hansard for March
5. First of all I shall read the short statement he made preparatory to introducing them. It is as follows:
I give those figures in order to emphasize the position I took a few moments ago, namely that there is not a decrease in the quantity of farm products being produced in this country, either in the last years as compared with the last three years of the war or in the six years since the war as compared with the last six years before the war.
Note this, Mr. Speaker:
Our production is going up, and going up continuously: and while it is going up prices are increasing and therefore the returns to the farmer are increasing from year to year.
The rest of it does not matter. After having made that statement, the minister put the table on Hansard and I should like to comment on it. Quite contrary to what the minister said, the chart which he himself placed on Hansard shows that in the period from 1949 to 1951 production was considerably less than it had been in the period from 1943 to 1945, the two periods he deals with in the chart. That is true of all the major commodities he lists except wheat, and I shall mention something about that later.
If we refer to the chart we see that from 1943 to 1945 20 million hundredweight of cheese were produced and from 1949 to 1951
II million hundredweight, just a little more than half as much cheese. That is a big reduction. Taking butterfat, from 1943 to 1945 production amounted to 437 million pounds and from 1949 to 1951 to 386 million pounds, another considerable reduction. From 1943 to 1945 13 million hundredweight of hogs were produced and from 1949 to 1951 10 million hundredweight, another considerable reduction. Turning to cattle, from 1943 to 1945 19 million hundredweight were produced and from 1949 to 1951 17 million hundredweight.
I come now to apples, and this is one of the few cases in which there was an increase. From 1943 to 1945 there were 12 million bushels and from 1949 to 1951, 15 million bushels. There were 350 million dozen eggs produced from 1943 to 1945, and 305 million dozen from 1949 to 1951. Coming to potatoes, once more there is an increase from 71 million bushels to 78 million bushels.
Wheat increased from 339 million bushels to 461 million bushels, but I might point out that the amount of wheat produced had

nothing to do with the Minister of Agriculture. It depends entirely on the weather, and it happens that the weather was considerably more favourable in the years 1949 to 1951 than in the years 1943 to 1945. Therefore we produced a great deal more wheat. In addition, during the period 1943-45 the Minister of Agriculture was paying people not to produce wheat. Now he is trying to use those figures of low production to bolster his argument that production is greater now. Surely that is a most ridiculous argument and situation.
We come to oats, and there are 454 million bushels as against 408 million bushels; barley, 189 million bushels as against 179 million bushels. In other words, Mr. Speaker, in connection with all the important items except wheat which the minister lists and says form part of the economy of this country, we produced less on a volume basis in 1949-51 than we did in 1943-45. When the minister put this table on the record just after saying we had produced more and we find the table proves decisively that we produced less, I think it must indicate that he is losing his grip.
I should like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that during those years for which we have had these statistics for the main agricultural products, our population increased from 12 million in 1945-I am taking the end year in each period

to 14-5 million people today. This is an increase of 18 per cent. We had 2-5 million more people to feed this year than we had in 1945, so naturally we needed a great deal more food. The necessity for that amount of food, plus the decline in production which is shown in. the minister's table, of course1 reveals only one thing. It shows quite definitely the large loss in overseas markets. One does not need to prove in this way the loss of overseas markets. One does not need to use the minister's own figures to prove it, because everybody in the country knows we have had an extremely large loss in overseas markets.
Let us take one example. In 1944 we exported 695,750,000 pounds of bacon and pork products. By 1947, only three years later, this had dropped to 235,750,000 pounds, which is approximately one-third. At that time I well remember standing up in this house, as did many other members of the opposition, and warning the Minister of Agriculture and the government that they were losing our overseas markets at an alarming rate. They pooh-poohed the idea. The minister gave all kinds of reasons why we would not have as much pork. He said we had not had as big coarse grain crops as we had in 1943-44, and would not admit that we
The Budget-Mr. Harkness were losing the overseas markets. What is the situation we find at the present time? We have no overseas markets for bacon or pork; they have just disappeared. Of course the minister has to admit that we have lost that market.
The same story is told by the statistics for other products, if anyone wants to take them in the bald form in which they are found in the Canada Year Book. This is a handy little reference book, of which every member has been supplied with a copy. Take the Canada Year Book and look over the statistics given there. You will see that they show the same story. These statistics show that so far as cheese, butter and nearly every other agricultural product is concerned, we were exporting large quantities. You will see that the figures taper down year after year until you get to the present time, when you find that we have lost these markets almost entirely.
The minister attempts by a long detailed speech and the quoting of a lot of statistics, which are not applicable at all, to prove that we have not lost the overseas markets, that farmers are much better off, and that they are producing more and getting bigger prices for their production. If the minister thinks he can fool Canadian farmers and Canadian citizens generally on this matter of having lost markets and the general prosperity of farmers, he is deluding himself miserably. When he goes about the country or stands up in the house and says the members of the opposition should not think the farmers are not supporting this government because most of the farmers are still supporting it, he is deluding himself even more miserably. He is engaged in a form of self-hypnosis in order to keep up his own courage.

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