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


Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

In certain periods he was getting less. Nobody disputes that fact.
The new Canadian consumer price index chart shows the position quite clearly. I should like to refer to this chart briefly, and then to relate the figures in this chart back to the figures in the chart which the Minister of Agriculture put on the record.
This particular copy was put out by the Bank of Montreal and it comes along with their weekly or monthly supplement. This is the new Canadian consumer price index. It shows an index price in 1913, of nearly 50- 49 point something-and in 1932 to 1939 it shows the index varying between from just above 60 to below 60. During that period it went along almost on a straight line. Then when we come up to the present time, in 1951, we find that this index is up to almost 120. In other words, during the period from 1932 to 1940 the index was at approximately 60 and in 1951 it was approximately 120, or twice as much.
If we look at the index for 1945, which is the one I want to relate particularly, we find that it was at 75; that is, the consumer price index was at 75. If we go back to the minister's chart and relate that figure with an

index of 75 to the index of 120 in 1951, and if we correct the figures the minister gave by making reference to that figure, we get a totally different picture from the one that he presented.
In other words, the money price which the minister has given as the average annual farm value, in terms of the 1945 dollar, is approximately two-thirds of the amount he has listed. We correct this and we take, for example, cheese. In 1943-45 the farmers received an average of $38 million a year. In the same kind of dollars, in 1949-51 they received $19 million a year, not the $28 million the minister mentioned; they received $28 million worth of 1951 dollars, but in 1943-45 dollars-and surely if you are going to compare one figure with another you have to compare its spending value-they received only $19 million.
For butterfat they got $187 million in 1943-45. In these last three years they got $158 million; for hogs, $225 million in the former period as against $200 million. In cattle there was an increase, $187 million in the former period as against $256 million. That and wheat are the only two cases in which there are increases.
For apples they received $18 million as against $13 million; eggs, $107 million against $91 million; potatoes, $78 million as against $56 million; wheat, $441 million as against $522 million. The only reason they got more for their wheat in these last three years was that they produced about 30 per cent more than they did in the previous period. If they had produced the same amount they would have obtained less for it. For oats they received $249 million as against $211 million, and for barley $131 million as against $156 million. That is another increase, and the only other one.
What all that shows, Mr. Speaker, is that during that period the minister's chart demon-strates^ quite clearly that first of all production is down in the period 1949-51 as compared with 1943-45. In the second place it shows that the return to the farmers in dollars-[DOT] real dollars, as far as value is concerned- is down also, and down considerably. Their real purchasing power is reduced.
As I said before, I really do not know why the minister put this chart on the record, because it shows these things so clearly. I think I should take this opportunity of thanking him for putting such a convenient chart on the record in order to show the real situation. Certainly I would be greatly surprised if the minister himself ever used it again.
The Budget-Mr. Arsenault
The hon. member who preceded me in this debate and a considerable number of other members have had something to say about free trade, and we have had mention of free trade by various people. It was spoken of as a desirable thing.

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