May 17, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. Quelch:

I find this on page 7 of the brief:
We do not believe it is sound or practical to look to a price support program to guarantee the fanner prices which represent a full fair (or parity) relationship for each individual product. The result of such 100 per cent guarantees, if attempted, would inevitably be a high degree of government direction and control over agriculture. We do not believe-
This is probably the reason the C.C.F. would like to support it.
-farmers wish to submit to such extensive government participation in their business, nor do we believe it is reasonable to ask the government to undertake such a commitment.
I think another reason the federation feel that way is that, after all, whatever program you establish you have to get public support behind it. If you try to get too high prices you will turn the public against you and there will be little chance of success. On the other hand, the two-price support program can be justified whatever way you look at it. The labour unions of this country have already endorsed the idea of agricultural prices in this country being tied to the price of other products. I believe we would have the support of labour behind the idea that the price of farm products be set at parity with the price of other products. Why would labour expect to buy farm products at lower prices than the price of their own labour?
The parity price in the domestic market could be justified without any difficulty at all. When you take into consideration that apart from wheat only about 6 per cent of our agricultural products are exported abroad, then by guaranteeing parity prices for the 94 per cent consumed in Canada you

would give the farmers a very large percentage of parity. Wheat, of course, is different. I know that it varies, but suppose we take the figure of 20 per cent of our wheat being used in Canada and 80 per cent exported abroad. The 20 per cent consumed in Canada would be sold then at parity, that is $2.27 per bushel. In so far as the 80 per cent exported abroad is concerned, we have stressed the fact that there should be a reasonable support price. What would be a reasonable support price? I believe a reasonable support price for the exported grain would be the average between the floor and the ceiling in the international wheat agreement, which would be approximately $1.70 per bushel. If you sold 80 per cent at $1.70 and 20 per cent at a parity price of $2.27, you would have a support price of $1.81 per bushel. That is certainly what we consider to be fair, and I think it would meet with the approval of the various farm organizations.
We believe that this price policy, coupled with advances to farmers against grain held in farm storage, would not only help the farmers of this country considerably but would also help to maintain the Canadian economy at a high level.

Topic:   FINAL PAYMENT, 1953-54
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