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

LIB

Elmore Philpott

Liberal

Mr. Elmore Philpott (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I was tempted to enter the debate yesterday when the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson) was justifying the building of the South Saskatchewan dam on the ground that the Americans were letting off too many atom bombs, and I could not quite see the connection. After I heard some of the weird and wonderful arguments that were advanced today for parity wheat prices, although I am not a wheat farmer, I have the temerity to put in a few words. I have never in my life heard so much undiluted bunk as I have heard about wheat since I came to this house a few years ago, mostly from the so-called wheat experts from Saskatchewan. It seems to me that the great trouble in the world today is that the United States has caused this terrible wheat headache by her foolish parity price policy which has resulted in this vast accumulation of unsold wheat. This is the direct cause of our own Canadian problem. Some of our friends opposite are wanting us to follow in the same footsteps as the United States, so that we can confound the confusion which now exists in the world and double the pain of the headache.
As the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) was talking about his plan for paying the farmers of Canada $2.27 for each and every bushel of wheat that is produced and then selling that wheat on the world market at world prices, he forgot to put in one detail. He forgot to put in the detail of what he was really advocating, that is a subsidy by the treasury of Canada to the wheat farmers of Saskatchewan, a subsidy which, according to

Wheat
my calculation, would amount to between $300 million and $400 million a year. I am not so sure that even some of the gentlemen who sit opposite me and who have those large wheat farms in Saskatchewan would be so enthusiastic about paying that subsidy of $300 million or $400 million, because I heard them complaining just a few weeks ago that income taxes were already too high.
I must say that, as between the plans I have heard here today, the one suggested by the hon. member for Assiniboia and the one suggested by the hon. member for Acadia- while I do not very often agree with Social Credit-I certainly think that the one of the hon. member for Acadia at least makes some sense, while the one of the hon. member for Assiniboia makes no sense whatever; it makes complete and utter nonsense. However, when I hear my Social Credit friends chiding some of us for not having voted last year for their want of confidence motion in the government I am a little confused, because only a week or so ago in this house we heard most indignant protests from exactly the same quarter of the house explaining why they had voted against family allowances in 1944. They said they had voted against family allowances because otherwise they would have been voting confidence in the government and according to them that would have been an unforgivable crime.
However, I should like to dwell for a minute on this matter of accepting soft currencies. I believe that to sell our wheat we have to take the price for our wheat that the world is willing and able to pay. The longer we shrink from that basic fact the worse the problem is going to get. The sooner we face it, the better for all concerned. But when I hear some of my hon. friends in the right-hand corner talking about taking soft currencies, in payment for our wheat, I think they had better take a good long look at what they are talking about. I for one have been an advocate for many years of accepting payment for our wheat and other products in sterling and other currencies of our customer countries, but only on one condition: provided that those currencies are not blocked currencies, as they have been up until the recent past in almost all of the countries concerned; and provided also that we do not simply take those soft currencies to have them pile up in the back yard, but rather use those soft currencies to buy goods or properties which the customer countries have for sale.

Topic:   FINAL PAYMENT, 1953-54
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