I have an idea the explanation is that they have much better sense than to have a Liberal government. What are they doing? How are they doing it? Are they using their national credit? Who is to say that they are not? I do not know. Would you tell us how it is that Norway is able to do what she is doing in respect of paying her farmers, not to mention France? They are doing it. I understand that the government is entering into the picture and paying the farmers a subsidy out of government revenue in order to make up the price of wheat which they deem necessary in
order to keep their farmers in a good healthy condition financially and economically.
It would therefore seem to me to be logical to conclude that there is unsoundness in the attitude of Canada as expressed in the Liberal party, and perhaps in the Conservative party, to the effect that it is wrong or it is bad policy or it is not sound for the government to enter into the picture and pay the farmers a little bit of a subsidy out of national revenue funds. It seems to me that attitude must obviously be unsound, because Switzerland and these other countries expect to carry on. They have been carrying on for several generations, and apparently they have been coming through all right. Their economy as well as that of practically every other country I have mentioned is undoubtedly weaker than Canada's.
Now we come to another aspect which I think certainly ought to impress every hon. member of the house, namely the gross unfairness of Canada's present method of making the farmers wait, pay storage and borrow into debt. I wonder how any member of this house would feel if he went into a year's work with $10,000 promised to him and then, when he had put in one month and expected his first pay cheque, he were told, "We cannot pay you yet; you will have to wait. Maybe we will be able to pay you next month", and so it went on until the year was up and still they said, "We cannot pay you yet; you will have to manage to get along". That is exactly the condition the farmers are in in my constituency, and it must be so in many other constituencies.
After the farmer has gone through all the risks, the work, the sweat, the anxiety and the expense of producing his year's crop, he has done his job. He has earned his pay. Then he cannot have his pay because he cannot sell his grain. If he puts the grain in an elevator he still cannot have his pay, because it is not sold. If it stays there two or three years and accumulates a great deal of expense in storage, he pays the shot although it is none of his fault in any way.
How can you justify that situation? I honestly believe that if you heard of that kind of thing being done in Russia you would take it as good evidence against communism. That is a situation which is obviously unreasonable. The farmers must live. Surely anybody can see that. Nowadays, every bit of travelling for instance the farmers do must be done with the use of gasoline, for which they must pay money. The situation is not as it used to be in the days when they drove horses that could feed on the grass. The situation is much worse today.
Some people act as though they were not living in the world of reality at all when they think about the farmers. Then when the farmers have no money they have to go into debt, when there is no assurance that they are going to be able to pay off the debt; and finally when it looks as though they will probably lose their farms, many of us apparently have just about as much interest in that procedure as we have in what occurs on Mars. It does not make a bit of difference to us what happens to them! It seems to me it is high time we did a little bit of realistic and human thinking about our farmers.
The next question is this. What shall we do about the situation if we get too much wheat? Suppose we get all the wheat we can sell, then all the wheat that we feel it is wise to store on the farms under the system I have suggested, and still we are getting too much wheat? I have an idea that some such system can be used ultimately as that which is used by the sugar factories in my constituency. Before the season begins the sugar factories enter into contracts with the sugar beet producers, and they say to them, "We will take all the sugar beets you can raise on say 20 acres; we will not take any more, but we will take that many. We will guarantee you a certain price at certain stipulated times, and we will guarantee to discharge several different kinds of responsibility in connection with the crop. All you can raise on 20 acres" or 10 acres or 30 acres, as the case may be, "will be contracted for". I see no reason why, in the ultimate, we in Canada should not adopt some such method as that in order to curtail the amount of wheat produced.
We would not thereby be holding control over the farmers or being dictatorial. No beet grower feels that he is being regimented. He feels that he has had an opportunity or has had the privilege to produce so many acres of beets. It seems to me that a similar thing could be done in respect of every commodity as to which we deem it advisable in the national interest to limit production.
The time may come when we shall feel just that way with regard to a good many commodities. We may feel that it is not good policy to take the nutrients out of our soil beyond a certain point. We may desire to keep some of the richness in the soil for the children to come. I would suggest that ultimately some such method of limiting production can be used without trying to squeeze the farmers out of production by lowering prices. That seems to be a sort of method of torture. Why not go about it in a different way?
Mr. Speaker, I think I will vote for this amendment. I think it is high time something
was done to help improve the condition of the farmers across this country. I do not think any of them are being treated nearly as well as they have a right to be treated and as we have a duty to treat them.
Subtopic: SUGGESTED POLICY FOR STABILIZATION OF INDUSTRY