January 13, 1956 (22nd Parliament, 3rd Session)


John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

As a matter of fact the government finds itself in the position that it cannot act. When the Minister of Trade and Commerce takes a stand, that stand binds the government. The only hope we have of the government's changing its attitude with regard to stored wheat is for the Minister of Trade and Commerce to go on another fishing trip. That is the one hope we have in western Canada today. The handling of this problem is a tragedy of errors; it is a chronic and tragic record of self-deception, optimism and

arrogance. It is an attitude on the part of the government that constitutes a mockery of the public demand for action.
I want to say to the leader of the C.C.F. that the amendment moved yesterday is one that represents the attitude generally of the farmers in western Canada. I had hoped that it would not be tacked on to the amendment to the address in reply to the speech from the throne because that does not give my hon. friends from western Canada supporting the government a true opportunity of standing up and being counted. If that amendment had been made on going into supply, the people of western Canada, who ask for and demand cash advances, would have been able to find out, once and for all, where the Liberal members stand on this demand. Cash advances are asked for and demanded by them.
What is the over-all policy on agriculture? There was a conference of provincial ministers of agriculture last fall with the federal Minister of Agriculture. Was there an overall future policy developed? I could not see it. Where is the unity in the government today? On the one hand you have the Minister of Trade and Commerce speaking in Calgary and making a statement in regard to competition by the United States of America. He said:
We have told, our United States friends quite frankly we regard some of their recent actions as detrimental not only to Canada's interests but to the interests of all countries including their own.
That is one minister. Then, we have the other minister, the Minister of Agriculture, commending Benson of the United States for his policy on the disposal of surplus agricultural products.

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