Mr. Gilbert Rondeau (Shefford):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words on the important problem which is before us to-day, and I will try to remain within the ambit of the matter now under discussion.
The problem concerns mainly western Canada, but this situation is not germane to us, for if there is a lack of box cars to carry wheat to the port of Vancouver, that reminds us of a familiar situation that we, of the Creditiste Party, have been denouncing for many years, namely the accumulation of wheat as a result of the lack of box cars. Needless to say that hon. members knoW it, and more particularly the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson).
We have denounced the economic bottleneck which is affecting Canada. There is obviously an abundance of wheat in western Canada and there is a market for our production, because foreign countries are willing to buy our wheat. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) shakes his head; I would like to know which argument would convince him. We are having difficulty with wheat exports and transportation, a problem which has already been mentioned in this house, since the Creditistes are represented here since 1935. The situation is the same, from the economic point of view. In other words, it is production in relation to consumption, and the transportation facilities are inadequate.
Complaints are now heard about the lack of box cars, while we, Creditistes, complain because for the last 30 years the transportation facilities do not make the link between
January 22, 1969
production and consumption. This is why we have denounced in the past the economic congestion that has prevailed, especially in the past 30 years, and tonight the special congestion in a certain sector of production.
Now there is a solution to those problems. Some will say, as some ministers did, that it depends on the weather. It reminds me of a problems which occurred a few years ago in the Ukraine-where a lot of wheat is grown -and which was similar to the one which is now raised. There was a bumper crop of wheat, but the officials of the communist government of the Ukraine had not delivered the necessary permits to the farmers of the state to enable them to harvest their wheat on time.
It did happen that all the wheat was lost under the snow. There was a lack of planning, and the technocrats, the officials of Ukraine, a socialist and communist country, stated that the bad weather was responsible for the crop being left under the snow.
Here, in Canada, planning could not be achieved concerning the operations in Vancouver harbour, one of Canada's main ports, to make it suitable for receiving wheat shipments. Moreover, and this is even more serious, financial planning was neglected- although we, of the Ralliement Creditiste, have been requesting it for a long while-in order to ensure the development of national harbours to meet export needs.
For instance, if you read the question the honourable member for Portneuf (Mr. Godin) asked in this house a little while ago and which appeared on the order paper for January 15, you will see that the Ivory Coast refused the wheat which Canada wanted to give it.
We also learned, through other official documents of the house, that a small country, that is Niger, has its own merchant marine. Its boats are ploughing our rivers and the Great Lakes to get our wheat or other products. A small country gives itself an adequate transportation system, to meet its needs, but here, in Canada, weather conditions, we are told, are responsible for the present situation. And yet, I think what is most regrettable and astonishing is that the Minister of Agriculture knows the solution to our problem. He has been preaching it for more than 30 years. He must have liked that solution since he supported it in and out of the house. Because he met with some minor problems in the Social Credit party, he left that party. Now he is in the Liberal party,
where he is experiencing a much more serious problem than the lack of box-cars in Vancouver. If the Minister of Agriculture left the Social Credit party because of very minor problems, I think he should also leave the Liberal party, because he is now in a strait-jacket and therefore is unable to solve our problems, and he knows it.
I know he is intelligent and I respect his integrity. I know he remembers the Social Credit doctrine but I am convinced that despite his intelligence, he will be unable to apply the principles he loved and defended and for which he even paid dues for thirty years when he was a respectable and an out-and-out Creditiste. Today, he is a sort of straitjacket within the Liberal party. He now blames the weather for the lack of box-cars in western Canada, the same way Canadian economists, during the depression held sun spots responsible for the economic crisis. We have transportation problems-