May 4, 1972 (28th Parliament, 4th Session)


J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

Mr. Speaker, the measure now before us, Bill C-5, will apply to a great extent to a large number of people in my riding, therefore, I ought to state clearly my position in this regard.
First of all, I would like to mention that this measure, which affects a large number of Canadians, is worth being examined, reviewed and corrected, so that farmers get as much as possible out of it; and my hon. friend from Mackenzie (Mr. Korchinski) introduced an amendment designed to ecourage young farmers to this end.
If we are to expect that one day farmers as well as agricluture will continue to develop in the country, it is fair to assume that unless enough people are available to take over in this sector, it will be impossible to expect any improvement in our farmers' condition.
The hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Olson) would like us to agree with him completely, to believe him without question and to pass as soon as possible the measure now before us.
However, the past behaviour of the minister leads us to be extremely cautious, because his attitude toward farmers invites us to ask ourselves questions. One must not forget, Mr. Speaker, that it is the present Minister of Agriculture who reduced by $10 million in 1970 the budget of the Canadian Wheat Board. One must not forget that it is this same minister who penalized milk producers for overproduction.

Therefore, for all those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I deem it my duty to urge the House to proceed very carefully and to scrutinize in every detail the measure now before us. I am sure we all want farmers to get the best terms possible. As a matter of fact, when we were in power, we gave proof of what I am now saying.
One must recognize also that this government also took measures in order to improve the farmer's lot. There is much more to be done however, and it is up to both government levels to co-operate.
The main reason for my taking part in the debate this afternoon is perhaps more precisely related to that cooperation between the provincial and federal governments in the agricultural field.
One knows that according to section 95 of the Constitution, the jurisdiction in agricultural matters is divided between the provinces and the federal government. I was somewhat shocked yesterday by the diatribe which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Lessard) aimed at the Quebec Minister of Agriculture, the hon. Mr. Toupin.

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