October 19, 1976 (30th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)


Mr. Whelan:

This old Minister of Agriculture and this old politician does not get discouraged; all he wants is his rightful time, even if it takes an hour tomorrow with all these points of order which are being raised.
In Canada we have a tough climate and widely differing soil conditions. We have enormous transportation problems caused by the great distances involved in getting crops to market. We must compete with farmers in other countries for export markets, and we must compete against the same foreign farmers for our markets right here at home. Our farmers need help and encouragement, and they are getting it from this government. That does not mean we are supporting inefficient farmers. None of our legislation is designed with such a purpose in mind. We have the most productive farmers in the
[Mr. Whelan.)
world, and we want to keep it that way. However, that does not mean we should stand by and watch our farmers wiped out by weather disaster, a sudden temporary surplus, or by competition from a foreign treasury. The aim of the government is that industrious and efficient farmers should have the assurance of a decent living in return for their labour and investment, nothing more, nothing less, and most of them ask nothing more and nothing less.
The young farmer should also have the longer term assurance that if he borrows the thousands of dollars required to start farming today, he will be able to make a living from agriculture for many years to come.
In some areas problems exist. Some of our agriculturalists who are well established say, "So what, let them be destroyed". This Minister of Agriculture does not believe that that should happen, and that is why we need the Agricultural Stabilization Act this year more than any other year in the history of parliament.
I am not suggesting that we do not have agricultural problems. There have always been problems, and there always will be problems. I attended a meeting tonight, and one of the delegates asked me how things are going in agriculture. I said that today we solved two problems but that tomorrow we will probably have three new ones. That is not uncommon in a country which deals in world markets, and so on. However, this is a country which is different from many other countries. I do not know of a country in the world which would not trade its problem for ours.

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