Mr. J. K. BLAIR (Wellington North):
Mr. Speaker, first I wish to compliment the government upon the splendid way in which they have handled the problem of price control. During the last war prices were allowed to go to extremes, and it was very difficult to arrive at proper valuations. I must say, however, that at the present time I am receiving many representations from farmers and farmer organizations in my constituency urging that the price of cattle be raised to some extent, but not to any excessively high level. Our farmers bought their cattle on the understanding that the Canadian price would be on a parity with the United States price. They have their cattle, and plenty of food on the farm for those cattle, but the Canadian price is not sufficiently high to guard the farmer against loss. Many of these cattle cost more than 11 cents a pound. It would be satisfactory if the price were raised to 12 or 12J or even 13 cents. Our farmers would then sell a great portion of their cattle.
A report has been spread abroad that there is a scarcity of cattle in this country. I believe that report is false. I know of hundreds of stables which are full of choice cattle. They are not being sold by our farmers because they are not prepared to take a loss. They believe that they have what they consider a promise from this government that they would receive a price equal to the United States price. There is an embargo on Canadian cattle going to the United States, but it was understood that the Canadian price would be maintained on a level with the United States price and our farmers have bought their cattle on that understanding. Naturally to-day they are disappointed at the Canadian price. Many of them have written to me urging that the price be raised, and I think it is only right that I should bring this matter to the attention of the government. If nothing is done, these cattle will be thrown on the market when spring comes, and the market will be flooded with cattle. We should give the farmers some encouragement to produce, particularly because at the close of this war the food supplies which are available among the united nations will be a power which we can use in the peace negotiations. There are many Esaus in the world, and there will be many starving nations which will want food supplies. Consequently it will be realized that food supplies may play a great part in the peace negotiations.
Our farmers are deserving of consideration,' and I think we should be careful not to shut
The Address-Mr. Blair
out our cattle entirely from the United States. It will be remembered that a few years ago Mexico was shipping three times as many cattle to the United States as was Canada. I took the matter up with the then Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mr. Euler, and asked him so to arrange matters that Canada and Mexico would ship cattle into the United States in the ratio of their respective imports from that country. Mr. Euler sent two men to Washington, and within four days he rose in his place in the house and stated that he wished to advise the hon. member for Wellington North that Canada's allocation of cattle to be shipped to the United States market was to be in proportion to our imports from that country. As a result of that agreement we shipped into the United States that year three times as many cattle as we did the year before, and that arrangement continued in effect until the present embargo was imposed.
It is a serious thing, Mr. Speaker, to close any avenue of trade and commerce.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY