Mr. J. H. LECLERC (Shefford) (Translation) :
Mr. Speaker, my speech will be a short one, as usual. I am not in the habit of taking up the time of the house where I consider that, speaking generally, a considerable amount of time is wasted. I do not hesitate to state that the session should be over by now. I simply wish to support the motion of the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot), because certain statements are deserving of utterance. Various views have been expounded to-day. I approve of some speeches and disapprove of others. If, for example, the farmers are behind in their seeding, it cannot be attributed to the scarcity of manpower. The rainy season is to be blamed. Contrary to what the last speaker has said, the farmers make more money in periods of -war. However, their income is still not large enough to allow them to compete on the labour market and pay two or three dollars a day for help. Butter would have to sell at from 75 cents to SI a pound to permit them to do so. The farmers are unable to pay such high wages.
I specially wish to draw the attention of the house to the trouble we are faced with regarding the men called up for training. The government have amended their man-power policy. Since March, 1942. this policy is more liberal than heretofore. Before that time it was deemed advisable to call up every farmer because it was considered that they might help to protect their own homes. Our views have altered since that time. To-day there is no trouble in getting postponements for bona fide farmers' sons, but difficulties are met with when we are dealing with those who have been called up in 1940 and 1941.
In my riding, I have come across many very deserving cases. I shall call two or three of them to your attention. Last winter, a seventy-year-old widow, who has only two sons, requested that I try to get leave for one of her sons who had been called up before 1941. After months of work, I finally was successful in securing leave for that young
man who, however, did not reach the farm, where only one son remained, until late in the spring. On this farm, there were 25 milch cows and anyone who knows something about agriculture, realizes the amount of work the care of these animals represents. I may state in passing that, in Shefford, we have the largest herds in the province of Quebec. The mother exhausted her strength in attempting to help her son. Finally, in June or July, I believe, the other son, who had been called up for training, was granted leave for a few months. He went back to the army in the fall. This year, after some delay, I was again successful in securing further leave for him. He is now on the farm, having obtained leave of absence for three months. Mr. Speaker, that is not enough. He should have been granted at least six months, for, in my opinion, a farm on which there are 25 cows, as well as sheep and other animals requires at least two good men. The truth of this is evidenced by the fact that, at the time when there was only one son on the farm, although the latter includes a woodlot, they had to buy fuel wood.
I may mention another nearly similar case, where 25 cows were kept. The father and mother are at least seventy years old. Both became ill, and a nurse had to take care of them. They had only one son at home. This spring, I obtained a postponement for him but as every one will admit, two men are scarcely enough on a farm of that size, and at least three would be required. Those two men can scarcely do all the work and they should remain on the farm the whole year round. In the cases I have just mentioned, the men are not French-Canadians, but English-speaking people.
I could mention many other cases. A dairy farmer told me on Monday morning: "I keep 30 milch cows, but I have only one son at home". Moreover, this farmer sells his milk in town. All those cases deserve our consideration and I ask the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) to consider them most carefully. Farmers' sons whose services are essential on the farm, whether they were mobilized in 1940, in 1941 or even in 1942, are entitled to the same consideration shown to those who are liable to be called up this year and who are practically exempted.
Topic: MAN-POWER MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31