Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for his comments on averaging because I certainly do not want to ask about each specific category. Taking asparagus as an example, I gather from his explanation that it will now be numbered 2701-1 instead of 8702-2. That is not to put asparagus in a different category, but probably to put it in the new tariff with the restricted period, and it has been raised from 3.5 cents to 9.6. I suppose 3.5 cents was 9.6 per cent and the proposed rate is 12.1 per cent. I presume this me^ns that when the Canadian Horticultural Society and the Department of Agriculture have triggered the designated period, the duty will be considerably higher thereafter. 1 presume that it would amount to approximately three-quarters of one per cent, taking the difference between 5.4 per cent and 6.1 per cent. It may not be possible to use the average figure on anything except the specified commodity, but it is probably within that range.
I am not satisfied that the triggering mechanism is sufficient to meet the needs of producers. The agriculture department has always been plagued by the argument, which we have heard from the Bing cherry, grape and soft fruit producers and from the horticultural industry, that the date of applying the tariff may not always be the same and that when it is decided that the tariff should be applied it is not applied quickly enough. By the time the matter has been discussed by the Department of Agriculture and the horticultural society, it is too late. It has always been suggested that the Department of Agriculture have a much closer relationship with the tariff board so that the tariff can be triggered to meet the climatic conditions of the day or the conditions which govern the season of that particular product. This complaint has been brought up by all the agencies which I have mentioned.
The strawberry industry in southern Ontario has been plagued because of this indecision to the extent that most of the strawberries are plowed under. Most of our fresh strawberries come from outside Canada. Obviously the duty has not been triggered at the proper time.
Referring to my example of asparagus, is this eight-week period long enough? I do not know much about growing asparagus. I planted some at one time and some of it is still coming up, but it certainly is not a commercial crop. 1 am
wondering if the eight-week period is sufficient protection for our producers and whether or not it takes into consideration the varying conditions between the Elolland Marsh and the Niagara Peninsula. If eight weeks is enough, the horticultural society will be hard pressed to make all the decisions on the various crops and to get the eight-week period in the proper place for such places as the Holland Marsh, the Bruce Peninsula, Niagara Falls-
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: CUSTOMS TARIFF