I would beg the indulgence of the house while I tell you something about our province and, more particularly, the riding which I represent.
The city of New Westminster, which has a population of about 28,000, is fortunate indeed that it has so many versatile athletes. This year it has two dominion championships to its credit, namely the dominion soccer champions, the New Westminster Royals, as they are called, and the junior lacrosse champions of Canada, the New Westminster Salmonacs.
Outside the city proper we have four divisions: Surrey municipal district, the
largest municipality in the British Empire, the municipality of Delta and the municipality of Langley. We generally divide Surrey into two regions, North Surrey and South Surrey. That gives the four divisions I mentioned.
Surrey municipality, this particularly large region, has a voting population of about 28,000. Add to that the population of New Westminster and you have the second largest electoral district in point of population west of the city of Toronto. We have approximately
53.000 electors in the area and naturally, because of its great expansion, we have a number of industries in the area. We have heavy industry in the lumber mills with their very large payrolls. The other industries in the city are largely fishing, box making and smaller industries which go along with the lumbering industry.
The population of the city has long overflowed the boundaries and today we find sections of North Surrey very heavily populated, especially in the Whalley, Bridgeview, and South Westminster areas. With the heavy influx of people we have need of more and more housing, and we are particularly happy to see that the speech from the throne indicates the possibility of getting more housing in our area.
Naturally enough, the fine city of New Westminster requires a thriving hinterland. In the municipality of Langley we find dairying and small fruit farming extensively practised. In Surrey we have intensive vegetable market gardening, poultry raising, dairying and summer trade. We are fortunate in having the only summer resort on the Pacific coast lower mainland, the hamlet of White Rock, which has a population of between
7.000 and 8,000. In Delta we have dairying and potato production.
This is just an outline, sir, of the area.
I was particularly interested to hear the various addresses that have been made in the past several days. The hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Murphy) told us that things had never been better. As the days have gone by it seems to me that we have heard nothing but crying of woe and of more woe. We seem to have a fishing problem, a wheat problem, a potato problem, an English car problem and even a Gouzenko problem; and today I read that we have an overproduction of parliamentarians, which gives us another problem.
One of the specific problems of my area with which I wish to deal was dealt with also by the hon. member for Westmorland. That is the fishing problem. He said things had never been better, but I noticed that he did have the problem of fish. I have that problem in my area too; but before I deal with it specifically, sir, I would like to congratulate some of the men who have taken such an active part in the work of the international commission for the protection of sockeye salmon. They did a marvellous job. One is Senator Tom Reid, from my own area. Another who had a great deal to do with the committee was John Babcock, and in this connection I read from an editorial in the Vancouver Province of November 17, 1953:
Years ago, John Babcock, deputy minister of fisheries at Victoria, used to make speeches urging measures to restore and conserve the salmon fisheries of the Fraser. With proper measures, he insisted, the annual fish crop from the Fraser could be built up to a value of $30,000,000 ... In the end, it produced the international salmon commission, which, after years of investigation, evolved plans for the restoration of the Fraser's glories . . .
The $30,000,000 target has not been hit yet. But an encouraging start has been made. The efforts of the commission are beginning to prove themselves.
This same salmon problem may be divided into two parts. First, we have a lack of markets. We are told that there is an overproduction of fish. Second, and an even more acute problem, we are not allowed to catch the fish. In the British Columbian of November 10, we find the following:
The Fraser fishing area-the only one still left open in B.C.-will be restricted to Monday and Tuesday each week until further notice. From Wednesday, November 11, to the following Monday, the river will be closed to allow escapement of salmon to the spawning areas.
Reasons for the drastic step in curtailment of river fishing-a further blow to local fishermen who have already had to contend with a light run of chum salmon-were given by the fisheries department as poor escapement, a light run, increased fishing efficiency and the influx of large numbers of "outsiders" who have come to the Fraser now the other grounds have been closed.
The closing of the Fraser is a very, very important thing in the lives of the fishermen.
We have a large fishing population along the Fraser river, and each one of those fishermen has an investment of anywhere up to $10,000 in gill-net boats with which they usually catch salmon. Now they are told they cannot catch fish and the reason given is that "outsiders" are catching the pink salmon. As we have an international sockeye commission I would suggest that its powers be extended to cover the commencement of research on the problem of conserving the salmon fishing in order to make it possible for the gill netters to go on fishing pink salmon. I am requesting that extension of powers in order to get a sufficient number of fishermen out on the Fraser again.
The "outsiders" happen to come from the state of California, I am told. They come with their large boats, having done their fishing to the south, into the mouth of the Juan de Fuca, and catch the fish before they come into the Fraser channel. We have to conserve them from there on in. It is not a good deal; and, as fisheries in the United States are under the jurisdiction of the state, I am sure the federal government and. the state of Washington could arrive at a regulation that would be binding upon both.
Next, sir, is this matter of markets. In this instance I have here from the Financial Post a feature article dated November 20 in which we read this:
Probably more than any other industry in British Columbia, fishing has been the victim of overseas sales slump. Before the war British Columbia canned salmon was being marketed in 40 different countries. Today only about half a dozen countries regularly buy from this province, and that includes the Canadian domestic market and the United States, never much of a market for canned salmon because of the tariff.
Last year, Britain bought no canned salmon here at all although it used to be the mainstay of the industry and during the war bought nearly the entire British Columbia pack in two or three years. This year, Britain bought sparingly. The industry hopes that because of the economic improvement in Britain this year, sales will be much larger in 1954, but no firm commitments have been made.
Then, sir, I should like the government particularly to note this:
A delegation of leading British Columbia packers recently returned from a series of conferences in England. The purpose of their mission was to sell canned salmon. But in order to get even a favourable consideration they had to give assurance that the fishing industry in British Columbia would make an effort to make the necessary dollars available through purchase of more British engines, nets and other gear.
How unfortunate it is, sir, that though this little band of men in this section of the house begged the government not to sign the Bretton Woods agreement, they did so. Otherwise we might have sold our fish, at least to Britain.
The Address-Mr. Hahn
I am always ready to help someone who is ready to help himself. We find that this is what has happened. In the Vancouver Province of November 16 we read:
The British Columbia fishing industry has made its first move to attempt balancing trade between this province and United Kingdom by ordering a 34-foot vessel from a Scottish shipyard.
A delegation from the industry, headed by J. M. Buchanan, president of B.C. Packers, has completed a two-month trade tour of the U.K. in an effort to increase purchases of British goods . . .
A spokesman for the industry here said no attempt was made to secure further orders for B.C. canned salmon.
"This purchase is simply designed to show our willingness to do business", he said.
B.C. fishermen already buy most of their linen nets from the U.K.
That is very true, sir. British Columbia fishermen do buy most of their nets from the United Kingdom. They are trying their best to find a market for their fish.
One of the earlier speakers today said the fishermen were not wealthy enough to go to Britain to find their own markets. It makes it rather difficult when a small industry has to send its own trade envoys to the other nations of the world in order to get markets for its goods. Certainly there should be a way whereby our surplus could be got rid of without small trade delegations being sent to every nation in the world by these small companies or fishermen.
Another immediate problem that I find in my province is this one of lumbering. Up to the present time lumbering has been one of the staple industries in the province. That industry again is dependent on the home market. That home market today is lacking. It is lacking more particularly because farmers on the prairies have not been able to sell their wheat. So if we can advance 75 cents a bushel to start this economy rolling again it might be of some value to the people of British Columbia, more particularly the lumber operators. The slashing of lumber production is very definite. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. In the British Columbian of November 13 we find an article headed "Plywood Output Slashed" in which it is stated:
MacMillan and Bloedel Ltd., announced the layoff in its Vancouver and Port Alberni plywood mills. It said curtailed production of fir plywood was necessitated bv the first drop-off in twenty years in an annually-increasing Canadian demand for plywood.
The company said crews would be called back to work as soon as market conditions improved, possibly early next year.
I do not know where the newspaper gets its information to the effect that the market will improve next year, unless some governmental official may have passed along the
248 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Hahn word that next year the government was going to advance 75 cents a bushel to the farmers so they could go ahead and buy the goods they required.
Mr. Speaker, I do not think we should be too complacent in our thoughts with regard to this matter of trade. It is very important. We can see how, more particularly, the production of wheat and the buying of this wheat by the government has a very important effect upon the economy of the country.
There is one further problem that I have to ask you to listen to, and that would be the problem of agriculture as it applies to my particular area. In Washington, D.C., on April 3, 1953, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson issued the following warning:
A crop of 3S5 million bushels is 25 to 30 million bushels more than is needed to meet fully all national requirements for potatoes. Such excess production will cut two ways-per bushel prices will be reduced to farmers more than proportionately since the total crop will be worth less and costs of operating the larger acreage would of course be increased.
Mr. Speaker, what Secretary of Agriculture Benson said is quite true. It has been proved that the Americans increased their crop to 395 million bushels, that there was an excess of 25 or 35 million bushels, and that we became the dumping market for it.
There is a very odd state of affairs in the province of British Columbia where vegetables are concerned, as well as potatoes; I include potatoes as a vegetable in this instance. As was mentioned by one of the former speakers, our vegetable crop usually comes two to three weeks later than that of the United States. The result is that the United States early potato, vegetable and fruit crops come into our part of the province and steal the cream of the market. They get the money and we get what is left.
In the case of the potato growers the problem is similar, but a rather awkward situation evolves. Most of the potatoes that come into British Columbia-that is, the very early potatoes-come from the state of California and the state of Washington. From the state of California to British Columbia the freight rate is about 34 cents a hundredweight less than it would be from California to Manitoba for those same potatoes. Hence this is what we find. California sends potatoes into British Columbia and British Columbia sends new potatoes to Manitoba. If California were to be encouraged, by some edict, to send their potatoes to Manitoba rather than to British Columbia, the potato growers of British Columbia would have no worry. But they have no market at home because the California growers happen to be marketing
the second early potatoes When our early potatoes come on, so we are left holding the bag.
Mr. Speaker, I would beg of this government to please take these things into consideration when formulating their policies. Our potato problem is apparently not the only one in the country. In his address a short while ago the hon. member for Victoria-Carleton (Mr. Montgomery) dealt quite extensively with the potato problem as it exists in the province of New Brunswick. They have a marketing problem as well. It is true that from the point of view of acreage we probably do not have such an extensive crop as that of New Brunswick, but certainly we do have a similar problem on marketing, and it is the marketing problem that has to be taken care of.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY