Mr. H. A. Bryson (Humboldt-Melfort):
Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to have the opportunity of speaking in support of this resolution because I am convinced that its importance cannot be overemphasized. I am sure also we can all agree that the problem of hunger in the world is the greatest problem we have to face in this day and age. I have maintained, and still maintain, that in the last ten years it has been proved beyond any question in Canada and the United States that we are able to solve the problem of hunger. I am not going to speak about our record in Canada since, because of our small population, it is not at all relative, but I am going to use the United States as an example to prove my contention that we have solved the problem of hunger.
We are not sure just how much we can produce because we have never really tried. I sometimes think we have more agricultural land in Canada going to waste in fence corners and fence rows than is under cultivation in the whole island of Britain. As I say, we have proved beyond doubt that we have
found a solution to poverty, and because we have been able to do this for ourselves we should pass on to underdeveloped areas in the world the technical advances and technical knowledge that we have brought into play to do the things that we have been able to do.
We realize what the problem is, and we know that we have a solution for it. But I think this is important. Although we know what the problem is and what the solution is, I am convinced that we have not yet reached the stage where we realize that we need to solve the problem. I do not really think the western world feels that there is as yet a need to solve the problem of poverty. A little later I shall quote from a statement that would seem to substantiate the remarks I have just made.
As yet we refuse to believe that we are living in one world. If I may use a slang expression with your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, how long is it going to be before we smarten up to the fact that we are living in one world, a very small world, and that what happens in any one part of it is immediately reflected in every other part? We must accept our responsibility to hungry people in underdeveloped areas of the world if we ourselves are to survive.
I think I can say without any worry about being challenged that foremost in the minds of men and women throughout the world today is the fear of a third world war, a war of extermination which will engulf all peoples in all lands. I believe that fear is real. We in this group at any rate believe that there is an alternative to war. We believe that we do have a choice. By accepting our responsibility and putting into effect the terms of the resolution we are now discussing, furnishing economic aid to underdeveloped areas of the world and providing them with the knowledge and assistance they need to produce food for themselves as we have been able to produce, we will be moving in the direction of peace. Certainly we will not move in that direction unless we are first of all prepared to assume a renewed conscious and moral responsibility to the underprivileged people of the world. We would do well to remember the words of Bertrand Russell when he said:
We must banish certain ideas and substitute others. For love of domination we must substitute equality. For love of victory, we must substitute justice. For love of brutality, we must substitute intelligence. For love of competition, we must substitute co-operation.
I mentioned that we could help solve the problem of hunger because we have done it here at home. According to the food and
agriculture organization of the United Nations, during the last ten years United States food production has increased by 25 per cent, while the population has increased 12 per cent. This is a startling fact that I think will surprise hon. members as it surprised me. In those 10 years the United States increased food production by twice the amount the population increased. During those 10 years the population in the United States increased faster than the population of India in the corresponding period. I feel that is significant.
It is not what we do on the land, Mr. Speaker, that in a large measure is responsible for this great production we have seen in the last 10 years; it is what we do to the land. Our food production increases have been possible because of technical advances in connection with fertilizer, crop rotation, contour farming, drainage, insecticides and soil conservation, to name only a few. These things, rather than the advancement in machinery or long hours tilling the soil, are responsible for the phenomenal increases which I have just mentioned. It is our duty to pass along this technical knowledge, in so far as we can, to the backward countries throughout the world.
I should like to quote from memory what Paul French, who is general manager of CARE, had to say when he returned to the United States after visiting 60 countries. Speaking of the inroads that communism and dictatorship have made and are making throughout the world, he said, "We are losing the race because of poverty. These people are being subjected to such economic injustices they are easy prey to dictatorships, whether of the communist variety or of the fascist variety". It is important that we should never lose sight of the fact that today the world is too small for the extremes of poverty and prosperity to live side by side, if we are to survive.
There are many people who say, why all the emphasis on food when there are other values that must be taken into consideration? I agree that there are other values, but I believe that Sir John Boyd Orr stated the problem in its true light when he mentioned that people who are hungry are more interested in four loaves of bread than they are in Roosevelt's four freedoms. I believe that is fundamental. As a matter of fact, the first law of nature is self-preservation. In our morning prayers we ask for bread before we ask for the forgiveness of our sins.
According to the FAO, one-third of the people in the world have an income of less than $1 a week; another third have an income of less than $4 per week. In other words,
two-thirds of the people of this world manage on less than $120 per year. These conditions will not change if we follow the ideas expressed by Benjamin F. Fairless, president of the United States Steel Corporation, who is reported in the press to have said-and I quote from memory-that rearmament and economic prosperity for the free world can best be maintained through contributions of raw materials from the underdeveloped countries in exchange for needed American materials. In other words, Mr. Speaker, his hope is to keep these people in the underdeveloped areas in their historic role of hewers of wood and drawers of water. Surely our best interests are not served by following such a plan. Surely we can do much better than that.
The money spent in economic aid would be largely self-liquidating, and we would be making friends instead of enemies throughout the world. I will agree that food production has always been an important matter of government concern. Food has always been planned by governments, both here and abroad, in the interests of something or other. Food is planned in the interests of our foreign trade and our foreign investments. It is planned in the interests of the distributor and sometimes it is even planned in the interests of agriculture, as it was in this country some years ago. When I say that food is planned in the interests of agriculture, I mean that we were paid for not growing food. We hope that will not happen again. The results are always the same. These plans are the plans of scarcity. Food has not been planned in the interests of the people. These plans have always resulted in a limitation on food.
I sincerely believe that the only sound basis upon which to build prosperity with peace throughout the world is to support to the limit the principle laid down in the resolution we are discussing. I believe, too, we must agree with Robert Hutchins when he says that civilization is doomed unless the hearts and minds of men can be changed. Unless we can bring about a deep and drastic moral reformation throughout the world in regard to the underdeveloped areas, and unless we are prepared to sacrifice something, we shall have neither peace nor security.
Topic: I960 HOUSE OF COMMONS