Hugh Alexander BRYSON

BRYSON, Hugh Alexander

Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Humboldt--Melfort (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
August 21, 1912
Deceased Date
October 13, 1987
farmer, insurance agent

Parliamentary Career

August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Humboldt--Melfort (Saskatchewan)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Humboldt--Melfort (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 79 of 80)

March 5, 1954

Mr. H. A. Bryson (Humboldi-Melfori):

Would the Minister of Trade and Commerce comment on a dispatch in this morning's Montreal Gazette that the new Argentine crop, together with a proposed change in export price policy, will provide stiffer competition this year for Canadian wheat?

Righl Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce): Argentina is a traditional exporter of wheat, as are Australia, the United States and more recently Turkey. Each of those countries sell their wheat in competition with one another. I am confident that the quality and the pricing policy associated with Canadian wheat will enable Canada to hold its own in competitive consuming markets.

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March 3, 1954

1. What was the gross weight of grain cleaned in the terminal elevators at Vancouver, Port Arthur and Fort William, from August 1, 1952 to July 31, 1953?

2. What was the net weight of cleaned grain and what was the weight of screenings and dockage?

3. How much of the above screenings and dockage had commercial value?

4. What quantities were sold as (a) livestock and poultry feeds; (b) for any other purpose?

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March 1, 1954

Mr. H. A. Bryson (Humboldt-Melfort):

Everything seems to have been said that could possibly have been said in this debate, yet no subject, I imagine, let alone a subject as important as the unemployment question in Canada today, can be completely covered to the point where nothing remains to be said.

There is one factor, though, that I believe has been overlooked by other speakers who have taken part in this debate, and I should like to take a few minutes to deal with that factor. I believe it has a great bearing on the question of unemployment, and I believe it will continue to aggravate the situation for some time to come.

I am sure all of us in Canada are aware of the fact that a basic cause of unemployment is the position in which agriculture finds itself at the present time. Whenever our agricultural economy is threatened or becomes depressed the inevitable result is that we have a great increase in the number of unemployed in this country. That is especially true in those industries that are dependent on agriculture.

At the moment I should like to quote some facts and figures that would seem to bear out my contention that this is important. One is the fact that over the past few years a great many farms in this country have disappeared. The people who formerly occupied that land have drifted into industries in Canada. As a matter of fact, in 1947 the University of Saskatchewan carried out a survey in that province to ascertain how many people had left the business of farming and gone into other industries. They came up with some very astonishing figures, Mr. Speaker.

In the province of Saskatchewan alone some

43,000 farms had completely disappeared. I do not mean that the land had disappeared, but those farms had been absorbed into other pieces of land to make what are commonly termed economic units. Nevertheless, the fact remains that those 43,000 families left the farms and went into jobs in other industries.

I should like to speak for a moment on some of the reasons for that exodus from the farms to other industries in Canada, and I am sure that what happened in Saskatchewan has happened in a smaller way in a great many other provinces in the Dominion of Canada. Changing economic conditions of course forced these people oil the land. Some people would contend that this was a good thing. These people were farming uneconomic units and therefore were not providing food at the least cost to the consumer. Whether that is true or not, the fact remains that this has happened.

The bulk of these 43,000 farms were composed of quarter sections or less. During the war very little farm machinery was available, with the result that because of the tremendous speeding up of production farmers found at the end of the war that their tools of production were completely worn out. After the war came to an end- I will agree farmers had made considerable money-they were accused of buying machinery and spending a great deal of money unnecessarily. They had to spend this money in order to replace the tools of production that had been completely worn out during the war.

The price of farm machinery rose very rapidly at the close of the war. I am sure a great many hon. members will recall that when the steel companies asked for a 25 per cent rise in the price of steel a great deal of opposition came from this corner of the house, because we realized at that time that if steel were given this increase it would be reflected immediately in the cost of farm machinery. Because of the opposition from this corner of the house the steel companies did not get the 25 per cent increase in the price of steel, but they did manage to get a 12 J per cent increase.

The immediate result was that the cost of farm machinery increased markedly. As the farmers found themselves in the position of having machinery to pay for, the only way in which they could do it was to buy more land and produce more to pay for the machinery. So they went out and bought land, and as a result were able to make their farming operations more economical,

were able to raise more produce at a smaller cost. However, they found that they were not able to sell their production. They were not able to buy more farm machinery because they could not sell the grain they had grown. That was reflected in an unemployment situation in the farm machinery industry, the automotive industry and many other industries related to agriculture in this country. The result is that we have some half million unemployed, a great many of them having been employed in the industries I have mentioned.

This will probably get worse because 50 per cent of the farms remaining in Saskatchewan-and I said a moment ago that you will find this situation existing in other provinces-are still uneconomical. We are going to see another shift from the farms to industry because of that fact. We are going to have another fifty or sixty thousand people displaced from the land who are going to compete with employees in these other industries so far as work is concerned.

A great many things have been said during the course of this debate as to what can be done about a situation such as this. I am sure that an increase in unemployment insurance benefits would greatly help the situation. I think we all realize that is just a stopgap, and that is about all unemployment insurance was intended to be. It was intended to alleviate distress to the point where it would not be too great for the time being.

Mention has been made time and time again during this debate of the fact that we must dispose of our farm surpluses. We must introduce some forward planning into the agriculture industry to allow for the setting of some orderly production goals for farmers. Certainly I do not think the expense of such a plan should fall on the shoulders of the consumer; it should not be set up to do that. We must make a thorough examination of those industries upon which agriculture is dependent for machinery and so on, with a view to eliminating any trace or danger of monopoly or combine operations.

I think without exception every speaker has advocated the making of food available to hungry people. We are sometimes asked who is going to pay for these gifts of food to people in the underdeveloped countries of the world, because there is no doubt they would have to be heavily subsidized by the government. I would say that the people who pay for it should be the same people who are going to be asked to pay for the 50 Bristol Britannia transport aircraft which are to be built by Canadair at a cost of some $185 million to the taxpayers of this country. I say

Proposed Committee on Unemployment that those people should be the people to pay for any subsidization that may be necessary to get food into the hands of people in the underdeveloped areas of the world. It is time we had a closer look at this problem of world hunger and despair.

I am sure that we cannot delay much longer with these issues. We have to make up our minds whether we are going to be part of the cause or part of the cure of world conditions. As Canadians we must accept our responsibility. If we adopt the plan I have mentioned, of getting food into the hands of hungry people throughout the world, certainly it will be said that we were part of the cure rather than part of the cause for the conditions we see in the world today.

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February 10, 1954

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,

United Nations

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.

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January 27, 1954

Mr. Bryson:

How many bushels of seed wheat were exported from Canada, for each of the years 1945 to 1953, inclusive?

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