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 80 of 80)

January 18, 1954

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

Mr. Speaker, the only reason that prompts me to take part in this discussion is a fact which has been mentioned by many of the people who have spoken, that the subject is of interest to western farmers. Therefore I should like to say a few words in support of the principle involved. I heartily agree with the proposed disposition of this money.

Someone suggested that possibly it could be used to better advantage by educating the rest of the people of Canada as to the farmers' problems. I feel, however, that possibly the resolution does not go quite far enough. I have thought that possibly we could go a little farther with it. In view of the remarks by the Minister of Trade and Commerce a few minutes ago in that regard, that does not seem to be the case. I should like to read the resolution as proposed by the farm union

of Alberta; the British Columbia bloc; the Saskatchewan farmers' union; the Manitoba farmers' union, and the Ontario farmers' union in their submission to the Canadian wheat board. They say:

We would recommend, after moneys have been unclaimed In the Canadian wheat board funds for a period of six years that a special trust account be set up under a board of trustees approved by the farmers, that a portion of these moneys and the annual interest accrued thereon be made available to the three farm unions periodically on a basis of and in proportion to the amount of deliveries of grain during these years from each province.

This again brings up the fact that there are a great many farm organizations in western Canada which would undoubtedly lay claim to this money. I was a little disappointed on learning that the amount involved was not as great as some of us had been led to believe. I believe there are some 14 different farm organizations in western Canada which undoubtedly would lay claim to a part of this money. Nevertheless the idea is good, and it is something that has been proposed by other branches of agriculture. For instance, the stock organizations have been proposing that the horned cattle fund be turned over to the universities to carry on work in connection with livestock.

A year ago I had an opportunity of discussing this subject with Dr. Bell of the University of Saskatchewan who, incidentally, is Canada's outstanding man in the field of animal nutrition. He was deploring the fact that trained personnel were not available in the field of animal nutrition to carry out very important work which needed to be done. He also deplored the fact that facilities for carrying out the work were inadequate, and much time had to be consumed in carrying out particular research. It was felt that this did not apply only to universities in Saskatchewan but to many universities with which Dr. Bell had been acquainted. I know it can be argued that the money is being used to the advantage of farmers now. However, I feel that it could be used to even greater advantage. I had hoped that possibly we would have access to some of the principal in the hands of the wheat board, but as I said a moment ago the minister indicated that was not to be had.

I am sorry I cannot go along with the hon. member for Kindersley and support what he said about the lists of names of men who had money in this fund in order to locate them. I know that at my grain delivery point in Tisdale I have often seen lists of names of men who had money in this particular fund. When I heard the hon. member for Kindersley I thought possibly what I

had seen was not a directive from the wheat board, but the minister said a moment ago that the board had received co-operation in posting these names. I presume, therefore, there is some neglect on the part of local elevator agencies when these names are not posted.

However, I should like to add that possibly these names should be listed once a year in the local farm newspapers in order to do everything possible to see that these men are notified they have money in the fund. I believe there are a great many retired farmers who would be quite anxious to give that money to a scholarship that might further the aims of the agriculturists in western Canada. I believe that is a possibility that has some merit.

A moment ago I mentioned that no decision has yet been made about what to do with the horned cattle fund. I imagine that it will be turned over to this work, regardless of how small the fund may be. As the hon. member for Mackenzie stated, a fund of $14,000 or $15,000 would help. We are in hopes that it will be more than that, but even that amount could be used to great advantage.

I should like to mention just one phase of research work which is carried on in the University of Saskatchewan which could use money if it were made available in this way. I am thinking of the work done in connection with rhinitis, a disease of swine. I was out to the experimental farm in Ottawa recently in connection with research that is going on at the farm at Lacombe. Today there is absolutely no clue to a possible solution to this problem. In talking to Dr. Bell I was convinced that the solution will not be found until they have more trained personnel who are prepared to take on some of the more technical work.

I must go along with the hon. member for Kindersley, who has said that practical farm problems could be attacked if some of this money were made available. I might point out that a royal commission has been set up in Saskatchewan to deal with rural life. I am sure that before many months we are going to see that the position of the farmers in western Canada will have to be studied. It will require a great deal more study than can be given to it by one royal commission. Perhaps some of this money could be spent along those lines.

I think the idea in the resolution is sound, and I support the principle of it. Some move along this line has been long overdue, and I was happy to hear the Minister of Trade and Commerce speak as he did in support of this

Wheat Board-Scholarships plan. I do not think I can add anything more at the moment. I think all hon. members are agreed that the principle is sound. In spite of what has been said by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and by the hon. member for Meadow Lake who sponsors the resolution, I still feel the amendment has merit, and I shall support it.

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January 15, 1954

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

Mr. Speaker, in view of the very fine presentations that have been made by the two hon. members who have preceded me there is little, if anything, new that I might add to this debate. However, I should like to emphasize once again some of the points which they made. At the outset I should like to make one or two observations on this problem of box car shortages.

In the last 25 years technical advances in the agricultural industry have been phenomenal. The mechanization has taken place in almost every phase of the agricultural industry, with the result that like other industries it has become a streamlined and efficient business in this country.

What we find today is a situation like this. While one end of the industry has been completely changed through technical advances and mechanization, the other end of the

Canada Grain Act

industry, namely the transportation of the products produced, is just about the same as it was 25 or 30 years ago when farmers took their grain to the market with a horse and wagon. This is one phase of the problem to which we should give some thought.

We hear a great deal about pipe lines for oil and gas. Possibly we should be giving some thought to a pipe line for wheat as a solution to this real problem of box car shortages. The problem we have to try and solve is that of the shortage of box cars. We must try to get the best, the fairest and the most equitable distribution of the facilities at hand.

In spite of everything that has been said about this bill I believe it remains a fair measure. We believe that its adoption will give the farmers of this country an equitable distribution of box cars.

The bill is in line with views held by farm organizations. As has been pointed out here this afternoon, it has been endorsed by the annual meetings of both the Saskatchewan wheat pool and the Saskatchewan farmers' union. I said there was argument against it. One of the arguments was put forward by the Minister of Trade and Commerce. He said that it was physically impossible for 90 per cent of the grain to be handled through one elevator system. To some extent I doubt the validity of that argument, because I know of a great many places in the province where there is only one elevator, and it does not seem to have too much trouble taking all the wheat in that area that is designated to be put through that elevator.

Another argument put forward is that it will interfere with the car order book. I have heard that several times and of course it is absolutely untrue, because the bill as presented is very explicit in that regard. It is intended to apply only where the car order book is not in effect.

While I am speaking about the car order book, I should like to say something more about it. I think we have to support the provisions respecting the car order book in the Canada Grain Act until we have something that is going to work better. I am of the opinion that the provisions regarding the car order book are completely antiquated, for the simple reason that the original purpose of the car order book in the main does not apply at this time. I am sure one of the main reasons the car order book was instituted in the first place was to protect the farmers in western Canada from the unfair practices they had to contend with in the private grain trade as to grades and weight, which of course reflected ultimately in the price they received for their product.

Those unfair practices do not apply at the present time in so far as the private grain trade is concerned. I am of the opinion that the private grain trade will give as good service as the pools, but I hasten to add that they are giving that service because of the presence of pool elevators throughout the country which constitute a threat to their very existence unless they deal fairly with the producer. That is one reason I believe the car order book is more or less obsolete at the present time.

One other reason why I believe it is inadequate is that set forth by the Minister of Trade and Commerce when he referred to the suspension of the car order book. He said, as reported on page 939 of Hansard of December 15, 1953:

With the absolute need for priority shipments, the distribution of cars in accordance with the applications in the car order book cannot be properly carried out. To check every application to ensure that the grain to be shipped has a preference is impossible, and would unnecessarily delay shipments.

Looking at it from that point of view I think it is pretty safe to say that the car order book is not as important as it might be.

As I said a moment ago, I doubt if anything I can say will add to the fine presentation we have heard already. The arguments by the minister with regard to the suspension of the car order book do not seem to be very valid. It must be remembered that at the time of its suspension it applied only to 200 points out of some 1,200 in Saskatchewan, and did not apply in either Alberta or Manitoba.

In conclusion may I point out again that I believe the proposals outlined in the bill now before us are fair and have the support of farm organizations and farm people in western Canada. I am sure their adoption will make for a more equitable distribution of box cars.

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January 12, 1954

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

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask a question of the Minister of National Defence. Has he, or any other minister of the government, any statement to make with regard to a report that a defence road is to be built from a point in southern Manitoba to Churchill, Manitoba?

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November 20, 1953

Mr. H. A. Bryson (Humboldl-Melforl):

This is a moment, Mr. Speaker, which I am not likely soon to forget, in rising for the first time to take part in a debate in the House of Commons.

First of all I should like to add my congratulations to those of others in complimenting the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) upon the return of his government to power in this country for the next four years. I think those of us in opposition should submit cheerfully to the will of the people.

While it is a great privilege for me to be here today as a representative of the people of my constituency, it does carry with it great responsibilities; not only to the people who sent me here, but I cannot help feeling an obligation to the man who has represented a great part of my constituency so ably and so well over the years in this house. I refer to Mr. Wright. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and for the information of hon. members, may I take this opportunity to say that Mr. Wright has just undergone a very serious major operation. I am sure I speak for a great many of Percy's friends here when I say that we wish him a speedy and satisfactory recovery.

It would be quite superfluous on my part to talk at length to the house about the constituency I represent. I am sure that on former occasions you have been told not only about the very fine people who live there but also about the productivity of the soil in that area known as the Carrot river valley. In passing I might say something about the composition of the constituency of Humboldt-Melfort. As you know, it is the result of the redistribution bill, and is composed largely of the old constituency of Melfort, formerly represented here by Mr. Percy Wright, and the old constituency of Humboldt, the representative of which during the twenty-first parliament was Joe Hetland.

I should like to say here that Joe Hetland's path and mine crossed many times during the campaign. I am doubtful if there is any member in the House of Commons who had an opponent who was any more fairminded or played the game any better than Joe did.

When agriculture is discussed in the house I am told that those of us from the west, particularly those of us from Saskatchewan,

are accused-and I imagine there is some justification for the accusation-of wanting to talk about wheat to the exclusion of every other problem faced by agricultural producers in this country. And if I follow that pattern this afternoon it is not because I am entirely oblivious to the very complex problems which I know are faced by other producers of agricultural products in this country, but rather that I may be a little better informed on those very acute problems being faced by the farmers of western Canada, and Saskatchewan in particular.

I think we should approach the discussion of agricultural problems in a systematic manner. First of all, do we believe there is a problem? Then we must find out why it exists. What are the reasons? Then we should suggest what we believe should be done to resolve some of those problems.

I believe I can say without fear of successful contradiction that, in so far as the welfare of the people of Canada is concerned, agriculture is and in all probability will remain Canada's most important industry. I am sure also that cereal grains must be considered a very important factor in the agricultural economy of the country. Therefore it is only natural that we in Saskatchewan should think in terms of wheat, because what a great many of us cannot forget is the fact that in Saskatchewan-and I do not say this in any boastful manner-we produce more cereal grain than all the other nine provinces of Canada combined.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we believe we may have some justification for continuously bringing this problem of wheat to the floor of the house. I was, to say the least, annoyed when the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) read a telegram to the house from Mr. Roy C. Marler, president of the Alberta federation of agriculture, who obviously was speaking for himself. And I should like to have the opportunity, before very long, of telling Mr. Marler right to his face that that statement was ill-advised, unwarranted and entirely irresponsible.

Mr. Speaker, every barn door in western Canada is covered with figures to disprove that statement. We are told here-and I am not going to argue the point, because it is true-that Canada's national income is the greatest in its history. The inference of course is that agriculture shares fairly in that tremendous national income. But, as has been said over and over again in this debate, the facts disprove that statement. In spite of the fact that 23 per cent of all the people of Canada are actively engaged in agriculture, they share in only 11 per cent

of the national income. And, mind you, we were worse off in 1953 than we were in 1952.

According to a forecast in the agricultural review, a publication issued by the Minister of Agriculture's department early last year, this prediction was made:

Indications are that the farmer's costs of production will rise in 1953, and in all probability he will be asked to take less for what he produces.

While as yet we have not the complete figures for 1953, I think that forecast will prove to have been correct.

Then, again, the Canadian Pacific Railway is proposing that its freight rate structure in Canada be based on a return of not less than 6J per cent on its capital investment relative to its rail operations. They believe that 6i per cent on their capital investment is a minimum they must have in order that that industry may remain in a solvent position. Yet what are the facts? Again from the department's own figures over the past twenty years, in Canada agriculture has had returned to it on its capital investment less than 2 per cent.

I should like to mention one other thing to prove that there is something basically wrong with our agricultural set-up in Canada. This is recorded in Hansard of last year, in the income tax debate. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) made the statement that he did not believe that 90 per cent of the farmers in eastern Canada made enough money to pay income tax, and he doubted very much whether more than 15 per cent in western Canada paid income tax, in spite of the fact that over and over again we are told that the farmer is in a mighty prosperous position, and that he had never had it so good in his life.

In the light of what I have said, we believe there is justification for this problem of agriculture being brought up again and again in the House of Commons. During the past five years we have seen surpluses of every product of agriculture pile up in this country. I will say that the government has been able to dispose of some of these products. They have been able to dispose of them, and we are not faced today with terrific surpluses for one reason and one reason only, namely that the farmers all across this country have cut back on their production. They could see no market; they could see no price; they could see no future in growing commodities which are so badly needed in the world today.

Had we had the foresight to accept sterling in part payment, had we removed those restrictions on the importation of goods from

The Address-Mr. Bryson in return for our products, possibly this condition never would have resulted; but we deliberately did everything we could to discourage trade with Britain, by the imposition of tariffs, taxes and duties on manufactured goods coming into this country. We deliberately discouraged that trade, and Britain, in frustration, had to turn to other countries to try to get these agricultural products where she could, and which she so badly needed.

But, Mr. Speaker, the reasons which I have outlined are not the reasons which were given to the people of Canada by the Minister of Agriculture for this dilemma we are in. He gave us other reasons. When he spoke to the Hudson bay route association the Minister of Agriculture said, "Great Britain does not want our food, other than wheat." He made that flat statement. British goods are not competitive in this country with Canadian and United States goods, we are told. We know that is false. We know that possibly some United Kingdom goods are not of the design that we are used to, or something like that, but in the main British goods are acceptable in Canada.

Then we were told that there was a problem of convertibility. We were told that if we accepted sterling we could not do anything with it. I submit to you that we can do lots of things with sterling. Many other countries of the commonwealth will accept sterling. Perhaps the best thing we ever could have done would have been to accept sterling as part payment and re-invest it in Britain in the form of credits, in order that Britain could rebuild factories that were destroyed during the war, and in that way enable her to manufacture more goods to trade with us for our agricultural products. We believe that could have been done.

Finally, when the federation of agriculture and the farm unions in Canada became worried about the loss of our United States markets, those few flimsy markets that we have there for our agricultural products; when they saw those markets going by the board, they asked the Minister of Agriculture to address the annual meeting of the federation of agriculture in Vancouver, and they put the proposition to him there. They said to him, "We must get back the British market which we have lost". The Minister of Agriculture said to them, "Great Britain today is buying beef from the Argentine cheaper than she can buy it in Canada. Great Britain is iable to buy bacon in Denmark for something like 30 cents a pound". In effect he said, "If you farmers want that kind of market, I will get you back the British market tomorrow;

the United Kingdom, in order that the United Kingdom could trade manufactured goods but you do not want that kind of market.

The Address-Mr. Bryson The farmers of Canada have priced themselves out of the British market".

To quote Shakespeare, "This was the most unkindest cut of all". Possibly there was some truth in what the minister said, but the farmers were not to blame for it. It was because of the policies which have been pursued by this government, which have allowed our cost of production to rise and rise until we have come to the point where it is pretty tough to compete with some of these other countries.

I am not too concerned about the price of goods we sell; I am not concerned about the price of pork or beef, or cheese or anything else. What I am concerned with is that there is no relationship between the cost of production and the prices we get for the things we produce. That is the key to the whole situation. These rises in the farmer's cost of production, Mr. Speaker, the unprecedented rise in the cost of farm machinery over the past five to eight years, the rise in the price of farm fertilizer, the rise in the price of farm fuels and everything else- these are the reasons why it is pretty tough for us to compete in some of these markets of the world. And the Minister of Agriculture says, "You fellows are to blame".

I shall mention only one other thing. I am going to speak for a moment about fertilizer, and when I am through with that I am going to make a request of the Minister of Agriculture. In 1943 fertilizer-and this is old stuff-

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November 20, 1953

Mr. Bryson:

-the government of Canada operated a plant in the city of Calgary to manufacture ammonium nitrate to be used in the explosives industry. As the war came to an end, this commodity began to pile up in the Calgary plant, so the government developed a process whereby it could be used in the manufacture of fertilizer. In 1945 the cost of production of that product was $19 a ton. In spite of the fact that the federation of agriculture over and over again insisted that the government maintain that plant for the use of the farmers of Canada, they sold it to the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company in Trail, the only monopoly in the fertilizer industry, as far as we are concerned, in western Canada. They sold the plant for 50 cents on the dollar; but what happened? In the summer of 1946 the cost of production under private enterprise rose from $19 a ton

to $40.59 a ton, and it has been going up steadily ever since. Last year in Saskatchewan we paid $112 a ton for fertilizer.

Before I came down here the other day I was speaking to a fertilizer dealer, and he showed me a letter he had received from the Trail people, telling him that in the crop year 1954 fertilizer will be $120 a ton. It is probable, Mr. Speaker, that not too many farmers are going to be interested in fertilizer at $120 a ton.

The request I am going to make now of the right hon. Minister of Agriculture is this. Will he give serious consideration to having the whole fertilizer industry investigated under the Combines Investigation Act during this session of parliament?

The other day I was proud and happy to hear the Prime Minister make a declaration of faith. In

Remove hunger and its basic insecurity and we will have done much to help remove the explosive possibilities in these underdeveloped areas of the world. I care not whether we talk of a dictatorship of the communist variety or of the fascist variety, the fact is that these people are accepting these ideologies not because they like them but because they are ready to accept any ideology that holds out for them hope of survival.

I say again that hunger is the root of the political stagnation and economic frustration in the underdeveloped areas of the world. These people have not the strength, the health, the will or the ambition to set up democratic forms of government, let alone the industrialization which they need to maintain them. They are not interested in the ballot box; their first concern is for the bread box.

I am in favour of sending food as a temporary measure to alleviate hunger in some of these countries, but whatever we do

let us not use it as a bargaining power. Let us not feel that we have to send food to a certain area because communism is getting a foothold. Let us do this before communism or fascism gets a foothold. As I say, gifts of food are only a temporary solution and we must follow them up with the only sound solution there is, by providing technical aid.

We have been able to do great things in this country. I quote Sir John Boyd Orr, who I think is the best authority on the subject, who says that in the last 10 years in the United States they have been able to produce food twice as fast as their population has increased. It is significant that their population has increased at a rate faster than the population of India.

We hear a lot of talk about overpopulation. Ask anyone you like in what areas there is overpopulation and invariably he will say in China or India. This is not a fact, according to Sir John Boyd Orr. We picture the people of Holland as being happy and contented, and there are 713 people to the square mile in that country. In China where people are dying of starvation there are 103 people to the square mile. There are 718 people to the square mile in Great Britain; yet in India, where one million people died last year of starvation, there are just 271 people to the square mile.

I submit that if you remove hunger you automatically solve this problem of overpopulation. We have a responsibility to see that these people are provided with the technical know-how and the scientific knowledge to enable them to grow food as we have been able to grow food. We must pass our knowledge on as a positive effort towards peace.

Finally, we talk about our way of life. I think it is time we redeemed ourselves in the eyes of the world by making our way of life the universal way of life. We should do this just as a matter of mercy and decency. It is time we realized that we have a down to earth, practical solution to this problem which will do much to bring peace to the world.

I agree that the processes of peace like the processes of war do not come cheaply, but the returns will be never-ending in terms of prosperity, security and spiritual rewards. I believe that is a practical application of the Prime Minister's declaration of faith.

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