Mr. WHITE (Middlesex East):
Last evening we were discussing item 28, dealing with products with which I am somewhat familiar. The minister said that last year the production of honey was 30,683,000 pounds. That would go a long way to helping to meet the sugar shortage. While the low average yield last year decreased the production somewhat, we still have a .production in the dominion of some thirty million pounds of honey. We have in the dominion a national honey council which is supported by the primary producers of honey, and it is a credit to the industry that they have not asked for government aid. They are securing funds by a levy of a small fraction of a cent per pound on the production of each individual. The position of this industry, in comparison with other branches of agriculture, is favourable, because of the fact
that while dairy products and many other commodities are supported by subsidies, this does not apply to honey. Therefore we do not look to the future with the misgiving that many farmers have as they see the day approaching when subsidies may be removed. We can see the position the milk producers were in when the subsidy was removed; immediately the consumers in the city were demanding that it be replaced. We are in a relatively favourable position because of that fact. We are in need of better domestic grading, but we do not wish the regulations to work to the advantage of central packers and to the detriment of the primary producer.
Many products which the farmers sell are graded, but after they leave the farmers' hands they lose their identity, because the grade is not carried on to the ultimate consumer. This applies particularly to pork. There are several grades when the farmer sells it, but it is all number one when the consumer buys it. The honey producers are keenly interested in having the control of the industry remain with the producers. We do not want it to get into the hands of any government agency or any selling agency of the government. The producers feel that they can manage their own affairs if given proper opportunities. We are in a peculiar position at the moment. The beekeepers of the country are prepared to sell their honey on the export market in Britain. For many years we exported our product to Britain, and we have letters showing that the buyers there are willing to buy our product, but the regulations on that side were such that they could not buy or could pay only so much. I am personally willing, and so are many others, to sell to buyers in the old country, but the control regulations here have in the past prevented us from doing so. Two governments, therefore, interfere in the business. Britain at the moment is offering only 65 shillings per hundredweight Lo.b. British ports. That, boiled down, comes to about 12% cents, and taking shipping charges off it does not come up to the domestic price at the moment. However, we believe that the day is coming when we shall again export honey to England. The industry wants domestic grading so that consumers can purchase by grade and know what they are buying. We have grading regulations for export and interprovincially, but that does not apply within the individual province. We do not want to have the industry controlled by government authorities who are anxious and willing to tell us what w-e should do and how to do it. We ask to have the industry left as independent as possible of government control.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC WORKS