Mr. WHITE (Middlesex East):
And from the Canadian farm loan board report for the year ended March 31, 1939, I find these figures:
Loans to farmers, secured by first mortgages:
$30,054,207 94Interest due and unpaid ... 612,484 89Interest accrued
479,338 18Other charges
It will be noticed that Canadian farmers in about the same period referred to by the Minister of Agriculture were able to reduce their indebtedness by only some $6 million. I therefore have grave doubts whether the farmer's condition is as rosy as the minister would like us to believe.
I spoke of Donald Gordon and agricultural subsidies. We hear a great deal of his alleged ability. We shall be better able to judge his ability twenty-five years hence. He should be compelled to reduce the debt of Canada by the amount of all the farm subsidies paid out unnecessarily to maintain a price ceiling that
was not maintained. The amount of these subsidies runs into many millions. In 1944 alone it was $104,552,761 on items given in a statement by the dominion bureau of statistics.
I also stated that the price ceiling was not maintained and I make that statement for two reasons. First of all, the quality of practically all farm products has been maintained and, in some lines, improved, while the quality of many things the farmers buy has depreciated considerably. I will mention only a few items: lumber, coal, supplementary farm feeds and clothing. Not only that, but according to the dominion bureau of statistics when dealing with the cost of living index taxes are not considered, and I believe that about 30 per cent of the income of the Canadian people goes in taxes, so that this becomes a considerable item.
Let me quote a few comparisons taken from advertisements of food in the London Free Press of the week of October 16, 1941, and from the same type of advertisements in the same paper from the beginning of this year, and in most cases for the same retail food store advertisements as in 1941. These are some of the prices quoted in the London Free Press of October 16, 1941: prime beef brisket, pot roast, nineteen cents; since January 1, 1946 it has been twenty-three cents; shoulder roast, prime rib roast, twenty-five cents in 1941 and to-day, thirty-nine cents; porterhouse steak, thirty-three cents in 1941 and now forty-three cents; sausages, twenty-seven cents in 1941 and to-day, thirty-five cents.
In these quotations, I would point out that while the ceiling has been pierced as far as these finished products are concerned, the price of farm products the farmer sold has gone up but little in comparison. Hams were selling at that time at twenty-seven cents; to-day they are forty-four cents; veal at that time was twenty-four cents and since January 1, 1946, thirty-five cents in retail stores. With these prices going up in that way, without any increase as far as the farmer is concerned, the farmer is placed in a serious position. I thought I would take this opportunity of bringing these facts to the attention of the minister.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE