Mr. E. G. McCULLOUGH (Assiniboia):
Mr. Speaker, I rise wtih a great deal of pleasure to speak in favour of this bill with which I am in sympathy. The bill, which is to establish an agricultural organization of the united nations, recognizes one great thing, namely, that to-day many nations of the world believe in a world citizenship. Such a bill would never have come before this parliament twenty-five years ago, but since then we have passed through one of the most crucial stages in the world's history and have fought a global war. The bill recognizes that to-day all countries have a responsibility to other countries throughout the world and must have regard to the rights and needs of other peoples. I consider this a Christian responsibility.
There has been a good deal of discussion of the bill and some controversy has developed over the maintenance of controls, but the very fact that we live in a country where we are more fortunate than peoples in other parts of the world does impose upon us a definite responsibility. It is not enough to put on paper or even to inaugurate a system of world organization unless we are ready to make fundamental changes, and in the few moments at my disposal I shall mention some fundamental changes which I believe are necessary.
One of the big questions which this parliament has to decide is whether we are to have a high or a low income in Canada. During the war, in 1943, we had a gross income of $8,800,000,000, and according to the bureau of statistics that is about sixty-eight per cent over the 1926-29 level. There has been some intimation from members of the cabinet that in order to have full employment or anywhere near it in this country labour would have to take a cut-back of from twenty-five to forty per cent. We have also been told by various ministers that agriculture must be satisfied with lower returns for its products. I should like to quote what the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) said, as reported at page 425
United Nations Food Agreement
of Hansard, in outlining to the house the measures which this government has taken for the stability of agriculture. He said:
May I say in conclusion that we have made exactly the same kind of arrangement with regard to cattle. That contract extends down to December 31, 1946. There is no one in Canada who needs to have any fear that the price will be cut in the marketing of these live stock products bet wet'll now and the end of 1946, below the minimum which the contract establishes, if the stock is marketed orderly and the plants operate at capacity.
The farmer in western Canada has already experienced a decrease in cattle prices. So I say that to-day we have no safeguard against falling prices. We have been told that we have unemployment insurance and family allowances, but after all the sacrifices the Canadian people made in war I do not think they will be satisfied with that kind of floor under our Canadian economy, and so I am going to submit that we need a fundamental change. We have had in this country a government which does not believe in planning. They have said so themselves. Yet through the sheer necessity of planning to meet our war commitments we have been able to increase our natural production from around three billions to approximately nine billions of dollars. Therefore I maintain that if we launch upon a system of high income in Canada we can maintain a high level of income for all our people. The fight is not between the farmer and labour, because we in this group have shown to the people that we are interdependent. We have shown that if we can take the resources of this country and can put our people to work on them we can produce a wealth of things. What we produce on our farms and in our factories represents wealth and the social services that we can provide for ourselves. What we export in the way of surpluses means that we thereby build up credits or else we import. The fact is, as it has been in the past, that unless we import as much as we export, the Canadian people are short by just that amount of foodstuffs and other commodities. The first thing we should realize, and as a farmer from western Canada I certainly realize it, is that a larger income in the hands of the workers means a larger consumption of the products of the farm. More purchasing power in the hands of the workers means that they will buy more butter, cheese, eggs, pork and other farm products. Those of us who live in western Canada need farm machinery and various other goods. Therefore to-day we should start our factories going, producing the machinery that is required by the western ;farmer and by farmers all over Canada.
One of the first things we must do in order to establish Canadian domestic economy on a sound basis is to establish it on a high income basis. Then we can meet our Christian commitments, if you like, to the united nations. We can join with the other nations who are willing to recognize their responsibilities to all countries of the world to-day to feed and clothe the starving and destitute who are less fortunate than ourselves. Surely we realize to-day that it is much cheaper and much better to share than to hoard surpluses which may lead us into another war. The leader of this group said at one time, not what Napoleon said, that an army marches on its stomach, but that armies march when their stomachs are empty. I am in agreement with that. When we have starving millions in Europe and Asia, unless we do something about it we shall have trouble.
I should like to read into the record something regarding the lack of stability in this country and the need for some sort of planning. Some of the opposition members have criticized the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, and one hon. member said that we would not agree with what he was saying when he was decrying the fact that this bill would necessitate orders in council, involving a lack of power on the part of this parliament. Let me say that we have never at any time said anything against democracy. We believe in democracy and in the rights of this parliament. At the same time we recognize that orders in council, and some of the actions of the cabinet, produce what one might call "funny" things. Certainly we do not want any situation to exist such as has been described in my own constituency. A certain man went everywhere looking for underwear in the middle of the winter. He went to every town within his reach and all he could get was one suit. He needed underclothing and so did his son, but it happened that the father's shoulders were cold while most of the son's trouble was in his lower extremities, and so they cut the suit in two, each using one-half of it. That is not what we want. We want carefully considered planning so that what we have done for war we can do for peace.
In closing, let me say that I heartily endorse the principle of this responsibility which the bill recognizes.
Topic: UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic: POOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION