I rise at this time to continue the discussion of this very important section of the bill. It is my intention to move a further amendment. I move:
That subclause (2) of clause 2, of Bill 237 be amended by changing the period at the end thereof to a comma, and by adding immediately thereafter the following words:
"provided that in no case shall the percentage fixed by the governor in council be less than the estimated average cost of production of the commodity."
Mr. Chairman, I want to appeal to the minister and to all members of the house just as forcibly as I can to accept this amendment. I do not intend to repeat the statements by the Prime Minister which I put on record yesterday. He of course had gone on record many times in stating that he and the
Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization Conservative party are in favour of the farmer receiving a fair share of the national income. He and his party have gone on record from time to time, both in the house and in their convention, and in many speeches made by hon. members of the Conservative party, that the farmer, the man toiling on the land, should have not only the cost of production but also a decent standard of living.
This amendment simply asks that in no case shall the farmer be obliged to sell his products below a price which will give him the cost of production. I am sure that from the very fact that those of us coming from many parts of this great dominion of Canada have had various experiences, our attitudes in the house, of course,-while in most cases they are sincere-are different simply because of our experiences. I happen to be a farmer and I happen to have a close association with the people who work on the land. That is why I have taken this opportunity during this debate to fight with every bit of my resources to try to get this bill to mean something to the people on the land.
As I said before, we do not want anything special done for our farm people that we would not want done for the rest of our people. We are just simply saying that we feel that the farmers over the years under the former government, simply because they did not have an adequate price for their farm products, have had to leave the farms, and that policy has continued. I want to say to the hon. members that we are thinking of the tens of thousands of farmers leaving the land. Statistics will bear me out on this matter; this is not a wild figure; it is proved by the government's own figures. We cannot think of these people leaving their farms merely as statistics. These people are human beings. These are people who fought in the last war to win freedom for democracy and to win the kind of things we have in this country and of which we are proud. They are the people, many times, who have come back and tried to follow agriculture as a vocation. I want to mention some of these people because, rather than talk in pure statistical terms, I think it is sometimes important that we consider some of these questions.
Subtopic: MEASURE TO PROVIDE GUARANTEED PRICES FOR CERTAIN COMMODITIES, ETC.