Mr. Cote (Nicolet-Yamaska):
Mr. Chairman, before the committee adjourned, I was trying to explain to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Greene) that some deficiencies exist in the administration of the Canadian Dairy Commission, especially with regard to quotas.
I have not dealt specifically with the price of milk. I said that it reached almost $5 per hundredweight in some areas, but not in the country as a whole. I could have asked, like some opposition members, an increase of 25 cents per hundredweight. I would then have expressed the same wish as the minister. He would have liked to comply with that request, but even had I asked him for such an increase, it would have been to little avail. When the price of milk is raised by one cent per hundredweight, it costs $1 mil-
Supp ly-A griculture
lion to the country. If a further increase of 25 cents is requested, then the Minister of Agriculture would have to ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Sharp) for $25 million more.
Every time that members of the opposition or of third parties ask for higher milk prices, the Minister of Finance must set up a new fiscal policy to get the money. He would then be defeated by the opposition, and that is why it is useless to ask for it. I would rather stick to the present quotas.
I would like to see all those who have abandoned fluid milk production for industrial milk production be recognized by the Canadian Dairy Commission as industrial milk producers in order to benefit from a quota for 1968-69.
Another problem which I want to bring to the attention of the minister and which involves many people is that of the milk producers who sell a few quarts of fluid milk in villages or rural areas. Because they sell 2, 3, 4 or 5 per cent of their production, or 5 to 10 quarts of fluid milk, these farmers are recognized as fluid milk producers and are ineligible for subsidies paid by the dairy commission.
These same farmers are forced to stop delivering milk to the villagers and to go exclusively into the production of industrial milk; even then they are not recognized. As for the villagers, they are forced to buy their milk from city distributors at twice the price they would pay at home. I should like to bring one of these cases to the attention of the minister. In my riding, several farmers have stopped selling a few pints of milk in order to be recognized by the Canadian Dairy Commission, and they have not even been recognized. If possible, I should ask that subsidies be granted to these people in 196869. We should also think of young farmers with financial obligations and whose quotas do not amount to 300,000 lbs. of milk. These younger people should be afforded the opportunity to have their quotas readjusted according to their production for the year 1967-68.
An 18-year old youth who is almost a salaried worker or who does not receive a salary from his father tries to invest, to get a piece of land which he will be able to work one, two or three years later.
But the father is not recognized as having two employees officially and he cannot get a quota exceeding 300,000 pounds of milk. I would like those farmers to receive subsidies and to be recognized by the Canadian Dairy Commission.
been reduced. There is another problem that we must try to examine properly. I know that in my riding and in that of Saint-Hy-acinthe-Bagot-if I often talk about the latter, it is because it is next to my own, where we find the same type of farming and the same problems-but perhaps the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot is not aware of the conditions of the pork industry-you find pork breeders. Some people go in for integration. Farmers are told: you must produce, you will be provided with piglets and financing and then, you will get $3 per hog. All you have to do is sign the invoice, the cheque, and give them to us. In that case, I feel that the money is taken from the Department of Agriculture but is not handed over to the farmers.
I do not want that subsidy to be discontinued. I would not want anybody to say that the hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska is against subsidies for farmers. But I want those subsidies to be paid so as to benefit the farmers. Such is the change that I am asking for. Let us say that the subsidy is being discontinued temporarily because of restrictions. The Minister of Agriculture will certainly have to make further restrictions if the opposition refuses to vote the necessary estimates. But if we are to eliminate the farmer's problems all members of the house will have to agree to increased taxes, even if that is bad politically. If we are aware of the problems of that class of society, we must assume our responsibilities, face the electorate and explain that the money we put in the pockets of some members of society must come from society as a whole. It is as plain as that.
Mr. Chairman, I see my time is running out and I would ask a few minutes more.
It must be understood that when we ask for assistance for our farmers-I am speaking to all those who are not familiar with agriculture and who do not live in a farming area -farmers are not pocketing the money or hoarding it in their cellars. However, every dollar invested benefits the whole industrial and commercial sector. Agriculture represents 35 to 40 per cent of the national economy. This includes not only the sale of agricultural products, but everything that has to do with agriculture. Money invested in agriculture is not only invested in farming but in the whole community which is dependent upon agriculture.
I toured the Gaspe and Timiskaming regions and I saw places where there is nothing but rocks for 20 or 25 miles, small villages whose 27053-457
inhabitants depend wholly upon the tourist trade or on fishing for their living. However, if you cross a plain of about 10 or 15 square miles, you see farmlands, a pretty village and all sorts of enterprises which settled there because they depend on agriculture.
Every time the farmer is subsidized, he buys something to improve his operations. We should not get the idea that those subsidies are simply going into the pockets of the farmers.
In order to prove my point, I am going to quote some figures which will show that any investment in agriculture is beneficial to many.
For instance, in 1965, dairy producers shipped products valued at $909,172,000, that is $145,186,000 more than in 1961. Now, that increase of more than $145,000,000 went to organizations related to agriculture. The dairy industry employed 31,866 persons whose salaries amounted to $137,681,000. The cost of supplies and raw material amounted to $721,735,000. The cost of containers and packing material amounted to $47,798,000. The cost of fuel and electricity should also be added. That impetus given to the dairy industry permitted the purchase of supplies in other fields.
I see that my time has expired, and to give an opportunity to others of my colleagues to state their views, I shall resume my seat and ask all who are present here to realize that when the Minister of Agriculture makes special requests to the Minister of Finance, those concern other sectors of the economy.
Subtopic: PROPOSED INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE