Florian CÔTÉ

CÔTÉ, Florian

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Richelieu (Quebec)
Birth Date
May 17, 1929
Deceased Date
January 29, 2002
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florian_Côté
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=ff46e17c-284f-4404-b9f0-223f67a6addd&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

September 19, 1966 - April 23, 1968
LIB
  Nicolet--Yamaska (Quebec)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
LIB
  Richelieu (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (August 30, 1968 - September 30, 1970)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
LIB
  Richelieu (Quebec)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Richelieu (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 18)


June 20, 1972

Mr. Florian Cote (Richelieu):

Mr. Speaker, today's proceedings emphasized all the shortcomings of the present government as a result of a motion brought forward yesterday. I became aware of it only at noon and I saw that it blamed the government for its inability to face its responsibilities during the past four years. In fact, it is said that the money made available to industry for the purpose of coping with regional disparity had not successfully settled the problem of unemployment.

I know there are problems, those which every country has to face for its development are similar to those we have in Canada. However, the Minister of Supply and Services (Mr. Richardson) mentions the efforts made by the Canadian government in the field of employment and in this field we are second to no other country. We have made noble endeavours even though we still have a long way to go. In fact, if it had not been for the present government, the unemployment rate of 6 per cent-which some like to bring up to 7 and 9 per cent-might be 10 or 15 per cent as in other countries.

If we consider some of the formulas suggested today by the movers of the motion, I do not see there, if I understood well, any real solutions; they merely pointed out what they think is wrong with government policies.

Industry was blamed because it did not do well enough in Canada. But industry-and this is normal-is somewhat like a human being; it is born, it can be sick and it can die. What can the State do to avoid this difficulty? It establishes and tries to establish industries in depressed areas in order to keep there those who are seeking a job not too far from their environment.

Therefore, we try to create some new industries. In fact, I have not heard a member of the opposition criticize this policy of the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, nor have I heard of anyone refusing the grants and saying: "I refuse these grants because they are not advantageous for my area" Opposition members knew as well that it was impossible for the government to fill up everything it wanted to and that there would still be a bit of room for criticism.

I was somewhat disappointed to hear the hon. member for Kent-Essex (Mr. Danforth), of whom I have a very high opinion, begin his speech by saying that he was tired to hear members of the present government repeat what the government had been doing. It is unfortunate that he be tired, Mr. Speaker. I would like him to get some rest, so that he may come back to us in form, after the next election which will certainly take place within a year. I wish he will not be tired enough to fall apart during the election period, because I have a lot of respect for him. If he came back, he might be of some help to us.

He mentioned in his speech the weakness of the agricultural policy as well as the program concerning industrial investments. Now, I noted, during the meetings of the committee on agriculture, which I attended whenever possible, that a proportion of Canadian industries are not as flourishing as I would like them to be, but that they had

Employment Incentive Programs

made tremendous progress, despite the very difficult conditions that agriculture, in every part of the world, had to suffer. We can be proud, as Canadians, to have an agricultural industry that survived somewhat better than elsewhere.

But in order to make this industry even more flourishing, we introduced truly good measures, and provided the establishment of the Marketing Board. Even if my colleagues from the Social Credit party opposed this bill from the beginning, they were compelled to approve it later because farmers have exerted pressures in order to have it passed as soon as possible. This bill was passed within less than one year. We might then have spared this industry some difficulties, assisted it with more effective marketing of products, given farmers a greater purchasing power, as my hon. friends from the Social Credit party usually say. We wanted to do so, but it was not always easy, because the government's policy was ill-understood by the opposition. I would not blame them, because everyone does not possess the ability to grasp and understand the meaning of everything. However, had we enjoyed a little more cooperation there would be fewer hon. members complaining in the House and our constituents would feel a little more proud of us. I admit all these weaknesses.

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit inclined to talk about the Social Credit party, and the reason is not that the other parties are brighter, since they did not show any recognition of the government's efforts. The leader of the Social Credit party for Canada (Mr. Caouette) has not even dealt with the motion. He preferred to rave about the Bank of Canada and his own philosophy, and ended his speech by asking us to play "Social Credit" even though the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fortin) thinks that we do nothing but play in this House. Nobody would forgive us that kind of game.

I feel we must not misinterpret statistics if we are to come to the right conclusions. I fear that the hon. members whom I had already asked to give me figures may misinterpret them. I saw two possible interpretations. Either those figures were misunderstood, or their full meaning was not grasped. I was right. All this came up in the agricultural committee, where I did a great deal of work, as well as in the committee on finance, trade and economic affairs.

After dealing with agriculture, I will now turn to the question of grants during the few minutes which I have left.

My constituency has taken advantage of our programs, although no more so than other constituencies in the country. I was a bit hurt at hearing today the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands (Mr. Douglas) criticize the government for investing several million dollars in Eastern Canada, while it failed to do the same for Western Canada.

Mr. Speaker, whenever a committee sits, or this House discusses a bill, we are given the chance of helping any part of the country. I went out of my way last spring to urge this House to vote as soon as possible the $65 million to be given as grants to the Western Provinces, for I was convinced that Western Canada needed that money more than any other regions. However, whenever Eastern

June 20, 1972

Employment Incentive Programs Canada obtains some grants, the sword of Damocles is dangling over our heads, which is deplorable.

In my constituency, industry and commerce are perhaps thriving. The shipyards, thanks to the new policy of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin), have provided employment and are in a position to compete against many others who are unable to outdo us. The reason is that in my constituency the government has carried out a policy which makes it possible to meet labour costs and which has created 3,700 jobs last year alone.

I do not therefore understand why we do not give more serious consideration to the programs set up by the government. When government members rise in this House, I wish they could have at least 30 or 45 minutes. This might be fastidious for those listening to us, but we could then at least once or twice a year, tell opposition members what the government is doing and they could in turn go and ask their constituents whether they are really satisfied. Then, the farm organizations which visit the ridings of opposition members-which I, for one, did-would not be so disappointed to find out that citizens are not informed at all about all that the country is doing for them. This is deplorable, and I do think that those who are indulging in political games in this House may soon find out that the achievements of this government prove that the motion introduced today was in no way justifiable.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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December 29, 1971

Mr. Florian Cote (Richelieu):

The hon. member said a while ago that in 1962, the price of pork was 27 cents a pound. Does he know that in 1959, the price of pork was $17.80 per hundredweight? I sold some myself. The price went up to $27 per hundredweight afterwards. A lot of farmers gave up because the minimum price was abolished. They gave up hog raising and as a result of the production margin, the price of pork went up in 1962.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
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December 28, 1971

Mr. Cote (Richelieu):

Yes, but only when I am through, if I may, as I have had so much to say for so long that I would like to complete my remarks first.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
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December 28, 1971

Mr. Cote (Richelieu):

Agreed. I well understand the question and my hon. friend from Richmond, who is from an area where this legislation is eagerly awaited, is right in asking it.

There have been serious problems there. If this bill had been given effect, the egg and poultry producers' association would not have known such difficulties. The beef, egg and poultry producers have formed an association, but as there was no legislation that applied nationally, they have fought amongst themselves, they have dumped their products in one another's region and have had some very difficult problems. They have had money losses because of this lack of national legislation.

When hog producers voted, they were influenced by the fact that broiler production was uneconomical for lack of federal legislation. Hog producers felt that there would be practically no results so long as Bill C-176 had not been passed. So they got confused because of the egg experience and of the opportunity for setting up a hog producers' association, however in the absence of federal legislation they could not be efficient. They did not feel the need for it. That is why we must pass this federal legislation as early as possible. Subsequently, the provincial marketing

December 28, 1971

agencies will integrate and as they have to resort to the federal legislation the marketing problem in Canada will fade away.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
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December 28, 1971

Mr. Cote (Richelieu):

Mr. Speaker, it will be my pleasure when my time is expired to reply to the honourable member for Richmond, and probably enlighten him.

This afternoon, I noted the concern of the member for Lanark-Renfrew-Carleton (Mr. McBride) who stated that last March, we wasted time discussing with Quebec and Ontario, and you see that I do not mention western Canada. I also believe that the member for Saint-Hyacin-

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill

the (Mr. Ricard) and the member for Charlevoix (Mr. Asselin) will do their utmost to convince their colleagues to participate in the discussion. And yet thousands of dollars have been wasted because we had no national marketing agency while the farm production in certain regions was out of all proportion with the consumption of neighbouring cities. We, of the federal government, could admit to ourselves that we are to blame, but I have the privilege of stating that we cannot do that. The opposition could say it because this bill would have been passed two years or at least one and a half years ago had we not been prevented from so doing.

It is now thought that this bill would benefit the production of eggs, broilers and poultry meat. How is it possible that a bill can be said to be beneficial in regard to a farm product produced in one region of the country and not to another produced in another region?

The hon. member who spoke before me wished that a more equitable bill could have been introduced.

This bill, which is national in scope, is actually fairer. It is not an eastern or a western bill because it affects the whole range of farm products and I would not like my hon. colleagues, be they of the opposition or otherwise, to try to exclude a particular product alleging that the farmer does not want it. It is not true.

People from eastern and western Canada have asked us why he have delayed passage of the bill. Representatives of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture-which is a national agency-came to us last year, requesting that this bill be passed as quickly as possible. This Federation which groups all agricultural organizations did not request that the bill exclude beef and veal and include only broilers and eggs. It asked that all farm products be included. There are presently two acts and two programs governing these two specific products.

The Canadian Dairy Commission aims at distributing milk at the same price everywhere in the country.

The previous speaker would like Bill C-176 to be similar to the legislation governing the Canadian Wheat Board. Mr. Speaker, I shall reply in the negative. I do not want it. I should even ask this government to withdraw this bill since I do not wish it to have a limited range. I want that bill to apply all across Canada because I am a Canadian.

As a farmer, I am ready to abide by some quotas as concerns some products as eggs and broilers. Therefore, it would be false to say that this bill is to be effective in eastern Canada and not in other parts of Canada. If beef, veal, or pork production is no longer profitable, quotas shall be established not by the government but by the producers, as they recognize that overproduction results in lower prices. If we want a normal price to be maintained, we should be able to abide by some quotas at the consumption level. If we accept to abide by some quotas as concerns eggs and broilers, we should be ready to abide by some quotas also as concerns other commodities. To act otherwise would be very harmful; a second balkanization would occur if this government accepted to have only part of the products under quotas. Then, I would resign, I would oppose the government, whatever its political denomination, because I want the passage of a national legislation.

December 28, 1971

Farm. Products Marketing Agencies Bill

Last year, Mr. Speaker, ,1 learned just to what extent this bill could be beneficial, because the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) and the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Korchinski) recognized its efficiency during informal conversations in between the meetings of the committee on agriculture. They said that this bill seemed to "smell good" for the farmer. Strangely enough, we do not feel that it will smell good simply for election purposes; we know that this bill will be good for a sector of the Canadian economy. In fact, agriculture represents 35 per cent of the Canadian economy.

We were told that this bill should not be passed, that it would be too advantageous from an electoral point of view. Now, if it were as bad as it was depicted a while ago, I feel a good number of members of the opposition would want it passed, as it would be an excellent means of leading eventually to the downfall of the government. I am convinced that is how things would happen if this bill were really that bad.

But as they know the farmers want this legislation, because it will be truly efficient, they will not let it be passed. And how do they go about it? This afternoon, the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) probably remembered what he did last summer, and that disappointed me. Last summer, the principle of democracy-that the majority decides, and that at times the minority has to accept the decision of the majority-was not recognized. So, at the time when we were sitting in committee to discuss section 2-a section that they would change through an amendment concerning natural products- after a tremendous amount of verbiage, nothing remained to be said. Opposition members saw that they could no longer face the majority of the Committee on Agriculture which stuck to its guns. So, two members, the hon. member for Crowfoot and the hon. member for Mackenzie must remember the two members of the committee on agriculture who retired to the rear of the room and said: You no longer have quorum, and this simply in order to prevent the committee from sitting.

That was deplorable, because members of farm associations had come to Ottawa. There were some from the West, from Quebec and Ontario, and they treated us as children. We were even told: Back home, if we acted like that, we would be taken for ridiculous characters. We were even told that democracy was next to anarchy. What happened in the committee last year seems to be starting all over again here.

I do not want to hold the House foo long, so I ask all hon. members to make sure that agriculture will be in a better position tomorrow. Let us not forget that thousands of dollars were lost each week, last fall, in egg production. The same thing might happen with regard to pork or beef. We do not know the future. Production might exceed consumption and then, prices would drop. But some hon. members might not be here after the next election because I imagine they will be defeated if they vote against the legislation. They might have to admit that at the end of 1971, they had the opportunity to solve the real problem, that is the marketing of farm products.

I have been told, before taking part in this debate, that perhaps Bill C-176 would be misunderstood in eastern [Mr. Cote (Riehelieu).J

Canada. This may amuse those who are not from the East, while helping them to understand better the problems of eastern Canada. It has been suggested to me that there might be someone inside the slaughter-houses to take over the overproduction or do something so that this bill will not cure all ills.

I don't believe that by passing this bill we will solve all problems relating to agriculture, but we will at least put in the hands of the producers, who want to control themselves, the marketing of their products, and not have it done by the state, marketing agencies of their own. Afterwards, if conditions are worse, we could perhaps exchange views with producers, but up to now, as politicians, if we can so call ourselves, and as farmers, it is the fijTSt such legislation introduced in the House since I have been a member that I urge hon. members to pass.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
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