30th Parliament, 3rd Session

L122 - Thu 25 Nov 1976 / Jeu 25 nov 1976

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 131, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry.

Mr. Villeneuve: Mr. Speaker, when I moved the adjournment I was talking about the necessity of a stabilization Act --

Mr. Samis: Here is the minister, here he is.

Mr. Nixon: Just ran up from the Albany Club.

Hon. W. Newman: Never go there.

Mr. Nixon: Good for you, Bill.

Mr. Villeneuve: I was talking of the necessity of an Act being tied in with the federal stabilization Act because their jurisdiction has control of reciprocal trade arrangements and importation and therefore we’ve got to work in harmony together.

We know that the beef industry hasn’t had a successful period in the last few years, and the federal Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Whelan, placed an embargo on New Zealand beef. Anyone knows it is produced much cheaper than ours because climatic conditions the year round are more favourable. The result was naturally that move to try to stabilize the industry. We in our particular part of the country are perhaps not as prosperous, because we have not enjoyed a fluid milk market. About 145 of our best and most prosperous farmers have enjoyed a fluid milk market in the city of Montreal for some 60 years. With the result of last week’s election, we were a little bit nervous about what might happen in the future. But these people are well established; they’ve had income. As the hon. member who spoke before me stated, the owner of a century farm naturally is clear of debt and, it’s very true, he can get into production very rapidly, because he’s got the money to increase his herd and to increase production. Unfortunately, a young man or a newcomer starting up has got to borrow money; and when one borrows money and depends on income to meet those payments, it’s a different story altogether.

I have stated that if we had taken a selfish attitude in the province of Ontario, we would have had no surplus of dairy products in the past 30 years, outside of possibly a little powder. We have tried to diversify our production so it would fit into different channels; 40 per cent goes into the fluid milk market and the rest into industrial products. The largest industrial milk processing plant in Canada happens to be in my riding. A few years ago I criticized some of the people on the Milk Marketing Board for doing away with small cheese factories because they have a place in society; they are needed to some extent. Nevertheless, all in all, one cannot stand in the way of progress.

This one large plant can process 2.2 million pounds a day. But, mind you, they cannot produce a pound of cheese; they have no milk to produce cheese. Here are some of the diversified products they make using liquid condensed milk: Ice cream mix; confectionery products, such as chocolate bars; sweetened and condensed milk puddings; baby food formulas; and fresh and whole condensed milk products. That plant is running at less than 40 per cent capacity today. They’re bringing in milk from Quebec, if they can obtain it, and paying a higher price than the Milk Marketing Board price in Ontario. That is the situation that exists. I say to the minister that I find fault with our people who sat on the Canadian Dairy Commission.

Mr. Samis: Listen, Bill.

Mr. Villeneuve: I have said from the word go that when a farmer who is producing milk had to pay $8.60, plus transportation, which makes $9 a hundred, and if he can spill it on the ground, where it doesn’t cost him money, it’s little wonder there’s a shortage of milk in eastern Ontario.

I have known farmers who have spilt as much as 700 pounds of milk a day. They save themselves $63 a day, which means over $1,900 a month. I do not blame Mr. Whelan for a system like that. The Canadian Dairy Commission is made up of representation from coast to coast and, after all, he got poor advice.

Last year was an exceptional year. As the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) has stated, it’s easy to get into production. The hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) has quoted statistics about the farm population dwindling. That is correct. It has dwindled by over 75 per cent in the last 30 years but we are producing more milk than we ever did so it just goes to show we have the mechanics to produce it if the farmers get sufficient returns.

This is why I say it is so important for us to tie in with the federal government because of the larger field it has in its stabilization Act. After all, what has happened is exactly what my predecessor on the opposite side has said. Our milk revenues came up pretty well when we received a very substantial subsidy from the federal government but in the final analysis it proved it certainly was not the answer.

We were glutted with milk -- not from Ontario but we have to look at the overall national picture -- and the result was that instead of paying hundreds of millions of dollars, the federal Treasury people said, “We have to stop this. We have milk powder by the millions of tons which we cannot sell.”

It’s natural to try to curtail production but the way the federal people went about it was very disastrous as far as eastern Ontario is concerned. The people who could least afford it went into debt to try to build up their herds, to build better stable accommodation, to build better modern milk houses and get modern milking equipment. They sunk themselves in debt by planning on milking perhaps from 30 to 50 cows. Those men have taken the 15 per cent cut in just the same way as the man who produced a million pounds of milk.

Mr. Nixon: They were encouraged to do that by the provincial government.

Mr. Villeneuve: That is the part which is absolutely wrong. If a man has an industrial milk contract and produces a million pounds of milk a year, on the returns that gives him at the present prices I see no reason for any government to subsidize him.

The little fellow on the family farm, who is trying to pay off obligations and keep his family around him, doesn’t put in 40 hours a week. That, to my friend from Cornwall, is why many of them are leaving the farms. They have to milk cows seven days a week, 12 hours apart. It is very enticing to go to Domtar for 40 hours a week and have as much money at the end of the week.

Mr. Samis: That’s right. We agree on that.

Mr. Villeneuve: Nevertheless, I feel that with the cost of operations, the uncertainty of the weather elements and the many risks these people face, plus many long hours, this bill perhaps is overdue but it is better late than never. I do say and I repeat there is no way we can go independently. We have to tie ourselves in with the federal stabilization Act --

Mr. Samis: This is the weakest part of the member’s speech.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Villeneuve: -- and therefore I believe we can regulate any of our problems. There is no question about it.

I see that two of the heads of the Canadian Dairy Commission were relieved of their positions in Ottawa and I have reason to believe that Mr. Whelan has become aware that they gave him bad advice. I will give him credit for getting rid of people he doesn’t need. Nevertheless, I am in full harmony with this bill. I certainly expect that there will be amendments to it and if they will improve the bill I am all for them.

I want to say this about our farm organizations and I am speaking in particular of the federation. I am a member and have been and I think a lot of it but nevertheless I am not too sure today that they are not acting like real down-to-earth politicians. They are trying to see who can make the best deal.


That is not always applicable. Whether we like it or not, supply and demand, surplus and shortages are going to cause a variation in markets. That is why it’s necessary to have some sort of a guarantee written into legislation that a farmer is not going to go broke. Many of them right now are having hardships in my area. The people we encouraged to improve their lot by increasing production a few years ago today find themselves being cut back in production and yet having serious obligations.

Mr. Samis: Tell us where you disagree with the OFA.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Villeneuve: Mr. Speaker, before closing I would suggest to the minister -- I have said it before -- that I think the federal legislation of five years should be cut down to three. The reason I say that is because I have seen the evidence. In 1972 we had a poor crop; you could buy soya bean meal on August 10, 1972, wholesale, for $118 a ton. The same soya bean meal on February 10, 1973, went to $540 a ton. How can the average farmer, on a fixed income, calculate his operation if he has no adjustments?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Villeneuve: These are some of the problems he has to contend with; in spite of his revenue being greater today, Mr. Speaker, he’s in the same position he was 30 years ago. He’s still caught in a price squeeze. The things he has to sell do not follow as fast in an upward rise as the things he must buy. Therefore, I want to congratulate the minister for bringing in this legislation. It’s not an easy piece of legislation, I can appreciate that.

Mr. G. I. Miller: There was a lot of tail-twisting.

Mr. Villeneuve: But on the other hand, if you put too great an incentive on some products you’ll have a glut and you’ll be worse off than ever. Let supply and demand and the private enterprise system look after it in that manner and you’ll find it’ll resolve its own solution.

Mr. Samis: That’s what brought us here today.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Etobicoke.

Mr. Philip: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I must say that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman), who is now leaving, must no doubt have been shaking in his boots listening to the excellent speech by the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve). He no doubt, has more to fear from him than he does from the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) now.

Mr. Angus: Watch it, Eddie, he’s sneaking up behind --

Hon. W. Newman: I can’t hear you over there.

Mr. Philip: I was listening with considerable interest to the speech by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk who finally admitted that he couldn’t make it as a farmer except from his augmented income from being a MPP. That was how he was able to keep his long-mortgaged farm in existence.

Mr. Reed: Listen, he could make it anywhere.

Mr. Nixon: Oh, we keep the burdocks down all right.

Mr. Philip: I wasn’t sure exactly, Mr. Speaker, how his speech related to the bill. It seems to me that he spent most of his time attacking the OFA and Gordon Hill.

Mr. Breithaupt: This one doesn’t relate much more to the bill.

Mr. Philip: But I can’t help but think that if his leadership in the Liberal Party had been as strong as Gordon Hill’s leadership was in the OFA, he might have been Minister of Agriculture and Food or Premier today, rather than a member of the third party.

Mr. Speaker: Can we get to the principle of the bill, please? Bill 131.

Mr. Breithaupt: Speak for the farmers in Etobicoke.

Mr. Philip: It’s a pleasure to speak to the principle of the bill, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Nixon: I thought the OFA paid your salary.

Mr. Philip: As a former employee of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, I feel that I at least have had first-hand experience with the farmers in all parts of Ontario. And in conscience I cannot possibly vote for the present bill in this kind of form, for it’s clearly manipulation of the farm community. I’ve invested too much time in working with farmers, standing up for their rights to descend to that kind of pragmatic politics. The remarks on the principle of the bill which were made by the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex cannot go unnoticed. I’ve already read the member’s remarks to a number of key farm leaders in farm organizations in the province and, quite frankly, they’re shocked. If there ever was a speech which could be used to demonstrate the depravity of the Liberal farm policy it’s the speech made by the member for Huron-Middlesex.

Mr. Gaunt: Get off it.

Mr. Philip: It clearly demonstrates the strategy of the Liberal Party to play on the fears of the farmers. I can’t help thinking how embarrassed his colleague, the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt), would have felt had he been in the House. I was a little bit worried about the health of the former agricultural critic. I thought that perhaps he might have died from shock over the remarks made by the member for Grey who, I believe, in an earlier speech wanted to institutionalize or register or categorize or something like that --

Mr. Bain: To license.

Mr. Philip: -- to license the farmers. I believe that was the word.

Mr. Breithaupt: He is more likely to die of boredom than he is of shock.

Mr. Philip: I hadn’t realized there were that many Bolsheviks in Grey but I gather that one was elected on a Liberal ticket. Since the member was --

Mr. Makarchuk: Marxists-Leninists.

Hon. W. Newman: Get back to the bill.

Mr. Breithaupt: Maybe it will get better now.

Mr. Philip: If I may get back to the principle of the bill, Mr. Speaker --


Hon. Mr. Taylor: Too bad you don’t understand it.

Mr. Philip: Since the member was speaking on the principle of the bill, I think it’s only fair that some of the issues he raised be discussed if for no other reason than to demonstrate clearly where the lines are drawn on this bill. The lines, fairly simply, are the farm organizations, a majority of farmers and the NDP on one side; and the Liberals and the Conservatives on the other side.

Mr. Gaunt: Are you ever living in a dream world.

Mr. Makarchuk: Do you hear that?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Etobicoke with the bill.

An hon. member: No wonder you’ve got your hands in your pockets.

Mr. Philip: The member commenced his remarks by reading a letter, as some members may recall. The letter, I can only assume, reflects the member’s own sentiments -- that is, the sentiments of the Liberal agricultural critic -- otherwise there’d be no point in reading it. The letter, members may recall, claims that only supply and demand make prices -- nothing else. I believe those were his words or at least the words of the letter which he appeared to agree with.

We in the NDP agree with the statement. Leaders in key farm organizations, as a matter of fact, agree with that statement. Supply and demand do rule the marketplace in Ontario right now. The farmers supply and the multi-national wholesalers and retailers and speculators demand -- that’s supply and demand in Ontario.

It’s little wonder that the farmers work for years with very little to show for it and that some have to augment their farm income by getting elected to the Legislature. That’s the kind of system the member for Huron-Middlesex and the Minister of Agriculture and Food hold so dear, the free enterprise system for farmers.

Mr. Nixon: They paid your salary.

Mr. Breithaupt: I trust you are protecting your job so that you will have somewhere to return.

Mr. Philip: They are free to go bankrupt. The member, in speaking on the principle of the bill, comes down clearly against the process of orderly marketing and I hope that the farmers of Ontario realize that the provincial Liberals are now clearly in bed with Beryl Plumptre.

Hon. W. Newman: You would destroy marketing boards if you had your way.

Mr. Nixon: Beryl is a very nice lady.

Mr. Samis: Now you’ve done it --

Mr. Philip: We can understand --

Mr. Eakins: Now get down to the serious part of the bill.

Mr. Philip: I’m on the serious part of the bill. I’m dealing with the comments on the principle of the bill made by the Liberal agricultural critic and I don’t think they should go unnoticed by the farmers of Ontario.

Mr. Nixon: Certainly not. It was a fine speech.

Mr. Philip: We can understand the camaraderie between the Liberals and the Conservatives on this bill. Just as the member for Huron-Middlesex is against orderly marketing, so the Conservative Party appears to share this view. Why else would the federal caucus in Ottawa attack orderly marketing?

The prairie grain producers historically have voted for orderly marketing, but both the Liberals and Conservatives refuse to get off the fence and give the producers what they’ve asked for at one annual meeting after another, namely put all grains under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Marketing Board.

So here in Ontario it’s the same old gang. The member for Huron-Middlesex next made the claim that many farmers say the plan has very little to offer them. We can agree with that, and we’ll show this agreement by the way we vote on the reasoned amendment. It’s too bad that the member and his colleagues won’t have the guts, as we understand it, to vote with us and show the farmers exactly whose side they’re on.

Mr. Breithaupt: Just be here to vote on the bill.

Mr. Philip: The member next talked about crop insurance. Mr. Speaker, I think the whole issue surrounding crop insurance has a number of principles that we can look at in terms of the present bill. The whole manner in which crop insurance was introduced and its administration hears a direct relationship to the present bill. What this government is doing is repeating the same old mistakes over again. If I may give a recent example of how crop insurance works in this province --

Mr. Sargent: Are you for or against it?

Mr. Philip: -- one farmer I know was accepted for crop insurance, but then he came to make his claim and was rejected on grounds that he wasn’t a farmer. Now the decision was based on his farm income for that year, the reason his farm income was so low was that his loss was so great. Some bureaucrat had decided that it’s okay to be a farmer when you’re paying the premiums, but when you go to get help that’s when they decide whether you’re a farmer or not

Mr. Eaton: That is not the case.

Mr. Philip: You see the whole relationship to the present bill is either you build a negotiation process into the bill, or you build in the kind of weakness that we’ve had in crop insurance in this province. The very weakness of the agricultural programmes in this province has been that they’ve been directed at farmers rather than created with farmers. And it is very little wonder that the farmers are suspicious of government programmes.

The member for Huron-Middlesex talked about the danger of imposing quotas on farmers, but the very process that farm organizations and the NDP are advocating, namely the negotiating process which we would like to see built in as the essence of this bill, is the very safeguard against arbitrary government action. In refusing to stand firmly with us on the principle of negotiation, and vote with us, the Liberals are opening the door then to the possibility of more government intervention in farm business and in farm lives.

One of the things that has reinforced farmers’ fears of government has been the whole process used to build up support for this bill. The ten meetings were clearly designed to talk at farmers rather than listen.

Mr. Eaton: How many were you at?

Mr. Philip: One need only talk to some of the farmers who attended. The staff at these meetings refused to allow any votes to be taken, or even to permit enough dialogue for any consensus to be arrived at. Clearly the minister is afraid to allow the natural democratic process to take place.

Hon. W. Newman: Come on -- the farmer from Etobicoke.

Mr. Eaton: That’s a lot of baloney.

Mr. Bain: The farmer from Forest Hill.

Hon. W. Newman: You don’t even know how to cut the grass.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, order. The hon. member for Etobicoke has the floor.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the minister that I have listened to more farmers over the last four years than he has, and maybe if he’d start listening instead of talking at them he’d learn something that could improve this bill.

Hon. W. Newman: And you can spread it better than they can.

Mr. Angus: Did you say farmers spread it?

Hon. W. Newman: For a meaningful purpose.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Philip: Like the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) who established the farcical inter-departmental inquiry to give the appearance of participation to people in urban areas, so too the Minister of Agriculture and Food pulled the same old vaudeville routine on people in rural Ontario.

We can understand why the government didn’t promote a frank and open discussion among farmers. Perhaps beef producers would realize that while they were paid $22 million on the cow-calf programme this year, they would only have received $2.2 million or in that vicinity were the present bill in effect; they would discover what could happen to them in three years’ time when in fact they will be affected by this.

Perhaps a few more farmers would realize the cost of $70 million is merely a fantasy, and as Gordon Hill, the president of the Federation of Agriculture has pointed out, that for the government to spend that much would require that every farmer would have to enrol his full crop production and the plan would have to pay the maximum amount for every commodity in one year.


Even in Ontario, even under this government, the market conditions are not that bad. It’s purely a fantasy. This bill, more than anything else that has come before this House to date, tells the people of Ontario what this government really thinks farmers are worth. The present bill only covers cash costs. The toil of the farmer in this province is worth nothing, according to the government. Voting for this bill means simply condoning the view of this government that the farmer is not worth a thing; that his toil is something that is somehow to be given away. I have worked too long with farmers, and I respect them too much, to fall into this kind of condescending attitude toward their endeavours. Therefore, I cannot possibly support the bill in its present form.

Mr. Eaton: How long did you work for the federation?

Mr. Riddell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: What is the point of order?

Mr. Riddell: At least six times in the former speaker’s remarks he made reference to the member for Huron-Middlesex. I would just like to say that I was seriously thinking of sending my remarks out to the farmers in the community and, after listening to his remarks, I am more convinced than ever I am going to do it.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. That’s really not a point of order.

Mr. Samis: What is that a point of?

Mr. Speaker: It wasn’t a point of order.

Mr. Philip: He doesn’t need to, Mr. Speaker. We’ll send his speech to constituents in his riding.

Mr. Samis: Are you an urban farmer, Ross?

Mr. Hall: I wish to make a few comments on Bill 131, because the subject of agriculture is important in my riding of Lincoln, and not because I am any farm expert, although I have many colleagues who are.

Mr. Bain: It is all right; neither is the member for Huron-Middlesex.

Mr. Hall: The Niagara region is an important agricultural area, with a 1975 dollar volume of something like $153 million, according to the editorial bureau of the city of St. Catharines. This includes roughly $12 million in cereal crops; $35 million in dairy products, beef, pork and sheep; $38 million in poultry, either meat or eggs; $3 million in vegetables; $1 million in sod; and $32 million in greenhouse flowers. Some 10 per cent, or $15.2 million, according to 1975 figures, is in tender fruit, being peaches, pears, sweet cherries, sour cherries, plums and prunes. Another 10 per cent, again around $15.2 million, is in grapes. For reasons of winter kill and cool, wet weather at blossom time this year, the tender fruit farmers didn’t have a banner year by any means, and many more will be buying crop insurance next year. Grapes did have a big production but, following a large 1975 crop, they faced severe marketing problems and some growers took a real beating.

With agriculture in Niagara so topical, I was surprised -- and so were some other Niagara farmers -- that the September meeting wasn’t held in Niagara, but instead was held in Ancaster. To the best of my recollection, there were four legislators present at Ancaster, three Liberals and one Conservative. At that meeting, like everyone else, I had difficulty recognizing the usual clear, calm tones of the minister, but at that time he wasn’t saying anything different from what he said in June at any rate. But now we have a better document.

I have listened to and talked to the farmers in my riding. I talked to them quite a bit, I can assure you, when they were worried about the grape crop. Despite the fruit farmer having had a difficult year, I have to say that not many have told me they want farm income stabilization. They want as little government as necessary. They are willing to take reasonable chances like any small businessman.

Mr. Philip: You guys haven’t done your homework.

Mr. Hall: They are concerned about food and preservation -- more so, by far, than anyone else. But they do need to sell their products. They want the major effort to be placed on market growth and protection from imports that are subsidized in the country of origin.

As everyone has said, farmers could grow more food now if they could sell it, and increased sales are the only production incentives they want. Artificial incentives would only make present marketing more difficult than ever. Trees and vines, Mother Nature, offer the only production management possible. So they don’t need any amendments which would head in the direction of government incentives to overproduce and then have to face production controls later.

What the farmer does need is protection against production losses which would put him out of business, and a chance to have the odd good year. So I believe the farmers in the riding of Lincoln will accept Bill 131, with the changes the Liberal agricultural critic has mentioned, in one of his fine speeches.

The consumer has a stake in food production and its cost. It seems to me that for now a balance between the diverse interests of the grower and the consumer is present in this bill. The bill protects the farmer against the worst, on a voluntary basis in respect of the farmer input.

Further, Ontario should expect the federal government to share in the cost of support when it is needed. So I hope this bill will become law and that the minister will get going on expansion of markets for food that the farmer can produce in increased amounts if he can sell that production profitably. That is the only real incentive the farmers want.

Mr. Philip: Point of privilege Mr. Speaker. May I draw the Speaker’s attention to one of the great farm leaders of this province who happens to be in the Speaker’s gallery at the moment. Too bad the minister doesn’t listen to him.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, may I present the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Mr. Gordon Hill. The member didn’t know his name.

Mr. Philip: All right; I listen to him, you don’t.

Mr. Eaton: He’ll never get a job back at the federation now.

Mr. Riddell: He’ll be looking for one after the next election.

Mr. Sargent: Why don’t they let you go?

Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, the president of the Federation of Agriculture, Mr. Hill, having been duly introduced, I wonder if either one of those were a point of privilege. I had noticed Mr. Hill in the gallery much earlier, but I couldn’t see him as the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) was speaking. I’m sure he had slid down in his seat.

Mr. Eakins: He is going to enjoy your speech, George.

Mr. McCague: I was interested in the remarks of the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk this afternoon regarding federal participation in all products up to the 90 per cent level. While it may be quite true that Mr. Whelan’s problem is within his own cabinet, whereas our minister has the complete support of his colleagues, to my knowledge no commodity has been denied support by the federal government. I believe that we should proceed with the bill as presented with the hope end the trust that the government of Canada will do their part. This approach would, in my opinion, show our good faith and lead to positive results.

The NDP approach of mistrust would ultimately lead to confrontation which would be to the benefit of no one.

Mr. Riddell: That’s what they thrive on.

Mr. McCague: Ottawa could help the agricultural community just as it has done with the Wheat Board. Why can the same consideration not be given other products? The system of duties and tariffs is out of date -- we are dealing in cents per pound or unit whereas in the USA they deal in percentage of selling price. It appears that food and its products are being used as a bargaining tool on rural markets at the expense of Canadian farmers.

Mr. Philip: If the board is so good why don’t you fellows put all the grain under it?

Mr. Samis: Wait till Kissinger hears about this.

Mr. McCague: The hon. member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. Spence) spoke of the initial reaction to crop insurance and the reluctance of farmers to even talk about it during the travels of the select committee. While the farm income stabilization bill may not be perfect I am certain it has many positive aspects which deserve the support of this House. If changes are necessary at a later date, I am confident this House will make the adjustments. In my opinion we should never feel that on the passing of bills we are engraving them in stone. We should be men enough to consider and enact changes as necessary.

There has been a lot of chatter about the disappearing food producer. While it is true that the number of farmers is decreasing, the size of family farms is increasing. It is worth noting, Mr. Speaker, that since 1970, the number of agricultural graduates returning to farms has increased each year. As well, many more are returning to the farm after two or three years in agriculturally-oriented jobs.

Mr. Speaker, not long ago I sent out a questionnaire to a thousand people in my riding and had 403 returns. One of the questions I asked was: “The Ontario government has proposed a farm income stabilization programme to protect farmers during periods of low market prices. The programme would set support levels equal to 90 per cent of the market prices for various commodities averaged over the previous five years and adjusted for increases in production costs.”

These went to farmers, part-time farmers, urban dwellers and rural residents. Two hundred and thirteen were in favour of such a proposal, one hundred and fifty-eight were opposed, and 32 were undecided. Obviously these people would still support this enhanced programme.

Some of the comments they made were very interesting: “Supply and demand usually determines the price of an agricultural product; subsidy just keeps the inefficient farmer in business.” We have heard a lot about further enriched programmes. We all know that the farmers do not want a programme which subsidizes the inefficient, and I concur 100 per cent with them.

Another constituent asks: “What has happened to the old law of supply and demand?” Another says: “Our efforts should be directed towards making farming a viable, competitive and profit-making business without massive intervention by government through grants and subsidies. Controls breed mediocrity and eliminate the incentive to be efficient.” I certainly can agree with that.

Another says: “I believe we have a responsibility to the Third World nations that do not produce as much as is consumed. We must share our abundance in non-perishable food crops with those who have not.” With this I agree, Mr. Speaker, but the cost of this will have to be shared by the developed countries because it cannot become a burden on the farmer.

Another person comments that: “Labour can buy a steak today for less time worked than at any time in my memory, yet a new clutch and regulator for my Ford 5000 tractor costs me $500. I have absolutely no control on the sale of my livestock, but I have to pay top retail price for anything I buy.” I would comment that the person facing high input costs needs this kind of protection against bad years.

The member for Grey (Mr. McKessock) made reference this afternoon to my private member’s Bill 162, An Act to Provide for the Designation and Retention of Food Lands. It was suggested that Bill 162 was submitted at the request of the government. Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth.

I received a copy of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists cabinet submission at the same time as replies to my questionnaire were being returned. I had put questions such as: “Do you support increased municipal control over agricultural land use planning and growth management with overall provincial guidelines?” Two hundred and forty-one said yes, and 140 said no.

“Do you support a system of comprehensive land-use controls based on local official plans and zoning bylaws for all class 1, 2 and 3 agricultural land?” Two hundred and seventy-three said yes and 96 said no.


I repeat again, Mr. Speaker, these replies were received equally from farmers, part-time farmers, urban dwellers and rural residents. The message was clear from the agrologists and my constituents and it simply confirmed my own conviction. Where were the members of the opposition parties? As I understand the procedure, any member can bring in a private bill on any subject not requiring the expenditure of money. Did the members over there not think the subject was important?

The comments of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis), which he conveyed to the House, appear in Hansard. His comments were very interesting after hysteria had descended upon him. Just listen to this: “Mr. Lewis: Do you mean you are to freeze the food lands? On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, this is a Tory freezing agricultural land?”

He’s convinced of that but his final comment is the one that’s really interesting: “Mr. Lewis: That is exactly what we wanted to do. You hypocrites over there. You got a backbencher to sneak it through.”

Mr. Breithaupt: As though the bill was going to be passed anyway.

Mr. McCague: I think we all recognize that it’s a private member’s bill. The member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) is not a Bay Street farmer; he’s a Burnside Drive farmer and he’s not the old MacDonald who was referred to on the farm.

Mr. Peterson: Who is writing your jokes?

Mr. McCague: He has contested the fact that the bill can be properly administered by a commission as suggested in the bill.

Mr. Philip: By farmers; it is a good idea to involve farmers.

Mr. McCague: I think everyone in this House is aware that the Farm Products Marketing Board has worked well for the 23 boards under it. The bulk of the people responsible to this board and the Milk Commission are farmers. It is difficult to understand why this bill cannot be suitably administered as set out. I am sure he trusts the minister but maybe he doesn’t trust the farmers.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Timiskaming.

Mr. Bain: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Samis: This speech won’t be read.

Mr. Bain: The bill before us this evening, Bill 131, is of great importance to the farm community and the people in general in this province. I’m not surprised that the present government would have the audacity to introduce the bill it did introduce when we stop to consider that this government is the one which removed control of schools from the hands of the rural population as it regionalized the school system in this province.

Hon. W. Newman: What bill are you talking about now?

Mr. Bain: The government across the way is the one which systematically destroyed rural communities with its regional government system, and even still refuses, I hear, to allow a vote of the people in Parry Sound to see whether they want it. Let the people decide.

Mr. Riddell: Is this on the principle of the bill?

Mr. Bain: It’s not surprising either that this government --

Mr. Riddell: Nothing in this bill about regional government.

Mr. Bain: -- would further wage war on rural communities by closing hospitals and withdrawing ambulance services. Bill 131 is typical of its attitude towards the rural communities. There is no sympathy for the rural community, no understanding and sometimes I wonder if the Tories really care about the rural communities.

Mr. Gordon Hill, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said in Farm and Country of November 16 this year --

Mr. Philip: If you don’t listen to it once maybe you will listen a second, third, a fourth or a hundredth time.

Mr. Bain: -- “The bill, as it stands, is of no significance to Ontario farmers. The provincial government does not want to shield farmers from disastrous prices.” I agree with him. The Tories don’t; they really don’t.

If that is their objective, as I believe it is, the bill is going to achieve it. The bill will do absolutely nothing to assist the rural communities of this province.

Let’s look at the farmland in this province which is going out of production. One can drive down any concession road and I’m sure every one of us can point to the vacant, empty farms; some of them are no longer being farmed at all. In my relatively short life in comparison to some of the government members who’ve been in the House for quite some time --

Mr. Godfrey: Too long.

Mr. Bain: It must be -- I can go along concession roads in my riding, and there’s no one living where 10 years ago there were people. As I said, some of those farms are not being farmed.

Some of the government ministers seem to think there is no farmland in northern Ontario -- or as the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson) said, there were no NDP members who had substantial farm communities; he should know better than to say something like that. Timiskaming -- I’m sure the minister realizes there is an experimental farm and a college of education in New Liskeard, I’m sure he realizes that -- Timiskaming has one of the best farming areas in this country and some of the best soil in the world. You can’t tell me --

Hon. W. Newman: You can’t even tell me what kind of soil it is. Tell me what they call it up there, what do they call it?

Mr. Bain: The best soil is the Earlton series.

Hon. W. Newman: Oh, come on; you don’t even know the type of clay soil in the area.

Mr. Bain: I don’t want to enumerate for the minister the soil types.

Mr. Nixon: Oh go ahead.

Hon. W. Newman: Well, don’t tell me you know all about it then.

Mr. Bain: As I’m sure you realize your own ministry published an excellent map a few years ago with all the soils mapped out in the Englehart-New Liskeard area. I refer you to that in case you haven’t read it.

Hon. W. Newman: I know the area well, probably as well as you do.

Mr. Bain: If you know then, you mustn’t have any sympathy for the rural community. The rural community in Timiskaming is founded on the basis of excellent soil and you can’t beat the dairy farmers in Timiskaming, the cow-calf operators --

Mr. Shore: You are the most sympathetic person there is.

Mr. Bain: Thank you very much. I have a great sympathy for you in your particular predicament as well.

The farmers of Timiskaming have --


Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the time that’s being wasted on interjections by the government side will be deducted from the time that’s been allotted to them.

Mr. Maeck: We are happy to do that.

Mr. Bain: I hope so.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That time wouldn’t be near as significant if you’d addressed your remarks through the Chair rather than waving a red flag in front of them.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker. I’d be happy to address my remarks through the Chair, because I’m sure the Chair is more sympathetic to the needs of the farm community than the government is or the Minister of Agriculture and Food.

Mr. Angus: Especially in the north.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Thank you kindly.

Mr. Bain: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I was saying, the need for a real farm income insurance programme is so great because every day more and more farmers leave the land, not because they want to but because they have no alternative. And most disturbing of all, there are young farmers who should be taking over the farm from their fathers, but I have a number of excellent farms in my riding where the fathers are discouraging their sons from staying on the family farm, the same as my father did every time I used to do a little bit of plowing. My father was not a full-time farmer; he had been raised on a farm --

Mr. Riddell: To think what you might have developed into.

Mr. Bain: -- but like so many he couldn’t make a living at farming and he worked at other things throughout his life.

Hon. W. Newman: And you didn’t stay on the farm, that’s what’s wrong with you.

Mr. Bain: Like most of us whose roots are in the rural community, he always retained a small farm because he could never get it completely out of his blood. But any time I would be plowing or getting a big kick out of the oats I planted the year --

Hon. W. Newman: Your father was a fine man.

Mr. Bain: -- I was in the 4-H Club, he’d always tell me not to get too involved, not to get too excited about farming because he didn’t want to see me farming. The same thing is still being said, not by city people, but by farmers to the sons of farmers.

Mr. Shore: You know why, eh?

Mr. Sargent: You tell him, Marvin; you own a farm in downtown London.

Mr. Bain: They’re not on marginal farms, they’re on excellent full-time farms; some of them worth well over half a million dollars, but not in a real sense because the farmer doesn’t receive a return. The farm income stabilization bill --

Mr. Riddell: Did your father want to see you become a socialist? I bet you hurt his feelings.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Huron-Middlesex has had his fling for this debate.

Mr. Samis: Same fling tomorrow.

Mr. Bain: Although I don’t want to belabour the point, Mr. Speaker there has been some discussion of free enterprise, this has been bandied around quite a bit. Free enterprise seems to be defined as handouts for the wealthy corporations and nothing for the rest of us, not even a decent system of farm income stabilization.

On the bill itself: That 95 per cent, that’s what we’re going to give the farmers is it? Ninety-five per cent as a stabilization price; and this 95 per cent is a five-year average price suggested for cash cost changes. The federal bill already provides 90, and so the minister is saying that the farmers of this province, as far as he is concerned, are worth a measly five per cent.

The commission: Five people appointed by the government and responsible to the government, not responsible to the farmers. That is one thing that absolutely has to be changed. The commission --

Hon. W. Newman: And nobody said it would be?

Mr. Philip: How would you like to negotiate?

Mr. Bain: I’m sure the minister will have his chance and that he will be allotted more time than I have been.

But even if you tamper with the commission a little bit, I would suggest -- and this is one of the fundamental things in our reasoned amendment -- I would suggest that negotiations take place. You don’t merely tamper with the commission, you have the farm community and their organizations negotiate with the government. Also, and this is a point for the member for Huron-Middlesex, a commodity group or a particular group of farmers may not want a support price at all; and that’s fine. They may feel that any support price would encourage overproduction and they as a group may not want a support price.

I am really surprised that the Liberals would turn this kind of legislation loose in this province. There are also supposed to be inspectors appointed by the minister. I can imagine these bureaucrats -- Bill’s bureaucrats -- running all over the province inspecting things. That’s the last thing the farmers need.

Hon. W. Newman: Not with my bill; but yours, yes.

Mr. Bain: That’s the last thing they need. There is only going to be one saving grace for the farmers. These bureaucrats are only going to work during normal working hours so the farmer won’t see them too long anyway. Most farmers will be working long after the bureaucrats have gone.

I do not want farm income stabilization administered by the government and I don’t want it administered by bureaucrats. I want it administered by the farmers.

Mr. Shore: By the NDP, right?

Mr. Bain: That is the only way that you’re going to have a decent programme. I don’t care what the basic substance of the programme is, you’re not going to have a decent programme until you have the farmers running it.

Mr. Shore: You will administer it.

Mr. Bain: I’ll just point to one thing. I wrote the minister a letter dealing with the problem of the minister not allowing farmers’ wives to be considered full partners for the capital grants. I sent the letter, dated June 10, and it probably left that day or a day or so later. I got an answer on November 8. It was dated in the minister’s office October 29. June, July, August, September, October; now if that’s efficiency for something as simple as an answer to a letter --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That has nothing to do with the principle of this bill.

Mr. Bain: I would hate to see those same bureaucrats running the farm stabilization,

Hon. W. Newman: Why don’t you talk to the member for Peterborough (Ms. Sandeman)? She could have told you the answer.

Mr. Bain: I know the answer. You told her the answer in the House and the answer was simply that you don’t consider the work of the women on farm significant enough.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Point of order.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, that’s a very unfair, untrue statement and he should withdraw that statement. I answered that question in the House yesterday.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I approve the withdrawal of that statement.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, may I continue?

Hon. W. Newman: Is he going to withdraw it?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The minister has said that the member for Timiskaming has made an untrue statement. Is it untrue?

Mr. Bain: I don’t think it’s untrue. What was untrue in my statement?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I don’t think the minister can make that statement.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I answered a question for the member for Peterborough yesterday as far as capital grants were concerned. I explained the situation to her yesterday, and the hon. member stands up and says -- I’ve forgotten exactly what he did say -- but in effect he said I ignored the women who are working on the farms and that is not true. And he had better retract that statement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Obviously it’s nothing more than a difference of opinion --

Hon. W. Newman: Oh, come on.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: -- but the minister cannot accuse another member of making an untrue statement. You’re going to have to withdraw.


Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to get into an argument tonight with you or anyone else --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You are not going to get into an argument with me. You are going to withdraw the accusation.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: I am waiting for the minister to withdraw the accusation.

Hon. W. Newman: I withdraw the accusation, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Fine.

Hon. W. Newman: -- but, on a point of personal privilege, I would ask you to read the Hansard record for tonight and make your decision known to this House as to exactly what was said here tonight. I think it is very important, Mr. Speaker. Could I please have your assurance that you will do that?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: My only interest at this time is that you not accuse another member of making an untrue statement.

Mr. Good: Only the Premier (Mr. Davis) can do that and get away with it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I’ll go over the record but that wasn’t my understanding of what was said here just now.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I don’t think there was any suggestion to any member on the part of the Minister of Agriculture and Food that that member was misleading the House.

Mr. Samis: He said it was an untrue statement.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There was no accusation that the Minister of Agriculture and Food was misleading the House.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: There was no suggestion that anybody was misleading the House. The minister clearly said that the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain) made an untrue statement.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: He did.

Hon. W. Newman: He did. That’s why I asked you to look at it.

Some hon. members: Name him, name him.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Timiskaming will please continue uninterrupted and address his remarks through the Chair.

Mr. Bain: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I won’t deal with the other items in the bill at too great a length. We do admit that the bill is contributory -- that was one of our original points -- and it is voluntary; sure it is. But it doesn’t make any difference whether the bill is voluntary and contributory if the real result of the bill is not to give the farmer a decent income. Five per cent, I think, totally negates any contributory or voluntary aspect. That’s why we come back again to the negotiating part, which we feel is so essential.

I would remind the Liberals of their amendment to our reasoned amendment in the spring. Although we meant to say it, we never really put “negotiating” in our amendment; it was the Liberals who drew this to our attention and were kind enough to put in the words, “negotiating with legally constituted farm spokesmen.” I do not call the kinds of meetings that the minister had across the province on October 4 negotiating with anybody. That is one of the key things, I think.

Mr. Godfrey: Just playing around.

Mr. Bain: The “cash cost” thing is very interesting. What I find most objectionable is that farm family labour will not be considered as a cost input. The minister can tell me whatever he wants, but I don’t see how he considers family farm labour to be important if he won’t allow it as a cost. What the minister is saying is that farmers should expect to work for nothing.

If the cow-calf programme were under this bill, I hate to think of the consequences. We have already had a number of speakers mention that instead of getting $22.5 million, the cow-calf operators would have got about $2 million. That just is not good enough. There are a lot of things in something like this that come to one’s mind.

The provincial government -- and I quote again from Mr. Hill; I will read an excerpt from something he said in his column on April 27 in Farm and Country:

“While other provincial governments fostered agricultural development Ontario focused on industrial development. The captains of industry had the government’s ear and funds were shovelled into the cities. Farmers had to be satisfied with the hind teats.”

I would only like to add that that is not good enough and that it is still the government’s policy, as far as I can see. Since the minister has a farm background, I am sure he will appreciate that my parents-in-law once had a sow with seven teats. The minister, as a farmer, knows what use that was. It was the same use as his bill. His bill is about as useless as a sow with seven teats, and he should do the same to his bill as my parents-in-law did with that sow -- they killed it.


Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, I will conclude by saying that Bill 131 is totally ineffectual. It will do nothing for farmers in this province.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s unparliamentary language.


Mr. Bain: The farm community is too important in this province to be sold a bill of goods such as this. This bill may be good enough for some of the minister’s colleagues in this House but it’s not good enough for the farmers. I defy him to try to sell that bill to the farmers of this province, in the sales barns of this province.

Mr. Shore: For your parents-in-law --


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it certainly is a privilege for me to stand up and speak to Bill 131 --

Mr. Sweeney: Here’s a real farmer talking.

Mr. G. I. Miller: -- which I feel is going to be an asset for the agricultural industry of Ontario. I’d like to point out that food is the absolute No. 1 priority in sustaining life and it is something which everyone needs, regardless of station, on a more or less equal basis.

Mr. MacDonald: No kidding.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Before I get to the bill, I’d like to bring to members’ attention and to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture and Food a few things which concern me as far as agriculture is concerned in Ontario. I think we have a tremendous amount of ability to produce food. We have the people who would like to do it but we don’t seem to be competing in the markets as well as we might.

In the estimates last spring, I asked a few questions and I found that Ontario is exporting something like $599 million worth of produce a year and importing $935 million dollars worth of produce. Import values exceeded export values by 56 per cent in 1973. In 1974 we exported $666 million worth of food and imported $1.183 billion worth of food, which means we imported 78 per cent more than we exported. That has to be of real concern to me as a farmer and I ask myself why this has to happen.

Perhaps it is the leadership we’ve had from the Conservative government over the past few years. As a member of the Liberal caucus I feel it’s our responsibility in a minority government to provide some constructive criticism. In Ontario, the decline in farm land used for food production is directly linked to the uncertain prospects for adequate farm incomes. Farming does not bring returns on land as great as almost any urban or industrial use.

Net farm income last year in Ontario dropped 2.7 per cent and in 1976 in Ontario there will be a further decline of 10 per cent. I don’t know what other part or segment of society has to contend with a drop in income in this age of inflation. As a matter of fact, the Department of Agriculture for Canada predicts that up to a 25 per cent drop in net farm income this year across Canada is a possibility.

I think members can see there certainly has to be some effort put forth to take the ups and downs out of producing the agriculture produce we have to sell.

If we look at the beef industry this year, I think it is at perhaps depression prices. Good beef was down as low as 38 cents and much lower even than that. When wages are anywhere from $7 to $10 to $12 an hour in many instances I think it is incredible that we can allow our beef industry to suffer to this extent.

I noticed, too, as the corn harvest came off that the price of corn today, I believe, is $2. By the time we pay perhaps 50 cents for drying, we’ll end up with $1.50 and again the farmer is at the mercy of the market. I think this government and this House has a responsibility to provide some stability.

It was brought to my attention recently, too, by one of our members, that one of our Canadian representatives at the United Nations made this statement:

“The developing countries were warned in the UN yesterday that mass starvation could occur in some parts of the world as early as 1985 if they did not quickly move to increase their food production. Geoffrey Bruce, Canada’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, told the economic committee that it has become clear that the current increase in population is outpacing the increase in food production in the Third World and Canada has made huge amounts of food available for the struggle against hunger, contributing more than $100 million alone this year.” I think that indicates agriculture will come into its own. I think we have to protect it. I think we have to show some leadership.

There was another concern of mine this year when the grape crop was harvested. About 5,000 tons of grapes grown in the Niagara peninsula this year will be without markets, according to Keith Matthie, secretary manager of the Ontario Grape Growers Marketing Board. He said: “Losses will be incurred despite assistance by the board and the provincial and federal governments.”

It just points out further that we have to show some leadership. It is too bad to have these farm products going to waste when we can produce them. I think we also have to send a challenge to our producers that we have to be competitive. And not only has the farmer to be competitive, I think all aspects of the industry in general have to be competitive. We can’t ask our farmers to work from 7 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. I was just thinking when I was sitting here tonight that my two boys were harvesting the corn this year. They got their crop off in good shape but they are at the mercy of the markets through their corn crops. They get up at 6.30 in the morning, and work through to 7 o’clock at night. They have their fun as they go along but it’s not an easy life on the farm, and I think that we have to take this into consideration.

I think we have to have strong spokesmen here at Queen’s Park and at Ottawa to speak up on their behalf. I had the right to have the free enterprise system; I had the right to build my home; I worked hard and I got repaid for it. I think we have to think about this for our young farmers. Give them the opportunity and they will do the job for us.

I know there is some concern in this farm bill at what it is going to cost the province. I think it has been estimated that it is possible the cost could be $60 million to $70 million. I don’t think we can come up with an exact figure, but I did a little calculating this afternoon. As I look at the agricultural budget, I think something like $171 million is being spent in 1976-77, out of a total expenditure for the province of Ontario of $12,576 million. I think that points out that 1.359 per cent of our total budget goes toward assisting agriculture in all its aspects. I think that’s a pretty small price to pay for such an important commodity, and I think we have to consider that.

I know a lot of farmers don’t want handouts. I didn’t want a handout and we never received one, with the exception we were able to borrow money at a lesser rate. We did have some tax advantages. I think we can still come up, in Bill 131, with the same type of protection under the free enterprise system.

When the bill was first brought in back in June and we couldn’t agree to it, I think it wasn’t giving enough coverage to enough produce. Of course, we sent it back. But during the summer months we met with many farm organizations -- by “we” I mean the Liberal caucus -- because we wanted to be responsible and come in with what the people felt they needed, the people in the farming communities, the farm organizations.


We met with all the organizations over the summer, and again, I would like to just make a comment that the Federation of Agriculture, which represents the largest segment of the agriculture industry, indicated back in June that it was almost of no potential benefit to the Ontario farmers and they couldn’t accept it. The farmers’ union, we discussed it with them; I think it wasn’t acceptable to them. The Christian Farmer’s Union; I think they are the most free enterprise group of any of the organizations and they couldn’t accept it.

So after deliberating and trying to have concrete and good proposals and suggestions for the Minister of Agriculture and Food to bring into this bill, we came up with a recommendation that a programme for commodities would be developed if the majority of producers and the community gave them support. I think we want to have these farm organizations very much involved. Whether it’s the milk board, or the beef producers, I think we have to go to each individual organization and they should have a lot of input. I think it has to be on a voluntary basis and I think the controls have to be set up in such a way that we don’t encourage overproduction and there should be protection against the bottom falling out of the market -- those ups and down should be taken out of it.

I think this bill will do it. We don’t know exactly what affect it will have, but the only way we’re really going to find out is to get it into action, so consequently I hope that we can come up with a satisfactory solution for it in Bill 131, and I hope the minister will listen to the input that we would like to have, because it’s constructive.

Again it’s a privilege to have an opportunity to speak on this bill and I just hope that it does the job. I might point out too that I took a survey during the last summer before I closed for the farmers who were in favour. It was strictly a question to the farmers in my riding and the replies that I got back indicated that 42 per cent were in favour, 42 per cent were in doubt and 16 per cent had no opinion. But I think it indicates that the farmers really don’t understand it. If it can keep young farmers coming on, if it can keep the free enterprise system working to the best degree it can work under the system today, I think we’ve accomplished much and I think this is the goal we want to strive towards.

Mr. Eaton: I’d like to rise and just say a few quick words in support of this legislation and in opposition to the amendment put forth by the opposition parties.

In rising to speak to this bill I have to say I was sorry that I missed the debate on Tuesday night. But, however, I was out where there were a group of some 300 farmers and I’m sure that I got much more out of that than listening to some of the drivel that was coming from the opposition parties.

Mr. Sargent: I’ll bet the farmers didn’t though.

Mr. Eaton: I think that in reading the letter that was put in by the member for Huron-Middlesex --

Mr. Sweeney: Get the shovel out. It’s starting to pile up around you. Get the shovel.


Mr. Eaton: In reading the letter that was put in by the member for Huron-Middlesex, it said a lot.


Mr. MacDonald: Your embracing of the Liberals is obscene.

Mr. Eaton: And in reading it I knew exactly where it came from, because I had a copy of it; it came from a neighbour of mine. It came from a neighbour who came to this country and in our free enterprise system had the opportunity to work and build a family farm for himself. You know, when the member for Etobicoke pooh-poohed that letter, he was pooh-poohing an opportunity that those people appreciated. They were simply pointing out that they appreciated that opportunity and they hoped that people would continue to have that opportunity in this province.

Mr. Philip: You lack leadership in explaining to them the real farm issues.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Etobicoke does not have the floor.

Mr. Shore: You’ll straighten them out, Ed; you’ll take care of them.

Mr. Eaton: You know, the member for Etobicoke --

Mr. Shore: You’ll be all right, Ed.

Mr. Eaton: -- was pointing out a number of things in his great experience with the Federation of Agriculture --

Mr. Shore: That’s right.

Mr. Eaton: -- I met a couple of people who were members of the federation and knew him who said they were glad he was elected here because they got rid of him.


Mr. MacDonald: Would you like me to tell you what some people have said about your role in the federation?

Mr. Eaton: And you know, the member for Etobicoke made another statement --


Mr. Eaton: The member for Etobicoke made another statement that I would like to have him place on the record. He indicated --

Mr. Ferris: One more election and the bean growers will have you back. They deserve you.

Mr. Eaton: He indicated --

Mr. Ferris: They’re going to get you next time.

Mr. Eaton: -- that someone in this province --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the member for London South try to cool it?

Mr. Eaton: He indicated that a producer in this province paid a premium to the crop insurance commission and then was told that he couldn’t collect on it because he didn’t have enough income. I challenge the member to place the name of that man and his situation in this House so that it can be checked into with the crop insurance commission.

Mr. Philip: Be glad to.

Mr. Lane: He’s always making those insinuations. He can’t back them up.

Mr. MacDonald: He’s a responsible member.

Mr. Eaton: I’d like to refer a little bit more to that letter that came in, because I think it represents the views of many producers in this province.

You know, there was an indication that the views expressed at the meetings across this province represented the total view. Well, I’ll tell you, at the meeting I went to there were about 65 or 70 farmers from five or six counties. I was on more farms in my riding this summer than there were farmers at that meeting -- in fact about three times as many -- and I’ll tell you they weren’t buying the kind of stabilization programme that the socialists would propose in this province.

They said they didn’t want a programme that would give incentives, that would lead to supply management and control by the government as the NDP plan would require.

Mr. MacDonald: They don’t need to have it if they don’t want it. It is voluntary.

Mr. Eaton: You know, the opposition is indicating that they’re listening to the farmers out there. I’ll challenge the NDP to visit as many farms as I’ve been on or the member for Etobicoke who was with the federation.

Mr. Philip: I have visited more farms than you ever have.

Mr. Eaton: I tell you I’ve probably been on more farms in southwestern Ontario than all of them put together.

Mr. MacDonald: I’ve been on more farms than you’ll ever get to.

Mr. Eaton: And you’re not expressing the views of the producers when you express some of the things that you were saying.

Mr. Ferris: Half of your people didn’t vote for you.

Mr. Eaton: The member for Cornwall went to great extremes to indicate how fewer farms were operating in his area, but he never indicated the increase in production that we have in this province. That increase in production came about from the family farms that he was pooh-poohing, from the family farms which had the initiative and incentive to go ahead and do a job to build their farms and make agriculture strong as it is in this province.

Mr. Samis: Did you listen to your colleague from Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry?

Mr. Eaton: You know, Mr. MacDonald does a disservice to agriculture when he puts out a statement saying that roughly half the farms in this province are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Mr. Shore: Who said that?

Mr. MacDonald: Who says?

Mr. Eaton: A quote right from the member.

Mr. MacDonald: Where, Mr. Speaker? Would the member identify that, please?

Mr. Eaton: That’s a release for the press, after your statements downstairs when you were talking about the farm income stabilization plan.

Mr. MacDonald: I never made such a statement.

An hon. member: Shame, Donald. Shame.

Mr. Eaton: I’ll send you over a copy. It’s there. It was in the press.

Mr. MacDonald: I never made such a statement.

Mr. Eaton: I’ll read it: “Donald MacDonald, NDP agriculture critic, said roughly half the farmers in the province are on the verge of bankruptcy. He said 40 per cent of Ontario farmers left farming in the last 10 years and of those remaining, more than 50 per cent are only part-timers.”

Mr. MacDonald: That’s right.

Mr. Wiseman: Oh, now you’re changing your mind.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege or on a point of correction. I didn’t say they were on the verge of bankruptcy. I said they couldn’t make a living on the farms, therefore they were part-time farmers.

Mr. Eaton: That’s not the way the statement reads.

Mr. MacDonald: The newspaperman said that. The latter part is the same and I stand by it.

Mr. Eaton: But anyway, just go on about that statement. What’s wrong with the part-time farmers? Many of the people that want to get into it get in the way.

Mr. MacDonald: Because they’d like to do it full-time but they can’t afford it.

Mr. Eaton: Many get in that way. And when they bring in legislation such as they are proposing in their amendments, then they’re eliminating those people because they’re going to have such strict controls --

Mr. MacDonald: Nonsense. How?

Mr. Eaton: -- to support the kind of programme they’re talking about that the farmers won’t be able to get into it.

Mr. MacDonald: How are we eliminating them? It is voluntary and they don’t need to come in.

Mr. Shore: You have been snowed.

Mr. Eaton: I think we can go a little farther. They keep talking about how much money it means. It is going to be $70 million and it should be $140 million. Why do they always have to think about how much money they’re going to spend on the programme? The programme would be the greatest success if it was at that support level and never used because that would mean the prices are going to be much higher and the money would be much better spent in other programmes we have, such as our tile drainage programme which is putting strength into agriculture through capital investment.

Mr. MacDonald: Why are you trying to kid the public about your $70 million?

Mr. Peterson: Are you having another study on that?

Mr. Samis: Tell us about the $160 million.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Middlesex will continue.

Mr. Peterson: He is doing so poorly, though, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Eaton: They referred quite frequently to our marketing legislation brought in in 1942. I think we can be proud of that marketing legislation. Much of it has been used by our producers to get themselves a price in the marketplace. That’s the way it should be. The opportunity is there for producers who want to work together to make use of that legislation to get their money out of the marketplace.

Mr. Laughren: The minister doesn’t want to hear this.

Mr. Eaton: I think they’re trying to play two sides of it because in that same statement he goes on to say, “I have no idea what the Liberals will do. The NDP considers this issue -- ”

Mr. Ferris: You should have written him a better speech.

Mr. Peterson: He will never take the minister’s job; he has nothing to worry about.

Mr. Eaton: “ -- of stable farm community and preservation of agriculture land, with the implications for food prices, as a very powerful urban issue.” Urban issue? Maybe they’ve realized that it’s not such a great issue in the rural parts. Maybe they feel that by coming in with a subsidy they can keep the food prices down --

Mr. Philip: How come you are not attacking the OFA tonight? Where is your OFA speech?

Mr. MacDonald: We don’t talk differently in the rural areas.

Mr. Eaton: -- and end up subsidizing the farmers at a level which just gives them a bare income. That’s about what will happen with the kind of amendments they’re proposing.

Mr. Wiseman: They talk out of both sides of their mouths.

Mr. Wildman: That is what you are doing.

Mr. Philip: Where is your anti-OFA speech tonight?

Mr. Eaton: I think we have to put this legislation through the way it is and give it an opportunity to work. I don’t think we can stand by and say that farmers are going bankrupt, there’s no interest, no one will go into farming, and that the farm community is in a poor state. The interest in farming, the interest of people going to agricultural colleges is the highest it has ever been.

I had the opportunity on Saturday night to be with some of my former classmates from 20 years ago at ag school; some from the class of 15 years ago, 10 years ago, and five years ago. They weren’t talking gloom in agriculture because they had gone out and worked hard to make their way in it and felt they were doing quite well. I think the members really do them a disservice. I think the opportunity should be there for the free enterprise system --

Mr. Samis: Did you hear the speech of the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry?

Mr. Eaton: -- for the individual who wants to get started.

Mr. Mackenzie: He did the retraining?

Mr. Eaton: I think I can refer to my own situation -- the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk referred to his in the same way.

Mr. Shore: Why don’t you organize him?

Mr. Eaton: I came out of school with money owing on my schooling and worked a couple of years to get a down payment on a farm.

Mr. Peterson: You don’t have to pay to go to grade 2.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Eaton: I was able to work and have my own place because I had the opportunity to enter that market and work. I think we have a bill which can put some guarantee under there. It won’t make a profit for people; it won’t guarantee the farmer a profit and cause over-production, or cause incentives which will lead to state control such as some people in the House, in the opposition, would promote.

Mr. MacDonald: Nonsense.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I consider it a pleasure and a privilege to be able to rise and partake briefly in this debate tonight and to bring members some of the viewpoints of the farm people of the great riding of Victoria and Haliburton county.

Mr. Nixon: Is that Mr. Frost’s old riding?

Mr. Eakins: I live in the rural township of Ops and have only three acres and a horse. It doesn’t constitute, I suppose, much of an authority to make the minister sit up and listen.

Mr. Peterson: Which end of the horse do you have?


Mr. Eakins: But it is three acres more than my friends’ to the right.

Mr. Shore: They have more horses than you do.

Mr. Eakins: I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that I need to say very little following the very excellent presentation to this House by my colleagues and spokesmen for our party, the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex and the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.

Mr. Bain: What about the hon. member for Grey?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Victoria-Haliburton has the floor. Would you give him the courtesy of listening to him?

Mr. Eakins: I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member who follows me will give the members to the right a lesson in agriculture.

Mr. Nixon: Knee deep.

Mr. Makarchuk: No doubt about it, he has been hiding it out for a long time.

Mr. Eakins: I am very pleased, Mr. Speaker, to rise to support Bill 131 on second reading, because we believe in the principle of the bill. Last June we asked that the original bill be referred back to the government to have incorporated therein the principles of a farm income stabilization plan which would be open to the producers of all farm products on a voluntary and contributory basis, with the government negotiating with legally-constituted farm spokesmen --

Mr. Bain: What negotiations have ever taken place?

Mr. MacDonald: How are they going to do that?

Mr. Eakins: -- and with assurance that the government provide a public forum for full discussion with the farm community before reintroduction of the bill. As far as we are concerned, the government in most ways has met these demands. The government has consulted with the farm people, though I must say that the meeting I attended in Campbellford was a very hastily arranged meeting and not as many farmers were present as should have been, but at least there was some opportunity for consultation.

Mr. Bain: It was a sop.

Mr. Eakins: The government has set up a plan on a voluntary contributory basis. There is provision in the bill where the commission that has been established can consult with the producer organizations and the producers themselves in order to arrive at a stabilized price. I feel it would be irresponsible for the members to oppose a bill where the demands have actually been met. We are not saying that we don’t have some misgivings about the bill, but we support in principle what the government has done.

We are prepared to bring in some amendments when the bill goes into committee, but I am sure they will be amendments the minister is already familiar with. He has received word from some of the farm organizations as to what they think should be incorporated in this bill. The various farm organizations are prepared to support this bill if some of the amendments are made that we feel should be made.

Mr. MacDonald: It is not the Farmers’ Union bill.

Mr. Eakins: I think it would be interesting, Mr. Speaker, to quote a summary of the young farmers’ conference which was held at the Prince Hotel in Toronto on March 8. I just want to quote from their report on income stabilization.

Mr. Samis: That was an expensive affair.

Mr. Eakins: Delegates strongly endorsed that the agricultural industry should be in strong and healthy economic condition so that the individual producer can derive a satisfactory income by applying sound management practices to his own farm operation. Efficient producers should be able to derive a satisfactory income from the market and protection should not be provided for inefficient producers. Stabilization of farm income or provision of a guaranteed income was rejected. In fact, the majority supported the position of asking government to stop planning any further income stabilization programmes.

Mr. Wildman: Are you going to vote against this bill? Why are you going to vote for it?

Mr. Eakins: However, programmes now being used by marketing boards to provide price stability to some commodities were quite acceptable. There was also some support for voluntary, farmer-controlled programmes that would attempt to level out price cycles by collecting revenue from farmers when prices are high and returning it to them when prices are low. I think it is important to hear the different views of the people across this province.

Mr. Speaker, in connection with the constitution of the commission, we do not feel it should be just appointees by the Lieutenant Governor, but that farm organizations in Ontario should be able to appoint directly to this commission so that we can be assured that we do have farmer representatives on that board.

Another amendment we would like to see is in connection with indexing. When establishing a stabilized price the bill refers to cash costs. We feel that cost of production should include hired labour costs and interest on operating capital in order to carry out the farming operation. In most cases that leaves very little for the farmer’s own labour. We feel that more actual costs of production should be taken into consideration.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. There is altogether too much noise in the Legislature. Would you kindly listen to the member for Victoria-Haliburton?

Mr. Peterson: It’s from that side.

Mr. Eakins: Yes, I agree, Mr. Speaker. We also feel the bill should require the commission to consult with the producer organizations or the commodity boards when arriving at a stabilized price for a particular commodity. It would be very difficult for a commission to arrive at a stabilized price if it does not know anything about the commodity to begin with; so where the bill indicates they may consult, we feel that they must consult with the various commodity boards.

I appreciate the opportunity of briefly taking part in this debate this evening.

Mr. Angus: It is with great interest and concern that I rise to debate Bill 131, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization. Before I go into the principles of the bill and before dealing with the reasoned amendment, I wish to make it clear to the members here tonight that I am not now, nor ever have been, a farmer. I say, respectfully, that that is my loss.

Mr. Peterson: It makes you very qualified to speak. Keep it up and you might become the agricultural critic.

Mr. Angus: But since my election to this Legislature, I have become aware of the serious problems facing the farm community, particularly in my riding, in the riding of Port Arthur, in the riding of Lake Nipigon, in the riding of Algoma and in a number of other northern ridings as well as the province in general. I began to learn as much as I could about the farm community and reacted to their problems by trying to do what I could to make their life on those farms a little more bearable.

I’d like to suggest, respectfully, that the farmers of Ontario will not get a fair deal from this minister or from this government. I cite as an excellent example the delayed actions of this government in coming to the aid of the farm community in northwestern Ontario during the hay shortage this past year. I hope to elaborate further in my remarks, depending on the length of time, but as I am the windup speaker for the New Democratic Party, I would like to read once again the reasoned amendment that is before us. The reasoned amendment, moved by the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) and seconded by my northern colleague, the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman), reads as follows:

“That Bill 131, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization, be not now read a second time but referred back to the government with instruction to incorporate therein

(1) a formal role for farmers generally and commodity organizations in the development of and the determination of the terms and conditions of any plan requested by a group of producers;

(2) a comprehensive coverage for all Ontario commodities which will provide full support up to the negotiated stabilized level irrespective of the actions of the federal government; and

(3) a provision for current costs of production to be reflected in the final stabilization price or prices under any plan, with the revised bill to be reintroduced in the Legislature no later than December 1, 1976.”

We take this reasoned amendment very seriously, just as we took the reasoned amendment of last June very seriously and which, I might add, as the Liberal Party took quite seriously as well.

It seems to me that the Liberals weren’t able to negotiate a cosy, no-confidence motion this time around; so they are assisting this government in making this bill almost totally ineffectual.

Mr. Ferris: Come on, be serious.

Mr. Angus: The reasoned amendment, as amended by the excellent addition by the Liberal Party and passed in this House, gave us the outcome that the government was instructed -- and I read from Hansard of June 15 -- “that Bill 96, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization, be not now read a second time but be referred back to the government to have incorporated therein principles of a farm income protection plan which will be open to the producers of all farm products on a voluntary and contributory basis, with the government negotiating with legally constituted farm spokesmen; -- ”

Mr. Wildman: Negotiate!

Mr. Angus: “ -- and with assurance that the government provide a public forum for full discussion with the farm community before reintroduction of the bill; and that the bill be reintroduced no later than October 31, 1976.”

The principles of this bill before us are not those that the government was directed by this Legislature to return with. The line “which will be open to producers of all farm products on a voluntary and contributory basis,” is an important one to note; and I emphasize the word in there, “all”, Mr. Speaker. The assumption that everyone had is that all commodities would be covered in the same way, not some at five per cent and some at 95 per cent.

Another line: “With the government negotiating with legally constituted farm spokesmen.” I don’t know what the minister’s idea of farm spokesmen is, but let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe, and neither does my party believe, that Tory appointees will be legally constituted farm spokesmen. They should be individuals selected by the general farm organizations and the commodity groups, who express an interest to proceed with the development of a farm income stabilization programme.

My colleague, the member for York South referred in his lead-off to the government- appointed bureaucracy that would administer this non-programme. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, no true farmer could botch up a programme like these bureaucrats in his ministry can. The farmers who are directly affected must have a say, or are you just looking for another Ontario “senate” seat where you can appoint yet another former cabinet minister? The minister’s past actions give us cause to concern ourselves with the type of people that he would appoint.

Mr. Speaker, I realize the minister has indicated to this House in previous discussions that he is entertaining a possible change, but I will be honest with you sir, I do not have the confidence that his colleagues have in him.

Mr. Shore: That’s what happens.

Mr. Angus: It is important, Mr. Speaker, that I quickly elaborate on a situation that occurred, and is still occurring in Thunder Bay, relating to the farm community and relating to the principle of this bill because it relates to the survival of farmers.

The members of this House are aware of the hay shortage and the problems of the drought situation in Thunder Bay, and how this government, was slow to react; not, I will grant as slow as the federal government, but slow to react to the needs of the farm community in Thunder Bay. Because of that situation, all sorts of damaging effects occurred.

The only reason the federal government finally came through with any funds was because the federal member from Port Arthur was appointed chairman of Treasury Board and didn’t have much choice, other than losing what few farm votes he still had.

Mr. Speaker, the farmers in Thunder Bay are in trouble. They have had to import hay. They are running out of hay now. They can’t get it at proper, reasonable prices. That in turn is redirected to their cost of production. They are bringing in hay now at $100 a ton. The cost to the farmer is $50 because there is a $25 donation from the federal government and $25 from the provincial government, but it doesn’t go all the way.

There is a situation where theoretically there was an agreement to provide for quick, easy, large-quantity haulage from the province of Manitoba. We are not sure where the agreement came from, Mr. Speaker, but obviously this minister had a role in it, and the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) had a role in it and it’s a fiasco.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member return to the principle of this bill instead of other policies?

Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, I pointed out --

Hon. Mr. Davis: It would be a great idea. I know you don’t understand the principle, but return to it.

Mr. Angus: There is no principle to your bill.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.

Mr. Sweeney: There’s another farmer in the House.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ll tell you I have a lot more in my riding than you have.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Fort William will continue.

Mr. Angus: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The concern that this party has about the willingness of this government to rely on a federal minister, on a verbal commitment, that as we have said before is not worth the paper it is written on, because there is no written agreement --

Mr. Gaunt: You fellows don’t trust anybody.

Mr. Angus: Especially Liberals.

Mr. Riddell: I don’t think you trust yourself.

Hon. W. Newman: Do you blame them?

Mr. Angus: Oh, I do, I do.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Riddell: It’s written on paper. I’ll tell you that.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.

Mr. Mackenzie: One follows the other.


Mr. Angus: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I needed that break for a glass of water.

Mr. Speaker, this bill provides for the plan to be contributory. It also states that if a commodity gets low enough, then the federal minister will name it. In others words in a bad year, when the farmers have already suffered a loss, the commodity will be named and then they would have an opportunity to contribute.

Now I say it this way, Mr. Speaker, that the farmers I know have too few pennies to waste on insurance premiums which will only return them five per cent.

Mr. Ferris: Is that both of them?

Mr. Angus: As it stands now the farmers will be in a loss position before it will be appropriate for them to participate.

The president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture stated, and I quote: “Why would producers of any commodity bother to develop a plan that would insure only five per cent of the producer’s five-year average price? If a plan were developed, why would any farmer bother to enrol in it, considering the meager protection it would provide?”

Would it not be better, Mr. Speaker, if all the commodities were named for the Ontario plan, and then the commodity groups could democratically decide to opt in? If they felt there was a problem, they would decide. That’s what we believe should be done with this bill.

Mr. MacDonald: That would be comprehensive.

Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, comments have been made about the income situation of farmers, particularly in relation to cash costs. I quote from my colleague the member for York South: “I understand that those are the cash costs that are listed in the federal legislation, and which this government has accepted totally.

“But what those cash costs do not include, and what the farmers in both of the major general farm organizations have been seeking, is a cash cost that is realistic and covers the cost of labour; and not just hired labour, but payment for the farmer himself.”

Surely, the farmer is entitled to some calculation of terms of the labour that he puts into his farm. Cash costs, food, labour and some adequate return on his investment, not the inadequate kind of return that is in the calculations made in Ottawa, which once again this government has accepted totally.

Mr. Riddell: You fellows don’t trust anybody. I don’t think you trust yourselves.

Hon. W. Newman: Do you blame them?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.

Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, I urge the Liberal members of this House to reconsider their position. I mean, Mr. Speaker, they do have a certain ability to reconsider positions and I urge them to do so in this extremely important issue.

May I also remind you, Mr. Speaker, of our earlier indications that should our reasonable, reasoned amendment not receive the support of this House, then we will move amendments in committee to change this bill so that it will actually do something to support the farmers of this province.

Mr. Speaker, the member from Middlesex played the numbers game when he was contributing, in his own way, to this debate. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, at least when our members, the NDP members of this Legislature, go to the farmers in Ontario we do it with our eyes and ears open; we see and hear problems that the farmers have and we refuse to ignore them the way this government is doing with this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I am interested in the reply from the minister and I will now give him a chance to grace us with his words. Thank you.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member for Grey-Bruce.


An hon. member: Tell them you own 400 acres in downtown Owen Sound.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Grey-Bruce has the floor.

An hon. member: The farmer’s farmer.

Mr. Sargent: I’m glad we’ve woken Marvin Shore up anyway.

Mr. Speaker, this bill has been flogged inside and out, with every party I believe milking it to the Nth degree.

Mr. MacDonald: When did you last milk a cow?

An hon. member: Two days before you.

Mr. Sweeney: At least he knows which end.

Mr. Sargent: If I did she’d he well milked, I’ll tell you that.

Mr. Laughren: He said milked, not bilked.

Mr. Sargent: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you can bet your Grey Cup tickets that the Prime Minister sees political mileage in this --

Mr. MacDonald: He was pushed into it.

Mr. Sargent: -- or he wouldn’t be doing it, I would suggest to you, he wouldn’t be doing it. Do you want to speak, Donald, or will I speak?

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member for Grey-Bruce will continue without interruption.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Did you say you had extra Grey Cup tickets? Is that what you said?

Mr. Sargent: This will be very brief because we must say something intelligent this time.


Mr. MacDonald: It will be very brief all right.

Mr. Sargent: My friend from Waterloo North says we have a couple of tickets for the Grey Cup luncheon tomorrow.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I heard people asked --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please. Would the hon. member return to the principle of this bill?

Mr. Sargent: I would suggest that the Premier’s going to do something about this bill -- about $60 million worth, I guess. That could be to appear to be doing something for the farmers. But the funny thing -- and the Premier’s in the House tonight --

Hon. Mr. Davis: I knew you were going to speak.

Mr. Sargent: -- is that the think tank, I understand, has come up now with the view that when the House isn’t sitting, the Premier’s polls rating goes way up. But when the House sits and the people of Ontario find what really is going on, it goes down.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Eddie, you fellows have no further to go.


Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please. The hon. member will continue debating the principle of the bill.

Mr. Sargent: I’m trying not to be provocative.

The Premier suggests that this will be a short parliament. I’d say about $1.2 billion short.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I never said it would be short.

Mr. Sargent: I don’t know. I must confess, Mr. Speaker, getting along to the bill --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Confession is good for the soul.

Mr. Peterson: Why don’t you try?

Mr. Laughren: It is a good line -- mind if we use it?

Mr. Sargent: -- I’ve had very few farmers - in fact I can’t recall a single farmer -- concerned over the farm income protection plan. Not a single one. What farmers are concerned about is property tax reform, the high increase of -- what? -- 29 per cent in hydro, the lack of hospital beds, waiting three to six months for a hospital bed.

We have our chartered banks of this country offering farmers a loan.

Mr. Laughren: And you thought he didn’t know anything about agriculture.

Mr. Sargent: Do you know a single farmer that’s been able to get a loan from the banks on the federal plan? Not a single bank will do it. They say the government will back it up and the banks will give it to them but the banks won’t give it to them. So it’s time that the minister got into the ball game here and did something for the farmers of Ontario that way.

Mr. Shore: Whose side are you on, Eddie?

Hon. W. Newman: I have.

Mr. Sargent: I mean that. It’s very serious. I enjoyed the remarks of the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry. For once the government has a man who knows what he’s talking about over there.

Mr. Samis: Better than you have got over there. All you have got to do is listen to him.

An hon. member: He should be in the cabinet.

Mr. Angus: He should be minister.


Mr. Sargent: He talked of the hardships --

Mr. Laughren: Talk to Marvin Shore.

Mr. Sargent: -- of farmers in his area and inequities and discrimination that are prevalent in the agri-industry.

Mr. Eaton: You want to come and visit a few farms in Middlesex.

Mr. Sargent: And this past week I have had in my area a young farmer. If he doesn’t come up with a --


Mr. Shore: A little respect over there, eh?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Sargent: He will lose $100,000 if he does not have some way of getting back his milk quota, because he will not have any quota until next April 1, 1977. In the interim he’s going to go down the drain, $100,000 worth, because he wasn’t in the business soon enough. He got in the business just last year and now he’s ruled out. This man is going to go down the drain.

These are things that I’m concerned about. I’ve been in touch with the Milk Marketing Board and they’re going to try and fit him into this year’s picture. Those are things that are important to farmers.

But somewhere along the line one thing I think about as a small entrepreneur, a businessman -- and I say small because really when I think of the big capital investment, the multi-billions of dollars that are invested in plants, agri-plants, across this province of Ontario, billions of dollars -- bigger than any General Motors or whatever you’ve got. They’re the biggest industry in our whole province. We have all this plant laying there and, Mr. Speaker, the International World Bank meets about three or four times a year to distribute loans of money across the world. It tries to distribute the money to do the most good and hopes for world peace.

Why can’t we have a world food bank, something along that line? We have one third of the people in the world going to bed hungry and the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry talks about one of his farmers wasting 700 pounds of milk in a day. People are going to bed hungry and we are doing those things.

Why couldn’t we have a world food bank and have 100 per cent of our farms producing? The farmers wouldn’t have to worry about support or subsidies or handouts.

Mr. Laughren: Move an amendment. Come on over here.

Mr. Ferrier: We’re with you.

Mr. Sargent: I say if our farmers could work to full capacity, we could keep our people on the farms and they would be paid for the 60 or 70 hours a week they work. They even milk the cows on Christmas Day. There’s no 40-hour week there.

I think I have talked too long. I want to say this in closing, that in supporting this bill --

Mr. Shore: Are you supporting it?

Mr. Sargent: I certainly am -- I believe wholeheartedly in the principle of the thing.

Mr. Ferrier: Your speech was good until that point.

Mr. Sargent: The farmer is the only person in our economic fabric who does not know the end price of his product. He’s the only man in our economy who doesn’t know that. Everyone else knows his own end price.

Mr. Bain: This bill isn’t going to change that.

Mr. Sargent: He’s the only man in this system -- I think the farmer today is the world’s biggest gambler. He pays retail for everything he buys, he sells it wholesale and he pays the freight both ways. We support the bill.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, before I get into the deliberations tonight, I’d like to suggest that maybe somebody would like to call for a royal commission on the Bell Telephone Company about my communications with the farmers in this province. Although I’m only really kidding, I’m sorry --

Mr. Bain: Take it over.

Mr. Samis: Don’t blame it on Bell.

Hon. W. Newman: -- we had a few problems in our communications. We have met with all the commodity boards and the farm organizations on this bill. I’d like to welcome in the gallery tonight, Mr. Speaker, the Vegetable Growers Marketing Board of the province of Ontario whose members are doing a great job in this province.

One of the things which does concern me tonight and has concerned me throughout this debate -- this legislation has been truly tried in the news media, which is all right -- but what I am concerned about is I wonder if the opposition members really realize what they’re talking about tonight.

Mr. MacDonald: Do you? That is what is important.

Mr. Bain: Free negotiations -- what’s wrong with that?

Hon. W. Newman: If we went down the road they are proposing, or some of them are proposing, we would destroy the marketing board system in this province which has been tried and found true by our agricultural producers for many years.

Mr. MacDonald: That is a bunch of nonsense.

Hon. W. Newman: It may be that in their minds they know exactly what they are doing and that’s what bothers me. It really would bother me.

Mr. MacDonald: That is another red herring.

Hon. W. Newman: When the member for Timiskaming stood up tonight and we had our little altercation --

Mr. Samis: Altercation?

Hon. W. Newman: -- he was talking about a seven-tit sow and it just amazes me. He was a member of the 4-H Club but he does not know that you call them teats to start with and if he didn’t know enough to get rid of a seven-teat sow, there is something wrong him. His agricultural background is sadly lacking. That’s all I’ve got to say.

Mr. Bain: We are not that sophisticated in northern Ontario.

Mr. MacDonald: Shows how long you have not been on the farm.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Perhaps the hon. minister will speak to the principle of the bill.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, all I am saying is that as he was speaking to the principle of the bill, I wanted to make sure he got properly corrected.

Mr. Samis: Back down again.

Mr. MacDonald: You have driven the Premier out.

Mr. Samis: He couldn’t take any more of this.

Hon. W. Newman: It is very interesting as we talk about the various members, and I’m not going to discuss it, because quite obviously they don’t know the difference between crop insurance and stabilization over there. Their last speaker didn’t really understand that but that’s all right.

One thing I must talk about is the principle of this bill. Let me say I’ve heard letters read in this House tonight and Tuesday night. We have a lot of new Canadians who have come to this great province of ours and have started in the agriculture industry. They came here because they wanted the right to farm the way they wanted to farm in this great province of ours. That is why they came here

-- because we had the free enterprise system.


Mr. Samis: And stayed on the farm.

Hon. W. Newman: Today they are good corporate citizens.

Mr. MacDonald: That is ideological nonsense.

Hon. W. Newman: If the opposition party -- I’ll talk about you later -- had its way we would destroy that.

Mr. Speaker, I want to get on the record tonight a few facts and figures.

Mr. MacDonald: Who wrote that for you?

Hon. W. Newman: I wrote it and rewrote it between 6 and 8 o’clock because I was so disgusted with some of the things you people over there said.

Mr. Cassidy: You are losing your cool. It is happening again.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: Apart from its intrinsic importance, this bill has served to polarize basic political philosophies --

Mr. Bain: You have tried to use it for that purpose.

Hon. W. Newman: As a result, we have had many overheated exchanges.

Mr. Bain: And yours has been the most overheated.

Hon. W. Newman: I concede I am not guiltless in that regard. How about that, eh?


Hon. W. Newman: And we have also heard far too much foolishness over there too.

Mr. MacDonald: And now too.

Hon. W. Newman: However, I am impressed by the amount of sound common sense this debate has provided -- and not only from the government benches. I am pleased by some of the other bon. members who understand farmers and farming.

Mr. Samis: Name them, Bill. What party?

Hon. W. Newman: They have obviously subjected the bill to thoughtful analysis.

Mr. Cassidy: That is why we spoke the way we did.

Mr. MacDonald: When we agree with you it is thoughtful. If we disagree it is nonsense.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, it is not the least bit surprising to me that the NDP would come forth with the stance that they did. They were taking great pains to assure us they are not advocating socialized agriculture when all of us know that what they are suggesting would direct the agricultural industry in this province down just that road.

One thing that has impressed me in this debate is that those members --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Your leader admits it.

Mr. MacDonald: You know better if he doesn’t.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: -- of this House who have a true understanding of the present status of the agricultural industry in the province and also a keen desire of what they want for it in the future, have indicated their support of this bill. This is where basic political beliefs have polarized. The government is determined to resist any attempt to lead farming down the socialist road.

Mr. Laughren: Between you and Leo Bernier who alienated all of northern Ontario.

Mr. Angus: That is a red heifer.

Hon. W. Newman: No, no. We insist that the plan must operate within the free enterprise system and the free market system based on supply and demand.

Mr. Cassidy: That is Darcy’s speech.

Mr. Shore: Listen, boys, you will learn something.

Mr. Bain: I am listening but he hasn’t told us anything yet.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Timiskaming had his chance to speak. Now it’s the minister’s turn.

An hon. member: Throw him out.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, he didn’t speak, he just uttered.


Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I am accustomed to some pretty bizarre utterances from the NDP, but I was so appalled by a remark the opposition agricultural critic made on Tuesday that I checked back later in Hansard. And sure enough, he actually told the government, and I quote “to quit prattling around about free enterprise, which doesn’t exist particularly in the agricultural communities.”

I really haven’t got the time, Mr. Speaker, to explain the ABCs of agriculture to the NDP today.

Mr. MacDonald: Right. What about the quota in supply management? In milk? In beef? That is not free enterprise.

Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Hon. W. Newman: But let me tell --

An hon. member: Throw him out.

Hon. W. Newman: Just let me tell the farmer from York Sooth that free enterprise doesn’t merely exist in the agricultural community, it flourishes in the agricultural community. It’s the very foundation stone of our agricultural community, and don’t you forget that.

After listening to that kind of stuff, it was encouraging to hear the Liberal Party support the government’s policy of operating within the free enterprise system and working towards an effective comprehensive stabilization programme on a national scale. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, it cannot be stressed too often that all political parties agree that farm income stabilization is primarily a federal responsibility. The federal framework is there --

Mr. Philip: Keep up there, brother, they will overcome you.

Hon. W. Newman: -- for a really meaningful national programme. The trouble is that in the past its provisions have never been employed extensively enough to meet the needs of Ontario’s farmers. Nevertheless the fact that Ottawa has been slow to live up to its commitments does not mean that a nationwide programme is unworkable or unlikely. If the provincial governments and the farmers’ organizations keep up their pressure, I’m confident we can overcome the lack of some federal action.

Mr. Philip: Keep it up there, brother, they will overcome you.

Hon. W. Newman: I fully intend to maintain our dedication to a meaningful national plan. In a Telex yesterday, Mr. Whelan invited me and other provincial agriculture ministers to a meeting in Ottawa on December 15 -- an important conference -- to try to sort out federal and provincial stabilization programmes.

Mr. Laughren: Are you going?

Hon. W. Newman: Yes. It appears to me that the approach Ontario has been trying to sell for almost four years now has a considerable amount of support from most of the provinces and I look forward to the meeting on December 15.

Mr. Cassidy: You sound like a stump speaker at a Republican convention.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You would provoke me into saying what you sound like and that wouldn’t be nice tonight.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: I feel we should have universal support for every Canadian farm product --

Mr. Cassidy: You guys are afraid of losing the free enterprise vote.

Hon. W. Newman: -- at the level which the federal Bill C-50 provides and that above this level we should offer additional protection for farmers who want to contribute towards it.

Mr. Ferris: Except asphalt.

Hon. W. Newman: The federal government, the provincial government and participating producers should be equal partners in building up a fund for this extra protection on a dollar per dollar basis.

Mr. MacDonald: Amen.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I hope Hansard notes that amen from the member for York South.

Hon. W. Newman: The member for York South tried to make a big deal out of a speech I made a year ago to the annual convention of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. What I said then basically --

Mr. Cassidy: Those sort of dulcet tones.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister continue and could we have fewer interjections? They add nothing to the seriousness of this debate. Order, please.

Mr. MacDonald: You know better even if he doesn’t.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister will continue.

Hon. W. Newman: They are obviously not interested in the farmers’ future. The member for York South tried to make a big deal out of a speech I made a year ago to the annual convention of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. What I said then was basically what I have said here -- our long-term objective is still a universal floor price on which the provinces can build according to their regional needs and wishes. When I discussed production costs and Ontario’s plans, I was talking of building a voluntary, contributory, three-way partnership on top of the federal foundation in Bill C-50. We still don’t have that solid foundation but my outlook remains optimistic.

Mr. Bain: It’s a pretty shaky foundation.

Hon. W. Newman: Meanwhile, the time is overdue to get the show on the road in Ontario. Bill 131 is designed to do just that, to provide protection for Ontario producers who want it now.

I might say that it is not as good as the ultimate plan we are working for. We all know that; it is not a panacea.

The member for Huron-Middlesex and other Liberal members understand that. I think he agrees that it is a sound workable plan and any limitations are dictated by the facts of farm life today.

Mr. Bain: The only reason they support it is they are afraid of an election.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. member for Timiskaming wish to remain in the chamber? There have been enough admonitions tonight about the interjections which are not adding to the calibre of the debate; there are many people watching and judging everyone here. I think perhaps we should get on with the debate. Will the hon. minister continue?

Hon. W. Newman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. He has suggested that some provisions could be changed and I’m certainly not taking the stand that the Act couldn’t be amended from time to time if it is necessary. As the Liberal agricultural critic said, let’s set the machinery in place and give the plan a chance to work.

On the question of producer participation in the decisions of the stabilization commission, I feel it is guaranteed adequately by the Act. The majority of the commissioners will be representatives of the farming community. I can’t see the commission actually negotiating formally in the sort of confrontation situations we see in union-management bargaining but I can see them having a very meaningful role in the whole situation.

Maybe we can approach it from a slightly different angle. The three major farm organizations might recommend annual members to sit on the commission. If such a compromise would make the organizations and majority of members happier, I’d be willing to amend the bill to that effect in committee.

The Act was designed to solicit input from the agriculture community. It says the commission may consult the general farm organizations, marketing boards and such other producer groups as it considers proper. If it would end any misgivings about the Act’s intent the word “may” could be changed to “shall.” That would require consultation before setting up any commodity plan or amending it later.

The member for Huron-Middlesex wondered why the government couldn’t extend the provisions of the bill regarding producers of commodities which aren’t named or designated for federal support at the 90 per cent level. To a large extent he answered his own question.

Mr. Whelan has said any commodity that needs such protection will get it if the need is demonstrated. We want Ottawa to provide that protection and I would like to quote from the federal-provincial conference we had on July 26 to 29 in Quebec City and I quote from a statement of Mr. Whelan’s: “There has been some uncertainty expressed as to whether or not support would be offered under the federal programme to commodities that are not named under the Act. I can indicate to you that any agricultural commodity which is produced in significant quantities in Canada will be supported under the federal programme if the need for this support can be demonstrated.”

Mr. MacDonald: Who is going to judge that?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister will continue.

Hon. W. Newman: Those were his own words. It is true that this extended coverage could have been provided provincially under Bill 96 at a cost of roughly, as I originally estimated it, $7 million, but on further calculation it was roughly $11 million to $12 million last year.

It is also true, of course, that the opposition parties turned back Bill 96, but apart from that we must remember that market prices were fairly good last year, comparatively speaking. They have been pretty good for three years, but farmers have actual historical reasons for thinking that the good years are followed by bad years. In a year of really depressed prices, payouts could be a great deal higher than the $11 million to $12 million. Just how high, I would not like to estimate.

It was also suggested that we should change the basic 95 per cent level of support payments in Bill 131 to read “not more than 95 per cent of the five-year average price adjusted by cost of production indexing.” Such an amendment would not be consistent with the principle of the bill. Remember, Ontario’s formula is based on the same data as the federal formula. Our plan is designed to be integrated with an effective federal plan when we finally achieve that on a national basis and integration would be very difficult, if not impossible, with such a revision. As I said, my mind is not closed to amendments to the Act if they prove necessary, but I am not prepared to alter the principle of the bill.

Bill 131 adjusts payments to reflect the farmer’s current cash cost of producing a commodity compared to his cash cost averaged over the five years. I would like to read the list into the record, Mr. Sneaker, to counter recent suggestions that somehow we would be short-changing the farmer.

A farmer’s cash costs are defined as the normal out-of-pocket expenses he incurs in field crop production. Cash costs normally include hired labour; the expenses of operating and repairing machinery and farm buildings; property taxes on land and buildings; field drainage; fertilizer; pesticides; herbicides; crop insurance premiums; and hydro and telephone services needed for production. In livestock farming, cash costs normally include hired labour; hay; feed grains; other feeds; protein supplements and minerals; veterinary bills; medicine; building repairs; fence repairs; expenses of operating and repairing machinery and vehicles; property taxes associated with production; bedding for the animals; electricity and utilities.

Mr. MacDonald: No labour costs to the farmer himself.

Hon. W. Newman: You didn’t even listen to the last paragraph.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister continue and ignore the interjections?

Hon. W. Newman: These normal out-of-pocket production expenses are easily understood. Confusion arises only when people propose other costs that might be considered in support payments -- overhead costs that would be incurred even if the crop were not produced in any given year.

I have heard and considered recommendations for including such costs as depreciation on buildings and equipment; interest on the farmer’s investment in land, buildings and equipment; a return for the family labour; a return for the farmer’s managerial function. If you add up all such considerations, you are talking about the full cost of production.

Mr. MacDonald: Why didn’t you vote for that in the federation convention last fall?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: When you talk of reimbursing the farmer for his full cost of production, you are talking about a guaranteed annual income. You are no longer talking about a plan to stabilize a farmer’s income over years of ups and downs in the marketplace. Instead, you are talking about a plan to pay a farmer so he can’t lose as long as he farms the way the state tells him to farm.

That is the kind of plan the New Democratic Party has been advocating.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: In setting support levels in a stabilization plan --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: -- they must be high enough to achieve their purpose of tiding producers over periods of depressed market prices, but not high enough to affect the free operation of the market by offering artificial incentives to produce.


Problems in Canada’s dairy industry illustrate the inherent dangers of incentive pricing. In its campaign to make the Canadian dairy industry as nearly self-sufficient as possible, the federal government offered milk producers a wide variety of incentives and encouraged the provinces to follow suit.

But it underestimated our farmers’ astonishing ability to produce when the price is right The miscalculation was magnified by many other world-wide problems, and now we have warehouses bulging with unsold butter and skim milk powder.

Guaranteeing the farmers full cost of production would create a sure-fire incentive to produce almost anything, regardless of the market demand for it, and then we’d have surpluses. Surpluses would mean lower farm prices, lower farm prices would mean high stabilization payments, payments so needlessly and unjustifiably high that the taxpayer, quite rightly, wouldn’t stand for them. The only alternative would be to limit production by quotas imposed by the state; and the farmers, quite rightly, wouldn’t stand for that.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yon guys are in real trouble.

Mr. Breithaupt: Now do you see what you’ve done?

Hon. W. Newman: That’s the double bind concealed in the proposal of the NDP’s urban theorists. Our farmers don’t trust the NDP, and for many good reasons. This has given them another reason to add to their list.

The opposition’s agriculture and food critic has conceded in a press conference that his party’s proposal would require production quotas. At the same time he described the issue before the House today as: “A very powerful urban issue.” That was a dead giveaway. The NDP are trying to oversimplify a complex subject in hopes of picking up a few urban votes, even though it means sabotaging the agricultural industry in Ontario.

Mr. MacDonald: I am trying to simplify it so you can understand it.

Mr. Cassidy: Even Claude Bennett is wondering about you.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: The official opposition doesn’t represent --


Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The hon. minister will continue.

Hon. W. Newman: The official opposition doesn’t represent a single purely farm constituency in this House.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That’s right.

Hon. W. Newman: It wants to, God knows, but it can’t understand farming and it can’t establish contact with farmers. I talk to farmers every day, and I think I know them fairly well. The farmers I know want as little bureaucratic interference in their decisions as possible.

Mr. Sargent: That’s the case in my riding.

Hon. W. Newman: They farm because they like it. They’re the boss on their own farms.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Ferris: Did Darcy teach you how to talk?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Did I hear from London South?

Hon. W. Newman: Many of them produce within quotas established by their own marketing boards, that is by other farmers producing the same commodities they produce. Producer-elected marketing boards are efficient and are doing a fine job, but farmers wouldn’t produce within quotas established by Queen’s Park. Many of them would give up farming rather than accept control by some authoritarian bureaucracy.

Mr. MacDonald: God help them if you were to impose the quotas.

Mr. S. Smith: Those are a list of syllables now, be careful.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: The member for York South claims the NDP --

Mr. Reid: This was left over from Darcy’s speech on Tuesday.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister will continue.

Hon. W. Newman: The member for York South claims the NDP scheme isn’t aimed at socializing agriculture because participation would be voluntary. Our farmers know very well, and he should know too, that supply management can’t be effective unless most of the producers of a commodity are in a plan and the plan is a national plan. Supply control and farm income stabilization usually are alternative ways to offset marketing downturns.

Mr. MacDonald: Have you an annual plan for tobacco?

Hon. W. Newman: But in our bill, stabilization measures are available, if needed, to help farmers if the supply management system does not give them adequate income.

Our farmers don’t expect no-risk agriculture, they don’t want handouts, and they certainly don’t fall for this NDP gimmick. They remember how fond the Ontario NDP used to be of boasting about the marvels of the NDP government in British Columbia, with its stabilization formulas --

Mr. Bain: Tell us about the stabilizers.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: -- based on production costs rather than marketing prices.

Mr. MacDonald: It’s the working model.

Hon. Mr. Welch: And look where they are now.

Hon. W. Newman: Our farmers have been spared that line since the BC voters threw them out.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: No. Order, please. Let’s get on with fewer interjections. Will the hon. minister continue, please?

Mr. Cassidy: Point of order.

Mr. Speaker: What is your point of order?

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister speaking to the principle of the bill?

Mr. Speaker: I would say as much as anyone else was. The hon. minister will continue.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have trouble controlling myself but I’ll try.

Mr. Speaker: Please do.

Hon. W. Newman: It’s worth recalling that even the BC socialists didn’t try to guarantee full production costs. Our farmers know far better than the NDP theorists that a stabilization plan must not provide artificial alternatives to free operation of the marketplace. No risk farming and artificially high price guarantees maintained by production controls would increase consumer prices.

Mr. Cassidy: You guys don’t know where to stop, do you?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: That would be an open invitation to other countries to dump lower priced food products in Ontario.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: We’d be flooded by imports undercutting our own products and that would finish the job of sabotaging our agricultural food industry. Remember, Ontario has no border controls. Only the federal government has power to set quotas or tariffs on foreign food products and its policies are a mess.

Mr. S. Smith: I accept what he says but the sanctimony I can do without.

Hon W. Newman: The government of Ontario has been leading the fight for reforms in agricultural tariffs which place our producers at severe competitive disadvantage. For seven months the Minister of Industry and Tourism and I have been trying to arrange a meeting with the federal Ministers of Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Commerce, Finance and External Affairs.


Hon. W. Newman: We want to discuss negotiations on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade with particular reference to Ontario agriculture. Two meetings were scheduled but cancelled and since then we haven’t been able to arrange a third one. Thank goodness the Premier very kindly has written a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada asking for his assistance in trying to set up such a meeting to discuss this matter.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Written by my own hand.

Mr. Reid: He’d never be able to read it.

Mr. Nixon: He was asking for permission to import grapes.

Hon. W. Newman: With artificially high support prices and production controls we couldn’t even protect ourselves from the produce of other provinces which might be below our market prices. We’d be telling our farmers how much of what they could produce while the farmers in another province would be free to produce as much as they liked and to sell any surplus profitably in Ontario.

The NDP proposals require border controls as well as production controls. Getting any sort of border controls means getting federal support. It requires little imagination to know how much federal support could be expected for a plan which ran counter to the federal support price formula and therefore the nation-wide stabilization programme we’re pressing for.

Our food exporters have to be cautious, too. If our price support levels conflicted with international trade and tariff agreements they could bring retaliation against our food products by countries which are buying them now. In the final analysis, the NDP proposals are not only unpalatable but unworkable because they ignore the everyday realities of agriculture and political life.

I suppose the NDP agriculture critic saw he was beyond his depth and that is why he read into Hansard a column by the president of the OFA which appeared in Farm and Country of November 16. Unfortunately that article was a little off base.

Mr. MacDonald: I agreed with it. That’s why I read it.

Hon. W. Newman: I never said Bill 131 would cost the provincial government $70 million a year. I said it could cost up to $70 million a year and in a really bad year, that’s exactly what could happen.

Mr. Cassidy: You are backing down, are you?

Hon. W. Newman: No, not at all. Not a bit.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s what it sounds like to me.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: You make a headline and then you apologize for it.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: The costs of the programme will be influenced by the following factors --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: -- the movement of farm prices and farm costs; the number of producer groups which want a plan; the number of groups which enter a plan in any specific time period; the number of farmers in a producer group who voluntarily become part of the specific group; the amount of any farmer’s product which is eligible for coverage in the plan.

Mr. Sargent: Time, time.

Hon. W. Newman: The stabilization commission -- no, it’s not quite --

Mr. Sargent: You are milking it too much.

Hon. W. Newman: -- will determine the ground rules for some of these factors. Members forget that this doesn’t include the beef-calf stabilization programme which cost the province of Ontario $22 million last year. We have 4,000 new enrolments this year which is indicative of the success of this programme.

Mr. Laughren: Table it.

Hon. W. Newman: However, the cow-calf plan was an emergency situation which we dealt with on a five-year basis. We’re still looking for federal cow-calf plan and we are told that we’re going to get one next year from Ottawa. I’ll wait and see.

Mr. MacDonald: Why do you accept Mr. Whelan’s report then?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. MacDonald: His word isn’t worth anything.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re wasting valuable time here.

Hon. W. Newman: It is risky to assume that farm prices and the gross income of the farm community won’t increase beyond today’s levels. In establishing government cost figures, we have to be aware that production will increase and, therefore, our liability can increase. In short, we have to be aware that agricultural conditions are not very stable. It’s impossible to be precise about cost estimates and the government is responsible for the taxpayer’s dollars.

We hope that market prices are high enough and federal support levels are high enough but the Ontario programme is there when it is needed. We have undertaken to provide the funds which are necessary. I could go on, but I see the time is running late.

Mr. MacDonald: You finished a long time ago from the point of view of information.

Hon. W. Newman: I could give the example of corn and point out that actually there could have been a pay-out as high as about $7 million in 1975 under our present programme. I have a great deal of faith in the farmers of this province and of this country and in what they can produce.

Mr. MacDonald: More than they have in you.

Hon. W. Newman: In the last 20 years, they’ve been more productive and more efficient than any other industry in the province of Ontario and in Canada. The efficiency has gone up every year, and our agricultural efficiency will probably show even more amazing gains in the years to come.

One thing more: More graduates from our Ontario agricultural colleges go into farming every year, eager to take advantage of the latest advances in technology. To answer some of the questions today, enrolment in Ontario’s two-year agricultural diploma courses is at an all-time high. A total of 1,180 students are enrolled in the University of Guelph and the four provincial colleges of agricultural technology. This represents a 45 per cent increase over the last five years --

Mr. MacDonald: What’s all this got to do with the principle of the bill?

Mr. Breithaupt: How are you going to keep them back on the farm?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: Over 50 per cent of these young people are going back to the farm, and the other 50 per cent are going into agriculture related industries. So don’t tell me the young people aren’t going back to the farm. They are going back to the farm. And don’t forget that.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister be completing his remarks in the next moment or two?

Hon. W. Newman: I have every confidence that the farmers of tomorrow can even surpass the records that have been set in the last 20 years or so. I have never forgotten these words of the late President Kennedy --

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. S. Smith: Then don’t read it. Put away the paper if you haven’t forgotten it.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: “Our greatest day-to-day miracle,” he said, “is our free-enterprise, family-farm food production system.” And to those words I can only add, let us not destroy it.

Mr. S. Smith: If you haven’t forgotten them, why did you have to read them?

Hon. W. Newman: Producers who have achieved these records of food production, because of the incentives built into the free enterprise system, don’t want an income stabilization plan to pay all their costs.

One of our farmers has sent my ministry this message: “If you guarantee I won’t lose money, I know damned well I won’t make much either.”


Hon. W. Newman: Some farmers don’t want an income stabilization plan at all. Of those who do, I am convinced that the great majority want what Bill 131 provides. It provides the opportunity for greater security during lean years and a healthier economic climate for farming their own way. Since they can farm their own way far better than any government can tell them to farm, I have no intention of incorporating socialist theory in a bill designed to help them keep on farming their own way.

The government has accommodated the wishes of the majority in this House and revised our original farm income stabilization bill. Those members who understand the agricultural community have not sacrificed their principles, nor will this government sacrifice its principles for political expediency.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s get on with the next order of business.

Mr. Newman had moved second reading of Bill 131. Mr. MacDonald moved, seconded by Mr. Wildman, that Bill 131, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization, be not now read a second time but be referred back to the government with instructions to incorporate therein:

1. a formal role for farmers’ general and commodity organizations in the development of and the determination of the terms and conditions of any plan requested by a group of producers;

2. comprehensive coverage for all Ontario commodities which will provide full support up to the negotiated stabilization level, irrespective of the actions of the federal government;

3. a provision for current costs of production to be reflected in the final stabilization price or prices under any plan, with the revised bill to be reintroduced into the Legislature no later than December 1, 1976.


The House divided on the question, shall the bill be now read a second time, which was approved on the following vote:

















































Reid (Rainy River)








(Hamilton Mountain)




(Hamilton West)












Yakabuski -- 62.


























Ziemba -- 26.

Ayes 62; nays 26.

Ordered for standing resources development committee.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Before moving the adjournment of the House perhaps I could indicate something of the programme for the next few days.

Tomorrow we’ll do supplementary estimates, starting with the Ministry of Natural Resources and followed by Health.

On Monday we’ll do budget and there’s private members’ hour from 5 to 6. On Tuesday we’ll do legislation which stands on the order paper for committee of the whole and continue with the supplementary estimates.

Wednesday is committee day. We’ll announce on Tuesday what we’ll do for the balance of the week.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch the House adjourned at 10:40 p.m.