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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 28 THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, September 6, 1973 MPi By PAUL JACKSON Herald Ottawa Bureau OTTAWA Angry Western Canadian opposition MPs charged in the House of Com- mons Wednesday that the na- tion's wheat farmers are going to be forced by the Liberal mi- nority government to subsidize the price of bread to consumers by being paid tens of millions of dollars less for wheat than the going international price. Justice Minister Otto Lang, the minister in charge of the Canada Wheat Board, admitted that at certain times Canadian fanners might well receive less than the international price but he claimed this situation would be reversed when price of wheat on the international mar- ket fell below the Canadian ?ub- sidized price. The attack on Mr. Lang, made during the daily Com- mons question period, vas launched by Saskatchewan NDP member Alf Gleave who brought up the matter of the subsidy per bushel for wheat announced by Prime Minister Fiette Elliott Trudeau in his anti-inflation package wa Tuesday. Mr. Gleave, who has spent most of his time since being elected to the Commons in 19fi8 in a campaign promoting the farmers' interests, pointed out that the subsidy plan will simply bring the August-based price of wheat up to a difference of less than the present export price. The Saskatchewan socialist claimed bitterly that this meant the West's farmers would be subsidiaing the Canadian con- sumer by about on every bushel of wheat sold domes- tically. Mr. Lang said that a per bushel longterm price for wheat sold on the domestic market would be the highest ever paid for wheat in Canada's with the exception of the unusu- ally high price wheat was now bringing on the international market. But, indicated Mr. Lang, no one could guarantee that the in- ternational price would stay as high as it now is and, he said, when the international price falls back to more realistic and normal levels Canadian farmers will likely be getting more on the domestic market than they could on the international mar-! ket. The justice minister said the wheat board is being "at- tracted" by propositions of en tering into long term agree- ments of five and seven years duration on the basis of firm prices ranging between and a bushel. Over the long term, insisted Mr. Lang, the Canadian farmer was being looked after very well by the Canadian govern- ment. That didn't satisfy Con- servative MP Frank Hamilton, also from Saskatchewan, who claimed that if Canadian farm-; ere were given only a bushel while on the inter- national market wheat was go- ing for a bushel they would suffer a loss of on every bushel sold in Canada and this would cost them about million a year. "Is the government going to compensate the fanners for this freeze on the domestic price and loss of a he asked. Air Hamilton's figures varied by a few cents with those men- tioned by Mr. Gleave. Replied Mr. Lang: "The com- pensation to the producers is in the assurance that over the long term the domestic price of wheat will not fall below which, as I indicated a few mo- ments ago, was until a few months ago a price higher than we had ever had in the history of Canada." Les Benjamin (NDP Regina Lake Centre) suggested that the from previous to the anti-inflationary announcement should be in- creased to so that farmers wouldn't be cheated out of what iheir wheat would bring on the international market. The prime minister defended Mr. Lang and stressed that the government was guaranteeing both a minimum and a max- imum price per bushel for Ca- nadian farmers. He wondered why Mr. Benjamin couldn't see the advantages in the govern- ment's plans. 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