May 18, 1933

CON

James Langstaff Bowman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOWMAN:

How are the figures at Montreal? Have you any figures for Montreal?

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

No, I have not gone into that. A statement from the Canadian National Railways, which I think was given- to the shipping committee, gives an indication of what is happening. The number of bushels of Canadian grain moving through Canadian ports, crop year 1928-29, was 83,512,520. In 1930, Canadian grain shipped by way of Buffalo, amounted to 92,479,728 bushels; 72,277,730 bushels were shipped by United States ports, and 20,201,998 through Montreal.

It has been said that we have regulation as a result of -the act of 1923, and with regulation we ought to be able to take care of the producers' interest. The act of 1923 provided that the board of grain commissioners could fix maximum rates. It provided for the

Canada Shipping Act-Mr. Kennedy

publication of tariffs, and that brokers who were handling contracts for space could not handle insurance. Doctor MacGibbon in commenting on that act, dealing with freight and handling charges, says at page 257:

A fundamental difference between lake rates and rail rates is that the latter are approved of by regulative bodies in both the United States and Canada. They are relatively stable, and they are non-discriminative, in that between two points under similar conditions the same rates prevail for all shippers. But with lake rates, the rates charged are reached by a process of bargaining between the individual shipper and the carrier. In each case there is a separate contract, so that the rate varies according to the amount of space demanded, the terminal point designated, the season of the year when carriage is desired, and, in general, the amount of grain offering for carriage in relationship to the bottoms available; all these play a part in influencing the terms of the contract. It follows that it is open to the lake freighter to carry in the same vessel on the same date, and between the same points of origin and destination, shipments of wheat of the same quality at different rates per bushel. One lot of wheat may be paying three cents and another lot four cents per bushel. The individual bargain accounts for the rate.

In dealing with the Inland Waters Freight Rates Act of 1923 we have the following, at page 261.

This measure provided that shipping companies should file with the board of grain commissioners a tariff of rates to be charged for the carriage of grain. When the rates proposed appeared excessive or unjustly discriminative in the opinion of the board, it could prescribe such rates as it deemed reasonable.

This act, which was intended to regulate shipping rates for grain, proved altogether unworkable in its main features, and it was drastically amended in 1924. The main features of the act of 1923 were the setting of a maximum rate and publishing the tariff, and of course the separating of the insurance and the allotting of space. The only real difference between the act of 1923 and the amending act of 1924, is that it was provided that instead of simply publishing the tariffs;

Every shipper shall immediately after entering into any charter party, bill of lading or contract for the carriage of grain from Fort William or Port Arthur to any other port or place in Canada or the United States by lake or river navigation, and before the grain shall have been laden in pursuance thereof, file with the Board of Grain Commissioners of Canada a true copy of the said charter party, bill of lading or contract for carriage.

The point is that the board shall prescribe a maximum rate. In railway matters the board of railway commissioners practically set the rate; they conduct an exhaustive inquiry with regard to the proper costs of

equipment and so on and then fix the rate. In lake shipping, however, in connection with the freight rates we have a situation something the same as obtains with regard to tramp steamers all over the world. The matter is left to the individual bargain and the contract. As Doctor MacGibbon points out, the conditions are such that you may have different rates applying to different quantities of the same quality of goods on the same vessel. So the fixing of a maximum rate, if you enable the Canadian Steamship companies to eliminate a certain amount of competition, will not prevent a generally higher rate being charged.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Except that a maximum

can be fixed.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Yes. The other point is that the board of grain commissioners can examine the rate and then report the matter to the governor in council.

I do not think the governor in council can be reasonably expected to have time to look after the details of these rates, in view of all the circumstances. That is one reason, in addition to the generally difficult situation confronting the farmers to-day, why I do not want to see any of the competition existing on the great lakes to-day eliminated so far as the steamship companies are concerned.

There is just one other point to which I should like to refer; that is the question of the 6 cent preference. I take it that under this act if grain is shipped from Fort William to Buffalo in a United States vessel it cannot be taken on down to Montreal, because no goods can be moved except in British or Canadian ships. I take it that grain stored in United States lake vessels during the winter could not move to Montreal. I take it therefore that this act would interfere to some extent with the movement of grain from the head of the lakes to Buffalo for storage over the winter, and possibly this would bring about a congestion at the head of the lakes. I believe the first trial shipment that was sent to the old country through Buffalo, and reconsigned from there, did not obtain the preference. I believe a second shipment was sent through with the original documents, but that the preference was not given in that case either. I should like to be corrected if I am wrong in that statement, because I think it has some bearing.

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CON
UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Has any grain been consigned through Buffalo that did get the preference?

3160 COMMONS

Canada Shipping Act-Mr. Kennedy

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

If I might interrupt my

hon. friend, because I know he desires to get the point right, the documentation of the second shipment to which he referred was not correct according to the regulations of the' British customs authorities under regulation 12 of the import act.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Then no

shipment has gone through Buffalo and obtained the six cent preference?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I should not say that.

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UFA
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Any shipment may go

forward on a through bill of lading.

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UFA
CON
UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

But as a matter of fact Buffalo is useful, so far as the Canadian grain trade is concerned, for storage and for redirecting the grain.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

And for reconsignment.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Yes, and because it is necessary particularly in the event of a big crop it seems to me there will be a great deal of confusion so far as the preference is concerned.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

This will not affect the

situation at all.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

This is

my argument, and my hon. friend may answer it if he wishes. It seems to me there will be that confusion until the question of proper documentation is dealt with and the officials at both ends are thoroughly familiar with all the necessary requirements. It appears to me that grain shipped to Buffalo in a Canadian boat and there unloaded or transshipped will be unable to proceed to Montreal because, if I read the act correctly, it would be impossible to distinguish between the grain hauled from the head of the lakes in a Canadian ship and grain hauled to Buffalo in a United States vessel. You may say that ten million bushels of a certain kind of grain came by a Canadian boat and that ten million bushels will be allowed to go to Montreal by a Canadian boat, but I do not think it would be possible to separate the grain in that way, and a good deal of confusion might arise as to grain going to Montreal and thence to England to claim the preference.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

No more difficulty than

there has been in the past.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

I cannot

quite see it in that way, but possibly I am wrong. At present grain moves to Buffalo where it is kept in bond for shipment to the old country. It is in the interests of the officials of the United States government to see that this grain does not get on the United States market without paying the duty. The organizations handling that grain, the elevator companies, railway companies and steamship companies, have no interest in mixing that grain or anything else, yet with all these organizations interested in keeping that grain apart from United States grain, and with no real temptation to do anything but get it through, the preference will not be given unless it is sent on a through bill of lading. Evidently if it is stopped on its way through it stands a very good chance of losing the preference, and I am afraid that some time a question will arise as to some of the grain that goes through Buffalo and from there to Montreal, because I do not see how anyone can tell whether it has been sent to Buffalo and reconsigned to Montreal and so through to England or whether it was brought to Buffalo in a United States vessel and had no right to go to Montreal at all.

Briefly I am opposed to this measure because it eliminates competition and will enable our friends of the shipping combine, or those Canadian ship owners who have an agreement among themselves, to take more out of the western farmers in connection with their grain. I am opposed to this legislation because I think we need all the facilities that exist at present on the great lakes and the St. Lawrence in order to properly handle a big crop when it comes along. If the organization is cut down in any way there may. be a tremendous amount of trouble and congestion in handling a big crop, perhaps when the weather does not continue favourable for harvesting until the whole crop is in. For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I want to register my protest against this legislation.

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May 18, 1933