February 9, 1938


The house resumed from Tuesday, February 8, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. N. Francceur for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Bennett.


CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

When the house adjourned yesterday evening I was about to quote from press reports from Saskatchewan with respect to stock mortality. I was invited to read some of the reports and I shall now take a moment or two to review some of them. I have before me an extract from The Indian Head News of December as follows:

Stock Mortality Matter of Alarm in Municipality

Actual Facts Show that Hundreds of Horses Succumb

Deaths among farm horses of this municipality run into the hundreds, due to lack of feed, . . . The situation is acknowledged as extremely acute by the R. M. council, . . .

Reeve S. W. Nichols, in touch with the actual situation, informs The News that the rural council is doing all it can to cope with the problem. The mortality rate is very high among the district's horse population, with some farmers losing over fifty per cent. One farmer, he told The News, had lost four out of seven of his horses.

Another one from the Regina Star of December 1 reads:

Horses Dying in South for Lack of Feed

Snow and Steady Diet of Russian Thistle Proves Fatal to Animals

Notices in post offices and other public buildings stress the necessity of disposing of stock owing to the acute shortage of feed. Farmers are being requested to budget their feed quota and dispose of the surplus animals lest the retention of live stock result in heavy losses this winter.

Lack of feed has already brought reports of horses dying in the south country.

Among the cases cited is that of Elmer Mithog of Verwood district,_ 70 miles south of Moose Jaw, who has lost eight horses . . .

Last night I referred to a resolution passed by the Grenfell board of trade and I wish to quote more extensively from it now:

And whereas the dairy farmers themselves, as well as the businessmen, of the town of Glenfell view with alarm the apparent necessity of cutting down the size of their herds fully realizing as they do that many of them will be forced upon public relief while at the some time their herds will have been cut to

IMr. Rinfret.]

such an extent that in many eases it will be impossible to rebuild them again during the farmer's lifetime:

Now therefore be it resolved that the government of the province of Saskatchewan, in view of the alleged supply of feed within reasonable transportation distances of the province, should forthwith take such steps as are necessary to insure the dairy farmers of sufficient feed for their herds for the winter of 1937-38.

After this resolution was passed, a letter from the Broadview board of trade was read asking for support along those lines.

Another dispatch by the Canadian Press reads:

Thirty Per cent of Horses in Southeast Dead or Dying

Saskatoon, January 8.-Thirty per cent of the horses in the Macoun, Midale, Halbrite and Goodwater districts in southeastern Saskatchewan are either sick, dying or dead of starvation.

Another dispatch states:

Horses Dying in Kronau District.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Who is responsible for the report from Midale?

Mr .PERLEY: That is a report in the press, issued by the United Farmers of Canada, Saskatchewan section.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

What is the date?

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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

The dispatch is dated January 8. I have another one which is a little different, and it may explain why feed was not secured earlier:

Farmer Charges Deliberate Delay in Hay Payments

Charges that the Saskatchewan administration was deliberately holding up payment for hay sold for relief purposes to that government by Manitoba farmers, was made to the Free Press Friday by F. G. Louth, a farmer of the Roseisle and Stephenfield districts, who, at present, has a government hay deal on his hands.

In a letter to the Minister of Agriculture of Saskatchewan, dated December 23, Mr. Louth warned that, unless some action was taken for payment of hay delivered from the Stephenfield district to the drouth area about two months ago. following inspection by Saskatchewan agricultural representatives, the matter would be taken up with Premier King and the federal Department of Agriculture.

Investigation by Mr. Louth, be says, reveals that many other farmers are in the same position, and he openly charges that the Saskatchewan government is "stalling" in order to save interest on funds.

Despite the fact that his ears of hay were inspected by a government official, and the bills of lading forwarded with the cars to the various points in the dried-out areas, continued requests have been made for further bills of lading, and these were forwarded. Then, the "stall" continued, according to Mr. Louth,

The Address-Mr. Perley

when the government officials demanded originals, which had already been sent with the cars. . . .

Later, a request for weights was made, which had gone forward with the cars.

The weights had already been supplied.

Dealing with a government, I figured I was dealing with a body I could count on. . . . Consequently I paid out $140 for baling and loading. Exactly what the trouble is I do not know. . . .

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Will my hon. friend give the date?

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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

It is the Winnipeg Free Press of December 27. One cause of the difficulties the government had is the fact that a lot of the hay secured for the winter of 1936-37 was not paid for until late this fall. As late as December last farmers and municipalities in Manitoba were complaining that the hay they had supplied had not been paid for, and they refused to ship more hay until the government had paid for that previously supplied. That is no doubt one of the difficulties. I know the reeve of one municipality who went to Manitoba and was told by the reeve of a municipality in that province that several thousand dollars were owing to the municipality for hay shipped during the previous year. The whole matter should have been handled by an independent relief commission. If that method was not followed the government should have considered accepting the offer they received from the pool, of which mention has, I think, already been made. I have before me a statement of the president of the Saskatchewan pool, citing what they offered to do. The pool offered its facilities to the provincial government, and in coopenation with the pools in the provinces east and west to secure supplies and distribute them, and practically all the government would have had to do would be to set the price. The pool offered their facilities at a minimum fee of seventy-five cents a ton plus 3 per cent interest on cash outlay.

I know what the answer of the minister to that will be, because the president of the pool sets out in this statement that he replied that there was nothing to prevent the pool from going into the fodder business if they so desired. But that was not the question. Under the present system we have the inspectors to whom the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) referred the other night; I think the forty-five he mentioned were inspectors. If the farmers there were asked what they think of these inspectors the report would be a very interesting one.

If my time were not so short I should like to have referred to the Turgeon commission. However the report of that commission will be presented in due time and I shall have something to say then with respect to the evidence taken, particularly that of Mr. Murray, and some of his actions. I agree with the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell) in what he said yesterday, that the great majority of farmers are demanding that the Canadian Wheat Board Act be put into operation, with representation of the farmers on an advisory committee. No matter what the report is I think that will be demanded. Last year I referred to certain losses that had taken place. I now have reason to believe that the figure I gave was well within the mark and that I should have stated a larger figure. If in the report on the final disposal of the wheat taken over from the McFarland board or the Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited a profit is shown, the Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited should be reimbursed to some extent for the services they rendered during three or four years.

After listening to speeches of some hon. members opposite in the last few days I am confirmed in my view that the Liberals have failed and have betrayed the people of Canada. We need reforms. Why are we to-day considering the amendment of the constitution? Because we are now in the year 1938 and the problems confronting the Canadian people to-day are not those that confronted them fifty years ago. To-day we are concerned about such matters as debt, public and private, interest, taxes, freight rates, production and marketing. What we need is dominion control of the grading and marketing of "'anada's primary products in order to control the price in the domestic market. Agriculture is our greatest industry; then why not have boards to control it? We have a board controlling the railways, a board of directors controlling the central bank, power boards and the radio corporation, on which some discussion has already taken place in the house.

With respect to the latter corporation I have received protests from people in my constituency and other parts of Saskatchewan against the increase in the licence fee. There are hundreds, yes, thousands of farmers in Saskatchewan who have no other enjoyment these long winter evenings than listening to the radio broadcasts, music, hockey, sports, and getting the world's news daily. These men cannot even pay for a weekly paper, let alone a daily, so it is a great convenience

The Address-Mr. Perley

for them to get the news of the world by radio, and I think their protest against the increase is valid. I for one would be in favour of abolishing the licence fee altogether for a time at least. We have these various boards; why not have a board to control wheat and other primary products? Later on this session we shall have opportunity to discuss these questions in detail when they come before us in the form of resolutions or bills, and I shall have some questions to ask.

Briefly, in conclusion I say that the government have failed in many respects to meet the demands of the Canadian people, and to relieve the people of the burdens under which they labour at the present time. I propose to vote for the amendment.

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?

Mr. BOSS@Moose Jaw

Before the hon. member finishes might I ask him what he means by the proposed charge of seventy-five cents a ton by the Canadian wheat pool on feed? Do I understand that he means that they offered to bale and deliver feed for that price?

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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

I thought I made it plain enough; the offer was that they would place their facilities at the disposal of the government and use them for the purpose of purchasing feed, arranging for the baling, shipping and distribution to the farmers in the dried out area at the rate of seventy-five cents a ton. As the question has been raised I would say further that we would like to know the commission that was paid to some individuals in Regina for their services in going to Minnesota and gathering up this feed, rather than having it handled through the pool on the offer they made. They offered to do this for seventy-five cents a ton.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Anyone would do it for fifty cents.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. W. D. EULER (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, may I join with those who have preceded me in this debate in complimenting the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne for the able manner in which they discharged the duty which was committed to them.

It is not my purpose to discuss in detail the matters mentioned in the speech from the throne. As I propose to confine my remarks chiefly to matters concerning the Department of Trade and Commerce referred to in the debate, I am sure the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley) will not take it amiss if I do not follow him in the matters which he discussed just now. He did raise some points in the latter part of his address

which might call for some comment, but perhaps it would be better to leave that to a more convenient occasion.

In the speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) reference was made to the functions or respective jurisdictions of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Commerce. He expressed' concern that there was perhaps some overlapping or possibly even differences of opinion with regard to the matter. Then at the last, in a somewhat jocular vein, he added that my colleague the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) was in possession of some sort of magic wand with which he might wave some of us, and perhaps particularly the Minister of Trade and Commerce, into nonentities. That, I think, is the word he used.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Not "nonentity", I think.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

That is the word that was used, but I am quite willing to use some other suitable word. Perhaps "oblivion" would be better.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Perhaps coming events cast their shadow before.

Mr. -EULER: In reply to that, and in exactly the same spirit as that of the right hon. gentleman at the moment, and perhaps also at that time, I would merely say that the practice which existed under the former regime of one minister interfering in the department of another, or perhaps I should say one prime minister interfering in all the departments, was discontinued shortly after the election of 1935.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I can afford to let that go without an observation.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

My right hon. friend has quite correctly said that the functions of the Department of Agriculture and of the Department of Trade and Commerce are controlled by the statutes under which those departments operate. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in his speech on the address described pretty accurately the line of demarcation which separates the functions of the two departments when he said that the Department of Agriculture concerns itself with the production, grading and preparation generally of agricultural products for the markets of the world, seeing to it that those products reach those markets in the proper condition; but that after those products reach the overseas market the work of promoting their sale, as well as the sale of other products, falls strictly within the domain of

The Address-Mr. Euler

the Department of Trade and Commerce. That, sir, has always been the case, and I can assure my right hon. friend and those other members opposite who expressed some concern with respect to the matter that this situation will continue. Not only that, Mr. Speaker; perhaps in contrast to the condition of affairs prior to the coming into office of the present government, it is the intention of the two departments to cooperate in every way to promote the interests of the producers of agricultural commodities.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The Shaw report looks like that.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I propose to-day to deal particularly with the various phases of the export trade of this country, more especially with regard to the value of that trade, which seems to be questioned by certain members of the house, including my friend the right hon. leader of the opposition, especially when he said-I am sure to the amazement of this house-that freer trade was apt to predispose nations to war. That is a doctrine that so far as I know has never been enunciated by anyone else.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

My hon. friend has not read Mr. Keynes, then.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Perhaps not, but I am using my common sense in these matters, and I am very sure that hon. gentlemen opposite, as well as the supporters of the government on this side of the house, believe in their hearts that the more business we can do with our neighbours in a mutually advantageous way, the better it is for the peace of the world. I need only draw to the attention of the house one very outstanding example which disproves this new theory, which by the way has obtained the support of a new ally in the person of the leader of the social credit group, that freer trade fosters war. For the last two years we have had a reciprocal trade agreement witli the United States, and I will leave it to the people of this country to say whether in the whole history of this continent the relations between the two countries were ever any more cordial than they are at this moment. It is fair to say also that a great deal of credit attaches to the efforts made by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States in this direction.

My right hon. friend, as I said before, seemed to question, very much to my surprise, the advantages of export trade.

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February 9, 1938