March 11, 1942

CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WRIGHT:

The farmers of Ontario are getting a fair deal. If our income in the west were derived entirely from animal products we would not be doing any kicking to-day.

If this additional money were paid to the farmers of western Canada what would happen to it? To-day they could not spend it on cars. I believe that the largest portion of it would return, either directly or indirectly, to the government. Those farmers would use the money either to pay their debts or to buy war savings certificates or bonds. Just before I left western Canada, in one of the towns in my constituency I met the organizer for the last war loan and we were trying to organize a committee there. There were two or three farmers in town and we asked them to sit in on that committee. We asked one of them, a man who served in the last war and in the Boer war and who has a son serving in this war, if he could1 contribute to the loan. He said he had contributed to the last loan, but now his son was away, he had to hire help, and he could not see his way to contribute to this loan. "But," he said, "I will make you a promise. We have a delegation going to Ottawa in a week or two to interview the government in regard to the price of wheat. I promise you that if the government give the farmers of western Canada a dollar a bushel for their wheat next year, I will contribute to the next war loan every cent I make over the price we are getting this year." I think that is the sentiment of western Canada. The people of western Canada are willing to take their full share in the economy of this country provided they are given a chance.

I believe agriculture should receive the cost of production. There is a difference between cost of production and a parity price, but agriculture is satisfied and willing to accept to-day a parity price, and I believe that this is the very least that should be granted.

With regard to Bill No. 12, the wheat acreage reduction bill, I wish to make one or two observations. In the first place it reduces the payment made on the summer-fallow bonus from $4 to $2. What is the effect of that? Of the $30,000,000 paid out last year under the wheat acreage reduction appropriation approximately $22,000,000 was paid under the summer-fallow bonus. If you cut that in half, it means on the basis of last year that

Wheat Board Act

there will be 511,000,000 less paid next year. If the government are going to reduce that payment-and I do not object to that particularly; I think probably it is a good idea- it should be paid by way of an additional bonus on coarse grains. They should increase the payment on coarse grains to 53 an acre, and also the payment on land placed under grass. I do not disagree with the principle of these bills; the principle is good, but it is a matter of adjusting them to meet the needs of western agriculture.

The hon. member for Wood1 Mountain stated the other night that the acreage basis was the fairest basis on which to distribute bonuses. I do not altogether agree with that. There are many people from the constituency of the hon. member for Wood Mountain who have moved to the northern part of Saskatchewan into the constituency which I represent. Many of those people are living on small farms; they took up bush homesteads and have some forty or fifty acres under cultivation. The wheat acreage reduction bonus does not mean a thing to them, neither does the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, because they always grow over twelve bushels to the acre, but their acreage is small. Neither does the other bill, which provides for a payment of 75 cents per acre on the cultivated acreage mean anything to them, because they have so little under cultivation. On the other hand, some of their neighbours who remained in the south of the province and to-day are renting large tracts of land are making a very fair thing out of this bonus. In fact there were two bonus cheques of over 510,000; five cheques for between $5,000 and 510,000, and 562 cheques for between $1,000 and $5,000.

Those people who have moved to the north of the province and are trying to get along now feel that they have a just complaint in that regard. They think that the acreage basis of payment is not in itself the fairest basis. They also believe that when a price is established for wheat and a delivery quota set, they should be allowed to make a minimum delivery of at least 750 to 1,000 bushels of wheat. They have to make a living; they have a small acreage; they often grow quite a few bushels per acre; but if they are allowed to deliver only ten, twelve or fifteen bushels to the acre off twenty acres, it means they have no income at all, whereas their neighbours who remained in the southern part of the province and have rented the land they left are able through this bonus to make a very fair living. Therefore I suggest to the government that some consideration should be given to those people in the northern part of the province who are farming a small

acreage, trying to make things go, to stay off relief. It is only fair.

Coming now to the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, this, I believe, is one of the best measures which the government has introduced. It seems to have been fairly satisfactory over a great deal of the province. But again we in the north have certain complaints in regard to its operation.

Just last year we in the northeastern corner of the province had a frost which deteriorated the quality of the grain from No. 1 northern to No. 4, No. 5 and feed. Many men on these small acreages with a yield of from fifteen to seventeen bushels per acre received only 37 to 40 cents a bushel for that grain, and they could not qualify for assistance under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act; while other people, who grew eight to twelve bushels per acre, came under the act, and although their wheat graded No. 1 and they received more for it than the farmer who grew from fifteen to seventeen bushels per acre, they also obtained the payments under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. So we believe that this Prairie Farm Assistance Act needs to be amended. I believe it will only reach its full effect when we get a parity price for agricultural products. If we in western Canada were receiving $1.40 a bushel for wheat, the parity price, there is no doubt in my mind that the Prairie Farm Assistance Act could be made self-sustaining. If on the basis of that price and of an average crop in western Canada the levy were made 2 per cent instead of 1 per cent, we would obtain $8,400,000 in an average year in that fund, and when coarse grain is also taken into consideration it would amount to $10,500,000. The largest total of payments made under the act in any year was, I believe, in the neighbourhood of $11,000,000. Therefore, if we in western Canada were receiving a parity price for our grain, the Prairie Farm Assistance Act could be self-sustaining.

Again we in the northern part of the province who seldom reap any of the benefit of the act believe there should be a variation in the premium paid under that act; that in that part of the province described by the Minister of Agriculture the other day, the triangle reaching from Morden up through Saskatoon to Lloydminster, back to Calgary and the south of the province, in that area where the risk is greater the premium should be greater. True, there are certain sections of that triangle where the risk might be so great that it could not be carried by the individual farmer. To a great extent those areas were placed under cultivation during

Wheat Board Act

the period when the Dominion of Canada owned the natural resources. Many of those areas should never have been placed under cultivation, and thus the dominion as a whole is responsible for them. In those areas we feel the dominion should bear a portion of the cost. But in probably 25 per cent of Saskatchewan, 70 per cent of Alberta and 75 per cent of Manitoba, if we were receiving parity prices for our products the Prairie Farm Assistance Act could be made selfsustaining.

In conclusion, I would say we from western Canada feel that these bills can be made the basis for better conditions in western agriculture, and we are hoping that when they go to the committee we shall be allowed to amend them so as to obtain that result.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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LIB

Charles Robert Evans

Liberal

Mr. C. R. EVANS (Maple Creek):

Mr. Speaker, the measures now under consideration, bills numbers 12,13 and 14 which are before the house for second reading, and the amendment moved by the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Douglas), have a direct bearing on the wheat policy of western Canada. In the short time at my disposal this afternoon I wish to offer some observations on the agricultural policy of the government as it affects western Canada generally, and in particular the district from which I come.

When I first went to western Canada, wheat and land were the main sources of value. If a man owned land, he linked that ownership with the wheat which could be produced; and for years we were told that a granary of wheat was as good as a bank account. But down through the years, after passing the base years of 1926-29, we arrived at the point where our wheat was of little value. From that time to the present the marketing of wheat has been one of the chief problems with which the government has been faced. If we turn our minds back to 1930 it will be recalled that in that year we had a general election. I know that in western Canada the election was fought chiefly on the platform of markets, and the prices we were receiving for our agricultural products. I well remember the arguments put forward by the then leader of the official opposition, Right Hon. Mr. Bennett, when he told us that if he were elected to power he would blast his way into the markets of the world, and he would see that we got a reasonable price for our agricultural products. Well, the people of Canada took Mr. Bennett at his word on that occasion, and he was elected to power. What followed? In the thirties wheat went down in price. In 1932 it reached the lowest price in fifty years, and our markets kept dwindling. In 1932 Mr. Bennett's govern-

[Mr. Wright. 1

ment did agree to pay a bonus on wheat, on a bushelage basis, and that bonus was fixed at five cents a bushel. The difficulty was that he gave to the man who had, but the man who had not got nothing. That is why we who come from western Canada believe that the fairer way to distribute money to the wheat growers of the west is on an acreage rather than a bushelage basis.

If we follow the history of wheat marketing through the thirties we find that in addition to paying a bonus to farmers, Mr. Bennett appointed a gentleman to take over wheat marketing in western Canada, and to attempt to stabilize the market. The gentleman appointed was Mr. John I. McFarland, and from about 1931 to 1935 he was given the position of grain controller, or whatever you wish to call him. He used the money of Canada on the grain exchange in some way to stimulate or to bolster the wheat market.

There was another election in 1935, and because of the policy of Mr. Bennett and his government with respect to the handling of wheat the King government was returned to power. Just prior to the election Mr. Bennett gave western Canada something it had been asking for for a number of years; I refer to the Canadian wheat board. I am not going to review the actions of the wheat board from 1935 to the present time, because that does not come within the subject matter I wish to discuss this afternoon.

During the years 1935, 1936 and 1937, western Canada came through a period of drought when stocks of wheat were considerably reduced. In 1938 we did produce a crop, and at the end of the 1938-39 crop year we had a small surplus. At the ernd of the 1939-40 crop year we had a carryover of about 283 000,000 bushels. But just prior to the new year, after the war broke out, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) outlined his policy. The minister has been criticized by farm organizations throughout Canada, particularly by farm representatives from western Canada and by some of our farm organizations in the west, for not giving leadership to the farmer, and particularly the western farmer. Well, I recall a speech made by the minister in Winnipeg in November, 1939, when he clearly and distinctly outlined to the farmers of the west t.he agricultural policy which he suggested might be in the best interests of Canada's war effort, and which would supply the necessary food products Great Britain would need in great quantities in the coming war years. He told the farmers in the west at that time that in his opinion he did not think it wise to increase wheat production. He made it clear to them

Wheat Board Act

that from the information he had, from the information obtained by grain handling organizations in western Canada, and from the information in the possession of wheat farmers of the west, in their own interests it was not wise to increase wheat production at that time, because the only visible market was in Great Britain, with only a small amount going to France. At that time he advised the farmers to increase their production of live stock, particularly hogs and cattle, and also of dairy products. He advised them that in order to supply the feed for increased hog, beef and dairy products production they would have to increase their production of coarse grains. In spite of the advice given by the minister at that time the farmers of western Canada increased their wheat production. What did we find? We found that at the end of the crop year 1940-41 we had the largest wheat carryover in the history of Canada.

In view of the storage capacity for wheat in Canada it was necessary that steps should be taken to reduce wheat acreage in western Canada. In the spring of 1941 the wheat acreage reduction plan was brought in by the Minister of Agriculture. Under that plan it was agreed that certain amounts would be paid for wheat acreage reduction. It was agreed that $2 per acre would be paid for coarse grains or grasses and $4 per acre for increased summer-fallow. The result was that last year the wheat acreage in western Canada was reduced by some nine million acres. The amount paid up to the present under this wheat acreage reduction plan amounts to some

826,000,000, and we are advised by the minister that this amount may possibly reach $30,000,000.

There has been a good deal of criticism of this wheat acreage reduction plan and the delayed payments thereunder, but judging from the figures given the other day by the minister of the outstanding accounts to be paid, and considering the large number of applications that have been made, I think it can be said that the administrative branches in Regina, Winnipeg and Edmonton have done remarkably well. I have had considerable trouble with some of these applications. Farmers have written to me wanting to know why the payments have been delayed, or why only partial payment has been made. Upon taking the matter up I found that it was not the fault of the office or the administration branch. When they were passed to the treasury board for payment and a check was made of the acreage statements of 1939-40, discrepancies were found and it was necessary to recheck. That is why payments have been held up.

A delegation came to Ottawa about a month ago from western Canada. It was sponsored by the Saskatchewan wheat pool, of which I happen to be a member and of which I was at one time a delegate. The petition presented to the government by this organization asked for certain specific things, the main one being an increased price for wheat. For a number of years this question has been one of the major topics of discussion in this house, and no doubt there will be more discussion on it this year. I happened to be at the meeting when the president of the wheat pool presented his brief to the Prime Minister and his government. I think that brief was very fair. I had the feeling that he made such a splendid impression upon the government in presenting it that most of the representations he made would receive fair consideration, as I believe they have. After listening to the review of that brief given last night by the Minister of Agriculture I think it will be agreed that most of the things asked for have received fair consideration from the government. I know from experience that when petitions are presented to the government it is not expected that everything asked for will be granted. I do not think this delegation expected that they would get what they asked for one hundred per cent.

I was rather disappointed, however, in the price set for wheat. I had the feeling that when we were satisfied to accept a certain parity level the government would at least meet our request for dollar -wheat. When the Minister of Trade and Commerce spoke following the presentation of the brief he told the delegation that he thought their request was fair and reasonable. I think every member of the government who was present that day thought that the request for dollar wheat was fair and reasonable. However, the government in its wisdom has decided that for this year the initial payment for wheat will be 90 cents a bushel f.o.b. Fort William, with participation certificates.

I look upon the amendment moved by the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Douglas) as a political argument. I think he is taking this stand in order to put the members from Saskatchewan on the spot. I am not going to be put on the spot because I intend to vote against the amendment. I have evey confidence that in the crop year 1942-43 there is a possibility of an increase in the price of wheat in the world markets. We should

consider the position of our sister dominion, Australia, whose trade routes to the mother country have been cut off. We should consider the submarine menace in the Atlantic which cuts off the trade routes to the mother country from the Argentine and south

Wheat Board Act

America. Canada is in a very favourable position. As the armies of Great Britain start their offensive and redeem some of the conquered countries of Europe, food will be necessary and there will be a demand for Canadian wheat. They should have it even if we have to give it to them.

I would be quite prepared to go back home to my people and advocate that they accept this 90-eent. initial payment, tell them that that is all they are going to get because we are going to send our wheat to the people of the European countries once they are released from the iron heel of Hitlerism. But I do not think that will be necessary. I think arrangements will be made to finance the purchases of wheat that Canada will be able to supply. That is why I am going to vote against the amendment and for the bill.

There is another thing upon which I should like to touch for a few moments, namely, the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. This act has been praised by some and criticized by others. Personally I look upon the Prairie Farm Assistance Act as one of the best acts ever placed upon our statute books so far as the assistance of agriculture in distress is concerned. Members who have been in the house longer than I have and those who were associated with Saskatchewan during the drought years from 1930 to 1939 will remember the vast sums of money which this government asked parliament to vote to assist the

prairie provinces through that calamity of a succession of crop failures. A great deal of credit is due to the Minister of Agriculture for his foresight in bringing into being what is known as the Prairie Farm Assistance Act which is coming before parliament for amendment this year. A certain clause of that act prohibits the governor in council, if wheat is 80 cents or above that price, between July 31 and November 1, from declaring the year an emergency year. In view of the fact that the price of wheat has been increased from 70 to 90 cents, the Minister of Agriculture is amending this clause in the Prairie Farm Assistance Act to make it operative regardless of the price of wheat. There is another section of the act which I should like to see amended; it pertains to the 80 cents a bushel clause, where the price is above 70 cents a bushel from July 31 to November 1, then 10 cents an acre is deducted from the payment in the 8 to 12 bushels per acre category. The proposed change in the initial payment automatically wipes out the 8 to 12 bushels category.

In the past three years there have been two complete years in which the Prairie Farm Assistance Act has been operative. For the information of the members I should like to put on Hansard the figures, in the form of a short table, showing the 1939-40 payments by provinces and by different categories:

Alberta

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Prairie Farm Assistance Act Payments in 1939-40

Bushels per

Townships acre

395 8-12

147 4- 8

42 0- 4

584

91 8-12

51 4- 8

14 0- 4

156

621 8-12

302 4- 8

260 0- 4

1,183

Number of

farmers

Amount receiving

paid payment

$1,132,658 00 9.726376.485 17 2,02191,790 23 395$1,600,934 39 12,142$ 403,703 08 4,269374.631 03 2,25190,608 00 440$ 868,942 11 6,960$2,726,220 63 21,9841,860.939 25 9,4442,847,264 39 8,034$7,434,324 27 39,462

Summarizing these figures we find that in the 8 to 12 bushels category, payments were made to 35,979 farmers, or 61 per cent of the total farm population of the three prairie provinces receiving assistance under the act. In the 4 to 8 bushels category', payments were made to 13,516 farmers, and in the 0 to 4 bushels cate-

gory, payments were made to 8,869 farmers, or 64 per cent of the total number of farmers receiving assistance. Those two categories together, 4 to 8 bushels and 0 to 4 bushels, comprise 32J per cent of the total number of farmers receiving assistance.

Wheat Board Act

I have another table covering the same categories for the crop year 1940-41. I will give just the total amounts by provinces and the total number of farmers receiving payments. In the province of Manitoba, 6,368 farmers received $611,393.20. The greater portion of that was in the 8 to 12 bushels category, where we had 5,068 farmers receiving $453,465.44. In Saskatchewan we had 40,848 farmers receiving $5,598,002.93, and again we find that the largest payments were in the 8 to 12 bushels category, where 25,588 farmers received $2,460,479.15.

In the province of Alberta 4,356 farmers received $502,805.27; and again in the 8 to 12 bushels category 3,148 farmers received $290,143.41. We find that in the whole three provinces, in the 8 to 12 bushels category we had 33,804 farmers or 70 per cent of the total. In the 4 to 8 bushels category we have 13,412 farmers, or 22 per cent; while in the high payment bracket or the low yield bracket we find we have only 4,356 farmers, or 8 per cent of the total. I believe, Mr. Speaker, with these thoughts in mind you will readily understand why we should like to see the Minister of Agriculture amend the clause so that the 8 to 12 bushels category will come into operation regardless of the price.

In closing I just want to say that I appreciate what the government has done for us in the way of bonuses. Just before the delegation came from the west I sent out about 250 letters, which covered my entire constituency, at least one letter going to each poll, and in reply I received some 153 communications up to the fourth of March; since then a considerable number have come in. Examining those 153 replies, I found that the acreage bonus policy with a 70-cent payment for wheat was favoured by 87 farmers; the increased price for wheat and the continuation of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act was favoured by 53 farmers; and the higher price for wheat only was favoured by no more than 12. For that reason I urge, as I have always done, that in the portion of the province of Saskatchewan from which I come the acreage bonus payment is better for our farmers than an increased price for wheat alone.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Could they not get both?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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LIB

Charles Robert Evans

Liberal

Mr. EVANS:

Yes. I am going on to that. As regards the brief as presented by the wheat pool, many of those from whom I have received letters mentioned that they had signed this petition, but some of them said they signed it to get rid of those who were circulating it, and others said they signed it because they believed it was the best policy,

or an improvement on the existing policy for western Canada. But the larger percentage of the letters I received favoured the acreage bonus.

For that reason I intend to support the bill, and I ask the minister to give earnest consideration to an amendment of the clause which would exclude a payment in respect of yields of eight to twelve bushels.

Mr. J. II. HARRIS (Danforth): Bills Nos. 12 and 13, which are now under consideration, bring forcibly to our attention the fact that our economy as far as agriculture is concerned has not been just what it might have been, inasmuch as we have probably given too much attention and consideration to the matter of wheat, and not enough to that of coarse grains. The problem is brought before us in striking fashion as we look at the world picture and observe what has happened recently, more especially within the last twelve months. When one thinks of coarse grains one thinks also of live stock, and in thinking of live stock one thinks of the products which come from live stock. We are now confronted with the fact that twenty-five per cent of the oils or fats normally consumed by Canadians has been shut off from us. These products, as the house knows and as the minister has pointed out, originate largely in Pacific countries such as Sumatra, the Dutch East Indies, Java, Macassar, and the Straits Settlements. Not only are we shut off from these extra supplies, but all the democratic countries are in the same position. It is well known that even the United States, with a factory consumption per year of three million tons of these products, have found it necessary to import, on an average during the past few years,

1,200,000 tons annually, although they are supposed to be large producers of these commodities. We have lost our source of supply in the Pacific; we cannot expect to import from the United States; we cannot of course expect to receive any from Great Britain. Therefore, in my opinion, before we are much older we shall be compelled to ration not only butter, lard, and all oils and fats, but perhaps soap as well.

I think the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) left a false impression in the minds of hon. members when he intimated that this situation will be met to a degree by an increased production of flax. In a moment or two, after a general statement, I shall make some observations with regard' to flax. In my opinion it is too bad that during the last twenty years we have not given more attention to flax. We produced it in 1920 to the extent of 203,000 tons, and in 1924 pro-

Wheat Board Act

duction rose to 242,000 tons, although it was not all milled here; a good deal was exported. The reason for the increase in production from 1921 to 1924 was, as we all know, a spiral of prices which brought flax on one occasion as high as $6 per bushel. But we allowed production to slide down and down, and the highest figure reached in the next fifteen years was in 1930, when 127,000 tons were produced. From that time it slipped until, according to the statistics provided by the world market headquarters in London, England, we raised .in 1937 only 17,900 tons, or one-tenth of what was produced in 1920.

This trend was brought forcibly to the attention of the present administration on many occasions, particularly in 1937. At that time those interested in flax presented by an amendment their representations in respect of application No. 99, covering the general oils and fats situation. Attention may have been paid to this; consideration may have been given to it; in fact the tariff board brought down a recommendation, but it was never acted on in any of the categories having to do with the supplies required of oils and fats of all kinds for consumption in Canada. To my mind that was a mistake. Our house should have been put in order at that time. If the representations which were made in 1937, 1938 and 1939 had been put into effect, instead of our importing, as we did in 1936 and 1937, very large quantities of flax from the Argentine and very large quantities of linseed oil from Europe, we would have found ourselves in a much better position to-day with regard to flax production in Canada. That, however, is water under the bridge. In placing these few remarks on Hansard now, I am anxious to help the general economic condition in Canada by putting the position on the record and trying, by suggestion, to improve the situation as a whole.

As regards the $2 an acre bonus for those lands which go into oats and barley, I suppose the pegging of flax at $2.25 a bushel will take care of flax, and with that feature of this legislation I am entirely in accord. I admit that it is perhaps rather not of the kind1 we were accustomed to twenty or thirty years ago, but times are changing rapidly and we must be up to the minute and take care of ourselves as we go along, even though some of the legislation may sound more or less socialistic. I was never in favour of the $4 an acre blackout, as it has been described, and I should like to see the $4 added to the $2 to help out the general situation in order to get more oats and barley grown and fed,

more flax grown, and more linseed oil produced in Canada. Anything along that line will meet with my approval.

I see my hon. friend the member for Essex South (Mr. Clark), who will follow me, and while he is pondering what he will say I will go further and make this suggestion. I should like to see more soya beans grown in the hon. gentleman's delightful county with a view to helping out this situation. I hope he will refer to that question when he speaks.

For generations flax was used only in the industrial trade in connection with paint and linoleum. That was all it was used for, except that the oil cake from it, constituting 66 per cent-that is to say, of 100 pounds of flax pressed, 66 pounds of cake are produced along with 34 pounds of oil cake-was used as foodstuffs for horses and cattle. But the oil itself is the product we are interested in, and that is the reason why the minister has passed the order in council setting the price at $2.25 a bushel. The product itself previously did not find its way into edible channels; but Russia, far in advance of Canada on this hemisphere, in the handling of this product, has been for the last three or four years and now is putting the major portion of its production of linseed oil into edible channels. It can be done, though it is a difficult process. As a matter of fact, you can take almost any oil-including castor oil-and put it into edible channels. In the case of castor oil, the usual effects from the oil can be offset if it is properly refined and hydrogenated, and you would get the food value from it. The danger with linseed oil is the same as with castor oil, but that is just by the way. Linseed oil can be used as an edible base for shortenings, making up the deficiency of animal fat and oil requirements for the Canadian people.

Whether or not it is economic is beside the point. We have an emergency on, and economics disappear a little when you do not have what you must have in order to sustain the Canadian people. But that will readjust itself in due course. Flax at $2.25 a bushel would not be economic if we were discussing the matter of turning it into an edible product and putting it on the market. It would not be economic in the ordinary sense of that term, but during the war the product ought to find its way into these channels. It certainly would not be economic to put it into the soap kettle, because in the first place its saponification value is low-193-whereas the saponification value of coconut oil is 245; in other words, 245 pounds of linseed oil are necessary to make the same amount of soap

Wheat Board Act

as would be produced from 193 pounds of the other commodity. The result is that the economics are away out of balance.

Prior to the war coconut oil was half the price of linseed and therefore it was much more out of balance. Nevertheless, we have an emergency on, as I say, and this emergency accounts for at least 25 per cent of the consumption of these products in Canada. Not only is that the condition, but there is not much hope of supplementing the supply which we previously imported. Even last year we were fortunate. During 1941 we brought in, to be exact, 190,578,000 pounds of vegetable oils largely from those countries now controlled by Japan, and I congratulate the administration upon having allowed that great quantity to come in. But from these same areas, during 1942, we shall get scarcely any. Presently I shall recite the places from which these products came.

I am supporting this part of the legislation which has to do with the production of more flax. The other misapprehension under which the minister appeared to be labouring when discussing the matter was that the flax perhaps was coming from Japan or the Pacific. As a matter of fact, the world's flax production to-day is in the hands of the Argentine. In the last year for which we have any record, 1937, 1,857,000 tons were produced by the Argentine for export, and the only other supply of any consequence was from the British Indies, 220,000 tons. Therefore the Argentine and this western hemisphere are self-sufficient as far as flax is concerned.

Coming to the individual countries which make up the western hemisphere, we are very far from being self-sufficient, and we must approach this task immediately to get more flax production. Last year, Canada produced

6,500.000 bushels of flax. Our milling capacity has been allowed to go to seed-or perhaps the proper expression would be to go to rust-since 1920. It may be quite true that to-day the milling capacity for handling flax is at the limit, as the minister said last night in his remarks; but that can be expanded. They are only working six days of the week, and other pressing or auxiliary equipment is lying idle in other parts of Canada. Perhaps I might say to my soya bean friends that expellers and presses are to-day idle. There are no soya beans to work on. To some of my friends from British Columbia, I would say this with regard to the expellers in Vancouver, to take care of the copra pressing activities there. I congratulate not only the people in British Columbia but this government and the men who had enterprise enough to put money into that industry

to produce a supply of coconut oil in that province, but their supply of copra, since the war situation has become so serious, is crippled and partly shut off. They have their own steamers running from British Honduras bringing a certain quantity of supplies. They have chartered their own vessels, but whether the shipping board is allowing them to use those vessels I am not sure. The point is that the expellers at present idle in the great copra plant in British Columbia can very readily be turned over to the production of linseed oil from flax.

Time is the essence of these things, but we must take time by the forelock if we are to get results. Therefore I am going to suggest that first we encourage our Canadian farmers to grow every possible acre of flax this year. Do not be satisfied with production of a miserable 6,500,000 bushels; I hope we shall have a production of from fifteen to twenty million bushels this year. I am going_ to enlarge on why I hope that will be done. This is partly economics. The minister will agree that the mills which are handling the flax are paying $1.64 a bushel as the ceiling price for the product. This is subject to correction, when I have a chance to review what the minister has had the full advantage of, but some of the rest of us have not, namely the report, concerning the Saskatchewan farm delegation which on February 2 and 3 made some requests with regard to flax. Someone else will have to deal with this because I have had a chance only to glance at it-and I say we should have had a chance to see it as soon as it was printed.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have not yet had a chance to read it myself.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to let me have the floor without interruption.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The hon. member should not make statements of that kind.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

When I proposed to ask a question which I thought would even help the minister I was amazed to find that an experienced parliamentarian such as the Minister of Agriculture would not give way and give me the floor-

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I gave you the floor last night.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

With a certain Napoleonic stare he remained on his feet and I was not given an opportunity to help the general situation which he was discussing. Therefore to-day I ask him to keep his seat until I have finished.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I just wanted to say that I have not yet read that report myself.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

I have not had the advantage of reading it, but I can see a double merit in increasing the production of flax this year. Suppose our mills are able to handle only four or five or six million bushels and we produce twenty million and we pay the farmers $2.25 a bushel, we have an export market open to us in the United States which to-day is riding at $2.46 a bushel, a difference of twenty-one cents. That twenty-one cents on an extra five or ten million bushels which we might produce in Canada would go a long way to make up the differential between the ceiling price of $1.64 which now obtains at the Canadian mills and the $2.25 which the government is setting as the ceiling price. Therefore, as far as that is concerned I will waive all the ideas that I have had in days gone by in regard to socialistic legislation if I am satisfied with this legislation, namely the pegging of the price at $2.25 which is something like twenty-one cents on the average or 10 per cent more than the average price which obtained in 1926 to 1929. In regard to this commodity I waive my objection to paying higher than the average price in order that more of the product will be produced in Canada.

The minister was also good enough to suggest that other ways and means might be found to help out the production of oils and fats in this country. Putting a floor under oats and barley and paying a bonus of $2 ought to bring about an increase in the production of oats and barley. If it does not, I should like to see the administration come along with some other legislation which would further stimulate the production of oats and barley. The reason why I want that is that it will find its way into live stock, and live stock will find its way into the production of oils and fats and butter products, fats of a kind that people in this northern hemisphere should be consuming rather than the other kind.

Before developing that section of the argument let me call attention to the condition which obtained prior to 1941. This has been put on the record many times in different ways, even though last year I was scolded a little by one of the ministers who had charge of this department for putting it on each and every year. Let me give a few figures taken from the review of oil and fat markets, F. H. N. Faure & Company, of London, England, showing the position our democracies find themselves in by reason of the loss of these Pacific countries to the axis powers.

In 1937 the world received from the Philippine islands, Java, Macassar and the

[Mr. Harris (Danforth).1

other Dutch East Indies 945,000 tons of these commodities. In the same year the democracies mostly and the rest of the world received, largely from the same countries, including some from west Africa, 322.000 tons. In the same year the world received palm oil from Sumatra, which is now out of the trade, to the extent of 196,000 tons; Malaya andi the west coast of Africa, 244,000 tons.

Then in the matter of peanuts and ground nuts the production is tremendous. Shipments from India alone were 849,200 tons, apart from that which came from China, amounting to 44,641 tons, and from some other Pacific coast countries.

That gives some conception of the magnitude of this trade. It emphasizes the position that Canada is in when I say that, in my opinion, unless the large quantities now in tanks and stored and in bond in Canada help us over 1942, by 1943 we shall be short at least 200,000,000 pounds. That shortage consists largely of palm oil; secondly, peanut oil and, thirdly, coconut oil. The importation of palm oil in 1941 was 70,000,000 pounds; of peanut oil, 23,000,000 pounds, and of coconut oil, 31,000,000 pounds for soap, 17,000,000 pounds for refining and 22,000,000 pounds for crude. In 1943 we shall be without that product. Therefore it is necessary that everything possible be done in 1942 to get ready to meet that situation.

We now come to cottonseed oil. The United States will need their cottonseed oil to supplement their own supply, and even though we imported last year double what we imported in 1939, namely, 22,431,000 pounds, we shall have to import a good deal more. There is one other source from which we can get cottonseed oil, namely Egypt and the Soudan, and it is to be hoped that that channel will be open to us, but it is a rather precarious guess whether we shall be able to get cottonseed oil from Egypt to help make up our supply.

So, visualizing the difficult position we are in I am going to make one or two suggestions as to what might be done, apart from supporting this legislation.

The natural place for Canada to get its supply is from its own production. In my opinion we must increase in every possible way the production of butter in Canada, otherwise our Canadian population is not going to have enough fat to maintain not to say their high standard of living but their strong physique and' the reputation they now enjoy of being strong men of the north. If we do not get butter we shall not be strong; we must get it. If helping with the growing

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of coarse grains is going to produce butter, then by all means let us have more coarse grains.

What applies with' regard to butter applies equally with regard to another natural product I have in mind. We must produce more lard. The shortage of lard is really going to be very severe. How can we meet that shortage? In my opinion the Wiltshire bacon business has had one drawback in Canada's national economy. Perhaps for the benefit of the newer members of the house I might be pardoned if I were to say that the opinion I have expressed is based on some experience. When in 1921, I first had the privilege of coming to the House of Commons, the men on my farm were feeding over 1,000 hogs, and we sent over

4,000 thousand hogs a year to the Buffalo and Toronto markets. That was my chief line of endeavour, and main line of business-and I have often wished that I had not left pigs for politics. However, when I express my opinion it is based on experience which, although a little old-fashioned, will do no harm. Coarse grains fed to hogs after they pass the Wiltshire weights produce more pounds per day per hog than at any other time during the hog's existence.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

But it takes more feed.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Yes, it takes

more feed. We are paying the bonus to produce more feed, so that when we produce more feed we shall produce more pork; and producing more pork we shall produce more lard; and producing more lard we are producing more pork of a kind and quality which will keep this country in a better position.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

An interesting sequence.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

It is easier to

put it on the pig which has passed the 150-pound mark than at any other time.

I can quite understand the situation which has developed. It was brought about, in days gone by, through Danish bacon competition. We permitted ourselves to bring the weight of our hog from 240 pounds down to 220 pounds, and then we streamlined them and brought them down below 220 pounds. I believe we have now brought them down to about 190 pounds.

But I can remember the day

yes, even before the first great war-when the most money was made by farmers in Ontario out of feeding hogs up to 280 pounds. Many a car it has been my privilege to take to the Buffalo market, and sell at 280 pounds. I am speaking about the days back in 1910, 1911 and 1912. I agree that perhaps at the present time that is not sound practice, but I state the fact only to show how we have brought the weight

of the hog down from 280 pounds to a little more than 180 pounds. Each time we brought in legislation of a kind which streamlined the hog we cut down the production of lard. Each time we exported our Wiltshires to the United Kingdom we cut down the production of lard in Canada.

If the ratio of hog production is going to find its way to the market on a basis of 20 per cent for home consumption and 80 per cent for the export market, then I say that on that product which is offered for home consumption and is marketed by the farmers in Canada we should permit marketing at heavier weights than obtain at present, or than are required for Wiltshire sides. Take off the penalties placed on heavy hogs, so that they may be used to produce more lard.

I would go into conference with those in Canada who are charged with the responsibility of producing Wiltshire sides to see if we could not convince them to raise their restrictions with respect to the streamlining of hogs. I would ask them to be a little more generous with us in the supply for the home market, in order that we in turn may feed more coarse grains and develop the hog industry back from the place it is now reaching, so that it may attain a more sensible basis.

Why do I say this? I say it because the people of Canada are going to be short of fats for their own consumption. If any hon. member is sufficiently interested in the subject I would ask him to refer to page 555 of the evidence given before committee No. 2 on war expenditures on August 13 last, and take special note of the evidence given by Mr. Bedard with respect to exhibit 34. He pointed out that at the present time 20 per cent of the pork products being consumed by the Canadian people was leaving the point of production in a condition which was quite easy to handle. It was leaving in the dressed carcase state. It was brought to the butcher shop or the point of subdivision, and prepared for consumption in a most wasteful and extravagant manner. That is to say, 20 per cent of hog products which are used for home consumption reached the distributors, and in the process of preparation to be placed on the individual's table they were wasted to the nth degree.

This evidence is all on record, and any members of committee No. 2 on war expenditures who had the privilege of being in Toronto last civic holiday will recall that it was shown that forty-two pounds out of each one hundred pounds of pork should, in the interests of national economy, never have left the abattoir or packing plant. The forty-two per cent should have been left there and used by the plant for edible purposes. The whole

Wheat Board Act

one hundred pounds should not have been shipped, thereby bringing about a condition whereby forty-two per cent could not be used economically.

Again addressing myself to the problem before us, namely that of feeding more coarse grains to produce more pork and, second, the production of more fats and oils to supply our Canadian people, may I point out that it requires 34,000 hogs to feed 100,000 persons a year. If the recommendation of August 13 last with respect to the saving of ten pounds of fat per hog were put into effect, there would be a saving of 340,000 pounds on the basis of feeding 100,000 men. So there is one saving in connection with the feeding of our armed forces, the subject the committee had under review. I must say, however, that I am hesitant about interfering in any way with the rationing of the armed forces. It is difficult enough now to keep them all satisfied. They are chafing at the bit in Britain, as we know; and they are chafing at the bit here. Give them everything that is coming to them, or that is produced in the diet of Canada, and let us have more legislation which will curtail wasteful handling of these products by the consuming civilian public. By doing so we shall meet two or three objectives.

If we recognize that, as I have pointed out, in the feeding of 100,000 men about a third of a million pounds of fat could be saved, it is then only a matter of mathematics to see that we have here the possibility of picking up 40,000,000 or 50,000,000 pounds of that shortage we had previously formed the extravagant habit of supplying from the Pacific area, now dominated by Japan.

What obtains with regard to pork also obtains in even greater degree to beef. The same observations I make concerning the use of pork in the armed forces I make with regard to beef. Give the boys in uniform everything that they want, all the choice cuts they want in order to keep up their morale, but bring the Canadian population in civilian life to a sense of the position that we are in. The minister referred last night to some of the more expensive cuts. We should just see to it that the civilian population are curtailed in their consumption of expensive cuts, and one place to start is right here in the matter of supplying of beef in carcase to the butcher shops or to individuals who have the responsibility of cutting it up for consumption among civilians.

On the basis of 100,000 men in the armed forces, it is figured that at least twenty-five pounds of beef fat per carcase could be saved in edible form. This would amount to

1,250,000 pounds a year. However, not all this quantity would go into the edible channel;

we are not sure that all of that portion does go into the edible channel in spite of the fact that our salvage people are trying to do the best possible job.

In conclusion, I urge that every possible acre be put to flax. We should try to produce

20,000,000 bushels of flax this year. I urge that the pressers of Canada be asked1 to increase their pressing equipment and the production of linseed oil. I urge that the national research council see to it that as much work as possible is done in connection with the refining of this product and hydrogenation so that more oil may find its place on the market to help ovecome the shortages we are going to experience in 1943. I urge that consideration be given to the recommendations to be found in the exhibit to which I made reference. I urge members of this house to study one of the most vital problems that is going to affect our Canadian economy during the next two or three years and get our house in order.

I have not a great deal to say about soya, beans because I imagine the hon. member for Essex South (Mr. Clark) and the hon. member for Kent (Mr. Desmond) perhaps know more about this product that the rest of us. But in case they say nothing about it, I do hope that something definite is done to increase the production of soya beans in this country. Apart from the economics themselves, the thoughts that run through my mind have to do with the emergency.

Last but not least, perhaps the most important of all, let us produce more butter. Let us get the churn going on the back verandah and see to it that more dairy butter is produced. We should not have a haphazard guess that we are producing a hundred million pounds a year; we should know that we are producing that amount of dairy butter. Let our farms be self-sufficient in the production of their own butter rather than going to the creameries. I am ready to support legislation of any kind which will help us in a sensible and practical way out of the difficult position in v'lich we find ourselves.

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LIB

Stuart Murray Clark

Liberal

Mr. S. M. CLARK (Essex South):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris) made reference to soya beans. I had not intended to say anything about this product, which happens to be raised in part of the district I have the honour to represent, but perhaps a few remarks would be in order.

The island of Pelee, the most southerly island in Canada, raised about 125,000 bushels of soya beans last year. This particular crop seems to be well adapted to that island and it has been quite satisfactory from the financial

Wheat Board Act

point of view. We are having difficulty with the ceilings which have been placed on crops grown in that part of the country. There may foe an opportunity to increase tremendously the acreage of this crop in the counties of Essex, Kent and Lamfeton, but this will depend somewhat upon any ceiling that may be applied to this particular product.

My main purpose in taking part in this debate was to refer to the remarks of the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker). He tried to paint a picture of rural conditions in Ontario, but I find I must disagree with him to some extent. At the outset I want to say that neither the rural districts nor the members from Ontario are antagonistic to the welfare or well-being of the people of western Canada. We may disagree with certain policies put forth by the government; we may disagree with the way in which they are applied and the extent' to which they go, but we are really interested in their problems and hope that they will appreciate ours.

Last night the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) said that the Canadian wheat farmer received more for his wheat than the United States farmer. The hon. member for Rosthern hoped that the western Canadian farmer would be treated as well as the farmer on the other side of the line.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

The United States farmer gets SI.16 per bushel.

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LIB

Stuart Murray Clark

Liberal

Mr. CLARK:

I should like to give some comparisons. In my district thousands of farmers raise burley tobacco. I should like to quote some of the prices received. We are forced to operate under ceilings, not floors. The average price paid for United States burley tobacco, of which millions and millions of pounds are raised, was $29.50 per hundred pounds. The average price received in Canada was $14.50, just fifty per cent of the United States price. According to the statement of the Minister of Agriculture it would appear that the wheat farmer is not being treated too badly as compared to the Ontario farmer.

In the years 1938, 1939 and 1940 the average base price for this kind of tobacco was 124 cents per pound. This was increased this year three-quarters of a cent per pound. A ceiling has been placed on the manufactured product and on raw leaf sales by brokers, so that we are now at a standstill so far as increases for burley tobacco are concerned. This increase is just six per cent. The farmers in western Ontario must compete with industrial labour which is receiving from 75 cents to $1.25 per hour, and our labour costs for this coming year will foe 100 per cent greater.

Under the ceiling limit, we are receiving only six per cent more than we received on the average in 1938, 1939 and 1940. What is happening in this district is that the tobacco growers are leaving their farms to take jobs in industry. Thank goodness there are some industries to which they can go. They are working in industry and their farms will no doubt lie idle.

I should1 like to make another comparison. We have a sugar beet industry in western Ontario. We have factories which have been operating for some twenty years, and under the present price scale only ten per cent of the contracts have been signed. So that the prospects are that two factories will lie idle during this coming year. Contrast that with the wheat situation. Every table in Canada is affected by the shortage of sugar. We have a large surplus of wheat, and I am glad of that, but we are now going to pay the wheat growers another bonus of $56,000,000. The prospect for increasing the production of sugar is not very good. I will admit that the Minister of Finance made a gesture in that regard, but it is not enough, and as I said before, with a ceiling on sugar and a shortage of sugar in Canada, two sugar factories in Canada will likely lie idle this year. That is one spot, one section of land, that could be used for the production of soya beans, and there may be some acreage of the burley tobacco growers available to put into soya beans if the ceiling does not put them altogether out of business. The ceilings have put the farmer of Ontario in a position where he cannot operate, and therefore it is difficult for me to go back >nd ask that same farmer to contribute to a bonus to the western wheat grower to the amount of $56,000,000.

I could deal with other crops in Ontario. Take the bean situation. The British government, I believe, have agreed to take so many thousand tons of beans; but in what way has this deal been consummated? It is left to the British government and the dealer to work out the price that will be paid to the farmer. It may be only 50 cents a bushel. These, Mr. Speaker, are the conditions under which the Ontario farmer is working at the present time.

Take potatoes. We all know that a ceiling has been put on potatoes. If I remember rightly, last year the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) spoke at some length of the position of the potato growers in his province. We have no floor for any of the products we produce in Ontario, but we do have ceilings, and they are putting us in a pretty bad position. The hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) in his address on

Wheat Board Act

Monday last said something about ceilings. I shall quote what he said at page 1135 of Hansard of March 9:

Ceiling prices were set for the purpose of preventing sudden rises throughout the country, and inflation; and I think we all admit that it was a proper thing to do. But when these prices were frozen proper regard was not had for the relation between the price of one commodity and the price of another.

I entirely agree with that statement. Further on he said;

There has been no ceiling price set on wheat, which I think is a perfectly proper position for the government to take at this time.

Again he said:

As a western representative I must say this, that I will not accept, nor will the people of western Canada accept, any economy for western Canada based on 90-eent wheat at Fort William, or anything near that figure, for the duration of the war.

I believe at another point in his address he mentioned $2.21 as the price paid for wheat in the last war. I think he has discussed that at different times in different addresses. Compare that with the position of our farmers in Ontario. We are tied up with a ceiling and no increases at all. Our labour costs are going up; there is no ceiling on labour for our farmers of Ontario. The Minister of Agriculture last night hoped, and perhaps intimated, that in another year things might be better for the marketing of wheat; that, at all events prices might be expected to go up after the war. That is the prospect for the wheat grower; but the Ontario farmer is tied up with ceilings which make it impossible for him to make a profit and in some cases impossible to operate at all. The wheat grower has no ceiling. He has a floor, and the price of wheat will no doubt go on up. I may say to the minister that the sugar interests in this country and perhaps the tobacco interests might be able to pay their Share of the bonus for western wheat. More of the spread between the retail price and the price that is paid to the farmer for sugar and tobacco should go to the farmer. If the minister feels that that is the situation, I suggest that he immediately start a sweeping investigation so that we shall know whether we are absorbing more of the ceiling than we should.

In our district, tobacco and tomatoes have been two of the war's casualties. We receive no assistance from consolidated revenue fund, and if there is too much tobacco produced, we have to reduce our acreage. The largest tomato processing plant in the British empire is located in my riding, but it has been running at only a fraction of its capacity because its product is not able to get info Great

Britain. I believe that this year more of their products will find their way to Great Britain, which will make quite a difference to the growers in that district.

These are the conditions under which the farmers in my district are working. Price ceilings are putting them in a position where they cannot possibly go on. I have raised tobacco for twenty-three years but I could not possibly go to my banker this year and say: My labour costs will be up 100 per cent, and my increase in price has been over six per cent over the last three years; I am tied up with a ceiling. It means just one thing, Mr. Speaker; I have to quit raising tobacco. That is the position we are in, and I hope that the member for Rosthern, in painting his picture of agriculture, will appreciate that we have some problems too in Ontario.

I should like to mention another thing which is thrown up at me quite often by the people of my district. There are dozens of farmers in my district who have five or ten or fifteen acres of land; I suppose the average sized farm in my district is fifty acres. They say: "My goodness, have we got to contribute to a bonus to a man who farms 1,000 acres, or 1,500 or 4,000 acres?" These are some of the problems, Mr. Speaker, which I want to place before the western members. They are problems we have to face when we go back to our constituents.

There should be a change in the ceilings on different commodities in this country. Each change, I know, has to be worked out carefully, but I think it would receive the support of the people of this country. My constituents, who are in the difficulties I have mentioned through price ceilings, and who really need some assistance, would perhaps be prepared to say to the Minister of Agriculture, after reading the statement of the Prime Minister yesterday about Hong Kong: We need some financial help, but use the money instead to buy bombers and fighters and tanks to defeat the enemy. Perhaps those two trainloads of farmers who came from western Canada-I had the privilege of talking to a number of them1; they are real Canadians-will be inclined to say, after reading the statement about Hong Kong, "Take that $56,000,000 and buy fighters and bombers and tanks." I hope so.

In conclusion, I would just say that the Minister of Agriculture has a pretty tough job. He has been trying to meet in the best possible way the problems which arise all over this country. I have disagreed with him on a number of occasions, but I still think he is the best man for the job, and he should have our support.

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Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. ROBERT FAIR (Battle River):

Mr. Speaker, I have only a few remarks to make, and perhaps I would not have said anything but for some of the statements made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) last evening.

Before proceeding to deal with his address I want to comment briefly on statements made by the hon. member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Donnelly) as reported in Hansard, page 1182. The hon. member, apparently, has farmed the farmers of the west long enough, and is now preparing for that "old man's home." I wish him a lot of happiness there, but I also want to contradict his statement in connection with the wheat pool, which was referred to this afternoon by the hon. member for Melfort. The wheat pools, as was pointed out by the hon. member, are a cooperative organization and as such distribute their earnings among the members of their organization. .

With regal'd to the question of wheat, before going any further let me make my position quite clear. On various occasions, in addressing meetings in my own constituency, I have told my people that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) has a tough job; so has the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon). I think that they, as well as other hop. members, including myself, realize that they are in a minority in the cabinet and that most of their colleagues are not disposed to support them in an attitude which is favourable to western agriculture. I have on all occasions at my meetings placed the case of the government and of agriculture fairly before the people, and then I have taken my directions from the people who sent me here. I feel that nothing fairer than that can be done; and if I did smile a little last evening when the minister was trying to put over a set of figures in connection with the price of wheat, I believe I was not the only one who did so; although those who are bearing the expense of the policy have no reason to smile, because it is costing them quite a lot of money.

Dealing with flax, the minister had this to say, at page 1205 of Hansard:

Being of that conviction, I believe that, before this war is over, wheat will be in exactly the same position as flax has arrived at during these past twelve months. I do not know whether it will be during 1942; I do not know whether it will be during 1943; but I am as convinced as I am that I am standing on the floor of this house to-night, that at some time before the end of the war every bushel of wheat that is grown in Canada between now and the end of the war will be required to feed the people in Europe and in some other parts of the world. I

to which I take objection is that people will have to go on growing wheat for far less than the cost of production, just because they are assured that at some time, sooner or later, that wheat will be needed. If we take an overworked horse this past fall and say, "Now, horsie, you live on till next summer and there will be lots of green grass", and give him nothing to eat until that time, that horse won't survive the winter. In the same way, unless farmers get a better deal they cannot go through this period in the condition they should be.

The minister went on, to say a little later, at page 1206:

There are a number of these letters, and everyone of them says in effect: "We would like to have $1 a bushel for wheat, but if giving us $1 a bushel for wheat is going to lessen the amount which has been paid to us under acreage payments during the past two or three years, then we would prefer that you retain the acreage payments."

The hon. member for Wood Mountain and the hon, member for Maple Creek (Mr. Evans) expressed the same opinion in the house yesterday and to-day. Some other hon. members spoke to the same effect, but the two whom I have mentioned were speaking for their own particular parts of the province of Saskatchewan, where, apparently, very little crop is grown; and a better price for wheat where no grain, or very little grain, is grown, does not matter much compared with the benefits which the farmers derive from the bonuses as they are set out at the present time.

The minister went on to give us particulars in connection with municipality No. 8, south of Weyburn. In that municipality the average yield is ten to eleven bushels per acre. Under wheat acreage reduction they received $37,592; as prairie farm assistance bonus, $S,986; prairie farm income, S23.779, and they are yet to receive some 37,800 under the wheat acreage reduction regulations. In that particular municipality they marketed 234,000 bushels, for which they received about fifty cents a bushel, or 8117,000. I figured that out, and it comes to approximately 83 cents per bushel, including the bonuses. That is as near as you can get to the upper edge of a district where they can receive the bonus-ten to eleven bushels per acre.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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March 11, 1942