Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a brief statement in connection with wh-eat.
The government will 'Continue the present initial payment of $1.25 per bushel basis No. 1 northern in store Fort William-Port Arthur or Vancouver for another crop year up to July 31, 1947. There will be no over-all restriction on the deliveries of wheat during 1946-47, although temporary delivery quotas will probably be used in the early part of the marketing season to distribute local elevator space as evenly as possible among the producers. Delivery permit books will be used again.
Discussions are continuing with regard to other items in the 1946-47 grain programme, and further announcements will be made as decisions are reached. These announcements will include the prices to be paid for oats, barley, flaxseed, rapeeeed and sunflower seed in the western provinces and for winter wheat grown in Ontario and marketed in 1946-47.
To cover one of the points in the new food programme, a statement will also be made soon on the procedure to be followed in an effort to expedite the delivery of wheat in western Canada. This will be along the lines of encouraging immediate delivery of wheat.
The hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker), the hon. member for Maple Creek (Mr. McCuaig) and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken) have advised me that they purpose asking questions today with regard to the payments on the participation certificates for the 1943-44 wheat crop. I have this statement ready and I am taking advantage of this opportunity to make it. I believe it will at least cover, as far as I am able to do so at this moment, the information sought by these hon. members.
The payments on the participation certificates for the 1943-44 wheat crop will be started by the Canadian wheat board in June of this year. The 1944-45 barley equalization payments will be made in the month of May. Both of these payments apply to the prairie provinces. The payments on the 1944-45 Ontario wheat equalization fund will begin in May.
While the accounting and auditing on these payments are well advanced, it is not possible at this date to announce the amount of each payment to be made. That announcement will be made just as soon as possible.
May I also take this opportunity to state that I am fully aware of the anxiety existing, particularly in certain parts of western Canada, for the earliest possible payment of these wheat participation certificates. The hon. member for Maple Creek asked if it would not be possible to select the most needy areas in western Canada for prepayment. We have discussed that suggestion with the wheat board,
and have been advised that it is not possible to make payments in one district in advance of the general payment across western Canada, but -that when payments are being made in June it will be possible to make the first cheques payable in those particular districts. The matter of getting out these payments is purely a physical one, a matter of staff and space.