John George Diefenbaker
I am sure the banks will make no advances against wheat lying on the ground, having regard to the probable toughness of that wheat next spring. I think in a case such as that there should be some provision whereby payments similar in nature to those under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act would be made available to farmers. I am sure of this, that if a farmer goes into the bank and says "I want to get an advance of up to $1,000 on 200 acres of wheat lying in swaths, and 100 acres that is standing unthreshed in the field," regardless of the 25 per cent guarantee on the part of the government that farmer will have made a fruitless visit to the bank, unless his credit is so high that the 25 per cent guarantee would not be necessary in any case. I am suggesting something in the nature of the payments under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. Legislation analogous to that would cover the situation.
I am not going further into the question at this time. Generally speaking what has been done is a step in the right direction. However, I do not think it holds out much hope for the western farmer who finds himself in a predicament today, first of all because of government failure to realize in May, June and July the probability that our crop would be one of the greatest in all history. Having realized that, one would expect the government to have made provision for the removal of many millions of bushels of wheat glutting the elevators, making those elevators available to the farmer for his marketing.
The situation is serious. The minister has seen it at first hand. No one who has not seen it can realize what it is. I have spoken to one or two members from Ontario who in recent months have travelled to the west, and they tell me that if they had not seen what they did see they could not have realized just how serious the situation is. What is being done through the announcement of policy by the minister I am sure will cause no loss to the Canadian treasury. It could have been brought into effect-I say it should have been-weeks ago. No doubt there would have been earlier consideration, had the event that took place about one week ago been set a month earlier. A step is being made in the right direction. I believe in commending where commendation is due. In making this criticism, I couple with it commendation of the government for having made provision, even though it is too little, and much too late.