Quite right; but none of that literature is official, other than being official in the sense of the party. It is not sanctioned by the parliament of Canada, nor by the people of Canada represented in the house by their members.
Up to the present time we have religiously avoided what is suggested in this bill. I remember the trouble we had in framing the elections act in order to have enumerators from two political parties making up the lists. We had to find such language as "a representative of an opposite and adverse political party" if I remember correctly. During the first overseas election-I am not speaking of the one in 1917, but the one in 1940
we refrained from stating the political allegiance of the persons who were candidates. I admit frankly that we received innumerable complaints on that score. But in 1945, if I recall correctly, there was some kind of arrangement made whereby political parties were not recognized but leaders of groups in the house were given recognition. It was stated either on the ballot or in the literature-I think perhaps it was in the literature sent out by the returning officer-that such and such a candidate was endorsed by the leader of the opposition or by the leader of the government, or something of that nature. But I doubt if the word "Liberal" or the word "Conservative" or "C.C.F." was on the ballot, though, in saying this, of course, I am speaking only from memory.
Besides, I doubt if we can here, by legislation, give to the leader of the government, for those of us sitting on this side of the house a copyright on the name "Liberal". I have as much right to call myself a Liberal, even though I might oppose some of the policies of the right hon. gentleman who leads us. In the same way, hon. gentlemen sitting in the opposition can call themselves Progressive Conservatives and still not ask for the endorsation of the hon. gentleman sitting opposite.
Under the circumstances, then, I do not oppose this because it is an innovation, but rather because, in conformity with the customs, the habits and the traditions of our parliamentary institutions, I would strenuously oppose placing on the ballot paper the name of the political party to which a candidate adhered.
Canada Grain Act
Topic: CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
AMENDMENTS RESPECTING GRADES, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONERS AND SALARIES
The house resumed consideration in committee of the following resolution-Mr. Howe (Port Arthur)-Mr. Robinson (Simcoe East) in the chair:
That it is expedient to introduce a measure respecting the Canada Grain Act to amend the statutory grades of western grain and eastern grain with respect to the grade No. 3 amber Durum wheat and all grades of soybeans as recommended by the committee on western and eastern grain standards; to provide for the appointment of four in lieu of three assistant grain commissioners and to increase the annual salaries of the chief and other two commissioners from fourteen and twelve thousand dollars to fifteen and thirteen thousand five hundred dollars respectively.
Mr. Chairman, I merely want to make a very short statement with regard to the resolution that is before the committee. The wording of the resolution itself, together with the statement that was made last night by the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce, indicate that the legislation that is to be based on the resolution will contain provisions with which we can agree. Moreover, the indications are that the legislation will contain provisions that have been asked for, and in substantially the form asked for, by the farm organizations of western Canada. We are particularly pleased to know, from what the parliamentary assistant to the minister said, that the bill will contain provisions that substantially implement the recommendations of the standing committee on agriculture and colonization of the last session of parliament regarding the crediting of overages to the Canadian wheat board instead of to Her Majesty in the right of Canada.
There may be provisions in the bill with which we cannot agree, but we will not know that until we have a look at the bill. It may be that there are certain provisions that we would oppose and oppose vigorously, but we do think the government should have the right to introduce the bill. Therefore we feel that the resolution should be carried, and we shall support it.
Mr. Chairman, I rise to take part in this debate not because of any specialized knowledge of grain production or grain handling, but solely to register a protest against what I consider to be unwarranted charges against several individuals of whom I happen to have personal knowledge.
The hon. member for Assiniboia has levelled a charge of incompetence, inefficiency and perhaps worse against two gentlemen for whom I have a very high regard. The chairman of the board of grain commissioners is a man of outstanding reputation in the province of Manitoba. As was said this afternoon, he is a man who has a long history of service to the farmers of western Canada. He certainly is a man who should be supposed to know a great deal about the handling of grain, and as such I would regard him as an eminent person to discharge the duties of the chairman of the board of grain commissioners. It is true he is a Liberal, but this is perhaps just unfortunate, Mr. Chairman, and perhaps it is not a vital handicap to enabling him to discharge the duties incident to his position.
With regard to the second person who has been mentioned in the hon. member's criticism, namely Mr. Milner, a member of the board, I also have personal knowledge of him. I know he has spent practically a lifetime in the grain business. It amuses me somewhat to hear the proposal to pay Mr. Milner a salary of $14,000 per annum questioned, because I know that over a period of years he has probably commanded three times or four times that amount in the private grain trade. Those companies paid him this amount of money for no other reason than they expected him to make money for them. This is to me certainly an indication that Mr. Milner is eminently qualified for his job.
I would think that on reflection the hon. member for Assiniboia might possibly change his conception in this regard. Perhaps his attitude to date indicates, let us say, a certain measure of immaturity of judgment.
Mr. Chairman, it was not my intention to say anything further on this matter after having spoken briefly last night. Since the hon. member who has just taken his seat has seen fit to take the floor in support of some of the commissioners whom the hon. member for Assiniboia criticized-and he documented his criticisms and accusations-I, as a person speaking for the farmer members of this house, recognize that he had a legitimate complaint when he said the examination of the conduct of the board by the agriculture committee last year did not indicate that they
were carrying on the business of the board with full knowledge of the grain act. I think he sufficiently documented his accusations to prove that to all hon. members. I do not think the Minister of Trade and Commerce this afternoon, or the Minister of Agriculture, in any way was able to refute his accusations.
It may be quite true that the chief commissioner knows the grain trade. As the hon. member who just took his seat indicated, he was in the private grain trade for some 40 years. As far as I am concerned that-
speaking of Mr. Milner now, who was taken out of the grain trade and put in as one of the commissioners, not the chief commissioner. That is what I meant to say.
It is true that during the struggle of the farmers to get justice in the marketing of their grain, sir, they were up against the private grain trade and the Winnipeg grain exchange. For years and years members from [DOT]western Canada have come to this house and asked that the futures market on the Winnipeg grain exchange be closed so we would have a different method of marketing our western wheat. Every single champion of western Canada who has come to this house has supported the proposition of the Canadian wheat board.
We are all very happy to have an orderly method of marketing our wheat, namely the Canadian wheat board; but we do not feel that we are getting justice when we have people taken from the private grain trade and placed on the board of grain commissioners and then have hon. members rise in their places and say that, simply because they have some knowledge of the grain trade, they should necessarily be members of the board.
May I ask a question? Is the hon. member aware that Mr. Milner was nominated for his present position by the Alberta wheat pool? His was an Alberta appointment. He was nominated by the Alberta wheat pool, I have been getting abuse this afternoon because I did not take the nominee of the Saskatchewan wheat pool.
Mr. Chairman, I am pointing out that some of us, particularly in this group, are not satisfied with the knowledge or rather lack of knowl-
Defence Production Act edge indicated by the commissioners when they were before the agriculture committee last year. I agree with the hon. member for Assiniboia and others when they say that great care should be taken in the appointment of these men. We feel that the composition of the board should be satisfactory to the great farm organizations.
As the hon. member for Assiniboia pointed out this afternoon, the government can offset any criticism by the farm organizations and get out of this present situation if in future when any appointments are to be made they accept the choice of either the wheat pools or the farm unions of western Canada. Unless that is done we will still be facing injustice. It has taken 50 years for the western farmer to build up his farm organizations in order to get a measure of justice. We have that under the Canadian wheat board.
We feel that the grain act is the farmers' charter. If it is carried out in the proper way we can have some justice in the production and handling of our wheat. We have built up our own elevator system in the west, but the allocation of box cars is under the control of Mr. Milner and the board of grain commissioners. The car order book system is also under their control, and we feel that we have not been able to get a satisfactory allocation of box cars. Therefore it is quite understandable why we are taking exception to what is being done.
In closing may I say that I think the hon. member for Assiniboia has substantiated his charges, and I go right along with him in the statements he has made.
Resolution agreed to: Yeas, 48; nays, 21.
Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in.
Mr. Howe (Port Arthur) thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 245, respecting the Canada Grain Act.
AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
The house resumed, from Thursday, March 10, consideration in committee of the following resolution-Mr. St. Laurent-Mr. Robinson (Simcoe East) in the chair:
That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend the Defence Production Act to increase the salary of the Minister of Defence Production from ten thousand dollars per annum to fifteen thousand and to repeal section 41 which provided for the expiry of the act on July 31, 1956.