Walter Adam Tucker
I am discussing the principle of the bill. It goes such a short distance that I am just pointing it out for the edification of my hon. friends. Let me read again what the Prime Minister held out and express the hope that he will yet reconsider and make this bill into something more in line with the needs of western Canada and more in line with the hopes he held out when those neighbours of both his and mine voted for him. Here is what he said, as reported at page 2189 of Hansard of March 14, 1957:
. . . the only salvation for the western farmer, with his markets lost and his wheat therefore unmarketable, is that there should be cash advances.
Is this such a cash advance measure when you can get up to $3,000 which is taken back from you within a year and can market only up to six bushels per specified acre? Is this the solution which the Prime Minister had in mind?
Is it to be said that after what happened to them in their attempt at Washington to
get some reconsideration of the surplus disposal policy of the United States that they the government really expect any great amelioration of the marketing problem? The situation is still there, just the same and worse.
Then the Prime Minister has said there should be cash advances; now this is really a temporary advance, repayable within a year. Is this going to really help our farmers in the way in which they were led to believe they would be helped? The Prime Minister said:
We believe that every encouragement should be given to the farmer to provide their own storage and that with the provision of such storage, additional writeoffs should be permitted when determining the amount of his income tax.
I hope that the government will carry out that promise.
It was suggested from time to time that that should be done right in the Wheat Board Act so there would be no doubt about it but, in any event, this is something which should be done at this session of parliament and without delay, because the situation in western Canada is very difficult as the Prime Minister very well knows. I would like the government to give consideration to this question and the Minister of Trade and Commerce can answer it if he wishes to do so: does he seriously suggest that this proposal he has just made carries out the promises of the Prime Minister who said: "We believe that under proper circumstances there should be provision for cash advances on farm-stored grain similar to the system in effect in the United States."