May 4, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)



In moving the second
reading of Bill No. 82 I desire to say that it deals with a matter which has been the subject of general discussion in western Canada more or less since 1931, when the wheat pools which had been operating prior to that time found it necessary, because of financial difficulties, to cease operations on a signed contract pooling basis and to allow only voluntary pooling. That voluntary pooling was permitted until the appointment of the wheat board under the legislation of 1935. During that period there was carried on through the central selling agency of the three pools what has come to be known as stabilization activities. During the period of those stabilization activities some 20,000,000 bushels of wheat were delivered to the voluntary pools by the wheat producers, but since the time the activities in connection with the marketing of wheat were taken over by the wheat board there has been no pooling of wheat in western Canada. The discussion in regard to the pooling of wheat has continued, however, and I think I would be safe in saying that at least one-third of the farmers of western Canada still believe they can market their wheat to better advantage under a pooling system over which they themselves have control than they can either through the open market or by any other method that has been tried so far. I am of the opinion that it would be in the interests of the grain trade of western Canada to make it possible for that group of producers to satisfy themselves and the people of Canada generally as to whether or not their contention with regard to the marketing of wheat is reasonable and can be effectively put into operation.
Under this bill we intend to place at the disposal of farmers who hold the view that wheat can be profitably marketed through the pooling system, facilities and a means of credit under which that pooling system can be tried out. It will be remembered by those who are familiar with the situation in western Canada that when the pools were first organized, in 1923. they had no handling facilities.

Cooperative Wheat Marketing
They were simply organizations of producers who desired to pool their grain under contract; then, after it was marketed by their own selling agency, they distributed back to the producers any profits which were made as a result of the sale of the grain, over and above the initial payment. In due course, however, the different pools obtained elevators. The Saskatchewan pool took over the Saskatchewan cooperative; the pool in Manitoba took over a line of elevators in that province, and the Alberta pool took over a line of elevators there. So eventually, in addition to their central selling agency, these pool organizations had pool elevator companies as well. As a result of their activities a very considerable number of elevators were operated by these three companies.

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