February 17, 1932 (17th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta


The average premium
runs from 15 to 20 per cent. These districts received no benefit from this bonus. The
farmers in the dried out areas were not opposed to the payment of the bonus but they did think that in view of the fact that they had cultivated and summer-fallowed their land, gone to the extent of seeding and doing all work necessary, they were entitled to some consideration. It has been suggested that in order to be fair to the farmers in those districts which have been dried out or hailed out, a minimum bonus of one dollar per acre should be paid. If a man had a crop running only ten bushels per acre, he would receive a bonus amounting to 50 cents per acre, but these farmers feel that they are entitled to further consideration up to at least SI per acre.
The relief measures being carried on in Alberta differ from what is being done in Saskatchewan. When speaking in the debate on the address in reply I mentioned that the relief measures being carried on in the dried out areas of Alberta were totally inadequate to meet the situation, and I still maintain that as a fact. The farmers of those areas, however, feel that if they receive at least a minimum of one dollar per acre they will be satisfied to try to carry on under the circumstances.
Some discussion has taken place with regard to the attitude of farmer leaders in different provinces in the west. Some criticism has been levelled by the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell) against those farmer leaders. I do not know where he gets his information. I can quite understand that inasmuch as in his particular district the farmers had a uniformly good crop, the people would be fairly well satisfied. My hon. friend ought to have an opportunity of visiting some of the dried-out areas in either Saskatchewan or Alberta and then he would probably be in a different frame of mind; that is, if he is capable of understanding the feelings of those people in those areas. I say that in all fairness because of the fact that one has to get into the environment where those conditions exist in order to understand how the people feel in those particular areas.
At the annual convention of the United Farmers of Alberta held in January of this year at Edmonton, a resolution was passed which dealt with this particular subject. I am going to place this resolution on Hansard primarily because there has been some press criticism which has not been altogether accurate and therefore not altogether fair. This resolution reads:
*Whereas, the five cent bonus on wheat was not intended as a means of increasing the production of wheat but solely as a relief measure to meet the present crisis facing the farmers of western Canada, and
Farm Relief-Mr. Gardiner

Whereas, a very large proportion of our farmers are not benefiting by this payment through hail, drought, wind and other causes beyond their own control, and
Whereas, we have noted in the press statements by the Prime Minister of Canada that this omission would be taken care of, and
Whereas, the present relief schemes are inadequate as for obvious reasons they fail to meet the necessities of a great number of our farmers besides failing to make provision for the necessary finance to seed the crop of 1932;
Therefore be it resolved, that we ask the Dominion government, through our board of directors, to change the bonus payment to the effect that all grain growers be recompensed to a minimum of at least one dollar an acre seeded, so that all those who have received no bonus and all those who would not otherwise receive this amount should be treated fairly, and to those whose crop production exceeds this amount the bonus to be as it is at the present time.
That shows, I think very clearly, the state of mind in so far as the farmers of Alberta are concerned.

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