April 13, 1933 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Yes. There was a carryover at that time. That wheat had to be put on the market in orderly fashion. Had it been put under pressure for liquidation it would have seriously affected the market. So far as I know, the pools at that time broke up through the combined selling agencies. They were now more or less in liquidation in any case; they were in the hands of the banks which were guaranteed by us. Then arose this situation. The pools had to fix their initial price according to their system-we will not bother our heads with just what the price was in different years; it varied and there were some difficulties in that regard. At any rate, they had to pay the initial price. Here again the pools had to go to the banks to get funds to pay that initial price and the government had to guarantee the banks against loss in that respect. The pools desired, as had been their custom in the past, to take all the grain offering by the members; that is the service they are supposed to render their members. Now, the wheat came on in the autumn months under a pressure greater than the fixed credit in the bank would permit them to absorb, and if the pools could not carry that wheat themselves, in their own account in the bank, then they had to sell options on the market in order to recoup their credit in the bank. I must differ with the hon. member for Willow Bunch, or whoever it was that said that Mr. McFarland went into the market and drove -the speculator out. That is not the case. With the general world collapse and the falling market in wheat, the speculator, the so-called purchaser of options, disappeared; he disappeared in virtually all markets and there were not sufficient buyers of futures in the market to absorb the offering. We were consequently again confronted with a possible collapse of the market, and it was then that Mr. McFarland was authorized, some months -after the end of the crop year, to stabilize, that is to say, to take up these futures in order that the pools who were hedging on the market against their physical purchases of farmers' grain might be protected in their bank credits. The result of that operation has been an accumulation.
L'Mr. Vallanee.]
My hon. friend from West Edmonton a moment ago made an analysis with which I will not quarrel, but I would invite him and other hon. members to -try' to see all sides of this story. I will not quarrel with him when he says that the holding last year, in so far as it related to last year's crop, was not of great value, but I would ask him to remember this. Had the weight of the physical volume of the wheat been poured upon the market, and if the carry-over of last year, which was 130,000,000 bushels, had not had someone to carry it, someone who could carry it, then the wheat condition would have been worse than it was. That is the point the hon. gentleman overlooked; he did not give due weight to it. Someone who was financially capable of carrying it had to be found, and we alone could. We are carrying it to-day and, I think, successfully, and I hope that we shall be able to liquidate the situation without serious loss ultimately.

Full View