When I say wheat I mean wheat and the products of wheat; I do not wish to be misunderstood. It does not make any difference what arguments hon. gentlemen put up, the farmers of Western Canada have made a study of this Question and they are determined to have free wheat from some Government. If this Government do not concede their wishes some other Government will. The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers), when speaking on this question last Wednesday, took a very different view from that of the Minister of Finance, and I am prepared to take the statement of the Minister of Finance rather than that' of the Minister of Public Works. The Minister of Public Works argues that the Canadian farmer gets more for his wheat than the American farmer. The Minister of Finance has quoted statistics which he has caused to be compiled by his department to show that the American farmer gets more, for his wheat than does the Canadian farmer. I shall read what both hon. gentlemen said and leave it to the JJouse to judge between them, and to take the word of the Minister of Public Works or of the Minister of Finance as they prefer. The Minister of Finance said: '
Since last September I have caused statistics to be gathered, and the spread in price has been from three to eight cents a bushel, or even more, in favour of the American market.
That is the statement made here by the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Public Works said:
Come with me to New York, and you can stand on the docks and see Canadian wheat going to,Liverpool at a price representing from twenty to twenty-five cents a bushel more than wheat from the United States.
Mr. Oliver: Did the Canadian farmer get
twenty-five cents a bushel more for it?
Mr. Rogers: The Canadian farmer is getting a good deal more for his wheat this year than the American farmer is getting for his, notwithstanding the statements' made by hon. gentlemen opposite. The extravagant statements they put forth do not agree with the facts. Every person knows that in trading in wheat there is no wide margin for the trader, for there are too many in the business and the profit is limited by competition. The fact is that Canadian wheat commands a price at at the American seaboard of from twenty to twenty-five cents a bushel more than the American wheat. That is one of the reasons why I say this House would fail in its duty to the farming community of Western Canada if it did not reject the resolution of my hon. friend.
Thus we have diverging statements of both hon. gentlemen in connection with the price of wheat, and I leave them with thq House and the country. I prefer, as I said, to accept the statement of the Minister of Finance. We in Western Canada all know that the price on the American side is much higher than the price on the Canadian side. Another point that should be enlarged on is, that the Canadian grades are so much higher than the American grades-and the quotations are always made on the grade- that if we take into account the difference between the grades, the Canadian farmer loses considerably more than the difference in the price quoted, as his wheat would grade higher in the United States than in Canada. I shall read a letter which I have received from the vice-president of the Grain Growers' Grain Company. I do not believe there is any fairer minded man in the western country than this gentleman. He used to be a strong Conservative; to-day he has no politics, he is independent. He writes:
I am proud of the fight that I see some of your men put up for free wheat. To my mind the most important thought so far as free wheat is concerned is that so many of our able men contend that when at times they find the Winnipeg prices are equal to those of Minneapolis and Duluth come to the conclusion that under this period, free wheat would be no benefit to the wheat producers of Canada. This is an awful dream, for where they seem to miss their cue is in the fact that Winnipeg prices may be equal to that of Minneapolis and in their opinion would go to show that the Canadian farmer was getting as great a price as the Dakota or Minnesota farmer. This is
truly a great dream, for the reason that Manitoba 1, 2, or 3 Northern on an average contains 5 cents per bushel, wheat based at $1 per *bushel, the same milling value for the Minneapolis or Duluth grades.
The explanation is that after the Manitoba farmer cuts 100 acres of the finest Red Fife Wheat and when it goes into shock it is the finest 1 Northern Wheat, but because of climatic conditions coming before it is threshed it has ^become bleached and therefore our inspectors according to the Canadian Act or Inspection Act are obliged to place that wheat down into 2 or 3 Northern, while for milling values it is not reduced in any particular. This has been proven by chemical and scientific tests, that not once in ten years has the average of this wheat been affected by climatic conditions so far as market valuation is concerned. But when we go over into Dakota or Minnesota we find that the 100 acres of wheat cut under the same conditions and after it has gone into shock is number 1 Hard Wheat, but by climatic conditions it has lost its colour, yet when that grain reaches the Minneapolis Sample Market and governed under the Minneapolis Grain Act, we find that while the grain has lost its colour it is still No. 1 Northern and the farmer in Minneapolis and Dakota gets from 3 to 7 cents a bushel more for that same wheat than can be obtained in the Winnipeg market. The Inspection or Canadian Grain Act reads that No. 1 Northern shall contain 60 per cent of Hard Red Fife Wheat and the Minneapolis inspection demands that No. 1 Northern shall contain 60 per cent of Hard Wheat. Now ' there is only two words difference in the reading of the two Acts, but those two words have cost a loss to the Western farmers of not less than 5 cents a bushel when the average is taken on high grade and low grade wheat.
There is only one remedy to this situation and that is " let down the bars to the South " and that means freedom If you show me a man whose blood does not properly circulate through every member of his body, then we find a man who is not in a sound and healthy ndition. So with the western country whose life blood is wheat, and should obstruction be placed in such a way that that life blood does not properly circulate, then we have an unsound and unhealthy country.
Another matter I would like to point out is that the large milling institutions get the advantage of this .unfair condition and no other people can. For the reason that they can grind their grain and it is only the men who grind the grain that can participate in the loss to the farmer.
This is a letter from the vice-president of the Grain Growers' Grain Company, who has been a member of the Grain Growers'
. Association and of the Grain Growers Grain Company ever since they were organized. No man understands the wheat condition better than he, and when a man of his stamp forgets party and stands for free trade in our agricultural products, I think hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House should take note of it, and accede to the reasonable request of the farmers.
There was a point in the speech of the Minister of Public Works to which I would like to make reference. He stated in connection with the Grain Growers' Grain Company, that they were the largest grain dealers in Western Canada. I will read his words, as I do not wish to misquote him:
Will he say that Grain Growers' Grain Company are crucifying the farmers of Western Canada, for they are to-day the largest dealers and exporters of grain in the Dominion of Canada? They have shipped, I believe, something like 100,000,000 bushels of wheat.
I wish to inform the Minister of Public Works that he could not have been very well posted in the dealings of the Grain Growers' Grain Company. Speaking to the president of the Grain Growers' Grain Company some time ago, I happened to inquire as to the volume of business which they were doing, and he told me, and his information shows that the statement of the Minister of Public Works was far from the mark. I took the trouble to wire to the president, and I will read his reply:
Winnipeg, Man., February 22, 1916. Robert Cruise, M.P.,
House of Commons,
Replying your inquiry companies last annual report shows that for crop year ending August thirty-first nineteen fifteen company handled about nineteen million bushels, year before thirty million on much larger crop. Present this year we expect handle forty million. Exporting is done through grain growers' export company which is controlled by Grain Growers Grain Company. Last year about (nine million bushels Canadian grain this year we expect to do thirty or thirty five million.
T. A. Crerar.
That is the statement of the president, of the Grain Growers' Grain Company, showing that they have never handled more than 50,000,000 bushels of wheat.
Topic: FREE WHEAT.