July 15, 1908

LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

That is why the word ' No. 1 ' is not repeated where the expression is used ' to the grade to which it belarger number of grades necessary under this Bill than without it. There are a larger number of grades established by statute, but during the past season, under the peculiar conditions that prevailed, the grain standards' board had authority to establish commercial grades so that there was last season a considerably larger number of grades than is provided for under this Bill.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

How many grades of oats were there last year ? .

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I could not say how many actual grades there were, but my hon. friend knows that in w'heat at any rate the number of grades was very large. There were five statutory grades of oats last year.

On section 17-grades of spring wheat.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

Are these satisfactory to the grain growers ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

This is in place of the proposal which caused so much discussion in the Senate. The difference between the proposal discussed in the Senate and this is that the proposal in the Senate undertook to permit scoured or dried grain to go into the regular grades on the judgment of the inspector. This provision makes a separate place for scoured and dried grain of No. 1 and No. 2 quality, but as to No. 3, it is to go into the regular grades or not at the discretion of the inspector.

longs.'-No. 1 hard, No. 1 spring, or whatever it may be.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

There is only one No. 2 grade, but the same wording is used. Could it lead to any confusion? It is pretty clear to my mind, but I make the suggestion.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I think it is all right. Whatever grade the grain may be, if it is scoured, it shall be given that grade, but the word ' scoured ' shall be attached to it, if it is No. 1 or No. 2. But, if it is No. 3, the word ' scoured ' shall be attached, or may not be attached, at the discretion of the inspector. I think the provision is very carefully drawn and is all right.

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

This Bill provides for a grade of 'Alberta red.' Has any representation been made regarding the weight in these classes No. 1 and No. 2 Alberta red? I have heard complaints of many farmers within the last two years. It is said that these grades were two pounds too high, which was a great disadvantage to the growers.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I have not heard any objections to this. Of course, my hon. friend will see there has been a regrading-Alberta red, Alberta white and Alberta mixed. So, the condition is considerably changed from what it was last year.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

At both points-Winnipeg and Port Arthur?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Winnipeg is where the inspection is made.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

I know that this matter was discussed at some length in the Senate; I shall not take up time in discuss-

On section 18-grades of wheat.

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

No. 1 Alberta red is to be 62 pounds to the bushel. It has been contended that this is .two pounds to the bushel higher than it should be. But, as I have had no request to have this reduced, I let it go.

13216

On section 19-grades of oats.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

Is the minister really satisfied that there is need for the large number of different grades here as well as power in the standard board to create more?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

After I explained the proposition to place in the hands of the standard board the right to fix grades for oats, it was objected to.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.

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MANITOBA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT.


House in committee on Bill (No. 188) to amend the Manitoba Grain Act.-Mr. Oliver.


CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

I was in hopes up to the present momeht that there would be inserted in this Bill that very particular request of the Grain Growers' Association of the provinces of Manitoba. Saskatchewan and Alberta. It appears that what they have long been earnestly seeking for has been entirely overlooked. I am not in a position to know what took place at the various conferences that have been held, and up to the pres mt time that matter has not been discussed to any extent on the floor of the House. I refer to government operation of terminal elevators.

If there is anything that the Grain Growers' Association have endeavoured to get it is that. I regret very much that the government had not given that point more consideration and had not incorporated in this Bill a provision to take over the control of the terminal and transfer elevators. What have the Grain Growers' Association got out of this for all the trouble they have gone to ? They have had conventions in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and they have passed resolutions and these meetings have cost no small amount of money. They have also sent delegates down here. They sent them down to the first conference that was held with the right lion. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright). Then, in order that they might be able to secure the passage of this legislation, they sent their representatives down again, they are here at the present time and I regret very much that the government have not undertaken the operation of the terminal and transfer elevators. The government have gone pretty nearly the whole distance in so far as cost is concerned. This legislation will require the appointment of a sufficient number of officers, in my opinion, to operate the terminal and transfer elevators; so that the government might very easily have gone to the extent that the delegates of the Grain Growers' Association have been asking them to go. I think it is very important that I should call the attention of the committee to some of the resolutions that were passed at the conference of the

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

Grain Growers' Association. I hold in my hand :

Extracts from minutes of meetings of conference of representatives from the Grain Growers' Associations of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and the Farmers' Association of Alberta, held in Saskatoon, February 15 and 17, 1908.

Whereas the Royal Grain Commission, in a report to the Hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce, dated February 1, 1907, report that the tendency at Fort William and Port Arthur is for elevators to go under control of private companies, that the operating of terminal elevators by private companies under present regulations would be detrimental to the trade, and destroy public confidence in the result obtained therefrom ;

Whereas the commission in their report laid on the table of the House of Commons, state that the private corporations operating terminals at Fort William are composed largely of the shareholders, officers and directors of grain firms and country line elevators in Winnipeg, and as such have a direct financial interest in much of the grain passing through Fort William ;

Whereas the commission in their report recommended as a remedy the weighing, cleaning and binning grain in all terminal elevators under the supervision of officers appointed by the Dominion government; and

Whereas we are of the opinion that the remedy suggested by the commission is inadequate to meet the requirements of a terminal system of elevators and maintain the public confidence in the result obtained at such terminals ; and

Whereas the Farmers', association of Alberta and the Grain Growers' Associations of Saskatchewan and Manitoba at their annual conventions each passed a resolution urging the Dominion government to acquire, own and operate the terminals at Fort William and Port Arthur ;

Be it resolved that we endorse the findings of the S.G.G.A. and the M.G.G.A. and the A. F.A., as expressed in their respective annual conventions re urging the Dominion government to acquire, own and operate a complete system of storage terminal elevators, and further that each of the executives of the above associations appoint two delegates to form a joint delegation to wait on the Dominion government to present the views of the grain growers of the three prairie provinces.

Whereas there is danger that in the transfer of grain on the various routes from the lake terminals to the sea-board, that much of the advantage obtained by the government ownership and operation at the lakes will be lost unless the transfer elevators are also owned and operated by the Dominion government ;

Be it resolved that the delegates to Ottawa be instructed to urge that these transfer elevators should also be owned and operated by the Dominion government.

What they desire the government to do is set out clearly there. The delegates that came down here, after listening to the evidence that was adduced by railway corporations, bankers, &c., sat down and made a digest of the discussion that took place

at that conference. They have sent to me, and, I presume, to all the members of the House, quite a lengthy synopsis of what they desire to have crystalized into legislation. Here is one of the principal recommendations they make :

The most important resolutions and the ones which induced the conference to the length of asking the several associations, to send delegates to Ottawa, were (1) the one urging the Dominion government to acquire (which may be by construction, purchase or lease without interfering with the essential future) and operate the terminals at Port William and Port Arthur, (2) the resolution growing out of this asking that the Dominion government acquire and operate the transfer elevators and (3) another providing for the special binning of grain at the terminals in order that a satisfactory sample market might be developed in Winnipeg to the mutual benefit of the producer and miller.

The government undertakes to classify western wheat into grades according to certain specifications. The safeguarding of the producer of that grain as well as the millers of Ontario and Britain requires that the government surround that grain in transit with such protection as will insure it9 delivery at points of destination as inspected by the chief inspector.

There is a growing and well grounded conviction among growers of grain in the west that existing conditions at the terminals at Fort William and Port Arthur and the transfer elevators between these terminals and the Atlantic sea-board, afford opportunities for manipulation detrimental to the best interests of the country. This conviction is borne out by the report of the Royal Grain Association. On page 18 of the report the following statement appears; say there is a possibility of the elevator operators mixing grain contrary to the Gram Inspection Act-in some cases samples were produced to us that would lead us to believe that there had been either manipulation or serious mistakes made somewhere.

This shows that the existing conditions not only afford an opportunity for mixing grain contrary to this Act, but that mixing and adulteration actually does take place. Again on the same page we read: There is a very general complaint throughout Ontario that they do not get the regular grades of Manitoba grain of wheat especially in as clean a condition as is called for by the Inspection Act. We also found from examination of arrivals in Great Britain, that the grain as received there contains too great a percentage of foreign matter.

I think I have read sufficient to show the House that what the Grain Growers' Association really want is government operation. I shall not argue at present whether it is preferable to obtain that by construction or purchase but I do urge upon the government the necessity of getting the control and operation of those elevators by lease. They have gone to the distance of appointing officers to check the grain through the elevator system, and the government should have gone one step further and obtained control of the elevators and operated them. That

was suggested on this side years ago and had the proposition of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) received the attention it should we would by this time have worked out the system which the grain growers want. To show that members on 'this side in the last parliament called the attention of the government to the necessity of government ownership and operation of terminals, I shall read an extract from a speech made by the leader of the opposition. It will be found in the ' Hansard ' of 1903, at page 12626. Mr. Borden at that time fully realized that in order to protect the identity of our wheat it would be necessary for the government to undertake a system of terminal and transfer elevators, not only for Fort William but clean through to the sea-board. Mr. Borden said, replying to the Postmaster General (Mr. Lemieux) :

My hon. friend the Postmaster General grew merry over my proposal to equip the Georgian bay, the St. Lawrence, and maritime ports. At page 9777 of ' Hansard ' he actually derides this proposal, and in effect declares- and I think the attention of the country should be called to it-that it is no part of the policy of the government of this country to spend one single dollar upon the Georgian bay ports, or upon the St. Lawrence, or Atlantic ports. I say that after having examined the language of 'the Postmaster General, and I will show ito the House and to the country how I gather that distinct enunciation of policy from the language of the hon. gentleman. The hon. Postmaster General is making a fair comparison-he has stated that over and over agai n-between my proposal and the proposal of the government. He calls attention, at page 9778 of * Hansard ' to the fact that the debt of the harbour of the city of Quebec amounts to $5,803,538, and he calls attention to the fact that the debt of the harbour of the city of Montreal amounts to $8,051,156. He does not go into the cost of the equipment of other ports, he does not give the figures in regard to them, because he has not the figures before him, but he takes the figures which he has, and he deliberately adds them to the cost of my proposal, and adds not one single dollar to the cost of the government proposal. He is either making an unfair comparison, and I cannot charge him with that, or else it is not the policy of the government to spend one dollar on the equipment and development of the Georgian bay ports, the St. Lawrence or the Atlantic ports. If there is any answer to that, I would like to [DOT] know what it is. We have a member of the government, put up by the government to criticise the financial part of my proposal, deliberately adding $5,803,538, the debt of the harbour of the city of Quebec, and $8,051,156, the debt of the harbour of the city of

Montreal, to the cost of my proposal, and not one dollar for any of these works does he add to the proposal of the government. Is it not an accurate and necessary deduction from that to say that not one dollar does the government propose to expend on the development of the Georgian bay ports, the St. Lawrence or the Atlantic ports? Either that is the policy of the government or

else ibhe lion. Postmaster General lias made a deliberately unfair comparison. I leave the bon. gentleman and the right hon. leader, of the House to say which of these alternatives he desires to accejrt.

After some cross-firing between himself and (tbe then member for Selkirk (Mr. McCreary) the leader of the opposition said :

My hon. friend from Selkirk /(Mr. McCreary) has perhaips misunderstood me a little. X do not think my information went so far as to say that there are" state-owned elevators, but my understanding is the state takes such control over them that the certificates issued for grain deposited in these elevators bear upon them the stamp of the state, *that farmers receiving these certificates can look to the whole credit of the state to see that they are paid and that, in fact, they are practically regarded as negotiable instruments by tbe farmers of the west. I would defer to the superior knowledge of my hon. friend from Selkirk in regard to that, but I am informed by people who profess to be conversant with the facts that such a condition exists in some of the western states.

If we bad had such legislation as the leader of the opposition then proposed It would have been most beneficial in the west last fall. It will be remembered that last fall we had difficulty in financing on our wheat. When the wheat was loaded on cars we could not get the banks to advance money' on it, but if we had the government of the country behind us, there would be no difficulty in financing on a bill of lading. Mr. Borden continued :

I would not suppose that it was a very radical thing after all to suggest that the government should consider the economic saving in providing elevators or warehouses at a minimum cost, instead of having farmers themselves provide them at a minimum cost. I think perhaps my hon. friend from Selkirk will agree with me in that view although he may have some modifications to suggest. For example, if it should cost a cent a bushel to warehouse grain for a certain period of time, and if by such assistance as the government could give to the farmers of the west that grain could be stored for a quarter of a cent a bushel during the same period of time, surely a suggestion of that bind is not so utterly absurd that the government should not take it into consideration. That was all I asked., I did not put this forward as a proposal. I put it forward as something which I thought the government should consider. I adhere absolutely to that opinion, notwithstanding the sneer of the bon. Postmaster General, and I think it is a suggestion whioh the government will have to take into consideration in the not very distant future.

I was very much pleased indeed in looking up information on this Important question of government operation of terminal elevators to discover that the leader of the opposition five years ago had this in mind and was anxious that the government should have worked out the legislation which the Mr STAPLES.

grain growers of Saskatchewan and Alberta are asking now. He even went further than that and incorporated that proposal in a resolution which was voted down by the government supporters. It was incorporated In a resolution of some length. I will not read the whole resolution, but only the portion that refers to this particular matter :

Perfecting a system of elevator warehouses, and creating free terminal facilities, and securing absolute aud thorough control of rates in consideration for assistance thus given.

I am very sorry that when this question has been discussed in a great many conferences in the room of the Minister of the Interior we on this side of the House had not an opportunity to go there and try to induce the government to take over and operate the terminal elevators at Port William, as well as the transfer elevators farther east. To my mind, the best way to do it would be to lease tbem as an experiment for ten years. I understand that the constitutional rule prevents us on this side of the House from moving an amendment or I certainly would even [DOT] now move an amendment and divide the House upon it. But that is a privilege that we on this side of the House do not possess. [DOT]

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

I am very much in sympathy with what has been said by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples). Anyone who has resided in the west during the last twenty years can come to no other conclusion than that a very grave suspicion has arisen between the producer and the grain dealer. I am not going to say that there have not been good reasons for this suspicion, but it certainly does exist. There is a feeling that the producer is not getting his fair share of the profit, that too much of it goes to the dealer. To my mind, that arises very largely from the grading of wheat, and it is a feeling that is not peculiar to Canada alone. The same condition of affairs exists very largely in the western states. 1 find that some bankers in the western states took this matter up in connection with the terminal elevators at Duluth, aud I think it is only reasonable to believe that a very similar condition exists at Port Arthur and Fort William. One of the great difficulties there is that most of the elevators are owned or controlled by private -dealers. The same dealers who control these elevators also own or control what we call the line elevators. That gives them a great advantage in connection with the transfer of wheat. This question of line elevators has to be met sooner or later, and the resolution which the hon. member for Macdonald has read shows that the grain growers of the west have but one opinion on the matter. They want the miller in the east or the British market to get the wheat, and the same grade of wheat, that the farmer gets his pay for. I have

here a statement signed by five of the leading bankers of Minnesota and Dakota, and if I spent two hours in talking I could not say more clearly what I believe than it is expressed in this statement. My opinion is that that condition of affairs has existed in Port Arthur and Fort William for many years, and the producers of wheat have been great losers in consequence. These bankers report the quantities of the different grades of wheat that were shipped into the elevators at Duluth and the quantities shipped out. Of No. 1 Northern 99,000 bushels were received, while 196,000 bushels were shipped out; of No. 2 Northern 141.000 bushels were received, while

464.000 bushels were shipped out; of No. 3,

272.000 bushels were received and 213,000 were shipped out. There were also received of No. 4 201,000 bushels, of no grade

116.000 bushels and of rejected 59,000 bushels. I have stated all the grades that were shipped out. Of No. 4, no grade and rejected, none were shipped out at all. This shows the very thing that our farmers in the west are suspicious of-that their wjheat goes into the elevator at a certain grade and comes out at a different grade. Until the government, who represent the farmers, get control of these terminal elevators, the farmer 'will never be able to get his share of the profit of producing wheat. That report of the bankers of Minnesota and Dakota should have great influence with this government in inducing them to control in some way these terminal elevators.

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July 15, 1908