Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).
I do not wish to he the only western member who has failed to raise his voice in support of the resolution of the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner). Having spoken some time ago on the resolution of the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Martin), I will curtail my remarks on this occasion. The House will remember that when that large delegation from the west came down to interview the government in the session of 1907-8, composed of farmers, a representation of the elevator men, and all the various interests connected with the transportation, the marketing and storage of grain it was then stated by the farmers present that they were convinced there was mixing going on in those terminal elevators. They were asked to produce the evidence. The owners of those elevators took exception to that statement, and while the farmers had no specific proof to offer at that date, they knew they were not getting sufficient prices for their grain in the old coantry; they wdre suspicious that the Mr. CHISHOLM (Huron).
grain was being mixed, and the experience of the past year goes to prove thht to a certainty.
A Bill was prepared by the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce that session. It was prepared largely under the influence of a report presented by a royal commission that had been appointed by this government to inquire into the grain trade. It is true that the royal commission did not report in favour of government ownership and operation of the terminal elevators. They did claim, however* that this government should control by supervision the weighing of the grain into the elevators and the weighing out of the elevators. It is now admitted by everybody that after giving this system a considerable trial the mixing of grain has gone on notwithstanding all those officials, who have been appointed by this government and that it has gone on under their very eyes. That was admitted by the hon. member for Ded Deer (Mr. Clark), and the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely), this afternoon, and they took great credit to the government, by Teason of the fact that those who were convicted of mixing were convicted by these government officials and that, therefore, a great deal of credit was attached to the action taken by these officials. But, Mr. Speaker, if it is a fact that more of No. 1 or No. 2 Hard was shipped out of the elevator than came in, by reason of lower grades being mixed with No. 1 quality, it did not require any expert to discover that fact; almost anybody could have detected that, and could have laid a charge against these men of having mixed the grain. But, it did not prevent the mixing. The mixing went on right under the eyes of these supervisors, and it went on by reason of the fact that those elevators are owned and operated by gentlemen who are intimately connected with the grain trade, who are the owners of the line elevators, and by reason of the fact that they are vitally, financially interested in the manipulation of grain at the terminal elevators. Even under this new Bill, I believe that the ownership and operation of those elevators will not differ practically from what it is at the present time. The Act, as I have said, that was presented to this parliament in 1907-8, was prepared in accordance with the recommendation of the Royal Commission, and when it came to this House, those of us on this side of the House who engaged in a criticism of the measure, asserted that it would not give the satisfaction that the government claimed it would. Last year when my hon. friend from Souris introduced a resolution, much on the same lines a9 the resolution moved here to-night, it was claimed by some hon. gentlemen op-
posite, as a reason for opposing it, and in support of the amendment which the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Martin), moved that the Act now in force, was carrying out the wishes of the Royal Grain Commission and, secondly, that sufficient time had not been given for the operation of the Act to prove that it w'as not going to be satisfactory. The hon. member for Regina went rather farther than that, and I will just read a short paragraph from the remarks which he made on that occasion. On the 5th of April, 1909, that hon. gentleman said:
I claim that government control if properly carried out should be as efficient as government ownership, if not more so. Under the present system you have two sets of officials, the government official and the employees of the terminal elevators, who act as a check upon each other. But if the elevators were owned and operated by the government there would be only one set of officials to weigh in the grain and to weigh it out, so that the present system if properly carried out ought to give us more efficient control than the system of government ownership.
Further on he said:
I have referred to the legislation passed last year. I claim that if this legislation is properly enforced under the system of government control, it must remove the difficulties of mixing grades which are alleged to exist at these terminal elevators.
Mark you, he says, that if the Act is properly enforced, it will do away with all mixing. Well, we had the hon. gentleman admitting last week, or the week before, that mixing has been going on under this Act. Is it true that the Act has not been properly enforced ? If it has not been properly enforced, whose fault is it ? Is it not the fault of this government who appointed over seventy officials for the purpose of enforcing the Act right under whose eyes the mixing has gone on ? The hon. member for Regina was either Tight when he stated that government control would be sufficient, if properly enforced, or he had a mistaken idea of the benefits that would accrue from government ownership and operation. Now, the Act of 1907-8 was not approved by the grain growers. They claimed that nothing but complete government ownership would put an end to mixing, that so long as those who had the manipulation of the grain in the terminal elevators were intimately connected with the grain trade and the owners of the line elevators it was impossible to check the mixing that was going on right under the eyes of the officials. The hon. member for Red Deer, who, I am sorry to say is not present, accused the members on this side of the House of socialism, by reason of their advocacy of the government ownership of terminal elevators. We had a resolution passed unanimously by the Saskatchewan legislature last year, which every Grit and Tory voted in favour of, demanding government ownership of terminal elevators. Is it that the Liberals and Conservative members in the Saskatchewan legislature are so tinged with socialism as to advocate that which has led to such strong objection here to-night ? The hon, member for Regina and the hon. member for Saltcoats (Mr. MacNutt), have stated that a change has taken place and that they have come to the conclusion at last, by gradual process, that government ownership is the only remedy for the existing state of affairs.
Reference has been made here to-night to the construction of the Hudson Bay railway, and it has been stated by the Prime Minister that the terminal of this road was going to be owned by the gov* ernment. If it is right and proper for the government to own the terminal of the Hudson Bay railway, what objection cap there be to owning the terminal at Fort William and Port Arthur. A minister of the Crown has stated that it is the intention of the government to have a terminal elevator, owned by the government, on the Pacific coast. To-day we find the government owning elevators at Port Colborne, St. John, Halifax and, I think, at Montreal. I do not think that they can be rightly charged with socialism by reason of owning and operating these elevators, If they can be operated successfully why cannot the elevators at Fort William and Port Arthur be operated just as successfully ? When the right hon. Prime Minister was in the west he was met by delegation after delegation, urging the government to take over and operate the terminal elevators at Port Arthur and Fort William. The Prime Minister went to the extent that while he was personally not in favour of government ownership, still, if no other means could be devised, he could see no objection to the government taking over these elevators and operating them.
Well, I believe a Bill has been prepared and we have seen a short synopsis of it in the press. We had a short explanation of it by the hon. the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) here to-day and he stated as an objection to the adoption of this resolution proposed by my hon. friend from .Souris that the government desired to study the question, that they did not wish to rush into this thing. They want time to study a question that has been before the country and the government for several years past. It has been studied by the farmers. Parliament has been petitioned session after session and I do not think that by adopting it this session there would be any undue haste exhibited by
this government. It has been said that the new Act is going to provide greater penalties for the mixing of grain. I believe that last year the total amount of the fines collected in the three cases was $5,500, While under the proposed new Act the minimum fine is $5,000 and the maximum $20,000. It will, therefore, have a certain deterrent effect, but it does not do away with the real ownership of the elevators and take them out of the hands of those who are intimately connected with the grain trade in other portions of the country. The hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Cash) said that the delegation that came down here to interview the Prime Minister seemed to be perfectly satisfied with the interview they had had with the government and with the assurances that they had received as to the new Bill to be introduced on this subject. Well, I have a little proof here rather to the contrary. Last week the farmers of Saskatchewan met in convention, several hundreds of them being in attendance representing several thousands of the farmers of that province, and they evidently are aware of the nature of this government Bill introduced in the Senate, because this is how they commented upon it:
Whereas the Dominion government has so far conceded to our demands re the government ownership and operation of the terminal elevators as to bring down a Bill appointing a commission with drastic powers, therefore, be it resolved, that while acknowledging this forward step, the Dominion Council of Agriculture reiterate the request that provision be made for the necessary funds to purchase or lease the necessary terminals and reaffirm the former position that nothing short of government operation will remedy the existing evils.
That does not look as if the government Bill is going to meet with any greater favour from the western grain growers than does the legislation now on the statute-books. The question was asked to-day of the hon. member for Souris, if many of the farmers of Manitoba had availed themselves of the provincial elevators taken over by the government of the province this year, and, the hon. gentleman gave his reply. If you read the report of the chairman of the provincial commission you will see the hard proposition they were up against in the year 1910, which was a year of short crops and consequently a bad year to inaugurate a system of that kind. But notwithstanding that tlhe grain buyers 'at points where the government had purchased an elevator did their best to squeeze out and discourage the farmers from patronizing that elevator, they gave higher prices for the grain at these points than they would have paid under other circumstances. They have also built new elevators and equipped them in a modern manner, they have done away Mr. ROCHE.
with the heavy dockage that formerly existed, they now merely make deduction for shrinkage, they have special bins provided and there is every reason to hope that these modern elevators will give satisfaction. So much is this the case that the chairman of the commission having explained the operations of the Act-and remember it is less than a year since the provincial government took over the elevators-the Grain Growers' Association of Brandon passed a resolution unanimously endorsing the principle of provincial government ownershin of the elevators in that province. This, of course, is the very best reason that can be given to show that provincial ownership is in their opinion likely to prove a success. It is, of course, claimed that the provincial system of ownership will not ibe a success either in Manitoba or Saskatchewan unless the Dominion government acts in concert with these provinces and takes over and operates the terminal elevators. The amendment of the hon. member (Mr. Neely) is much the same excuse for shelving this motion as that resorted to last year when the member for Regina (Mr. Martin) moved his amendment. At that time the delay was asked to allow more time to see if the legislation introduced by the government would prove satisfactory, and to-day it is to allow further legislation being introduced.^ At present we have upwards of 70 Dominion inspectors overseeing the weighing in and out of the grain at these elevators, and about all that the Bill does is to appoint three supervisors to supervise the present inspectors, in addition to which it provides for additional penalties. The government Bill is not based on the principle that the farmers have been advocating and that we on this side of the House have been urging on the government, and for that reason I submit that the resolution introduced by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner) should be adopted and not sidetracked by the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Humboldt.
House divided on the amendment (Mr. Neely). .
Chisholm (Inverness), Clark (Red Deer), Clarke (Essex), Congdon,
Marcile (Bagot), Martin ((Montreal, Ste. Mary's), Martin (Reginal, Mayrand,
(Prince Edward), Delisle,
Hodgins, 1 Hunt,
Lanctot (Richelieu), Lapointe,
Laurier (Sir Wilfrid),
McLean (Huron), McLean (Sunbury),
Reid (Restigouche), Richards,
Ross (Middlesex), Ross (Rimouski), Roy (Dorchester), Roy (Montmagny), Rutan,
Smith (Middlesex), Smith (Stormont), Sperry,
Turcotte (Nieolet), Turcotte (Quebec County),
White (Victoria, Alta.), and Wilson (Laval.)-9G.
Chisholm (Antigonish) Emmereon. *>
Gorden (Kent), Guthrie,
Martin (Wellington), Prowse,
Smith (Nanaimo). Turriff,
Gordon (Nipiseing), Rhodes,
Subtopic: AGAINST THE LARGE WESTERN MILLING COMPANY.