Mr. W. M. MARTIN:
I have just a word to say. I was unfortunately unable to be present when the question first came up. My hon. friend from Calgary (Mr. R. B. Bennett) attempted to deal with it by referring to the law as it exists in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. My hon. friend from Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) has just pointed out that he has not touched the real point at all. The point we have been trying to make in this House in two or three speeches that have been delivered has been that the farmers of Western Canada are not getting fair treatment from this Government, and in so far as my observation goes I am prepared to repeat that statement. I go further and say that the farmer in Western Canada has never got a square deal from the present Government. My hon. friend from Calgary referred to the fact that under certain orders in council, or certain provincial statutes passed in the province of Alberta, no one can have an execution issued against a debtor without first going to the judge for the district or to a judge of the Supreme Court. I am surprised to hear that the law of the province of Alberta goes so far. I must confess that, although I am a member of the legal profession, I was not aware that the law of the province of Alberta went so far. However, my hon. friend has made the statement, and no doubt we must take it for what it is worth; no doubt the hon. member knows. In the province of Saskatchewan, from where I come, they did not pass any such moratorium legislation when the war broke out. We did, however, have certain moratorium legislation designed to protect the volunteers and reservists who went to the front to fight the battles of the Empire. I think my hon. friend from Calgary-and I think I know him pretty well-would be the first to object to any such legislation. I believe that the less you interfere in the ordinary course between debtor and creditor the better. In the province of Saskatchewan since the war began a good deal of assistance* has been given by financial institutions, and mortgage institutions, to men in straitened
circumstances. What I do object to is the bungling -of the Administration that has gone on during the past three or four years.
I took occasion last year to discuss the matter of the distribution of seed grain. In the fall of 1914 circular letters were distributed all through that country stating that every man there, no matter whether he was on patented or unpatented land, could get a supply of seed grain. I know now why it was sent out, I know it was sent out as a precursor to a general election which it was designed to hold in 1914; but in January, 1915, there was a change of mind and for weeks nobody knew who would get the seed grain. That is the effect of bungling administration in some department of the Government.
I have noticed that when a member on this side gets up to champion the cause of the farmer, there is a certain amount of sneering and grinning on the part of hon. members opposite. Now, I come from an agricultural province and one to which I am proud to belong, a province which I think is just as good as the province of Ontario in which I was born. I believe that in years to come the great province of Saskatchewan, considering its area, will produce as much No. 1 hard wheat as any similar area in the world. The province of Saskatchewan is not a manufacturing province; we have our likes and dislikes; we are creatures of circumstance just as are the men who live in the manufacturing cities of Ontario. But I claim that the farmer does not get the sympathy that he is entitled to. The province of Saskatchewan is not >a manufacturing province. I do not expect to see the conditions for manufacturing in that province established for many years to come, perhaps not in my lifetime. Probably we could not manufacture at a profit. But I repeat that since this Government came into power the western farmer has not got a square deal. I could give many instances, perhaps not designed, of their bungling administration in Western Canada. Take the dirty seed grain of last year. There are more weeds in the province of Saskatchewan to-day than there ever were in the history of that province, and that condition is largely due to the dirty seed grain that was distributed-I saw it in three different places. I saw bags of seeds with tickets attached to them with the words, " noxious weeds and wild oats." I have been informed that wild oats cannot be removed from .seed grain. What was the use of sending out seed grain filled with 33-R-16
dirty weeds? From the date of the distribution of seed grain down to the time of collection there has been nothing but bungling in connection with seed grain distribution. My hon. friend from Calgary gives us a dissertation on the law, which* every lawyer in the province knows just as well as he does, and attempts to cover up the real facts. The statement I make is that this Government, by means of its Prussian methods of collection for seed grain, is at present throttling the western farmer, and trying to take from the man who has debts to pay the very means of paying them and of existing during the coming.winter.