February 23, 1916

LIEUT.-COLONEL JOHN CURRIE, M.P.

L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES (Minister of Militia):

I ask the indulgence of the House to rise to a question of privilege. In to-day's Hansard, I find in the excellent speech delivered yesterday by the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie), that he referred to his non-recognition in the way of distinction or honours for his very excellent conduct at the battle of St. Julien. He said:

If anything has been said or done since to my injury, there are only two men who stood between me and any decorations that might have come to me, or any " mention in despatches," and these were General Alderson and the Minister of Militia here. One was six miles back of the line all through the fight, and the other was attending to his duty in Canada, about 1,800 miles away.

I may point out, Mr. Speaker, that the command and administration of affairs at the front are absolutely independent of Canada, or, for that matter, of Great Britain. They come under the direction of the Field Marshal, or the General Officer Commanding the forces at the front. In regard to decorations, the hon. member for North Simcoe has as much to do with them as I have. I was not in the field, and therefore was in no position, other than from hearsay, to make a recommendation, even supposing I had the right to do so. Every one will admit that it would be a great presumption on the part of any one who had not been in the field, and who was not familiar with the actual operations, to interfere in the sense of making any recommendation. I may say that I have had a great many requests from young fellows, brave young fellows too, to make recommendations, but it can be easily understood that it would be altogether out of place for me to attempt anything of the kind. I was speaking with one young gentleman who won the Distinguished Service Order at St. Julien, and he remarked to me that he felt ashamed almost to take it, because out of the 4,000 men in his brigade who took part in the fight, he felt that 3,999 had earned it just as much as he had. The fact that a soldier, or an officer, does not receive recognition does not signify that he has not done his duty.

I may say, since the hon. member for

North Simcoe himself referred to the matter, that rumours have been going round as to his conduct in the field. Personally I do not pay any heed to rumours, and I may observe that at every opportunity I have had of mentioning his name I have stated that Colonel John Currie, commanding the 48th Highlanders, 15th Battalion, Overseas Forces, had, so far as I could find out, done his duty fearlessly and well. There were two rumours current. One had it that he bad been found during the fighting in the rear of the British division, a considerable distance away from his regiment. If that rumour were correct it would require some explanation, but Colonel Currie was not there. Brigadier General Curry, who had a perfect right to be there, was there looking for reinforcements from the British division to help in the fight. General Curry had a perfect right to be there, because it was his duty to look for reinforcements.

Another rumour connected with that fight was that-I forget whether it was on the second or on the third day-Colonel John Currie was back in the rear of t'he Yser canal, behind Ypres. I investigated this rumour, and found that he was not in Ypres until 4 o'clock, or thereabouts, on the afternoon of Saturday, and that the officer referred to was again Brigadier General Curry, who was back, as was his duty, to consult General Alderson in the , matter of getting orders for holding t'he position.

With regard to a recommendation, I took the matter up with General Turner, on two occasions verbally, and on one occasion in writing. Without suggesting that I was interfering in any way, I asked, as I had a right to do, for a report on the matter, and I inquired if he could give any reason why Colonel John Currie, if he was entitled to recognition, had not been given it. I have not yet received an answer to either of these requests. I have nothing to say further than this: that every one who [DOT]knows Colonel John Currie believes that he is a thorough soldier, brave, and fearless, and one who performed his duty fearlessly and well on that occasion. So far as in me lies, I have endeavoured throughout this struggle to confine myself to my own part of the game. As I have said, the command and administration at the front are entirely under the direction of the Field Marshal or General Officer Commanding the forces, and that is as it should be. Every one will admit that for politicians, minister of militia, or any one else to interfSir Sam Hughes. J

fere in the matter of giving a decoration to this man, or an order to that man, would be entirely subversive of discipline, and of the best interests of the service.

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FREE WHEAT.


The House resumed, from Wednesday, February 16, consideration of the proposed resolution of Mr. Turriff: That in the opinion of this House, in order to secure to the farmers and people of Canada the advantages of the American market for wheat products and potatoes, steps should he taken at once to put these articles on the free list in the Canadian Tariff. Hon, ROBERT ROGERS (Minister of Public Works): Mr. Speaker, when the House rose at six o'clock on Wednesday last I had just made a passing reference to ' the very abnormal premium being paid today on Canadian wheat available for immediate shipment from Atlantic seaports to the United Kingdom, or to France, or to Italy, or to Belgium. I did not then have the opportunity of making an explanation of the circumstances which have brought about this favourable condition of affairs, and before doing so to-day perhaps I will be permitted to say a word or two in respect to certain statements that have been made regarding comparative prices in the Canadian market at Winnipeg and Fort William, and in the American market at Minneapolis and Duluth. Let me begin, Sir, by saying that it is impossible for even the most experienced trained man in the trade in this country to be able to make an accurate statement by way of a comparison of prices between those different markets, for the simple reason that the conditions in the two countries are entirely different. We have at the markets of Winnipeg and Fort William, the same conditions that obtain throughout the rest of the Dominion where wheat is being traded in. We have adopted and we maintain a high standard of grading, and under this high standard our grain trade is carried on. But, the conditions are entirely different on the other side of the line. They not only have their grades but they also have their sample market, a condition that, in my humble judgment, carries with it an advantage to the grain producers of that country. I feel now, as I have always felt, that the farmers of western Canada have suffered to a very considerable extent by reason of the fact that v,e have no sample market. Shortly after I came to this House I had the pleasure, in company with the rest of my colleagues from the province of Manitoba, of waiting upon the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) to press upon him the desirability of the establishment of a sample market. I felt that I was justified in this by reason of the fact that for years previously I had been listening to the Grain Growers' executive of that province urging upon myself, and upon other public men in the province, the necessity and desirability of a sample market. The Minister of Trade and Commerce gave heed to our request, and came down to this House and secured the necessary powers to carry it into effect. But, strange to say, no sooner had we reached this point, than this very same Grain Growers' executive appealed to the Minister of Trade and Commerce not to establish such a market. If we have not a sample market in western Canada to-day, the executive of the Grain Growers' Association is responsible and blameable. On the American side they not only have a sample market but they have adopted methods of their own, resulting in what is called picking the grades. I perhaps might explain that the grain dealer who is receiving wheat has his own man look at a lot of wheat which has been graded, say No. 1 hard, or No. 1 Northern. This man will say: that will go into such and such a bin-it is a very good No. I Hard, or No. 1 Northern, as the case may be. The next car will be graded by the same person who will put it in bin No. 2, by reason of the fact that he does not consider it quite as good a sample as the car he has placed in bin No. 1; and the same thing will occur all down the line with respect to four or five different grades. That is what they call picking the grades in the markets at Minneapolis and Duluth. When these grades are picked over, the prices quoted in Minneapolis for a specific grade of No. 1 Northern vary at times as much as ten cents per bushel, while in Canada we have one definite standard for each grade, and our grading is maintained at that high standard, and therefore each grade, as fixed by the inspector, carries one and the same price. But these conditions are entirely different upon the American side, and by reason of that fact, it is impossible, for any member of this House, or any experienced grain buyer in the country, to make an accurate comparison of prices as between the markets at Winnipeg and Fort William and the markets at Minneapolis and Duluth. To return to the question of the abnormal ' premium being paid on Canadian wheat to-day, let me first of all acknowledge that a portion of it is probably due to the war conditions under which our great . agricultural capabilities have become so universally recognized in the wheat markets of the world; but it is probably more largely due to the fact that we have maintained in Canada a very high standard of wheat grades, and that we have traded under these standards for many years past. Because of the methods pursued by the grain trade of the Dominion, as compared with the methods employed in the United States, where they pick and lower their grades, a great advantage has come very recently to the grain producers of western Canada. In order that the House may understand the correctness of this statement, I shall quote from a supplement published by Broomhall's Corn Trade News of Liverpool, dated January 4, 1916, about six weeks ago. This paper, as every person in Canada who knows anything about the grain trade will understand, is published at Liverpool, and is the leading publication of the United Kingdom in connection with grain and flour. This Supplement contains a statement prepared by the Corn Association of London, with the co-operation and support of the corn associations of different parts of the continent as well. These united associations of the corn and grain trade of the United Kingdom and of the continent, prepared this statement for Broomhall's Supplement. Dealing with the conditions with which they were concerned as the purchasers of large quantities of wheat from various countries for consumption in Great Britain, they were very anxious to make a wide, a comprehensive, and a clear statement, and therefore they dealt fully, not only with their own conditions, but with the conditions in the United States and in Canada. Having prepared this statement, they waited upon the American Ambassador in London and made the request of him that he transmit it officially to the United States Secretary of Agriculture at Washington. This statement contains a general review of the grain trade, and as it is rather long I will trouble the House with only such portions as relate to the United States and the Dominion of Canada: Concerning United States Wheat Shipped from Atlantic and Gulf Ports. For many years, European buyers of United States grain shipped from Atlantic and Gulf ports, have expressed grave dissatisfaction with the conditions of trading in respect of the qua-



lity of grain exported on Certificate. Matters have now reached a climax. According to the rules governing the inspection of grain in the State of Illinois- " No. 2 Hard Winter Wheat shall Include all varieties of Hard Winter Wheat of either or both light and dark colours, dry, sound, sweet and clean, and may contain not more than 25 per cent of Soft Red Winter Wheat, and weigh not less than 59 pounds to the measured bushel." Large quantities of No. 2 Hard winter wheat, 1915 crop, Chicago inspection, have been sold and shipped in the last few months. A very large proportion of this wheat was neither dry, nor (sound, nor sweet, nor did it weigh 59 pounds per bushel, nor even was it in any degree hard on its arrival in this country. Evidence in support of these statements is provided in Appendix A accompanying this communication. This is what they have to say in regard to Canada, and I am sure it will be of interest to hon. members of this House and the country generally: Prior to 1912, serious complaints were made against Canadian grading, but the Dominion - Grain Act of 1912 and the administrative ar-'rangements ancillary thereto, have effected very great improvements so that all European buyers have now confidence in Canadian certificates, and though a great number prefer trading on sample or on standard, they acquiesce in the system of grading and its concomitant " certificate final," as established by Canadian law and carried out by Canadian practice. Therefore in this brief historical review no mention need be made of the communications between European buyers and Canadian representative bodies. One very important fact which has greatly enhanced the reputation of Canadian grading is this. Both in the United States and Canada a large proportion of the crop is sold before it is reaped. The buyer should be in a position to rely upon the grading rules current at the time the deals are made; in other words, the grain when it is reaped should be graded on its intrinsic merits according to rules which should not be changed from season to season. Canadian law and practice embody this principle. When the weather has been bad during harvest in Canada and the quality of the crop has therefore been depreciated, the statutory grades have nevertheless not been changed, and buyers have obtained grain of the quality they expected and had a right to expect. With regard to trading in the United States, they say: The merits or demerits of a system of grading are not ascertained on a crop harvested under favourable conditions. Between the crops of 1908 and 1914, trade with European buyers in United States grain languished. Then came the exceedingly favourable harvest of 1914, and an exceedingly large trade in United States grain, due, among others causes, to the fine quality of the Hard Winter wheat. Even then there was cause for complaint as to irregularities in grading, of which evidence is provided in Appendix "A", but on the whole buyers were satisfied. In that state of mind they made large purchases of the 1915 crop, and it is important to note that the first arrivals of that wheat were satisfactory. Attention is called to a sample included in the set sent herewith, drawn from a bulk specially certified as New Crop. Such wheat would today command a ready sale on our markets for millers in the United Kingdom much desire to keep such wheats in their current mixtures, and doubtless the quality of these early arrivals induced buyers on this side to greatly increase their purchases. By the later export of grossly inferior and improperly graded wheat, some United States shippers have secured an immediate advantage, for the system of grading and trading on " certified final " appears to protect them from loss of monetary advantage on contracts then existing but the loss of good repute is serious and deplorable. Buyers cannot be fleeced with impunity. A buyer suspicious and unwilling, cannot be a satisfactory source of profit to the seller. For past years Canadian wheat has realized substantially higher prices in European markets than the corresponding grades of United States wheat, and the climax has now been reached in this further sense, that European buyers are restricting their present purchases of graded wheats almost exclusively to Canadian produce. What more favourable condition than that could we wish to have in Canada? This favourable condition is not only cited by the Corn Associations of the United Kingdom, but is reflected in the markets of Italy, France, Belgium, and of all other countries in which our wheat comes in competition with that of the United States. This, to my mind, is Canada's great opportunity. That the grain producers of Canada have reached the goal to which they have been pressing year by year, steadily if somewhat slowly, is proved by the statement of the Corn Associations of the United Kingdom: that future European purchases will be made almost exclusively in Canada, for the simple reason that European buyers like our wheat and flour, and the way in which we handle the business. That is something of which we can be justly proud; and that is the reason why, within the past thirty days, the Canadian grain merchant who has had wheat at the Atlantic sea ports, available for immediate shipment to the markets of the world, has been able to sell his grain at a high premium. Would it be wise, now that ,we are in sight of this commanding position in the English market, to adopt the resolution before the House, and have our wheat go through American channels, and run the gauntlet of their methods of grading and trading, as described in the report I have just read to this House? Furthermore, in my judgment *it would be a mistake for us to be entangled in any international agreement which might recoil on us in our preparations for the blessings of peace at the close of this war. For who will deny that, so long as this war continues, the Canadian producer will enjoy the position of advantage he has had during the last sixty days in the markets of the world? In my humble judgment, no class of people will profit more by the present conditions, as described by the corn exchanges of Great Britain, than the producers of grain in the prairie provinces of Western Canada. The same conditions obtain with respect to flour. Our exports of flour to Britain have been steadily growing year after year. I quoted the other day from the report of a commission appointed by the Government of Saskatchewan, to show how trade was increasing in the United Kingdom, and I would like to again draw the attention of this House to the opinions of that commission : Canada's Increased Share of United Kingdom Imports. It is of value to note the increasing quantity of Canadian exports of wheat and flour to the United Kingdom in the face of fairly constant aggregate annual imports of wheat by that country. The wheat imports of the United Kingdom are 196,000,000 bushels annually. This amount does not vary more than 8,000,000 bushels either way from year to year. During the five years ended March 31, 1907, Canada's wheat exports to the United Kingdom averaged 23.763.000 bushels annually. During the next five years, ended March 31, 1912, they averaged 49.893.000 bushels. For the corresponding periods Canada's flour exports to the United Kingdom averaged annually 750,000 barrels (representing 3,375,000 bushels of wheat) and 1.652.000 barrels (7,434,000 bushels) respectively of total imports of the United Kingdom averaging annually 6,646,000 barrels. Thus Canada already supplies rather more than one-fourth of the United Kingdom's wheat and flour imports. Roughly speaking, in these increases, Canadian wheat is replacing Russian wheat and Canadian flour is replacing United States flour. Whether the Canadian miller could continue to compete so successfully with the United States miller were the United States' duty taken off Canadian wheat is a question that only the event can prove. The commission sees no reason why in view of the protected home flour market he enjoys he would not be able to compete successfully. Here we have a statement, made over a year ago, that Canada was supplying one-quarter of the flour that was being imported into Great Britain. I shall surprise this House, I am sure, when I state that whereas at that time we were exporting to Great Britain a little over 1,500,000 barrels of flour, we are exporting this year 3,500,000 barrels. The report of the commission goes to show that Canadian flour is replacing Russian flour in the British market, but we have the statement of the corn exchanges that the wheat produced by the Canadian farmer is almost entirely replacing the wheat of the United States, which has been our competitor for so many long years. This Saskatchewan commission states that the producers in Great Britain like our flour and wheat, and also like our methods of handling them. If the Canadian farmer sees any advantage in having his wheat milled in the United States, or if the millers of the United States see any advantage in grinding Canadian wheat, there is nothing in the world to prevent that being done. It will only cost them one dollar for every thousand bushels of wheat they deal with. What would happen, Mr. Speaker, were we to adopt the resolution of the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) to allow our wheat to go into the United States markets to engage in the mixing process that has practically ruined their trade in the markets of the United Kingdom, according to the authorities I have read? At best, it could have the effect of using but a small proportion of our good wheat, and that wheat would be mixed with a large volume of the poor wheat of the United States, and then our wheat and our flour would have to come into competition with this product in the markets of the" United Kingdom. I ask you, would that be fair either to the Canadian farmer or to the Canadian people as a whole? Let me point out that the effect which this resolution would have on our whole crop is indicated by the following : The want of uniformity in the system of grading must result in a lowering of the value of the whole crop, for buyers naturally base their prices on the poorest quality they may receive. Separate grading by the different ports tends to lower the grades in an endeavour to secure trade. That is exactly what would happen to us should we adopt the resolution befbre the House. We should also lower our grades, and should have to meet the form of mixing employed in the United States. We have to-day a position of great advantage with our wheat, a position which we have won gradually by our own efforts. Beyond question of doubt all these conditions justify us, having in view the interests of the farmers themselves, in rejecting this resolution, and thereby permitting these favourable conditions to continue. The farmers of Western Canada have carried on their industry in a manner that has won for them a position of vantage and of respect. At the outbreak of the war, heeding the call of the Allies for increased production, they planted an .unprecedented



acreage of wheat. They have been blessed with an abundant harvest, and I am sure that next year they will do again what they have been able to do in the year that is past. They recognize their duty in this great struggle, and they are performing it faithfully and well. While we shall ever acknowledge our great and lasting appreciation of the devotion and self-sacrifice of our gallant sons who have gone to defend our freedom and our liberty on the field of battle, we should not forget that "peace hath her victories not less renowned than war." Those who remain at home to till the soil in order that an abundant harvest may be obtained, and in order that the staff of life may be sent to England, France, Italy, and Belgium are performing a service for civilization no less important, though, of course, less spectacular, than that which is being performed by those who are engaged in the fight. At the close of the war no class of the community will be more interested in the lines upon which the peaceful development of the world may proceed than will the grain growers of Canada. A certain sentimental benefit will come to them, in addition to the special position of vantage which they occupy today. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is our plain duty, having in regard the best interests of the Canadian farming community, to adhere to our good old traditional policy of keeping Canada for the Canadians. Doing this, we shall have more reason to hope that at the conclusion of the war we shall be able to supplement that advantage with an allied policy of preference within the Empire. We have in the prairie provinces something like 300,000,000 acres of the best land in the world, of which less than 20,000,000 acres are as yet under cultivation. These facts will cause the House to understand at least in some degree the great possibilities o.f the prairie provinces. It is our duty, I submit, to protect our great inheritance in the prairie provinces, and to build these provinces up, as Ontario, Quebec, and the older provinces have been developed. It is true that we are confronted with the great problem of immigration, which is inseparably connected with the welfare of the grain producers of Western Canada. A vigorous and determined immigration policy will have to follow the conclusion of the war in order that all the advantages possible may come to Western Canada. The quotations that I have made in respect of the grain trade of the United Kingdom are clear and unmistakable evidence of the fact that the grain producers of Western Canada are the first in line to secure those material advantages and compensations which will follow the conclusion of the great conflict in which we are engaged. Indeed, the war has caused the agricultural capabilities of our great western country to be recognized by the opening up of every port in the United Kingdom Italy, France and Belgium for our grain. Coupling a vigorous immigration policy with the sentimental inclination of our people towards the welfare of their own country, and of the Empire and its Allies, we may reasonably expect a large influx of immigration upon the happy restoration of peace. Indeed, the unrest bred amongst the warring nations, the severance of family and business ties, the ruin which has been wrought, cannot but tend to increase the tide of immigration. Even the local pessimist, recently described as a person who, given the choice between two evils, promptly takes them both; even such a soured extremist must agree with Lord Derby, who has just been in close contact with the British masses, in his statement: that after the war there will be a tremendous rush to the British colonies of young men who are soldiers at the front. You will never get these former clerks and others from the middle classes to remain in Great Britain when peace comes. We in Western Canada appreciate Lord Derby's words; we believe that the fulfilment of this prophecy will bring untold advantage to that portion of Canada, the people of which at all times, and never more than to-day, recognize their duty not only to their own provinces, but as well to the whole of the Dominion. Next to winning the war, the first thought of Canadians everywhere, whether they be farmers, merchants, bankers, lawyers, manufacturers or politicians, should be given to the great task of assisting to protect Canada from the financial, industrial and commercial consequences which the devastation of this war is bound to let loose upon mankind. To my mind the great and pressing question for us in Canada is how to fortify our country against these conditions. In meeting them, we shall have to compete not so much with belligerent nations as with neutral countries that are not absorbed, as we are, in the great task of winning the war. These neutral countries have already begun to prepare for peace. Some of them are enjoying fabulous prosperity to-day through their legitimate and friendly activities in connection with the war. I make no adverse criticism of this; for these countries I have, on the contrary, many \yarm words of gratitude. But the inevitable effect of this condition is that these countries take, what we may without critical intent call, the prosperity-promoting view of the war. They are free, as we are not free, to study carefully how profits may be extracted from this colossal tragedy. Therefore, we should be very careful in any step that we may take, in order to make sure that we do not let them beat us in the discovery of how best to profit by the novel conditions which will follow peace. It will be no trivial matter for Canada to be so beaten, no small question of losing a little trade; it will be a matter of life and death for this country. Would it be wise for us to commit an act which would have for its purpose the denuding of our railways of their traffic. We have erected a great railway framework in this country for a prolonged period of progressive population. When we courageously and optimistically launched our vast railway project, belting the continent with three transcontinental lines, we were not calculating on legislating to divert their traffic to American lines; we were calculating not alone on feeding those lines with the produce of our present population of seven millions or eight millions; we were calculating, and calculating with reason, on a CQntinuation, with marked increase, of our then immigration boom, and we saw the mighty tidal wave of immigration sweeping into this country from across the Atlantic and from across the American border, and we wisely prepared for it. Moreover, the West, and especially the grain producer of Western Canada has realized, and he realizes more than ever to-day, that we must undertake to educate the manufacturers of this country. We are often told that the manufacturers control Parliament. This is a chance for us to show that we can give the lead to the manufacturers. They are busy men, too busy often to look into new opportunities or to experiment in new fields. I claim [DOT]that we have in Western Canada the greatest opening, the greatest field, for manufacturers and industrial development that is to be found in any part of the civilized world. So this Parliament should step in and subject our manufactured imports to the closest scientific analysis, and discover just what prevents every one of them from being made ini Canada. Canadians are quite as well able as are any Europeans or Americans to manufacture the articles we require, and in no place are conditions more favourable for manufacturing than they are in the Prairie Provinces. We have there in many 'forms an abundance of raw material, of natural products, of cheap power, and of capable labour; and there is nothing too difficult, or too intricate, for us to undertake. It would not be too forehanded for us to import industrial instructors when necessary. We want for Western Canada an informed industrial leadership, a skilled industrial population, the best of both in the world. We should know exactly what the articles are that we buy in foreign markets, and we should have workmen to make them for us, and we should pay them handsomely. Let us mandfacture these things at home, let us keep that money in our own country. That is the policy, and it is the only policy which to my mind is capable of ensuring [DOT]a brighter and1 greater development in the 'Prairie Provinces of Western Canada. You will tell me that is the old Protection argument. That is just what it is; it is Sir John Macdonald's National Policy brought up to date; and it is what I propose, and what I believe he would propose if he were here to-day and saw the wonderful opportunity that peace is going to bring to our Dominion. Therefore in view of those favourable conditions, conditions that have been created in a great measure during the last sixty days, as laid down in the very important statement given out and transmitted by the united corn exchanges of the United Kingdom and the continent, through the American ambassador to the Government of the United States, I say that we should appreciate the advantage of our position and that we would fail in our duty, especially to the farming community of Canada, and more especially of Western Canada, if we did not reject the resolution of my" hon. friend the member for Assini-boia (Mr. Turriff), in which he proposes to divert our wheat into American channels as much as possible and thereby allow it to become mixed With American wheat, in which case we would have to go over again all the work that we have done in the past to establish our own transcendent identity in the markets of the world. To-day we are absolutely masters of the situation, so long as we continue to maintain our high standards and in the future to carry on our business in the efficient manner it has been



carried, on in the past. If we act in this manner we shall be doing that which is best in the interests of the farming community of Western Canada, and I therefore hope, in view of the changed conditions, that my hon. friend from Assiniboia will withdraw his resolution and allow the matter to stand in its present favourable condition.


LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. ROBERT CRUISE (Dauphin):

Mr. Speaker, as I come from a constituency in Manitoba composed mostly of agriculturists, I feel I would not be doing my duty if I did not say a few words in favour of this resolution. A great deal has been said for the resolution and a great deal against it, but the one fact remains, and we cannot get away from it, that the farmers of this country are demanding the free admission of their wheat into the United States.

Topic:   FREE WHEAT.
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CON
LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

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,

Ottawa, Ont.

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.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the telegram state how much American grain they exported? I understand their export business covers both countries.

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LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

It does mot mention American grain at all; it simply says that last year they exported about 9,000,000 bushels.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Their export trade is the larger part of their business.

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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The annual statement shows that their American business ex-

ceeded their Canadian business by many millions.

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LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

Even supposing the American business exceeded the Canadian business, this telegram shows that last year they only exported 9,000,000 bushels, and that this year they expect to export

30.000. 000 or 35,000,000 bushels.

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CON
LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

That is a long way from the statement of the Minister of Public Works, that they handled 100,000,000 bushels.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

They probably did handle

100.000. 000 bushels, but did not export it all.

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LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

According to the telegram they exported only 9,000,000 bushels. The hon. minister stated that the company exported 100,000,000 bushels of wheat, and I raised this point because the minister criticised members on this side of the House for not making accurate statements, and I wished to point out that he himself did not stick exactly to the mark. The aigument that is put up against this proposition is that if we get the American markets opened up to us, the milling industry of this country will be destroyed, 'and the railway companies will suffer.

I would like to deal with the milling 'industry for a few moments. We are told, 'and we believe the statement of the Minister of Finance, that the millers, in the 'United States can import our wheat ipto the United States without any duty, ex cepting one dollar on one thousand bushels. That puts the American miller on the [DOT]same footing as the Canadian miller, bo far as the exporting of our flour to the market of Liverpool is concerned. If the millers of Canada can buy our Canadian wheat, ship the flour to Liverpool or to the markets of the world, and compete against the American millers in those foreign markets, why can they not compete in the home market? There is no argument in that against this proposition. Any man who says the Canadian millers cannot compete against the American miller is a small Canadian, because our Canadian millers are as bright, as smart and as capable of milling wheat as cheaply as the American is. We have water powers, we have any amount of coal, the millers have railways at their doors, and there is no reason why they cannot manufacture flour and sell it as cheaply as the American milling company can. In connection with the railway companies, we

IMr. Meighen.]

are told that if the American markets were thrown open our grain would go south.

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February 23, 1916