February 23, 1916

CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

Would the hon. gentleman be kind enough to say why he argues and special-pleads so strongly for free wheat only. If he has a broad idea of the question, why does he not include everything and give us all a fair show?

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LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

That question should be

addressed to the Minister of Public Works, because in 1911 the whole question of agricultural products was involved and my hon. friend then opposed this proposal along with other hon. gentlemen. They waved the flag, and denied the farmers that which the farmers believed would be in their interest.

As to the railways, I do not believe that this would hurt them to any great extent. The great reason why the farmer wants the American market thrown open is that he may have competition for his wheat. We have not the competition in Canada to-day that we should have. We have a high standard, and it has proven that the man who ships Canadian wheat to Liverpool gets seven or eight cents a bushel more for it than the American shipper gets for his wheat. But the farmer does not get that advantage when he sells his wheat. If he had more competition the farmer would doubtless get a much higher price for his grain. I am one of those who believe that the railway companies will reduce their freight rates, that the companies that handle our grain will handle it on a smaller margin/ and that the grain will go east over our Canadian routes instead of going south. Probably a portion will go south, but not to any great extent.

We recall the fact that last year the hon. Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) advised the farmers to produce more. Every farmer in Western Canada responded to the appeal of the Finance Minister by ^cultivating every acre of land that he oould cultivate. A large number of fields that the farmers intended to summer fallow were ploughed and put into grain in order to produce as much as they could. The result has been that this year we have

335,000,000 bushels of wheat. The point I want to make is that the farmers have done their duty; they have produced every bushel of wheat that it was possible for them to produce with the help of Providence. Have the Government done their duty towards the farmers? There is a large quantity of grain in Western Canada to-day which cannot be got out. When I was

going to Vancouver some months ago I saw from the ear window grain in 'bins on the field, and that wheat will spoil if the farmers do not get a market for it.

We were told last summer the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) went to England to secure transports to ship our wheat over. We find that we are short of transports. I do not propose to criticise the Government on that point, nor do I propose to criticise the British Government. If they think it is more advantageous to them to take over munitions of war than wheat, that is their business, and I have no criticism to offer. But the criticism I have to offer is that when our market is closed to us for lack of transports, and when buyers on the other side of the line are ready to take the wheat, the farmers are unable to sell it to them notwithstanding that the elevators at Port Arthur, Fort William, and interior points 'are full.

The Government have claimed that the war has raised exceptional conditions. I claim that they should meet these conditions and grant free wheat to the western farmer until the war is over. There was a pamphlet prepared by the secretary of the Grain Growers' Association some time ago.

I do not like to weary the House, but I would like to read it. It shows the number of bushels of wheat that the Canadian farmer has to give more than the American farmer when he goes to buy some machinery. It says:

These comparative prices are more eloquent than words in illustrating- the loss western farmers sustained from being denied access to the markets of the United States for their grain. If, however, instead of making the comparison in terms of dollars and cents, the comparison was * made in terms of bushels, that is, in the terms of the purchasing power of a bushel of grain, the loss would be even more striking. Had the reciprocity agreement been accepted, many of the staple commodities that are used on the farm, such as cement, coal-oil, lumber, farm implements, etc., which are cheaper in the United States than in Canada,' could be secured at a lesser price. The Canadian farmer would also receive a higher price for his product, and farmers would necessarily have to exchange less grain to secure the required articles.

A farmer in central Manitoba recently bought an American made gasolene traction engine, for which he paid $2,700. A Dakota farmer a short distance south of him could secure the same engine for $2,400, the difference being the duty. A neighbour of his bought at the same time a Canadian-made engine of the same capacity and at the same price. The farmer who bought the American-made machine put the extra $300 into the Canadian revenue to help pay the cost of government. The farmer who

bought the Canadian machine put the $300 into the manufacturer's till and no one was benefited except the manufacturer.

At this point I would like to ask the Minister of Public Works who is the more loyal, the farmer who buys American machinery or the farmer who buys Canadian machinery?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

The farmer who buys

Canadian machinery, of course.

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LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE:

I understand the Minister of Public Works believes that the farmer who buys Canadian machinery is the more loyal. If a Canadian farmer buys an American threshing machine and pays $300 in duty that money goes into the coffers of the Canadian Government, and benefits the country to that extent, whereas, if he buys a Canadian threshing machine the $300 goes into the pocket of the Canadian manufacturer and nobody gets any benefit whatever except the Canadian manufacturer. I am very glad to have that question answered by my hon. friend. We know now who is the loyal farmer. If every man bought Canadian goods where would the revenue come from?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

We would be so rich we would not want any revenue then.

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LIB

Robert Cruise

Liberal

Mr. CRUISE (reading):

As already stated in a previous article, \.ne average difference in the market prices of wheat between Minneapolis and Fort William since the 1st of January-

No. 1 Nor., 10 cents per bushel.

^ No. 2 Nor., 11 cents per bushel.

No. 3 Nor., 13J cents per bushel.

No. 4 Nor., 18 cents per bushel.

Taking the price as of the 1st of June, the Manitoba farmer would have to give 2,608 bushels of No. 1 Nor. wheat in exchange for his engine, while the Dakota farmer could get his for 2,122 bushels, a difference of 486 bushels in favour of the. Dakota farmer. Of No. 4 wheat the Manitoba farmer would have to give 3,176 bushels and the Dakota farmer 2,243 bushels, a difference of 933 bushels. Of No. 3 oats a Dakota farmer would have to give 4,752 bushels and the Manitoba farmer 6,750, a difference of 1,998 bushels. 2,085 bushels of barley would secure a machine in Dakota while it took 4,150 bushels of No. 3 barley to secure the same machine in Manitoba. 2,085 bushels of barley in Dakota would he equivalent to 4,150 bushels in Manitoba in the purchasing of a gasolene engine. That difference exists in almost everything the farmer buys for his home and his farm. The difference in the grades in the two markets would make up for the excess freight rates that the Canadian farmer would have to pay to get the United States market. In wheat and oats the Manitoba grades are fully one grade higher than in Minneapolis, and what is more marked difference in oats is the weight

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CON

Alexander Morrison

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALEXANDER MORRISON (Macdonald) :

Mr. Speaker, the question of free trade in wheat between Canada and the United States has been the subject of a good deal of discussion in this House, in this and in former sessions. I therefore do not purpose at the present time to enter at length into the merits of the question. There is another and more important reason why I do not consider the present an opportune time to pass such legislation as is proposed in the resolution before the House. Last year the Government, through its Department of Agriculture, started a propaganda among the farmers for increased production: "Patriotism and Production" was the slogan. The object of that propaganda, I take it, was that the farmers of Canada might produce the largest possible amount of foodstuffs, to have them available for the use of the Empire during this war. The farmers of Canada responded in no uncertain manner to that appeal, and, with the blessing of Providence on their efforts, they produced the largest crop ever'produced in the history of our country. I hold that it

is the duty of Canadians to conserve what surplus we may have, over and above our own requirements, so that it may be available for the requirements of Great Britain and her Allies. It has pleased the great republic to the south of us to keep out of this conflict now raging in Europe, yet it cannot be denied that on more than one occasion diplomatic relations between that country and Germany have been strained almost to the breaking point, and no man can say that the United States may not yet be forced to take up arms in defence of its own national honour. Therefore, if the legsilation asked for in the resolution before the House were passed, and if sveral millions bushels of our Canadian wheat were to find its way into the United States, as it probably would, it might cease to be available for Great Britain and her Allies.

The Grain Growers Grain Company has been mentioned several times during this debate, and it might not be out of place for me to say a word or two about that institution. Hon. members generally may not know that the Grain Growers' Grain Company is an offshoot of the Grain Growers' Association, which association was organized some years ago. The producers felt that they were not receiving proper treatment from the Grain Exchange in Winnipeg, and they believed that if they had their own commission house they would be able to derive full benefit from the marketing of their grain. That asociation was formed and, I believe, did good service. After a few years they felt that if their powers were enlarged and they were given the status of a buying and exporting company, they would be of still greater service. Shares in the company were sold throughout the three Prairie Provinces I believe, and the company was organized. I have no doubt that the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff), the hon. member for Dftuphin (Mr. Cruise), and probably the hon. member for Saltcoats (Mr. MacNutt) are shareholders in that company. They do not deny the soft impeachment, so I take it that I have correctly stated their position. The hon. member for Assiniboia shakes his Head. However, the company was started in good faith, and it was expected that it would be a just and equitable^ middleman between the grain growers and the consumers. But it has developed that the company is just on the same footing, and doing business on the same basis of profits, as any other firm on the Grain Exchange in Winnipeg. The

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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES (Kings, P.E.I.):

Mr. Speaker, this is not by any means merely a western question; it is as wide as the Dominion of Canada. The farmers who ask for this legislation are not desirous of db-taining privileges or favours; they do not ask for legislation that will enable them to take advantage of any other part of the community. They simply ask the privilege of trading with their neighbours to the south: of exporting a commodity which they cannot otherwise sell.

The Minister of Finance told us in his Budget speech that it was desirable to increase the exports of the country. The Government are expending large sums of money in establishing commercial agencies in different parts of the world, and in subsidizing steamship services to enable us to trade with distant countries; yet they refuse to extend to the farmers of Western Canada the privilege of trading with their nearest neighbours. 'The hon. Minister said that if the legislation asked by this resolution went into effect the price of wheat in the United States would drop to the price in Winnipeg; and therefore we would not ship any to the United States. Then he argued that the exportation of wheat to the United States would injure our transportation lines and the business of our Atlantic ports. He stated also that if legislation of this kind were enacted, the milling industries of Ganada would be seriously injured, perhaps destroyed. Then

he quoted approvingly a New York journal which stated that tif this legislation went into effect the beneficiaries would be the Canadian and American millers. I cannot quite understand how the proposed legislation could do all these things. The essential weaknesses of the Government's position appear to me to be revealed by the arguments of the Finance Minister and the Minister of Public Works on this question.

The resolution asks for the removal of the duty on wheat and wheat products. The- duty on flour is sixty cents a barrel. I believe that the annual consumption of wheat in Canada is about ,50,000,000 bushels, which would mean about 10,000,000 barrels of flour. The millers of Canada sell their flour in Liverpool from fifty to seventy-five cents a barrel cheaper than they sell it in Canada; the consumers are obliged to pay the millers of Canada from $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 in excess of a fair profit-as I presume they have a fair profit on what they export. The Minister of Public Works said this afternoon that the millers' have exported 3,500,000 barrels of flour, meeting the competition of the world-of the American millers and of those of the Argentine Republic-but they cannot meet competition in Canada. The consumers of Canada, I say, have to pay from fifty to sixty cents a barrel more for flour, or from $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 a year, than they would if this competition existed. Should that condition be allowed to exist? I understand

that with the western farmer itis a question not SO much ofthe price he gets, as of the neces- sity for his selling his wheat atany price. In order to have a

steady market it is important to have a large market. It is feared that tens of millions of bushels of wheat will rot in the fields of Western Canada if no market is found for it while the people of Eastern Canada are paying abnormally high prices for flour. Is that a condition of things that ought to exist in Canada? Is that a condition of things that the Government are unable to grapple with? The wholesale price of flour in Canada to-day is very high; in Montreal it is about $7 a barrel. By the time the flour reaches the consumer, the price is $7.60 or $7.75 a barrel, which is an unusually high figure. The retail price of second grade flour by the time it reaches the Maritime Provinces is about $7.50 a barrel; yet in the western part of Canada there is danger that when the warm weather comes large quantities of wheat will rot 674

in the fields. Surely the Government can grapple with this condition.

The Minister of Finance said the other day-to me it was a strange statement- that even though such legislation as this should result in advantage to the Canadian farmers, that advantage might not continue; therefore he would vote against the resolution. That is to say, we should not trade profitably to-day lest we may not be able to trade profitably to-morrow. We would never make any trade at all if we acted that way. No business man acts that way, the. Minister of Finance himself would not

Speaking on this subject the other day, the Minister of Finance referred to the matter of potatoes, in which people of my province, and of other provinces of Canada as well, are deeply interested. He opposed the removal of-the duty on American potatoes because it would be no advantage to us. He read tables to show that in 1914-15 the price of potatoes in Sydney and Halifax was higher than in the United States. And do you know what the Finance Minister did? He quoted the retail price of potatoes in these two cities of Sydney and Halifax, and compared it with the price the farmers received in the United States, which was even less than the wholesale price-end he built an argument on a statement of that kind, and he told us he was viewing the matter in a calm and judicial spirit. I wonder what kind of a statement he would make if he were considering it from a political point of view. Then, too, he quoted prices in Canada last year, when it is well known to everybody that we had a crop failure in potatoes, and the price was abnormally high. Very rarely do we have suc'h a failure in the potato crop in this country, perhaps not once in twenty years. But we had that unusual condition of things last year; the crop failed all over Eastern Canada. If we could get potatoes from {he United States this year the consumers of Canada would bring in potatoes from the United States which would be a great advantage to us. The Government has power by Order in Council to remove the duty or to suspend it 'temporarily. If they will not remove it permanently at least they should remove it temporarily this year. We had an exceptional condition of things in Prince Edward Island. As I have said, out crop there was a failure to such an extent that the farmers will

find it very difficult to obtain potatoes for seed this year. Last year, when a similar condition prevailed in Western Canada the Government very properly came to the rescue of the farmers and provided, or assisted in providing, seed wheat. I would strongly urge the Government to take into consideration the conditions in Prince Edward Island, and to see if they cannot assist the farmers there in obtaining seed potatoes this year, because if something along that line is not done, if neither the provincial nor the Dominion Government take the question up, it is very doubtful if the farmers will be able to obtain seed potatoes, and some of the ground will be left unseeded. So I would strongly urge that under these conditions the Government should seriously consider at least the suspension of the duty on American potatoes, if they will not remove it permanently. There is no doubt that the American market for potatoes would be of great advantage to us if we could get it. The Reciprocity agreement gave us a monopoly of the American market in posatoes, but we turned it down. When President Wilson took office and the Underwood Tariff came into operation, it reduced the duty on potatoes to every country in the worid. The consequence was that large quantities of potatoes began to come in from Europe, from Great Britain and Germany, and the American people became alarmed lest the dreadful disease known as canker, which is prevalent in Europe, might be introduced. They held a convention at Washington to take the matter into consideration, and the Canadian Department of Agriculture sent Dr. G. Giissow down there to tell them that Canadian potatoes were diseased and ought to be excluded. Men were sent by this Government to Prince Edward Island in 1912, with the title of professors or scientists attached to their names, and the object was to find disease in the^ potatoes to sustain the action of the Government in making such representations to the American people, and of course they found the disease. I shall simply point out to the House the way those gentlemen acted. Two of those men in 1912 went to the cellaT of a farmer, Robert Stewart, of Brudenell, a potato groVer. They found disease in his potatoes'and they advised him that he must not under any consideration use those potatoes for seed. He paid no attention to what they said, he knew that his " potatoes were not diseased, but were the

same as they had been for forty years, and so he planted those same potatoes for two successive years. Tivo other professors came ailong last autumn and gave him a clean bill of health. )His was the only farm in the neighbourhood that had no diseased potatoes. Disease was found in our potatoes because gentlemen were sent there to find it, and representations of mat kind were made to the American Government. The Minister of Agriculture became alarmed and he and Dr. Giissow have since been trying to prove to the American -Government that there is no disease, or that it is of very harmless character. But the consequence is that an embargo was put on Canadian potatoes which prevents * us having access to the United States market, and we have to thank the Canadian Government for it.

Under these conditions I say that there is no reason in the world why this motion should not carry. The western farmers are not asking favours; if they came here asking favours, probably they would be better received. They are asking simply to be allowed to increase the exports of the country, asking to be allowed to sell their surplus products wherever they can find a market for them. I repeat they are not asking for any favours or privileges, not asking for legislation to enable them to put any burden upon any other class of the community; and yet they are denied, they are turned down. The Government has set up the idol of protection and will not touch it-everybody must bow down and worship it. It is a serious condition of affairs when a Government will not listen to an argument of that kind, when the Government's position has to be supported by such self-contradictory arguments as the Minis-7 ter of Finance made the other day. The Minister of Finance is an able man, and if he had a good cause he would not have had to make arguments of that kind. This shows the essential weakness of the Government's position in this matter. But they do not seem to be open to reason or to argument, and I suppose the farmers will have to put up with the consequences of the disadvantages under which they are labouring at the present time. I make these representations to the Government in all earnestness, and I think they ought to receive consideration.

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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. BOULAY (Rimouski):

(Translation.) I had not intended to take part in this debate, but as our friends opposite keep harping on this question of free wheat,

I take it to be my duty to express thereon s few ideas. Enough days and weeks have been spent on the subject during the last five years, that" the discussion in my opinion, ought to be considered closed.

All the points of the question have been sifted again and again and all its aspects scrutinized, and from all the twaddle what stands out clear to me is that the western members are using the question as an electoral war-horse. They take it up as a good means of boosting their case and ensuring their re-election.

A while ago one of the western members attacked the Government for not giving the farmers all the help they were entitled to. Yet, if any people should grumble against want of solicitude on the part of the Government, surely not those farmers. Every time they are the victims of some slight mishap, a drought or a frost, they appeal to the Government and immediately millions of dollars are put at their disposal to enable them to tide over the crisis. Our eastern farmers have not the same recourse. If the harvest is bad, or they suffer from frost, they have to shift for themselves without any one coming to their aid. Of all farmers who have no reason to grumble, those of the prairies are first, for the Government is lavish in its favours to them.

The same orator complains that agricultural implements were not allowed to be imported free of duty from the United States, he claims the tariff in that respect is detrimental to them, and in support of his contention he maintains that the higher price paid for the same machinery in Canada than obtains across the border is disadvantageous to the farmer, that it is in fact money taken from the purse of the farmer and given to the manufacturer. So be it, but, in my opinion, when the hon. member further stated that only the manufacturers reap the benefit of the tariff, he is clehrly mistaken. The workmen also find it to be their benefit. It must not be forgotten that in those manufactories are to be found workmen to whom the tariff is a benefit in the form of employment. Granted even that an article be something higher in "price in Canada than it is in the United States, it seems to me that if the western people were good patriots, they would not begrudge this slight sacrifice to allow Canadian workmen-to find his sustenance in this, our common country. After all wtp are not an agglomeration of two or three Canadas, but we form an entity destined to live as a whole in this country,

and no section ought to be indifferent to the necessities of another section.

There is another subject I would call to . the attention of my hon. friend from the West. We have, out of the public treasury, built for their use, at fabulous cost, three railways, designed to move their harvest and bring their produce to the Canadian harbours to be thence shipped overseas.

We are now building also, at their request, a request made to the late Administration and repeatedly pressed upon the present Government,1-a burdensome railway, tne Hudson Bay railway, to afford them a shorter route to the European markets. I would like to know the bottom reason for those railroad constructions. Why are we wasting so much money on the Hudson Bay road-built only for the benefit of our western countrymen, since neither Ontario nor Quebec nor the Maritime Provinces can utilize it; why waste so many millions for those western farmers, if those gentlemen are bent on dealing on the American market? Is that fair? Let them insist with the Government that a stop be put to that useless expenditure on the Hudson Bay railway. It might be after all to the country's advantage to abandon those undertakings and allow the western people freedom of trade with the United States. One of the previous orators stated that in the West the farmer made no money, it appears to me there is not much patriotism in coming here to make such a declaration. If in the West the farmers do not make money, why then ask so much for colonization, why all this propaganda to draw settlers to a region where results are so deceptive?

I, however, have it in my mind that the farmers of the West coin money much more freely than in the East. Had I spoken in the stead of the hon. member I should certainly not have delivered myself of such a remark, because it is not in the interest of his province. We ^11 know that for the most part the western agriculturists are well-to-do and that many of them become rich with much less pains than our eastern farmers.

Such are the few remarks I wished to make. I make them without acrimony and in the best possible intention, so that our friends from the West may realize that they should not be parties to these unhealthy agitations, that they are not the only inhabitants of this country, but that on the contrary, they have to live in close community with the other parts of Canada, and

that their first thought should-be the general interests of the country, and not those of a particular section.

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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. LEVI THOMSON (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, I have followed this debate very closely. The Minister of Finance and the hon. Minister of Public Works appeared to be under the impression that what we lack in the West is information, and they undertook to supply us with information. But from what I heard and have read of their speeches, there is not a bit of information in them; their statements are as stale as yesterday, or as a year ago yesterday. If they would just take the trouble to attend some of the western grain conventions they would learn something. I know that my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works would learn more there in five minutes than he could ever learn from his study of the speeches of the Minister of Finance. The men in the West know their subject from top to bottom, and all I can say is that, if these hon. ministers have given us all the knowledge they possess on the subject, they know very little about it. The men whom they undertake to inform could give them lots of information which I think would be useful to them if they would heed it, but the trouble is that they do not want to listen to the western farmers; their desire is to know what the protected interests want; it is in these they are interested.

I desire to refer to one remark made by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Morrison) in what I believe was his maiden speech. He said that we should hold this grain for Great Britain and our Allies. Is there any necessity for that? I expected some such argument would be sprung by some one; it is along the lines of some of the arguments, or what we call arguments, advanced by the hon. Minister of Public Works. But apparently even he thought little of it, and shifted it to the shoulders of his friend from Macdonald. Supposing we shipped 50,000,000 bushels of wheat to the United States, would they not ship a corresponding amount of grain to the Allies and Great Britain? I do not think it can be denied that the Allies would not get a bushel less.

Mr, MORRISON: I desire to correct

the hon. member. What I said was that no man could tell when the United States might be involved in war, and if the resolution before the House were passed, and several millions of bushels found their

way into the United States with the United States at war, that grain might cease to be available for Great Britain and her Allies. -

TdT. THOMSON: Does my hon. friend think that there is a probability of the United States entering the war on the side of Germany? If the United States enters the war it is much more likely to be on the side of Britain and her Allies, and if the United States became one of Britain's Allies, it would supply her, for the United States would be exactly in the same position as the other Allies. I do not think I need go any further into that argument.

We have had something suggested about possible British preference. This possibility of a British preference has been dangled __ before our eyes ever since I entered this House, and probably for ten years before that. This preference ihas always been just coming, and we have always been told that we must pass legislation with that in view. My opinion is entirely different in regard to that. When we aTe passing legislation in this House, we must pass it with a view to the circumstances that at present exist. If there should be a complete change in those circumstances, then we would consider the question of amending or changing our legislation. If circumstances should arise which would make it injudicious for Canada to have free entry for her wheat into the United States, we could easily Tepeal the enactment. We have been told over and over again that this is not a permanent policy. It is objectionable to hon. members opposite because it is not permanent, and it is also objectionable to them because it is permanent. They want to have it both ways, and they can only have it one way. The Minister of Public Works was a little rash to-day, I think. He tried to answer a question which was put to him by the hon. member for Dauphin, and which was also put to the Prime Minister and to the "Minister of Finance, but which they did not answer. In my opinion, they were wise in not answering. But my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works was not so wise, i and he told us, at least by inference, that it was more loyal to put money into the pockets of the manufacturers of Canada than into the revenue of the country. I disagree with my hon. friend, but I will leave it at thatr I do not think he will find many people in Canada to agree with him.

As I have said, I listened with care, and have read with care the speeches of the

two ministers who have spoken on the question. I am sorry to say that I am not disposed to consider very seriously the speech of the Minister of Public Works, because I do not think he gave his speech to us seriously; I do not think he was serious for a moment. We were told by the Conservative papers in the West that the minister was working day and night trying to get his colleagues to accede to this proposal of free wheat.

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CON
LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. THOMSON:

My hon. friend cla .ms to be an expert in winning elections, but apparently he is not ah expert in winning his colleagues over. He has been a dead failure, so far as free wheat is concerned. We were told that when he went out West he had an open -mind on the subject, but he came back to Ottawa and apparently read an old speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce which closed his mind, and then he heard the speech of the Minister of Finance the other day, and that put the locks and bars on it. He has no opinion of his own. He may win'elections, but he cannot carry his colleagues with him. They make a perfect tool of him-perhaps I should not say perfect, because I think he is a very imperfect one. I am always disposed, however, to take the Minister of Finance seriously, and I think most members of the House are. I read his argument very carefully, and I desire to make some brief references to it. I understand it is desired to take the vote to-night, and therefore I shall be as brief as possible, though I shall have to leave out some of the matters to which I intended to refer. The Minister of Finance acknowledged that the corresponding prices in the United States market are, on an average, better than our own. I gather that he is willing to admit that there might be some slight advantage to us in the matter of prices, but apparently he thinks that the disadvantages would be so great that it would not be wise to accede to our request. Before I leave the Minister of Public Works I should like to call attention to this remark in his speech:

I am sure that no hon. member in this House would say that the provision in the Underwood tariff giving us free access to the American market, on certain conditions, was made for the purpose of giving the Canadian producer of western Canada any special advantage.

I quite 'agree with that, but my hon. friend falls into the error which many people fall into, who think that if there is

any advantage to the other man there must be a disadvantage to them, and that if somebody else loses they must gain. If I want to buy anything I want to buy in such a way that both the buyer and the seller will gain, and if I want to sril I try to sell in such a way that both the seller and the purchaser will gain. I would not regard myself as a good citizen if I did otherwise. The same thing is true in regard to nations. He goes on to say:

It, therefore, becomes our special duty to give this question most earnest and careful consideration, in order to ascertain whether there is justification for the statement that the acceptance of this proposal would carry with it advantages to the farming community and to the people of Canada generally.

That is very grand, but I am very Sony that my hon. friend departed entirely from that high plane which he had set up for himself during his speech. He did not follow the principle that he was laying down.

I do not think that he, himself, imagines that he did. While the Minister of Finance was disposed to admit that there will be some gain to the Canadian farmer in the matter of price, he wanted to ease off that admission as far as he could and he carefully hand-picked some quotations as to the relative prices of grain and, after handpicking them, he carefully avoided any reference to cash prices. All his references were to futures. I am glad to see that the Minister of Finance is now in his place because I want to bring this matter to his attention. I say that after hand-picking quotations he goes on to try and ease off bis admission as to the difference in price between Canada and the United States and confines himself entirely to futures. The .farmers of the West are not dealing in futures. I have grown and sold quite a number of bushels of wheat in my life but I have never sold or bought one future, and what I say of myself is true of almost all farmers of the West. A few of them deal in futures and in May delivery for speculation just the same as my hon. friend might speculate if he felt like it, but when he confined himself entirely to futures and ignores cash sales, he shows, what is true of the whole ministry, that he is not thinking of the farmers, but of the speculators. The speculators are the men whose interests they are looking after and not ours.

I am quite prepared to agree with my hon. friend on some things and one is that you cannot absolutely say what the effect of any special legislation will be. You cannot tell absolutely what the effect of

this proposed legislation will be. You cannot tell precisely and mathematically what the effect of any legislation will be. Let me offer you one illustration of that. This is for the purpose of stating a general principle although we cannot say that it is on all fours with the present case. Supposing my hon. friend had a water trough, a foot deep, a foot wide and perfectly level. He places sufficient water in one end to fill half of the trough one foot high; he places sufficient water in the other end to fill that half of the trough six inches high. You then get an argument in regard to the matter which would lead one to believe that in the opinion of these gentleman the water throughout the entire length of the trough would rise to 12 inches or drop to six. My hon. friend knows' that neither of these things occur as a matter of fact. But he says that in trade matters this is the case and he chooses whichever side suits him; that is the trouble. While ' you can mathematically ascertain where the water will rise you cannot, as a matter of mathematics, tell exactly what the price of wheat will be if this legisla-5 p.m. tion is passed, or what the absolute effect will be, but you can conform to general principles.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT:

What would happen if

* both ends of the trough were equally full.

Mr. [DOT] THOMSON: What does the hon.

gentleman say?

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CON
LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. THOMSON:

I am not talking about both troughs, but about one trough. If they were equally full, they would remain . equally full, but I confei = that I cannot see what the point of the hon. gentleman's question is. If my hon. friend will be kind enough to tell me I would be very much obliged to him.

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CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

The hon. gentleman

(Mr. Thomson) said that he could not do this thing mathematically and then he proceeded to demonstrate that he could.

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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. THOMSON:

Perhaps I do not speak plainly enougn or perhaps my hon. friend has not been listening, because he would not have made that rernanr if he had been. I would advise him to read what I have said and pay a little attention to it, and use his brain power, of wl ich he has enough. He has sufficient understanding to appreciate what I have said, and I do not think

rMr. Thomson.!

I need go over it again. However, I have sometimes said that we would feel rather offended if my hon. friend were in the House and he did not interrupt us in his good-natured way. We are always very much pleased to receive his interruptions, as they are invariably good natured. The Minister of Finance truly says that supply and demand rule this question. That is quite right. However, he proceeds, as plainly as he can, to contradict that afterwards. He says that the export price will govern the price. I do not know whether my hon. friend confines the meaning of export price to .prices that we receive for grain shipped across the Atlantic. If he does he is entirely mistaken. If he means the whole of the export, wherever it is, he is right. I think my hon. friend will agree that the more outlets you have the better and the steadier your price will be. The law of supply and demand affects that. The better the demand there is for the amount of stuff we have to ship, the better and the steadier will be the price. My hon. friend apparently puts on his silk gown while he is in the midst of his argument. He does not mean to keep the farmer's togs on all the time; he becomes a lawyer, and he says a great deal to us about the necessity of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as we are required to do in the courts of law. I think that is a very good piece of advice to give us, but it would have been a very good piece of advice for himself to have taken. He should have applied that advice to himself before he began talking about the local demand in the way he did, and before he told us that the quotations he was giving had reference to the same grades. As a matter of fact, his remarks in regard to the local demand in the United States were entirely misleading. His remarks with reference to the same grade were also very misleading. He was comparing a grade of No. 1 "Northern Canadian with a No. 1 Northern United States, and 'he said that these were the same grades. That is as much as to tell us that because one man is named White, and another man is named White, therefore it is the same man. Let me quote what the requirements are-I think this has been quoted m the House before-of No. 1 hard in Canada and No. 1 hard in Minneapolis:

Canadian No. 1 Manitoba Northern wheat shall he sound and well cleaned, weighing not less than 60 pounds to the bushel, and shall be composed of at least 60 per cent of hard red Fife wheat. *

No. 1 Minneapolis spring wheat shall be dry, sound, sweet and clean, may consist ot the hard and soft varieties of spring wheat and weigh not less than 57 pounds to the measured bushel.

My hon. friend would hardly claim that wheat which must weigh sixty pounds to the bushel, and contain sixty per cent of hard Red Fife, is of the same grade as wheat that requires to weigh only fifty-seven pounds to the bushel, and contains merely a percentage of hard wheat. I presume my hon. friend is well enough versed in the grades to know that the nearest comparison between Minneapolis and Fort William higher grades is No. 1 Hard Minneapolis and No. 2 Northern Fort William. Between those two grades there is very little difference, but the spread in price averages considerably oveT five cetnts a bushel. It is obviously unfair, to compare No. 1 Minneapolis with No. 1 Fort William, and what is the use of my hon. friend lecturing us to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, when he speaks of these two distinctly different grades as if they were exactly the same.

I think the House will agree that the hard wheat we grow in the West is the best in the world, but, it does not bring the best price in the British market. Why is that? I have heard the reason advanced that it is because we ship all our wheat over there at the one time. That reason is not sound, because on looking over reports of past years I find that the very same condition existed when we were not shipping wheat at all. Only one reason for this condition, suggests itself to me: We are shipping more of our hard wheat than Great Britain requires, and we are glutting their market. If any hon. gentleman knows of any other reason I shall be glad to hear it, for I am anxious for information. At the same time, there is a tremendous demand in the United States for our hard wheat. We may take it for granted that the taste of Canadians and' Americans demands a greater percentage of hard wheat than does the British taste. Canadian millers want nearly all hard wheat in their flour; British millers do not require nearly so large a percentage. It is quite plain from the grades that the United States is not producing anything like so good a quality of hard wheat as we are. The reason we have high grades in this country is because we have a high-grade wheat, and in the United States they have not these high grades, because their wheat is not of such a high quality. Their No. 1 hard has to contain only fifty per cent of

hard wheat, and that not necessarily hard Red Fife; whereas our second grade No 1 Northern has to contain sixty per cent of hard Red Fife.

The Finance Minister has spoken of the demand in the United States for our wheat, as a local demand. I would tell him that that local demand extends over the whole of the United States. I have been told by gentlemen who have lived in the south that the bread they got there was not nearly so good as what they were used to in Canada. There was not enough hard wheat in the flour; the United States does not produce enough hard wheat to supply the demand, and they have to use soft wheat flour in making the bread. In one sense this demand in the United States is a local demand, as the Finance Minister says, because the United States is a locality; it is equally true that the European demand is a local demand, for Europe is also a locality. If the demand of the United States, with its 100,000,000 people, is a local demand, how much more of a local demand is the demand of Great Britain with its 45,000,000 people? If one is a local demand, surely the other is. American millers need our hard wheat to mix with their soft, and that is why free wheat and free wheat products would be a benefit to our farmers. The United States demand would increase the price to our farmers.

What would be the result if, instead of sending all our hard wheat to Britain, we sent a portion of it to the United States, and the United States sent to Great Britain the soft wheat which the British market requires? We should find that the British market would want our hard wheat. If you search back far enough in the English papers you' will find that at one time Western Canada wheat commanded the highest price in the world, and I say that we should reach that point again if we limited our export of hard wheat to Britain. At the present time we are sending over far more than they require; we have glutted the market, and the price has dropped.

Just a word in regard to our milling friends. I think I speak for the western farmers when I say that we do not wish to injure the millers if it can be avoided. If legislation were passed that would prevent our milling friends from declaring fifty and sixty per cent dividend on their stock, watered and otherwise, and would allow us to get a little more than four or five per cent on the capital we have invested in the West, I do not think it would

be a bad thing for the country at all. Certainly the millers could stand it, according to their own figures. The Minister of Finance tells us that the United States has a milling capacity of 1,000,000

barrels a day, while Canada's capacity is 100,000 barrels a day, or just one-tenth the capacity of the United States. If that is so, we are better supplied with milling facilities per head of population than is the United States. The hon. gentleman will not claim that we have one-tenth of the population of the United States, and yet we have one-tenth of its milling power. That being so, why cannot our mills take care of themselves, especially when our millers pay less for wheat than the American millers pay and sell their flour at a higher price? That state of affairs, I may remark in passing, may account for our having more milling capacity according to population than the United States. But we are told that it would injure the milling industry of Canada to have such legislation passed as is proposed by this motion. The mills of Canada, in the financial year ending 31st March, 1914, exported flour to the value of a little over $20,500,000. That flour was sold in open competition with the mills of the United States and of the world. If our mills can compete in other countries with the mills of the United States, surely they can compete at home. In shipping abroad they have no freight advantages while in the home market they have. The amount of flour exported from Canada is increasing, being probably $25,000,000 or more this year, in addition to which they ship about $2,000,000 worth of bran. That does not look as if the Canadian mills could not compete either in flour or in bran with the mills of the United States. .

The Minister of Finance makes a great deal of the point that this proposed legislation would lack permanency. Can the hon. gentleman point to any legislation that is permanent? Even the British North America Act, the most permanent of our laws, has been amended, and we are now seeking to amend it again. You cannot have democracy and have permanency of legislation, for the people must always have the right to change their laws. The hon. gentleman said that the Canadian millers could not export to the United States because there is no " permanency '' in the legislation. Well, would not that apply the other way just as well? The argument of lack of " permanency "

would operate against the American miller exporting to Canada, just as it would operate against our millers exporting to the United States. It is quite true, as the hon. minister has said, that in this matter we depend upon the legislation of another country, but that is true of every country in the world that makes a trade treaty. What guarantee have we that the French people will not put an end to the trade treaty between that country and our own?

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LIB
LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. THOMSON:

Yes, they, are all in

the same category. Now, there is one other matter that I wish to emphasize, though it has been called attention to by other speakers, and that is that we farmers of the West are not asking any favours. We want no advantage over any other producers on earth. We believe that we can compete with the 'American farmers or any other farmers. We believe that we have the land and that we have the men. I could not say that we desired to avoid . competition without saying either that we had not the land or that we had not the men, but I am not prepared to admit that the United States has any better farmers or any better land than ours. We simply ask for an opportunity to market our products wherever we can find a satisfactory [DOT]and profitable trade. If the American farmer can come across and undersell us, let him do so. If he can undersell us in oats or in anything else, let him do so. All we ask is a fair field and no favour. Quotations have been made from newspapers intended to prove that probably there would be no advantage to the Canadian farmers in the arrangement that we are asking for. But these same newspapers, in 1911, told us that there could be no advantage in selling our live-stock free of duty in the United States. I recall particularly the case of one newspaper published in western Canada.

That paper had fought tooth and nail against reciprocity, its chief argument being -that we could not possibly get any advantage from reciprocity so far as live stock was concerned. One year after the Underwood tariff came into effect that same paper admitted that we were getting two cents a pound more for every head of cattle that we were selling. Certainly they overstated the figure, but it is

a fact that there was a substantial increase.

We are asking for no favours; give us fair play, and nothing more. Give us a chance to deal freely and openly in the markets of the world. If legislation of this kind is passed, benefit will accrue not only ' to the farmers of the West, but to the consumers in the East as well-to every man who wants to buy a pound of flour. It Is admitted by all that the price of flour is lower in the United States than it is in Canada. The reason why objection is made to free wheat is that the Canadian miller would have to sell his flour cheaper in Canada than he has been selling it in the past. What would be the effect of that? Every labouring man in Canada would get his flour cheaper, his bread cheaper, his living cheaper. Is that not worth while?

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February 23, 1916