April 24, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

You repudiate their methods of buying?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The hon. member is simply stating facts.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

As my hon. friend knows, to the cost of his party, the grain growers have done a great work all through that country in the education of the people, and they have done it in my hon. friend's own constituency, and nobody knows that better than does my hon. friend.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They pay fair prices in my constituency and I have no criticism to make, but if they do not pay fair prices in my hon. friend's constituency, why does he not go after them?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

If my hon. friend thinks that the Grain Growers' Company are not doing their duty, is it the duty of the Opposition or the duty of the Government to interfere?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They are doing their duty in my county all right. If they are not doing it in yours, why do you not complain? It is a delicate point.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

It is not a delicate question at all. I am just showing what this Government did during this season of poor wheat in that part of the country. This does not apply all over Saskatchewan, nor in Alberta, where they had a good season, but in the southern and eastern part of Saskatchewan and in the southern part of Manitoba the crop was very poor, and if the Government had wished to help out the farmers the time to do it was last fall, before the crops were sold, and not this spring, when 79 per cent of the fall wheat of the country had gone out of the farmers' hands.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

In the figures which the hon. memiber gave us he showed a difference across the border of 59 cents per bushel. He will admit the best the Government could have done would have been to modify the difference by ten cents, whereas the Grain Growers' Grain Company could have modified it by 49 cents. They must be robbing the farmers to the extent of 49 cents a bushel if his statement be true. How does my hon. friend explain that?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

My hon. friend always tries to get away from the fact that the Government is responsible. Had my hon. friend taken off that duty last fall instead of this spring buyers from the United States would have come across and bought that wheat. The fact of having to put the wheat through the customs makes it difficult for the farmers. I do not want to be understood as saying that generally speaking there is any such difference as I have stated, but there has never been a year when there would not have been more aggregate profit to the farmers of the West, and the statement that there was not a demand for the low' grade wheat is not correct, because you could sell your low grade in Canada at any time. The low grade wheat is not ground by itself, nor is high grade wheat ground by itself. They are always mixed in the grinding to a greater or dess extent, and this low grade wheat is being bought by the millers in order to mix it with good wheat. Therefore, the Government have taken advantage of the farmers to the extent that they have waited until the wheat was out of the farmers' hands before giving them the relief that they might have given 'them last fall.

The Minister of Finance took credit for the great balance of trade in our favour. According to him, if the Germans had sunk 100 more ships laden with Canadien imports, our balance of trade would have made a still better showing. That was a point hardly worthy of my hon. friend. I am glad to see the minister is getting over the great fear he had five years ago that if we allowed the Canadian farmer to sell his wheat in the United States, the British Empire would totter in ruins, and Canadians become disloyal. That was the statement made by one of the celebrated eighteen Liberals who went back on us in 1911. Sir Edmund Walker said that if the Canadian farmer was allowed to sell his produce in the United States he would become a disloyal Canadian, and it would end in the annexation of Canada to the United States.

The Minister of Finance was one of those eighteen, and I am delighted to see that he has got over the nightmare he had then, and has now no fears of the Canadian farmer becoming disloyal if he sells his wheat in the United States. What has brought about the change in my hon. friend's views? Economics has nothing to do with the change. What did the Solicitor General say on this question last year? Closing the debate on the resolution I had moved in favour of free wheat he said (Hansard, 1916, p. 1068): *

I have always believed, and never more than now, that at least ninety per cent ot this free wheat issue is purely political, while, for the other ten per cent it is economically unsound.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Was there a war on then?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

Yes, the war was on.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is ninety-five per

cent political now.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

My hon. friend says that ninety-five per cent of the agitation is political. For once in his life he has told the absolute truth, because I am sure that ninety-five per cent of the reasons that actuated him in putting wheat on the free list were purely political. His object was to save the party. Will my hon. friend, who said last year that ninety per cent of the agitation for free wheat was purely political and the other ten per cent mistaken economics, tell us what has made him change his mind? Why has he insisted on the Minister of Finance putting wheat on the free list? Will my hon. friend give us his reasons now?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I said that the attitude of my hon. friend would indicate that ninety-five per cent of his talk was purely political.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I say that ninety-five per cent of the motives that actuated my hon. friend in getting wheat put on the free list were purely partisan. His object was to save himself and the Government.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What is actuating your indignation at the present time?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I am trying to tell the House and the country that we are pleased to have wheat put on the free list, but the Government made a great mistake, in the interests of the farmers, in not taking this action last fall. If the Solicitor General will put wheat on the free list now, when he still believes that ninety per cent of the

agitation for it is purely political, why would he not do it last fall? What has the Minister of Finance to say? I could read pages of reasons that he gave why wheat should not be put on the free list. What has made my hon. friend change his mind?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Read the Order in Council.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I have it here, and the statements it makes are not true. I do not say the Minister of Finance did not believe these statements; I think he did. I do not think he would put a statement in an Order in Council that he did not believe to be absolutely true; I have that much faith in him. But the statements made in the Order in Council are certainly not correct, and nobody knows it better than my hon. friend the Solicitor General, who went on a trip all through the West, with his ear to the ground, and from every direction the cry came, "Either free wheat, or no Conservatives go to Ottawa at the next election." So at the eleventh hour my hon. friend calls on the Minister of Finance to put wheat on the free list. It was a case of death-bed repentance. However, they are entitled to all the credit they can get out of it, and they will get some credit for it in the West; they will get some votes that otherwise would have gone against them.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink

April 24, 1917