June 6, 1917

CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR:

That is quite contrary to the arguments of other hon. gentlemen opposite who said that the wheat in the elevators belonged to the speculators. The hon. member for Edmonton represents a farming constituency, and he should be the first man in the House to stand up and say a good word for the farmers.

11 p.m. If the prices in this country are not high enough to pay the farmer, the prices must go up.

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LIB

Médéric Martin

Liberal

Mr. MEDERIO MARTIN:

We are going to tax the people for that and we will do it.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR:

I read a statement recently made by Mr. Hoover, controller of food in

the United States, and he is absolutely opposed to fixing a maximum price for food products. He says it has been a failure wherever it has been tried.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Does he not say that

with proper control prices could be brought down by about 60 per cent?

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR:

In England they do not fix a maximum price but a minimum price, and anything the farmer can get above that minimum he is entitled to; and that is all you can do in this country in fairness to the farmers. I want to be absolutely fair; I do not think there should be an absolute runaway market for the products of the farm, but the farmers are entitled to a fair price for their products. After listening to the arguments in this House day after day I cannot see that a food controller would do much good, or how prices could be brought down, because prices are controlled by the world's markets1.

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LIB

Médéric Martin

Liberal

Mr. MEDERIC MARTIN:

The hon.

member has pointed to the action taken by Mayor Mitchell of New York in regard to potatoes. The Mayor of Montreal has not the same power as the Mayor of New York. Last year I suggested to the Board of control that we should vote $250,000 for the purpose of buying potatoes. We had no right to do that; it was quite illegal, but I was ready to take the responsibility in order to sell potatoes to the consumers at cost price. We did everything that was possible, so my hon. friend need not point to Mayor Mitchell as an example to me. It was illegal for us to take this action, but I thought the legislature would ratify it. The council, however, did not support me.

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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL:

In regard to the potato situation my hon. friend will be glad to know that the high prices this year-and high prices are always a stimulus-have resulted in a greater acreage than last fall. I do not think there is much danger of any one speculating in the crops of the province of Quebec, because that would be an extremely wild type of speculation. I think my hon, friend can be hopeful that the efforts of the farmers and everybody else this year will result in very much more satisfactory conditions.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

I understood the minister to state the .potatoes were selling in Nova Scotia at $1.50 a bushel.

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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL:

Yes, near the city of Halifax. I was shown a letter only a week

or so ago in which it was said that over 100 bushels was bought for seed at $1.50.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

That must have been an isolated case, because within the last twenty-four hours I have learned that a league has been formed by the citizens of Amherst to go without potatoes in June so that the people may have enough for seeding.

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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL:

We may be thankful that there are enough left for seed. As it is getting late, I would suggest that we pass this item, and that the committee then rise.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The statement made by the Minister of Labour as to the information he was gathering with regard to cold storage warehouses was so diffuse and so voluminous that I was not able to gather what he was really doing, and I think we should thoroughly understand just what is being done before this item is passed.

Item stands.

On motion of Hon. Mr. Reid the House adjourned at 11.05 p.m.

Thursday, June 7, 1917.

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June 6, 1917