July 23, 1917

LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

There cannot be very much sympathy with a farmer who refuses to sell his wheat for $3 a bushel.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I suppose the

farmer might not have exactly the same view of it. It is important at the present time that the surplus of wheat in Canada should find its market tand transfer from Canada at the very earliest possible moment. This is rendered necessary for two reasons-in the first place because arrangements have been made for the carriage of wheat up to the quantity of our surplus, and we do not want to retard these transportation arrangements in any way.

It is not impossible-I do not say that it will be done-that the board of Grain Supervisors will fix the price for the 1916-17 crop, which is now in store, independently entirely of what action may be taken in the United States in reference to their 1916-17 crop. The food controller, who has been appointed, takes up the problem where the Board of Grain Supervisors leaves it. They have to do with wheat and grain only. The moment they act upon wheat and grain, the food controller knows whiat the price * of the basic article is and then can conduct his work on a fixed and certain basis, provided the arrangement for price fixation is for the total crop. There will then be no debate and matters will be simple in so far as the basic price of the prime article of food is concerned. I do not think I can say anything more in reference to this matter. The delay is regrettable. The Winnipeg Grain Exchange is not allowing any dealings in futures, and consequently speculation is shut off from the exchange.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

What is the meaning of

the announcement of the figure of $2.40 spoken of by my hon. friend from Carleton?

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I have heard

nothing oflmially at all about the fixing of the price of the present crop in store. I just saw it in the paper but I have no official knowledge of it. I do not know whether it is true or not true.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The newspapers contained the very definite announcement that the Board of Grain Supervisors had established a figure of $2.40 a bushel for No. 1 Northern at Fort William. I rather understood from my reading of the item that this was the maximum price beyond which the grain of the coming year's crop should not be sold after August 1. Was it merely the

maximum price or was it a price at which it was expected grain would he taken off the farmers' hands?

Mr. CAB,VELL: May I ask my hon. friend a question? Does he think there will be any practical difference between fixing a maximum price and setting the price at $2.40? Would it not be $2.40 any way?

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LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Suppose you were a grain holder and the maximum price was $2.40, would you hold?

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am not a grain holder,

I am a consumer but that was my understanding of the item as I read it. It was not held -up to the farmer that he was going to get $2.40 a bushel but it was held up that he was not going to get any more than that.

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CON
LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I could not answer that until I had official information. It may be that the reported action is an act of the board and it may be that it is not. It may be a rumour. It may refer only to the c-ro-p of 1916-17. It might refer to- the crop of 1917-18 but until I receive the official information I am not able to give it to the House.

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LIB
CON

Alexander Morrison

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORRISON:

I understood from

reading the report in the paper that it referred to the wheat of last year's crop and that -it was a maximum -price of $2.40.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

My hon. friend will remember that the item referred to marketing after August 1. My understanding was that it referred to the wheat crop of the present yeaT.

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CON

Alexander Morrison

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORRISON:

If I recollect -aright it only had reference to the wheat on hand, the wheat in store, of the present year's crop.

-Mr. OLIVER: I think that when this

item is being passed such an important action as is reported to have been taken by the grain supervisors -so early as to permit -an -anno-unoem-ent to he made in- the papers on Saturday should have been in- the -minister's hands for the information of the ' House. This -action -is going bo s-et the

policy of the Government in regard to- thi-s matter and it is of the highest importance to the whole of the western- country. I think the minister -should have been able to have stated exactly wha-t the purport of that action was and what the result was going bo be.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I am very sorry that my hon. friend, tenacious as he is, and rightly -so, cannot draw from -me information th-at I have not got. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to give it to my hon. friend if I had it. I am quite certain I will receive intimation in reference to the action of the board just -as soon -as -it officially acts. Whether this is an official act or not, or a foreshadowing, or a rumour, I cannot tell, hut as soon as I have the information I will give it to- the House and the House has -a right to have it.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

My ho-n. friend from Carle-ton said that if -a maximum of $2.40 is fixed there will he no minimum, that that will be th-e price -and that there will be nothing -below (that. Is that the correct vi-ew?

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I am no-t going to give my horn, friend, a vie-w as (to what will take place -in the practical operations of the market if you (set simply a maximum price -and nothing else. I do not know whether every man Who 'holds grain would hold it with th-e -idea that, that -being the *maximum price, conditions would be such that that he would probably get that price if he held on ito it rather than sell it at less. From that point of view it would s-eem that -sim-ply to- fix a maximum- price wo-uld be to fix the -actual selling price. But there are differences of opinion in regard to fixing a maximum and minimum price. From almost as many grain men as you may talk with you will get just as m-any different opinions -as to what will he the effect of fixing -a maximum price -alone or fixing a maximum -and minimum price.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am sorry we are not

able to get more definite information from th-e Government in regard to this matter that is now entering upon -an entirely new -and -most critical stage. The House should be more thoroughly informed in regard to what may or may not have been the -action of this Board of Grain Supervisors and as to how -far their -action, is going to -affect the profits of the farm particularly in the western country. Surely thi-s is the place to give the public information in regard to it. If we have suffered in the past it is because we -have not known what was going ito occur. In the nature of things, we could

not know what was going to occur, but now, if, under the authority of Parliament, we are going to make things happen as we wish, surely Parliament and the country should know it.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I do not want my hon. friend to have 'in the back of his head the least glimmering of an idea that I have this information and am not giving it to the House, because that would not be a correct idea in any respect. I do not know that he even thinks that. My arrangement made with the chairman of the hoard was that he should regularly and promptly report the principal actions that took place. As I have not had a report from him, I am rather inclined to think that no official action has been yet taken, and that what appeared in the newspapers was probably something of a guess.

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July 23, 1917