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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.