April 7, 1922

THE GRAIN TRADE

REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION

LIB

William Frederic Kay

Liberal

Mr. W. F. KAY (Missisquoi):

I move

that the second report of the committee on Agriculture and Colonization be concurred in.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (leader of the Opposition) :

Mr. Speaker, the

report, concurrence in which is now sought, comes from the Committee on Agriculture which met about five days ago. It reads:

That without delaying investigation by this committee as to the advisability of the reestablishment of the Canada Wheat Board, the matter of the constitutionality of such re-establishment be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada and that every effort be made to secure decision at an early date.

There had been, in this connection, referred to the Committtee on Agriculture the subject of handling the wheat of this country, and although the reference was not correctly or, at least, not adequately made, the intention was, no doubt, to ask the committee to consider the subject in three aspects: First, whether the Wheat Board, with all its old powers and duties,

should be re-established; or, second, whether there should be established a Government organization to handle and dispose of wheat committed to it by the voluntary act of the producers; or, third, whether the whole question should be left to what was described as co-operative action on the part of the producers themselves. The reason I say that the matter was intended to be referred in that form is because, in that form, the intended reference was described by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in his speech on the Address. Consequently, though the words of commitment were narrow, I apprehend that a third report recommending a fuller reference will be adopted and the reference widened accordingly. It will be recalled that the former Wheat Board, that is the Wheat Board, established by Order in Council of July 31, 1919, which Order in Council was continued by this House very shortly afterwards in the same year and later on confirmed by legislation in the spring of last year, had very ample powers in a sense, indeed, monopolistic powers. It had certain control over the elevator system of our country and over the transportation of grain committed to it, and certain priorities and extraordinary rights which at the time it was deemed wise to repose in the board. That Wheat Board was discontinued-or rather the time that was originally given to it as its term of life expired, and consequently, no act of discontinuance was essential. It handled the wheat crop of 1919, and having so disposed of its duties, it ceased to exist. In the spring of 1920, there being some doubt at that time as to what would be the condition of the buying market in -Europe, and also as to what would be the policy of the United States, whether that country would remain in control, in some form or another, of its wheat marketing, or whether it would revert to the old marketing conditions, Parliament, on the advice of the government of the day, passed legislation empowering such government, if in its opinion conditions so demanded, to restore or to continue the Wheat Board as it had been established, for the purpose of taking in hand the crop of 1920. The government of the day did not exercise that power. European countries were no longer purchasing, as they had been doing, through the single agency of the British Government, which in turn acted through the British Wheat Commission, but were buying through agencies-although Government agencies-active in competition the one

Wheat Board

with the other. Besides, the United States Government had abandoned all attempts at wheat control, or marketing control of any description as regards grain, reverting instead to the old market conditions. In view of these facts the late Dominion government exercising its judgment did not reestablish the board.

Some time after, a grain inquiry commission was instituted under the Inquiries Act, upon complaint, which had become very general, that there were abuses in connection with the handling of the grain trade of western Canada. That commission was enjoined; the Order in Council establishing it was challenged, and that Order in Council was declared invalid by a judge of the King's Bench of Manitoba. Subsequently, upon appeal-and in all modesty I call this to the attention of the Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin), whom, had he not shown the contrary in his speech on the Address, one would have expected to be already aware of the fact-the' validity of the Order in Council was established, the powers of the Government to pass it were confirmed. This matter was decided by the Court of Appeal of Manitoba.

In view of the evidence adduced before that commission, and in view of the very evident condition of dissatisfaction throughout the West over the whole question of purchase, storage, financing and disposal of its grain, I, in the late campaign, proposed an alternative, namely, the second alternative recited by the Prime Minister in his speech on the Address: that is to say, the establishment, not of a board with compulsory powers, not of a single agency excluding all other agencies of sale, but of a board with ample powers to receive, move, finance, and finally sell, and distribute the proceeds of, all grain committed to its charge by the will of the producer. I am not proposing to discuss now the merits of this plan or of any of the plans to which I have made allusion; I do not purpose even to discuss whether or not the late government took the right course in this regard. That question does not arise on the motion of my hon. friend the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture (Mr. Kay). But a review of the facts such as I have given is necessary in order that what I have to say anent this motion may be the better understood. The demand for the old Wheat Board that was made has been received by the committee who, proceeding to deal with the question, have made a report to the House that while they were considering the wisdom of its re-establishment- whether or not differing in personnel-the Government refer to the Supreme Court of Canada the question as to the power of this Parliament to establish such a board.

Now, I submit to the House that if we concur in this report it is going to be impossible to meet the situation for the coming summer. I do not pretend to judge the full measure of those who demand the establishment of the old Wheat Board with all its powers, but I do say that there is i a very strong body of support for that proposal. Of its numbers, its strength, and its right to be heard before a committee of this House and this House itself, there is no question. But there are those among its numbers-I do not know what proportion, but I should say a substantial proportion, I think I can say the majority-who, while they urge strongly, under what they describe as abnormal conditions existing now, their right to the advantage of the old Wheat Board, with all the means of disposal it afforded, during this year and perhaps next year, at any rate while these conditions prevail; nevertheless do not ask that the board be established as a permanent institution. They insist only that it be put into operation to take care of the situation during this period of abnormalcy. Their insistence is mainly that it be established for the purpose of taking care of the wheat crop of this year. There are, I do not know how many, but doubtless a considerable number, who would favour the establishment of the board permanently. But however great their numbers may be, the number of those who want it, not on a permanent but on a temporary basis, is far greater. Of that there can be no question. Consequently this House, before it takes any step that will put it practically out of its power to comply with this demand, must very carefully decide, yes or no, thereto. Whether the demand is right or not, of its very nature it calls for a decision by this Parliament at an early date.

What will happen if this resolution carries? This House will have instructed the Government of the day to submit, to the Supreme Court of Canada a definite question, namely: Is it within the competence of the Parliament of Canada to reestablish the Wheat Board with the powers vested in it under the Order in Council of July 31, 1919, as confirmed by Parliament? Be it noted, there is no question at issue

Wheat Board

at all as to the powers of the Governor in Council. The committee realized that fully in this report. There is no doubt at all that the Governor in Council has no such powers now ;[DOT] but the question is whether the Parliament of Canada has such powers. It was the Parliament of Canada that acted before. Parliament confirmed the action of the government, because the government had to act, if it took any action at all, before Parliament met, or there would have been no time to take in hand the 1919 crop. Parliament confirmed the government's action, and the question is: Has Parliament the right to do what Parliament actually did in the special session of 1919? If that question is submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada, assuming, as I do, that every effort will be made by the Government to prosecute the suit to a decision-I will not be asked to assume any more, indeed I think I am liberal enough when I assume that much-is there any substantial hope that we shall get a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, upon which we can act, within such time as will enable us to dispose of the question at this session? Who are entitled to be heard before that tribunal? Well, the Government of Canada will be heard. They will undoubtedly be there by counsel, endeavouring, I presume, to establish the power of this Parliament. I would also expect that some, possibly all, of the provinces of Confederation, whether unitedly or separately, would appear before the Supreme Court on the issue. I would expect the Grain Exchange to appear before the court. Possibly the Grain Exchange would come individually, or perhaps forty companies strong, as it has been known to come before the courts of the country before. How many companies of the Grain Exchange are going to be heard? Can they be denied a hearing? I would expect, as well, the millers' association, and perhaps individual milling companies would want to be heard. I would expect that the railway companies would be there, and possibly our banks as well. It is a matter that interests in an important degree many great fields of enterprise in this country. There would be inevitably a warring clamour of interests before the court; and when any one of those interests could establish a prima facie case for postponement, how could the court deny a postponement? I know of interests that would have a lot to gain by a postponement;

I know of interests who would desire postponement. In the hands of able lawyers, I do not know of any kind of case that is more easily made out, than a case for postponement, and I for one would despair, were I acting for the Government in such a connection, of any early decision, no matter how assiduous and vigorous was my conduct of the case.

But, suppose we get a decision, is there anything to prevent an appeal to the Privy Council? There will be one, you may be sure, if the case goes in favour of our powers. And if there is such an appeal who is going to take care of the 1922 crop of wheat?

But, beyond that, suppose my conjecture as to what is going to occur on the argument of this case before the Supreme Court is wrong, and we find lawyers, opposed perhaps from forty different angles, all in agreement to press the case to a decision in order that Parliament may act in the light of that decision; suppose that happens-which would be a miracle-what then? We get a decision. Is the decision going to be of great practical value? Is it going to be of a character that would enable Parliament to act in a practical way? I do not think it can be. In the original statute twenty-seven different powers were given to the Wheat Board; starting with A, B, C, continuing through the whole length of the alphabet, and still one more. There were multiplied duties besides imposed upon the Wheat Board. The Supreme Court would have the power to go into one and all of those powers and duties. But I do not know that it would do so. It might say: Here is a power that we find the Parliament of Canada cannot repose in the board; it is ultra vires; therefore we need not decide the other points at all.

But suppose the court went on and decided one and all, supposing they did everything, assume, indeed, a set of facts the most adverse to my contention possible, suppose they deal with A, B, C, and so on all through the list. What then? Assume they decide that we are ultra vires as to the whole twenty-seven, it might still be that by a modification, perhaps an unimportant modification, of each one we could come well within the powers of this Parliament, and at the same time establish a board so armed and equipped that it could substantially meet the ambitions and desires of those who seek this method of the disposal of their grain. The judgment, when it comes, shall not in all prob-

Wheat Board.

ability be such to enable us to act on it in a practical way.

To sum up what I have argued so far. First: follow this course and you are plunged into the caldron of litigation, from which in all human probability you will not emerge until it is too late for you to act with much value this session. Second: though there may be harmony, and all go smoothly to an early verdict, the judgment alone will not be of such a final, definitive and detailed character as to be what we want in building the fabric of legislation.

Then I am asked: What are we to do? Well, I would advise Parliament to say to the committee: Go back and do what has always been done,-take the advice of the law officers of the Crown. When you decide just what you want, the principle you want to follow, the body you want to establish, the powers you would like to give it, go and sit beside the law officers and ask them: How far in that direction can we go and be as safe as any one can be from the threat of injunction? There is no difficulty about taking that course. I know it may be said that possibly after you take their advice you may be faced with an injunction afterwards. Why, so you may be, whatever you do. But in the light of the decisions that have so far been handed down, particularly in the light of the decision a few months ago by the Court of Appeal of Manitoba, I do not think there would be any great difficulty on the part of the law officers of the Crown in so framing legislation that we would be tolerably, if not wholly, safe from the danger of successful injunction at the instance of any litigant.

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

Might I interrupt my

right hon. friend? Is he arguing on the basis that the enactment by this Parliament would confer all the powers that the original Wheat Board had?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am afraid I have not been fully understood. I say, suppose the committee decides: We would like the Wheat Board; but if we cannot have the Wheat Board with all its powers, we would like to get as close to those powers as we are sure we can safely go. Then let them express that desire through the Government to the Justice Department, and have the Justice Department frame legislation which will in the opinion of its law officers reach as far as this Parliament can go. That seems to me the practical and sensible course to take.

Let it be remembered that there has been expressed some doubt as to the power of

this Parliament in regard to the entire handling of the grain trade. We may be in some danger there even as we sit now. But the fact is this, the grain trade has become of such a character, it is so interprovincial, it is so broadly Canadian, that whatever may be the constitution of this country, that trade must be under the control of legislation enacted by this Parliament,-under the control of federal authority. And if there is successful attack that goes to the root of our power in this matter, I for one would be prepared to support legislation which would address the Imperial Parliament in terms requesting an enabling amendment of our constitution.

I express here no opinion one way or the other on the merits of these different proposals; I am not arguing for the Wheat Board, nor against it; I am not arguing for a voluntary government board, nor against it; nor am I advocating abandoning the whole difficulty in a spirit of laissez faire to what is called "cooperation." For the present it seems to me the sensible step to take is to let the committee decide after hearing evidence and arguments what they believe would be best in the interest of the whole country, and let them express their decision in a resolution. Let the committee as well go, through the Minister of Justice, to the law officers of the Crown and arrive as closely as may be done at the expression in statutory form of powers within the competence of Parliament which in the judgment of that committee should be vested in the board which they think this Parliament should create. That is the alternative course that I propose.

I only want to impress this thought upon the committee before I sit down. You never can get wholly out of danger of litigation, no matter what you do. But take the course proposed in this matter from the government side and you will wave good-bye to any wheat board established by any act of Parliament this session. I do not know of any way by which a decision could come in time to be of any value except by general concurrence adverse to our powers. In a word, take the course proposed in the motion and you ditch the whole question; you abandon it; you are done with it. That, in my judgment, would be the practical result. I urge on the contrary that the other course be followed; and I therefore move:

That the said report be not concurred in but be referred back to the Committee on Agriculture for further consideration.

Wheat Board

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Marquette) :

Mr. Speaker, the subject matter underlying the reference to the Committee on Agriculture, the second report of which has brought about this discussion, is one of the very greatest importance. There is no question what the opinion of western Canada is-[DOT] not only of the agricultural portions of that part of the Dominion, but of its business interests as well-as to the urgency of this matter of the re-establishment of the Canada Wheat Board. I could, if this were the proper occasion, give many reasons why it is in the national interest that the Wheat Board should be re-established along the lines advocated by the memorandum submitted by the Canadian Council of Agriculture to the Government, and later, referred to the Committee on Agriculture.

The conditions in the West have been of an extraordinary character. I am not overstating the fact when I say that an overwhelming majority of the farmers of western Canada conducted their business last year at a loss. One reason why they have had such a poor return for their year's labour was the manner in which their grain was marketed under the exceptional conditions prevailing throughout the world. We cannot throw into the markets of Winnipeg, forty or fifty or sixty million bushels of wheat a month and expect the markets of the world to absorb it as freely as it is offered for sale without a considerable depression in prices. That constitutes one of the strongest reasons why action along the line of re-establishment of the Canada Wheat Board should be taken.

I am, therefore, quite in accord with what my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) has said as to the urgency of this matter. In fact, I wish to express my delight at the interest he is manifesting in it. I recall that back in 1920 the government of the day was empowered to re-establish the Wheat Board under act of this Parliament, and one of the first things my right hon. friend did after he became prime

Minister was to announce to the country that no wheat board would be re-established,-and the need for it then was fully as great as it is to-day.

There is, apparently, a doubt whether this Parliament has the power to pass legislation enabling the Wheat Board to function, as it did function, when it marketed the crop of 1919. My right hon. friend has refrained from givingan opinion upon that question; probably he has a doubt in his own mind whether Parliament has that power. Being

a layman and unfamiliar with the tenets of the law, I certainly would not venture an opinion on the point. But I know that the view is held by eminent legal gentlemen that a doubt exists whether Parliament has the power to pass legislation creating a Wheat Board with compulsory powers, that is, with powers to pass regulations and orders compelling farmers to sell their grain -and market it through the agencies created by the board. The position taken in the committee was inspired by the desire to clear up that doubt, if possible, before any such legislation was passed. The report of the committee suggests that, without delaying an investigation by the committee of the merits of this method of marketing the grain, steps should be taken to secure from the Supreme Court of Canada at as early a day as possible a decision as to the power of Parliament in the matter. I think that view was expressed by the committee in order that, if possible, the legal doubt hanging round the thing might be cleared up.

My right hon. friend argues that there would be a great deal of delay in getting such an opinion from the Supreme Court.

, That might be; I am not familiar with the regulations governing the Supreme Court and I am not in a position to say with what despatch they could consider this matter and come to a decision upon it. I have it in mind, however, that in the summer of 1917, when a question arose over the powers vested in the Government under the Military Service Act in the city of Calgary-

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LIB

Charles Murphy (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

In 1918.

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

I stand corrected-it was in 1918. As to the powers vested in the Government under the Military Service Act, a question arose in Calgary which necessitated a submission to the Supreme Court. If I recall the circumstances correctly, habeas corpus proceedings were taken to release a young conscript who had been imprisoned for violation of some of the provisions of the conscription law, and the Supreme Court of Alberta sustained the injunction. In that case it was necessary for the government to determine quickly just what the legal status of the conscription law was, and I recall that steps were taken at once to have a stated case placed before the Supreme Court, and the court gave its decision within a week of submitting the case. It does seem to me that it would be possible, if the Govern-

Wheat Board

ment used despatch, to get a decision from the Supreme Court as to the powers of Parliament in this matter in a very short time. I do not think there is any one, either in this House or outside, who approaches this question with the honest desire to get the best possible conditions established for the marketing of grain, who would wish to see the Wheat Board re-established, and then find it, after it had started operations, hung up in the air and unable to continue its work.

Legal gentlemen in private conversation with me have also cited the case of the Board of Commerce. This act creating the Board of Commerce was passed by the preceding parliament in 1919, conferring very wide powers on the board in the matter of the regulation of trade. I think it will be in the mind of every member of this House that that legislation was contested in the courts and that the Board of Commerce was restrained and put out of business as a result of the decision of the Privy Council.

Those are some of the considerations that moved me in my consideration of this matter. I recognized, and the committee recognized, the urgency of the case by urging that the Government should secure a decision from the Supreme Court as quickly as possible.

My right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition, Who, I am free to confess at once, has had eminent legal experience, seems to be of the opinion that a decision could not be secured from the Supreme Court in any reasonable length of time, and he suggests instead that this matter should be referred to the law officers of the Crown.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Supreme Court

might give an adverse opinion at an early date, if it was the general opinion of the court that Parliament had not this power, but in my judgment certainly we would not get a favourable opinion in time to deal with the matter this session.

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

That is a matter, again, in which I am upon rather unfamiliar ground. I would be of the opinion that if a majority of the Supreme Court gave a decision in favour of the contention that Parliament had the power to create this board, that would be ample warrant for the Government going ahead and establishing it; but in any case I have no fault to find with the suggestion of my right hon. friend that the matter be referred to the law officers of the Crown. The only point in respect to that is that there would perhaps be a doubt as to the conclusiveness of an opinion handed down by the law officers of the Crown.

I want to repeat, this is a matter of urgent importance and one on which action should not be delayed a moment longer than is absolutely necessary. I do not know what action the committee might take, assuming that Parliament had the power to pass legislation creating the board, but I do say this: I think the committee whose reports we are considering were perfectly well intentioned in the matter when they desired to ascertain the exact legal position, and at the same time have their inquiry proceed, as indeed it is proceeding now, as to whether the re-establishment of the board would be a desirable course to take.

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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

For the benefit of those of us who do not belong to the Agricultural Committee, perhaps my hon. friend would explain whether the doubt with regard to the power of Parliament bears on the primary power of Parliament to establish a Wheat Board or is the doubt merely with regard to the compulsory feature that is mentioned?

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

The doubt exists, I think, in the minds of the committee, as to the power of Parliament to pass legislation creating a board with compulsory powers such as the powers the board had that was established in 1919.

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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

It is the compulsory feature as to which there is a doubt?

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

The compulsory feature. It is not necessary to have action from Parliament, I take it, for the creation of a voluntary pool, but there is no doubt that if such action were necessary Parliament has the power to pass legislation creating a voluntary pool, such as my right hon. friend advocated during the election. But that is more a matter for action by the Government than by this Parliament.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :

Is it the view of the committee that the creation of a Wheat Board with powers less than those of the original Wheat Board would be satisfactory to the interests in the West that are affected? In other words, would a Wheat Board without compulsory powers be satisfactory?

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

I think I may say that such a board would not be satisfactory. The memorandum of the Council of Agriculture

Wheat Board

which gave rise to this question asks specifically for one thing and one thing only, and that is the re-establishment of the Canada Wheat Board with all the powers it had in 1919. That is what the memorandum asks for, and that is what we are considering in the matter.

I do not know that any harm could come from a further reference to the committee, as my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition suggests. It might be that the collective wisdom of the committee could proceed a little further in considering this question, although I must confess I am rather doubtful of what results could be obtained from such a reference back. However, it might be productive of good results, and is a step that I think could be adopted by the House.

The main thing I want to emphasize is the urgency of action in this matter. If the doubt could be cleared up quickly as to whether Parliament has the power to reestablish this board, I think it would be distinctly in the national interests that that be done. It may be that an opinion from the law officers of the Crown, as my right hon. friend suggests, would carry with it a greater degree of eonelusiveness in the public mind than seems to me now probable or likely, but in any case I see no reason why that action should not be taken by the Government. Let the Government, through the law officers of the Crown or through the Supreme Court, find out what the powers of Parliament are in this matter, and in the meantime let the committee proceed with its inquiry and bring in a report based on all the evidence that is placed before it. I think it would be of great service if the powers of Parliament in this matter were determined as quickly as possible.

In dlosing, I simply wish to say that this is a matter of very great urgency, and I trust that it will receive the consideration of this House from that angle, and that angle alone.

Mr. JOS. T. SHAW (Calgary West): Mr. Speaker, I venture to address the House on this question, because in my judgment it is one of the pressing problems of the hour in so far at least as the western part of Canada is concerned. Let me at the outset state quite frankly that I am in favour of the re-establishment of the Wheat Board. I am not prepared to say that I favour that as a permanent arrangement, but I certainly am in favour of it as a means of taking care of this year's crop and perhaps of next year's

l Mr. Crerar.]

crop as well. Now, I am not by any means alone in that contention. I understand that the United Farmers in the province of Alberta in convention assembled have practically unanimously favoured the creation of this board, and the farmers of Saskatchewan, and I believe also the farmers of Manitoba, with equal unanimity have concurred in the views of those of Alberta. If, therefore, the Wheat Board is to be of any value for this particular year it is necessary and urgent that every effort be made by this Parliament to ascertain whether or not the reappointment of that board is in the interest of this country.

I endorse the remarks of the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) on the subject of referring this matter to the Supreme Court of Canada. It is true, as the hon. member for Marquette has stated, that in the military case, the Lewis case, which arose 1 believe in the city of Calgary, a decision was given by the Supreme Court in one week; but hon. riiembers will realize that that case is entirely different from this, because there the accused himself was anxious to have it determined whether or not his liberty should be taken away from him in the particular manner complained of. In the present instance reference to the Court could only be made after a very careful study of the questions involved; and of course this would take considerable time, because the constitutional questions involved are serious and extremely difficult. Not only that, but the Supreme Court must necessarily give ample opportunity for the provincial governments, and the various interests concerned, to appear and to prepare their cases and to present arguments before it. Now what I suggest, Mr. Speaker, is this: It is absolutely physically impossible to have the Supreme Court of Canada give a decision in this pai'-ticular case in anything like the limited period suggested by the hon. member for Marquette; it seems to me the result would be that this matter would be long drawn out. A litigant-and perhaps there would be many of them, and also various conflicting interests, before the Supreme Court -who felt dissatisfied with the decision of the court would have the right of appeal to the Privy Council, and then the matter could not possibly be determined until long after the 1922 crop had been cut and harvested. Now my suggestion is simply this -and I will not detain the House longer- that the matter should go back to the committee with instructions that they

Wheat Board

should consult the legal staff of the House -and I think everybody will agree that the legal staff are indeed able, in connection with the particular constitutional problems involved-and ascertain whether or not valid legislation can be passed, or whether in the event of legislation being passed, enabling legislation might also be passed by the various provincial legislatures, the converse of what has been done in connection with liquor legislation. I simply make the suggestion because I seriously contend that the adoption of the report of the committee means that we simply embalm the Wheat Board in litigation long before it is born.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) :

The amendment of the right hon. the leader of the Opposition is to the effect that the committee be permitted to reconsider its own report. The report of the committee was, I understand, a unanimous report. One or two of the members of the committee have since expressed their views in a manner which would indicate that they desire to reconsider the report. I can see no reason why under the circumstances, they should not have this privilege.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River) :

Mr. Speaker, before the matter is finally dealt with I want to touch on one feature of the case which has not yet been alluded to.

With a great deal that the 4 p.m. leader of the Opposition, the hon. member for West Calgary, and the, hon. member for Marquette have had to say I most heartily agree, but there are some other matters that perhaps should be brought to the attention of the House. The illustration of the Board of Commerce has been mentioned and it has been pointed out that should this legislation be put into operation, and part of the crop be taken off, an injunction might then be served upon the board with very serious consequences. That might be the case but I submit that although for many years the Canada Grain Act has been in question, yet because it has been of inestimable value to the nation as a whole and because its operation was a matter of national good, no one has yet contested the validity of that act. If the Wheat Board should be established and the fact of its being for the general good of the country recognized by this Parliament, no one will seriously question the proceedings of the board while it is operating temporarily.

Topic:   THE GRAIN TRADE
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Is it not a fact that the Canada Grain Act is now being attacked in the Manitoba courts?

Topic:   THE GRAIN TRADE
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
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April 7, 1922