June 14, 1922

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I may say, on behalf of the Government, that we have but one desire and that is to restore confidence in the administration of the grain trade of Canada -we admit there is want of confidence-and also to ensure that the wheat of Canada will maintain its splendid reputation. It is unfortunately too true that in recent times the reputation of our grain has suffered somewhat. I want to tell my hon. friends from the West that no later than to-day, I met the correspondent of a western newspaper, and the western grain grower has no better friend1 than the correspondent in question, who has recently returned from

Grain Commission

the British Isles. He informed me that there is a suspicion over there that our grain is not exactly what it should be, more particularly the grain going out from ports other than Canadian. The trade of the country can help us along these lines. If we wish to ensure that our grain shall go out maintaining its splendid reputation is it not reasonable that we should use our own ports, thus giving the earnings to our own transportation companies? In that way we shall help to maintain1 the reputation of our own products. I am not desirous of delaying the passage of my own estimates, but I just wished to give this assurance to my hon. friend that if we have an investigation-and both opposition parties seem to be desirous that there should he an inquiry-we will grant the fullest and plainest investigation in order that absolute confidence in the administration of the grain trade may exist on the part of all those engaged in this industry.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

I am very pleased to hear the assurance of the minister with regard to this matter. He said that if there was any demand an inquiry would be granted. I can only assure him of this: That the largest farmers' association in the West, consisting of the Saskatchewan grain growers, that assembled1 in convention last February'-representing between twenty-five and thirty thousand members-passed a resolution asking for an inquiry. I have also received a great many letters since I have been in Ottawa here from local associations urging me to ask for an inquiry, but they all agree that they do not want an inquiry by a commission composed of the same personnel as was the commission appointed by the late government.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

There is no use wasting time about that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

The minister says there is no use wasting time about it. 1 am very glad indeed to hear his statement. The minister made the remark that there had been many investigations into the grain trade. So there has; but I would point out that there is nothing in the world, within my knowledge, which is quite so easy to manipulate and mix as wheat. There is nothing that lends itself so readily to manipulation; and my experience has been that there is a new trick played every year, Just as fast as we get on to the old trick they adopt a new one the following year.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I shall have to go West and learn some of the tricks.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

Yes, sir, go as far as Fort William and Port Arthur, and you will learn lots of them. It is pretty hard to quarrel with my hon. friend from West York (Sir Henry Drayton) when he adopts that benevolent go-to-Sunday-meeting-tonal, but I have got to disagree with him just a little bit. I have here a sample of the literature which was strewn all over our country at election time. Every day three or four epistles of the kind would arrive at my house. They were addressed to my sons, not to me. I must have been on the black list, but of course, the boys used

1 a.m. to hand them to me, and wherever I went through the campaign I encountered bushels of them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I would like to see one.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

There were bushels of them and every one contained some reference to "Voting for Meighen."

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I should like to draw the attention of the hon. member to the fact that the discussion into which he has entered is not relevant to this particular item. The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) had a reason, and a very good one, why he should have an opportunity of making a declaration and an explanation in regard to certain matters that had arisen, and that privilege was granted to him, I think, quite properly by the Chair. But I feel that a discussion of that particular matter is not relevant to the item which is before the committee at the present time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

Of course, sir, I will obey your ruling; but I want to point out that, with regard to this investigation, because after all, it is the grain inquiry-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

What I meant was

that anything that deals with any enquiries made by the Grain Enquiry Commission is relevant to this item and may be discussed; but there was a reason, as I stated, for the hon. member for Marquette being given an opportunity to make a statement regarding something which had happened which more or less reflected upon him and some of his business associates.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Sales

Progressive

Mr. SALES:

I am going to point out something which, I think, should be investigated. There was also a charge during the last campaign, but that is only in-

Grain Commission

cidental, and that is the selling of farmers' grain without permission. It was stated that there would not be any more of this if we elected our friends to the right. There never should have been any of it, if the commission had done its duty. The Grain Commission in the past has absolutely failed to do its duty in this respect. Let me point out how this works out. When a farmer sends his grain down to the head of the lakes and it is ordered to be held, he is paying storage on that grain until he sells it. When he has forwarded it, he has probably borrowed $1,000 on a car expecting that that grain will be held in the terminal elevator until he orders it to be sold. Immense quantities of grain have been sold without the farmer's permission, and he has been charged storage that he has not occupied. He has been charged interest on his money when his grain has been sold contrary to his orders and the firms have been using his money. His very object of withholding his grain from the market has been defeated because his grain has been sold contrary to his orders. That is a thing which would be a proper scope for an investigation. It has been proved over and over again. The attitude of our commission men who allow mills, contrary to the farmer's orders to draw grain which is passing those mills, is another matter which should be investigated. When wheat passes through Moosejaw, Kenora, through any of those places where those mills are grinding wheat, large quantities of it are stopped there without the farmer's permission or knowledge, and even cars which have been ordered to be sold are stopped and unloaded there without his permission. It is all this kind of thing which adds to the farmer's-I was going to say-contempt, for a commission which does not work as it ought to do. If the enquiry which is to be carried on, will have in view only one object, namely, the bettering of conditions in the grain trade, it will be welcomed by honest dealers. I am not here to assert that every man engaged in the grain business is a crook by any means. There are as many honest men in that trade as are to be found anywhere else; but there are a few others.

As regards my own company, my leader (Mr. Crerar) said that this investigation will be welcomed by the Farmers' companies. When the last commission was appointed we had no faith in either Mr. Staples, or Mr. Haslam who, in our western country, is considered a joke as regards the grain trade. Mr. Haslam is a man with a great deal of knowledge, but he does not seem to be able to apply it. When, however, we knew that that commission was appointed, our board passed a resolution instructing our officials to give the commission access to our books, documents, to give them all the information they had and all the assistance they possibly could. That was the attitude of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator company. We felt that we had nothing to fear from any investigation into the grain trade, and now that the minister has assured us that the personnel will be different, we shall welcome an investigation, and I am quite in favour of this amount or any other amount which is necessary in order that a thorough enquiry may be had.

Trade commissioners and commeroial agents -salaries and contingencies thereof and miscellaneous expenditures in the development and extension of Canadian trade, $280,000.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

We should have some explanation from the minister as to the scope of this work, as to whether or not it is proposed to extend it in any particular, and the possibilities of the future as regards this particular work. It is a matter of the utmost importance and we should know something about it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I think the request of my

hon. friend is quite reasonable; but I am quite sure neither of us desires to remain here too long. He will notice, as I am sure he has noticed from the commercial bulletin issued weekly, that the trade agents that we have in different parts of the world are advertising Canada and advising the department here, and that the department is spreading information throughout the country as to the requirements of different countries. In addition to the offices which we already have, it has been represented to us that there are possibilities of trade in Mexico, and the department looks favourably on that. We have a man in training now who understands that language, and it is proposed to send him to Mexico to look into the situation before we recommend a steamship subsidy which seems to be necessary to get much business. There are greater possibilities for the Mexican trade on the Pacific than on the Atlantic coast, because, as my hon. friends will understand, we do not, on the Pacific coast, come into such close competition with the southern States. The southern States have some advantage over Canada on the Atlantic coast; they are nearer to that country. Then it has been represented to

Trade and Commerce

us. that there might he possibilities of extending trade down into other parts of the southern Pacific Dominions, and we have been looking into that as well as into trade with Scandinavian countries.

My hon. friends will observe that there are some increases in the estimated amount required. That is to provide for the additional services which may develop and also to provide for a little more money for our trade missionaries who are out in foreign countries, so that they can better represent Canada. It has been represented to us by Canadians returning from these different countries that Canada heretofore has been a little niggardly with its trade agents outside in the way of providing accommodation. Sometimes they are doing business on a back street when they should be in a more business part of the city. The additional estimates are to give the department an opportunity of helping them to spread out somewhat more and represent Canada as we wish to be represented, as a first class country. I hope hon. gentlemen will allow this to go through. We have had almost a month's debate on trade conditions, and while I do not desire to refuse anything, I see no good purpose to be served by attempting at this early hour in the morning to make a speech on trade conditions throughout the country.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I hope the Government will take this matter up and deal with it in a big way. The holding of a proper Canadian national exhibition in France would do a great deal to stimulate our trade with that country, and trade should always follow the flag and we should trade with France and our devoted Allies in the Great War and not with Germany. In view of our relations with France in the late war we should seek to develop as extensive a trade as possible with her. A French train was exhibited through Canada last summer, visiting the Canadian National Exhibition and many of the fall fairs. The government of France have for some time been considering erecting a trade building in connection with the Canadian National Exhibition. The French train that went through Canada excited much interest on the part of business men and was a demonstration of what could be done by the Government of Canada towards securing a proper exhibition in France. I hope that the Government will do everything possible to promote further trade with that country.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink

Item agreed to. To provide for Canada's contribution towards the maintenance of the permanent Secretariat at the League of Nations, $150,000.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The matter of Canada's proper contribution towards the maintenance of the Secretariat of the League of Nations was the subject of correspondence between my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) and the former High .Commissioner in London, and the sum suggested here is in accordance with their recommendation. The item is non-eon-tentious.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

It is entirely non-contentious, but we should try to reduce it if possible. My hon. friend cannot properly do so now; but our contribution was fixed on the basis of the Postal Conference, which was unfair having regard to our population, etc. It was understood that the matter would be taken into consideration.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is at present the subject of correspondence.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
Permalink

Item agreed to. Canadian Representation in the United States, $60,000.


June 14, 1922