June 14, 1922

PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

That has nothing to do with the point which I am discussing. I asserted that, practically from the beginning of January, 1920, until that crop was finally sold, the prices secured were very much greater than any member of the Wheat Board or any person connected with it expected to get-higher than the initial price. And why? Because of conditions that existed in Europe. One fact that contributed more than anything else to the success of the Wheat Board in 1919, was the threatened coal strike in Great Britain in the summer of 1920, because it is a well known fact that the British Government at the time bought grain at every place which they could buy it, stored it in every warehouse in Great Britain and paid any price that was asked for it, in order

that the United Kingdom might be provided with food reserves against a possible tie-up of transportation.

This is, however, slightly off the line of argument that I wish to take. I say that it is not necessary in the first place that all the provinces take action to implement legislation based on the report submitted now to the House. The whole idea behind this is that through co-operation of federal and provincial legislation, the wheat producing provinces that are directly affected can have created, a board that will largely, if not altogether, function along the lines of the board of 1919. My right hon. friend argues against this. He states that there are many obstacles and difficulties of a legal character in the way. That may be. I am not a lawyer and I cannot say.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Of a practical character, I said.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

They may be of a practical character; but I do not think they are of a practical character. If the legal difficulties can be smoothed away, I see no reason why the thing would not work. I may be wrong; but my right hon. friend suggests that this is all impossible. He suggests first that it will be impossible to get legislation passed in time to function for this crop; and yet, if a voluntary system is created along the line of his own argument, provincial legislation is necessary, so that as regards the question of time, the one scheme is on all fours with the other.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I did not say that it was necessary at all. The board could function without any provincial legislation whatever; but they might assist, and I would give the Government power to utilize it if it was available.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

Very good. I am very glad to have that point cleared up; but I would like to examine for a moment the voluntary scheme suggested by my right hon. friend, and I do not think it will'be of any value whatever. Let me tell the House why I think so. What does my right hon. friend suggest? He suggests that another agency be set up to market grain. Well, suppose you pass (legislation creating your voluntary agency. That agency opens an office in Winnipeg to do business. Now, whom is it going to do business with? In the first place, the voluntary board or agency created under the plan suggested by my right hon.friend has not a single elevator

Wheat Board

in the prairies between Winnipeg and Calgary, and therefore it cannot do business of an elevator character. The only business such a board could do would largely be confined to a small commission business in the handling of grain from farmers loading grain over loading platforms. And that would not meet, in any degree whatever, the demand or the wishes of the producers of grain in this country. Such a voluntary board could handle grain on commission; it could have the use of the government elevator at Port Arthur, could enter into the exporting business in competition with other exporting firms, and could sell grain abroad in the markets of the world. But it would have no grain to commence with, except such slight quantities as wouild come to it on a commision basis from farmers who might load over the loading platforms.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What is the proportion of western grain loaded on cars over platforms?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

The proportion of western grain loaded on the cars over platforms is growing less every year.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

*Ir. MEIGHEN:

What is it?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

I cannot say at the moment what it is, but I may remark that since the advent of the farmers' co-operative companies, who now have between 700 and 800 elevators operating on the prairies, the shipment of grain from the loading platforms has considerably decreased. Speaking of the company, with whose business I am familiar, I know that a very small percentage indeed of the grain reaching the markets in Winnipeg and Fort William through our agency comes over the loading platforms.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Could not the farmers' co-operative companies utilize the government agency?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

It is very true they could. But I will venture this assertion, that the farmers' co-operative companies can handle the business better, under these conditions, than could any agency such as is suggested by my right hon. friend. That is the simple truth of the matter. But what advantage would there be in utilizing the government agency? None. The whole purpose and argument behind the compulsory wheat board is that it regulates the flow of grain to market. To what extent would the voluntary board suggested by my right hon. friend achieve that purpose?

f Mr. Crerar.l

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

If the grain shipper over the loading platforms and the grain handled by the farmers' co-operative organizations were entrusted to a board that had government finance behind it, it would certainly have a control over the disposition of grain and would be enabled to spread the flow over the year, taking the best advantage of marketing conditions.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

I am afraid that the advantage that would come from such an arrangement would be very slight indeed. However, we need not argue the point. I have indicated the practical difficulty that exists in the way of the scheme propounded by my right hon. friend. I give him credit for sincerity in the matter, but his proposal is not practicable. The marketing of western'grain is one of the great problems of the day; and after the most serious consideration I cannot bring myself to believe that any great measure of relief would come from the plan he suggests. I think that undoubtedly the best thing for the House to do is to adopt the report. Let us get legislation passed, based on the report before the House, and let us approach that legislation with the view of earnestly working out a scheme that will give the benefits that are expected. If that is done in the near future, there is no reason, in my judgment, why the provincial legislatures of Alberta and Saskatchewan could not meet and pass supplementary legislation. At any rate, the scheme should have an honest trial, and that is all that is asked for by those who are supporting it.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Simon-René Morin

Liberal

Mr. RENE MORIN (St. Hyacinthe-Rouville) :

Mr. Speaker, fate has willed that I, a mere professional man should have been appointed a member of the select standing committee on Agriculture. In my particular case, however, the anomaly is not so pronounced as it may appear, since, in my riding of St. Hyacinthe-Rouville, 1 have been for over fifteen years secretary of the agricultural society, of the local, fair, and of the municipal council of the county. You will understand that, occupying these positions, my daily dealings are with farmers and my interests are so mixed up with theirs that their prosperity is essential to mine. On account of these relations with them, I may state that all my life I have been profoundly interested in their work and in their prosperity, and that I am here in this House to defend their interests, claim all their rights, and support any policy which will tend to improve their condition.

Wheat Board

The question that has come up before the Committee, the re-establishment of the Wheat Board, is of no direct interest to my constituents, but inasmuch as it relates to farmers, though they are of another part of the country, and as there is, and must be, a spirit of solidarity between the farmers of the whole country, I followed as assiduously as possible the sittings of the committee and the evidence that was brought before it. The wheat growing industry is one of the most important industries in Canada; it is one of those in which our exports are the largest; and, inasmuch as it brings into our country foreign wealth, it is one of those which has to be nursed the most tenderly. During the past two years this industry has gone through a very critical period. It has been asserted' that for the last two years wheat growers have had to sell their product at a price far below the cost of its production, that in most cases the financial reserves accumulated during the years of plenty have been exhausted, and that such a state of things can no longer continue without grave consequences. This period of depression has followed the years of plenty which prevailed during the war, when Canada had to carry on the task of providing the warring nations on the allied side with bread.

Now, if we recall the principles and laws of economics, we should not wonder at such a situation, because these laws and history, since the time of Joseph of Egypt, teach us that, inevitably, periods of increased production, of intensified activity, of inflation of prices, are followed by times of depression, of stagnation, of deflation of prices, entailing monetary losses and all kinds of difficulties and troubles. But economic laws also teach us that the bottom of such a depression is reached one day, and then the reverse and upward march starts again and brings us back to normal times. In this sphere, as in many others, it is merely the operation of the law of averages which regulates the trade. Some will say that this crisis is the outcome of the war. I do not deny it; the war was the cause of abnormally high prices. But this does not in any way affect the operation of the economic laws which I have alluded to; given the abnormal increase of activity for any reason whatsoever, a depression was bound to follow. However deplorable and heart-rending may be the condition of the wheat

grower, there is yet no reason to despair, because, according to the inexorable operation of these laws, we shall slowly and gradually come back to the time of normal and reasonable profits in this industry, as in others which are established on a solid foundation. The wheat growing industry is not a war industry; it grew and prospered before the war under normal conditions and in competition with the wheat growing nations of the world; and there is no reason why it should not, after this crisis, be in a position to resume successfully this competition. The question is, what can be done to hasten this revival? What are the ways and means of bringing some relief to the actual situation?

One of the remedies suggested is the improvement of the marketing conditions of wheat through the creation of a central agency called the Wheat Board, which would market or control the marketing of the greatest part of the wheat crop of Canada. The advantages claimed for such a system may be put under three heads:

1. The regulation of the flow of wheat;

2. the possibility of increasing its price;

3. the elimination of the profits of some of the middlemen.

As to the regulation of the flow of wheat, it is asserted, that right after the harvest, the farmers, on account of their financial obligations are compelled to realize on their crop, and as a result seventy-five per cent of the wheat crop of Canada is thrown on the market during a period of three months. This glutting of the market causes a drop in the price, so that, at the time when the farmer has to sell his crop, prices are the lowest of the year, and he has to stand the loss, represented by the difference between this low price and the average higher prices prevailing during the remainder of the year; and when, as now, prices are below the cost of production, the consequences are disastrous. But, if on the one hand, these abnormal offerings of wheat have a tendency to decrease the price, this to a certain extent is counterbalanced by another element-the desire of the dealers and exporters to buy at the same time, in order to be able to take advantage of the lower cost of water transportation before the end of the season. So, if we go over the statistics, based on the Fort William prices, we find that if there is often a sagging of the price in the fall, it is not always the case and that sometimes prices have been as low or lower in the spring

292S

Wheat Board

than in the fall. Assuming that, more often than otherwise-and I think this is the case-there is a decrease in price during the fall, this disadvantage would be overcome by the operation of the Wheat Board, which would permit the wheat-grower to realize immediately after the harvest, by getting from the board, on delivery of his wheat, an initial payment not very much below the value of his crop, and receiving the benefits of the later higher prices, which the board, by holding his wheat to dispose of it at the best time and at the higher price, so far as human foresight can be relied upon, would procure for him. Another advantage which may be put under this heading, is that the handling of wheat by a single agency would also permit a better, more effective and more economical use of our transportation systems, and by disposing first of the wheat which may be liable to deteriorate would prevent losses which sometimes occur.

As to control of the price, by this we mean control of the foreign price, for the board would absolutely control the domestic price, but no advantage would be received from that control since these advantages would be at the expense of the local consumers, and this is not what is being sought. The local price would have to be based on the foreign price. The control of the price is an advantage which can only be claimed for a compulsory wheat board controlling the whole of the Canadian crop, or as near to it as possible. The question is whether an agency controlling the wheat export trade of Canada could pretend to influence to a certain extent the price of wheat in the European markets.

On this question we have the evidence given by Mr. H. W. Wood, president of the Canadian Council of Agriculture. I give the question put by Mr. Stevens and Mr. Wood's answer. This is extracted from the minutes of proceedings and evidence of the select standing committee on Agriculture and Colonization:

Hon. Mr. Stevens: Do you expect by the constitution of compulsory selling agfncy or wheat board to so influence this relation between the seller, the Canadian market and the purchasing market, the European market, so as to increase the price in the foreign market?

Mr. Wood: Yes, I think so. I am not certain, but I think I can risk that answer.

Then we have this evidence by Mr. James Stewart, formerly chairman of the Canada Wheat Board of 1919-20, and now a grain merchant in Winnipeg:

Q. Would it be possible for a selling agency controlling the marketing of the whole of the Wheat in Canada to increase or to affect in any way the Liverpool price?-A. It stands to reason that one seller as against many buyers has a better chance in the merchandising of any commodity. I would accept that principle unquestionably.

Q. Would that be to a very large extent or only to a very small extent?-A. That would depend very largely upon circumstances.

Q. Then we might conclude that the operation of the Wheat Board would affect the foreign wheat price and increase It to a certain extent for the benefit of the Canadian producers? -A. Conditionally upon the crop not being a very large one, such as we had in 1915, I would say that possibly the price which a Board would receive might be better than could be secured under the present system.

I have much respect for the opinion of both these gentlemen, but I have much reluctance in concluding from these statements that a wheat board would be in a position to materially affect the foreign price of wheat. British imports do not come only from Canada. We have to compete in the British market with the Argentine, Australia, Egypt and India, perhaps we shall soon be competing with Russia; and it cannot be conceived that Britain would buy very much wheat from Canada if she could buy it elsewhere cheaper. Truly, the principle set forth by Mr. Stewart that one seller as against many buyers has a better chance in the merchandizing of any commodity, can hardly be challenged. But does it apply here, when we are competing with so many nations? Even granting that the withholding of the Canadian crop might raise the price of wheat, there would be an advantage, but I claim that this advantage would only be temporary and that in the long run the harm that it would do to our trade would more than offset all advantages secured.

If he had to pay more for Canadian wheat than general market conditions seemed to warrant, and if this rise could be imputed to a government agency, the British importer, who would think that he was being held up for higher prices by such an agency, would, when the other markets of the world are free, inevitably feel inclined to leave aside, as far as possible, the Canadian product, and deal only with the products of our competitors, and I am afraid that the reaction which would follow might hurt our trade with that country to a much larger extent than the benefit which would have resulted from such a rise.

As to elimination of the profits of the middlemen, each step made in the marketing of a form of merchandise increases

Wheat Board

the difference between the price the consumer pays for it and the price which the producer receives. If the producer could sell directly to the consumer, such difference, less the cost of necessary services, would disappear altogether. It was acknowledged that in this particular trade no unfair charges for services are made by the middlemen, but it is also claimed that, as shrewd business men, they turn to their advantage the variations in prices which occur daily, the speculative element which this variation entails, and this explains why there is sometimes such a large difference between the "street" price, the "track" price and the Fort William price of wheat, a difference which was much smaller under the operation of the Wheat Board. There is no doubt that the operation of the Wheat Board would there effect a saving in favour of the producer.

This wheat board may be constituted either with all the powers which the old one possessed of taking and selling the whole of the wheat crop of Canada; or it may be only a commission appointed by the Government, financed by it and going into the trade in competition with other dealers for the purpose of taking the wheat of only those of the farmers who would elect to dispose of their crop through this agency, handling it with as much economy as possible, selling it at the best time of the year, and after having made an initial payment at the time of its delivery, distributing the profits between the farmers having dealt with it. The first would be a compulsory wheat board and the other what may be called a voluntary wheat board. The board which it is proposed to establish by the resolution before the House, is a compulsory one, to deal with the crop of two or more of the prairie provinces. No doubt some of its most dangerous features have been removed by the restriction of its scope to wheat in its natural state, or by the elimination of flour and wheat products from its control. But if the principle of the compulsory feature of the wheat board is wrong, it cannot be made right, by being made subject to certain limitations in its application. And I claim that the compulsory feature is wrong in principle and dangerous in its effects.

The ground on which the law officers of the Crown laid their argument that the constitution of a compulsory wheat board was outside the jurisdiction of this Parliament was that it was an interference with property. The fact that the provincial legislatures have control over property and can legally make that interference is immaterial to my argument. I have always been taught, and I have always believed, , that in a free country the right to private property, the right to ownership, is sacred; that this right is the basis of our whole economic system, and that the State can lay a hand on private property only in very special circumstances, when it is obviously in the public interest, and on payment of adequate compensation. My appreciation of the evidence before the committee and of the advantages to be derived from the constitution of a compulsory wheat board, leads me to believe that such a board is not necessary to the maintenance of the wheat industry and that such an infringement of liberty could not, in this particular case, be based on the public interest.

Moreover, the operations of such a board would be dangerous in their effects. Statistics have been produced to show that it is nearly impossible to forecast the price of wheat much in advance, and that on many occasions the price of wheat in the spring has been lower than in the fall. If a Government agency, operating under the compulsory principle, took the wheat of the farmer right after the harvest, held it over until the spring in the hope of a better price, and by an unfortunate chance had then to sell at a lower price that the fall price, thus causing a loss to the farmer, who would pretend that the farmer would not object to such a board and would not raise a hue and cry against the Government and rightly claim compensation for his loss? The experience of the farmer with the compulsory wheat board has been a profitable one, but the conditions under which the old board operated during the war, when the whole of Europe had ceased to produce and was destroying and consuming wheat on a larger scale than ever, no longer exist. It is rather the reverse; the production of wheat is gradually increasing, and we are justified in fearing, under actual circumstances, a different trend of prices.

Our wheat export business has been done so far by dealers who, by years of toil and good service, have built up trade connections, have made for themselves a name and a reputation and have built up a good-will, all of which constitute a valuable asset yielding considerable revenue. The operation of the wheat board would, as by the stroke of a pen, end these business connections and wipe out the asset represented

Wheat Board

by the good-will, thus entailing considerable losses, which, to my mind, should not be imposed on any one in this country without due compensation. This objection did not arise during the war, because all individual or private importers in Europe were replaced by a single government purchasing agency and ordinary business transactions were temporarily suspended everywhere. But this is no longer the case, and I see no way of avoiding responsibility for these losses.

A compulsory wheat board involves the creation of a monopoly by the government in favour of one particular industry. Such special treatment or privilege, once granted to one industry, could not long be refused to others. It is the first step toward the adoption of a policy which would be no more severely condemned by any section of the people than by the farmers themselves. It behooves them not to urge the government to embark upon a policy from which they may, perhaps, draw some benefits today but which will operate to their detriment to-morrow.

The establishment of a compulsory wheat board is an intereference with the normal operation of the laws of supply and demand, or rather, an attempt at interference with these laws. The price of an object is normally based on the cost of its production and its distribution, but there are two elements which affect it: the intensity of the demand for it may increase the price, or a lack of demand at a particular moment may decrease it. The quantity or supply available has also an effect on it, either way. The proposal is an attempt to control the supply. If this control were limited to the home market, it would surely be effective, but the control of the supply is intended to affect the foreign market, and as such is necessarily limited to that portion of import into the foreign market that comes from Canada. The supply from the other countries will remain free, and under these conditions our control of the Canadian wheat can have only one effect, an effect detrimental to our trade. It will lead the foreign trade, the foreign consumers, to curtail their purchase and use of Canadian wheat; it will tend to open new channels of import, to increase the use and consumption of foreign wheat, and so decrease the value of Canadian wheat.

These reasons and others are, to my mind, unsurmountable obstacles to the establishment of a compulsory wheat board. Truly, some of the advantages claimed for a

wheat board can only be secured by the use of the coercive feature, but having regard to the problems, difficulties and responsibilities which the compulsory feature entails, we are forced to conclude that a compulsory wheat board is not practical and would not be in the general interest.

In my mind, what is needed to help the wheat growers-and in this I am of the opinion of the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen)-is the constitution of an organization, under the co-operative system, and of a permanent character, to market Canadian wheat. Such a co-operative society would permit the regulation of the flow of wheat, would secure all the benefits arising therefrom, and would eliminate unnecessary middlemen. These are the two great advantages to be derived from the constitution of a wheat board, and I claim that the establishment of a voluntary wheat board would procure both these advantages-perhaps not for the present, to the same extent as in the case of a compulsory wheat board, but still in a way to benefit the wheat growers; and that it would lead the way toward the establishment of a system which would secure these advantages permanently.

A voluntary wheat board would be in a position to regulate the flow of wheat to a certain extent and to get the benefits resulting from such regulation. The extent of these benefits would be proportionate to the volume of wheat which the board handled; it would measure up to the degree of trust and confidence which the farmers put in it, and if they did not patronize the wheat board and did not get to the full extent the benefits to be derived therefrom, they would have only themselves to blame.

Some work may be necessary to bring farmers to patronize the Wheat Board, but the farmers' organizations in the prairie provinces are now perfected to a point where they can no longer fear lack of cooperation and I cannot believe that they would not be able to bring their members to support and patronize an agency which would secure as many advantages as they claim for it.

As I have been told that one of the effects of the establishment of co-operative elevators was to raise the price of wheat in the localities where such elevators were in existence, the dealers when in competition with these elevators being forced to pay a higher price, I claim that the mere existence of such a board, by creating an acute competition between the board and inde-

Wheat Board

pendent dealers, would have a tendency to raise the price of wheat and to decrease the difference between the "street" price and the "track" price. The establishment of a voluntary wheat board with a view of securing these advantages is, to my mind, the largest and most efficient measure of relief which a government can safely and reasonably concede. I have heard the assertion that the farmers want a compulsory wheat board or none at all. There is nothing in the evidence to justify such a stand and I fail to understand it. Some will say that this attitude on my part is due to my ignorance of the matter. There may be points which I am liable to overlook in a matter of that kind but I find some comfort in the report of Messrs. Stewart and Riddell to the government of Saskatchewan. Having analyzed the different kinds of pools which may be formed for the marketing of wheat, and speaking of plan "E", which is exactly a voluntary wheat board, in its simplest form, they say this:

The success or failure of any form of pool depends entirely upon the degree of support to be given by producers. But is Is perhaps worth mentioning, that assuming a voluntary pool or a non-minimum Contract pool were successfully operated with a comparatively limited patronage, the existence of such an organization might be able to exercise sufficient regulative influence over trade practices to reduce to a minimum any disadvantages which the present system may have developed. That is to say, it might increase the tendency on the part of the trade, which exists , even now in a measurable degree, to regard the farmer in the light of a partner in a mutual enterprise.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker-and this is my concluding remark-I believe that there are insurmountable obstacles opposing the constitution of a compulsory wheat board, objections which are removed by the elimination of the coercive feature; and even if a voluntary wheat board must be less efficient and less beneficial than a compulsory one, yet it is worth while to attempt to establish it first with a view of securing the advantages to be obtained therefrom, even if they are limited compared with those which would accrue under a compulsory wheat board; and, second, as a first step toward the establishment of a permanent co-operative system for the marketing of Canadian wheat. The constitution by legislation of even such a board as this would confer great and particular benefits upon the wheat growing industry and would help to put the wheat grower of Canada in a better position to compete successfully with the other wheat growing countries in the markets of the world. To

proceed along this line is the best and the only thing that a democratic government can do.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre) :

Mr. Speaker, this report has been

before us for some weeks, standing on the Order Paper. My hon. friend from Marquette (Mr. Crerar) a moment ago used the expression, "When this report was under consideration by the committee," and a little later on he used the words, "adopted after careful study," and so forth. What I wish to submit to the House and more particularly to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and the ministers of the Crown who will have the drafting of this legislation is this, that this report never was before the committee except for a very brief moment at a meeting called without any notice that such a report was to be drafted, and at which I was personally informed no action of this character would be taken. The clerk of the committee himself told me that the meeting was being called for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that was for the purpose of presenting to the House a report that had been carefully drafted after weeks of consideration, and approved by the committee at a previous meeting. I submit, Mr. Speaker, and it was for that reason I asked some weeks ago why the report was not then moved, that I would have been justified in raising the point of order-I am not doing so, however, at this late stage of the session-that this report is not in order, is not properly before the House, that it is the product of the private and individual opinion of particularly two or three hon. gentlemen on the committee, and as to which hon. gentlemen in this particular group had no opportunity of expressing an opinion.

I want the House to give me their attention for a few minutes while we consider the history of this committee- "history" was the word used by my hon. friend, (Mr. Crerar) a moment ago in speaking of the Wheat Board.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River) :

Did

not the members of the hon. gentleman's party who were members of that committee receive notice to attend the meeting to which he refers?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I will deal with that

in a moment, Mr. Speaker. I am not going to go into all the details of the history of that committee through all its

Wheat Board

meetings other than to say that the committee certainly did give a great deal of consideration to this problem and, I think, very sympathetic consideration. There was a difference of opinion on the part of some hon. gentlemen on many points raised, but the committee made what might be termed, Sir, an exhaustive inquiry. That exhaustive inquiry found culmination in a resolution presented by the hon. member for Moosejaw (Mr. Johnson) on May 9, which was adopted on May 17, after having been before the committee in the intervening period. I wish very briefly to quote from my hon. friend who presented that resolution on May 9, because his words will bear out exactly the point I desire to make, namely that the resolution which he presented on that occasion was accepted by the committee as the findings of the committee. I have not his exact words under my hand, I am afraid, but I remember that he stated that now the evidence was all in he desired to place some concrete proposals before the committee, and after consultation with his friends he had carefully prepared a resolution. Although I have not his exact words, I do not think anybody will dispute that I have given the substance of what he said. He presented his resolution to the committee as a basis for a report, and it was so accepted. It was before the committee from May 9th until May. 17th, I think it was, and was adopted on the latter date, according to the report of the committee, after a resolution in amendment n.oved by my hon. friend from Brome (Mr. Mc-Master) had been rejected. I have before me the vote. Immediately following that, and this is very important, a motion was made that a sub-committee be appointed consisting of the Chairman, with Messieurs Forke, Johnson, Stevens, Tolmie, McKay, McMaster, Morin and Malcolm, to prepare a draft report to be submitted to the main committee as the report of said main committee to the House. That was the intention of that sub-commitee. The sub-com-mitee met and drafted a 'report after several meetings. I shall not read the report presented by the sub-committee. It gave a very excellent resume of the proceedings of the committee, the difficulties faced, the judicial opinion^ of Government counsel, and it included the resolution to which I have referred and which I shall now read as the substantive part of their report.

On the 9th of May, 1922, the following resolution was moved by the hon. member for Moosejaw:

1. It is desirable In the National interests that the Government immediately create a national wheat marketing agency similar to the Canada Wheat Board of 1919, for the marketing of the wheat crop of 1922, and that

2. This agency be given all the powers of the Wheat Board of 1919 as are within the Jurisdiction of Parliament to grant, and that

3. An Act be .passed based on this Resolution, to become effective by Proclamation as soon as two or more of the Provinces have conferred upon this agency such powers possessed by the Wheat Board of 1919 as come within Provincial jurisdiction.

This report was submitted by the subcommittee to the main committee, and the main committee after very considerable discussion adopted this report on May 23rd. I shall just read the resolution.

Moved by Mr. McConica, seconded by Mr. Sales:

That the report as read-

That is the one to which I have just referred, and which is incorporated in the official report of the sub-committee.

That the report as read be adopted as a correct statement of the record and proceedings of the committee.

There was an attempt made at that time, Mr. Speaker-and to this I desire to draw your attention as the supreme authority in this House on questions of procedure

an attempt was made to alter and change, or modify, the resolution which I have just read, and which was incorporated in this report. On that occasion I produced May's Parliamentary Procedure, and Bourinot, and from these authorities I showed -as I can show now if it is necessary-that such action was out of order; that, according to one of the well-founded rules of parliamentary procedure, when a resolution or a bill has been disposed of it is not in order to re-open discussion on it or, what is more important, change it. That is a rule which has been recognized for many years.

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

May I ask my hon. friend from Vancouver if he is arguing thac this report is not properly before the House?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Well, my hor,. friend when I asked him a question a moment ago answered me by suggesting that I brighten up a little mentally. Let me say to him that if he will just cast his memory back about five minutes he will recall that I stated I had no desire to raise a point of order at this late stage of the session.

Wheat Board

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

If my hon. friend will permit me I caught his remark at that time but I could not quite associate his argument with what he stated then?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink

June 14, 1922