March 21, 1929

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Older.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

May I say, Mr. Speaker, that we do not want opinions; we want action from the minister. The Board of Grain Commissioners failed to act when the minister expressed his opinion-and by the way that opinion was not expressed until IMr. Campbell.]

nearly eighteen months after the trouble began-and if that is all we are to expect from his department, I think I have proven my case.

The farmers are demanding, first of all, a change in administration. And that is fundamental; if we have a proper change in administration, then everything else will follow as a matter of course. Secondly, they are asking for a change in the ticket covered by order in council P.C. 807-the ticket that made all this trouble possible. We are asking that the ticket drafted by Chief Justice Turgeon for the very section of the act under which we are operating to-day be put in its place. Lastly, may I say once again that the farmers are asking for a fearless enforcement of the law in the interests of the producers.

Mr. THOMAS F. DONNELLY (Willow Bunch): Mr. Speaker, I do not at this time

intend to delay the house with any long discourse on this motion. This is neither the place ntor the time to discuss it. I do not believe that any such discussion would result in our reaching any conclusion as to what really should be done. In my opinion the place to discuss this matter is the agriculture committee. Therefore I associate myself with the chairman of the committee (Mr. Kay) in asking that the scope of inquiry of the committee be enlarged and that this whole subject be referred to it for investigation. Before that committee we can take evidence, we can hear from the men who are being accused, and we can decide what are the best measures to adopt in order to remedy the evil we are complaining of. I do not think that the order of reference asked for by the committee on agriculture is quite wide enough; it seems to me that we should also include the administration of the grain act itself as well as the question of mixing, storing and marketing of wheat.

I wish to associate myself with those members who have already spoken in regard to the claim that the west considers this a very serious question. I fully agree with them when they say that the prairies are on fire and that the western farmer is expecting some redress from the wrongs from which he is suffering at the present time. The whole problem is a serious one to western Canada; the western farmer's bread and butter, his livelihood, depends upon the proper solution of this problem. I say therefore that he is expecting some redress. At the same time I wish to correct a false impression which prevails not only in this house but in the press of the country, namely, that

Grading oj Grain-Mr. Donnelly

the only evil in respect to which the western, farmer is asking for redress 'is in connection with what is called the hybrid ticket. This is a slight wrong; it is an injury, but it is not so grave as is made out, it is not the great evil which the farmers are anxious to have removed. In my opinion it is but of minor importance compared to many other questions. I held meetings throughout my constituency last year, from one end of the district to the other, discussing the wheat question, and only at one of those meetings was the hybrid ticket introduced or spoken of. The press of the country seems, however, to be under the impression that the hybrid ticket is the only matter that calls for consideration. For instance, I read in this morning's Citizen an article in which the following appeared:

The great denunciation, however, was over this hybrid grain ticket, by which it is claimed the farmer is double crossed and his wheat, destined to a pool elevator, gets to one of the private trade.

I say, however, that 'this matter is of comparatively slight imipoiltance. Let me show just how important it is. The other day in the committee we took up the matter of the Alberta pool. We were told that the pool had under its control only 50 per cent of the wheat of that province, while just 20 per cent of the wheat was handled through loading platforms and other public elevators, ithe other 30 per cent being handled by pool elevators. Now, not more than 10 per cent of that 20 per cent would go through private elevators under special bin tickelts. I doubt whether more than 10 per cent would go through private elevators iu that form; and of that quantity not more than half, that is to say, 5 per cent would come from farmers who are asking to be relieved from the hybrid ticket. So that when we analyze it we find that the complaint in regard to the hybrid ticket has reference to just 5 per cent of the people who are marketing wheat in Alberta. As I say, therefore, the question of the hybrid ticket is not of such great importance to the western farmer; it is not the only evil from which they are seeking relief. Personally I represent not only the pool but other farmers in my constituency outside the institution. I belong to the pool myself and have been made one of the victims of the hybrid ticket, and I do not believe in it. I aim speaking not only for the men who are in the pool but also for those who are outside it, and I want to see justice done. But the point I wish to emphasize is that the western farmer is suffering from many evils other than that of the hybrid ticket. I agree with those who say that the act should 'be better administered. What is (the use of having good laws if they are not administered properly? They serve no purpose in the world. But we do not pretend that the law embodied in the grain act is by any means perfect; far from it. I do not agree with the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell) when he says that we do not want any more legislation but that we want only the proper administration of the grain act. What we need is not only the efficient administration of the act but the amendment of the act itself.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I was referring to one specific thing and not to the whole grain act.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

Well, that is what you said, and I took it for granted you knew what you were saying. I cannot help that. I repeat, we do not want merely the proper administration of the grain act; we want to have the act itself amended in many forms.

Now, you may ask, what is the cause of all this trouble? Where did it originate? Well, Mr. Speaker, it is a long tale, and it puts me in mind of these lines from one of our noted English poets:

A lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong

From an ill used race of men who cleave the soil,

Sow the seed and reap the harvest with enduring toil.

Yes, it is a long tale of wrong, and it began away back in 1912 when members of the opposition were in these seats. In the session of 1912 they passed an amendment to the grain act making a partial sample market possible at several of the inspection points. They instituted a partial grain sample market, with the result that immediately after that we found men interested in private elevators going to our inspection points, looking over samples, taking out the tops of each lot of grain, having them diverted to their own mills and mixing elevators, and mixing them there. And this grew from bad to worse until at the present time we find all our mills throughout the country diverting wheat at Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Fort William, Kenora, Vancouver and throughout the country. These people break the seals, look at the grain, and if it is satisfactory to them they take it, sending it on if it is not suitable. In other words, the cream of our wheat is taken. But it is taken not only by our own mills and mixing elevators at the head of the lakes, but even American millers are coming over and picking out millions of bushels of the best wheat and shipping it across the line, where it is mixed with their product, milled and the flour sent [DOT]out to compete with our own flour. This is

1148 COMMONS

Grading oj Grain-Mr. Donnelly

one of the evils from which the farmers are asking to be relieved. I said the trouble originated away back in 1912. But the evil, which has increased to such an extent, was actually legalized in 1925. At that .time the house passed legislation making legal the practice of mixing.

That illicit practice of mixing went on from bad to worse, from year to year until last year we saw in this house reports brought in from England indicating that our standards had degenerated and were not as good as they used to be. Complaints came from all parts of the country. The Prime Minister himself received a letter from the corn exchange in Liverpool complaining of our standards, and the question was asked everywhere: What is the matter with your wheat? What is wrong with it? It is not as good as it used to be. Is it any wonder the farmers in the west became alarmed and were up in arms? They said, "Here is the one product which has built up western Canada. Here is the one thing which has made western Canada what it is, the one thing on which the whole Dominion depends. Yet we find these men degrading our wheat, spoiling it, making money out of it while we are doing the work." Yes, Mr. Speaker, the farmers said, "The ox that treads the corn is still muzzled, and the grain trade is bound to keep him there." That is the cry throughout the west to-day. Last year someone or other-I do not know who it was; I do not know whether it was the inspectors or the grain commission, though evidently it must have 'been the grain inspectors, with the consent and knowledge of the grain commission-said, "We will have different standards; our standards %t present are not good enough." And so they raised the standards of their own accord!; this they did last fall. Let them deny it if they will. Yesterday I was sitting in the committee and I saw standard samples from 1924, 1925, 1926 and 1927 brought right up to date. We looked over those samples and any man could see that the standard this year was at least one grade higher than that which prevailed before. Mr. Newman who gave evidence, testified that the standards were one grade higher than they were last year. Someone did it, and what -was the result? When the farmer began to send his wheat to Fort William or when the man back in the country sold his wheat to the country elevators, he found a big change. I saw hundreds of these elevator men throughout the country last year, and they told me they bought the wheat under the old standards but when they sent down the first two or three carloads they were told that the

grades rvere not holding up. Wheat which they bought as No. 1 was graded No. 2 and No. 3; wheat they had graded as No. 3 was graded No. 4 and No. 5 and so on, and they were told they would have to grade harder. They were told to tl&row away their old standards and to grade harder, because the standards were changed. No wonder Doctor Birchard, when he examined the samples, when he ground and tested them by the milling and baking tests, said that the standards this year were better than ever before. He said he could get better flour and more flour out of No. 2 and No. 3 wheat than ever before. No wonder he could, because this year when he was grinding No. 3 wheat he was grinding what was No. 2 wheat last year; when he was testing No. 4 wheat this year it was equal to No. 3 wheat last year, and so on. That is the reason he found the flour so much better and why the baking and milling tests were so much more satisfactory.

Then what happened? When the wheat reached the old country it took the buyers there until the middle of November to realize that the wheat they were getting this year was better than it ever had been, and they were willing to pay a higher price. They tested the wheat and when they found it was so much better this year they paid a better price and the spread between the grades closed up. In the meantime, however, half the wheat had passed out of the hands of the farmers into the hands of the grain trade, and the trade made the extra money. I do not know how many millions of' dollars the farmers lost; no one will ever know. No doubt it will run into tens of millions of dollars just through that simple act of raising the standards. And who raised them? The standards must have been raised by the inspectors.

Then we are told that when the Grain Standards Board met on October 9, to look over the grain, they lowered the standards; they decided the standards were too high and lowered them by half a grade. I had the experience personally of having wheat graded after October 9, and I got a better grade than I had been given in September; all the farmers experienced the same thing. So I contend that the grain commission should have known of this condition; if they did not know of it they should have found out.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

Will my hon. friend

permit a question? I hope he will explain to the house that the standards are set by the standards board and not by the grain commission and that 50 per cent of the representation is from the producers.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

I am saying that the

standards board lowered the grades on October 9.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

The grades were too

high.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

Yes, someone raised

them before that time.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Does the hon. gentleman know who set the first standards?

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

They are supposed to

be set on the standards of the year before, which continue until the standards board meets. For some reason, however, in the early part of the year someone raised the standards, and when the board met on October 9 they lowered the standards by half a grade. Still the grades were higher than last year, indicating an irregularity of some kind in connection with the setting of the grade standards.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
PRO

William Russell Fansher

Progressive

Mr. FANSHER (Last Mountain):

Who

was responsible for that?

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

It should be under the grain commission; they are responsible, of course. The raising of the standards in this way was one of the chief causes of the unrest in western Canada, but there is still another reason why the prairies are alarmed. To-day the farmers are better educated than ever before with regard to the marketing of wheat. They are learning about these things; they have found that they not only have to grow the wheat but they must learn how to market it. The directors of the pool travelled all over the country, holding meetings and discussing with the farmers their difficulties and needs, and the farmers are beginning to learn some of the evils of which they have been victims. Last year the agriculture committee of this house summoned several witnesses, from whom we obtained a good deal of very useful information. After the session was over we had thousands of copies of that evidence printed; we went west, held meetings throughout the province and scattered these reports everywhere. The farmers read the evidence, and when they found out what was going on in connection with the marketing of their wheat they became alarmed, and that also has had a good deal to do with the present condition of affairs. Those are the two chief causes of the present feeling in the west.

Then what are the farmers demanding now? There are minor issues here and there, of course, but there are three main demands which they make: First of all they demand

Grading of Grain-Mr. Donnelly

that the mixing of grain in private terminals be discontinued at once, or in other words that all private terminals be done away with and that all terminals at the head of the lakes be made public terminals. They demand that our straight grades, from No. 1 to No. 6, be stored in separate bins, that we have officers who will go into these terminal elevators and enforce the law against mixing and that a fine be provided commensurate with the crime, a fine of $2,000. $5,000 or $10,000, if necessary, in order to enforce the law. They demand that there be no mixing at the seaboard, transfer elevator or on the way to market overseas, that any mixing be done when the grain is in the hands of the consumer, either the old country buyer or the old country miller, that the mixing be not done in this country at all and that the wheat as sold by the farmer should reach the consumer without being mixed in any way That is their chief demand.

Someone may ask what of the off grades, the grades mixed with seeds, which have to be cleaned. We would say that those grades should be stored in public elevators also; let them be cleaned under proper supervision; let the seeds be taken out and sold and let that grain be put in the public elevators. All other grains such as wet grain, damp grain, smutty grain and so on, should be cleaned and sold as such out of hospital elevators and should not be sent to the markets of the world as straight grades.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Does the

hon. gentleman recognize any problem at all with regard to the mixing of grain in country houses?

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

We recognize that such mixing is almost impossible to control, as it is impossible to control mixing by the farmer, but we demand that once the grain is inspected and passed on to the terminals it should not be mixed at all.

Another thing the farmers of the west demand is the proper administration of the Canada Grain Act; they realize that at present this act is not being properly administered under the grain commisison. The commission say it is impossible for them to enforce the act. Our grain trade has increased by leaps and bounds during the last few years; the area devoted to the growing of wheat has multiplied five, six or seven times. A few years ago we shipped our wheat only from Fort William and Port Arthur; to-day we are shipping out of Vancouver and Prince Rupert and soon we will be shipping through Hudson bay. We say that under these conditions a small commission of three

1150 COMMONS

Grading oj Grax.i-Mr. Donnelly

men located at Fort William is not capable of looking after this great business and of administering the grain act as it should be administered. We believe the whole grain commission should be renovated; it should have more assistants, more clerks, and the number of commissioners should be increased. It should be scattered all over the prairies so that it could look into the numerous diculties which the farmers have to contend with and be able to adjust them in a proper manner. That is their second demand. They have a third demand, and it is this: that the diverting of wheat which goes on at the present time from Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver be stopped.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Will the hon. member

amplify that? There are many members from the east who have no knowledge of these matters, and it would assist them if the hon. member could give a little further information in that regard.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Your policies are

wrong in the east.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is the government

that is wrong.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

I will explain what I

mean by this diverting of wheat and the skimming of the cream off the different grades. First let me explain just how the different standards are set. Specimens are drawn and they are set as the standards for the different grades. Everything that goes into No. 1 grade must be as good as or better than the standard sample. Let me put it this way: Suppose 90 is the standard for No. 1; anything that goes into No. 1 must range between 90 and 100.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink
LIB

Francis Wellington Hay

Liberal

Mr. HAY:

Are those standards set by

the board, or designated by parliament?

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

The statutory grades

1, 2 and 3 are set by law. The samples of wheat which are drawn to represent those grades are taken by a body of inspectors. Grades 4, 5, 6 and feed, which are not statutory grades, are set by the Grain Standards Board, a body of men who are chosen every year, I think. They meet in the fall of the year and draw the standards for those several grades.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
Permalink

March 21, 1929