March 21, 1929

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I will correct that-that we should have at least as muoh this year as the average.of the past four years-

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

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

I do not want the

minister to represent me as saying something which I did not say. I repeat, I did not make any such statement.

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:

He said, the average of

the average.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Very well, the average of the average. I presume my hon. friend will take the leader of the opposition's word for it, that what he said was that we should have as much as the average of the average for the past four years; that is to say, the average of the average of our receipts for the past four years. But the hon. gentleman disregards entirely the average world prices for those years. May I point out, however, that when we come to deal with figures in that way, taking an average of an average over a period of four years, no farmer has yet lived on an average. The fellow who has No. 6 wheat this year cannot be comforted by the reflection that the average of the average of the last four years was No. 4, with therefore a higher price and a higher intrinsic value. He does not live on the averages he gets; he gets what he can out of the wheat which he has just then, and the average of what went before does not do him very much good.

I do not want to spend a great deal of time on this question except to say this. While I agree with my hon. friend that losses do exist, to build up any such 'fantastic total as $175,000,000 of a loss to western farmers on this year's crop is tremendously to overstate what could possibly be accurate, and it is not doing justice to the intelligence of the farmers of western Canada or of the management of the pool, who of course could easily avoid such a stupendous loss if there were any danger of its being incurred.

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

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

May I ask a question?

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I have only forty minutes.

Grading of Grain-Mr. Dunning

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

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

Did I understand the minister to say that the pool could ship its own wheat through all the transfers and terminals and maintain its identity to the European market?

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Undoubtedly.

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

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

How can they do it?

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Only one year ago the head of the pool came to me as Minister of Railways, responsible for the operation of the Port Oolbome elevator, which handles more grain than any other elevator in Canada, and asked whether special arrangements could be made for transfer at that point from the larger vessels travelling on the upper lakes to the smaller boats going through the St. Lawrence, and I said that I should be delighted to make special bin arrangements so that the shippers might be sure of the identity of their own grain during transit- so far as that particular elevator was concerned at any rate-on the one condition that they used the full bin space allotted them, and did not merely keep a few thousand bushels at the bottom of the bin, monopolizing the whole space of the bin. That has not yet been made use of. But there is no doubt at all that the wheat pool to-day can ship its own grain from the prairies, through its own terminal at Vancouver, loading into boats chartered by itself and delivering in Europe, exactly as it pleases. That is the situation, and I do not wish to be betrayed into appearing to criticize the pool management. What I am saying is that if there were any such loss as that represented by the hon. member for Kindersley then the wheat pool undoubtedly would be at fault in selling the crop for 8175,000.000 less than it was really worth; because I am sure of the ability of the men managing the pools to handle the situation with sufficient care to see that no such tremendous loss would occur.

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

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

The pool does not handle all the crop.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Well, take half of it; let us say the loss to the pool members was $90,000,000, taking my hon. friend on his own ground. I repeat, I have more faith in the management of the western pools than to believe that.

With regard to the grain act, I am of the opinion, as the minister stated at the outset, that these matters could be more effectively discussed in committee. I have spent twenty-six or twenty-seven years in the west and I do not remember a year in which the grain act and the marketing of grain has not been under discussion by the organized farmers of

the west. It was my privilege as one of them to come to Ottawa from time to time and to go to other places as well to recommend specific changes to deal with specific matters which in our judgment would improve the marketing of grain. And the act has been built up gradually just in that manner. That it is perfect no one will contend for a moment. Indeed, one of the reasons why the Canada Grain Aot is not perfect to-day is the fact that the farmers of western Canada have not always beer agreed to what constituted perfection in connection with some important parte of that legislation. I know that my own views are not necessarily the views of the farmers of the west; I never arrogate to myself the privilege of speaking for all the farmers. Many of these matters have been matters of dispute-friendly dispute, it is true-over a period of years within the farmers' organizations themselves, as my hon. friend from Rosetown (Mr. Evans) knows. Let me say however that the description used here of the hybrid ticket is not a correct description as applied to the ticket under discussion, but is a correct description as applied to form B-l in the existing grain act. Form B-l was used for many years before it found a place in the grain act. And what is it? It is a true hybrid. And what is a true hybrid? It is neither one thing nor the other, but a part of both. Form B-l is a graded storage ticket but subject to inspectors grade on 'dockage. It is not a special bin ticket. In big black type in the form of ticket in the act itself the words appear, "This is not a special bin ticket." I will not criticize my hon. friend from Bow River (Mr. Garland) and others for the view they have expressed in this regard, because the practice is general throughout the west and has been for many years. The grain trade had been representing that ticket for the last fifteen years as a special bin ticket. It is not. And why not? Because it involves no obligation upon the elevator company to preserve the identity of grain delivered; it only imposes upon the farmer the obligation of seeing that the identity of the sample of that grain is preserved. The special bin ticket on the other hand, form C, imposes upon the elevator company the obligation of maintaining that grain in its identity and of delivering at the terminal that identical grain. The graded storage ticket, which is not a hybrid, involves the obligation that the farmer shall deliver his grain, and the elevator company guarantees the grade and states plainly on the ticket what the grade is. The principle of the old grain act was that the elevator coin-

Grading of Groin-Mr. Dunning

pany must guarantee to the farmer one of two things. Either they must guarantee the grade of his grain 'to be delivered at the terminal or they must guarantee to preserve the identity of the grain delivered to them and deliver it to the terminal. That did not suit the grain trade of that day, so they instituted this cute thing which finally found its way into the Canada Grain Act, and we must remember that it found its way there with the consent of western farmers. The line elevators instituted this ticket, which relieved them of the responsibility of guaranteeing either the grade or the identity of the grain. They use first a graded storage ticket, but across its face was stamped " Subject to inspectors, grade and dockage"; t'he elevator company could do what they liked with the grain, but they were supposed to forward a sample to the chief inspector, paying the farmer later for, or delivering to him at the terminal, the grade set fby the inspector on the sample. As a result of years of experience and as a result of repeated fights before the Board of Grain Commissioners in connection with ithe matter I have no hesitation in saying that not in 20 per cent of the cases where this 'hybrid ticket was used were samples ever sent to the chief inspector for grading. I make that statement, and the records of cases before the Board of Grain Commissioners will bear it ouit. As the hon. member for Rosetown well knows, I was in the unfortunate position of leading a minority fight against that ticket for a long period of years. I say I led a minority fight, because the great majority of the farmers in western Canada did appear to be deceived inito the belief that this was a special bin ticket and that they were receiving the advantages of separate binning.

Mine was a losing fight, so much so that in 1925 that particular ticket was placed in the Canada Grain Act and to-day I may inform my hon. friend from Bow River that under this thing which is generally called a special bin ticket and which by law is not such a ticket, an elevator with only ten bins, as he put it, can and does receive grain from fifty farmers if necessary. That is how it is done, and that is the true hybrid ticket. In my personal opinion, which I do not hesitate to state to-day as I stated it years ago, the great mixing evil depreciating the quality of Canadian grain starts right there, because the great majority of western farmers who are using line elevator facilities are doing so under that B-l ticket, which is a hybrid and' which involves a guarantee neither of grade nor of identity by the elevator company but the forwarding of a sample to the

chief inspector. I suggest to this committee if it sits, although I am not a member of it, that they find out how many samples have been forwarded this year to the chief inspector under ticket B-l, for determination as to grades. I venture to say they will find that the condition which existed a number of years ago exists to-day and that in practice samples are not forwarded in more than 20 per cent of the cases in which this ticket is used. However, I must say again that the system was started with the consent of the farmers; I must admit that whether I like it or not. Some of us protested strongly, but I must admit that until this year the farmers have appeared to 'be satisfied with that system. Although I am not a lawyer it is my opinion that the addition of the words mentioned by the hon. member for Bow River would constitute an illegal addition, but I am prepared to hear evidence on that point and I suppose lawyers will try to convince judges that this was a perfectly proper addition. However, it is only carrying one step further what was done over a long period of years wuth respect to this hybrid thing which is neither one thing nor the other.

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):

Just to

make the record clear, I would like to ask my hon. friend if it is not true that ticket B-l is not a special bin ticket and never was such; that it has stamped upon its face the words " This is not a special bin ticket." And is it not true that ticket C is a special bin ticket and that most of the discussion has been about that ticket?

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Does my hon. friend

say that most of the discussion has been about ticket C? I will venture this assertion, and I hope the committee will investigate its accuracy, that ticket C, the special bin ticket, is not issued by a line elevator in western Canada as a general practice at all; they issue ticket B-l, as they always have done, calling it a special bin ticket, and in spite of the words stamped on the face of the ticket the farmer is led to believe that he is getting a special bin.

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:

Surely the hon. gentleman does not mean to say that the farmer is so lacking in intelligence as to be unable to read what is on the ticket.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

As a result of long experience in dealing with these matters I state that as a matter of fact the farmer does not study the ticket he receives when he is getting his grain from a threshing machine. I have made that statement at scores of

MARCH 21, 1929 H59

Grading of Grair^-Mr. Dunning

farmers' meetings in past years, and it is a question of fact. The practice which I am now outlining, that of issuing this ticket and describing it as a special binning, has been carried on in western Canada for more than twenty years; I will leave it to any farmer here who has studied the question, and I will be content to leave it to the investigation of the committee.

Now I want to pass on to another important point, and here I wish it made plain that I am merely offering criticism of a system rather than an argument in answer to my hon. friend from Bow River; I am trying, from an experience covering a number of years, to place on record some things which may be worth investigation by this committee in the general interests of the farmers of western Canada. I refer to the mixing evil, and here again my position has been rather that of a lone wolf. I believe to-day, as I believed twenty years ago, during the period when I had some familiarity with this matter, that the practice of permitting the mixing of the various grades of grain in terminal elevators or in private elevators operated to the detriment of the producers of grain in Canada. To-day I believe that just as strongly as I ever believed it; if hon. members who are familiar with western farmers' organizations will let their minds go back a few years they will remember, in connection with the losing fight on this very question, when the farmers were offered the glittering bauble of a sample market if,only they would permit unlimited mixing, and the majority of the farmers agreed to that proposal. At that time I made a statement; sometimes I am mistaken but in this case I was right, when I said, that if unlimited mixing were permitted there would not be one public terminal at the head of the lakes within five years from that time with the exception of a government elevator. Has that statement been borne out? To-day there is not one public terminal at the head of the lakes with the exception of the government elevator operated by the Board of Grain Commissioners, and which receives just the rag-tag and bob-tail which none of the private houses will take. That is the position, and it has been brought about because the majority of the farmers in western Canada, no matter what their Shade of politics-and I am not discussing this on a political but on an economic basis-consented to it. Mixing was legalized then; it is legal to-day, and in my opinion we never will get back to a place where the wheat of western Canada will take its proper place in the markets of the world until we eliminate the mixing of the straight grades of grain.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

My hon. friends from

Alberta applaud that statement. It is only fair to say that as far as I can judge from the public records, the farmers of Alberta today are in about the same frame of mind with regard to that matter as the farmers of Saskatchewan were ten years ago; that is to say, the farmers of Alberta to-day appear to be satisfied that there is some advantage to the producer in mixing. There is evidence of that in the attitude of the official organizations. It is only during this year that one is able to say with any degree of confidence that the farmers of Saskatchewan are convinced that mixing is a real evil. They were more or less deluded previously by the -argument which was used so frequently: You had better not give the Britisher a better article than he is paying for. That is the stock argument with respect to mixing; that it is an advantage to skin the grain down in grading, so low that it will just come within its grade. From my experience in selling grain to European buyers, I am convinced that the European market will respond in price to the quality of the run of cargoes received. This phase is in the mouth of every grain trader in Liverpool, London, Amsterdam or Rotterdam. If the run of cargoes of our No. 3 shows evidence of having been skinned to the limit of that grade, then the quotations for No. 3 northern coming from the other side will be depreciated1 in consequence. If, on the other hand, the run of cargoes of No. 3 shows that it is the average of the grade, then that fact will be reflected in the prices quoted. We should have a public terminal system where the grain would be binned only with grain of its own grade. The certificate which the buyers receive, bearing the guarantee of this government as to quality, should be bona fide. They want us to live up to that certificate; that is what constitutes our great advantage in the markets of Europe.

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:

Is not that where the

responsibility of the government comes in?

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The responsibilty of the manner in which this whole matter has been handled is the responsibility of this parliament, regardless of party.

Topic:   GRADING OF GRAIN
Subtopic:   WHEAT-INSPECTION, SHIPMENT AND PROTEIN CONTENT-REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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March 21, 1929