May 10, 1932

CIVIL SERVICE

REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON APPOINTMENTS, ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION OP CIVIL SERVICE ACT

CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. EARL LAWSON (West York):

I

beg to present the second report, which is a unanimous one, of the select special committee appointed to inquire into the appointments to, and the direction and control of, the civil service of Canada and, generally, the administration and operation of the Civil Service Act, with instructions to inquire into and report concerning the repeal or amendment of any of the provisions of the said act or the substitution therefor or addition thereto of other provisions, as the committee may deem advisable, as follows:

1. With a view to providing that a transfer may be made of a civil servant from one position to another without necessarily involving an increase in remuneration, your committee recommends that section 13 of the Civil Service Act be amended by striking out the word "either" in the sixth line thereof and the words "transfer or" in the sixth and seventh lines thereof.

2. In order to have the provisions of the Civil Service Act comply with the practice which has been established, and with a view to obviating unnecessary correspondence passing between the Civil Service Commission and the departments in respect of promotions, your committee recommends that subsections one and two of section 14 of the act be repealed and the following substituted therefor:

2766 COMMONS

Civil Service-Report oj Committee

14. The rate of compensation of an employee who lias not reached the maximum rate of compensation of the class in which he is serving, may, subject to the regulations of the commission, be increased by the deputy head if he is satisfied that the employee has rendered meritorious service and has increased his usefulness in the service. Such increase shall be to the next higher rate for the class. The new rate shall become effectual at the next quarterly date after the said increase is granted by the deputy head, that is to say, either the first day of January, April, July, or October, provided, however, that no employee whose rate of compensation exceeds six hundred dollars per annum shall receive an increase under the provisions of this section more than once in each year.

3. To correct an obvious error, your committee recommends that subsection two of section 15 of the Civil Service Act be amended by striking out the word "minimum" in the eighth line of the said subsection, and by substituting therefor the word "maximum."

4. To avoid uncertainty as to the interpretation of the words "bona fide residents" in subsection three of section 21 of the Civil Service Act, your committee recommends that the said section be amended by striking out the words "bona fide residents of such locality" at the end of the said subsection and by substituting therefor the words:

"persons who have resided in such locality for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the date last set for receiving applications for such local positions."

5. The Department of Justice having ruled that section 24 of the Civil Service Act permits the deputy head of a department to reject an appointee of the Civil Service Commission without reasons stated therefor, and without trial, your committee recommends that the deputy head of a department have power to reject only for cause, and that such cause be specifically stated.

6. That the provisions of the Civil Service Act as to length of residence in Canada required for eligibility for appointment may accord with the provisions of the Naturalization Act, your committee recommends that subsection one of section 33 of the Civil Service Act be amended by striking out the wrord "three" in the last line of the said subsection and by substituting therefor the word "five."

7. To enable those who have been in the civil service for less than one year to have limited holidays and to make reasonable provision for holidays for those in the service in tropical countries, your committee recommends that subsection one of section 46 of the Civil Service Act be amended by adding thereto the following words:

"and may grant to each officer, clerk, or other employee who has been less than one year in the service, leave of absence at the rate of one and one-half days for each completed month of continuous service prior to the commencement of the fiscal year; provided that trade commissioners or other officers in tropical countries may be granted a yearly leave of absence for a period not exceeding one calendar month in any one fiscal year, if they have had at least one year in the service."

8. To permit of suspension of an employee, for the purposes set out in section 51 of the Civil Service Act, by his superior officer at

distances from Ottawa, your committee recommends that section 51 be amended by adding after the words "deputy head," in the second line of the said section, the words: "or any official of the department nominated by him."

9. Your committee recommends that section 60 of the Civil Service Act, as enacted by Chapter 38 of the Statutes 19-20 George V, be repealed.

10. In order that vacancies created by retirement may be promptly filled, thus promoting greater efficiency in the civil service, your committee recommends that, when financial conditions in Canada are sufficiently improved, the Civil Service Commission amend the regulations under the Civil Service Act so as to provide for the granting of a gratuity upon retirement equal to the sum now paid out and in lieu of absence with pay.

11. In order to reduce to a minimum overmanning and over-lapping in the service, and in an endeavour to assure permanency of employment to civil servants, your committee recommends that the Civil Service Commission carefully scrutinize all requests for appointments in an effort to absorb surplus personnel by transfer, or, by any other means in its power, to obviate the necessity of filling vacancies with new personnel and to accomplish by their abolition a reduction of existing positions which are not essential.

12. To promote economy and efficiency in engineering and mapping services, or in other services which can be centralized, your committee recommends to the Civil Service Commission that a careful study be made of such government services with a view to amalgamations thereof.

13. It appears from a cursory examination of "The Classification of the Civil Service of Canada" that anomalies therein exist.

Your committee recommends, therefore, to the Civil Service Commission that a more constant and efficient check on classification be made.

14. Your committee recommends to the Civil Service Commission that ways and means be sought to bring about greater cooperation between the organization branch of the Civil Service Commission and departmental officials with a view to obtaining necessary reorganization and equalized classification.

In the opinion of your committee very little has been accomplished by this branch of the commission "which, if strengthened in personnel, would perform a very necessary and useful function in promoting efficiency and economy

15. Representations having been made on behalf of female civil servants, your committee is of opinion that there being no discrimination as to sex in the provisions of the Civil Service Act, no amendment thereto in this connection is necessary.

Your committee recommends, however, that the Department of Health, in conjunction with the organization branch of the Civil Service Commission, should make a survey for the purpose of recommending improvements, where necessary, in the sanitation and welfare facilities in government offices.

16. Your committee recommends that the Civil Service Commission amend its regulations so as to provide that as between those entitled to the disability preference under the act, and other things being equal, a veteran with dependents be given the preference over

Civil Service-Report oj Committee

a veteran without dependents, and likewise a veteran with dependents over a veteran without dependents as between those entitled to the overseas active service preference.

17. It appears from the evidence adduced before the committee that certain positions on the staff of the House of Commons cannot be satisfactorily filled by open competition.

Your committee recommends that the Civil Service Commission exercise the powers conferred upon it under section 59 of the Civil Service Act, so that such positions on that staff as can best be filled from sessional employees shall be filled by competition limited to such employees.

18. Your committee is of opinion that there is a great deal of over-lapping in the performance of duties by the heads of different branches of the Civil Service Commission, owing to matters receiving the attention of the secretary of the commission which are in no way related to secretarial duties.

Your committee, therefore, recommends that the secretary of the Civil Service Commission fie called upon to perform only those duties which are peculiarly those of a secretary and that the Civil Service Commission consider ways and means of eliminating duplication of correspondence and departmental memoranda which now pass through the secretary to the commissioners.

19. Your committee is of opinion that there are unnecessary delays in obtaining appointments and promotions by reason of the cumbersome routine now prevalent in the administration of the act and recommends that the Civil Service Commission exercise the powers now vested in it to simplify such procedure.

Your committee further recommends that all papers, documents, et cetera, placed on the files of the commission be consecutively numbered in each file, so that removals or deletions therefrom will be apparent.

20. With a view to promoting efficiency in the administration of the provisions of the Civil Service Act and in the direction and [DOT]control of the civil service, your committee recommends that there be added to the committees of this house a select special committee on civil service matters, such committee to consist of seven members.

21. To facilitate the adjustment of complaints of a civil servant, where such complaints cannot otherwise be adjusted, your committee recommends that such complaints be adjudicated by a board consisting of a nominee of the civil servant organization of which the complainant is a member, a nominee of the deputy head of the department affected, and a nominee [DOT]of the chairman of the Civil Service Commission.

22. Inasmuch as it is apparent from the evidence adduced before your committee that there are grave anomalies in respect of long term temporary and prevailing rate employees, your committee recommends that the claims of these employees be further investigated by the Civil Service Commission with a view to reporting and submitting the question to the proposed select special committee of the House of Commons on civil service matters.

23. Representations having been made to your [DOT]committee concerning amendments to the Civil Service Superannuation Act, with respect to the extension of time for election and the return of contributions, and it being doubtful

if the subject is within the scope of the present order of reference, your committee recommends that a committee be appointed at an early date to consider the matter and that, in the meantime, the advisory committee on the Civil Service Superannuation Act should consolidate its recommendations and present a report on the subject to such committee of the house.

24. Representations were made to your committee on behalf of the Professional Institute of the Civil Service of Canada. It would appear that the subject matter of some of these representations have been considered by the Beatty commission. They are sub judice. Your committee does not, therefore, see fit to make any recommendation relative thereto.

25. From the evidence adduced and in view of the submissions of officials of the Post Office Department, your committee recommends that order in council P.C. 1053, dated June 29, 1922, as amended by order in council P.C. 17/1751, dated September 12, 1929, be further amended so as to provide for the exemption from the operation of the Civil Service Act of postmasters in revenue post offices where the revenue does not exceed $3,000 per annum.

Your committee further recommends that such amendments be made to the Civil Service Act and/or the regulations thereunder of the Civil Service Commission so that postmasters hereafter appointed to revenue post offices having a revenue in excess of $3,000 per annum shall be within the full operation of the Civil Service Act.

26. Your committee, being of opinion that the

position of commissioner of the Civil Service Commission of Canada calls for very special qualifications because of the wide powers conferred on such commissioner for the maintenance of the merit system in matters of appointments to and promotions in the Civil Service of Canada, recommends,- .

I. That the present chairman of the Civil Service Commission, who has now passed the age of seventy years, be retired; that, because of his long and meritorious years of service in the public service of Canada and as chairman of the Civil Service Commission of Canada, he be granted a gratuity;

II. That Commissioner J. Emile Tremblay be retired; that, because of his twenty-two years of service in the public service of Canada, hr be granted a gratuity;

III. That Commissioner Newton MacTavish be retired and, in lieu of notice, be granted a gratuity.

27. Your committee desires to record that it has been impressed with the ability and integrity of Mr. C. H. Bland, assistant secretary and chief examiner of the Civil Service Commission. He has shown a comprehensive grasp of the principles underlying the merit system and the Civil Service Act and of the details connected with the administration thereof.

28. Your committee held thirty-nine meetings and heard thirty-three witnesses, including deputy heads of departments, officials of the Civil Service Commission and representatives of civil servants' organizations. A copy of the minutes of proceedings and evidence is tabled herewith.

29. Your committee recommends that the orders of reference, reports, proceedings and evidence taken, together with a list of the exhibits filed, be printed both as an appendix to the journals of the house and in blue book

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Wheat' Bonus-Mr. Gardiner

form, 500 copies of the latter form to be printed in the English language and 200 copies in the French language; and that standing order 64 be suspended in relation thereto.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

J. Earl Lawson,

Chairman.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE
Subtopic:   REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON APPOINTMENTS, ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION OP CIVIL SERVICE ACT
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UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF

CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. W. A. GORDON (Minister of Labour) :

Mr. Speaker, I beg to lay on the table of the house orders in council Nos. 1076 and 1077 passed pursuant to the provisions of the Unemployment and Farm Relief Continuance Act, 1932, both referring to the payment of money.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it the orders now laid on the table refer to the approval of payments that were undertaken prior to the expiration of the act. They are not in the nature of orders in council passed since the act expired?

Mr. GORDON; All the orders in council being laid upon the table are pursuant to the provisions of the statute.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
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SUPPLY-WHEAT BONUS CONTINUATION OF PAYMENT OF FIVE CENTS A BUSHEL ON CHOP 1932-33


Hon. E. N. RHODES (Minister of Finance) moved that the house go into committee of supply.


UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, before the house goes into committee of supply I desire to take a few minutes in a discussion of agriculture in western Canada. I realize that hon. members feel the time has come when we should try to clean up the business of the session and get away as soon as possible. It is not my desire therefore to speak at any great length on the matters I have to bring before the house, and I shall make my remarks as brief as possible.

Conditions under which we are operating at the present time are very difficult for all classes of producers, irrespective of whether they are primary or secondary. However there are certain industries in Canada which are of great importance, and they are usually classed as the primary industries, among which agriculture ranks as the most important. In so far as the production of agricultural commodities is concerned, wheat ranks first in importance. In discussing the question of wheat, its relation to the welfare of Canada and its importance in our export trade I desire to remind the house that the bulk of our wheat is produced iD western Canada. Not

only is there a great yield but the product is of an extraordinary quality and appreciated not only in Canada but in the markets of the world.

Those of us who went to western Canada twenty or thirty years ago realize that the prosperity of the west has been built up mainly on one commodity, namely wheat. In fact if we go back to the early part of the century we find that people were induced to come to western Canada primarily to produce wheat, and the immigration literature to be found in countries outside Canada called attention to the great opportunities western Canada afforded for its production. Under those circumstances therefore the west has been opened up and primarily developed on that one commodity. I do not say of course that other agricultural commodities of importance are not produced in western Canada, because*they are. We find our live stock industry is very important, as is also our dairy industry. But I desire this afternoon to confine my remarks to the situation as it affects the wheat growers. Members in this corner of the house, in fact I believe members generally, have been waiting very patiently for some word from the government as to what its policy would be with regard to agriculture. Up to the present time we have had no intimation as to what the government policy might be. I am not unmindful of the fact that governments under present conditions have a tremendous responsibility upon their shoulders, and therefore in discussing these matters of importance we must extend a very large measure of sympathy to the men who to-day are carrying that responsible burden for the Canadian people. However, that does not relieve me of the responsibility, as the representative of a constituency in western Canada, of inquiring of the government what they are going to do with regard to present conditions as they affect agriculture.

Since the last election the government have taken certain steps, mainly by way of increased tariffs, which in their opinion were calculated to relieve some of our industries. Indeed, they went so far as to raise the tariff on agricultural products, but we still find that the prices of these products have been getting lower and lower all the time. Now, we recognize that the real problem facing agriculture to-day is the low price of its products. If we were in a position to secure remunerative prices, then we would probably be able to overcome the situation; but with prices far below the cost of production we must look to the government for some assistance in this extreme condition.

Wheat Bonus-Mr. Gardiner

During recent months since the depression has become very acute the farmers of western Canada have received a good deal of gratuitous advice, and most frequently this takes the form of suggesting that in order to Overcome their difficulties they should go into mixed farming. Those of us who know western Canada well know that there are great sections of country there that cannot be utilized for mixed farming. Take the southern part of the prairie provinces, much of it is not adapted to mixed farming. May I say from my observations that where mixed farming can be fairly well carried on it is in full operation in those districts. Therefore suggestions that our farmers should still further go into mixed farming do not carry very much weight with the person who actually knows the conditions now in existence in western Canada. But even if there were other areas of western Canada where mixed farming could be carried on satisfactorily, permit me to remind the house that the price levels of mixed farming products, such as beef, pork, mutton, eggs, butter and so on, are away below the cost of production. So it is unsound advice to tell the western farmer that if he engaged more in mixed farming he would probably get over the difficulties with which he is now faced.

Now, sir, I have recently received many communications from farmers in western Canada, and only a day or two ago I received some letters intimating that the prices they are receiving for their products are extremely low. For instance, one farmer told me he was receiving about four cents a dozen for his eggs, $2.50 a hundredweight for the best pork that could be produced in western Canada, eight cents a pound butter fat for special cream; and other products were at a similarly low price level. Under these conditions it is absolutely impossible to-day even for the mixed farmer to sell his products and make a profit.

The problem which I wish to deal with more particularly has to do with wheat. As far as western Canada is concerned, I have already intimated to the house that we produce the very best grade of wheat grown anywhere in the world. And we are proud of that fact. Not only is it a question of tillage, but also of climate and soil; with these three combined we are able to produce the very finest quality of wheat. I made some investigation last fall to find out if possible what was the cost of producing a bushel of wheat in Alberta.

I. received a lot of very valuable information from different sources. This I finally summed up to the effect that last year in Alberta it

cost on an average 76 cents to produce a bushel of wheat. That was based on an average production of twenty bushels per acre. In some cases the cost of production was higher, in some lower, but in dealing with a matter of this description we can only take an average, and 76 cents a bushel is the average as near as I could arrive at it. The price level of wheat at the head of the lakes to-day runs about 59 cents a bushel. It is apparent that when the farmer has delivered his wheat to the head of the lakes and paid the freight, he is still about 17 cents below the cost of production-that is, provided he has No. 1 wheat; if he has a lower grade, then his loss in the cost of production is greater than 17 cents per bushel. Members will readily understand that the western farmer cannot very long continue to produce wheat under these conditions. From my observations last summer and last fall I believe the wheat produced in western Canada was produced at the lowest cost per bushel for many years, because of the fact that the farmers were not in a position to hire labour and consequently they had to do the work themselves with the help of their families. Therefore the actual cost last year was probably about as low as it can possibly be, unless the prices of the commodities which the farmer has to buy come down very materially. The prices of some of these commodities have come down fairly substantially, but as to the great bulk of the commodities he has to buy, whether for the purpose of producing more agricultural products or of taking care of his household needs, the prices have not dropped to anywhere near the same percentage as the prices of agricultural products. Under these circumstances the farmer is in the unhappy position of producing his products at a loss.

Under those circumstances we wish to inquire of the government what they propose to do about it. At the last general election the government asked the people of Canada to make them responsible for the conduct of the affairs of this country, and the people gave them that authority. Therefore the responsibility is upon the government. They may ask us what has been suggested from this corner of the house that might improve the condition of agriculture or general conditions throughout the country. I think any hon. gentleman who has attended this house regularly this session will know that we in this corner have suggested more than one important measure which might be of great benefit not only to agriculture but to all the Canadian people as well, but it is not my purpose this afternoon to take time to review the suggestions we have made.

Wheat Bonus-Mr. Gardiner

A year ago the present government, recognizing the importance of wheat to Canada not only as an internal factor in economy but also as a factor in our export trade, were good enough to place a bonus of five cents a bushel on the production of wheat. That helped a great deal so far as the wheat producers were concerned. It gave them some hope and some assurance that at least the Canadian parliament was taking cognizance of the troubles with which they were faced. Financially it helped immeasurably; of that there is no question, though there were large sections of western Canada that did not receive any benefit from that provision because of drought conditions. When the Prime Minister introduced this bonus legislation last year he stated that other measures would be taken to provide for the areas where there were no crops. When I addressed this house at the beginning of this session I stated that I was well satisfied that the measures taken to look after the drought areas, so far as Alberta was concerned, were not adequate to meet the conditions prevailing. I do not blame anyone for that fact; I do not say any government is to blame for that situation, but nevertheless that condition still exists at the present time.

In introducing this bonus legislation last year the Prime Minister said there were four reasons why this bonus was necessary. The first reason was the low price of wheat. Today the price of wheat is still below the cost of production. It is true that the price has risen a few cents a bushel in the past year, but notwithstanding that increase the price is not yet sufficient to pay the cost of production. Therefore, in relation to that first reason, the price is still too low. Another reason given by the Prime Minister at that time was that the price received did not bear the same relation to the cost of production that it had borne previously. That simply meant that the price received for wheat last year did not pay the cost of production, as it had previously, altogether apart from leaving the farmer any margin of profit. That condition still exists to-day; probably it has been alleviated to the extent of three or four cents a bushel, but that is about the only difference. The third reason given by the Prime Minister was that this bonus was a measure of necessary relief for the farmers of western Canada. I submit, sir, that under present conditions that necessity is just as apparent to-day as it was a year ago, and the argument put forth by the Prime Minister last year is just as potent to-day. I have ventured to bring this question to the attention of the government this afternoon in this way, and I hope they will (Mr. Gardiner.]

be able to give the matter some consideration. As I have already said, our western farmers cannot continue to produce wheat at a loss; of that there is no question. Then, if I remember correctly, the fourth reason given by the Prime Minister last year was a psychological reason, and I think that was just as important as any of the other reasons given at that time. If the morale of the western farmer should be absolutely broken down I am afraid it would take more than a five cent bonus to restore it. However, those were the four reasons given by the Prime Minister at that time.

I am not going to take very much more of the time of the house on this question; I desire to make only one other statement, which I think is of importance. As one who has studied the economic problems with which we are faced to-day, I do not consider that bonuses will ever cure any economic ill. Of that there is no question. But bonuses sometimes become necessary because of the economic problems with which we are faced, merely as a temporary means of bridging a gap for the time being. I am under no illusion at all with regard to bonuses being factors in the final solution of these problems. It is not my purpose this afternoon to discuss what I think would be a proper solution of these difficulties; we have before us a problem which must be met in the near future, so I suggest to the government that they give very serious consideration to the possibility of renewing the five cent bonus on wheat which we had last year, as a temporary relief measure to assist the wheat producers in western Canada.

Topic:   SUPPLY-WHEAT BONUS CONTINUATION OF PAYMENT OF FIVE CENTS A BUSHEL ON CHOP 1932-33
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Has my hon. friend given any consideration to the advisability of extending that bonus to include the producers of butter, potatoes, eggs and other commodities, who are also producing at a loss?

Topic:   SUPPLY-WHEAT BONUS CONTINUATION OF PAYMENT OF FIVE CENTS A BUSHEL ON CHOP 1932-33
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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

I have given a great

deal of consideration to that question, and the only reason I did not include those other commodities in my remarks this afternoon is that we have not the great surpluses of those commodities that we have of wheat. At the present those commodities to which my hon. friend referred do not bulk so largely in our export business as does wheat, which is our most important export commodity and which is a big factor in helping this country balance its internal and external business. It is not that I do not realize the importance of these other commodities to Canadian farmers, but wheat is the greatest export commodity we

Wheat Bonus-Mr. Campbell

have, and that is why I have devoted my attention to it rather than to the broader question of all agricultural products. I may say candidly that so far as I am concerned, if it could be arranged I see no reason why these other agricultural products should not be given the same consideration that is being asked for wheat. But I say that wheat, being the most important commodity which we produce agriculturally, the most important commodity which we export, is in a rather different position from our other agricultural products.

I am not going to take up the time of the house any longer, but I move, seconded by Mr. Campbell, an amendment to the motion in the following words:

That all the words after the word "that" be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

"in the opinion of this house the government should seriously consider continuing the five cent bonus on wheat as a measure of relief for the crop year 1932-33."

Topic:   SUPPLY-WHEAT BONUS CONTINUATION OF PAYMENT OF FIVE CENTS A BUSHEL ON CHOP 1932-33
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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. M. N. CAMPBELL (Mackenzie):

In

seconding the motion moved by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner), I have no desire to take up the time of the house at considerable length. The case has been very well put by the hon. gentleman and it needs no amplification by me. I merely wish to put myself on record as supporting it.

The only reason, I presume, for the bonus last year, was the necessity of the grain grower of western Canada, and if that necessity was great then, I say it is even greater this year, because there is no question that the grain crop was produced at a considerable loss last year, resulting in accumulated taxes, interest and debts, so that even the farmer who had a crop is in a worse condition to-day than he was a year ago.

May I put on record a few figures which will indicate, better than, perhaps, I can, the position of the grain grower of western Canada. I wish to quote from the Economic Annalist, a publication issued by the Minister of Agriculture. It shows that the prices of field products are to-day only about twenty-five per cent of what they were in 1920. As shown by this bulletin, the index in 1920 of field crops, which would include grain, was 168-5, whereas in February, 1932, it had dropped to 43-7, just about 25 per cent of what it was at that time. The retail prices show an index of 124-2 in 1920, while in February, 1932, it was 84-6, or a drop of about 40 per cent. That will give some idea of what the grain grower has to contend with.

With respect to the question put by the former Minister of Justice, I quite appreciate the fact that farmers of all classes, farmers growing various farm products, are in a very

unenviable position to-day; but I do submit that of all the various classes engaged in agriculture, the wheat grower has been hit harder than any, and I think these figures will again prove that contention. Coming back to the Economic Annalist, the figures show that for all farm products the index in 1920 was 161-6, and in February, 1932, 52-1; so that the drop in field products is very much greater than in all farm products taken together. I think the figures would show an even greater disparity if grain were considered separately from other field products. I contend, therefore, that the grain grower is in a different position from the others; he is in a more unenviable position than any other class of farmers in Canada to-day.

The farmers in my district, and for the most part in all the northern section of the prairie provinces, enjoyed a fairly good crop last year, but that did not solve their problems by any means. The average farmer in that part of the country sold his wheat at the elevator at a net price over the cost of threshing of from 22 to 28 cents per bushel. Now anyone knows that a price of from 22 to 28 cents per bushel will not pay the farmer for producing grain, so that it means that it was done at a very considerable loss, and the accumulated taxes, interest charges and so forth leave the farmer in a very much worse position to-day than he was in even a year ago.

Under the conditions that prevailed last year, the five cent bonus was nothing less than a godsend, and I say without fear of contradiction that it was appreciated by the great mass of the farmers who received it. The government, I believe, was somewhat discouraged by the expression of opinion that came from various parts of western Canada with respect to this bonus. I have expressed my opinion on that before in this house, and I may do so again. Agitations were started in different parts of the prairie provinces, asking for a different method of application, and in some cases there was a direct attack on the very principle of the bonus; but I do say that with respect to the great majority of the farmers there was no question whatsoever about their appreciation. I can assure the government that notwithstanding all that was said, the bonus was acceptable and welcome to the rank and file of the farmers of western Canada. Speaking for my own constituency of Mackenzie, I feel I can say that the satisfaction was universal, and this applies not only to the men on the soil growing the grain but to business men, professional men and all other classes in the community. I hope and trust, therefore, that the administration will see fit to continue that bonus for the coming year.

Wheat Bonus-Mr. Myers

Topic:   SUPPLY-WHEAT BONUS CONTINUATION OF PAYMENT OF FIVE CENTS A BUSHEL ON CHOP 1932-33
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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. MYERS (Queens):

I can assure 3'ou, Mr. Speaker, that it is the furthest thing from my thoughts or from my desire to prolong this debate or to prolong the session, which I consider should by now be pretty well over; but I feel I should be remiss in my duty to the farmers of eastern Canada, at least to the farmers of Prince Edward Island whom I have the honour to represent in this house, if I were to allow this amendment to pass unnoticed.

I have the greatest sympathy on earth for the wheat farmers of western Canada, and that remark, I believe, applies with equal force to those of us who are farmers and who represent the farmers not only in eastern but in central Canada as well. I think I am safe in saying that we have been wonderfully patient with and wonderfully kind to our western brothers in the difficulties which they have laid before this parliament during the last two sessions, in so forcible a manner. We certainly sympathize with them and we are willing at all times to extend to them the helping hand. But when it comes to singling out wheat growing or wheat growers in any one part of Canada more than another, I feel it my duty to draw the line at that. I wonder how the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) expects me to get along when I return to my constituency and after they read in Hansard and in the newspapers the stirring appeal that he has made to the house on behalf of his wheat growers in western Canada. What will they say to me? What will the man down there say who is selling the very best grade of potatoes that can be found anywhere at eight cents a bushel, while thousands and thousands of bushels of them will foe carted out into the fields this spring, finding no market whatever? Let me draw to the attention of my hon. friend this fact: Wheat is a commodity that you can keep over for a number of months; potatoes automatically market themselves. Within the next two or three weeks they will be off the market; they will be rotting and will be carted out to the fields for manure. The hon, member for Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell) said that you must separate wheat from any other farm commodity; he thinks he has a right to do that. In doing that, you must separate the wheat grower from the grower of any other commodity and that I consider is most Unfair and unjust.

Wth reference to the bonus system, my opinion is it is the most dangerous practice in which any government could ever engage. Wheat, they say, is very important to the wheat growers, largely so because they have a

great quantity of it and it adds greatly to the wealth of the dominion. We admit all that; but the production of potatoes, or fruit, or hogs, or beef, or eggs, or butter, or cheese is just as important to those who are engaged in those industries as the growing of wheat is 1o the wheat farmers of western Canada. If you begin to extend this bonus system to wheat, why not extend it to every other commodity which the farmers are engaged in producing? But that is not the worst feature of the situation. We cannot stop there. While I am a farmer, I am quite free to admit that, there are in the dominion other people engaged in other important occupations who have just as much right to consideration as have the farmers.

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

They have all been

well looked after. They have had their bonus.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Not in the hon. member's riding.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

The hon. member for Southeast Grey says they have all been looked after. Let me say that satement appears to. me to be due to her lack of knowledge.

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

The hon. member will

learn as he remains here longer.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Let me take my hon. friend -I am sure it would be a pleasure for me to do so-down to the shores of the maritime provinces where we have the best class of citizens to be found on earth, engaged in the very hardest occupation at which man can work, that of the fishing industry. What are we going to do for the fishermen who are selling the best codfish that can be found anywhere in the world for half a cent a, pound landed on the stages? If that is prosperity; if that is fairplay for the fishermen of eastern Canada, I should like the hon. member for Southeast Grey to say so. What about the coal miners? Why not give them a bonus? Why not extend it to the whole population of Canada? What about the lumbermen? Wherever there is lumber, you will find men who have not been in the bush this winter. Why? Because the lumber they got out last year is still in their yards unsold. They cannot sell it at any price. If we are-going to extend this bonus system to the wheat farmers of western Canada, why not extend it as well to the lumbermen all over Canada?

But if you want to help agriculture, this will never be done by a bonus; I think the hon. member for Acadia admits that himself. That is not the right way to tackle the problem. In my opinion the present Minister-

Wheat Bonus-Mr. Myers

of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) is attempting, as far as he is humanly able, to approach this problem from the right end. So far, my observation of the Department of Agriculture has been that 99 per cent of its effort has been directed along the line of teaching you and me how to grow more potatoes, more wheat to the acre, how to raise more hogs, how to make the hens lay more eggs, how to produce more beef and everything along that line.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

A very good line too.

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May 10, 1932