peculiarly difficult conditions. He sells at wholesale prices and buys at retail; he sells in a free market and buys in a protected market, and the continued effort of governments to shut out imports certainly tends to .destroy the farmer's markets. He sells as an unorganized individual in a highly organized world, and buys as an individual from organized trade. Then the farmers pay higher interest rates and they have a higher per capita overhead than any other class with an equal net income.
For many years, ever since I came to this house until this last year, the farmer's whole problem has ibeen made more complex by our immigration policy. We spent very large sums of money, which finally the farmer had to pay, for the purpose of bringing into this country immigrants who became competitors with our established farmers. Then, added to all these conditions which have prevailed for many years, -the farmers of Canada to-day are finding life almost impossible because of the exchange problem between Great Britain and Canada. Great Britain provides, if not the only market, almost the only one in which the Canadian farmer can sell his surplus products; but when the farmer places his products on the British market and is paid in British currency he loses on exchange. In converting that British currency into Canadian currency, eighteen per cent of the price of his product is lost. The farmer has many other difficulties to face, and they are taking the heart out of him. The result is that the Canadian farmer feels he cannot go on, and those who have not been close to agriculture in the last three or four months can scarcely know how discouraged the farmer in this province is, and I dare say that applies to farmers in every other province. But it is not only in the exchange as between British and Canadian currency that the farmers are faced with difficulty; the fact is that the nations that are our greatest competitors in agricultural products are in a more advantageous position with respect to exchange, and this makes it all the more trying for our farmers. For instance, the Danish farmer, with his money at par with the pound sterling, has, when the British pound is converted into his own currency as much in Danish money as his .products .brought in British currency, whereas we are at a disadvantage to the extent of eighteen per cent. And the Argentine, Australia and New Zealand enjoy an even greater advantage. So that the Canadian farmer simply has not a chance as things are, and we who represent agricultural constituencies, whether we sit in this
corner of the house or in either of the two great parties, should not allow this session to close without urging upon the government that steps be taken to ameliorate the condition of the Canadian farmer.
From time to time during this and previous sessions almost every phase of agriculture and the difficulties of the people who are engaged in that industry in its various branches have been dealt with by one member or another, and therefore I am not going to take up the time of the house to-night enlarging upon those difficulties. It has often been said in this house that although we in this corner discuss the difficulties of the farmers we do not suggest any remedies. I propose, therefore, to move, seconded by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote), an amendment which does outline remedies, and in a most respectful and helpful way we offer this government these proposals for what they may be worth. I move:
That all the words after the word "that" in the first line be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"this bouse regrets that the government has not made any pronouncement of a policy calculated to meet the depressed conditions of the agricultural industry.
Further, this house is of opinion that the government should take into consideration the following suggestions as means calculated to improve the agricultural industry:
(a) the national control and regulation of currency and credit;
(b) a measure of controlled inflation having for its object increase in commodity prices, and as a first step towards this end bringing our currency to par with the pound sterling;
(c) a substantial reduction of farm indebtedness and interest rates;
(d) financial assistance in creating processing plants under farmer control;
(e) international agreements on tariff matters;
(f) the creation of an export marketing board;
(g) that farmer cooperative selling organizations be permitted to import goods received in other countries in exchange for Canadian agricultural products without the imposition of customs or dumping duty;
(h) relieving the farmer of some of the indirect taxation and substituting heavier direct taxation based on the ability to pay.