April 24, 1934

LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I regret that very

much myself. I think I shall embrace an opportunity of continuing this story, maybe on the budget.

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Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

William John Loucks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. LOUCKS (Rosetown):

Mr. Speaker, permit me, before commencing to discuss the bill, to extend my congratulations to the department and more particularly to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) on the vision they had in bringing down such a bill as that now before us. At the outset I may say that it was my privilege for six years to be a delegate on the wheat pool and from that experience I gained some knowledge of cooperative marketing. When the wheat pool started it was recognized that we must have a certain sign-up before it could be operated. Our objective was at least fifty per cent. We succeeded finally in getting nearly an eighty per cent sign-up on the second contract, as the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) will remember. What was the reason for the wheat growers in Saskatchewan getting together to the extent of say eighty per cent? It was that they realized the need for orderly marketing. We were all convinced of that. The other night the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) mentioned some of the farm organizations we have had: he mentioned the Grain Growers Grain Company, now the United Grain Growers. I admit that that company did considerable good to farmers in western Canada. I myself am a shareholder in it. He mentioned also the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Company that did much good. But I think it is beyond question that we did not go far enough. We found, after all we had done, that there was still a lack, and that lack was orderly marketing. It is not necessary to explain it to western men, but for the sake of eastern members I may tell the story, which was this: In the fall wheat began to flow to Winnipeg in such volume that the price was depressed; in other words we were our own competitors. I think we are all ready to

Marketing Act-Mr. Loucks

admit that the purpose of this bill is orderly marketing. Prior to coming here in January I believe all the federal members from Saskatchewan, both Liberal and Conservative, were invited to Regina to discuss the marketing bill. I believe the hon. member for South Battleford (Mr. Vallance) was there. Prom our side Mr. Turnbull and myself met the solicitor and the president of the Saskatchewan wheat pool, and they intimated to us what they wanted. I feel that this bill pretty well covers what was suggested by them. Their desire was for the orderly marketing of the primary products of our province. I do not know whether the hon. member for South Battleford committed himself to what they suggested. Recently I met the solicitor of the wheat pool again, and his only condemnation of the bill is that it does not go far enough; yet the opposition say it is too radical, too far-reaching. I want to compliment the ex-Minister of Agriculture as a Saskatchewan member on the attitude he has taken; I think it has been very fair. He has at least straddled the fence; I do not know whether he is going to get over, because he says that when the bill gets into committee there are certain clauses to which he is going to object. At any rate I think he has endorsed the first six clauses; and that is gratifying. On such a bill as this, having no purpose but to help the farmers, all the farmers, not only those of the west but of the east, I think we should get together, knowing as we do the present state of agriculture in this country.

I am rather amazed to find some hon. members so suspicious about the powers to be given under this bill. It is contended that it takes from the farmers the control of their products, giving too much power to the Minister of Agriculture or the boards that may be set up. In that connection I notice in the bill the following provision:

7. (2) A representative number of the persons operating under a scheme approved under section five of this act may petition the minister to revoke the scheme.

That is, when the farmers themselves, or a certain number of them, have petitioned the minister to set up a board, and the board has been set up and has operated, should they find that there is any failure in it, the same number of men or others, if I interpret it aright, would be empowered to come with a petition to the minister and ask for the revocation of this scheme. I think that is sufficient protection; I do not think the farmers should be afraid in view of that.

Then it has been said by several speakers that the rights of the farmers are being taken 74726-158J

away. I want to ask who in that calling has any great rights to lose at the present time? In other words, what have we to say about any commodity when we go to market it? Very little, I think we must confess, as to the merchandising of it.

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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

You will not have any under this bill.

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CON

William John Loucks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOUCKS:

I think my hon. friend will admit that that is the situation. Some six weeks ago I had occasion to go to the market in Ottawa. Walking around I priced eggs, which I shall use as an illustration. I asked one farmer, "How much do you want for your eggs?" He said, thirty cents a dozen, and I guarantee them to be fresh." I asked the adjoining farmer what he wanted for his eggs. He said: "Thirty-five cents a dozen." "How can you expect," I said, "to get thirty-five cents for your eggs when your neighbour here is offering me eggs for thirty cents, and guaranteeing them just as fresh? He said, "Is he really offering them for that"? I said, "Yes." I called them together and asked them how they liked their system of marketing. That is the condition prevailing even on the Ottawa market, which I believe is considered one of the best in Canada for agricultural products. I can go back to my boyhood days when I drove a one-horse wagon here in old Ontario and took my mother to market; I remember my mother being just as disappointed in selling her eggs as that man was. Who was her competitor? Her next-door neighbour. And that condition still exists. I asked these farmers how they would like what this bill provides for, a scheme making it possible for them to cease competing with each other. That is the trouble, the same as with this vast amount of wheat.

Now What happened after we operated a wheat pool for some six or eight years? Do not forget that while starting with the pool was optional, it was compulsory after we had signed. Something has been said here about the penalties. Let me tell you that when I signed the contract of the wheat pool I agreed to be subject to a penalty of twenty-five cents a bushel should I market outside the pool. That would have meant to me probably about $2,500 on a crop of 10,000 bushels. Why did I do that? Because I was convinced that I should not be a competitor of my neighbour or the other farmers of Saskatchewan. The penalties provided under this bill are from $25 to as much as $500 or three months in gaol. The farmers of Saskatchewan were willing to subject themselves to more than that to save the situation for orderly marketing.

Marketing Act-Mr. Loucks

If ever there was a time in the history of Canada that regulated marketing was necessary it is now; I think we all agree on that.

Another feature on which this bill has been criticized but which I think necessary is this. Last fall, for instance, in my part of the country-and I think this would answer the hon. member for South Battleford-we had thousands of pigs weighing perhaps fifty to sixty pounds each, and the time came when the barley or whatever grain they had ran out. The farmers had not a dollar to buy grain to finish these pigs, so what did they do? They sent them to the Saskatoon stock yards, and the price realized would not average $2 each. Would it not have been a good thing for those farmers if there had been in effect some measure such as this, so that the board could come to their rescue, go to the bank if necessary and get a loan to buy barley, which was only twenty-five cents a bushel? Just imagine the earnings that could have been made if a bill similar to this had been in force, and that applies equally to cattle. Thousands of cattle were taken to market when they were not fit for sale at all, and so far as prices were concerned they were practically slaughtered on the markets of Saskatoon and all over western Canada.

Some mention has been made of quotas. We know we have a wheat quota to-day, and I found it very gratifying to read in the newspapers recently that some fifteen nations were getting together, in Rome, to agree according to the report, upon a world pool. They are not only the producers and exporters; they are the importers as well, the producers and consumers, if you like. There is an example of cooperation between the consumer and the producer. We have read the evidence brought out in the price spreads -committee, and surely it must be agreed that it is a step in the right direction if we can prevent such spreads. I believe hon. members will agree when I say that the farmers cannot go on unless we do something to raise commodity prices. How can we do that? One way is by means of this marketing board. I was told by a solicitor for the wheat pool that they are well satisfied with the proposition, that they would not want one clause removed though they might add two or three more. Surely by setting up this board we can eliminate a great deal of that spread; surely we can raise commodity prices. When I go down the street of any town or city and pass the stores I often think that while I might go in and offer so much for an article, it is not possible for me to dictate the price that any merchant need accept. What would happen to their businesses if

they had nothing to say with regard to the price for which their articles were sold? When we come to the farmer, however, that is exactly the situation that prevails. He has never reached the point of being able to say anything as to the price for which he shall sell the commodities he produces. Surely no one is going to object if he tries to do that now.

The hon. member for South Battleford (Mr. Vallance) referred to the Scottish cooperative in his own home county. Naturally they would take exception to the activities of Mr. McFarland and to this government guaranteeing the banks in an attempt to secure some decent price for our wheat. I know that when we organized our pool the Scottish cooperative took exception to our action, naturally enough, since they have elevators scattered here and there over our province. Why did they take exception? They did so because, when we had eighty per cent of the wheat under one control, it hurt their business. Yet the hon. member for South Battleford gets up and almost applauds the Scottish cooperative while condemning the government for having come to the rescue of the farmers of western Canada by guaranteeing the banks in order to take the wheat off the market. Let me point out to my hon. friend that if the growers of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta had signed contracts for another year; if we had retained that control of the wheat which we possessed when we had about eighty per cent of the farmers united and if we had continued to make the initial payment to the farmers there would have been no need of the government stepping in. But wheat got out of order again and it was necessary for the government to come to our rescue. That was the reason that action was taken, and that was the only reason. We reached the point where we refused to sign our contracts and to-day, while we claim we have wheat pools, the farmers are putting their wheat through any elevators at all. I will agree with the hon. member for South Battleford that the price dropped so low that the initial payment would not have been sufficient to finance operations for the coming year, but that was what happened.

I want to make it very clear, as a member from Saskatchewan, that I am interested in other commodities than wheat. It is a great mistake to suppose that Saskatchewan produces nothing but grain. Saskatchewan is the leading producer of horses; it stands second in poultry, third in milk, third in pigs and fourth in the number of cattle. So I am doubly interested in seeing that everything

Marketing Act-Mr. Loucks

possible should be done to assist agriculture in this country, because we are vitally concerned in almost all agricultural activities.

When the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) introduced this bill a few days ago he referred to several commodities and mentioned the extent to which they were produced and consumed in Canada. For instance, more than ninety-nine per cent of all the eggs we produce are consumed here. Surely something can be done to raise that commodity price. I do not mind telling you, Mr. Speaker, that when I was home at Easter eggs were worth barely eight cents a dozen in our town. What farmer can continue at that rate? My son received 38 cents for five dozen eggs, in our own town. In connection with sheep and lamb, ninety-nine per cent of the production is consumed in Canada, yet the farmers have no say as to what price they shall receive. When I hear hon. members talk about the need for foreign markets it seems to me we had better set our own house in order first, and I believe this bill goes a long way in that direction. We consume 98.9 per cent of the butter we produce and over 98 per cent of the poultry. Let me say that last fall, in November and December, I saw turkeys brought to the market in Saskatoon, and I actually saw women with tears in their eyes because they had to sacrifice their poultry. Why was that? There was no order about it. I actually saw one woman come out of a store with tears in her eyes. She had gone there expecting to get so much for her poultry, but she did not get anything like what she hoped. That was because John Jones, Tom Smith and other people had been there before her and too many turkeys had been placed on the market. Surely we can regulate that, to some extent at least.

I want to say again that I am glad the government of Canada have come to the point where they see the possibility of doing something in this direction and are bold enough to take a step forward. In connection with cattle and beef we consume over ninety-seven per cent of our production according to the official statistics; more than ninety-six per cent of our potatoes, ninety-five per cent of our pork products, ninety-four per cent of our oats and eighty-eight per cent of our barley are consumed in Canada. Yet we have been sitting here looking at each other and doing nothing. I do not think they mean anything by it, but I sometimes wonder why some hon. gentlemen in this house object so strenuously to the farmers doing as others have done in an attempt to guarantee at least a reasonable price for what they produce.

In the amendment which was ruled out of order this afternoon the leader of the opposition moved against compulsion. I want to say right here that this measure would not be worth the paper it is written on if there were not compulsion in it. What good would it be? I believe I can make myself clear by explaining the situation in regard to wheat. Last year and for two or three years prior we did not have the farmers in western Canada, and particuhrly the province of Saskatchewan, on contract, and because there was no compulsion the wheat was rushed on to the market at Winnipeg. I admit that I was not bound to sign a contract-it was optional-but after I had signed, what happened? I was under compulsion to live up to that contract and to do nothing else. That is what compulsion means, and it does not mean anything else.

I do not think we should become fearful of the set-up of the boards. I have no doubt that the local boards will consist of men drawn from agriculture. There is no doubt about that. I was pleased to hear the ex-Minister of Agriculture state that he would like to see something done very quickly. He intimated that if the bill went to the committee on agriculture probably thirty days would be required for discussion. In that connection I want to say this: I hope we are not going to waste thirty days in the passing of this bill. If there is any one thing which more than another is disgusting to the people out in the country, it is that very thing. They see us coming down here and sitting day after day, day after day. What did we do this afternoon? We wasted nearly all of it disputing the amendment offered by the right hon. leader of the opposition. I wonder what the people back in the country think of us when we sit down here arguing, arguing. We argued for weeks to get the relief measure through the house, and we argued this afternoon on a little point in connection with the amendment. That is not what the farmers are thinking about.

When I landed home on a Saturday a meeting in my home town had been arranged. The farmers who crowded the hall wanted me to give them an outline of the marketing bill. As I had a copy with me I took it clause by clause; I explained it to the best of my ability, and I tell hon. members right here and now that in regard to that bill there was not a dissenting voice. They were one hundred per cent behind it. They said, "If you can do something like this, your government is working, and working in the right way." There were men in that meeting who would not consent to wheat pool contracts; they refused to sign, but they see now the results of their folly. I want to say in all fairness, however,

249(i

Marketing Act-Mr. Loucks

that you may go into any community you like and you will always find that minority which did not cooperate. Even when the telephone system was being developed in western Canada, over twenty-five years ago there was a minority which said, "No, we want to see the telephone in operation and we want to know what we will receive from it before we will have anything to do with it or take any share in its operation." We will always have such minorities, and we had them when we signed those contracts. Do hon. members mean to tell me that when a minority refuses to cooperate for its own good and for the welfare of the majority, some rule should not be brought in whereby-for their own good, mind you,-they may be forced to come in and to cooperate? Certainly there should be. It is not harmful to them; it is in their own interests. That condition however will always exist, because there is that class of men. And while we have adopted cooperative measures in western Canada I should like to be fair to those who would not cooperate; their attitude is due to lack of education. But to-day there is a greater grasp of what cooperative marketing will do than there has been at any previous time, because men-even that minority which kept out of the wheat pools-are beginning to realize that by so doing they did not help themselves. They are helpless so far as the marketing of their wheat is concerned. They would cooperate to-day.

In my section of the country, whether they be Liberals, Conservatives or members of the Cooperative Commonwealth party, almost one hundred per cent of the people are giving credit to the government because it helped to finance wheat operations and to see that wheat w'as stabilized at a certain price. The people are behind that action; there is no doubt about it.

On a certain day in Regina I met the sixteen directors of the wheat pool who said, "Mr. Loucks, you may tell this, if you like, that irrespective of politics, if there is one man to whom we want to give credit it is the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett. We give him credit because he went to London and while there cooperated with representatives from twenty-one countries in order to obtain a quota and to help the wheat growers in western Canada." The executive of the wheat pool made that statement, and in making it they were only fair. They realize what the government has done. They realize, further, that such action must come. I believe that in connection with every commodity there may have to be a quota; there is no question about that. To-day the problem is not one

of production but one of merchandising that which is produced.

Only this morning some members visited the experimental farm in order to observe experiments being made along certain lines. I could not help thinking: After all, what good will come of these experiments? I do not want anyone to think that I am undervaluing the work being done at the experimental farm, but no matter how well an animal is bred, no matter how carefully it is developed, if it cannot be marketed in an orderly way so as to obtain something from its sale, there can be very little use in taking special care in breeding. While visiting the farm we observed experiments in connection with poultry, but my mind went back to the fact that eggs in my constituency were worth only eight cents a dozen. I had to think of those facts, because I know the circumstances. If after all these experiments have been made at the experimental farm, through a bill such as the one before us we can make it possible for the farmers in Canada to obtain some profit, then I say we should act promptly.

But this bill goes even, farther than that: it .provides for investigations. Why is that provision made? If the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) were in his seat I would assure him that the investigations could go far enough to see that we as producers do not exploit the consumers. No farmer will object to that provision, because he does not wish to exploit the consumer. The bill takes care even of that possibility.

For these reasons I cannot see why we cannot get together and set an example. Why cannot representatives in this House of Commons, coming from all parts of the dominion, for once present a: united front in connection with this bill? All hon. members know that if at a later time one clause or another did not meet with the approval of an hon. member he would be at liberty to move an amendment. True, there may be weaknesses in the bill, but they could be remedied in committee. In the event of an hon. member opposite offering an amendment in the interests of the farmers, I believe I would be open minded enough to accept it. If agriculture would be helped by such amendment, I would agree to it.

There is a further condemnation of the bill in. that it promises subsidies. That is, whenever a farmer is dictated to, if you choose to use that term, in connection with cattle or any other commodity, there is a clause providing for a subsidy; he will be helped because he has had to hold back a shipment of

Marketing Act-Mr. Loucks

cattle. In my view that part of the bill particularly commends itself. It has been the subject of much great criticism, however; it seems that in some cases guarantees are considered necessary, but when it comes to the farmer objection is taken. This bill goes to the extent of subsidizing when it is felt that it is not desirable to ship a certain commodity. We ought to cooperate with the farmers in Great Britain, but how are we going to do it if we do not have some means of effecting that cooperation? Certainly we do not wish to flood the English market. We say to the farmer who is not allowed to ship wheat, "We will subsidize you for a certain amount." I hope the Minister of Agriculture will for the time being leave that clause as it is.

The farmers are not able to finance the setting up of the machinery and I would not like to see the act crippled for the lack of funds to set the machinery going. I make this prediction, however, that once it is established, almost automatically the farmers will take care of it. They are not the ones who are always wanting to go to the consolidated revenue fund-not at all. I would remind hon. members that the farmers of western Canada financed the machinery under the old wheat board. There was no objection whatever to doing that. The farmers do not object to financing the marketing of their own products. We have financed millions and millions for the wheat pool, two cents a bushel for the elevator and one cent a bushel for reserve. I hold over $2,000 in certificates myself. I did not object if I was going to get a better price for my wheat, and I do not think I should ask someone else to pay that for me. But things are so serious for the farmer at the present time that for the first year at least I hope this clause will be retained in the bill whereby the government can come to the rescue and help with the financing of things in which the farmers will need a little assistance.

I have spoken at considerable length, Mr. Speaker, and I do not think it is necessary to occupy the time of the house further in expressing my approval of this bill. I am not one of those who feel like criticizing altogether hon. members of the opposition for their attitude in regard to this bill because there are some things about each other that we do not very well understand. For instance, my hon. friend from South Battleford (Mr. Vallance) and I have cooperated in pretty nearly everything, but he cannot cooperate with Mr. Loucks on this bill. His constituency adjoins mine and his people need this bill just as much as mine do, but I notice that his last

words in addressing this house were that he was going to oppose the bill. I fear for him when he tells the farmers of his constituency that Mr. Loucks of Rosetown supported this bill and he did not. I am afraid of what the farmers will say to him, but I am generous enough to be ready to go and help smooth things over for him and patoh it up. But when I go back to Rosetown constituency myself I know that I need have no fear at all because of my attitude on this bill.

The bill is very simple. There are only about three clauses that are important. The most important provisions are those providing for orderly marketing and the regulating of the things that we produce. My hon. friend from South Battleford and I have cooperated in different organizations out there. I have listened to him speak many times on agricultural matters but I confess that I never heard him labour harder than he did when he was addressing this house the other day and endeavouring to justify his opposition to this bill. The first time I met him he was organizing a farmers' union. I have always looked upon him as a man who was trying to help agriculture, and therefore I was more convinced than ever when he was opposing this bill that he was labouring under a handicap; but I will help him if I possibly can.

I have been informed that the hon. members in opposition in this house were told that they must oppose this bill; that has come to me pretty authoritatively. I can tell them further that the solicitor of the wheat pool went around to some of the members from Saskatchewan and tried to whip them into line, and told them that if they did not support the bill it would be very serious politically for them. He came into my office the other morning-naturally he comes to me because we have discussed it-and he said that he would like to see the bill go further. He and I have spoken from the same platform and we are in sympathy in regard to agricultural problems, although we do not agree politically. So I will advise my hon. friends opposite from Saskatchewan not to go too far in opposing this bill. I am glad, Mr. Speaker, that I am free. I feel fully justified in supporting the bill because it is trying to do something for the farmers; it is giving them a chance to live.

We are not living in the past. As I said earlier in my remarks, I drove my mother in a one-horse wagon to the Kingston market, and she had to be penalized in selling her butter and eggs. Do hon. gentlemen think that with the vision we have to-day we are going to be content to live in the past? Not at all. It has been suggested that this gov

Marketing Act-Mr. Totzke

eminent is becoming too socialistic, but I want to warn those who have made that suggestion that we have got to step forward, and this bill is a step forward. That is why I can support it and go back and defend my attitude in Rosetown constituency one hundred per cent, and if necessary when I go back I will try to fix up things for my hon. friend from South Battleford.

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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

May I ask my hon.

friend a question in regard to the statement he made respecting the solicitor of the wheat pool? Would he mind telling us just who the members were that the solicitor saw and told that they had better not raise any objection to this bill?

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CON

William John Loucks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOUCKS:

He did not mention the

names but said he went around among the Saskatchewan members.

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CON

Franklin White Turnbull

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TURNBULL:

He got the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell)

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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PRIVATE BILL

SECOND READING-CONSIDERED IN COMMITTEE AND REPORTED


Bill No. 58, to amend an act to incorporate the Discount and Loan Corporation of Canada-Mr. Sullivan.


MARKETING ACT

ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS


The house resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Weir (Melfort) for the second reading of Bill No. 51, to improve the methods and practices of marketing of natural products in Canada and in export trade, and to make further provisions in connection therewith.


LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. A. F. TOTZKE (Humboldt):

Mr. Speaker, just before the house rose at six o'clock we were listening to an address by the hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Loucks). I paid close attention to his remarks, but about all I could gather from them was that he was in favour of the bill. He had nothing particularly new to bring forth, so I am sure he will pardon me if I do not follow him in the few remarks I wish to make. However, the hon. member said one thing which I do not think I can allow to pass without comment. He made a positive statement to the

effect that the solicitor for the wheat pools had gone around to some of the members fiom Saskatchewan to try to whip them into line by telling them if they did not support this bill it would prove very serious politically for them. The hon. member said that the solicitor had come to his office the other morning, the inference being that the solicitor had told the hon. member that he had gone to see some of the Saskatchewan Liberal members to whip them into line. I know the solicitor for the wheat pools very well and I do not believe he said anything of the kind.

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CON

William John Loucks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOUCKS:

I take exception to that.

I claim he did say just what I said.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

I still say that I do not believe the solicitor for the wheat pools said anything of the kind and I do not think I am departing from the rules in making that statement. I submit that that is a matter between the hon. member for Rosetown and the solicitor for the wheat pools. I say that that statement is entirely incorrect so far as I am concerned, because the solicitor did not try to coerce me in any way either to support or to oppose the bill, and so far as I have been able to learn from my colleagues from Saskatchewan, the solicitor did not try to coerce any of them.

During the course of his remarks the hon. member for Rosetown said that he was glad he was free. I am glad also that he is free and I am sure he will have still more freedom after the next election. We are responsible to our constituents for our actions, and I am sure all hon. members on this side are willing to leave any judgment upon their actions to the constituents who sent them here as their representatives.

I should like to deal with some of the provisions of the bill now before us, and to give as clearly and as concisely as I can my interpretation of them as well as my reasons for the action I intend to take upon the motion for second reading. The bill is entitled :

An act to improve the methods and practices of marketing of natural products in Canada and in export trade, and to make further provision in connection therewith.

'If that title gave us a true picture of what was intended to be done by the bill, I think all hon. members on this side would be only too pleased to support it. However, as I read the bill it is a long way from doing that. Instead of tending to improve the methods and practices involved in the marketing of natural products, the bill really tends to restrict that marketing. In introducing the bill

Marketing Act-Mr. Totzke

the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) started out by saying that he would not speak at any great length at that time. He said:

. . . there will no doubt be ample opportunity to make any observations that I think it necessary to make when the bill is before the committee.

To me that seems a very strange attitude for a minister to take in introducing a bill having the supreme importance of this one. At a stage of the procedure when the principle of the bill is being discussed he did not take the opportunity of developing fully the provisions of the bill in order to show the people throughout the length and breadth of this land just what this bill means. These people are waiting anxiously for that information, but he did not take the opportunity to indicate to them precisely what was in his mind as to the meaning of the provisions of the bill. Perhaps the minister was not any too sure himself as to what its provisions mean. I am sure he knows quite well what the people of Canada, and especially those of western Canada, have been expecting in the way of legislation to take care of the marketing of their products. It is my impression that the minister himself was not any too sure about the bill and was not any too well satisfied with it.

The minister in his speech first gave us a history of marketing as it affects agricultural products and the reasons for the failure of some of the cooperative associations that have been trying to take care of marketing natural products in different parts of the dominion. He said first of all that they did not have the proper men at the heads of the organizations; second, he said that the cooperatives themselves lost sight of the necessity of improvement in the quality and quantity, and of continuity of supply; third, he said that efforts had been made by private interests throughout the country against the success of the cooperatives and in that way a good deal was done to prevent them from succeeding. He said also that the executives of the cooperatives were chosen for their business ability and had no vital financial interest in the production of the natural products which they were undertaking to handle. Again he said that the number of producers who had remained outside the cooperatives depressed the market and thus undermined the efforts of the cooperatives. He said that the bill would take care of all, or at least the majority, of those difficulties and bring about better marketing conditions. In other words, he said in effect that if provisions similar to those contained in the bill had been in force the cooperatives could have been successful in

the past. As I develop my argument I intend to deal with some of these matters.

The minister said that a great deal of thought and consideration had been given to the preparation of this marketing bill. I do not doubt it, but I wonder by whom that thought and consideration were given. I feel satisfied that it could not have been the Minister of Agriculture who was responsible for the bill. Anybody who has studied it and knows the minister; who knows the part of the country from which he comes, knows he is fully aware of the ideas and the desires of the farmers at least of western Canada in connection with a marketing bill of this kind, and I do not believe the minister himself, had he been drafting the bill, would have done anything other than put into it what the farmers, those who had been taking part in those cooperative movements, desired in connection with the marketing of their products.

This afternoon there was a considerable argument on the principle of this bill. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) said that there was only one principle, that of establishing a marketing act; that that was the whole principle contained in the bill and on that principle we should vote on the second reading. But after listening to the speech of the Minister of Agriculture and reading it over in Hansard I notice he says that three principles are contained in the bill: first, to give the producer control of the regulation and marketing of his products; second, that organizing and getting closer to the market would show the necessity of improving the quality; third, that this plan was necessary so that the primary producers might devote their entire time to production and be assured of no interference fn marketing. With these principles I wish to deal at more or less length. I think the summary I have given of the remarks of the Minister of Agriculture, together with his statement that agriculture is the basic industry of Canada and that the country cannot succeed if agriculture and other primary industries do not succeed, will pretty well cover his speech.

I want to congratulate him on his speech, not so much for the explanation he gave of the bill-because, indeed, explanation was conspicuous by its absence-as for the tone of his speech. He was very moderate, more moderate than he usually is; and I should like to congratulate him upon the fact that in his speech there was nothing in the way of political partisanship. But I am disappointed that he did not go into the provisions of the bill. If in his dissertation on the problems

Marketing Act-Mr. Totzke

and difficulties of the primary producers in marketing their products he had indicated the manner in which this bill was to take care of those problems and difficulties, it would have been much more to the point and more what the people generally desire.

The minister said that he had received many resolutions supporting this bill. I wonder how many resolutions he has had in support of it since the people throughout the country have had an opportunity of studying its provisions. I wonder also, since the bill has been studied, how many resolutions he has received expressing dissatisfaction with its provisions. I have under my hand a news item from the Winnipeg Free Press of March 28 of this year, giving an account-

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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

That is not news.

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

I know the editor of this paper is one of those who sits in an office and gets a few paltry dollars a month and therefore should not know anything about what is agitating the minds of the Canadian people, but this article does not happen to be an editorial. This is an interview given by Mr. W. A. Landreth, of the poultry pool. Time will not permit me to quote the whole interview, but I wish to read just one sentence- and I may say that this gentleman in this interview was inclined to support the bill. He says:

The aim of the bill is producer control based on the British marketing act.

We know that producer control in this bill is not based on the British marketing act, and I have often wondered what this gentleman's reaction was when he actually got a copy of the bill and studied its provisions. I am satisfied that he would give an entirely different interview from that wlych he gave to the Free Press at that time.

It is significant that so few of the members supporting the government have risen to speak in favour of the bill.

It is true that a number of them have said they are in favour of it, but invariably in the course of their remarks they had to read something into the bill. They said they were in favour of it if so-and-so were incorporated; or they were in favour of it but felt the government was going to make certain amendments. That was invariably the case in all speeches made by hon. members opposite, and I want to give some short quotations from their remarks to show that I am correct in making that statement.

The first to speak from the government side following the address of the minister was the hon. member for Yale (Mr. Stirling). I have

a very high regard for him; I believe he is sincere in everything he says in the house, and I know he is particularly interested in marketing legislation because he represents a number of fruit growers in the Okanagan valley who have in the past tried to market their products through a scheme of compulsory cooperation, and only the fact that the bill was declared ultra vires by the courts prevented them from carrying on that method of marketing. So I say that he is very much interested and very sincere. I quote from his speech on page 2255 of Hansard:

Under section 5 of the bill the producers may join together in the preparation of a scheme which is submitted to the minister for his approval. The minister must satisfy himself that there is a sufficient volume of support behind the scheme. How is he to do that? In my opinion the only way he can do it is to have the figures of a poll laid before him. It is most desirable that the scheme should make provision for registration and polling.

The hon. member for Yale is supporting the bill, but one of the very essentials that he asks for is not in the bill, and we have no assurance that it is going to be embodied in it.

Then I take another quotation from the hon. member's speech, found at page 2256:

It is almost certain that any scheme will contain the idea of a board selected by the producers to be in charge of the fruit or whatever commodity it may be which they have to handle.

He says "it is almost certain," but again there is nothing in the bill to warrant the assertion that the producers will select the board.

Here is another quotation from the speech of the same hon. member, found at page 2257:

Therefore the practical method of doing it is for them to market where directed by the regulatory body, and for the receipts of that variety and that grade to be pooled. There is no doubt, I maintain, that under subsection (a) of section 4 that power is covered by the bill, but it appears to me it would be a desirable thing for a definite statement to be made by the government as to whether I am correct in reading that into the bill, because it will have a very considerable effect on the volume of support which this measure will receive in certain farming communities.

Once again he wants the government to say that he is correct in reading this provision into the bill. I maintain that these things are not provided for in the bill as it stands.

Then I wish to refer to one or two remarks made by the hon. member for Brome-Missis-quoi (Mr. Pickel). At page 2311 he is reported as saying:

This criticism from the other side of the house is simply for political purposes.

Marketing Act-Mr. Totzke

Now, Mr. Speaker, if the criticisms coming from this side of the house are simply for political purposes, how about the criticisms that are coming from behind the government itself? Are they also for political purposes? Or is it perhaps that the bill has been introduced for political purposes? Is it that an election is in the offing and this bill will be put through and the election held before its provisions may be tried out.?

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Surely they would never do that!

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LIB

Albert Frederick Totzke

Liberal

Mr. TOTZKE:

Lower down on the same page the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi is recorded as saying:

Well, Mr. Speaker, I am an eastern farmer and I am opposed most strongly, not to the grading acts themselves, but to their administration and operation. That is what I am opposed to.

I am in favour of the grading of products. In respect of our products for export it is necessary to have grading systems, proper quality and continuity of supply, but I say to the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi that if these boards are established there will be just such grading as there is at the present time. Does he think for a moment that the grading done by the officers of these boards will be any better, any more satisfactory than the grading done by the inspectors under the present act? I say it will not. And the average farmer, who after all is human, will not be satisfied with any system of grading if he thinks the grading of his products has not been done fairly, if he thinks he should have had a better grade than the grader gives him.

Lower down on the same page the hon. member is reported as having said:

And the packers will buy butter at fifteen and sixteen cents this summer and sell it at fifty and sixty cents a pound next winter. Is there any justice in that? Do we not need a marketing board?

Are these marketing boards going to be in a position to do what the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi wants them to do? Are they going to be in a position to take butter and eggs and perishable products in the summer, give the producer a reasonable price for them, and carry them over to the winter? Why, the very bill prevents them doing that. They are not buying and selling agencies, they are only directing and regulatory agencies. While they have under this bill power to build cold storage plants and in that way take care of perishable products, who is going to advance the payment to the producer? These boards have no right to do that. Therefore I say that the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi was reading into the bill something which is not there.

Further on he was asked if this bill was going to fix up all our troubles, and he said, "It should, let us try it; I am willing to try anything." I also say that the bill should make provision to deal with the difficulties of which the hon. member speaks, but it does not do so; therefore we are not justified in supporting it in its present form. We are all ready to do anything we can to improve the position of the producer, but surely the combined wisdom of the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Trade and Commerce and other members of the cabinet, not to mention the Prime Minister, could have evolved a better marketing bill than this.

I want to make one or two quotations from the speech of the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull). He usually is a very able debater. Seldom is he at a loss for arguments in support of any bill introduced by . the government, but in this particular case I was very much disappointed in him. I felt that he had to labour very hard indeed to find some justification for supporting this bill. At page 2381 he is reported as follows:

The farmers of Saskatchewan had lean cattle and, he said, the board would prohibit the selling of them.

He was referring to an hon. member on this side.

It will do nothing of the kind. What the board would do would be this. It would direct that those lean cattle be placed where they could be developed into fat cattle and sold to proper advantage.

Where is there anything in the bill that provides for places and men to take these lean cattle and fatten them to the proper condition for the market? There again the hon. member for Regina is reading something into the bill which is not there. Under this bill I say that these difficulties cannot be overcome. For example, when hogs are in the proper stage as regards weight and conformation they may be sold as bacon hogs or as selects, but if you have to keep them even two or three weeks longer they become too heavy and the producer loses the advantage of the price paid for bacon hogs and the dollar premium for select bacon hogs.

I am afraid I am not going to have time to go into the provisions of this bill as carefully as I should like, but there are certain things that I wish particularly to speak about. This bill does not give the producer the control over the marketing of his products which he desires, and which in my opinion he should have. In the first place, it sets up a dominion marketing board which is to be under the control of the government and governor in council, but it makes no pro-

Marketing Act-Mr. Totzke

vision whatever for any control on the part of the producer. All through the bill I have been looking for any provisions that might give the producer some control over the marketing and regulating of his products, but I can find none. Subsection (a) of section 4 provides that the board shall have power:

To regulate the time and place of marketing the regulated product, and to determine the manner of distribution and the quantity and quality or grade of the regulated product that shall be marketed' by any person at any time, and to prohibit the marketing of any of the regulated product of any grade or quality.

The board has complete control as to what shall be done in the way of regulation and marketing. In subsections (e) and (d) provision is made for compensation to the farmer on account of any loss that he may incur in consequence of any order of the board. That is all right so far as the farmer is concerned; I am all for compensation for him in such an event. But I would point out that there -would have to be found an army of investigators. And who is to decide whether the compensation is just or not? No opportunity is given for the farmer himself or his peers, his fellow farmers, to have anything to say as to whether the compensation provided is satisfactory or not. I say therefore that under this provision it will be very difficult indeed to give satisfaction to the producer. Subsection (e) gives the board power:

To assist by grant or loan the construction or operation of facilities for preserving, storing, or conditioning the regulated product and to assist research work relating to the marketing of such product.

That is a very good provision; facilities of one kind or another should be afforded to take care of storage and processing of farm products. Such facilities are very necessary, but we should pause to consider the expense to which all these things will lead. Here, however, is one section that I cannot allow to pass without comment. I refer to the provision contained in subsection (f) of the section I am considering:

To require any or all persons engaged in the production or marketing of the regulated product to register their names, addresses and occupations with the board, or to obtain a licence from the board, and such licence shall be subject to cancellation by the board for violation of any provision of this act or regulation made thereunder.

In this section the board, over which the farmer will have no control and in the composition of which he will have nothing to say, will have absolute control over the producer, and by the cancellation of his licence they may restrict his production or refuse altogether to allow him to produce any goods at all.

TMr. Totzke.]

I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, that I shall have to leave the various sections of the bill which I should like to deal with, inasmuch as there are some general remarks I wish to make in connection with the matter. Let me say first of all that this bill does not meet the situation; it does not give those powers which the farmers, more especially the producers of western Canada, are looking for. I know from my personal experience in western Canada something of what the farmers wanted, something of what the cooperatives wanted in connection with this marketing legislation. In the first place, they wanted power to form compulsory marketing pools. There is no question of that in my mind; I have no doubt that those who have been agitating most strenuously for marketing legislation of some kind such as some of our producers have are absolutely in favour of compulsory pools. The producers in the west are not unanimous on this, but there is considerable agitation and there are some arguments to be advanced in favour of it. What the pools themselves, or at any rate the majority of them, want is power to make it compulsory, but they do not want that power in any arbitrary manner; they want the producers to have an opportunity of voting on the question whether there shall be a compulsory pool or not. The only thing they want is that a certain majority should be fixed at a very high percentage, and if that high percentage of a majority vote in favour of it, then the minority shall be forced to come into the pool. I am not advancing as my own opinions any of the statements which I am now making, but rather my impression of what the farmers of the west, or at least some of them, are asking for.

In the second place, I am sure that the boards and those advocating a marketing plan want the power to buy and sell; at any rate they want the power to act as selling agents. I am sure they want control of the boards themselves, and they want the power to disband the board if necessary. As I said before, I have no doubt that all those who are agitating in favour of these powers are averse to having the powers without an opportunity being given the producers themselves of voting on the scheme, so that by their vote they may say whether they want it or not.

I wish to say a few general words now. The Minister of Agriculture, in the course of his remarks, said that agriculture is the backbone of Canada. I have no doubt that every one in this dominion will admit that agriculture is our main industry, and that if agriculture

Marketing Act-Mr. Dorion

is not prosperous the rest of Canada cannot be prosperous. In my own province of Saskatchewan the farmers are not prosperous; indeed, they are in very bad shape, because they need markets for their products. The members of this government admit that that is what is needed by the producers, but they say that at the present time the markets of the world are restricted and we should regulate our supplies. Well, there is nothing in this bill to promote the extension of markets for our products. What the farmer of western Canada wants more than anything else is for someone to sell his products for him. He wants somebody, whether it be the Department of Trade and Commerce or whoever it may be, to go on the markets of the world and sell his goods. The time has passed when we in the west can sit back complacently and say, "We have the best wheat in the world; the nations cannot get along without it and therefore they will come and buy it." We have had the experience of being unable to sell our wheat in that way and I say therefore that we need someone to sell it. If we cannot find a means of disposing of it, it will be a very short time before the farmer of the west is out of business.

What has this government ever done to sell the products of the western farmer? An imperial conference was held in Ottawa and we were given a six cent preference on our wheat. We were to sell it at the world price. Has this made a market for our wheat? Not at all. The hon. member for South Battle-ford (Mr. Vallance), in his remarks the other day, read a letter from an old country firm setting out the situation with regard to wheat in Great Britain. There was a table which he wanted to put on the record; I have it before me but I am afraid I shall not have time to put it on either. Not only have the farmers of Saskatchewan, Mr. Speaker, suffered from poor crops due to climatic conditions, but the prices for their products have fallen away below production costs, and now we are asked to restrict our production in the hope that prices will go up. The farmer in western Canada does not want restriction; what he wants is a bumper crop and fair prices, otherwise he will never get out of the hole. I say that this government should go to those countries in Europe which formerly imported our products and make trade agreements with them. We should say to those countries, "We will take some of your products if you will give us the opportunity of sending wheat to your country." At the conference recently held in Rome, Fiance made the offer

that she would be willing to reduce her wheat acreage if she were given the opportunity to place some of her manufactured products on the Canadian market. Why do we not accept that offer? Is it not time we got away from the idea of protecting some of the little secondary industries in eastern Canada? Is it not time that we gave proper consideration to the primary producers? Is it not time that we gave the western farmer a chance to buy some of his implements of production and necessities of life at more reasonable prices, in order that he may more nearly equalize the cost of production with the price he receives for his products? The farmer in western Canada through all these years has been paying through the nose. To-day he is in the position where he can see no hope. All the agitations and radical speeches made in the western provinces are the result of the position in which the western farmer finds himself. What he wants and what he needs is an opportunity to trade his products for those which he requires produced in other countries. He wants an opportunity to carry on that trade in a fair and reasonable manner. That is the only way in which he may hope to survive.

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April 24, 1934