The further question that has been raised as to the wisdom or unwisdom of there being a lessening in production is a matter that can always be discussed. It is a debatable question, and I am not going to say again what has been said so frequently, and what I did say in Winnipeg, that when a man finds himself producing in larger quantities than he is able to sell, and which he knows he cannot sell because the people who used to buy from him are supplying themselves, when fifty million acres that used to be sown to cereals were put out of production during the great war, and forty millions were added to production in the United States and ten millions in this country, it follows that as soon as the country that was out of production went back into production
Supply-International Wheat Agreement
there would be a corresponding loss of opportunity on the part of the United States and of Canada to sell their cereals where they had sold them during the war and immediately thereafter.
Just as soon as the devastation caused by the war was overcome and the communities . in question were able to sow and reap a harvest, just so soon was that market which Canada and the United States had theretofore enjoyed, limited to that extent.
So far as China is concerned we did have negotiations and we were offered, as I told this house many months ago, an opportunity to sell wheat to China on three-year terms,
I think it was; -but the conditions of government in China were such that we did not on that ground think it was desirable. But there was something more. They only desired to pay for the wheat a price equal to what our lowest grade of wheat would sell at, and we could not reduce the price of wheat in this country to less than forty cents a bushel in order to accept the Chinese offer, and we did not do so. The soft wheat of other countries found a more ready market than we were able to compete with. The price of wheat on the world market by reason of conditions that have been brought about partly by the agreement, partly by climatic conditions, partly by the acts of nature, and partly by grasshoppers, has been enhanced by these conditions, and I can only say to the hon. gentleman that it does appear to me to be-well, I shall not use the word I was going to use on this my birthday; I will only say that it does seem incredible that with knowledge of conditions as to the area that was put out of wheat raising and the increased areas that were put into wheat on the North American continent and in other parts of the world as well, when those countries went back to producing wheat to expect that we could sell them the wheat that we had been selling them while they were devastated.
In China the conditions of government are such that whether it is the government of Nanking or some other government that you are going to deal with you do not know what the conditions will be. Private purchasers have acquired wheat from Canada but the only offer which China made to this country in consequence of negotiations and inquiries and investigations was an offer to buy wheat at a price that we would not accept if we had the wheat to sell and at a price that we would not ask those who owned it to accept, and in addition they contemplated payment over a long term of years, necessitating that the dominion government finance the transaction in the meantime to provide the purchase price to those who sold. I am not unmindful that when the hon. gentleman first discussed a wheat conference at Regina he said, and the first literature that was prepared indicated, that all Canada had now to do was to produce, produce, produce, and many accepted his statement-