June 12, 1935

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I can only say that these are the board of trade figures. In 1933-34 the total importations were 200,100,000 bushels, and of that total Canada supplied 68,100,000 bushels or 34-4 per cent. Since the preference was granted these figures have been kept very accurately, for reasons which the hon. gentleman will appreciate, because of the preference of 2s. a quarter.

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LIB

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

But has the right hon.

gentleman the re-export figures in order to compare them with 1928?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

These are the figures

without the re-export figures, because there has been no re-export of the wheat that came in under the preference.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I said a moment ago that the figures with respect to 1929 were: Total importations, 192,500,000 bushels; total amount supplied by the Dominion of Canada, $69,900,000 bushels, or 36-3 per cent. Those figures, however, in my judgment would be inaccurate because they do include re-exported wheat. The figures I gave previously did not include re-exported wheat, and that is the point I am making.

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LIB

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

I quite admit that, but

my right hon. friend will admit that there was also wheat exported from Canada to the extent of 229,000,000 bushels, all of which did not reach Great Britain.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is hardly accurate.

The hon. gentleman has the year wrong; in the year 1931-32 total exports to Great Britain from all countries were 229,400,000 bushels, of which 58,900,000 bushels came from Canada.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That would be true in

connection with the figures up to the time of the preference.

That is the situation in connection with Great Britain. Now let us turn to France. I have heard a great deal of talk about losing markets in that country. Canada shared in the French market to the following extent:

Bushels

1926 1,483,054

1927 12,016,273

1928 10,300,373

1929 16,647,328

1930 9,906,775

1931 31,606,308

1932 24,628,895

1933 13,746,663

Let me repeat:

Bushels

1931 31,606,308

1932 24,628,895

1933 13,746,663

And what about 1934, when France had the largest wheat crop in many years, when she was selling denatured wheat in the United States, and when French flour and French wheat were displacing British empire wheat on the English market? How much do you think we sold France in that year? Franee only imported 10,953,159 bushels in 1934, and of that total Canada supplied 9,606,530 bushels. Those figures were given me by the French ministry of commerce.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is not so; I am not talking about the Morocco situation at all.

Grain Board-Mr. Bennett

Under the agreement we have with France, when France sells 100 bushels of wheat they are allowed to acquire 100 bushels of wheat, and as I say, of the 10,000,000 bushels, the total that have gone into France, exclusive of the importations from France's own dominions, 9,606,530 bushels came from Canada.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I know just the opposite. I trust that in his absence the hon. gentleman has not been entirely asleep. That is not so, and my hon. friend knows that it is not so. He knows that 10,000,000 bushels of wheat were not imported by France in 1934 for seed; he knows that the importations for seed went to Morocco, Algeria and other countries. I am taking the figures they themselves gave as to the quantity of wheat they imported, and they used that wheat for strengthening their own wheat. They did not use it for seed; they used it for bread.

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LIB

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

Then my right hon. friend had better refer to his own minister, the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan), who gave that explanation at the time he put through the French treaty.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Possibly the hon. member has better information 'than I have. Probably I should say there are between 200,000,000 and

230.000. 000. Only the other day 1,500,000 bushels were sold, and on another day a half a million bushels were sold. I should say the figure would be approximately 220,000,000 to

225.000. 000 bushels. At any rate, that is my idea of what it would be.

It is true that last year in committee the view was expressed that it was not desirable to make these figures known. The debate which developed indicated that there was a sharp division of public opinion as expressed by the members who were there. On that vote a large number of members expressed their desire to disclose the figures. The following Liberal members voted to disclose them: Hur-tubise, Nipissing; Raymond, Beauharaois; Lapointe, Quebec East; Power, Quebec South; Mackenzie, Vancouver Centre; Ralston, Shel-bume-Yarmouth; Howard, Sherbrooke; Donnelly, Willow Bunch; and Duff, Antogonish-Guysborough. Conservatives, Progressives and the remaining Liberals on the committee opposed the publication. There was a vote of 26 to i0 not to disclose the financial position of operations.

In view of the evident desire of men occupying high positions in the Liberal party I have no hesitancy whatever in making known the figures which, although it changes from time to time, is I believe at the present time between 220,000,000 and 225,000,000 bushels. That has accumulated in the manner I have indicated. This has been accumulated on the guarantee of the Dominion of Canada, under the circumstances to which I have alluded.

I shall add only one word further. I have endeavoured as fully as possible to disclose to this chamber the position of the wheat business in Canada.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

You didn't say how much.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I didn't say what? I

have endeavoured to make known to this house the world conditions which have rendered it impossible to find a market for the over-production of Canadian wheat. Had I desired to take the time I could have given the surpluses, and carry-overs of other countries. Nature has limited production in some countries and stimulated it in others. But I know of no method by which we could have prevented a debacle on a scale never before known in this country than the method we adopted. I know some have suggested we should have let the wheat go at any price and withdrawn our guarantee. I am not prepared to do that. I do not yet think that is a sound policy; I have not changed my mind with respect to that point.

The bill, the second reading of which I have moved, is one predicated upon the fact that the general manager of this company whose operations have enabled this end to be accomplished is not further able to discharge his normal duties. I have indicated, therefore, that a wheat board in name-because we have had one in reality during the last two years- that a wheat board in name and reality should be set up. The terms and provisions of the bill are short and simple. It provides for the marketing of the Canadian wheat crop through the channel I have indicated, not through a private enterprise. It is to be done through a public board created by the Dominion of Canada for the purpose of ensuring against the destruction of that measure of economic stability, weak though it may be, that we through our efforts have been able to build up in the last few years.

I should not care to contemplate what the position would be had this action not been taken. I shall await with great interest the statements of hon. gentlemen opposite as to what course they think should be pursued,

Grain Board-Mr. Ralston

other than that which I have suggested to meet the situation now confronting us. I repeat now what I stated at the beginning: We have an obligation that is not limited to our own country, because as the chief exporter and the third greatest producer of wheat we have a duty to all wheat exporting countries to give such help and assistance as we may to prevent wheat being sold at a price ruinous to the producer, one which will not permit him any return on his money and does not enable him in any sense to reap the reward for the effort of his hands. It is for that reason that the bill is commended to the bouse. I offer it with a great deal of confidence that it will meet with the approval of those who believe that the welfare of their country transcends that of any party.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Shelbume-Yar-mouth):

Mr. Speaker, there is one thing

upon which hon. members on this side of the house may congratulate the Prime Minister, and that is on his return to normalcy. I do not think he has ever so excelled himself in truculence, bombastic utterances and general partisanship, as he has in the speech to which we have just listened.

At the last minute the right hon. gentleman has appealed to the house to have this matter considered in no party spirit. But almost every line of his speech, every sentence of it, has been an attempt to glorify the government of which he is the leader, and to deprecate the efforts of anybody else. I say this, too, that the right hon. gentleman has not hesitated to misrepresent the attitude of hon. members in this chamber, thinking possibly that he might bring support to a cause he now espouses. I propose to deal with that point before I have concluded. Let me say to the right hon. gentleman that I have neither the information before me, much less the ability, to deal with the mass of figures with which he has smothered this house and with which he has smothered the real issue contained in the bill. The right hon. gentleman has taken a tilt at the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, a gentleman who is not here to answer for himself. The editor of the Winnipeg Free Press I think is quite able to take care of himself, and we need not worry about him. My right hon. friend has also set up some invisible opponent- because so far as I know no hon. member sitting in this house has as he suggests opposed1 the assistance which has been given to the western wheat grower during this time of stress and strain. There is not a man sitting on this side of the house who has opposed that assistance. My right hon.

friend's brave challenge to stand up like men and vote, and all this bravado which he has exhibited this afternoon, is quite beside the point. He is only setting up a straw man and knocking him down again. Of course he had to inject a certain amount of that sort of thing into his speech to indicate that he was making his come-back, of which we are all glad, but I say to my right hon. friend that on a subject which he asks to have dealt with seriously he should not give way to the truculent tone and bombastic utterance in which he indulged this afternoon. His speech was nothing more or less than a partisan appeal, an election appeal of a dying government.

My right hon. friend has left his headliner for the campaign to the last. Up to this day, June 12, let it be known this house has never been told the amount of wheat on hand carried by the central selling agency to which my right hon. friend has referred. On May 21 last my right hon. friend in answer to the hon. member for South Battleford (Mr. Vallance) made a reply concerning this question which he now puts before this house in this long speech, which would rather indicate that he was then of a somewhat different mind than he is to-day respecting the importance of this matter. As reported on page 2926 of Hansard Mr. Vallance asked the following question:

I would like to ask the Prime Minister if he can indicate to the house when we may expect to deal -with the resolution now standing in his name proposing to set up a wheat board or at least a grain board.

And what was the answer?

Right Hon. R. B. Bennett (Prime Minister): When other business more pressing is disposed of that will be dealt with in due course.

What has been the pressing business which has been dealt with in the meantime? Facing as we do the close of the session probably next week, we are called upon to deal with this momentous question which my right hon. friend says, and I think quite properly, almost transcends in importance any other question facing the Dominion of Canada at the moment except perhaps unemployment. What business have we had which has been regarded as more pressing than the wheat question? Well since the Prime Minister made that answer we have dealt with fair wages on public works, simply the putting into statutory form of an order in council which has existed all along, this measure by the way not to come into effect until May 1, 1936. Much more pressing than the wheat question! We have dealt with weights and measures. We saw two sessions of this house

Grain Board-Mr. Ralston

devoted to consideration of a bill respecting patents, and a debate between the hon. member for East Kootenay (Mr. Stevens) and the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan) with regard to a particular provision, and the Prime Minister taking a rather prominent part in that debate. We had the amendment to the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, simply an enabling measure which permitted complaints to be made to a board set up under the act, this being I understand since rejected in another place. We had amendments to the Criminal Code in connection with legislation which the Minister of Justice admitted was invalid and inefficacious and that convictions could not be secured under it. All that took precedence of the matter of the establishment of a Canadian grain board. And we have had supply in connection I think with half a dozen different departments. That answer, Mr. Speaker, was given three weeks ago; and now, with this house expecting to prorogue next week, my right hon. friend introduces this bill, dealing with the biggest and probably the most pressing problem before the Dominion of Canada at the present time. In that deluge of figures which my right hon. friend put on Hansard he omitted to tell us how much this country is committed to in connection with the guarantees given by the government, guarantees which were not even formulated by an order in council but by a letter written by my right hon. friend in January, 1931, not put into shape as an order in council until September, 1931. In those four years we have not been given a single item of information on that matter, nor have we had any information on it this afternoon in spite of all my right hon. friend has said, going back as he has to ancient history, 1920 and 1921, telling us the acreage of the different countries during these years and the amount of production and value of exports and all these one hundred and one things. This fills up Hansard, but I submit with all respect to my right hon. friend that it does not assist us in considering intelligently and deciding the problem which he says is the greatest problem of this country to-day. He has cited reams of figures even the duties put on by all the countries of the world beginning back in 1921. Has my right hon. friend in giving his comparisons, in stating that 35 per cent I understood him to say, of Great Britain's imports of wheat came from Canada, given a comparison between Canada and the Argentine, which I had the opportunity of putting on Hansard a short time ago? My right hon. friend has dealt in percentages, but with all the wealth of figures it seems to me it would

interest us to know whether or not our competitor, which admittedly is the Argentine, is gaining on us in the British market. The figures which are on Hansard already, and which I shall read again in order that this matter may be easily available at this time, are these:-I give just the round figures:

British Imports of Wheat from September 1, 1932, to January 31, 1933

Bushels

From Argentine 3,635.000

From Australia 10.358.000

From Canada 51,696,000

For the same period in the following year Britain imported from Argentine not 3,635,000 but 12,176,000; from Australia instead of

10,358,000 she imported 17,661,000, and from Canada instead of 51,696,000 in 1932-33 she only imported 29,406,000.

My right hon. friend deals in percentages;

I am dealing with bushels. I think the western Canadian farmer understands those terms better. From September 1, 1934, to January 31, 1935, I find that Argentine, which the year before had, as I have said, only exported to Great Britain 12,176,000 bushels, had increased this amount to 26,000,000; from Australia, Great Britain imported 17.000.000 bushels in 1933-34, and 15,900.000 in 1934-35. From Canada the bushelage imported by Britain actually fell off by 2,000,000, although the imports from Argentine had more than doubled.

Why does not my right hon. friend give us these figures?

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June 12, 1935