May I say a word again with regard to the matter of policy in disposing of this wheat? As far as I am concerned the policy is expressed in the words used in subsections (b) and (c) of section 8. I think those subsections are aptly drafted to indicate to the board the general desire of parliament that wheat should be sold rather than held if opportunity offers and if it is reasonably possible to do it. Nobody has suggested a fire sale; no one has suggested that the wheat will be disposed of in two years. What I have suggested is that in two years we would have experience of the plan, which is a different plan from that which has been in vogue so far, a plan whereby the producer will be paid his minimum or fixed price and the country will then take the responsibility for disposing of the wheat. The producer then, as I see it, will not be affected by the market but will have had his fixed price. That policy is different from the policy which has been followed to date, because so far we have been endeavouring to assure the producer his price by attempting to affect the world market. I hope I have made it clear that subsections (b) and (c) of section 8 express my idea as to the directions we should give to this board, and I think they go as far as we can go in that direction.
The hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) asked a question which I think I did not quite understand when I answered. There is special provision in subsection (c) of section 8 to deal with the very question he asked:
(c) to sell and dispose of stocks of wheat and contracts for the delivery of wheat . ..
Amendment agreed to
Section as amended agreed to.
Sections 9 to 12 inclusive agreed to.
On section 13-Deductions from receipts.
Mr. BENNETT I move:
That in line 12, section 13, after the word "certificates," the following word's be inserted: "issued pursuant to paragraph (e) of section 7 of this act."
"Certificates" is too general a word not to be qualified by a clause which provides for their issue. That is the only reason this is added, to show the authority for the issue of them, the terms of them being covered by the regulation.
That in line 16 of section 14 the second word, "and," be struck out and the word "or" substituted therefor;
It will then read "rye or flax."
and that in line 19 the word "oats" be struck out, and in line 20 the words "barley, rye and flax, or any one of them"; and that after the word "to" in line 19 the words "such kinds, of grain" be added.
So that it will read:
Whereupon the provisions of this act shall mutatis mutandis apply to such kinds of grain as they apply to wheat.
Mr. Chairman, I propose to make a few observations. I have remained in my place all day and have listened to the speeches made upon this bill which was referred to the special committee, and I have had grave doubts as to whether or not it should have been referred to that committee, in view of the discussion which has taken place. It might have been well to go to the committee of the whole on the bill as it originally stood.
The bill as it now stands was put in its present condition on Dominion day by myself. We had met in the morning and I obtained the views of the members of the committee as to what amendments should be made. The hon. member for She'lbume-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) made suggestions which are largely embodied in sections 7 and 8, and I had certain views with respect to the legislation to which I shall presently refer. In the afternoon these were put in the form of the bill
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in which it now stands, subject to certain other revisions, and we came back in the evening and agreed upon the bill. We met in the morning, after it had been printed and, with the exception of the desire expressed by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth that there should be a provision whereby it would expire on a given date, the bill was agreed to.
I desire to make clear that the committee heard a large number of witnesses. If it was not to decide on a bill in accordance with the evidence given, the calling of witnesses was only an empty formality. Witnesses were called from Vancouver, Winnipeg and elsewhere. The witnesses from Vancouver spoke of the facilities which through the years had been built up at that port for the transport of wheat and other grain. They spoke of the facilities provided for the chartering of ships and brokers' establishments which had come into being for the purpose of supplying tonnage with which to transport the grain of western Canada through the Panama canal to the markets of the world, and the facilildtes for transport to the orient.
The witnesses called on behalf of the grain exchange gave evidence of a somewhat peculiar character. I had asserted in this chamber that the grain exchange had broken down. Mr. Milner, president of the grain exchange, joined issue with that statement. He and other witnesses who followed him pointed out that through the years they had built up the most efficient machine existing in Canada, and perhaps anywhere in the world-or at least as good-for the handling of grain. They said that the effect of the legislation would be to destroy those facilities. Subsequently other witnesses, notably Mr. Richardson explained that he believed a larger quantity of wheat could have been sold than had been sold, to the extent of 50.000.000 to 75,000,000 bushels. When he was questioned as to the reasons for his belief-for the man who makes an affidavit must be prepared to make a statement as to why he so believes-he had nothing to say except that he thought if wheat were 70 cents instead of 80 cents and the producer would supply the market he could sell the wheat. The fact was that evidence was produced before the committee indicating clearly that the price of wheat at Fort William had fallen to 38J cents. The effect of that was that the farmer in the west received 15 cents per bushel for his wheat; one of the members of the committee spoke of having received 17 cents for his wheat on his farm. Mr. Richardson stated further that the cost of production of wheat might be as low as 40 cents. I am
bound to say no other person thought that was a reasonable rate for the production of wheat in any part of Canada; one of the members of the committee, however, who had had wide experience indicated that if a person had a very large area and a heavy production per acre, under very favourable conditions he might show a cost of 40 cents or thereabouts. We will leave that. That was the evidence given-that existing facilities were there if they had an opportunity to function, and that those facilities were quite equal to the demand made upon them. Further, the president of the grain exchange said he felt perfectly certain that the presence in the market of the Canadian Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited, supported as it was by government guarantees, had the effect of preventing open market operations on behalf of hedge takers, so that when the statement was made that the exchange had fallen down it was partly attributable to the fact that the exchange had not had a fair chance to function. That, shortly, is the case for the grain exchange.
Then came the elevator owners. They said that sections in this bill would place the whole functioning of their elevators in the hands of the board, and that it was equivalent to confiscation of their property. It was explained that no such result would follow nor was it intended that it should follow. It was intended that the elevators thus licensed under the Canada Grain Act, public utilities as they are, should be made available for what purpose?- that they should receive their fees and charges as provided by the Canada Grain Act itself, and that instead of the operations being carried on for numbers of customers they still would be able to carry on as much as they cared to, or where they could get business from the mills within the province in which they operated, but that the operations would be for and on behalf of the board. They made great complaint against such suggested action. They said that that was not giving them a fair chance to do what they could do. That is their case.
Mr. McFarland was ill. He sent a telegram and said he would be only too glad to answer any questions as to why he had taken any course on any day with respect to wheat -why he had bought or why he had not sold. He was prepared at any time to meet any accusers who had anything to say with respect to the conduct of his business; but he was lying in his bed and could not do so. He cannot have a chance until he is out of his bed and can appear before an authority properly constituted for that purpose. He could not answer personally, but he did answer
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to the only possible extent, through Mr. Mc-Ivor, his assistant, the sales manager of the Canadian Co-Operative Wheat Producers Limited. Mr. Mclvor came before the committee and1 made a statement, which doubtless has been read by many hon. members. It is there to read.
To-night I do not endeavour to discuss the evidence which has been given and which is recorded in the minutes of the committee. But this fact did emerge: Mr. Mclvor gave his evidence; Mr. Bredt gave his evidence; Mr. Bennett gave his evidence and Mr. Brouillette gave his. Now, why for all these years the pools have suffered the charges which have been made against them without offering a defence, I do not know. In a weekly newspaper published in the city of Toronto, charges were made that the action of the pools had had the effect of preventing Canada's grain from finding a place in the markets of the world, that the monopolistic dealings in grain bad the effect of preventing prices being as buoyant as they otherwise might have been, and that for some reason or other the Englishman did not buy his grain from us but desired to buy from somebody else. But what is the evidence that was produced? Out of 76 marketing days, on 52 days the pools had offered wheat at a lower price than the Argentine was offering it in order that they might endeavour to sell Canadian wheat; they offered it one-eighth lower, one-quarter lower, as low as six and one-quarter cents lower, and they did not sell it. Read the evidence; it is written there, the market operations of the pool day after day. What does that prove? It proves conclusively that the Argentine, having no facilities for holding wheat, made up their minds, as the evidence shows clearly, that they would sell their wheat, and they must sell it because they have no elevators or storage facilities. The only storage facilities they have are storage facilities afloat when the wheat is being carried across the Atlantic ocean from Buenos Aires and other ports to Europe. That was the position, and there was the evidence given for the first time that might well have been given on previous occasions, evidence as to why there was not a sale of wheat when the large crop of 1929 was being dealt with. That is the evidence, and that evidence was supported by Mr. Mclvor and by others.
Then we come to the operations of Mr. McFarland. I keenly regret that Mr. McFarland was not there to afford the answer that he could give to those who asked him why he bought wheat. One witness was asked this question by me, and the matter
ended there. I asked, "Why didn't you sell wheat?" The answer was that he was holding wheat while the farmers realized money on their wheat. He had to hold wheat which the markets of the world would not take in order that the Canadian farmers' wheat might be sold in the markets of the world, and that is the reason there is an accumulation of wheat here to-day; that is the reason it is being held to-day.
What wras the evidence? The evidence given, and admittedly true, was that out of every 100 bushels of wheat sold in the last four seasons prior to this season 35 bushels had been Canadian wheat, 20 bushels Argentine, 20 bushels Australian, 10 bushels United States, 8 bushels Russian and 7 bushels Balkan and other countries. There is your 100 bushels; there is Canada selling 35 per cent of it in the last four years. During this season on July 31, for the crop season is defined by the grain act as the 31st day of July, this year owing to the lateness of the crop the flow of exports will not commence until the 20th of September, so between now and the 20th of September any wheat in Canada that is sold must of necessity be the wheat of the Canadian Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited and no one elses-the wheat that has been accumulated by Mr. McFarland while the farmers were realizing on theirs. He had to buy of necessity, or the farmers prices would fall. He had to accumulate from necessity or the farmers could not sell their wheat on the markets of the world. He accumulated wheat under those circumstances for the purpose of enabling the Canadian farmers to sell their wheat.
And who was the hedge taker? Who was there to buy hedges? There seems to be apparently much mystery made with respect to hedges. The hon. member for Shelbume-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) spoke of it as price insurance. One witness said that the banks would not permit business to be carried on by elevator companies or others unless they hedge their operations, unless they sell their grain. There was only one hedge taker, and that was the Canadian Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited. Why? Because the speculator had withdrawn from the market; the little dressmaker and the office boys in the various institutions and bank clerks could not go into the market any longer. Mr. O'Neal before a committee of congress said: Do you want to save your farmers by destroying these people who should not be speculating? Whether they were speculating then or not, they are not now, and they are not likely to
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be for some time because of their experience in the past. So the speculator disappeared. Mr. Milner said the speculator disappeared in a large way. He said: What is the good of a speculator coming to the Winnipeg market when Mr. McFarland took all the hedges there were? But Mr. McFarland did not take the hedges, according to the evidence of Mr. Mclvor, until there was nobody else to take the hedges.
What was the government's guarantee? As explained by a witness it was nothing more or less than taking the hedges of the Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited with the banks. They could not get a hedge taker. Nobody would buy their wheat, and so this institution acting under government direction has been able to provide hedges for the entire sales of the wheat crop in western Canada during the last five years. That is what it has been doing to enable the Canadian farmer to receive a decent price for his wheat, to receive anough money to pay him meagrely for the effort he made.
What has been the result? Some hon. members suggest in a spirit of reckless criticism what the results have been. I gave the figures the other day, and I think it is worth while to repeat them. During those years Mr. McFarland has sold one and three-quarter billion bushels of wheat. That is what the farmers have sold. That is what they got their money for. Wheat fell to 38i cents on the exchange, the lowest price in four hundred years. Why did the farmers get a higher price for it? Why did they get fifty cents, sixty cents, seventy cents and eighty cents? Why? Because Mr. McFarland took the hedges on behalf of the Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited to enable the transactions to be carried on. That is the reason why, and there is not a farmer in western Canada who does not know it; there is not a farmer who as had a bushel of wheat to haul that does not know it. [DOT]
Let us look at the results not from sentiment, not from the point of view of its effect upon the morale and spirit of the people, but let us look at it in cold dollars and cents. What did the farmers receive for 285 million bushels of wheat? The farmers of western Canada sold in 1932, 285 million bushels of wheat and they received for it $86,000,000, and this year up to the end of April, for the same six months' period they have marketed 177 million bushels of wheat and they have received $107,OCX),000 for that much smaller quantity. There are the facts. For marketing 108 million bushels less of wheat they received, instead of $86,000,000, the large sum
of $107,000,000. In other words they received $21,000,000 more for 108 million bushels of wheat less. There is the story of its operations. There is the answer to the criticism, the unfair criticism that has been hurled over this country from one end to the other with respect to the operations of Mr. McFarland, and the man who could have given the explanation of every day's operations, and why he acted as he did was not able to appear and give his explanation.
But let us go a step further. Let us look at the facts with respect to the day after day operations. Last year Mr. McFarland when examined by the committee on banking and commerce said that he found terrific purchases in one day. The hon, member for Souris (Mr. Willis) has pointed out that nearly 16 million bushels of wheat was bought in one day by this agency. Why did they buy 16 millions bushels? Because it was against the public interest of the Dominion of Canada that wheat should go to a price where it would yield only $86,000,000 for 285 million bushels. That is the answer. The effect upon the whole national life of Canada of the sale of wheat is better understood if one takes the trouble to examine what it means in our ability to pay the interest even on our national debt. A leading man wrote me since these operations began and said: It is a terrific responsibility which government have to carry but unless you are able to do these things and get a reasonable price for your wheat, it being the largest item of your external trade, what happens to you? I leave the answer to this committee.
I do not intend to deal with these matters in detail but I want to point out why this organization has functioned and why its accumulations have taken place and why the sales which have been spoken of have been made. An argument was made to-day which should be exploded once and for all. It was said that the reason Canada could not sell wheat in competition with the Argentine was because Canada's price was too high. All through the sittings of the committee Mr. Bredt gave the quotations and offers which he made to sell wheat at a lower price than the Argentine and every time the Argentine beat him. That is the answer to that.
Let us go a step further. It has been suggested that as the United States was not able to sell wheat it lessened the quantity. The fact that the United States was no longer an exporting country has very little to do with this. The true explanation was given a moment ago by the hon. member for Souris who read from the evidence given before the
Grain Board-Mr. Bennett
committee. What were the total purchases last year of Germany, of Italy and of France, not singly but together? Those three countries purchased only 26 million bushels of wheat. Countries which once were importers are now exporters. France has been selling her wheat and flour in England and has even landed her denatured wheat in the United States market. As I said in Montreal after coming back from England, Italy has been anxious to supply her own wants and has been able to increase her production of wheat by the utilization of fertilizers obtained through the fixation of nitrogen, by the drainage of swamps and by improving acreage production. These things have taken place and the result is that the great importing countries are no longer importing except to the extent of 26 million bushels. Does the committee realize that only a few short years ago these three countries bought over 200 million bushels of wheat? Does the committee realize that prior to the last two or three years those three countries purchased an average of 95 million bushels? The shrinkage in purchases from an average of 215 million bushels per year to 95 million bushels represented the shrinkage in the purchasing power of these countries by reason of the war and the increased production of wheat through the use of fertilizers and by drainage of lands. During that time 'Canada sold to France an average of 31 million bushels per year, but last year we sold to France, Germany and Italy only 26 million bushels. There is the answer.
A clear and comprehensive statement could have been made based upon the evidence which was given instead of the utilization of decimals and percentages in an effort to make it appear that Canada had failed in her duty to sell wheat in Great Britain and to take the place of the United States. It was quite clear from the evidence that the sale of wheat in London and the bonus system which prevailed made it impossible for France, Germany or Italy to purchase Canadian wheat. We have been able to sell only 26 million bushels to these three countries which a few years ago purchased 215 million bushels and in later years have averaged as high as 95 million bushels. Those are the facts and those facts resolved themselves into the two statements which I made when I came back from England in 1931 or 1932, I forget which year. I stated that these countries no longer desired to pay a ransom. As I explained long ago in the house, this condition was brought about by the prices charged during the war. At that time there was only one Canadian statesman whom I know of-the
gentleman is now dead-who said to the farmers of western Canada that they should not endeavour to get S3 per bushel for their wheat as they would feel sorry after the war. There was a shortage of wheat during those years and we were able to get very high prices. The prices went as high as $3 per bushel but those prices were not obtained by pool operations. They were obtained by the farmers and the grain board of 1919 which fixed prices as high as S2.65 per bushel and for some grades as high as $3 per bushed. That fact was known to France, to Germany and to Italy, and in the development of the intense nationalism which has taken place during the last few years this fact has played a great part. We are now faced with an inability to sell wheat upon the markets of the world. These countries have desired to be self-sustaining and self-sufficient and they are no longer on an importing basis. France has been selling her wheat by the millions of bushels in the form of flour and otherwise in Great Britain and the British millers have put themselves on record by saying that because of the competition of French flour and the necessity of their utilizing the 50 million bushels of soft wheat produced under the bonus in Great Britain their ability to buy larger quantities of stronger wheat has been greatly curtailed. In order to compete against French flour they have been foroed to buy the cheapest flour possible. That is known to every man who desires to analyse the facts and it will be open to anyone who takes a broad and comprehensive view of the whole situation.
That evidence was before the committee and it considered these matters. Every member had an opportunity to suggest wha/t action should be taken, and the bill which has just been agreed to was based upon the other bill and the suggestions of hon. members in an effort to embody two principles. The first was the price to the producer to be fixed by the board with the approval of the governor in council. In other words, the government of the day must approve of the action taken by the board, ascertain the factors that determine the action they take and arrive at a conclusion. It will be a very difficult conclusion to arrive at and one fraught with grave responsibilities and great implications, but it must be done. The argument with respect to the Argentine was developed during the progress of the examination of witnesses who spoke so highly of the system in use in that country. I thought that if they thought so highly of that system I would put questions to them as to why the same thing should not be done in Canada. The Argentine has a fixed
Grain Board-Mr. Bennett
price and anyone can buy wheat above that price. If a producer in a far distant locality is unable to sell his wheat he can sell it to the board at the fixed price and the board then ma-kes provision for its export to the markets of the world.
There is a second principle in this bill with respect to the producer. It was decided that he should share in any surplus which might arise because of the operations of the board. Objections were made to the initial payment and it was pointed out that certain difficulties had arisen in the past and it was undesirable that a fixed price should be paid. That fixed price does not determine the ultimate price which the producer will receive as he is to share in any surplus which might result from the operations of the board. In connection with the producer there are two principles, the fixed price and the sharing in any ultimate profits which might be made. Through this equitable distribution every man will receive for a bushel of wheat the same price on a Fort William basis if he delivered it to the board.
We return now to the next item, the duties of the board. The board is to be prepared at all times to buy wheat and pay for it a fixed price. That fixed price having been determined and the board having paid it, as it will be obliged to do under this bill, it then must consider the next point. How would it be sold? The hon. member for Shelburne-Yar-mouth and those associated with him kept pressing the point with respect to sales, and there was introduced into this bill-I got tiheir notes and tried to give effect to their view- the provision that the board should sell its wheat at such price as might be considered reasonable with the object of promoting the sale and use of Canadian wheat in world markets. That is the principle that governed Mr. McFarland's operations in every particular. The board must regard as reasonable the price at which it sells. Then we come to the next point, which is that it should take over, secondly, the wheat of the Canadian wheat producers; and I pointed out this evening in answer to a question asked that the present thought in our minds was that you would substitute the board for Canadian Cooperative Producers Limited with respect to wheat and wheat only. With respect to other grains they have a small quantity worth half a million or so and the board would not have anything to do with that. Tha,t is the position of the board. But it did not end there. What is the provision contained in clauses (i) and (j) ? In order that this institution, which it is said has not had a fair chance, should have an opportunity to function without restriction, it is provided that existing facilities shall be used without discrimination. The board shall give an opportunity to these people to sell wheat on the markets of the world; these institutions that have been built up during the years shall be allowed to function for the sale of the product of the producer in the markets of the world, through established channels and existing facilities. You will find that set out in detail in this bill:
in selling and disposing of wheat as by this act provided, to utilize and employ w thout discrimination such marketing agencies, including commission merchants, brokers, elevator men, exporters and other persons engaged in or operating facilities for the selling and handling of wheat, as the board in its discretion may determine.
That is just what Mr. McFarland has been doing during the last five years. When he oame into office he stipulated one thing and it was that every existing facility of the pool with respect to sales abroad should be withdrawn-why? Not that he did not believe in them; not at all, but the charge had been unjustly made, that the pool had not been utilizing existing facilities and therefore drawing down on its head the condemnation of these old established facilities going back for centuries, instead of that he felt that they should be withdrawn and existing facilities used.
Does this committee realize that neither Mr. McFarland nor his agency has offered for sale abroad, through their agents, any wheat but always through existing facilities, utilizing them to the full? These same men came to the committee and spoke about the facilties they had abroad, and they have been utilized to the full all these years. No effort has been made to substitute new facilities for those that have been in use. But because of the fact that they may fail it is provided in (j) of section 8 that while they are offering continuously wheat for sale in the markets of the world through the established channels the board may set up their own agencies if the other agencies are not functioning satisfactorily. That is a development of the principle that if you cannot get from others the service you require on the basis of paying for it the usual price fixed by statute, you will have to establish your own agency. So much for that.
Sections 9, 10 and 11 were sections dealing with elevators and facilities, and these sections remain in the act. That is the next principle. They are to come into operation by proclamation if, as and when it is thought desirable by the government of the day that it should be done. If the government of Canada believes that in the public interest
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this is necessary, then I have no doubt, whatever government is in power, it will be done. But there is something more than that. Let us examine what is meant by this. I have been rather surprised at some of the observations I have heard. A farmer has a thousand bushels of wheat, and for the sake of argument we will say that the price on the farm is 60 cents. He hauls it to the elevator and this is his choice: he can sell it to anyone he pleases for any price he likes; he can sell it to the board for 60 cents, and he then has, what he would not otherwise have, the right to share in any added price that wheat may bring during that crop year-not that wheat only but all the wheat, bushel for bushel. Under these circumstances is it suggested that there has been any slackening or lessening of the position which we have taken in this matter from the first? None whatever. And [DOT] if it is found that it is essential, to maintain the principle I have just mentioned, that these sections should be brought into operation, I am sure that no government of the day will fail t'o take the requisite action; and once it is done it cannot be undone by order in council: it remains as part of the statute law of the country.
There is another point. Some reference has been made to the fact that this statute provides that the board shall buy only wheat from the producers. I insist that that should be so-why? Because they are not going to take the hedges that they have been doing for other people. That is the reason. There is the answer to the whole question raised by the hon. gentleman from Acadia (Mr. Gardiner). The government is not going to be made a convenience of by any trade or any individuals at this time. Instead of Canadian Producers Limited buying wheat, that wheat will be bought by the board on this basis, that whatever the fixed price is, if anyone else takes the wheat he must pay for it an additional price beyond that; and to compensate for the possibility of there being an increase in price it is provided that the producer shall have the right to share in that added price, so that he gets it either way. He either takes the chance of selling it to a competitor of the board or he sells it to the board, with this benefit attached to it with a certificate.
We did not stop there. We heard the grievances of the producer as expressed by Mr. Bredt, Mr. Brouillette and Mr. Bennett. And what did we say? We have provided in this bill, for the first time in the history of this country, this section-that the board shall have the powers of a commission appointed
under the Inquiries Act and the right to inquire with respect to the movement of wheat for export, either interprovincially or internationally, through the clearing house and the exchanges in Winnipeg and Vancouver. I do not prejudge, but if any of the facts they allege exist, then they will become known; and if they are as stated, does anyone in this committee think for a moment that any government would hesitate to bring into operation the provisions of sections 9, 10, and 11? There is the position; that is what has been accomplished.
Now let us proceed a step further. In the bill as originally framed it was provided that all grain should be covered. I did that purposely because I was anxious to know what the views of the committee and the producers of the country might be. It is not thought desirable at this time that all grains should be brought within the act but that it should be limited to wheat. That was the opinion expressed and in that sense it has been done. Now the question is, how shall the accumulations be disposed of? That is the next question. This year's crop is to be dealt with in the way I have indicated. The accumulations, which came about in the way I have indicated, are to be dealt with as provided in the act in a special section, namely by their disposition as speedily as may be reasonably possible having regard to economic and other conditions. In other words, the accumulations are not to come into competition with the crop produced this year. As speedily as may be reasonably possible having regard to economic and other conditions-there are the conditions that you have with respect to the sale of the accumulations, and above and beyond all that-and the suggestion in a slightly different form came from the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth- there is paragraph (h):
To give effect to any order in council that may be passed with respect to its operations.
That is, the governor in council has the power of directing, prohibiting, controlling, regulating, determining the course of action this board shall take with respect to any matter that comes within its jurisdiction. In other words, the responsible government of the country, in its judgment and the exercise of its discretion, has power to control completely the operations of the board.
Then the board is being assisted by an advisory committee. It was suggested by one of the witnesses who had been and still is associated with the pool, that there should be some compensation paid to the producers at
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least, as well as others who came to Winnipeg or elsewhere for the purpose of giving their advice to the board. So it will be observed that this advisory board, of whom four out of seven shall be producers, shall be paid their transportation and1 living expenses and a per diem allowance of S10 while they are away from home. That was to ensure continuity of interest. But it goes further: it provides that the Minister of Trade and Commerce may ask them at any time to give their advice, to meet together. Further, this advisory board shall send a copy of its minutes to the minister in order that he may know what has transpired.
Those are the provisions so far as the operations of this board are concerned. I am not going to dwell longer upon them except to say that this committee and every member of it made, I think, a fair attempt to reconcile contending views in the light of the evidence that was given. I did not conceive it to be the duty of men to take their own fixed opinions with respect to a matter of this kind, but it was their duty, having called witnesses representing every phase of the situation, to listen to what they said, and out of the mass of testimony it became abundantly clear that one group contended' they should have an opportunity to show the usefulness of their facilities and that their policies and their programs, based upon those policies, should have an opportunity of being again tried, free from any hampering control, as they contended, such as that of the Producers Limited. That is accorded to them in this bill, but it still holds over their heads the idea that the original provisions of the bill have not been taken from it, but are to be utilized if, as and when in the interests of the producers of this country and of the nation generally it is found1 desirable to exercise the powers conferred by those provisions. That is one side of the matter. Then the other side was that those who represented co-operative and indivdiual marketing were of opinion that a fixed price was essential and desirable. Some of them urged that the factors indicating how that fixed price was to be determined should be stated in the bill. I am free to say that I urged as strongly as I have done to-night that that should not be done for reasons I shall not now traverse.
We have this bill which the committee accepted for the purpose of doing two things: one, taking care of the surplus accumulations of the wheat of this country at a time when the requirements of importing countries have been enormously reduced, as will be found from the returns, and the production has made
no corresponding diminution; second, this year's crop is to flow into the channels of consumption by the methods I have mentioned: a fixed price, a sharing in subsequent profits, if any, and the purchase by the board directly from the producers. It is hardly necessary for me to say to this committee that that is just what has been done, except that Mr. McFarland was buying hedges and that now he will not buy hedges; he will buy the actual wheat from the producers to the extent that this may be necessary, or that the wheat may not be absorbed by those who otherwise might purchase it.
I feel some .measure of regret at the very false statements that have been published in the newspapers with respect to this bill. In a great heading by a well known inaccurate correspondent in one of Canada's newspapers appear these words:
Canada to offer surplus of grain in world market.
McFarland ideas and pool repudiated by proposed act.
To fix prices.
What is the effect of this? It is sent out to the world at large during the last few days, in fact during the last few hours as we measure hours relatively, and the price of wheat fell four cents on the Liverpool market to-day. Great rejoicing, I suppose that the wheat that has been accumulated under the conditions to which I have referred is to be offered in the world market! Well, nothing is further from this government than that that should be so. It well may be that other policies may prevail, but they will prevail at the expense of this country. Anyone who knows the intrinsic value of a bushel of Canadian wheat as demonstrated by analysis of its value in protein and other contents as compared with a bushel of wheat of other countries, will understand that the price at which our wheat has been sold is very low as compared with the general price of wheat in the world during the last five hundred years or more of which there is no record. It is true there has been abjection, but not to purchasing from one person; there is no objection to that. Some people think there is objection on the part of importers to buying from one agency. To do so simplifies their business. Although I was not a witness, I endeavoured to ascertain from personal inquiry, and the objection was, as I tried to explain to the oommittee, that there was an endeavour to sell wheat without regard to the old established agencies. Anyone who knows something of. diall I say. the strength of vested interests who discharge great obligations in marketing, whether it be
Grain Board-Mr. Mackenzie King
tea or sugar, wheat or other grains, in the markets of the old1 country, where the price charged per unit is very small, wild understand what the result is if an effort is made to establish, shall I say, a new agency in competition with those old' established institutions. My primary reason in rising tonight was to have it known I trust by the inaccurate correspondent of the newspaper- and let him be accurate for once-that as long as this government exists, there is no intention that this country should offer its surplus of grain at fire sale prices or throw its surplus on the markets of the world. I am bound to say in fairness to the committee that this legislation, which is not based on any such idea, was unanimously agreed to by that committee, so that the views which I express are those of the committee unanimously, there being no difference with respaot to that whatever. The language used, I may say in fairness to those who are being criticized, is language which, according to my memory, I myself employed with respect to paragraph (c) of section 8 in connection with the sale of the accumulations of the Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited during the past few years. I regret that this result should have followed' because of any misstatements that have been made with respect to the principles that will govern the future operations of the board. But over and above and beyond all else stands the fact that whatever may be said, the board must be amenable to the orders in council1 and direction and control of the government of tne day.
I have nothing further to say except this- I have been saying that very frequently- the committee in arriving at its conclusions believed on the evidence submitted by the various witnesses that this bill gives effect to every school of thought and affords a fair opportunity to test by experience the value of the claims made by each, and at the same time protects the producer to an extent 'that I think has never been done before, by ensuring him a fixed price and his share in the ultimate surplus that may arise from its operation.
Mr. Chairman, my right hon. friend must either have been misinformed or have deceived himself when he told the house and country a day or two ago he regretted that he was no longer able to participate in what he called the rough and tumble of debate. If he has not shown this evening that he is in form for the rough and tumble of debate I do not know that we have ever had reason to believe that he was. How-
ever, I rise not for the purpose of joining in any bout of the kind but rather to draw the attention of the committee to the difference between what was said by my right hon. friend at the beginning of his remarks and what was said at the close. I am glad there is that difference, because certainly the opening part of my right hon. friend's remarks left a very unpleasant impression on my mind and I think on the mind of the committee generally. My right hon. friend began his address by saying that the bill which the house has been considering this afternoon, upon which we have all worked so amicably and which we have run through without very much discussion, " is mine," and gave no credit whatever to the committee.