March 17, 1937

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

My hon. friend will forgive me if I tell him that he was certainly reported very widely in the newspapers as advocating a fixed price of $1.50. I should be glad to show him the extracts.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I can assure the Minister of Finance that if I was reported as having suggested a figure of $1.50, that report was incorrect. I never saw that report, but I did see myself reported as having said $125, which was quite correct. I should be very glad to see the newspaper clipping mentioned by the minister.

To-day hon. members from western Canada sitting on the opposite side of the house have an opportunity of registering in this

house the protests they made last August and September. They did make them, and I do not think they have any reason to feel ashamed of them. I believe they were made sincerely, and I do not think anything has happened in the intervening months that should have altered their opinion. On the other hand, I believe that during the months that have passed the events which have taken place in the market have confirmed the criticisms made at that time. The hon. member for Moose Jaw spoke of the fact that during the war a wheat board was established to prevent prices from rising unduly. The hon. gentleman was quite right, and I venture to say that the agrarian population of western Canada did not raise a vehement protest, if they raised any, against that action of the board. They felt that because of the war situation a certain measure of control had to be instituted, and they were prepared to accept it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

My hon. friend says I stated that there was a wheat board during the war. I may have said that, but there was no wheat board during the war. There was a board of supervisors during the war and a wheat board just after the war.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Yes; we usually speak of it as a war board. That is one reason why I think to-day, and have thought for some years, that a wheat board operating in exactly the opposite way is justified. If it was right to establish a board to protect society against high prices during a particular period it is equally sound to establish a board to protect the producer against unnaturally low prices. My hon. friend from Moose Jaw left out one fact in dealing with the history of the marketing of wheat up to the formation of the pools. He neglected to say that in 1922-speaking from memory I think it was in June of that year-the Liberal government placed legislation on the statute books providing for the formation of a wheat board. That legislation, however, never became operative, and that was one of the reasons, though only one, for the subsequent formation of the pools.

The hon. member was emphatic in his statement that the farmers had no right to a minimum fixed price for their wheat, and that the dairy farmers should have the same protection. I am in agreement with the latter part of his remark; I believe the dairy farmers and other primary producers should have precisely the same protection. They have that protection in New Zealand, under a Labour government. But I am going to point out that as long as there is an industrial

Wheat Board

Mr. Coldwell

market receiving protection the farmers are entitled to protection for their products and for the prices of those products, and as long as the government supported by the hon. member for Moose Jaw and other western members maintain tariffs that are reasonably high, then the government must expect to give protection to those who have to sell in the unprotected markets of the world. If on the other hand the government implement their tariff policy, which they have never repealed, and which I hold in my hand, my argument migfht be discounted to that extent. Let me remind my hon. friend that in the tariff plank, which I understand forms the basis of the policy of the Liberal party and which was adopted in 1919, there is this statement:

That the best interests of Canada demand that substantial reductions of the burdens of customs taxation be made with a view to the accomplishing of two purposes of the highest importance: First, diminishing the very high cost of living which presses so severely on the masses of the people; second, reducing the cost of the instruments of production in the industries based on the natural resources of the dominion; the vigorous development of which is essential to the progress of our country.

That to these ends, wheat, wheat flour, and all products of wheat, the principal articles of food, farm implements and machinery and repair parts thereof; rough and dressed lumber, gasoline, illuminating, lubricating and fuel oils, etc., nets, net twines, and fishermen's equipments; cements and fertilizers, should be free from customs duties, as well as the raw material entering into the same.

That a revision downwards of the tariff should be made whereby substantial reductions should be effected in the duties on wearing apparel, and footwear and on other articles of general consumption (other than luxuries) as well as on the raw material entering into the manufacture of the same.

That the British preference be increased to 50 per cent of the general tariff, and the Liberal party hereby pledges itself to implement by legislation the provision of this revision when returned to power.

That is the Liberal tariff platform. If they are going to maintain protection for oar industries then they must give protection to our farmers, who are at the mercy of an unprotected world market. If on the other hand the}' implement their tariff policy, remove all protection and let everyone take a chance, of course the situation is entirely different.

I should like to ask the hon. member for Moose Jaw one further question. Did I understand him to say that he was in Ottawa when the minimum price was set?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Yes.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

The western newspapers carried a story to the effect that western members were in Ottawa endeavouring to

IMr. Coldwell.)

get the government to establish a price of one dollar or more per bushel. I assume the hon. member joined in that request.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

No. I came down here, together with three other members of this parliament, with the ministers of the provincial government, to endeavour to have arrangements made in connection with the drought area. I happened to stay longer than the other members, and I was in Ottawa, at the time the price was fixed.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I am very glad to get that information; I asked the question in order to clear up that point in my mind. It is true that the government has appointed a royal commission to inquire into the whole matter of the marketing of wheat, and that a report will be made by that commission. But unfortunately the government, I think, made a grave error when they appointed Colonel Ralston as counsel for that commission. I said that before Colonel Ralston was appointed, because on the floor of parliament he was the chief opponent of the wheat board legislation.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Denounced everybody.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

He was the chief

opponent in committee, and endeavoured to amend section 10 of the act so that the board would not function beyond August, 1937.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Except by order in council.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Yes. And although the suggestion was defeated and the house subsequently unanimously adopted the wheat board act, it looks to me as if Colonel Ralston may have really represented the intentions of the party to which he belonged. I say the very fact that he has been appointed counsel for the commission has undermined the confidence which people might have had in any finding the commission could make. We must add to that, of course, the tremendous fee of $200 per day, and $20 per day for living allowances, especially in these times.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
?

Mr GARDINER:

May I ask (he hon. member a question? Is he aware that the government asked Mr. Milliken to act along with Colonel Ralston?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

No.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Well, that actually did happen. The government asked Mr Milliken to act with Colonel Ralston, and after consulting with the pool he expressed a preference to act in his present capacity with the pool.

Wheat Board-Mr. Coldwell

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

For whom is Colonel Ralston counsel?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

He is counsel for the commission.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Colonel Ralston is

counsel for the commission, and Mr. Milliken was asked to act as his assistant.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

But that does not alter the fact that the government is paying Colonel Ralston as chief counsel. Moreover, I was unaware of the fact that Mr Milliken had been invited to act, because as I said the [DOT]other day, although I am generally accused [DOT]of it I am not in the confidence of the pool, nor have I any connection whatsoever with it. But I would say this: If the government suggested that Mr. Milliken act, they must have understood that he is the pool's counsel, and if the pool was preparing a case for presentation before the commission the pools [DOT]could not possibly allow Mr. Milliken to act on behalf of the commission. That would be a most difficult situation. The fact remains that the government's counsel is Hon. Mr. Ralston.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Hear, hear.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Permalink

March 17, 1937