March 11, 1938

LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

They have kept faith; they did not increase the prices, they reduced them as the right hon. gentleman said. However, they did not reduce them far enough. It will be noticed that the factory cost of a binder in 1931 was $153.11. In 1935 this had dropped to $123.32, or just a few cents short of $30. In 1931 the cash price of a binder to the farmer at Regina was $278. In 1935 this had dropped to $263, or a decrease of $15. They came only half way in their reduction.

There _ is a matter of greater importance with which I should like to deal if time permits. I refer to the question of freight rates. Numbers 11, 12 and 13 of our recommendations deal with this matter. The people in the west know just how important this is. During the period 1926 to 1935 inclusive the International Harvester Company marketed 77-6 per cent of its total Canadian sales volume in western Canada, while the Massey-Harris Company marketed 66-69 per cent of its production in western Canada. The fathers of confederation realized that the matter of freight rates was of prime importance and they stated that the outlying portions of Canada would have to be given a cheap and efficient system of transportation. It has been stated in this house that the fathers of confederation went even further and said that this should be done even though it meant a tax upon the taxpayers generally.

Back in 1897 the government in office at that time made an agreement with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company known as the Crows-nest Pass agreement. Under that agreement 51952-79

the government paid the Canadian Pacific Railway Company a subsidy for the building of a line from Lethbridge through the Crows-nest pass into British Columbia. I believe this subsidy amounted to $3,400,000. The railway company agreed to maximum rates on certain commodities, such as wheat and wheat products eastbound and farm implements and other commodities westbound. Western Canada enjoyed the benefit of those rates from 1897 until 1919, or, more properly speaking, until 1902. In that year an agreement was entered into between the government of Manitoba and the Mackenzie and Mann interests, under which the rates were to be a little lower than under the Crowsnest Pass agreement. From 1902 until 1919 western producers had the benefit of the rates provided by the Manitoba agreement, but the Crowsnest Pass agreement was still intact.

In 1919 the railway companies made representations to the government of the day to the effect that they were not able to carry on under the existing rates. They said that something would have to be done and, rightly or wrongly, the government agreed to suspend the operation of that agreement for a three-year period. Those three years expired on July 6, 1922, the year in which a new government under the present Prime Minister came into office. If nothing had been done at that session, on July 6 of that year the rates under the old Crowsnest Pass agreement would have automatically come into effect. But again the railway companies made representations to the effect that they would not be able to carry on.

The new government appointed a special committee to inquire into the matter and I was privileged to be a member of that committee. To make a long story short, a resolution was presented to the committee and adopted which recommended to parliament that the rates on wheat and wheat products eastbound should be restored. That resolution was accepted by the house. The reason the rates westbound were not restored was due to the fact that the western members of that committee could not get sufficient support in the committee to get them through. It was not because we did not believe they were necessary, nor was it because we did not believe the western farmers were entitled to them.

The record of the Liberal party in connection with the Crowsnest Pass agreement is good. Following up what had happened and the opinion expressed by the fathers of confederation that the outlying sections of Canada should be given an efficient transportation system, the Liberal party, in its second year in office in 1897, made this agreement guaranteeing to the people who had

1242 COMMONS

Farm Implements Committee Report

settled on the western prairies these maximum rates. The railway companies could take only a certain toll for carrying a bushel of wheat, and that agreement continued, as I -have stated, until 1919.

Again, in 1922, the Liberal party restored those rates, and I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that in 1898 and in 1922 the circumstances of the people living in that western country were not to ibe compared with conditions to-day.

I suggest that the government give very serious consideration to the question of restoring these rates at this time.

I had wanted, sir, to refer to the financial statements of the different implement companies for the present year, which all show a marked improvement in business over the previous year, but time will not permit. I want, however, to read and put on the record an excerpt from a letter that I received from the United Farmers of Manitoba. It comes from outside my own province, from the city of Winnipeg, and is addressed to myself:

During the past year the report of the special committee of the House of Commons dealing with prices of farm implements, of which you were chairman, has been receiving widespread attention in this province and particularly among the leaders of the organized farmers. General satisfaction has been expressed at the outspoken nature of the comment on certain conditions which have prevailed in regard to implement prices and widespread expectation has been stimulated looking toward concrete action in the direction of relieving some of the injustices which have been imposed and which continue to the present time. It is felt that the House of Commons having had its attention so specifically directed to these unfair exactions should not stop with merely recognizing their existence but should further bestir themselves to bring to bear whatever pressure may be necessary to secure readjustment and relief.

Our hope is that it will not be a matter of mere expression of opinion but that some concrete action will be devised by conference with the leaders of the implement manufacturing industry or otherwise to secure the relief which the report so fully recognizes as being overdue.

Signed on behalf of

The United Farmers of Manitoba, William R. Wood,

Secretary.

If Canada is to continue to produce wheat in large quantities, undoubtedly changes will have to be made. In my opinion we shall have to produce wheat at a lower cost; and how are we going to do that? I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that one of the steps which this house should take is to reduce, if possible, the cost of farm implements to the farmer, because, after all, farm implements and the soil are the farmer's raw materials, and he cannot carry on his industry without them.

I have a statement here which I should like to place on Hansard, with the permission of hon. members. It is an extract from a report submitted to the Royal Grain Inquiry Commission by Charles F. Wilson, statistician, agricultural branch, Dominion Bureau of Statistics, December 5, 1936.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I doubt, Mr. Speaker, whether that should be placed upon the record. It is part of the proceedings of a commission which has not yet reported to this house, is not public property and is a document to which we have not access.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

It came

into my hands, I might inform the house, in this way: I telephoned the bureau of statistics and asked them if they could give me some information with regard to the world situation with regard to wheat. What I wanted particularly to get at was how much less wheat the importing countries of the world had been taking in the last few' years as compared with ten years ago, and Mr. Wilson sent me this information in reply.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is a 1936 document

of the royal commission on grain, and obviously none of us has access to it as yet, but I am not objecting to its going on the record.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

It is public information,

available from the bureau of statistics.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):

Mr. Wilson's statement reads:

The foregoing statement with respect to the individual European importing countries has drawn attention to the various devices used to stimulate domestic wheat production and to curtail wheat imports. These devices have included increased tariff protection, exchange control, import and milling quotas, licensing of imports and import prohibitions, price support and price fixing for domestic production, and control of the grain handling and flour milling industries. In consequence of the employment of these devices in varying degree in the European importing countries, wheat production in Europe, apart from the lower Danube and Russia, increased-

Here is the important part:

-increased from an average of 936 million bushels in 1922/26 to an average of 1,265 million bushels in 1932/36. This means that during recent years the European importing countries have been producing around 330 million bushels more of their own annual requirements than they did ten to fifteen years ago. The wheat imports of these countries have correspondingly diminished by approximately 300 million bushels annually during the same period.

That is the condition to which I wanted to direct the attention of hon. members, that the countries to which Canada once sold

Soldier Settlement Act

millions of bushels of wheat have increased their own production during the last few years by approximately 300 million bushels annually. How does that affect Canada? It lessens available markets to that extent, and I suggest to the house in all seriousness that if Canada as a country is going to continue to produce wheat in large quantities we must in some way reduce our cost of producing wheat, or else we shall have to go out of the wheat picture.

I have a few suggestions to offer, Mr. Speaker, and then I am through. I suggest:

(1) Serious consideration should be given to the matter of removing all duties on the general line of farm implements.

This suggestion does not come from the committee, but I am persuaded to make it because of the action of the machinery companies in November last.

(2) Cream separators should be placed on the free list, as they were for many years.

(3) No dumping duties to apply on farm implements or cream separators.

(4) Raw materials going into the manufac-ture_ of farm implements should be made free.

(5) Restore the Crowsnest Pass rate on farm implements and see to it that the full reduction in freight charges is passed on to the farmer.

(6) Appoint an agricultural economist to check on material and labour costs going into the manufacture of farm implements, this official to furnish the Minister of Agriculture with an annual report.

I make that suggestion for this reason, that if such an official had been on the job during the period I referred to, from 1891 to 1912, I think the farmers might have looked for a material reduction in the price of farm implements.

(7) Appoint a commission to inquire into the feasibility of manufacturing farm implements in the prairie sections of Canada, where seventy per cent of the farm implements sold in Canada are purchased.

We have cheap power out there, Mr. Speaker. The city of Winnipeg is noted for its cheap power. We have almost unlimited deposits of cheap coal in the province of Saskatchewan. I think this suggestion is worth while and should be investigated thoroughly.

In conclusion, sir, I suggest that the rehabilitation of the agriculturists in this country is a pressing national problem. To this end I suggest that immediate study be given to the matter of setting up a system of insurance on a contributory basis that would enable the farmer to supply his own seed and feed requirements in times of drought or

51952-79^

loss of crops from other causes. Had there been such a system in operation in the prairie sections of Canada during the period 1900 to 1930 the west could have taken care of her needs in this regard. Lastly I appeal to those of our people, who are more concerned with building for a united Canada than they are in making immediate profits for themselves, to assist in stabilizing this great basic industry. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that agriculture must be stabilized if we are to have in this country a well balanced national economy.

On motion of Mr. Bouchard the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937
Permalink

SEED GRAIN

GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES


Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of National Revenue) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to authorize the guarantee by the government of Canada of principal and interest of loans made by chartered banks and guaranteed by the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, respectively, for the purchase of seed grain and for providing other assistance to farmers in connection with seeding operations during the spring of 1938; the liability of the government of Canada in respect of such guarantees not to exceed in the aggregate the sum of $1,900,000 in respect, of Alberta and $13,500,000 in respect of Saskatchewan. He said: His Excellency the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the favourable consideration of the house. Motion agreed to.


SOLDIER SETTLEMENT

INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES


Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Minister of Mines and Resources) moved the second reading of Bill No. 33, to amend the Soldier Settlement Act. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Beaubien in the chair. On section 1-Payment of rates, taxes, insurance, et cetera, by board in case of default on part of settler.


CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I wish to discuss the case of a returned soldier in Saskatchewan. Is

Soldier Settlement Act

this the right place to bring it up? I have already mentioned the position of Lieutenant Frank Murphy.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

That could be discussed better under the soldier settlement estimates. I do not know whether the complaint relates to the subject matter of this bill.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

It has to do with a settlement that has already been made or suggested between the soldier settlement board and this soldier farmer. Perhaps if I tell the minister exactly what it is he will say whether it can be discussed under this item.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

The chairman is the one to tell you that.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr.Beaubien):

My information is that it is not relevant to the bill.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

How does the chairman know that when he does not know what the case is? It is a matter of settlement between the soldier settlement board and this farmer. He is not satisfied and I should like to present nis reasons.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I rather think that touches upon the administration of the soldier settlement board and I suggest that it can be more properly discussed when the estimates are before us.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I was going to suggest

the other evening, had the debate not been protracted, the question whether or not it is desirable to make the rate of interest four per cent. As a matter of fact the minister knows better than I do the great difficulty there has. been about the payment of interest at all, and the inability of the settler to pay interest either on the purchase price or the balance remaining unpaid or on advances made by the crown for purposes of providing for payment of taxes or for insurance. It does seem to me that a rate of four per cent would be an ample charge so far as soldier settlers are concerned. If such a rate were charged there might a likelihood of part of it being paid. Five per cent is really a commercial rate. If we are borrowing money at less than four per cent the rate here might well be four per cent. I intended to bring the matter to the attention of the minister the other evening, but at the time he was pressed from other sources.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
Permalink

March 11, 1938