March 25, 1938

LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Will the hon. member be good enough to tell us who is the owner of that paper?

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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?

George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

That question is beside the point, but I may tell my hon. friends opposite that if they will review the columns of the Regina Leader-Post they will find many a report in the last month criticizing both the government here and the government in Saskatchewan, and criticizing them far more bitterly than anything we have seen in this newspaper with respect to the distribution of seed and handling of relief.

I should like to know whether this government have had any request from the provincial authorities for an increase in the quantity of seed that will be given to the individual farmer. A very serious condition prevails out there. There are many farmers, with more than 250 acres, who should be provided with seed, but the present regulations will not permit of this.

I do not think we should hold up this , measure at this stage, but when the bill gets into committee we shall have to ask for certain details. There is a shortage of horse power out there; there is no question about it. Another report in the newspaper from

which I have already quoted, of the same date, March 22, intimates that horses brought in from pasture are dying.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The same paper?

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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?

George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

Yes, and my hon. friends will find the same report in the Regina Leader-Post if they will look it up. I would advise hon. members to read also the Free Press and the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix; if they do they will get some interesting information. This report states that a whole trainload of horses had to be unloaded at Areola before they got to their various destinations. Some had to be taken out and a veterinary called; then they were reloaded and taken to various places, such as Creelman and Fillmore. Some had to be taken to farms on stone-boats. That is a serious matter and it explains why there is a shortage of horse power in the province. In my opinion the farmers in certain parts of that province would be justified in asking the government to give them some compensation for the loss they have suffered in horses, particularly those shipped to the feeding ground in Manitoba. They were encouraged to ship the horses, in fact they were forced to do so because feed was not provided in Saskatchewan, and when the horses were shipped out they should have been properly cared for. As I have said, however, many of the horses are returning in a terribly weakened condition and they will not be able to cope with the spring work. That is why I suggest that the government should assist the farmers in providing tractors to put in the crop, because fifty per cent of the horses will not be able to go into spring work at all. However, we shall have more details when the bill is in committee. In the meantime I think it is necessary to get this resolution through as quickly as possible in order to facilitate the seeding operations in the province. The matter is of vital importance.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I have some comments to make upon this resolution but first I would ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), who gave us the actual amount guaranteed in Alberta last year, to give us similar figures for Saskatchewan. At the same time he might be good enough to give us the comparative acreage last year and this year.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):

While the minister is looking up that information I should like to make a few observations. It is not very often hon. members hear the voice of the maritimes on a subject of this kind. But, as I said in the house the other day, we have a real shortage of seed grain in the province and in the county which I represent. It is

Seed Grain

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Only a small amount, out of the proceeds of the first crop, which as hon. members know was non-existent over most of the area in which the seed was advanced. We expect to receive the necessary information from both provinces to enable us to give our guarantee shortly, and while I will not state positively that the amounts will be those I have just given, I am reasonably certain that if there is any variation the amounts will be less than those I have stated.

As to acreage affected, I am sorry I cannot give that information. That is of course provincial information. We may have it somewhere in our records, but I have not it before me.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Like the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley) I deplore the lateness of the date on which this legislation is being brought down, in view of the fact that in some parts of the west farmers will be on the land within the next week or ten days. To discuss this legislation thoroughly might take some time, but anyone seeking information will be accused of holding up seed grain for the prairies. Surely we have known since last fall, and ever since this house met in

Seed Grain

January, that seed grain was going to be required, and this legislation could just as easily have been on the order paper a month ago.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

We had not the information from either province a month ago.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I am not blaming the Minister of Finance entirely. The provinces knew they would need this seed.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

If my hon. friend will forgive me, it is a most laborious task to ascertain accurately what is required for such large areas. I can assure him that exact information has been received only within a week; in fact I had to withdraw the resolution and reintroduce it because of an error. I can assure my hon. friend that the matter has been followed up with both provinces as diligently as -possible. As Minister of Finance I am not inclined to jump at a broad statement by any province that it needs X dollars. Frankly it is my duty to know the basis of the request and have it demonstrated in some detail. There has to be discussion back and forth. My right hon. friend has gone through it before-

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

And he also remembers what he endured from the opposition of that day.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I have no doubt he endured a great deal from all quarters. The hon. member for Qu'Appelle mentioned the same matter. I can assure him that in the process of getting the information upon which this very important legislation is based every effort was made to see that no interest suffered, and it is too early yet to say that anybody is going to suffer from any delay. So far as the finance department is concerned we have moved along in the normal way and as expeditiously as the sources supplying information would permit.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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?

George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

Does the minister state that there was no requisition made, say by February 1, by the provincial government giving details in respect of the number of bushels?

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

There has never been a requisition made at any time. The matter has been under discussion for, I should think, six months. With that aspect the Minister of Agriculture of course -has been more concerned than I, but the moment the matter takes the form of a guarantee of so many dollars it becomes the concern of the Minister of Finance. It is with respect to that matter that I am speaking; but there never was any requisition at any time. The amounts

here provided for are contained in letters from the provincial governments. In the case of Alberta the letter was dated March 5-

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
Permalink
?

George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

Did not the Minister of Agriculture meet the loan companies and the banks early in February in Toronto or Ottawa and discuss this matter in detail, and was not the requisition then discussed?

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes, Mr. Chairman. As the Minister of Finance has just said, this matter has been under discussion for the last six months. In the first place it is necessary to secure sufficient quantities of the different types of grain to be used for seeding purposes. That is the first job to be done. In the second place it is necessary to invite everyone who has a real interest in the matter to see that seed is provided. As has been suggested by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle, some weeks ago I did interview the loan company representatives in Toronto, and discussed with them the extent to which they would be able to assist in putting sufficient capital at the disposal of someone so that seed would be put in on the land in which they have an interest. 1 must say that we have always found the loan companies, whether in eastern or western Canada, quite ready to do everything they possibly can to cooperate with governments in putting seed in any of the lands on which they have made loans, and this year has been no exception. As the Minister of Finance has said, as the result of those discussions the loan companies are providing somewhere between a million and a million and a quarter dollars for the purpose of putting seed upon lands in certain sections of the west in which they have an interest.

There were discussions also with the -banks as to the extent to which they could assist in providing finances for the purpose of furnishing seed to farmers. There were also discussions with the municipal authorities-not the municipalities as such, but officials who have to do with the central organizations of municipal bodies-and there were discussions with the provincial governments. On a number of occasions I have interviewed members of the governments of both Alberta and Saskatchewan and we discussed the question very fully with them. It is always true that when you begin to talk in the first instance you start out with a much larger sum of money in mind than the amount finally arrived at as actually necessary to provide what is needed. But I must say that in both Saskatchewan and Alberta agreement was reached between this government and the two provincial governments as to the amount of guarantee required in each province.

Seed Grain

The Minister of Finance has already-explained that the amount of $14,500,000 for Saskatchewan is not the total that will be provided by the banks in order to finance seeding operations in that province. My understanding is that the $1,900,000 provided for Alberta will be the total, and this amount will be guaranteed in connection with that province. For the benefit of the hon. member from Alberta who spoke a few moments ago, while I am not in the habit of saying that newspaper reports are wrong, still the statement I gave in Alberta, which probably was misunderstood by some, was exactly the statement that has just been made by the Minister of Finance-that this was a guarantee; that the money required would be supplied by the banks to the municipalities, which in turn would supply seed to farmers whose applications were passed upon by the municipal organizations.

The other question raised, with regard to provision for live stock or for power in order to put in the crop, is not an immediate concern of this government. It is the concern of the provincial governments. The $14,500,000 guarantee for Saskatchewan, to be furnished the municipalities by the banks, is presumed to make available sufficient money to take care of all the activities the provincial government think it wise to pursue in order to assist in putting in the crop. As to the method that will be followed; as to whether it will be the encouragement of the old habit among the farmers-I think it is the habit in Saskatchewan as well as elsewhere-to cooperate as far as possible in making use of any power available in the community, whether it be tractor power or horse power, in order to put in the crop in that community; or whether it be by the method of providing fuel to some for tractor power and feed and fodder to others for horse power, I feel quite satisfied that the government in each province, in cooperation with the municipalities, will make what arrangements are necessary in order to see that the crop is put in. I believe, too, that the greater part of that cooperation will be among the farmers in different communities. The general practice has been that where a man has no horses, as a result of his horses having died, the government does give some assistance through this guarantee. That is, the man may be enabled to hire a tractor, perhaps, that is owned by some neighbour, and that is not in use. The tractor may be even in a village. The tractor is hired and the fuel is provided in order that the crop may be put into the ground. But all these activities are carried on by the provincial government

in cooperation with the municipal councils, and I think that is the proper place to leave them.

The question whether or not horses have come back in poor shape is not one with which I can deal, other than to say that in all the checks I have been able to make- and I have been over quite a part of the area during the last few weeks-I have not found that great numbers of horses have died; I have not found that they are any poorer than they usually are after going through a year of this kind, in any part of the dominion. It is perfectly true that if you put a number of horses, cattle, or any other live stock into a box car and carry them three or four hundred miles probably you will have to take one of them home on a stone-boat, as the result of what they do to one another during the journey. You may even have to take one out that is not worth hauling home, but these stories are very much enlarged upon, and the checks we have been able to make indicate that the death rate among live stock this year is not materially greater than in any average year in western Canada.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weybum):

The minister mentioned the difficulty of getting seed together. After all this is not a measure to provide seed; it is merely to guarantee amounts of money. The question of the seed hardly impinges upon the computing of the amount of money the government would have to guarantee. However, there is no use labouring the point. I do not say that any harm has been done anyone, but I do say that the lateness of the date makes necessary haste in passing this resolution, which makes it impossible, perhaps, to secure information one would like to have if one had more time in which to ask questions and to deliberate as one ought upon this legislation. I do not feel satisfied as yet in regard to the statement the minister has made, but I have no doubt he will want to enlarge upon it when the bill itself comes down. I should like to know what acreage will be affected and whether the Minister of Finance thinks this amount will be sufficient to meet the situation. For instance, I notice that the number of farmers in Saskatchewan who applied last year was 25,000, while this year the number is 81,000. Assuming that they will need the same amount of seed, that means that more than three times what was supplied last year will have to be supplied this year, whereas the bill provides for only a little over twice as much. On the suggested basis of 250 acres for 81,000 farmers, the total

Seed Grain

would be 20,125,000 acres. At the price suggested, this would mean a figure between $28,000,000 and $30,000,000. I should like the minister to give us some idea as to whether the amounts we are guaranteeing will be sufficient to enable the farmers to put in a reasonable crop.

I think we are all agreed that moisture conditions in western Canada are better to-day than they have been for the past seven or eight years. Prices have improved, and with conditions in Europe what they are, they may be even better in the near future. It would be a tragedy if at this time the crops in Saskatchewan and Alberta were seriously curtailed because sufficient seed was not available to the farmers. I think we should have some information in connection with the suggestion of the minister of agriculture of Saskatchewan as to the maximum acreage for each farmer being 250. We ought to know whether that suggestion is acceptable to the federal government. Personally I think some other basis should be used. In and around the Regina plains, down through Yellow Grass, Riceton and Rouleau, you will find many farmers farming anywhere from one to five sections of land. If such a farmer has no seed available it may mean that he can put in only 250 acres. The result would be that a large part of his farm would be left to go into weeds. The farmer might not have the necessary fuel to operate his tractors-these farmers are all tractor farmers-in order to keep the weeds down and a serious situation might develop.

I suggest some other basis be used. I do not mean that these people should be given all the seed they want, but it could be worked out on a pro rata basis. A man with 200 acres would receive a certain amount, a man with from 200 to 500 acres would receive a certain percentage, and a man having over 500 acres would receive a percentage. Before the bill is brought down we ought to have some information as to the price to !be charged. It has been suggested in Saskatchewan that the farmer will be charged between $1.40 and $1.45 per bushel. That is an exorbitant price and we ought to know just what will be charged. In view of the fact that this government is being asked to guarantee the money, we should have a clear statement as to how a man should go about applying for this seed and upon what basis his application will be accepted or rejected. We should know whether exceptions are to be made to the general regulations. When a man has 'been given a certain amount of seed by the municipal council

we should know whether he can go to the inspector or to someone else and get that amount increased.

We should have particulars of the machinery that is being set up for the distribution of this seed. I think it would be well if the Minister of Agriculture had a copy of the regulations before him when the bill is brought down. Anyone reading the Regina and Saskatoon papers cannot help but be confused by the various suggestions and reports in connection with the regulations to govern the distribution of seed. A clear statement along these lines would help to clarify the whole situation, and I hope the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Agriculture will see fit to give us this information when the 'bill is in committee.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN WESTERN PROVINCES
Permalink

March 25, 1938