May 4, 1938

LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. W. D. EULER (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I hope to be able to table the grain commission report this week, perhaps to-morrow.

As far as the revision of the grain act is concerned, I cannot speak positively, but it has been and is still the intention to introduce an amendment to the grain act this session.

Topic:   GRAIN AND GRAIN TRADE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO TABLING OF REPORT OF GRAIN COMMISSION AND REVISION OF CANADA GRAIN ACT
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

But not a general revision.

Topic:   GRAIN AND GRAIN TRADE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO TABLING OF REPORT OF GRAIN COMMISSION AND REVISION OF CANADA GRAIN ACT
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UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF

MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS


The house resumed from Tuesday, May 3, consideration in committee of Bill No. 105, to assist in the alleviation of unemployment and agricultural distress-Mr. Rogers-Mr. Sanderson in the chair. On section 4-Agreements with provinces and others.


CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

I want to make a special plea to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) in regard to the position of many of the municipalities in Canada. This has been repeatedly drawn to the attention of the government, but so far without result. We all realize that the government is carrying a great financial burden in connection with unemployment, but the burden is falling far too heavily upon many of our municipalities. Yesterday an hon. member from Montreal gave some figures in regard to the metropolis of the east. I wish to draw particular attention to the position of Winnipeg, mainly as a result of the great load it is bearing as a result of the unemployment situation.

The figures I quote were supplied to me recently by the city clerk of Winnipeg. In 1929, when we were not troubled with the unemployment problem as we are now, Winnipeg spent on unemployment relief $25,914. In the succeeding years Winnipeg has been obliged to bear an almost unbearable load. In 1937 the total cost of unemployment relief in Winnipeg was $3,711,331. Of that sum the city had to pay $1,530,015, approximately forty-one per cent of the total cost. I believe a similarly large figure could be quoted for any other large industrial centre in Canada. So bad has the financial situation become in Winnipeg as a result of unemployment relief that the' city is on the verge of bankruptcy, even though it can show an excellent balance sheet as far as its general financial situation is concerned. But the load she has been compelled to bear through no fault of her own is almost breaking the back of the city.

I believe all hon. members recognize, as it is recognized outside of the house, that unemployment is not a result of the activities or policies of our municipal bodies; therefore it is most unfair that municipalities should be called upon to bear the greatest part of the burden of unemployment relief. As has been already pointed out by myself and other hon. members, the present policy of the government in dealing with unemployment is no different from that of seven or eight years ago, no different from the policy of 1930 and succeeding years. If the government have no other policy than that of dealing with the relief problem from the purely administrative standpoint, instead of trying to do something from the legislative standpoint, the municipalities should not be burdened with this unbearable load by reason of the shortcomings of the federal government.

Relief and Agricultural Distress

The wording of the preamble of the present bill is somewhat different from that of bills of former years. The words used are:

Whereas it is in the national interest that the dominion should continue for a further period to support and supplement the measures of the provinces and other bodies. . . .

The government, instead of assuming responsibility for the unemployment situation, say in this preamble that they will "supplement the measures " of the municipalities and provincial governments. I should expect any government under the circumstances of the present time not to supplement the efforts of the municipal and provincial governments but to initiate measures which the municipal and provincial governments might perhaps supplement. But the government is reversing that situation and going back to the old theory that unemployment relief is entirely the responsibility of the municipalities and provinces. If the municipalities or provinces were in any way responsible for the unemployment situation I would say that the responsibility for relief should rest upon them. But I think it is admitted by all that unemployment is the result of policies over which our municipalities have no control whatever, policies for the most part initiated and carried out by the federal government; and such being the case the federal government ought to assume a much larger share of responsibility, and cease driving many of our larger municipalities into bankruptcy. I appeal to the minister and the government to do something to alleviate the situation of our municipalities and relieve them of the burden of bearing over forty per cent of the cost of unemployment relief.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

Mr. Chairman, you have allowed considerable latitude in the discussion which has taken place on this bill. Practically every line of industry in Canada has received some attention. Some of the discussion I think was not altogether relevant; therefore I trust that if I should transgress a little you will be lenient with me. I do not think I can be accused of unduly taking up the time of the committee, and certainly I have not tried to hold up any measure of importance.

I might remind you of the fact that when the seed bill, No. 78, was before the house, it was introduced and given first reading on March 25 and it passed before the end of the fiscal year. Of course the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) asked us to permit it to pass quickly, assuring us that we would have opportunity later, on some item in the estimates, to get the details which we no doubt would have asked for then if he had not given us that assurance. Also the supplementary

estimates passed, I think, at one sitting of the house, in which were included some $14,000,000 for relief to Saskatchewan. These also were permitted to pass with the understanding that at some future time or on some other estimate we would have an opportunity of discussing certain details.

On Monday last, in reply to the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Heaps), the minister stated that the administration of relief in the drought area of Saskatchewan rested with the Department of Agriculture. Subsection (a) of section 4 of this bill provides that the governor in council may enter. into agreements-

-with any of the provinces respecting the alleviation of unemployment conditions and of agricultural distress therein, and to assist those in need.

I therefore desire to bring to the attention of the government the very serious situation of the farmers of Saskatchewan, particularly with regard to the lack of power and machinery of all kinds with which to carry on their farming operations, both now and during the summer. There is no doubt that there will be a great deal more summer-fallowing this year than usual, owing to the policy adopted by the Department of Agriculture last fall, for which the minister is responsible, with respect to not supplying the feed and fodder necessary to winter the horses in that district. As a result of this policy the farmers will not be able to continue their spring and summer work as they ought to, which is a very serious matter. On Friday last, dealing with the report of the farm implements committee, the minister stated-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Might I ask the hon.

gentleman whether he is speaking of the provincial or the federal minister of agriculture?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

I said the Minister of Agriculture, speaking in this house on Friday last

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am referring to the

previous statement, that the Minister of Agriculture was responsible-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

I meant the Minister of

Agriculture in this house.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Then I should say that the Minister of Agriculture in this house had nothing whatever to do with that.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

I have a statement, which

I can produce, to the effect that the Minister of Agriculture approved of the rules and regulations drawn up by the government of Saskatchewan, so it was with his approval that those regulations were carried out.

Relief and Agricultural Distress

* Mr. GARDINER: Those regulations have nothing whatever to do with the sending of horses to the Carberry pasture.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

The first regulations had

to do with the quantity of feed and fodder that would be supplied to the farmers to carry them through the winter. Then there was a further regulation issued by that government dealing with the shipment of horses to pasture in Manitoba. I think the minister must agree that he had something to do with providing those pastures and permitting horses to be taken there. Certainly he is responsible for what happened there and the condition of those horses when they were returned to Saskatchewan.

As I was about to say, Mr. Chairman, on Friday last the Minister of Agriculture in this house made a speech dealing with the report of the farm implements committee, in which he expressed some concern for the farmers of the west and in fact for the farmers of all Canada in regard to the high prices they are called upon to pay for implements. He appeared to be indefinite in regard to how he proposed to remedy that condition or what he proposed to do about it. I would judge that perhaps he had some concern as to how his speech would be received in Saskatchewan and what use might be made of it in the provincial campaign that is now pending. At any rate, his remarks received considerable publicity in the west. I have before me the Regina Leader-Post of the day following, in which there is a heading in block letters, as follows:

Machine Firms Warned Tariff Cut, Price Curb Threats Made Gardiner Speaks Bluntly to Farm Implement Companies

Hon. J. G. Gardiner received unanimous applause of the house Friday night with the exception of a handful of high protectionist Conservatives, and warned the farm implement industry what the government contemplates.

1. Price control of farm implements.

2. Removal of the tariff on farm implements.

3. Control of farm implement company organization.

As far as the tariff goes the farmers of the west know that there has been a considerable reduction already, from. 25 per cent to 7i per cent. They also know that since that has taken place there have been two substantial increases in the prices of farm implements. I think perhaps the minister was taking more or less of a bold chance, in the hope that the inquiry now taking place in the United States into the agricultural implement industry might result in some control of prices there, and that Canada might follow suit.

Now I wish to suggest some immediate ways of assisting the farmers with respect to power and machinery. Under this act I think arrangements might be made with the provincial government to assist the farmers to finance their cash payments on tractors and other machinery. This is important in view of the lack of power in that area at the present time, in order that the farmers may be kept on the land and the acreage not seeded this year kept cultivated, free of weeds and so on. There is no doubt that there will not be a normal seeding this year, with a consequent increase in the acreage to be summer-fallowed. If this could be arranged it would create employment in the implement industry. There would be a certain amount of freight carried into that province, which would also help the unemployment situation, and if the farmers could be assisted in carrying on their work, as they will have to be, many thousands of men would be employed as farm labourers this summer. This would be of very considerable assistance in relieving unemployment.

There is another matter which I think is important. I refer to the live stock industry. The policy adopted last fall by the provincial department of agriculture, with the approval of the federal minister of agriculture, resulted in the depletion of the herds in that province. As you know, under the regulations anyone who wanted assistance in regard to feed and fodder had to reduce his herd to not more than four cows. Certainly that will mean a restriction of production. The other evening the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. McLean) made a speech in which he charged the late government with being responsible for a policy of restriction of trade. Then he launched an attack on the stabilization operations of the late government under Mr. McFarland. I might tell the hon. member that if it had not been for those operations, and a certain amount of grain which accumulated under that system, the province of Saskatchewan would have been in a sorry plight this spring, because there would not have been any seed. On July 31 last they had seven million bushels left, which was held for seed purposes; and it was that wheat that had been accumulated by the previous government that made it possible to supply seed wheat. A little later I may have something more to say with respect to what has happened in that connection. However, that has been the policy of the present government with respect to the distribution of feed, fodder and seed. Then, the policy carried out last fall with respect to the

Relief and Agricultural Distress

cattle industry, when the farmers were forced to reduce their herds, has meant a compelled restriction of production.

While I was home representations were made to me on behalf of twelve or fifteen farmers in the Alexander district of Saskatchewan. They stated they had formed themselves into a group and had made application to the provincial government to secure a bull, under the bull loaning policy. They were advised to take the matter up with the federal authorities. Upon doing so they were informed that the federal government could not consider their application. I was asked to bring the matter to the attention of the government when I came to Ottawa, and upon doing so I received the following reply:

I regret very much to have to advise that it is not possible to encourage the farmers in the Alexander district to organize an association to apply for the loan of a pure bred bull from this department this year. We have already received from Saskatchewan applications greatly in excess of the number of suitable bulls which it will be possible to purchase, and have been under the necessity of refusing consideration to nearly two hundred inquiries received from Saskatchewan alone.

Certainly the department was not exercising a policy of foresight when it permitted those animals to be shipped out as they were last year. I would impress upon the minister the necessity of paying attention to this serious situation, and to make a statement with respect to it. Surely there are sufficient animals in Canada to supply the need. This is a matter which should be attended to immediately.

I believe under the section it is permissible to discuss the present situation in the province with respect to seed, feed and fodder. In his statement to the house on April 26, and again on April 28, the minister said, in effect, that he expected seed would be released for seeding in the middle of that week. That is not an answer to the question as to what has really been the delay in the release of the seed. For the last two months this matter has been a live one in the province. The farmers were looking for seed in March, because in some parts of the province they were ready to seed by April 5.

I have a clipping from a weekly paper dated April 28 which states:

Local farmers are still waiting for their full allotment of seed grain. There was apparently a sufficient supply of wheat, purchased by the wheat board and held in local elevators for the past six months, but for some reason much of this was shipped out during the past couple of weeks, and now, wheat will have to be shipped in to meet the local requirements.

It goes on to say that on April 28 a number of farmers were still looking for their

fMr. Perley.l

seed. In March the provincial minister of agriculture made a statement in Saskatchewan, as did the premier of the province, to the effect that wheat was then moving to points where it would be required. It was stated that out of 1,100 points 900 had received wheat.

Then we have the statement on April 23 in which the provincial minister of agriculture stated that the farmers could not understand why at Radville wheat was sitting on the track in cars for four days and could not be released. The statement goes on to say that every time a train went by the station the farmers would go to town to see if any wheat was ready for release. The situation became desperate, and the delay was serious. It means a very serious reduction in what the farmer will realize next fall from his crop. Wheat which should have been seeded three or four weeks ago will, if seeded now, run a great danger of being frosted. It will be more subject to rust, too, and as a result there may be a further extensive loss taken by farmers in the fall.

At this time I am not going to discuss the question of the quantity of seed being released. It is my intention to-day more particularly to find out why there has been delay in the release. I do not believe the excuse given by the provincial minister of agriculture, that it was due to the wheat board, is sufficient. We know the wheat board have efficient experts and accountants who could handle several millions of bushels of wheat easily, and in a very short time. We know, too, that wheat was accumulated last October. For instance, an order in council was passed by this government on December 15 last authorizing the board to convert their futures into cash wheat. We have proof-I have it right here-of cash brokers' notes, dated even in October, where the option was exchanged for wheat, and giving the points in the province in which the board took delivery in exchange for options.

Then, the municipalities were asked last December to make a survey of their requirements. We have reports from municipalities where surveys were made and sent in to the government. Applications were made and the amounts required in the municipalities indicated. On April 23 I had a statement from the reeve of one municipality in which he stated that the wheat had not been released.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

What date is that?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

April 23.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It is likely all in the ground now.

Relief and Agricultural Distress

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

It is not all in the ground yet. We can produce a statement right here that wheat has not yet been released in certain parts. [DOT]

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

There has been too much rain and cold weather to put it into the ground.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

The minister says it is in.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
Permalink

May 4, 1938