May 12, 1939

SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

The hon. member can make his speech afterwards. I am not concerned with Ontario.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

You have been speaking quite often yourself.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I do not think the hon. member (Mr. Bradette) has much to complain about. He takes his fair share in debate. He is not well advised to suggest by his interruption that members from the west should not be interested in the problems of the farmers of their constituencies. It would be more to the credit of some hon. members if they gave us fair consideration.

I think it is opportune for me now to put on Hansard an opinion, not of members of this group, not of western members, but of the Searle Grain Company, just as I gave the opinion of the premier of Manitoba for the purpose of showing that there are men in Canada who are taking this question seriously. This letter of the Searle Grain Company is dated April 5, 1939, the very day upon which the Minister of Agriculture told us the basis for his 60-cent price-that it was merely guesswork. Under the heading "Protecting the wheat industry" the Searle letter says:

The Hon. Mr. Euler, Minister of Trade and Commerce, on March 28, in the House of Commons, in discussing the tariffs, expressed himself in part to the effect that he was not in favour of such a reduction in tariffs as will ruin any Canadian industry-

With that I am wholly in accord. I take no exception to it, but I wish he would apply

Canadian Wheat Board

the same thing to agriculture as well. Then we would be one hundred per cent in agreement. It goes on:

-that the Canadian producer or manufacturer should have sufficient taritf protection to give him a chance of fair competition in his own market.

I do not dispute that for a moment, but I do dispute this statement-

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

If the hon. member will allow me-

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

Do not interrupt him; he is a statesman.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I have no objection to a reasonable interjection.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I just want to get the matter straight. My hon. friend referred to myself as not being in favour of such a reduction in tariffs on manufactured goods as would injure or ruin an industry, and he said he wished I would have the same consideration for agriculture. I certainly have, but will my hon. friend indicate where there is any indication of a reduction in tariffs to ruin Canadian agriculture? Because certainly it has not been under discussion.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River) :

That is mentioned later. I intend to read it all. The minister in essence said that he had no intention of bringing in any wheat legislation to injure the industry, but that is the very thing that he is doing. He is, as a member of the cabinet, supporting this legislation which is designed-intentionally or not-to ruin this industry.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

No.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

And incidentally it is going to cause a great deal of hardship in the west and force repudiation; ic cannot do otherwise. If the minister can show me any logical reason for fixing a price of 70 cents I should like to hear it; I certainly have not heard it yet. If he can show us on this side that a price of 70 cents is going to meet the cost of production and give a fair commission to the farmer, I shall be only too pleased to know it, and everybody else will.

The Searle letter continues:

Such a policy, of course, is excellent for the survival of Canadian tariff-protected manufacturing industry, but what, we venture to ask, about agriculture? And particularly what about the great western wheat industry under such a policy? For the ability of that wheat industry to compete (the tariffs now make production costs very high) in the most important markets it has, i.o. foreign markets, is to-day being most

seriously harmed, and the wheat industry being ruined, by the very same tariff protection that is enabling manufacturing industries to be temporarily prosperous.

I think it is opportune for us to mention that the prosperity which eastern industries' are enjoying is purely temporary. Once you ruin the west there is bound to be a reaction on eastern industries, and you will have them closing up; for one of their greatest markets is western Canada. If you do not give the producer of the west a fair price above his cost of production, it is bound to have an adverse effect on eastern industries. The letter goes on:

If the tariff protection enjoyed by manufacturing industries is to remain at the present high level, so as to ensure that all existing Canadian industries (many of which were brought into being and only exist to-day by reason of these high tariffs) are to be kept in being and prosperous, then it is a sad lookout for Canadian agriculture, and for our western wheat industry in particular; for it finally means that 2-j million people in the prairie provinces

far more than are employed in all the Canadian manufacturing industries put together-will be condemned to an extremely low standard of living, lower perhaps, we suggest, than peasantry itself.

There is another point to be considered, too. What about the continued prosperity of manufacturing industries themselves? If foreign markets for our western wheat are to continue to be curtailed-as they certainly are curtailed to-day by Canadian high tariffs-then the purchasing power of 2 i million people, a most substantial market for eastern manufactured goods, will automatically be curtailed in proportion. High tariffs, therefore, while they raise the cost of production of all farmers, and curtail drastically the sales of wheat, if continued will certainly inflict serious harm upon Canadian manufacturing industries themselves, and so upon all their thousands of workers.

When one adds to these evils, the high cost of arming for war-the direct result in turn of high tariffs which restrict international trade-one wonders whether high tariffs are of any permanent value to any one!

By this bill, which we are about to give its third reading-or rather, which the Liberals are about to see shall pass, because they have the majority to force it through-we are compelling the farmers to accept a price which is bound to cause bankruptcy and ruin throughout the west, which will put our people, who are a reasonable, aggressive and industrious people, back into the position of peasantry; and, as the Searle report indicates, there will be worse consequences even than that. The question is so serious that I think it should be reconsidered by every hon. member and the price raised to at least 80 cents.

Canadian Wheat Board

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. T. C. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I desire to make, only a few observations. After a whole week of discussing the wheat legislation, one feels inclined to say to the government, "Your blood be on your own heads," and let it go at that. Unfortunately, when one passes legislation like this one's blood is not always on one's own head. Not only have the people who pass it to accept responsibility, but a great many others have to sulfer the consequences. I desire, therefore, to take a moment or two to make one last appeal to the government.

I think the government realizes that this is perhaps the most important and serious measure which has come before this session of parliament. It will affect not only the economic life of the people of western Canada but the well-being of the whole economy of Canada. How serious it is can be seen by even an impersonal observer who will take a moment or two to look over what has happened.

When the government first announced its wheat policy there was an outcry in western Canada such as those of us who have lived there over a quarter of a century have never seen before. A petition came down to this house with 166,000 names on it-an unprecedented thing, coming from one province alone. A committee came down here and had an interview with the government. It was headed by a man who is associated politically with hon. gentlemen opposite, a man known for his political integrity and his good judgment. I refer to Premier John Bracken. The fact that when the bill came before this house yesterday and went to a vote, five hon. members on the government side voted against it-

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

We know all that.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

You may know a little more.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

Oh, repeat it. We know about it. It is no news to us.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I desire only to make a few observations, and I am sure the hon. member would not want, by interrupting, to get into a long debate.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

More from the gramophone.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

The fact that five hon. members voted against the bill ought to give the government pause; it should cause them to stop and realize that this bill is not popular. It is not popular in western Canada. It is not popular even in this house, and if it

had not been for the party whip the vote against that bill yesterday would probably have been much higher than it was.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Is the hon. member a popularity seeker?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I have listened to the defence of the bill which has been made by hon. gentlemen opposite. I am astonished that so many of them who represent agricultural constituencies have sat silent day after day in this chamber.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Surely we have had enough speeches!

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
Subtopic:   POWERS OF BOARD RESPECTING THE MARKETING OF WHEAT-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS A BUSHEL
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May 12, 1939