Yes, just a battle to fool the people.
I do not think anybody will dispute my statement that the wheat problem in western Canada to-day is a national one. Have we not the right to expect that the banks will be willing to monetize the farmers' wheat? Surely it is well worth monetizing. It is not perishable. It is a rather servile position for a government to be in. after investigating the problem and deciding that some action should be taken, to be told by the banking interests that they will not make this credit available.
Some of us in this house may in the past have been fooled as to what exactly was the true relationship between the Bank of Canada and this government. We were told, for instance, that the Bank of Canada was the instrument of the government. Two years ago we were very quickly disillusioned on that point, because Mr. Osborne, the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, speaking to the board of trade at Ottawa, told them that no self-respecting central bank would accept from its government a policy with which it did not agree. I suppose the Bank of Canada is a self-respecting central bank. So, apparently, the tail wags the dog; the Bank of Canada decides the policies for this government. Who, I wonder, decides the policy of the Bank of Canada?
We in this corner have always believed that the policy of the Bank of Canada is dominated by the Bank of England. That is why we called for the tabling of the correspondence between the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. We were refused access to that correspondence. Who controls the policy of the Bank of England? Members of parliament in Great Britain have asked for the names of the shareholders of the Bank of England and that was likewise refused them. All I have to say is this, that whoever are the controllers of financial policy in Britain and whoever are the controllers of financial policy in Canada, they have not for the past six years shown any real interest in the welfare of the Canadian people. In many ways one may charge that by their actions they have shown themselves to be good friends of Germany.
Before leaving the wheat question I would briefly summarize what in our opinion would be a sound wheat policy for the dominion. First of all there should be international cooperation instead of international competition. We feel that the four major wheat exporting nations-Australia, the Argentine, the United States and Canada, providing over 80 per cent of the world's exports of wheat-
The Address-Mr. Quelch
should get together and decide on a fair price for wheat, and then they should decide upon an equitable export quota for each of them.
Further, I suggest that Canada should maintain a 100 per cent wheat board, discarding the grain exchange and taking over all grainhandling facilities. I know that the Minister of Agriculture would approve that, because in April, 1939, speaking in this house, he said that if we continued to market wheat through the wheat board, then the only logical thing was to take over all grain handling facilities.
We feel that the government should be prepared to provide storage and take delivery of at least a stipulated quota per individual farmer, these quotas, in the aggregate, to be based upon the following considerations: (1) export requirements; (2) home consumption; (3) at least two years' reserve supply. Moreover, we are of opinion that the government should guarantee a price for the individual quota of the farmer, of at least $1 a bushel at point of shipment. There would be no restriction on production. The government would continue to take marginal lands out of production and the only restriction would be on deliveries. The farmer would have to provide storage for his surplus. This would constitute a form of crop insurance, so that in good years the farmer would have to hold a certain amount of wheat on the farm, and if he had a crop failure he would then turn in towards the quota what he had held in good years. The point is that on the limited amount sold he would obtain more than he receives for the total crop to-day. The farmer's quota would be based on average production of the former years, with a minimum quota to the small farmer. We are of opinion that a policy based upon such proposals would help to maintain agriculture on a sound basis and promote a friendly relationship with foreign nations.