It is true on account of inescapable circumstances, on account of the high rate of exchange on our money and this new ten per cent exchange tax, which, after all, is a tariff. So I recommend to the government that they at least take off this ten per cent exchange tax which was imposed last year.
I have here a little pamphlet, and on it there is a graphic picture. I am not going to speak of this at any length, but I received this pamphlet at a meeting held at Regina this summer. The meeting was called by Canadian Cooperative Implements Limited, a company of farmers who got tired of waiting for government action, and so decided to see what they themselves could do in regard to reducing prices of farm machinery. I went to that convention because I thought it might help me in my work here as well as at home. No one knew my identity, I just dropped in and kept my ears open, and there I found this pamphlet. It shows that the cost of a binder in 1913 was $167, and the number of bushels of wheat which it took to purchase that binder at that time was 261. Then it tells us that the same binder, or a similar one-they tell us it is improved, and it certainly is, but I do not think the cost of production is any higher-in 1940, is $340 and we have to trade 637 bushels of wheat for the binder, or about two and a half times as much as the binder cost in 1913 in terms of wheat. That conven-
tion was interesting, and if time permitted I would like to tell the house about it.
It might be, yes. I was very much impressed with the speech made by a man representing the government of Alberta, the province from which some of my hon. friends opposite me come. It seems that the government of Alberta have taken the bit in their teeth and are doing something for themselves, because this is a government measure, and while they asked for the cooperation of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and were promised it, it was so long in coming that they went on by themselves.
They thought they could save by cooperative buying on the cost of repairs to binders and other farm machinery, so they came to eastern Canada and asked the Canadian implement companies if they would make contracts with the cooperative for the distribution and sale of repairs to farm implements. The Canadian companies refused to make any such arrangement. Then the cooperative went to the United States-can one blame them?-and made arrangements with United States companies. Distributing houses were set up at seven different points in Alberta. I should have liked to know how much they saved the farmers, but when the question was asked the reply was, "We have saved the farmers a good many dollars in the cost of repairs to their implements." As a matter of fact the scheme has been so successful that instead of seven distributing centres in Alberta they intend next year to have thirty.
I have tried to point out that if you lowered the cost of farm implements you would help the farmer reduce his costs of production. I want now to say something about the charges we have to pay for the handling of our grain. Storage charges were reduced last year from one cent to three-quarters of a cent a bushel a month. I did not think that reduction was sufficient under existing circumstances, and I know many hon. members on both sides felt the same way. We believed the reduction should have been to at least one-half cent. I am still of that opinion, and I believe if the government were wise they would reduce the storage rate to one-half cent this year, thereby saving the farmer another one-quarter cent a bushel.
But I have another criticism to offer with regard to the payment of storage. As I understand it, as soon as you dump a load of
The Address-Mr. Leader
grain, into an elevator the storage charges begin. So I think if we wish to be fair to these farmers who have put up their own granaries at home, their storage also should start immediately. Let me give a personal example; I am engaged in the business, so I know I will be excused for these personal references.
We were allowed this year a quota of five bushels to the acre, so we got it out first and put it in the elevator. Then we went on threshing and filled our granaries. The grain was taken to the elevator about the middle of August, and of course the storage charges began at once. It was a pool elevator, but that does not matter; it was an elevator, and the storage began the day the wheat was delivered. But on the wheat I put in my own granary the storage did not start until six weeks later. If you are going to pay the farmers storage at the same rate you pay the elevator companies you should begin to pay that storage when the grain is delivered to the granaries, just as you do when it is delivered to the elevators. I think that would be only fair. Some people have told me the trouble is that further west they are later with their threshing, and there has to be one general date. I do not think that is so at all; certainly it is not the case with the elevators. If we in Manitoba are threshing two or three weeks ahead of the farmers of Alberta, why should we have to wait for our storage to begin becav.se Alberta happens to be a little later than we are? No; we must pay the farmers on the same basis that we pay the elevator companies. That is the only fair thing to do.
The suggestions I have offered to the government to-night more or less have to do with a long-range programme; they need not be scrapped when the war is over. I feel satisfied that once the farmers get into the way of diversified farming, as many of them are doing even now-and especially the bigger farmers further west-they will continue with it long after the war is over .
I should now like to refer to a matter that has been mentioned by many other hon. members on all sides of this house. I am in favour of the government issuing passes to our soldiers who want to go home at Christmas time. Some of the boys from Portage la Prairie are down here in Ottawa, and I have been told that they will not be able to eat their Christmas dinners with their loved ones unless they are given passes on the railways. What is true of my district no doubt is true of every district in this country, and I think that request is only reasonable. I do not consider it a privilege; I think it is a right that belongs to these soldier boys of ours.
I have five minutes left, Mr. Speaker, and in that time I should like to refer to an article which appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press of last Tuesday. This article attacks Mr. II. H. Hannam, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. The Free Press admits that this gentleman occupies a high position, but they ascribe a sinister motive to his comments with regard to the reduction in the price of Canadian bacon. I think I should read this article, which is very short, in order to be fair to the Free Press. It is as follows:
Mr. H. H. Hannam, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, is indignant and declares that the Canadian farmers will also be indignant over the reduced price for bacon fixed in the new bacon agreement.
Indignant against whom? Not against Great Britain, Mr. Hannam hastens to explain. Then the indignation must be directed against the Canadian government. On what grounds? Obviously on the ground that the Canadian government did not say to the government of Great Britain: Pay the price that our distinguished and patriotic Canadian, Mr. Hannam, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, demands, or go without bacon.
No doubt Mr. Hannam will resent having the matter put thus crudely; but is it not pretty much to this that it boils down? A man big enough to hold his position ought to be able to look at this transaction in its entirety, instead of from a narrow angle. Thus examined, it might be found to have a great many good points.
And listen to this:
But Mr. Hannam is in the business, in which he is not alone, of trying to stir up grievances in the hope of being able to capitalize on them later on. It is a discreditable business. Also dangerous.
The only comment I have to make is that the author of this article is discredited and that its publication is dangerous. That is what I want to say to the house most definitely. I am glad to have the privilege of putting this article on Hansard, where people can read it for themselves. I cannot understand what motive would prompt the Free Press, one of our great newspapers, to print such an editorial, but there it is; and I believe, as the Free Press says, that the situation may be dangerous.
I wish to thank hon. members for permitting me to continue beyond my allotted time.
Mr. WILFRID LaCROIX (Quebec-Mont-moreney): Mr. Speaker, I deem it my duty
to say a few words about the war effort, and the recent speech of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston). May I first on behalf of my electors thank the government for having helped the eel fishermen of the isle of Orleans, situated in my constituency, to dispose completely of their catch which had accumulated in cold storage for several years. These fishermen were in a pitiful condition, the Italian and German markets which had absorbed the major part of their production having been completely closed to them since the outbreak of the war. Without the government's intervention they would have entirely lost the fruit of their labour for the past two years. I tender my sincere thanks to the government.
May I also thank the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) for having recommended to the Minister of National Defence the removal of an injustice which, to my mind, served only to protect and enrich the meat monopolies of this country, reviving painful recollections of the last war when great fortunes were built up thanks to a monopoly organized to the detriment of the citizens of Canada in general.
In this connection, I shall quote a letter which I wrote to the Minister of Agriculture: Quebec, October 2, 1940 Honourable James Gardiner,
Minister of Agriculture,
The war purchasing board ruled a few months ago that only slaughtering establishments operating under the inspection of your department would be asked to tender for meat supplies required by the Department of National Defence.
This ruling is unjust and vexatious for producers and small dealers who can make use of abattoirs subject to federal inspection to slaughter the cattle they wish to sell to the army, in full compliance with your inspection regulations, and to submit tenders on the same footing as others.
Everyone is participating in the war effort and should therefore receive the same treatment. The fact of eliminating the producer and small dealer creates a monopoly in favour of 40 or 45 large companies owning abattoirs.
Why not make it possible for small dealers and producers who w'ish to have their cattle slaughtered in these recognized abattoirs, where they would undergo the required inspection, to sell their meat directly to the Department of National Defence.
I strongly protest against this ruling and, appealing to your spirit of justice, Mr. Minister, I ask you to take the necessary measures to change this situation which is creating among the public a state of mind unfavourable to the government.
I am under the impression that the war purchasing board made this ruling without knowing that the producers and small dealers, though having no slaughter houses of their own, are able to have their cattle slaughtered in a public abattoir where there is permanent inspection and thus supply a product equal in quality to that of the abattoir-owning companies.
Should this policy not be changed, I shall regretfully be compelled, because of the protests made to me, to submit the whole question to the attention of the House of Commons at the next session.
Awaiting your reply, I beg you to accept, Mr. Minister, the expression of my best sentiments and to believe me,
Yours very truly,
M.P. for Quebec-Montmorency.
On November 6, I had the pleasure of receiving the following letter which will undoubtedly please all those who are in a position to supply meat bearing the stamp of dominion inspection:
Ottawa, November 6, 1940 Mr. Wilfrid LaCroix, M.P.,
House of Commons,
Dear Mr. LaCroix:
Your additional letter respecting the basis on which the Department of National Defence calls for tenders for the meat required for the troops stationed in Canada clarifies this question which so greatly interests you.
I am fully in agreement with you regarding the desirability of widening the field from which tenders may be accepted, in order to include all individuals or companies in a position to supply meat bearing the dominion inspection stamp, *whether or not they are owners of the establishment in w'hicb the slaughtering has been done. This would make it possible to supply meat slaughtered on order in an inspected establishment, as you suggest.
I am making a formal recommendation on that point to the Minister of National Defence. In the light of unofficial conversations which have occurred this week between officials of both departments, I am confident that the question will shortly be settled to your satisfaction.
Yours very truly,
A first step has thus been taken by the Minister of Agriculture. Let us hope that the Minister of National Defence will hasten to agree to the formal recommendation of
The Address-Mr. LaCroix (Montmorency}
the Department of Agriculture, for it is the latter which is responsible for the inspection of the meat supplied to the army.
Everyone is sharing in the war; everyone should share in the patronage resulting therefrom.
I listened attentively to the speech delivered last week by the Minister of National Defence. I wish to underline the following words which he uttered regarding the possible lengthening of the training period to four months:
We propose, before final authorization of this extension of the training period is given, to examine the situation on the ground when I am in England in consultation with the governmental authorities and staff who are concerned with this phase of the war effort.
In this connection I should like to quote from an editorial published on November 16 in the organ of the Liberal party in Quebec, Le Soleil, under the caption " Military Service in Canada."
It has been suggested that the British system of military training would probably give the same results in Canada as in Great Britain. It must be remembered that conditions are entirely different in England. Over there, industry has not yet employed all the workers available and the government has not been able to give military training with full equipment to all its conscripted soldiers. Here in Canada it is expected that unemployment will soon be restricted to the winter season, and, quite naturally, it has been thought of taking advantage of this climatic condition to call up farmers' sons for training during the period usually called the " slack season." But this season is extremely rigorous in the Laurentian country, at Valcartier for example, where stormy weather will mean considerable loss of time to the recruits who will be there next month and afterwards. This drawback could easily be overcome by the construction of barracks and drill-halls in the main centres of each district of Quebec. The soldiers -would be made more comfortable and their training more effective.
Would it not be wise to adopt for Canada a system of military service particularly adapted to the exceptional conditions of Canadian life?
Last session I voted against the National Resources Mobilization Act because section 64 remains in the Militia Act. Nevertheless it was passed by parliament. Respectful of the laws of the country I submitted to it like all my compatriots who, even if a law is not to their liking, know that the first duty of a citizen is to submit to the laws passed by the civil authorities.
We have, however, been so often told and retold that the mobilization act concerned only Canada and was intended solely for the defence of Canada that it seems to me that at least we should follow the advice given in the article which I have just quoted from Le Soleil, the organ of our party at Quebec.
Furthermore, in this speech the Minister of National Defence recognizes for the first time that our first line of defence is in Europe. I must admit that it is with apprehension for the interests of Canada that I look forward to the results of the trip to Europe which the minister intends to make next month.
As to the extension of training from one month to four months, I cannot do better than quote from an article published in L'Action Catholique on November 15, 1940, under the heading " Harmful and Ill-advised Zeal." This is what it says:
Mr. Hanson's suggestions are somewhat reckless. To compel our recruits to do four months of training would be disastrous for industry and trade, as it would necessitate a periodic replacement of experienced workers by newcomers without experience. As to placing our young men in the army reserve after they have undergone their training, that is simply a trick the purpose of which is to have them at hand in case of conscription.
This view expressed by L'Action Catholique, and which I Share, accurately reflects, I believe, public opinion on the matter. As to the harmful and ill-advised zeal of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), I must say I am not surprised at it, for he has dared to utter in this house the following words:
For us, aid in the defence of Britain should be our first objective: the defence of our beloved country will follow.
The words "will follow" are words which no Canadian who loved his country would dare to utter; yet they faithfully depict the man who at present leads the opposition. No one has worked harder than he since the outbreak of the war to disrupt national unity. If the present session is to have no other result than to allow our conscriptionists and imperialists to continue their work of disintegration, parliament cannot prorogue too soon. If the Frencli-Canadians have accepted a policy of compromise, be assured that they will never depart from it. Why blame us when the United States are doing still much less than this country, since they have not declared war and are not sending a single soldier to Europe?
Our economic and military participation is already on a grand scale and even beyond the limits of our capacity. In my opinion the effect of this will be to make it impossible for us to solve the problems which the after-war period will bring. We desire the triumph of England which is fighting with admirable courage for the preservation of her empire and of the social and political ideals represented by her institutions; but, for heaven's sake, let us not forget that we are part of America and that we should have at least some thought for Canada which, whatever may be said, is still our country.
The Address-Mr. LaCroix (Montmorency)
I take this occasion to congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) upon the military agreement which he has succeeded in concluding between Canada and the United States. Such an agreement should have been made long ago. Thanks to the long-standing friendship between our Prime Minister and the President of the United States, we have made an important step in our political history through this definite statement that our geographical interests are bound up with those of the United States. I conclude by voicing my ardent desire that these common interests will guide us in the examination of the demands which England may make upon us. Let us not, following the example of an elderly senator seemingly little interested. in the rising generation, state in advance our intention to yield to all her demands.
On motion of Mr. MacKinnon (Edmonton West) the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Crerar the house adjourned at 10.55 p.m.