March 16, 1942



Thomas Langton Church

National Government


For a return showing-1. The amounts paid from the consolidated revenue fund to farmers of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, since the year 1930, by years, on account of (a) direct per bushel bonus, (b) wheat acreage bonus,

(c) wheat acreage reduction bonus, (d) prairie farm income bonus, (e) Prairie Farm Assistance Act.

2. The deficits sustained by the Canadian wheat board in each year since its establishment.

3. The total amounts paid since 1930 to farmers in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, by way of, (a) wheat bonus, (b) hog production bonus, (c) cheese production bonus.




Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to amend the Department of External Affairs Act to provide for the application of the Civil Service Superannuation Act to certain diplomatic or consular representatives. He said: His Excellency the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the consideration of the house. Motion agreed to.



Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to be called the Supplementary 1941 War Appropriation Act to provide inter alia, 1. That sums not exceeding $135,000,000 be granted to his majesty in addition to the sums granted by the War Appropriation Act, 1941, towards defraying any expenses or making any advances or ioans that may be incurred or granted by or under the authority of the governor in council during the year ending March 31, 1942, for:- (a) the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada; (b) the conduct of naval, military and air operations in or beyond Canada; (c) promoting the continuance of trade, industry and business communications, whether [Mr. McGregor.! by means of insurance or indemnity against war risk or in any other manner whatsoever; and (d) the carrying out of any measure deemed necessary or advisable by the governor in council in consequence of the existence of a state of war. 2. That the governor in council be empowered to reexpend, advance or loan moneys that may be received by way of refund or repayment of advances, loans or expenditures under the War Appropriation Act, 1939, the War Appropriation Act, 1940, the War Appropriation Act, 1941, and the Supplementary 1941 War Appropriation Act. He said: His Excellency the Govenor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the consideration of the house. Motion agreed to.



On the orders of the day:


Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

I should like to ask a question of the Minister of National Defence in connection with the statement he made a few minutes ago. How many draftees were called up in the same period? Did the figures he gave include volunteers from those who had been drafted, and if so, to what extent?


James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)


Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

I am sorry I have not the figures here. I cannot tell how many draftees were called up. These figures do include those enlisted from training centres who had been called up for training. I can give my hon. friend to-morrow or at any convenient time the figures for both.



On the orders of the day: Mr. KARL K. HOMUTH (Waterloo South): In view of the news broadcast over the radio to-day to the effect that drastic provisions have been made in connection with the commandeering and price setting of wool in Canada, and Canadian wool production, could the minister, perhaps to-morrow, give the house a synopsis of what is in view or whatever order in council has been passed in this connection?


James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)


Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

I am not sure what department is concerned in this matter; it depends on what the transactions were. I will make inquiry and either

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my colleague the Minister of Munitions and Supply or I will make a statement in regard to it to-morrow.




The house resumed from Friday, March 13, consideration of the motion of Mr. MacKinnon (Edmonton West) for the second reading of Bill No. 13, to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act, 1935, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Douglas (Weybum).


James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. J. A. MARSHALL (Camrose):

When the house adjourned at six o'clock on Friday last I was endeavouring to show that all the proposals which might be formulated by the government concerning this subject must be directed toward the solution of two important problems of agriculture: one, debt and taxation; the other, the exploitation or exhaustion of the soil.

This policy, having been formulated, I believe that the farmer's responsibility ends there, and the responsibility of his elected members, his government, begins. It is then the duty or responsibility of his government to formulate plans which might be designed to achieve the results sought. Because of this we must have a policy, and if this policy is to be effective it must be based entirely upon the financing of consumption.

Farmers do not need to be told how to raise products. There are far too many government departments telling him how he must or must not do certain things. Farmers as a body have learned agriculture in the school of bitter experience. What they really want to know is how to sell the output of their farms and obtain an adequate return for their labour, so that in the course of a normal year they can make a decent income from working and managing their farms. In other words the farmers want to know how to pay their debts and give their families a decent standard of living. That, to me, is the farm problem, stripped of all verbiage and trimmings. AVhen the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) was speaking just a week ago to-day he said, as reported at page 1241 of Hansard:

As I said last year when we were asking them to do it, it took at least a hundred million dollars out of their pockets, and we did not by any means manage to put all of it back in.

Do hon. members realize what this implies? It means that the farmers of western Canada had $100 million less, which they could have used, which they could have applied upon their mortgages or bank loans and taxes. I did not

see in any newspaper, nor did I hear of any statement having been made by the Minister of Agriculture, that the minister would ask these financial institutions to ease their pressure on the farmer in the event of his not being able to meet his obligations. It would have been a humane gesture on the part of the Minister of Agriculture had he gone to the mortgage companies and other financial institutions and asked them to write off fifty per cent of this $100 million-or $50 million; split fifty-fifty, so to speak, on this amount of money. All the farmers received were left-handed compliments. No legislation was brought down to protect them against unfair or unscrupulous treatment on the part of the institutions or the municipalities.

A vital fact which is not recognized, so far as I am aware, in any policy of any government, is that the aptitude to produce requires a balancing facility for consuming. We can measure the wealth, the progress and the prosperity of agriculture only by what it sells. The whole aim of agriculture is to satisfy the needs of the people. These two ideas are constantly being lost sight You cannot have a state of over-production if potential output is governed by total effective consumption. Agriculture would face no serious difficulties if it were governed by this economic law rather than by government departments. Agriculture has been too long restricted because the purchasing power of the people has been restricted. Neither the restriction of production nor the restriction of consumers' purchasing power is pardonable as long as there is one home in the whole of the British empire, or in any of the allied countries, lacking agricultural commodities.

In 1939, when the estimates of the Minister of Agriculture were being discussed, I brought to his attention the plan devised by Milo Perkins of the United States department of agriculture. It is known as the "food stamp plan", and is intended solely for the purpose of dealing with surplus food commodities in that country. It is based upon the maxim that "charity begins at home". It is a scheme under which certain people may buy additional food at low prices, instead of that food being exported at cut rates. A subsidy is paid to the food merchant. The subsidy is paid out of taxes, and the scheme will increase taxation in direct proportion to its success. Apart from this feature, the plan employs the mechanism of Major Douglas's "just price". Not very long ago there appeared in the columns of the Western Producer a small news item, as follows:

Blue food stamps added $9,637,000 worth of farm products to the diets of nearly 3,600,000 persons in the United States during the month of September.

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In other words during the month of September, 1941, through the food stamp plan, the department of agriculture was able to distribute to the people of the United States $9,637,000 worth of farm products over and above normal consumption. In 1940 the consumption of meat increased by four pounds per capita over the year 1939. The consumption of pork in 1940 increased by 4-4 pounds per capita over the preceding year, which was the highest on record since 1929. The consumption of lard also increased, as was the case with many other agricultural products; and these increases were due to an increase in the purchasing power of the consuming public. On March 1, 1935, the editorial columns of the London Times contained this statement:

. The principal obstacle to trade revival lies in the inability of many potential customers to obtain the wherewithal to purchase commodities that they could use with advantage.

Again in 1940 the same newspaper carried this item:

Attempts in the past to get the economic machine back into gear have gone awry because we thought it enough to organize and stimulate production, bringing upon ourselves the anomalies of under-consumption" and "poverty in the midst of plenty." The consumer has too long been the stepchild both of economists and politicians. What will be needed most of all when peace is restored is planned consumption.

I recommend to the Minister of Agriculture close study of these two statements. I am sure no one, even in his weakest moments, would accuse the editor of the London Times of having a leaning toward such unorthodox views as those held by the Social Credit party; yet I want to repeat that the editor of this newspaper says that we must have planned consumption. We in this corner of the house have been advocating that for a considerable number of years. The financing of consumption must be studied, and we must come to it eventually. We must formulate a policy which, while acceptable to the agricultural community as a whole, also must be acceptable to the general public. Therefore I should like to suggest the following policy for agriculture: That Canadians as a whole should be provided with a flow of purchasing power adequate to ensure the distribution of as much as we can produce, and for which potential demand evists; that in the use of this purchasing power individuals shall be free to exercise their choice, and that farmers will be free from restriction and. control in order to fulfil the demand; and that the measures taken to put this policy into effect shall not be such as to cause an increase in taxation or debt, or an undue rise in price.

Here is where I should like to offer a suggestion to some of the farm organizations. I believe all these resolutions they have passed are very fine, but they should contain a clause which would safeguard their proposals. I maintain that the Minister of Agriculture could give $1 a bushel for wheat, or even SI.25, with one hand and a week from to-day turn around and increase the levy on every bushel of grain marketed from one per cent to five or even ten per cent. I have a feeling that he is even considering such a thing at the present time. Thus far I have not seen any safeguard such as I suggest should be in these resolutions.

No doubt many of my Liberal friends are extremely anxious to know what I would do about this matter. It is this. If I were made a dictator for the purpose of doing only one thing as a contribution to the "good life", I know what I would do. I would put the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the members of the agriculture committee into a room together and keep them there until they had settled the problems of food production and food distribution in this country. The only person for whom I would allow them to send to help in their deliberations would be the governor of the Bank of Canada. The penalty for not getting the job done would not be that they should be called honest men, but that they should be fired.

In case some hon. members may be inclined to attribute this very sensible idea to me, thereby consigning it to the grave as soon as it has been given birth, I hasten to advise those hon. members that it is not original by any means. In the Sunday Times of London England, two or three years ago there appeared an article written by .Lord Horder. I lifted bodily from that article the portion I have just read to the house, and paraphrased it to suit the present occasion. Lord Horder is one of the few individuals in Great Britain who received his title for sheer merit. He holds a most imposing number of public offices, and is in fact physician to the king. Because of his standing and international reputation this idea of his should be worthy of a trial.

In conclusion I desire to submit to the Minister of Agriculture the following recommendations:

1. As the policies recommended by the bureaucrats of the Department of Agriculture in the past years have not solved our agricultural problem, the services of these individuals should be dispensed with forthwith.

A thorough housecleaning in that department is in the public interest.

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2. That all existing agricultural legislation, including t'he bill now under discussion, be wiped off the statute books, because they are mere palliatives, are costly to administer, and have lamentably failed in their purpose.

3. That the committee on agriculture should sit continuously during the present session, and during all recesses, until a .permanent solution has been found.

4. That this committee on agriculture should decide, first of all, what the actual problems of agriculture are, bearing in mind those I have mentioned, namely debt and its twin evil taxation, and the exhaustion or exploitation of t'he soil.

5. That this committee formulate a policy which, if put into effect, will bring about quickly a permanent solution of these problems.

I would suggest that a study be made of two things: (a) financing consumption, and (b) the food stamp plan.

6. That experts be appointed to administer the policy; that these experts be divorced entirely from political influence; and that in the event of the policies being successful these experts be appointed' to the positions in the department made vacant by the removal from office of those who have had charge of our agricultural policy over the years.

The outline of procedure I have given would make a real approach to 'this whole problem, and in my judgment would return agriculture to its rightful position in the economy of our country.


March 16, 1942