March 17, 1942

PRIVILEGE

MR. POTJLIOT-MR. LACOMBE-REFERENCE TO LETTER IN "LE JOUR" OF MARCH 7


On the orders of the day: Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Before the orders of the day are called I desire to rise to a question of privilege, and as the matter referred to is in a French paper I shall have to read it in French. It appears in Le Jour of Montreal, Saturday March 7, page 8: (Translation) A correspondent writes us as follows: Are We Playing the Enemy's Game? La Sarre, Que., Feb. 23, 1942. Dear Mr. Harvey, After reading in last week's newspapers the subamendments moved in the House of Commons by Mr. Liguori Lacombe and Mr. Jean Francois Pouliot respectively, it is my opinion that the manifest hypocrisy underlying these amendments is a most disquieting thing for our Freneh-Canadian nation. And this is the ending of the letter: This propaganda is certainly of German inspiration and its only object is to create disunity in all allied countries by fostering either racial or religious strife. It seems to perpetuate itself under various forms and I think it is high time our fellow citizens should become aware of the grave danger it presents. Ldonidas Boisvert I have only one word to say in this connection and that is that Mr. Jean Charles Harvey's patron saint, Voltaire, had adopted for a motto: "Lie and keep on lying, it is bound to bear some fruit." I might also apply to Messrs. Boisvert and Harvey the following quotation also taken from Voltaire: "Is there enough hellebore for so strange a malady?" I protest energetically against insinuations of this nature and the only thing left for me to do is to mail a seidlitz powder to Mr. Leonidas Boisvert and the remainder of the box, to wit eleven powders, to Mr. Jean Charles Harvey who is eleven times sillier than Mr. Boisvert.


IND

Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBE (Laval-Two Mountains) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, one word on this question of privilege. Every newspaper with the exception of Le Jour refused to publish this bit of turpitude from the pen of Leonidas Boisvert of La Sarre. I vigorously protest aga-inst this accusation of disloyalty to my country, and I wish to say here and now that without giving undue publicity to Le Jour, this person shall be called upon to substantiate his charges before the courts.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. POTJLIOT-MR. LACOMBE-REFERENCE TO LETTER IN "LE JOUR" OF MARCH 7
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PRODUCTION, COMMANDEERING AND FIXING OF PRICE


On the orders of the day: . Mr. KARL K. HOMUTH (Waterloo South) : Yesterday I asked a question of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) or the minister responsible. It was thought possible that an answer might be given to-day either by the Minister of Finance or by the Minister of Munitions and Supply. The question had reference to the wool situation. I wonder if there is anything further on it.


LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Munitions and Supply):

So far as I can determine, the action taken was taken by the wartime prices and trade board, certainly in respect of prices. I understand that my colleague has a statement on the matter, but as my hon. friend knows he is unavoidably absent at the moment. Perhaps the information can be given to-morrow.

Topic:   PRODUCTION, COMMANDEERING AND FIXING OF PRICE
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CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT

PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS


The house resumed from Monday, March 16, 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 (Weyburn).


NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Might I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker? I understood very definitely last night from the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Michaud), when the house adjourned, that it had been arranged to have certain other matters brought up first to-day.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Bill No. 5 is in charge of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell), who is at the moment

Wheat Board Act

on the Pacific coast, and by arrangement with all parties this morning it was decided to go on with this debate.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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LIB

Wilbert Franklin (Frank) Rickard

Liberal

Mr. W. F. RICKARD (Durham):

It is not my intention to delay the house on this bill; I shall take but a very few minutes. In fact, I had not intended speaking at all on this wheat legislation. As an Ontario member I was willing to accept the government's proposal as drafted in these -bills and let it go at that. Having listened, however, to so much discussion during the last couple of weeks from members on all sides of the house, and more particularly to criticisms that have been made of this legislation by members of the opposition, and having taken part in previous debates on the subject, I feel that as an Ontario farmer I should say a few words.

Since coming to this house about seven years ago I have heard wheat, wheat, wheat for two or three weeks every session. We have talked so much about wheat that we are getting more confused than ever about it. It seems to me that hon. members from the west cannot themselves agree on what they want. The hon. member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Donnelly) said- the other day that there are two schools of thought in the west so far as wheat policy is concerned. If I am any judge there are more like twenty-two schools of thought. But the difference between the two schools is found in the question whether we should pay so much an acre or so much a bushel. I can understand that for the big farmer who is growing thousands of bushels, so much a bushel may be preferable, but for the man who produces very little, perhaps through crop failure or some such cause, the other proposal is better; and I intend to support the bonus as proposed by the government.

We hear a good deal about this delegation of four hundred farmers that came to Ottawa, the implication being that they have to come here in delegations in order to get any consideration from the government; that they have to come and demand certain things to get anything done. Some of our Cooperative Commonwealth Federation friends express it by saying that the squeaking wheel gets the grease, the crying baby the milk, and all that sort of thing. I do not believe that is the position at all. I believe the government to-day are doing the very best they can to legislate for the benefit not only of the wheat growers but of all the farmers of Canada. And believe me, it is a big job. The Montreal Financial Times had a good editorial on March 13 in which the comment was made that

"Ottawa boosts wheat price and east must grin and bear it." The editorial goes on to say that the west has been disappointed that the war has not solved the wheat problem. The bonus on coarse grains to encourage mixed farming is a situation full of paradoxes. The paradox is that we are asking the farmers to grow more wheat, and are taking more wheat from the farmers at a higher price, but we cannot sell it. So far as I am concerned I do not think this is anything to grin about, nor would I if I had my own way accept some of the things that have been suggested. But I have agreed to accept the increase in the price of wheat from 70 to 90 cents and the increase from 230 million to 280 millon bushels, for a commodity which at the present time we cannot sell.

The estimated surplus in Canada for this crop year will be 400 million bushels. The United States and the Argentine will have practically another billion bushels, so that there will be a surplus of available wheat of over one and a quarter billion bushels, enough to do us for two or three years if no more were grown. Someone will say of course that if the war should end soon we would have plenty of markets for our wheat. I agree; but it is not very likely that the war will end soon, and the chances are the government is going to have to pay out huge sums of money to carry this wheat until it is needed. I do not say it will not be needed; eventually I believe it will. But I believe the government has gone as far as it should in raising the price, especially in the face of the need for money for armaments, tanks, planes, guns, ships and implements of war. I think the west should be satisfied.

As an eastern farmer when I go home to my constituency or anywhere else in Ontario I hear the old story, "You can't satisfy the west, it makes no difference what you give them. Why don't the farmers of Ontario stand up and oppose this legislation for the west and do something for Ontario?" Well, we are willing to do what we can for the west. We have always taken that attitude. I think hon. members will agree that when I have spoken in this house, on almost every occasion I have upheld the policies submitted to help the west. I have not agreed with everything, but I think I have been at least reasonable. But our farmers say, "If you give the western farmers 90 cents for wheat, they want a dollar; if they are given a dollar, they want $1.25." That is the attitude the farmers of Ontario take to-day. All the farmers are bonused

we quite agree with that-not only in the

Wheat Board Act

west but in the whole of Canada. The government is spending from the end of July, 1941, to August 1, 1942, over $84 million on bonuses to farmers, of which over $62 million goes to the west. We have bonused coarse grains at $2 an acre, grass at $2 am acre, summer-fallow at $2 an acre-all these things. It makes the Ontario resident, not only the farmer but all Ontario citizens, wonder what we are doing or where we are going with this legislation. A new price is set for wheat, and there is some justification for it; but people compare that with the deficit of the Canadian National Railways, $50 million a year in recent years, and it is suggested that this wheat policy may cost the government $130 million. I am not going to argue whether that is right or wrong. I do not think anyone knows what it is going to cost, but I believe it will cost an enormous sum, considerably over the $50 million deficit of the Canadian National Railways in recent years.

The other day the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) said he thought the Ontario fanners were willing to accept dollar wheat; that they would accept anything that was reasonable if the west proposed it. I say right here that we are not accepting dollar wheat, and we are not accepting whatever the west proposes. We have problems of our own in Ontario; the west is not the only place that has a farm problem. We have the tobacco growers, the bean growers and others whose problems have been discussed1 by other hon. members-

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

' The apple growers.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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LIB

Wilbert Franklin (Frank) Rickard

Liberal

Mr. RICKARD:

Yes, they have had no assistance of any account in Ontario. It has cost the government of this country very little for Ontario. Most of it has gone to the west and the east.

I have every sympathy for the west. I have visited the west; I have been all through the burnt-out areas in southern Saskatchewan, and I know the condition the people were in when I was there. I have every sympathy for them, and I am willing, as I said before, to support any legislation within reason to help them. But as Ontario members we cannot hand out everything to the west. Someone has said that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) is from the west and therefore is naturally sympathetic with the western farmer. But I believe that the Minister of Agriculture to-day is doing the very best he can for all the farmers and all the people of Canada, regardless of east or west. More than that, I believe that in this measure he is trying to legislate for the small farmer more than for the man who has 10,000 or 20,000 or 50,000 or 100,000

bushels of wheat. This legislation will help the small farmer, and we are willing to accept it.

Someone has said, what about coarse grains? Well, it has cost the government about $6,000,000 for freight to bring coarse grains down to Ontario. Ontario farmers were glad to get them, yet many hon. members speaking here were opposed to the coarse grain provision. As it happened, this year we were short of feed in Ontario, and many farmers were glad to get coarse grain to feed hogs and cattle and to produce milk, butter and eggs. But those are things that are in demand; those are things we can sell. That is not the case with wheat. The farmers have played a very important part in this war effort, and I know they will continue to do so. The farmers are willing to contribute everything they have toward winning the war. If perhaps they do not get parity prices, they are willing to go on anyway; and I believe the west should adopt the same attitude. We do hope, however, to hoar some expression of satisfaction from some section of the west. I predict that if this sort of thing goes on very much longer Ontario may become the depressed province, instead of Saskatchewan, because certainly the west is getting all the legislation for its benefit.

I am not going to take up any more time, Mr. Speaker. As I said at the outset, I had not intended to speak on this question; I had made up my mind to accept the proposals of the government. These bills are to be referred to a committee, where I think all bills concerning agricultural policy should be sent. There we will have ample opportunity to discuss every phase of these bills and, I hope, arrive at some decision that will be beneficial to the farmers of Canada as a whole. May I add that I intend to oppose the amendment and to vote for the main motion.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. VICTOR QUELCH (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, since I am a member of the agriculture committee, to which these various bills are being referred, and since any changes to be made will in all probability be made during that stage of the proceedings, my remarks will be brief.

In passing I should like to make reference to some of the statements of the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Rickard). I have no intention of entering into any controversy as between east and west; I deplore it when hon. members feel it necessary to raise that issue in this house. I must say to the hon. member, however, that if this agricultural policy for western Canada is costing eastern Canada money, let eastern Canada remember that from 1932 down to the present

Wheat Board Act

time we in the west have been penalized to the extent of around $90,000,000 a year in order to uphold the tariff and fiscal policies of the east. This year we are getting back just a little of what we have given eastern Canada.

So far as the amendment is concerned, I should think all hon. members of this house who have at heart the welfare of agriculture should support it. I am sorry that the majority of western Liberal members apparently feel obliged to vote against it because, as most of them have stated, of political reasons. I should like to take this opportunity of congratulating the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) for having the courage of his convictions. This is not the first time he has found it necessary to vote against government measures in this house, and I am sure the people of his constituency must appreciate the fact that they are represented by a member who has sufficient courage to vote against the government when he feels they are not promoting the general welfare of the country.

Western people will very much regret the fact that this government has not seen fit to adopt the recommendations of the various farm organizations of this country who have asked for parity prices. The lowest price that has been submitted by any of these organizations I think is SI per bushel. I remember that last year the Minister of Agriculture stated no farm organization had said what it considered to be a fair price. That is not the case this year. The lowest price mentioned was $1 per bushel, while some of the organizations asked for more. The price being paid the farmers of the United States is considerably higher than that, about $1.27, and the price that was paid the farmers of Australia back in 1940 also was considerably higher than the price we received then or will receive under this proposal. In 1940 the farmers of Australia received 3 shillings 6 pence a bushel at point of delivery. I know the Minister of Agriculture has said that this amounts to only 63 cents in Canadian funds, but the Australian farmers are not paid in Canadian funds. They are paid in Australian funds, and in Australia three and six is worth 84 cents. That will buy 84 cents' worth of Australian goods; it will pay 84 cents' worth of Australian taxes, and 84 cents' worth of Australian debt. The farmers of that country are not interested in whether or not that will buy only 63 cents' worth of Canadian goods. The price being paid in Australia to-day is three shillings per bushel, which is 73 cents in Australian funds; and again I use Australian rather than Canadian funds. It is true that 44561-87

in Canadian funds that is only 53 cents, but they are receiving not Canadian but Australian currency, in which it is equivalent to 73 cents a bushel.

It is up to the government to decide to what extent it is necessary to restrict the purchases of wheat. But in that regard we must keep in mind the fact that it is very necessary and essential to the welfare of the country that ample reserves of all kinds of foodstuffs shall be maintained wherever possible, so that when the enemy is driven out of the occupied countries those vast supplies may be made available to the people of those countries. That can be held out to them now to show what can be done. The last hon. member who spoke deplored the fact that we were building up these reserves. We should glory in the fact that we are able to do so, because that will be the greatest incentive to these occupied areas to hold out. While it is up to the government to decide to what extent purchases shall be restricted, I should say it is not up to the government to decide whether or not the farmers shall receive a parity price. I say that because it is a very direct obligation on this government to see that the farmers shall receive a parity price. Otherwise they will brand themselves as a bunch of hypocrites. All this talk about a new social order will become just so much blather. Of what use is it to subscribe to the declaration of principles known as the Atlantic charter unless we are prepared to put those same principles into operation within our own country? How can we hope to solve the problems of the world if we cannot even solve our own problems? Surely the first thing to do is to put our own house in order.

Several hon. members have referred to the statement made by the Minister of Agriculture at page 1211 of Hansard, as follows:

We are taking every last dollar out of the treasury of Canada to deal with these problems which we feel it is safe to take at this present time.

That does not mean, of course, that the amount of money being made available for agriculture is all the money the government can get. The government can get all the money it needs for anything. That is not the point, and 1 do not think that was what the minister meant. I believe the minister meant that this was all the money the government could safely put into circulation without the danger of inflation. In other words, if they paid the farmers more than 90 cents a bushel at this time it would create such an effective demand against our production that it would divert a certain amount of goods from the war effort into channels of consumption. The

Wheat Board Act

government should be in the best position to know whether that argument is sound. Nevertheless, even if that statement be correct, the farmers still are entitled to a parity price. You could either reduce the prices of all commodities down to the level of wheat, or on the other hand you could increase the price of wheat so that it would be in line with the prices of other commodities. If there is a danger that by increasing the price of wheat we might bring about inflation in this country, then I would suggest to the government that the most logical way to take care of that question, in order that the farmer shall receive a parity price, would be to make up the difference between 90 cents a bushel and the parity price by an issue to the farmer of war savings certificates maturing after the war, so that such war savings certificates could not be used for present day consumption. This would provide a sinking fund to take care of any increase in a farmer's debts.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

What would the parity price be?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

I would say the parity price would be a price to the farmer commensurate with the price he pays for other commodities.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

What would it be?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

According to the Searle index, I believe it would be $1.20 a bushel.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR INCREASED RATE PER BUSHEL ON WHEAT DELIVERED BY PRODUCERS
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March 17, 1942