Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):
Mr. Speaker, I desire at this time to make a brief statement in connection with some aspects of the 1944-45 grain policy.
The house will recall that last September a major change was made in wheat policy and a basis was established, effective until July 31, 1945, which of course includes the full crop year 1944-45. At that time the fixed initial price of wheat was increased to $1.25 per bushel for No. 1 northern wheat in store, Fort William, Port Arthur or Vancouver. This fixed initial price will be in effect for the coming crop year.
In regard to the wheat policy for 1944-45, the government has yet to determine the quantity of wheat which will be marketable in that crop year. Members will recall that for
1943- 44 the limitation was first placed at fourteen bushels per authorized acre and was later increased to eighteen bushels per authorized acre-the understanding being that about 280,000,000 bushels of wheat would be marketable in western Canada during the present crop year.
The government is not prepared at the moment to state the exact quantity of wheat which will be marketable in the coming crop year, owing to the uncertainties of the growing crop and uncertainty in respect to the volume of transportation which will be available for the movement of grains in 1944-45. In establishing the basis of marketings for the coming crop year, which will be announced at a later date, the government will take into account probable domestic and export demand in
1944- 45 as well as the volume of grain which the railroads and elevators can handle during the crop year.
I can say at this time that the demand for grain both in Canada and for export is now running at veTy high levels and that the volume of wheat which will be marketable in 1944-45 will be considerably larger than the limitation in effect during the past two crop years.
I might refer briefly to the present grain position. Accumulated stocks of wheat are
moving rapidly into consumption here and abroad and the main problem to-day is meeting demand with the transportation which is available for the movement of grain. It is estimated that the carry-over of wheat next July will amount to about 330,000,000 bushels as compared to over 600,000,000 bushels last July. Given adequate transportation the crop year 1944-45 will see our wheat stocks reduced to a nominal figure. Oats and barley are in good demand and there will be no difficulty in disposing of surpluses from the 1944 crop. The expansion in the acreage seeded to these grains in recent years has been more than justified by marketings and the Department of Agriculture is urging that seeding of at least as great an acreage as in 1944.
The government's policy in regard to oats and barley for 1944-45 will be the same as in 1943-44. Minimum prices for these grains will be. guaranteed on the same basis as in 1943-44. Equalization funds will again operate and the government will make advance payments free from the equalization funds at the time of delivery. The advance payments are ten cenits per bushel for oats and fifteen cents per bushel for barley.
The government has already announced that there will be a guaranteed price for flax of $2.75 per bushel for No. 1 CW flax, basis in store Fort William and Port Arthur or Vancouver. This represents an increase of twenty-five cents per bushel over the guaranteed price in effect in 1943-44.
Respecting sunflower seed and rape seed the government's policy for the 1944-45 crop year is to continue in effect the prices for these seeds established for the 1943^44 season. That is to say, the Canadian wheat board will be authorized to pay five cents per pound for sunflower seed and six cents per pound for rape seed, delivered f.o.b. shipping points to be designated by the board for the top grades.