Right Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Trade and Commerce):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make certain announcements that will be of interest to Canadian producers of oilseeds.
During the current crop year, 1947-48, the Canadian wheat board is buying flaxseed at a price of $5 per bushel basis the top grade of both eastern and western flaxseed at Montreal and Fort William-Port Arthur respectively. There is a ceiling price at this same level which fixes the price to Canadian crushers on domestic supplies. Any surplus over domestic requirements of seed and oil is available for export. Existing trading methods require the use of this surplus seed and oil in arrangements with the other countries so that Canada may secure supplies of other essential oils. Under present regulations, the producers who delivered flaxseed to the Canadian wheat board are entitled to participate in any net profits that may arise. It has become apparent, however, that this participation cannot be a clear-cut, commercial proposition when so many arrangements between countries are involved and the government has decided to calculate and pay out to producers the participation that would have been involved on a fair and reasonable basis. This action has the double effect of settling the producers' interest in the flax and freeing government agencies to use the surplus seed and oil in arrangements for other essential oils necessary to the whole Canadian economy. The government has therefore accepted the recommendation of the Canadian wheat board and will authorize that body to pay a fixed and final payment of fifty cents per bushel to those producers who have delivered or will deliver commercial flaxseed to dealers acting as agents of the board during the crop year 1947-48. This payment will involve distribution of about six million dollars to Canadian producers.
An announcement with respect to the handling and marketing arrangements for flax covering the crop year 1948-49 will be made at the earliest possible date.
With regard to rapeseed and sunflower seed, it is also the intention of the government to authorize the Canadian wheat board to buy these oilseeds in 1948-49 on the same basis as in 1947-48, namely, at six cents per pound basis the top grade of each, f.o.b. shipping points named by the board.