January 18, 1954

CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

Has the minister the figures in the 1945-49 wheat account? It seems to me a substantial amount is involved.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

They will be given as they become due, and they will be put into this fund. I am speaking of the amount already in the fund; that is the payments that are six years or more overdue. The reason for the six-year period is that debts of this kind become outlawed after that time under the ordinary civil law. However, debts owed by the wheat board are never outlawed. Someone spoke to me recently about a very old account-I hesitate to say how old it was but they came across it going through the papers of an estate- which indicated there was something payable by the wheat board. The account was rendered and paid without question. Under the provisions of this fund there is no suggestion of outlawing accounts that are more than six years old. If valid accounts are sent in, no matter how old, they will be paid.

As I said before, the action required by this resolution has already been taken. I think it is section 29 (a) of the wheat board act which was enacted at the last session of this house, which is the relevant section so far as the setting up of the fund is concerned. The subject matter for discussion, and the only subject matter for discussion, is who will benefit from the fund. Obviously the money belongs to no one in particular, except that it came from the producers of western Canada and it should be used for some project that will benefit as many producers of western Canada as possible.

One solution was that as the funds accrue they should be distributed as part of the current wheat pool, in other words that the amount accruing to the fund should be included in the receipts of the current wheat pool and distributed in that way. That did not seem to be equitable. The producers who were contributing to that particular pool had no individual claim on this money, and it seemed quite wrong to distribute the money in that manner, although that was the suggestion made by one pool organization.

I rather like the suggestion made in this resolution. I have never seen a better proposal, namely that it be used to produce a better generation of farmers by sending the young people of western Canada from the farms of western Canada to the agricultural schools of western Canada. That I believe is a very desirable way of using these funds. 1 hope general agreement can be obtained to

that end, and I hope the wheat board will in time suggest that the funds be used in that manner.

I must say that I intensely dislike the method suggested by the amendment, that we try to devote this money to farm organizations. Farm organizations are already legion, and I think if we attempted to use these funds to support them we would have many more to support. I think that would be the worst possible and certainly the most contentious way the fund could be used, because the share of each organization would, I think, always be in dispute.

However, since this resolution is to amend the wheat board act, and since the amendment has already been moved, I hope this discussion will not be brought to a vote. We have a resolution to amend the wheat board act, and an amendment to the resolution. We are not going to amend the wheat board act, because it has already been amended. I hope we can have a discussion on the sole remaining issue, that is as to how the money shall be used. When the discussion is finished I think perhaps a very good way to end the evening would be to withdraw both the resolution and the amendment and send Hansard out to the wheat board as a basis for their examination of the proper way to use the funds in this account.

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LIB

John Hornby Harrison

Liberal

Mr. Harrison:

After hearing the explanation of the Minister of Trade and Commerce that the necessary amendment to the wheat board act was passed at the last session of the house I am quite amenable to his suggestion that I withdraw the resolution. Before doing so, however, I think it might be well if I discuss for a moment the amendment that has been made and the main reasons for-

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Mr. Speaker, I suggest the house should be told that if my hon. friend speaks now he will close the debate.

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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The hon. member is speaking to the amendment, not the main motion.

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LIB

John Hornby Harrison

Liberal

Mr. Harrison:

I am speaking to the amendment, Mr. Speaker, and I must say I am not much more amenable to it than was the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Several objections came to my mind when the hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Johnson) was making his suggestion. The fact is that most farm organizations have ways of raising funds and most of them have funds at the present time. But the position of the daughter or son of a farmer who may not have ways of raising funds is quite different, and it is

important that if they want to go to college they should have some means of raising funds so they can do so, as many of them otherwise would not have the opportunity. A group organization of farmers, on the other hand, who wanted to go to an experimental farm would have no difficulty in doing so because there are few of them who do not have some means of transportation, or their neighbours have some, whereby they can join in these excursions. Also, farm organizations generally have fairly adequate means of raising funds, and they are in a far better position to do so than the individual child of a farmer.

That is the main objection I see to the proposal. Speaking on the amendment, the member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch) said there were so many farm organizations that the fund would be spread a little bit thin. On the other hand, the fund could provide fairly good scholarships for children, and provide much more benefit than it would to any of these farm organizations.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. A. M. Nicholson (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, I am indebted to the hon. member for Meadow Lake (Mr. Harrison) for placing this resolution on the order paper, and I am sure all members appreciate the fact that the Minister of Trade and Commerce, with his great variety of interests, has been able to give constructive thought to this problem. I think the Minister of Trade and Commerce was on strong ground when he suggested that this money should be spent in western Canada in the interests of agriculture in that area.

To support the general proposal advanced by my colleague the hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Johnson) I should like to say that I believe that adult education will require a good deal of financial assistance. The hon. member for Meadow Lake (Mr. Harrison) cannot hope to suggest this proposal as a substitute for federal aid for education. As the Minister of Trade and Commerce pointed out, the sum is not going to be large. The balance he mentioned, namely $458,000 invested at 3 per cent, would give something less than $14,000 per year. If that amount were to be divided among the three prairie provinces, none would get a large amount.

I would suggest that the amount spent on university education should be earmarked for research for specific work. I think no useful purpose would be served if a student went to university and later went to California, New York city or Washington. I suggest that for every year of tuition a student accepted from the fund, one year at

Wheat Board-Scholarships least should be spent on research work in. the area where he lives or where he studies, with a view to solving some of the problems that I should like to submit for the consideration of the house.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, for example, in its December bulletin sets out the position of the farmer in August, 1953, as compared with the position in August, 1949. It shows the position to be as follows:

Taxes, increase 16-4 per cent; Farm wages, increase 22-6 per cent; Farm machinery, increase 25 per cent; Building materials, increase 31 per cent; Gas, oil, etc., increase 10 per cent; Feed, decrease -6 per cent; Fertilizer, increase 28-8 per cent; Seed, decrease 5 per cent; Farm family living costs, increase 17 per cent.

With those drastic increases in farm operating costs, on the next page we find this statement:

Figuring 1949 as a basis of 100, the purchasing power of net farm income in 1953 works out at 90.

While everyone dealing in farm machinery, building materials, fertilizer and feed is able to pass on the increase to the consumer, the farmer is in the unfortunate position that his net position is worse in 1953 than it was in 1949.

In one of the other federation bulletins it is indicated that a great deal of educational work should be done in all parts of Canada in order to help people to get a little bit better sense of values. Here is what is stated:

Let's take the year 1950. In this year the people of Canada spent a total of $1 billion on tobacco and alcoholic beverages. We could compare this with the total value of the wheat crop of that year at $712 million, or the total value of all cereal crops of 1950, including wheat, oats, barley, rye, at $1-2 billion. Or we could compare it with the total value of milk production at $432 million.

That is in contrast with a thousand millions of dollars spent on tobacco and alcoholic beverages. I submit that here would be a field for a university student to do graduate work, with a view to helping the people of Canada get a better sense of values, so that agriculture might get a larger share of the consumers' dollars. In 1952 our people spent $1,243 million on tobacco and alcoholic beverages, and on milk they spent $360 million. We find our expenditure on milk going down and our expenditure on alcoholic beverages and tobacco going up. I think all the people in the prairie provinces who have contributed to this fund that we are discussing tonight would agree that here is a field for some work by some students in some of the universities in western Canada.

The editor of the Western Producer had something to say in an editorial entitled

Wheat Board-Scholarships "Danger Signals". In it he pointed out that in the United States for 1954 the program for agriculture calls for reducing drastically the level of support prices, thus discouraging production and also enforcing a substantial cut in acreage sown to crops in surplus. The comment is this:

Here we have a situation which should give pause not only to the Americans but to the whole free world. For surely it affords the most disturbing and distressing proof of the complete bankruptcy of our economic system.

It points out that the crying need of the world is for food, and goes on to say:

It would be wearisome repetition to quote the pronouncements of the food and agriculture organization and other authorities, showing that more than half of the people on the outside of the iron curtain are always hungry-never get a decent meal. On the radio every day our hearts are wrung by appeals for donations of scraps of food to feed the starving. At the same time the farmers of the United States have demonstrated what they and farmers elsewhere can do when given adequate stimulus. They can produce food in such abundance that it becomes a problem to find storage space for it. Then what happens? Well, we see it actually happening right now in the United States. Instead of welcoming the abundance as a God-given respite for the starving multitudes, a frantic effort is made to cut back production. We have the food and there is more where it came from but how to get it to those who need it-that's the problem that stumps the experts. So, may God forgive us, we are proposing to solve the problem of abundance by reducing production, thus creating an artificial scarcity. What more devastating indictment of our economic system could even its most fanatical critic conceive?

That is in the United States. But in Canada not so long ago we took our part in keeping down production. The editorial continues:

It would be a tragic mistake to run away with the idea that these matters interest only one country or affect only the farmers, that the problem is not of major proportions, and, anyway, is only temporary. In plain truth it is one of the principal symptoms of the disease that is killing civilization. For if civilization should perish and freedom die it will be because of the rot within it. The average man does not take fire from eloquent exhortations that it is his duty to defend "our way of life" with his own life if necessary. Wrongly, no doubt, having enjoyed free institutions all his life he takes them for granted like the air he breathes. He judges the value of "our way of life" by its economic performance and because he has himself, in so many instances, experienced the corroding effects of poverty in the midst of plenty, he judges that it has been a miserable failure.

In support of the proposal made by the hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Johnson), the educational work that would be done by the farm organizations might be the bringing of a man like Dr. Keenleyside to the annual convention of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, as was done in Victoria last year. Dr. Keenleyside opened his remarks with this comment:

Why is it, for example, that although the most famous philosophers, statesmen and poets have praised farming as the ideal mode of life, and the farmer as the most virtuous of men, history proves by endless repetition that the farmer is almost always the last member of the community to receive political and economic recognition? It is a tradition that farmers should have soft words and hard knocks; flattery but seldom a fair deal.

In commenting on some of the problems about which farmers are thinking and to which we all have to give consideration he has this to say on page 7:

Over half the people in the world are illiterate, thus providing fertile soil for the weeds and tares of superstition, prejudice and fanaticism. Over half the people of the world are ill, though most of them could be cured and many of the most prevalent diseases could be permanently eradicated . . . Most of the people in the world are hungry most of the time, yet by applying even our present knowledge to the problems of production and distribution we could ensure reasonable standards of nutrition for all.

Therefore bringing men from the food and agriculture organization, the world health organization, UNESCO and other international and national organizations would no doubt create a desire and interest among all our people to face up to these problems and solve them.

I believe these problems can be solved. I do not think it is to be expected that the farmers of this country should live for all time in a position where roughly 20 people out of 100 get 12 per cent of the wealth produced by all the people. Therefore I submit that some of our young people from the west should be encouraged to do post-graduate work in our universities. I would not limit it to our own, but I would suggest that one of the terms of accepting a scholarship should be that an equal amount of time would be spent in trying to evolve solutions for these problems.

I therefore submit, Mr. Speaker, that the In our province we have a new medical problem of having so much food in some college that has been completed and is now parts of the world and so many people going operating. In ten years time I think we hungry is a matter to which it would be well will certainly have the best medical college in worth while having a few young western Canada. But it is going to cost the people Canadians devote some post-graduate work, of our province at least $50,000 for every in order to see if in the next generation a medical doctor turned out. We do not better job can be done than has been done begrudge that, but I do not think it can be in the past. expected that the people of Saskatchewan

should turn out the best qualified young medical doctors merely to have them go to the United States or even to eastern or far western Canada, when the shortage of doctors is so acute in our own province. I think it is a fair rider to attach to the granting of scholarships-and we all seem to agree on the question-that those who accept funds should be required to devote some time and thought to trying to make a contribution toward the solving of the agricultural problems I have mentioned.

Finally, I should like to suggest that for quite some time education, health, transportation and markets will be the four major problems of the prairie provinces. With respect to the field of education, inasmuch as the federal authority has the power to tax all the people of the country I think it must participate in that field in order to see that every Canadian has the best available education. As I pointed out with respect to health,

I think it is unfair to the people of Saskatchewan to have to pay to train doctors at the very high expense I have mentioned, when there is nothing to prevent these doctors from practising anywhere in Canada or the world. If these doctors are going to be citizens of the world I think at least all the people of Canada should participate in the cost of training them.

The same goes for transportation. The federal government is in a position where it takes the cream of automotive taxation money. People on the prairies wear out cars and help to channel funds into the federal treasury through corporation taxes. I think negotiations between the federal and provincial authorities would be quite justified for the purpose of bringing about federal government participation in those fields of activity which in the past, in the horse and buggy age, were thought to be fields for which the provinces were entirely responsible. Therefore I hope some of these funds can be devoted to research work, with a view to finding a solution for some of the problems that are perplexing the prairie provinces.

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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. W. A. Tucker (Rosthern):

Mr. Speaker, the minister has stated that the real purpose of this resolution can be served by hearing from hon. members as to ways in which this money might be spent. I suggest to the minister that there is another purpose in the resolution which is quite important, too. In section 5 of the act amending the Canadian Wheat Board Act passed last year we find the following:

Any balance transferred to the separate account pursuant to subparagraph (it) of paragraph (a) of

Wheat Board-Scholarships subsection 1 shall be used for such purposes as the governor in council, upon the recommendation of the board, may deem to be for the benefit of producers.

In other words the governor in council has to appropriate the money on the recommendation of the wheat board. I suggest for the consideration of the minister that the wheat board is very busy with the problems involved in the marketing of wheat, and that it is going outside its own field when you ask it to try to decide in what way this money could be spent in the best interests of producers. It might have to decide between competing claims for this money, and the board might not want to do that in view of the fact that it is supposed to serve producers with respect to marketing their grain. It might not want to adjudicate between conflicting claims.

I suggest that the resolution should be considered by the government from the standpoint of the proposed setting up of a board to advise the governor in council as to the use of this money, and that in view of the fact it is going to spend money which belongs essentially to the producers of western Canada such a board should be very closely in touch with what might be considered in the best interests of the producers of western Canada. The personnel of such a board might consist, for example, of the presidents of western universities or the deans of agriculture of the western universities. If such a board were constituted it would doubtless come forward in a very short time with some suggestion to the government as to how this money might be used to the best advantage of the producers of western Canada.

The difficulty with the present legislation is that the wheat board is so busy with its normal work that it does not have the time, is not set up to investigate and would not want to weigh competing claims. I suggest, whether this resolution carries or is withdrawn, that the government should consider amending the legislation to put the matter of recommendation as to how this money should be used in the hands of a board of trustees constituted perhaps of the heads of the western universities or the deans of agriculture of the western universities. If the matter is placed in their hands there are so many worth-while matters that would be helpful to western agriculture about which they would know that there would be no delay in coming forward with suggestions as to ways in which this money might be used.

Wheat Board-Scholarships

I think that is what the mover of the motion had in mind when he spoke about using this money for scholarships to be awarded to the sons and daughters of prairie farmers attending the universities of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. I fancy that not only would he have in mind assisting the children of prairie farmers as such, but in addition that the work they might do would also be furthering the best interests of the farmers of western Canada. It is for that reason I suggest that this board should be composed of the deans of agriculture of the western universities, because in awarding these scholarships they would have in mind the people who would be likely to carry on for western agriculture. The proposed scholarships probably would be postgraduate research scholarships to enable research to be carried on in some field that needed work done in it, and for which there was not the necessary money.

I do, therefore, heartily commend the hon. member for Meadow Lake for moving this resolution. If we are going to have steps taken without delay to make use of these moneys, we need to put the matter into the hands of a special board set up for the purpose, and leave that board to deal with the way in which this money might be used. I would think the wheat board would be pleased to be relieved of this duty that is placed upon it by last year's amendment. I suggest that the government give consideration to further amending the wheat board act to provide for advice by this board, to be set up somewhat along the line I have mentioned. It seems to me that a board such as that would be better able to decide how best to use this money than we sitting here and making decisions more or less offhand.

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CCF

Hugh Alexander Bryson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. H. A. Bryson (Humboldi-Melforl):

Mr. Speaker, the only reason that prompts me to take part in this discussion is a fact which has been mentioned by many of the people who have spoken, that the subject is of interest to western farmers. Therefore I should like to say a few words in support of the principle involved. I heartily agree with the proposed disposition of this money.

Someone suggested that possibly it could be used to better advantage by educating the rest of the people of Canada as to the farmers' problems. I feel, however, that possibly the resolution does not go quite far enough. I have thought that possibly we could go a little farther with it. In view of the remarks by the Minister of Trade and Commerce a few minutes ago in that regard, that does not seem to be the case. I should like to read the resolution as proposed by the farm union

of Alberta; the British Columbia bloc; the Saskatchewan farmers' union; the Manitoba farmers' union, and the Ontario farmers' union in their submission to the Canadian wheat board. They say:

We would recommend, after moneys have been unclaimed In the Canadian wheat board funds for a period of six years that a special trust account be set up under a board of trustees approved by the farmers, that a portion of these moneys and the annual interest accrued thereon be made available to the three farm unions periodically on a basis of and in proportion to the amount of deliveries of grain during these years from each province.

This again brings up the fact that there are a great many farm organizations in western Canada which would undoubtedly lay claim to this money. I was a little disappointed on learning that the amount involved was not as great as some of us had been led to believe. I believe there are some 14 different farm organizations in western Canada which undoubtedly would lay claim to a part of this money. Nevertheless the idea is good, and it is something that has been proposed by other branches of agriculture. For instance, the stock organizations have been proposing that the horned cattle fund be turned over to the universities to carry on work in connection with livestock.

A year ago I had an opportunity of discussing this subject with Dr. Bell of the University of Saskatchewan who, incidentally, is Canada's outstanding man in the field of animal nutrition. He was deploring the fact that trained personnel were not available in the field of animal nutrition to carry out very important work which needed to be done. He also deplored the fact that facilities for carrying out the work were inadequate, and much time had to be consumed in carrying out particular research. It was felt that this did not apply only to universities in Saskatchewan but to many universities with which Dr. Bell had been acquainted. I know it can be argued that the money is being used to the advantage of farmers now. However, I feel that it could be used to even greater advantage. I had hoped that possibly we would have access to some of the principal in the hands of the wheat board, but as I said a moment ago the minister indicated that was not to be had.

I am sorry I cannot go along with the hon. member for Kindersley and support what he said about the lists of names of men who had money in this fund in order to locate them. I know that at my grain delivery point in Tisdale I have often seen lists of names of men who had money in this particular fund. When I heard the hon. member for Kindersley I thought possibly what I

had seen was not a directive from the wheat board, but the minister said a moment ago that the board had received co-operation in posting these names. I presume, therefore, there is some neglect on the part of local elevator agencies when these names are not posted.

However, I should like to add that possibly these names should be listed once a year in the local farm newspapers in order to do everything possible to see that these men are notified they have money in the fund. I believe there are a great many retired farmers who would be quite anxious to give that money to a scholarship that might further the aims of the agriculturists in western Canada. I believe that is a possibility that has some merit.

A moment ago I mentioned that no decision has yet been made about what to do with the horned cattle fund. I imagine that it will be turned over to this work, regardless of how small the fund may be. As the hon. member for Mackenzie stated, a fund of $14,000 or $15,000 would help. We are in hopes that it will be more than that, but even that amount could be used to great advantage.

I should like to mention just one phase of research work which is carried on in the University of Saskatchewan which could use money if it were made available in this way. I am thinking of the work done in connection with rhinitis, a disease of swine. I was out to the experimental farm in Ottawa recently in connection with research that is going on at the farm at Lacombe. Today there is absolutely no clue to a possible solution to this problem. In talking to Dr. Bell I was convinced that the solution will not be found until they have more trained personnel who are prepared to take on some of the more technical work.

I must go along with the hon. member for Kindersley, who has said that practical farm problems could be attacked if some of this money were made available. I might point out that a royal commission has been set up in Saskatchewan to deal with rural life. I am sure that before many months we are going to see that the position of the farmers in western Canada will have to be studied. It will require a great deal more study than can be given to it by one royal commission. Perhaps some of this money could be spent along those lines.

I think the idea in the resolution is sound, and I support the principle of it. Some move along this line has been long overdue, and I was happy to hear the Minister of Trade and Commerce speak as he did in support of this

Wheat Board-Scholarships plan. I do not think I can add anything more at the moment. I think all hon. members are agreed that the principle is sound. In spite of what has been said by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and by the hon. member for Meadow Lake who sponsors the resolution, I still feel the amendment has merit, and I shall support it.

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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. G. Dinsdale (Brandon-Souris):

Mr. Speaker, no one I am sure will disagree with this resolution, dealing as it does with the problem of education in the rural parts of the prairies. It does make a small contribution to the subject of education in those areas. In our prairie provinces we are faced with many educational problems, the most important of which is the fact that only a small percentage of the rural young people take advantage of the opportunities offered in higher education.

The resolution would seem to offer some assistance in this direction, in giving encouragement by way of scholarships to the group of young people eligible to take advantage of higher education. Before coming to the house it was my opportunity to be in touch annually with most of the high schools in the western part of Manitoba, as well as southeastern Saskatchewan. I found that notwithstanding the increased enrolments in our universities and colleges since the war, it is still true that there are some rural communities that never send any of their high school graduates to institutions of higher learning, chiefly because the tradition of the pursuit of higher learning has not yet been generally established in the rural parts of the prairies.

I do not know the statistics for the provinces outside Manitoba, but I do know that some two years ago statistics for registrations at the University of Manitoba, as between rural and urban students, stood at a ratio of something like 75 per cent urban and 25 per cent rural. I am sure the same pattern would be established in the other prairie provinces.

Going a little further in this matter the Minister of Trade and Commerce suggested that the key problem in connection with the resolution was to decide how the money could best be disbursed for educational purposes. I would suggest that two critical problems in the rural west are those of entrance scholarships and the great need for encouraging research activities.

In connection with entrance scholarships, I am sure there are many eligible young people, so far as academic standards are concerned, who would carry on their studies in our institutions of higher learning, if the necessary financial stimulus was provided to

Wheat Board-Scholarships

get them over the initial hurdle. Even though on the prairies tuition fees and general living expenses at our colleges and universities may not be as high as they are in the eastern part of Canada, it is still true, unfortunately, that the expense of higher education is sufficiently great to discourage many students who have demonstrated high academic ability in their high school education.

I am one who believes that any student who fits into that rare category of exceptional academic ability should have the opportunity to carry on his or her educational interests in a chosen field. There are many scholarship schemes already available in our prairie universities and colleges, but I do not think the demand could ever be exhausted. When we consider the relatively small sum that would be available from the fund mentioned in the resolution-I believe it amounts to $14,000 a year-I am sure there would be no difficulty whatsoever in apportioning the amount equitably among the three prairie provinces.

Therefore I would strongly recommend that in addition to setting aside part of this fund for research purposes, consideration be given to making some of it available for entrance scholarships. I would not leave the matter at the entrance level, because I know from personal experience that we have students who succeed in meeting the necessary costs in the first year of higher education, only to find it necessary at that time to withdraw. I suggest that any student who in his first year at university has demonstrated exceptional ability should be permitted to draw on the fund to assist in the continuation of his studies, if financial need demands such action.

I do not need to stress the great necessity for research. That has already been dealt with by several hon. members. In view of the relatively small amount involved, however, I suggest it might be wise to restrict the use of these moneys to agricultural research. The surplus funds result from wheat-producing activities, and it seems only reasonable to me that such money should be used, so far as research work is concerned, to deal with problems most closely related to the agricultural field.

Since world war II many veterans from western Canada have used their re-establishment credits to train for specialized agricultural research. I have friends who otherwise would not have gone beyond high school, who have taken their doctorates in agricultural research. Many of them are now becoming active in this important field. But these funds are drying up, and it might

well be that as money becomes available through the surplus wheat board fund it could be used to fill the gap left with the completion of the D.V.A. rehabilitation program.

Turning now to the amendment, I have noticed that many hon. members who have spoken for the group that has brought forward this amendment, discovering the relative smallness of the sum involved, have begun to doubt the value of the amendment, providing that the money should be distributed among the various farm organizations. If the interest from this fund would not be more than $14,000 a year, there would be little merit in such a recommendation.

As far as general educational facilities are concerned I should like to point out that the extension departments of the three prairie universities are making an extremely valuable contribution to these activities. I refer particularly to the University of Manitoba because I have a most intimate knowledge of the activities being carried on there. The University of Manitoba has within the past few years reorganized its extension activities and appointed a full-time director of adult education. During the past two or three years its activities in connection with education among the adult population have increased at an impressive rate.

I know this work has only begun. It is hoped that regional directors of adult education will be appointed and scattered throughout the province of Manitoba to make the contribution that is so necessary in all phases of adult education, which of course would include subjects of agricultural interest. In addition to all this we have our agricultural representatives who make an excellent contribution in the field of popular adult education.

I was glad to hear the Minister of Trade and Commerce indicate that the necessary amendment making it possible to implement this motion had already been made to the wheat board act. In the strongest way possible I would suggest that something be done at the earliest moment to implement the recommendations being made here this evening as provided for in the wheat board act.

I believe it was the hon. member for Ros-thern (Mr. Tucker) who suggested that an advisory board be established immediately to deal with the details involved in a program of this kind. I agree heartily with that suggestion. It seems logical to me that the deans of agriculture of the respective prairie universities would be the men best qualified to deal with specific recommendations.

I have one further suggestion to make. If it ever becomes difficult to decide who should be eligible for assistance from this fund I am sure the farm organizations, especially the 4-H clubs, could assist in the process of selecting the young people who would benefit most under this worthy program.

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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Kootenay East):

Mr. Speaker, if I were offering any objection to this resolution I think perhaps it would be that no reference to British Columbia is made in it. If I were offering an amendment I would suggest that the last two lines should read:

-the sons and daughters of prairie farmers attending the universities of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

While many hon. members may not have forgotten, perhaps they have overlooked the fact that quite a substantial amount of wheat is grown in the Peace river district of British Columbia, and to no small extent in the Creston valley district in my own riding.

There is perhaps an even more important point that has been overlooked in connection with this resolution. Where are the farmers who originally were entitled to this money which is now with the wheat board? I think it is inconceivable that the majority of them are still farming, because they have been alert to the fact that money was available and perhaps would be to their credit in the records of the wheat board. It is my opinion that a large number of the producers, either young or old, have migrated to British Columbia and retired. No doubt if advertisements were run in the British Columbia papers it would be found that a large number of claims would come from that province. If they did not come from the farmers themselves, undoubtedly there would be children of those producers who should be in a position, just as much as the children of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta farmers, to benefit from the terms of this proposed resolution.

This debate has pointed out one thing that we have always feared in connection with federal domination in the field of education. In the various resolutions that have been brought forward in this house requesting federal aid for education it has been pointed out that it is impossible to give substantial aid without there being some direction. As the hon. member for Mackenzie has indicated already, the C.C.F. party would wish, if these funds were set aside and controlled by federal legislation, to have strings attached. They are going to designate where the students should go, that they should not go

Wheat Board-Scholarships to the United States or from province to province. It is just another indication of where we are going to head when we get into this particular field.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. G. H. Castleden (Yorkton):

Mr. Speaker, as seconder of the resolution I should like to point out that apparently the amendment is the only part that is of much value, since what is proposed by the resolution has already been provided for by an amendment to the act. All that can be done now is to have the wheat board recommend to the governor in council what should be done with the money available. The governor general in council can then be influenced by recommendations from the board and it is up to us, I suppose, to let the board know what we as members of the house feel, and the board can pass on these recommendations to the governor in council. Since the minister himself is head of the wheat board I suppose the thing is pretty well cut and dried in any event.

Our amendment asks that a portion of the money which became available through this fund should be distributed to farm organizations throughout western Canada so they can carry on educational programs within their own organizations and among their own membership to the benefit of the people generally in their area, and I do not think we can use it for a much better purpose.

The educational program outlined here is quite good, and I would support the request of the hon. member who spoke last, that some benefits be made available to those people in that part of British Columbia who made contributions to this 'fund. Certainly they should be included in the whole set-up.

With regard to farm organizations and their educational work, anyone who has followed what has been done in the west among farmers who in the past have contributed this money and to whom it really belongs would know that ever since the inception of the old united farmers of Canada and ever since the organization of the Saskatchewan wheat pool they have set aside certain funds for carrying on educational work among farmers in the rank and file of their organizations. I do not think you will find a better informed rank and file among the agricultural population in any part of Canada than among the people of the west who constantly have these matters before them and who constantly study them. These organizations can speak with one voice, can agree on matters of principle and obtain agreement on what action should be taken and then strive toward their objective.

Wheat Board-Scholarships

At the present time you have growing in western Canada one of the finest farm organizations that was ever developed, and that is the farmers' union. The Saskatchewan branch of the farmers' union held a convention in the city of Regina in December last, and they had 1,400 delegates from all parts of that province. At that convention they threshed out the problems facing western farmers and obtained the facts with regard to present and future markets, and in relation to the present Canadian surplus. They carry on research work, but they are hampered to a large extent because there are not sufficient funds available in order to study the various forms of farm organization and development; the marketing of livestock; the future needs of the world in agriculture; and what they can do to adjust their production under existing circumstances so they can meet what the world needs.

I do not think there could be a better use made of the funds that become available than in this fashion, so these organizations can be assisted in carrying on that kind of research. I am sure these groups would heartily endorse a proposal that money of this kind should be made available to them on a membership basis to carry on educational programs. After all, the welfare of Canada depends on the welfare of its people and its producers, and if these people know what the world's needs are and can adjust their production to meet the world's needs then agricultural problems and problems of surplus can be taken care of. It would ease the way for the future. You would have a better informed population, and the rank and file would know what was required.

I hope the minister will change his opinion with regard to the value of farm organizations. I do not think this money would be spread too thinly. I believe farm organizations would get together and decide where the money could be spent on the kind of research work that would be of value to them all. I think the Saskatchewan wheat pool, the Saskatchewan farmers' union, the Canadian farmers' union and the farmers' union of Manitoba are all working together and making a splendid contribution to the future welfare of their people. I do not believe these people, whose money this really is, would want anything better than that a large portion of it should be used to carry on the work of research and education among the farm organizations in the west.

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CCF

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. R. R. Knight (Saskatoon):

Mr. Speaker, I cannot hope in the short time left to make a contribution that would be of any value

in this debate. I did intend to ask the hon. member from Kootenay East (Mr. Byrne) a question. Perhaps I may be permitted to ask that question through you, Mr. Speaker. When the hon. member advocated the inclusion of British Columbia, did he mean that this fund should be spent for the benefit of the province or the people in the province in proportion to the amount of contributions by the province? Was that his idea and is it his intention that British Columbia should have its share on that basis?

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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

Mr. Speaker, it is my contention that there are a large number of retired prairie farmers both young and old who have contributed a large amount to this fund, and I think they should share in the fund in proportion to their contribution. That is, if there are farmers who have retired and are living in British Columbia they should not be overlooked. If that would be difficult to work out, then let it be on the basis that British Columbia farmers who have made very great contributions would be paid on a per capita basis.

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LIB

Robert James Wood

Liberal

Mr. R. J. Wood (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a brief word on this motion and on the amendment. I think the setting up of a fund as suggested by the hon. member for Meadow Lake is a very good idea, and I want to congratulate him for having proposed this motion. I think it should be borne in mind that this is a fund that has accumulated with the wheat board and is the result entirely of the efforts of the grain producers of the three prairie provinces; that this fund by which it is suggested we create scholarships would be set up on interest accumulated on securities to be bought by the board that would be appointed to look after the fund. That fund would provide scholarships for boys and girls of farmers of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, to enable them to study in the colleges of these three provinces.

Very important research work has been done in plant and cereal fields in years gone by and through that research, particularly in regard to the problem of rust, farmers in the west have saved millions of dollars. I know a young man from my constituency by the name of Leonard Shebeske who took up research work before the war and followed it up afer the war under a similar scholarship which he obtained, and through hard work he is now a professor at the Manitoba college and head of the cereal and plant research work there. If a fund such as that

suggested in this motion were set up to encourage other young farm boys and girls to follow this type of work I think it would prove to be very desirable.

Just recently we had in this house an announcement by the Minister of Trade and Commerce that we have now what is known as Selkirk 15B rust-resistant wheat available in small quantities to farmers in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan at $5 a bushel. In the Winnipeg Free Press a couple of days ago I noticed a report to the effect that there is a big demand for this same wheat across the border in the United States at $100 a bushel, and that it is not available there. This gives a little idea of the value of research work of this kind.

The losses from rust in the western prairie provinces have been very great in the past. Back in 1935 I think the losses amounted to over $30 million; but, through research, losses last year amounted to approximately $8 million. As I say, through research these losses are becoming less year by year. Now with the introduction of this Selkirk 15B rust-resistant wheat the losses will be still smaller.

I think it is commendable that a fund of this kind should be set up to permit research work on plants and cereals in the universities. In view of the fact that this money has accumulated from the grain producers of the prairie provinces, I think it is proper that it should be spent to the benefit of the grain producers of those provinces. I believe the suggestion in the amendment to divide the money among the farm unions of the prairie provinces would just create a lot of trouble.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

In what way?

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LIB

Robert James Wood

Liberal

Mr. Wood:

The idea might be commendable, but we have many farm organizations in western Canada; and I would not want to be a member of any board which had to decide how that money should be divided. If that money could be divided without any trouble the idea might be commendable. I believe the idea of setting up a fund to give to boys and girls from the farms of the prairie provinces scholarships in the colleges of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, in order to follow this class of work of research and the like, is highly commendable. Therefore I consider that this motion deserves the support of the members of this house.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

Question.

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LIB

John Horace Dickey (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Defence Production)

Liberal

Mr. J. H. Dickey (Halifax):

I have followed this debate, Mr. Speaker-

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

Do not talk it out.

Wheat Board-Scholarships

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January 18, 1954