August 9, 1956

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

The five-year census was originally an agricultural census which was mandatory in the prairie provinces. We extended that census to all the provinces. The answer to my hon. friend's question is that the agricultural census is a complete census whereas the census of everything else is a skeleton census.

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PC

Harry Oliver White

Progressive Conservative

Mr. White (Middlesex East):

It seems to me that when you ask farmers 75 questions and receive such a small part of the national income you are leading them to believe you are going to do something about it. I know very well that the government has no intention of doing anything, but it just seemed to me to be out of proportion to ask these people 75 questions when the ordinary householder is asked only seven.

Mr. Pallet!: Am I correct in understanding that the census figures will be ready for distribution before December 31, 1956?

Supply-Trade and Commerce

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Certain figures are essential to certain provinces and we have to get them out before the end of the year. I know in Manitoba they have a problem and they are anxious to get some figures. The complete census information will not be out until some time next spring.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Will the census as it applies to the prairie provinces be used in connection with the redistribution next year in the western provinces?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

It is a statutory provision; the constitution provides that in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta there must be an agricultural census taken every five years. The census was taken to meet the constitutional requirement as far as those three provinces were concerned, but it is less detailed in the rest of Canada.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Is it the intention that it will be used for the purposes of redistribution in the prairie provinces next year?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

We give the statistics to the provinces as we are required by law to do and what they do with them is up to them.

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Item agreed to. Board of grain commissioners (Canada Grain Act) - 430. Administration, $149,780.


CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I believe the minister asked that we discuss any items dealing with grain under this item. I want to protest the move that has been made to refuse to license any further off-site storage. The practice that has been followed during the past year of licensing, for the storage of grain, buildings away from the elevator site, provided that they came up to certain standards, is one of the best policies that has yet been devised for storing and handling surplus grain.

Many communities have constructed large buildings of the Quonsett type that could be used at a future date as rinks in their respective communities, and this action has had a great many advantages. It has provided a building that will have a great value to the community over the years, whether as a building for the storage of grain or as a building to provide recreational facilities when we enter a period of no congestion.

Moreover, the provision of additional facilities by this means for the storage of grain has allowed farmers to market their grain and to obtain the initial payment when their grain has been marketed. We in this group for many years have advocated the payment of farm storage and the payment of cash advances, and the government has refused

Supply-Trade and Commerce both. But when the government did two things, allowed off-site storage in the form of rinks to be licensed for the storing of grain and provided that the federal treasury would pay the storage costs for wheat in excess of 178 million bushels, it went a substantial way to providing both storage payments for the community and advance payments for the farmer. This has been a method by which communities themselves are able to obtain part of the payments made for storage.

I can see no good reason at all why rinks will no longer be licensed for the storage of grain. There have been two arguments against the policy. One is that they say that the buildings have to come up to standard. Of course, no matter where a building is located, it can be built to any standard that the builders may desire. Some of these buildings in the form of rinks, I am convinced, are the very best storage that has yet been provided for large quantities of grain, and I am sure that the grain in these buildings will come out in many instances in better condition than grain in the so-called annexes built alongside the railway site.

The second argument is that the grain is not readily available. Of course, that argument will not stand up, because these storage facilities are within a very short distance of the elevator that has leased them, and it is just a matter of putting the grain in the truck and taking perhaps two minutes to drive the truck from the storage building into the elevator and dump the grain. So the grain is just as readily available as though it were in the so-called permanent annex.

There is no difficulty in putting the grain into the storage facilities. I was at a marketing point in western Canada a few weeks ago -Drinkwater, Saskatchewan-and I noted that they had built there a modest-sized rink in which they were storing 80,000 bushels of grain. According to the farmers who built the rink and according to the elevator agent, the wheat board and the board of grain commissioners had informed them that it was one of the best buildings that had yet been constructed for the purpose of storing grain. It cost the elevator company nothing to put the grain in, because the farmers drove into the elevator, had their loads weighed and dumped, and had the empty truck weighed. Then the spout was opened and the grain loaded back into the trucks. The farmers drove across the street and themselves unloaded the grain into the very large rink building that they themselves had built.

I hope that the government will reconsider this policy. There is only one possible reason

I can think of for discontinuance at this time, the only one that I should think has any logic to it at all, and that is that it may have been decided to discontinue further licensing of such buildings until the size of the new crop is known. If that is the case, I have no objection. I shall have no objection if the policy is reversed, should we harvest the very large crop that is now in evidence in western Canada.

So I should like to ask the minister whether or not the government will reconsider its policy in this connection within the next month or two when we find out the size of the crop and, if so, whether or not grain in such buildings will be entitled to the regular storage payments. *

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

The government adopted the policy of off-site storage on the recommendation of the wheat board and the board of grain commissioners. In view of the congestion on the prairies, it seemed the right thing to do. The government reconsidered the matter, on the recommendation of the wheat board and the board of grain commissioners that the time had come to issue no new licences for off-site storage. The reasonableness of the position has more or less been confirmed by the fact that we had 35 million bushels less wheat in storage at the end of the last crop year than we had at the end of the previous crop year; and also in view of the fact that there was very much more empty storage on the prairies this year than a year ago, there does not seem to be any reason to encourage new construction to house wheat when there seems to be plenty of space available to do the job. If the wheat board and the board of grain commissioners change their minds and suggest that we need more offsite storage, I daresay that the government will consider it, but at the moment we have no intention of altering the decision which was announced some time ago.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

With regard to the extra storage space that is available, I think the minister knows that the storage that is available is only at certain points and that there are hundreds and hundreds of marketing points in western Canada where there is little storage available and where the provision of such additional facilities would be valuable. I shall be quite content to end this discussion, as far as I am concerned, if the minister will say that he will take another look at the situation in October, after harvest, to see whether or not there may be some real need for reversing the policy.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

I will say that 1 shall do so if I am asked to do so by the wheat board or the board of grain commissioners.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

There is one other question in connection with this. I know of two or three rinks that are being used for storage purposes. Are the towns that operate or own these rinks receiving anything in respect of storage? The other day I was reading of one in my former constituency of Lake Centre where there was a very large storage in the rink, and it was said that the return that was being received for storage payments would be sufficient in a matter of two or three years, if continued, to pay for the actual cost of the rink. Is that storage being paid officially or is it a local matter whereby payment is being made?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

I expect some day to get trophies from both the curling associations and the skating rink associations of the prairies. I believe more rinks have been built to store grain in the past three years than have been built in the prairies ever since the first settler arrived. The storage is paid under an arrangement with one of the line elevator companies, which is responsible to the wheat board and has authority to move that grain into offsite storage, which is the rink, and pay the owner of the rink a fee out of his receipt for storage which is supposed to be onsite storage. It is a legalized arrangement, but the offsite storage arrangement is made between the line elevator company and the owners of the offsite storage.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

That rather answers the question that my hon. friend raised, that sometimes the objection to the licensing of rinks is that the rinks are not up to standard.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

That is right.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

The fact that by an indirect means there is achieved that which he suggests might be done directly and which I support would indicate that there should be a reconsideration of this problem in the event that again this fall as the result of a large crop tremendous amounts of wheat will have to be stored on the farms. If this arrangement can be operated in certain areas by this indirect means, I see no reason why it should not be considered as a direct means of storage. It would mean that during the period from May until the end of the crop year on the 31st of July a very considerable amount of wheat could be stored in that manner and made available whenever the necessary transport could be secured at the several marketing places.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

The minister has said that he is probably entitled to trophies from the curling and skating rink associations of western Canada for the fact that there have been so many rinks built in the last three

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Supply-Trade and Commerce years. Perhaps that is a good suggestion but I think there should be a rider to it that the minister will continue the policy so that there will not be any discrimination as between communities.

The minister said one thing that I do not think he intended to say, namely, that these arrangements are made between line elevator companies and community associations. I think the minister knows that the wheat pool organizations as well as the line elevator companies, all elevator companies, have been prepared to consider such arrangements. In some communities in my constituency the line elevators have leased the premises and at other points the pool elevators have done so. I think that generally speaking the arrangement is approximately the same. The elevator company gets 10J cents per bushel per year and the local rink association gets 6 cents of the 10J.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

I should amend the term "line elevator" to "line of elevators". I apologize to that extent.

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PC

William Marvin Howe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Howe (Wellington-Huron):

I should like to ask the question now that I wanted to ask on the first item with regard to storage in eastern Ontario and eastern Canada. I refer particularly to southern Ontario. Because of the cold and late spring this year the farmers found that they had to feed their stock for a longer period of time than usual. The winter stored grain in the elevators in southern Ontario apparently had been depleted and the farmers had to pay the entire rail freight on their grain from the west. That put the price up almost to a prohibitive figure.

I am wondering whether some steps should be taken to move more grain into southern Ontario during the period when navigation is open so that the same situation will not prevail next spring. It could prevail because on account of the late, cold spring not as much acreage of grain was sown in southern Ontario as in other years. There is every indication that next spring there will be another shortage of feed and more feed will be required.

A question was asked the other day by the hon. member for Mackenzie in the same connection arising out of a telegram sent to the minister with regard to the scarcity of feed grain even at the present time in southern Ontario and the trouble some of the merchants are having in obtaining feed grain, probably as a result of the shortage of box cars and other things. They are having trouble continually in getting sufficient feed grain from the elevators. Can the minister give any indication as to what the department can do with respect to moving more feed grain into eastern storage in the fall?

Supply-Trade and Commerce

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August 9, 1956