February 7, 1957

LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. Jutras:

You know the answer to that one too well to even ask about it.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

The answer is that the Liberals changed when they crossed the floor.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. Jutras:

The answer is in the bill that is before the house. What more do you want?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

What happened in September of 1943, Mr. Speaker, which caused this revolution in the thinking of the government of the day? Since 1936 when they came back into power they apparently have been prepared to carry on under the system which had been set out in the quotation I read from the speech made by the hon. member for Portage-Neepawa. However, a significant event took place in 1943 which was skipped, and wisely so, in the review made by the hon. member for Provencher. They had made no change up to that time, but in 1943 they did. A most significant thing took place in 1943 which was skipped, as I say, by the hon. member for Provencher. During the summer of 1943, I think it was in August, two by-elections were held in western Canada, one in Selkirk and the other in Humboldt, I believe both on the same day.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Do we have to have this, a discussion of by-elections in 1943? What has this to do with the bill?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

It has quite a bit to do with it. I have just referred to the minister's words when he pointed out that the situation was not satisfactory and that it was changed in 1943. This was one of the big issues at that time on the prairies. I remember it very well because I took part in one of those by-elections. The Liberal candidates in both ridings expressed their support of the policy which had been followed up to that time and were completely opposed to the present set-up of the Canadian wheat board. They were quite satisfied to leave it to the open market when it reached a certain price. The farmers expressed themselves very decisively in both ridings, so much so that both the Liberal candidates lost their

Canadian Wheat Board Act deposits and the C.C.F. candidates were elected. Since that time the policy has changed.

I point out that, simply because hon. members on the government side of the house point out that the policy of the official opposition in connection with the wheat board is one of lukewarmness and unreliability. It is quite well to remember that their policy was quite the same until they were forced into a different position. I refer also to the remarks of the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre which are reported on page 917 of Hansard of February 1 as follows:

I support with enthusiasm the legislation which is now before us, Mr. Speaker, and 1 want to tell my hon. friends from Saskatchewan on the opposition benches that there are some members in this house who are not keen about the wheat board because they are a little afraid it may be a socialist measure.

It was too bad that when he was speaking the hon. member did not see fit to identify those members who are not so keen about the Canadian wheat board.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thaicher:

If you fellows keep on talking this way you are likely to vote this down.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zapliiny:

Hon. members of this house have a right to vote as they please and if they decide to vote this measure down that will defeat the government and we will have an election that much sooner and perhaps a new member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre. Since the hon. member has seen fit to interrupt me I would point out that if he is talking in terms of hon. members who are not so keen about the Canadian wheat board because, as he says, it may be a socialist measure, he should identify himself as the first member in that category. There has never been a more reactionary member in this house than the present hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre. When he says that he enthusiastically supports this bill I would warn the people in Assiniboia to remember the old saying, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." In this case they must beware of a Trojan horse carrying a carpet bag.

Certain recommendations have been made by various farm organizations as to how the present set-up of the wheat board could be improved. One was made by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture at its annual convention. One recommendation, as reported in the press, was as follows:

The meeting endorsed the Canadian wheat board and the international wheat agreement. A resolution was passed recommending the wheat board be permanently established as the sole marketing agency for all grains produced in western Canada, including flax and rye, and that legislation covering the wheat board be reviewed at regular intervals.

[Mr. Zaplitny.l

That is in line with recommendations that have been made from time to time by members of this group, and again during this debate. We believe that if there is to be orderly marketing the wheat board must be the exclusive marketing agency for grain in western Canada and that it should be a permanent body. We would also include rye and flax in its operations. I find complete unanimity on this point among farm organizations. The Interprovincial Farm Union Council made a presentation to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) in December, 1956, which contained this paragraph:

The membership of the Interprovincial Farm Union Council has, on a number of occasions, gone on record as supporting the orderly marketing of wheat, oats and barley, through the facilities of the Canadian wheat board. At the same time, our membership has gone on record equally as often requesting that flax and rye, too, be placed under wheat board jurisdiction. The basis for this request lies in the favourable experience farmers have had in marketing wheat, oats, and barley through board facilities during the past number of years.

Those are recommendations made by the two largest farm bodies in this country which are in perfect identity with the proposals made by members of the C.C.F. group. We ask the government to give them careful consideration and not just slough them aside. If they do not make a move to carry out those recommendations there will be some serious doubts raised in the minds of members of these organizations as to whether best support of the wheat board on the government side is as strong as they pretend it to be.

Some of the other recommendations we have made have to do with the sale of grain and parity prices. I would summarize our recommendations under six headings. First, as I have already said, we feel this should be a permanent statute. Second, it should include rye and flax along with other grains.

Third, we should be prepared to accept the principle of parity prices. If the government will not go so far as to accept that in connection with all grain handled, it should be accepted at least for grain marketed for domestic use. I am using figures produced the other day by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch) and am assuming they are correct. He indicated that in the United States the parity price for wheat was $2.37. The average price paid for wheat in Canada for the 1954-55 pool, after all deductions for expenses had been made, came to $1.44 per bushel. If you subtract $1.44 from $2.37 you arrive at a differential of 93 cents per bushel.

If we applied that differential to the wheat used in Canada for domestic purposes, and certainly no one who is at all reasonable will deny that there is no reason why wheat or

grain sold in Canada should be sold at a price which is not at parity with the prices of other products, and it is only justice that that be done, it amounts to approximately 70 million bushels of wheat which would come to about $65 million. That means that at the present time the farmers have a perfectly justifiable grievance when they say that the $65 million which could be realized, not by selling their grain at excessive prices but simply at parity prices for domestic use in Canada, should be added to the amount of money in the wheat board fund which could then be distributed in the form of dividends or interim or final payments to the producers. I think that the government or parliament generally should be prepared to go at least as far as to provide that the grain which is sold for domestic consumption would be sold at a price which is considered to be a parity price at the present time.

Then we ask that the government should accept the principle of establishing a national grain reserve. I say a national grain reserve to make it clear that I believe this should be the responsibility of the whole nation, both producers and consumers. If we accept the idea that there should be a reserve of grain we should also accept the principle that this reserve should be maintained and financed as the responsibility of the whole nation and not of the farmers alone. It is a fortunate thing that Canada is in the position of being a great producer of grain with a huge carryover from year to year. It is a fortunate thing for the world, because one never knows when there may be a serious crop failure, or a shortage of food in any corner of the world which will bring people to the point of actual starvation. We are the breadbasket of the world, and if we are to carry out this obligation as a nation, we must not leave it on the shoulders of the producers themselves.

It is not fair to ask the producers of Canada to carry the burden of these huge reserves of grain from year to year. If we accept what I have suggested as a national policy, then we should set up a national food reserve of grain which would be stored and financed by the treasury; the farmers who produce the grain would be paid for the crop they produce and, that having been done, the government would take over. That, in effect, is what is being done in the United States

they are treating the surplus as a national food reserve and then using various means to market that grain both on the domestic market and in countries abroad.

This brings me to the fifth point. We propose that the government should seriously explore ways of obtaining new revenues and export markets. I know that the minister

Canadian Wheat Board Act and some of the hon. members on the other side of the house have stated, even in their speeches during this debate, that these methods used by the United States to dispose of its grain were open to question. They have called it a "fire sale".

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thalcher:

A "give-away".

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

That is another description which the hon. member has supplied. I think it is a little shortsighted to approach a well-thought-out program which has proved to be effective and beneficial to the nation and to the producers in the United States, with such an attitude, and to laugh it off as a fire sale or as a give-away. As a matter of fact it is neither one thing nor the other.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thaicher:

It certainly is.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

If the hon. member for

Moose Jaw-Lake Centre would take the trouble to inform himself of what is actually being done in the United States with regard to the disposal of grain I am sure he would not use those terms. They have a number of ways, in the United States, of applying this plan which I have mentioned, but I will refer only to three of them. One of the ways is by selling grain for local currencies- various currencies.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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LIB

Frank A. Enfield

Liberal

Mr. Enfield:

That is the Mutual Security Act.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thatcher:

It is giving it away.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

No, not at all. It is accepting local currencies for the purpose of being able to make a deal which would not otherwise be possible.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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LIB

Anton Bernard Weselak

Liberal

Mr. Weselak:

What do you do with the local currency?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

Part of it is held to the credit of the exporting nation to be liquidated by goods to be obtained from the country to which the grain has been delivered.

The other method used to dispose of the grain is intended to promote the expansion and development of the countries concerned-*

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thaicher:

Britain won't buy it that way.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

It is a desirable way in which to carry on trade with these countries. One can call it a give-away or a fire sale, but I think it is a smart way to do business, and since it is the only way in which you can do business with these countries I think it is smart to take advantage of the opportunity.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND EXPIRY DATE
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February 7, 1957