February 21, 1957


The house resumed, from Friday, February 15, consideration in committee of the following resolution-Mr. Harris-Mr. Robinson (Simcoe East) in the chair: That it is expedient to authorize a measure to amend the Canadian Farm Loan Act to increase the authorized capital of the board from $3 million to $4 million.


PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

I wonder if the minister is going to answer some of the questions that were put to him the other day.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

Yes, Mr. Chairman. The committee is well aware that it is not long ago that, as a result of more amendments than are presented at this time, a very extensive review of this act took place. One hon. member, I believe it was the hon. member for Battle River-Camrose, suggested that out of that labour of last session, including the work of the banking and commerce committee he felt little had developed except we had streamlined the application form. I feel that is an uninformed statement, Mr. Chairman, to say the least. I think even the board itself would give the fullest credit to the members of the committee for the work that they did in examining the operations of the board. I am very happy to be able to report to the house that in a period of something less than a year the total amount of loans and the average size of loan has increased very substantially.

In Canada as a whole, the number of loans approved for the period April 1, 1956 to January 31, 1957 was 2,751 amounting to $13,100,900. In the full year for the period April 1955 to March 31, 1956 the number of loans approved amounted to 1,949 and the amount of the loans was $7,791,000. I think the committee will be pleased to learn also that in this relatively short period of time since last session's work the amount of the average loan has increased. At the time we were considering the operations of the board the average loan was $3,898 for the last full year and for the period April 1, 1956 to January 31 of this year, the average loan has increased to $4,726.

Now, the hon. member for Greenwood requested some information to indicate what acceleration there might have been in loans in recent years. I have a table that covers a period of some 10 years, but perhaps orally I might just give the figures for the past five years. Taking the net increase in funds borrowed from the Minister of Finance, 1952-53 the total amounted to $1,600,000; in the next year they amounted to $3,700,000; then.

Canadian Farm Loan Act for 1954-55 $4,400,000; then, for 1955-56

$4,700,000; and for the 10-month period up to January 31 of this year to $5,300,000.

Now, similarly, the actual amount of loans dispersed to farmers showed a continuous increase. In the year 1952-53 the loans dispersed to farmers amounted to $5,118,000; in the next year, $7 million; the next year to $8,207,000; the next year to $8,254,000, slightly ahead of the year previously and in the current 10-month period ending January 31, 1957 they increased to $10,139,585. Some questions were advanced as to for how long a period the present increased authority might suffice before there was a requirement for parliamentary authorization of an additional increase in capital.

At the present time the minister may lend to the board $60 million based on the present capital. The amendment will permit the minister to lend the board an additional $20 million. That amounts to $80 million. The outstanding loans from the minister as at January 1, 1957, amount to $43,300,000, so that at present the further amount the minister may lend to the board is $36,700,000.

It is estimated that total borrowings from the Minister of Finance for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1957, will reach $8,500,000, and the loans dispersed in the current year when it ends on March 31, 1957, will probably amount to $13 million, to bring the total outstanding loans from the minister to $46,500,000, leaving a potential of future borrowing power of $33,500,000.

The hon. member for Greenwood and some others made reference to the time lapse between the time of placing an application and the completion of the application by the granting of a loan. The committee will recall that we were given some evidence last year. We were told in the banking and commerce committee that 50 per cent of all loans were completed within 50 days. I am able to report that an analysis of the applications has been made for one province, a representative province, namely, Ontario. In Ontario, in the present fiscal year to February 5, 1957, 533 loans were processed. The length of time between appraisal and head office approval of the loans is as follows: 22.4 per cent took less than 15 days; 50.3 per cent took less than 28 days; 64.4 per cent took less than 35 days; 80.5 per cent took less than 42 days. Therefore, I think members of the committee will again be pleased with that increase in the speed at which applications are dealt with.

The hon. member for Kindersley, at pages 1324, 1325 and 1326 of Hansard, made the point that he believed that applicants are denied a loan unless they actually reside on

[Mr. Benidickson.l

a farm, or at least have some buildings on the farm. I am told by the board that this is not a correct indication of the position. The board does appreciate the trend toward owning and residing in a house in a nearby village, and this, of course, has developed particularly in the province of Saskatchewan. In these circumstances, an applicant who is prepared to include his village residence as part of the security may obtain a loan from the board. Presumably, my hon. friend was referring to a farm that would have no buildings on it at all.

The hon. member for Acadia referred to the item on the back of the application dealing with chattel mortgages. I am told that has always been on the application. Up to now no exception has been taken to it. It is presumed that it followed the regular practice of the private lending companies for many years. I wish to point out to the committee that what it means is simply this: warning is given to the applicant that under certain circumstances he might be asked to provide a chattel mortgage; but if hon. members follow the procedure they will realize that the board, or its representative, is doubtless approached by a letter or a personal interview. The applicant is given this form to complete, and returns it, and then there is an appraisal and the board then writes indicating whether it is prepared to extend a loan. If it does so and if it feels that some chattel mortgage security is required, it states so in the letter. There is no obligation, of course, on the part of the applicant to proceed with the loan if he objects to the chattel mortgage request. I am told, however, that such requests are on the decline. I think that in the 10-months period that I say has been reviewed chattel mortgages were requested in about 16 per cent of the applications. I am told also that usually the term of the chattel mortgage is a relatively short one. The mortgage loan itself is probably for a long period but the chattel mortgage security is usually for a short term of possibly five years and would not run collateral in time to the long term of the land mortgages. I understand, too, that there is a very good reason for requesting chattel mortgages in certain circumstances.

I can illustrate this best by saying that certain farms would not be farms at all from the point of view of real productive worth had they not a valuable and substantial irrigation system, and to secure the irrigation system which is essential to the operation of the farm of course a chattel and not a real estate mortgage is required. This is just one illustration.

In so far as this clause is concerned, the applicant will receive the payment by

cheque and at his risk. I am assured that that has never caused any difficulty over the years. If a cheque has gone astray invariably the board has taken on the obligation of checking upon it, and I think possibly that particular clause in the application form could be looked at with the possibility of having it altered or making clearer to the applicant what is involved. I understand it is simply an authorization to send payment in that manner.

The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe complained that he felt farmers were being refused loans because they were energetic and enterprising enough to go out and seek some outside employment on a seasonal basis. Well, hon. members know that only those whose principal occupation is farming are entitled in the first place to receive loans; but I understand that my hon. friend has a completely wrong impression. The board appreciates the fact that some farmers are able to supplement their incomes by seasonal or part-time employment and this is, in fact, considered a favourable feature to be taken into account when approving the loan. I can understand, however, that if one continued indefinitely in this non-farm employment and had a long record of nonfarming at the time of the application he would not be classified as a person whose principal occupation was farming. But working for a short period and working in seasonal employment off the farm is no bar to the making of loans.

I myself, Mr. Chairman, would like to make a correction on page 1324 of Hansard. I referred to the total of loans outstanding as amounting to about $106 million. What I intended to refer to was the total amount of loans made by the board to date, which in fact amounts to $108 million as of March 31, 1956. Hon. members know from the annual report that as of the end of the last fiscal year the loans outstanding were something in excess of $40 million, I think about $43 million, and as of the present time they are approximately $50 million.

I think I have answered the principal questions raised in the previous sitting of the committee.

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PC

William Marvin Howe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Howe (Wellington-Huron):

Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a few words on this resolution which indicates that the government is going to make additional dollars available to the farmers of Canada so that they may receive loans to help in their farming operations.

This would indicate that the government is beginning to realize farming is in a critical condition. We have heard many figures quoted both inside and outside this house which reveal the squeeze in which the

Canadian Farm Loan Act farmers find themselves. When we realize that today only about 15 per cent of the total population is engaged in farming it is made apparent that something is wrong which is causing very many people to leave the farms. We know of many instances where young farmers have sought to establish themselves. I am thinking particularly of veterans who gave the best years of their lives for our protection and who returned eager to take up the vocation in which they were brought up and trained. They used their gratuities to start up farming and found that the income was not sufficient to enable them to meet the interest payments on their loans and their tax payments. Many of these young farmers remained on the farm and as the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe pointed out the other evening many of them have had to go out and take other employment in order to increase their income and assist in meeting their interest and tax payments.

We hear a great deal about marginal and submarginal farm land. Much of the land that is considered marginal and submarginal was good fertile land at one time but in the last few years farmers have not been able to earn enough income from their farming operations to enable them to buy machinery and put in the necessary fertilizers that would permit them to work the land properly. This serves to point out the need for credit being made readily available to farmers.

During the last few days briefs have been presented by two leading Canadian farm organizations both of which indicate that more credit should be made available to farmers and that it should be made easier for farmers to obtain credit. I should like to quote first from the brief presented by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture:

Agriculture in Canada has not contributed to inflationary tendencies but rather the low prices it has been experiencing in recent years have been one of the few anti-inflationary forces tending to hold down the cost of living. We are therefore asking the government, through the Bank of Canada and chartered banks, to remove the recently imposed credit restrictions as they may affect the farm industry and to reduce interest rates to the level in effect in 1955-until such time as agricultural prosperity reaches a level comparable to that of industry generally in Canada.

A similar request is contained in the submission of the interprovincial farm union council in these words:

Fifty per cent of the farms in Canada are undercapitalized and as a result receive low or subsistence incomes. The solution of the problem facing these units lies in increasing either their actual size or their total production. Either course will require increased capital. This capital will have to be provided in the form of long-term and intermediate credit at low interest rates. The credit advanced should be directed to the farmers

Canadian Farm Loan Act who need it. That is, particularly to those in the low-income group or to younger farmers who are commencing farm operations. It should be available for expansion in land or buildings and for purchase of livestock and equipment necessary to put the unit on an economic basis. Repayment rates must take into consideration the type of farm operation, and also natural hazards such as the weather, which may at times make it necessary to extend times or terms of repayment.

In view of the displacement that has been and still is taking place on our farms, we cannot emphasize too strongly the need for implementation of this credit policy, so that the present crop of potential farmers may not be lost to the industry.

In the same connection there is a recommendation in the 1956-57 submission of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce which reads:

. . . that the federal government review the

question of agricultural credit and debt legislation and institute uniform provision on a national basis.

All these submissions serve to indicate how important it is that sufficient credit be made available to farmers in order that they may continue their farming operations. I sincerely hope that through the medium of this bill the government is going to speed up the machinery through which loans are made. It was rather interesting to hear the statement made by the parliamentary assistant that the processing of the loans is being speeded up and that some of them are going through faster than was the case previously. However, the farmer like everybody else does not like to have to ask for credit and usually it is done as a last resort and if it is going to take too long a time in order to get the loans through it will often be the case that the loari will come through too late to relieve the farmer of his pressing financial difficulties. I am of the opinion that the regulations under which the loans are made could be eased considerably. In several cases that have been brought to my attention the farmer was told that if he paid off his liabilities to the bank or to the machinery company he would be granted a loan. How could he possibly do this without depleting his stock and thus decreasing the source of his income?

I feel there are many ways and means by which legislation could be enacted in order to make loans available to an increased number of farmers. Although many farmers will welcome this present legislation its effectiveness will be lost unless this government takes more effective steps to make it possible for Canadian farmers to make a profit on thefr operations. Of what value are loans if it is impossible for the recipients of the loans to make enough profit on their operations with which to repay the loan? I maintain that the farmer of Canada whose income has dropped below 8 per cent of the national average and who receives only approximately

46 per cent of the consumer dollar is entitled to more consideration than that which is accorded him in this resolution. I believe there should be an entirely new assessment of the agricultural picture in Canada in order that the Canadian farmer's position may be equalized with that of other segments of our economy and in order that he may share to a greater extent in the great boom we are enjoying.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Mr. Chairman, I listened with a great deal of interest to the information given to the committee by the parliamentary assistant. I noted particularly his comments concerning the work that was done last year by the banking and commerce committee. I believe that the work done by that committee last year in considering the whole question of the Canadian farm loan board's operations is an example of a parliamentary committee functioning at its best.

The parliamentary assistant will recall that last year when the bill was placed before the committee and members of this group who served on the committee suggested that a full discussion should take place of the entire operations of the Canadian farm loan board our suggestion met with great resistance from members representing the Liberal party. We were told that unless the bill was passed by the committee before Easter the whole benefit flowing from the bill would be lost to the farmers. We learned, of course, that this was not the case. We found that nothing would be lost by delay and nothing would be lost by having a full inquiry made. As a matter of fact we learned that a great deal might be gained from such an inquiry and I think the information given to us this evening indicates that the committee did a reasonably good job last year and that since the committee met the Canadian farm loan board has paid a measure of attention to the opinions of members of the committee and that the government itself which is responsible for the operations of the board has in fact moved in the direction of the opinions expressed by the members of the committee.

I think all of us who heard Dr. E. C. Hope, the economist of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, last year were impressed by him as a witness and by his knowledge of the whole field of farm credit. I think his presentation, along with the written presentation from the interprovincial farm union council and the presentations made by other witnesses, together with other comments made before the committee, went a long way toward achieving the result that has become apparent since that time.

I do not think the delay that has taken place in the processing of applications, or the delay that is taking place now, is fully justified. I wonder if the parliamentary assistant could tell the house whether or not it is necessary for all applications for a loan to go to Ottawa before they are finalized? I am wondering if the divisional offices, particularly in some areas some distance from Ottawa, have authority to decide applications and make loans on the spot? It would seem to me that the days involved in having applications sent to Ottawa for final approval, if that is still being done, and, I take it it is, constitute a delay which could be obviated. I am wondering if the parliamentary assistant could give us the benefit of the statistics regarding the length of time taken to process applications from parts of Canada other than Ontario. He has given us some statistics for Ontario. I do not know for certain, but I take it the chances are that an application from a farmer in Ontario would take, in the circumstances, a shorter period to deal with than an application from other parts of Canada. However, that may not be the case.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

Why should it, with

airmail?

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

All right. I will ask the parliamentary assistant this: What are the figures regarding the time taken to process applications for the country as a whole, rather than the time taken to process them for one province? I cannot see any reason why he should have confined that information to one province.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

It was a simple matter of the amount of work involved. I said I was quite satisfied that Ontario was representative. In the committee last year we analysed the situation in every province, particularly in che hon. member's province of Saskatchewan, and I can assure him that Ontario was not selected for the sake of any advantage to the board. But the hon. member will understand that there is a great deal of extra work involved in analysing in this detail each individual file over the past ten months, and I thought this would satisfy the house that a great change has taken place.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

With the assurance of the parliamentary assistant that the figures he gave for Ontario are reasonably accurate for the country as a whole, or would indicate the approximate time taken to process applications from the rest of Canada, I will proceed. I am pleased to see that there has been some considerable speed-up in the processing

Canadian Farm Loan Act of these applications, and the parliamentary assistant is aware, I am sure, that that is a very important thing.

This is not just a question of asking an applicant to wait another 30 or 60 days before he gets his money. Very often if he is not able to obtain a loan within a reasonable length of time his opportunity to buy a particular piece of land may vanish. I know that whenever a piece of farm property that is a reasonably good "buy" comes up for sale a number of people are interested in making a purchase. If a farmer who has to obtain money from the Canadian farm loan board has to wait an undue length of time for the money, he runs the risk of losing the purchase entirely or of having the sale price of the land run up because of competition.

I was interested in the submissions made by the Interprovincial Farm Union Council and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture this year, to all the members of the House of Commons in one case and to the cabinet in the other, in so far as they dealt with the Canadian farm loan board. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Interprovincial Farm Union Council asked for a general expansion of credit in this field. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, as I read their brief, made a particularly strong representation to the cabinet that the time taken to process these applications be speeded up, and that certain other steps should be taken by the board to make loans more readily available. Their submission reads, in part, as follows:

The unanimous opinion of those of our members who have had occasion to deal with the board is that its appraisal and lending policy is unnecessarily cautious and conservative.

That is the presentation made by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to the Prime Minister of Canada and to the members of his cabinet in Ottawa on February 15, 1957. That statement, that the board in its appraisal and lending policy is unnecessarily cautious and conservative, has been made in the light of a rather decided improvement in the board's operation. The submission goes on as follows:

The result is that the young man who looks to the board as a source of credit for getting established in farming finds that the amount which is available from the board is entirely inadequate for his purpose.

We would recommend a review and liberalization of the board's appraisal practices, and legislative provision for increasing the percentage of the appraised value that may be borrowed by farmers, especially where the amount of money borrowed is moderate.

Mr. Chairman, I do not want to modify any remarks I have made as to the improvement that has taken place in the last few

Canadian Farm Loan Act months. The federation of agriculture did not, apparently, give a great deal of weight to that improvement; rather, they made a presentation along the lines of that which they made last year, complaining that the policy of the board was unnecessarily cautious and conservative. They recommended a review, and liberalization of the board's appraisal practices.

The bill that went to the committee last year received somewhat full consideration from members of that committee and, as the parliamentary assistant said himself, the work of that committee has resulted in certain improvements. I wonder if the parliamentary assistant-the minister is beside him-is prepared to have the bill which will be brought down following the adoption of this resolution sent to an appropriate committee of this house as the other one was, that is, to the banking and commerce committee or the agriculture committee, for a further review of the operations of the board, particularly in the last few months since the committee met on the other bill?

It would seem to me in the light of the recommendations of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture that there should be a review of the board's general practices. I think at this stage it would be all to the good if the bill which is to be presented to this house could once more be referred to the agriculture committee so that members of that committee would again have the chance to question the board as to its operations and, which is of equal importance, to give representatives of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and of the Interprovincial Farm Union Council an opportunity to appear before the committee and state their views as to the operation of this act. I wonder if consideration has been given to referring this bill to the committee on agriculture?

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

I do not think this is an appropriate session for such a reference to be made, particularly in view of the thoroughness of the consideration which was given to the matter last year. And, again, it is my understanding that for several weeks the chairman of the board would not be available. He is at present carrying out a tour of the various branches. I may say with regard to this matter of appraising, an appraiser has been engaged, and this, I think, will prove advantageous. I believe that this will result in better co-ordination and uniformity of appraising throughout the various sections of the country. Is my hon. friend through?

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Go ahead. I will come again.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

Some members have

made some comparison of the terms of a farm loan with those of a loan that would be provided in an urban area for housebuilding.

I think this is comparing oranges with grapefruit in many respects, but there are some features of the farm loan board loan that are better than C.M.H.C. loans. For one thing, the rate of interest on urban housebuilding loans today is 6 per cent while the farm loan rate is 5 per cent. The maximum loan under the farm loan board is $15,000 and I am told that the limit under Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation practices in the case of a loan for a house for an urban dweller is $12,800. I think some of these factors are worth remembering.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I wonder whether the government has considered the presentation of the federation of agriculture on the very matter to which the parliamentary assistant has now referred. They ask that the loan percentage be increased from the present limit of 65 per cent on a first mortgage to 90 per cent in certain instances. They have asked that there be a sliding scale ranging from 65 per cent to 90 per cent.

While the statement of the parliamentary assistant is correct as to the maximum amount of money that may be obtained under the National Housing Act being less than the maximum amount obtainable from the farm loan board, the fact remains, as the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has stated in its brief, that the percentage of the appraised value that may be obtained under the National Housing Act is considerably higher than the percentage that may be obtained through the Canadian farm loan board.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

Not necessarily. I understand that on the first $8,000 of borrowing under a C.M.H.C. loan the limit of loan is only 70 per cent except for some of these limited dividend corporation loans and other multiple dwelling loans of that typb.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I will not quarrel with the

parliamentary assistant because he is in a field where he is perhaps an authority and I am not, but I would think that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture would check their statements very carefully before making them. On page 6 of their brief they make this statement:

Under N.H.A. 90 per cent of appraised value is loaned in the amount of $8,000, and then the percentage falls by stages to 80 per cent for loans to $12,800, which is the maximum under that act.

If the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is in error in their presentation, then of course their case is not as good as is set out but it would seem to me that an economist of Dr. Hope's standing would have checked

these statements rather carefully for the federation before they were made to the government.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

I will recheck between

now and the time the bill is before us, but that was the information I obtained today.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

With the present agricultural situation, with farmers in a rather desperate position throughout the country with respect to cash, and short of cash for purchasing land and transferring land from father to son, I think the government should give very careful consideration to the requests made by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Over the years the federation has earned the reputation of being very careful in the views it sets forth and a farm body that analyses conditions exhaustively before making a request to the government. Very often when the farmers themselves look at the requests made by the federation they feel that the organization has erred on the side of moderation if it has erred at all.

But in this case the federation has made very strong statements about the farm loan board and the operations of the act and has pointed out to the government that even with the improvements that have been made there is a good case for a review of the operations of the board and an increase in the percentage of the appraised value that may be obtained by way of a loan. The federation has also requested that the period of repayment be extended from 30 to 40 years.

When the bill went to the committee on agriculture last year in its initial stages the maximum period of repayment was 25 years but when the bill came out of the committee there was a recommendation that the 25 years be increased to 30 years. I think that an increase from 30 to 40 years in the maximum length of time in which a loan may be repaid is an excellent idea. It is one of the blots on our nation that the whole history of agriculture is that when a young man begins farming he assumes a very heavy obligation and generally speaking when he finally clears his farm properties of debt he has reached retirement age. If the farmer is given a longer period of time to repay his obligation, then the amount of repayment in each year is of course reduced and the chances of the farmer meeting his payments are increased.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

The amount of interest he pays is greater.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Yes, of course, but I think the farmer himself is the best judge of how quickly he can repay such an obligation and of the amount by way of obligation that he should agree legally to pay each year. I do not think that extension of the length of time

Canadian Farm Loan Act over which a loan would be repaid would in any way, shape or form add to the risk involved to the government. I do not think it would reduce in any way the total amount of money that is repaid. I do not think the losses would be increased. They are very small now. I think such a measure would in fact create better security than there now is.

I have a further question to put to the parliamentary assistant having to do with the interest rates that the board has to pay to the government and the rates that the board is likely to be charging in the months ahead. Is the parliamentary assistant in a position to assure the committee that the cost of money to the board itself will not be increased and, more particularly and of greater importance, that the interest cost of loans to farmers will not be increased? The whole general strengthening and increasing of interest rates has placed a very heavy burden on many ordinary citizens and, goodness knows, the farmers are having enough difficulties now. I hope that at least in this credit field the assurance will be given that there will be no increase in the interest rates charged by the Canadian farm loan board.

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William Moore Benidickson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

I too have not got a crystal ball. My hon. friend endeavoured to get an assurance of that kind last year in the committee. I can simply tell him that the same rate of interest is being charged the borrower as was charged last year when we were considering farm loans. It is true that in the interval the cost of money to the board has gone up because the cost of money to the government has gone up. I think that on the last borrowing of the board from the Minister of Finance the charge was 4 per cent.

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February 21, 1957