March 26, 1957

?

An hon. Member:

Open at both ends.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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CCF

Willis Merwyn (Merv) Johnson

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

Mr. Johnson (Kindersley):

The need for cash advances has been developing over the last five years. This is not a problem that has pounced upon us over night. Farmers have found that with the bountiful years the carryover of grain on the farms has increased tremendously, and as that carryover has increased the deliveries of grain from the farms have decreased.

A few years ago the government followed the policy of having a uniform quota for all marketing points in western Canada, which meant that farmers had the same opportunity of obtaining some returns from their grain.

Last year, because of the difficulties in transportation which the transport controller was not able to resolve, it was deemed necessary to allow a variation in quotas. What happened in effect was that some marketing points were allowed to deliver 5, 6 or 7 bushel quotas while others were held down to a 2 or 3 bushel quota because of the shortage of box cars.

I think the core of the problem can be found here, and we should analyse it. Is it fair to ask a farmer, who under today's circumstances is denied the opportunity of delivering the same amount of grain as his neighbour at a different marketing point, to pay interest on the money he has to borrow from the bank because he has been denied the opportunity of delivering his grain? Perhaps fairness is not a characteristic the Liberal government deems worthy of consideration, but it is of serious concern to the farmers who are suffering financial hardship because of their inability to market their grain.

With this unequal quota position on the one hand and the very low delivery position on the other-and it was pointed out that the majority of marketing points in Saskatchewan are on a 2 bushel quota or less-we have some appreciation of the problem. The solution the government has advocated for this problem is that of providing guarantees to the banks so that loans may be made to farmers up to the amount of $3,000 at an indefinite interest charge. I think we should analyse each of the qualifications in the bill quite thoroughly.

In the first place the farmer is not being given the bank loan as a right. He has to prove to the banker that he is an excellent risk, otherwise he will be denied a loan. That is one of the most serious objections to this procedure, because the farmer who needs the loan most is the one who will be denied it.

Those farmers who through diversification or luck have been able to grow crops which are more readily saleable have little or no difficulty borrowing from the banks on the security of section 88, and indeed bankers encourage them to borrow under that section rather than under the bank loan legislation because it gives them flexibility in the repayment of their loans.

This legislation proposes that the maximum loan be increased from $1,500 to $3,000.

I do not know of what advantage this will be. I think it is a matter of catering to what the Minister of Trade arid Commerce assumed was the resolution passed by the farm organizations, when they requested a cash advance of $4 an acre on a maximum of 800 acres, amounting to $3,200. Apparently the Minister of Trade and Commerce got

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this confused with the figure of $1,500 which was contained in the former legislation. It was pointed out by the hori. member for Humboldt-Melfort that increasing the maximum amount of the loan from $1,500 to $3,000 will be of little or no benefit unless this legislation is altered to give the loan to the farmer as a right.

It was indicated in the discussion at the resolution stage that the average loan was slightly in excess of $700 during the first period, when the maximum loan was $1,500. This is an indication that perhaps the figure of $1,500 was not at fault but rather that the legislation itself was inadequate.

In reply to a question I asked at the resolution stage the Minister of Trade and Commerce indicated that a farmer must have a quota large enough to allow him to deliver $6,000 worth of grain to be able to qualify for the maximum loan. This simply means that a farmer would have to have approximately 600 acres, which is far beyond what the average farmer can ever hope to achieve. The average farmer in western Canada falls into the three-quarter section' category, with a quota on approximately three to four hundred acres, so we have a measure of deceit creeping into this legislation. The government implies that a farmer can get a loan of up to $3,000 when in effect he is limited by the acreage and the anticipated quota in the year of delivery.

The third aspect of this legislation which makes it particularly obnoxious is the interest rate. Iri discussing this matter with the Minister of Trade and Commerce the farm organizations, after the frustration of hoping for something better and being denied it, have implied in conclusion, "If we cannot have decent legislation in the form of cash advances the least the government of Canada could do would be to decrease the interest to the lowest possible rate".

What has the government done? It has left the interest rate flexible so it may be increased at the will of the government in order to keep pace with the ever-increasing interest rates charged by the Bank of Canada. Since the wheat board is paying 4f per cent interest and the elevator companies are paying over 5 per cent, I will wager that if the interest rate of 5J per cent charged in the previous period is unsatisfactory, on the basis of his security the farmer will be paying 6 per cent, which is the interest rate the banks charge under section 88 of the Bank Act, which allows farmers more complete freedom of repayment; or perhaps the rate will be even more.

If you weigh the three government solutions against the problem you will readily

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appreciate that they fall far short of resolving it. The solutions offered by the government will not assist the farmer to carry on his operations. The fact that the date of application has been set at September 1 is of little consequence, I submit.

Usually at that time of year the farmer is not in a position to know what his crop will be. He must deduct his unit quota and other deliveries which often occur at the start of the year. At some marketing points there is a 1-bushel quota at the start of the crop year, and at others there would be one unit and sometimes two units which would be deducted from the amount of the loan the farmer is to get. That would not give the farmer enough cash to pay his store bills.

Consideration must be given to the position of the average merchant in western Canada.

I want to pay a sincere tribute to the merchants I have dealt with, and indicate my appreciation of the work they have done and the energy they have expended in serving the public. I recall the thirties when our farmers were in a serious financial position, and I remember how the merchants gave them financial assistance wherever possible. Those situations and circumstances are being repeated today. We find the businessman advancing credit to farmers so they may buy groceries for their families. He is making these advances on the understanding that as deliveries of grain increase he will be repaid. The same thing is true of those merchants who are providing services to the farmers, the implement companies and others who play a role in the community and whose livelihood is dependent upon agriculture.

It is submitted that a system of cash advances would provide the solution which is generally desired, and would be effective as a part of our agricultural program. The Minister of Trade and Commerce has said that if all western farm organizations could agree on each item of a proposal for cash advances he would consider it. He has taken a page from the book of the Minister of National Health and Welfare, who has laid down so many provisoes in connection with his hospitalization scheme as are propitious before an election that he hopes that by jockeying them around action will not have to be taken by the government. I suspect the Minister of Trade and Commerce is doing the same thing.

If the minister were to ask any single farm organization what they favoured, he would come up with a system of cash advances. There may be one or two organizations in western Canada which are posing as farm organizations and which are disinterested in

[Mr. Johnson (Kindersley) .1

this proposal, but I do not see why they should be able to block legislation which would be beneficial to the farmers of western Canada.

I do not think it is up to me to work out all the details of a system of cash advances.

I have worked out enough details; I have discussed this often enough with pool officials, with farmers and with farm organizations, to realize that a workable scheme could be developed. I know that certain Liberal members from Saskatchewan will say that we already have a system of cash advances in the form of bank loans. As he was able to elucidate bank loan legislation and convert it into cash advances, I imagine if the minister wanted to exercise the same kind of dexterity in working out a formula for cash advances he would be able to do it quite successfully.

It would be quite simple to work out an arrangement whereby the farmer would be granted a certain percentage of cash advance on his unsold grain sufficient to give him an opportunity of getting the same cash return that is available to his neighbour or to other communities in western Canada. That is the essence of fairness in the proposal of cash advances. It could be extended to compensate the farmers for the failure of the government to build adequate inland storage, which would have greatly increased the returns to the farmers and at the same time would have placed many millions of bushels of wheat now in surplus in a position where it could be stored for future needs and future sale. A system of cash advances could be built up to that.

I was gratified to notice that when the hon. member for Moose Mountain moved his amendment it was accepted docilely by the members of the government. I suppose that in a place such as this House of Commons, which is dependent upon debate to influence the attitude of various members, we have been completely successful in convincing the government of the desirability of accepting our amendment. I notice the Minister of Trade and Commerce is not here to give the signals, so I assume that members of the government will listen to the debate which is taking place and be able to make up their own minds accordingly. If supporters of the government are by some strange means stimulated to express the views of their constituents and are able to convince members of the government that a system of cash advances is not desirable, then I suggest that hon. members should be free to make up their own minds.

I do not think any member from Saskatchewan or from western Canada would

dare to stand up in the house and speak against the amendment which we of the C.C.F. have moved. They would not dare do it because they realize that it represents the desires of farmers in western Canada. Farm organizations have been explicit enough; farmers have been explicit enough, and so I can only assume that the arguments which have been put forward by members of the C.C.F. have convinced members of the government that we should in fact take a step in the continuing process of orderly marketing by accepting the amendment which has been moved, requesting the government to give consideration to the advisability of introducing legislation to provide a permanent system of cash advances on farm-stored grain.

After such legislation has been introduced we will then have an opportunity to begin to resolve many of the problems confronting agriculture. We will have an opportunity to try to iron out some of the income differentials which exist as between areas in western Canada. It will be a long step toward providing agricultural security.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, the amendment moved by the hon. member for Moose Mountain is a simple one in principle. It is:

That Bill No. 263 be not now read a second time but that it be resolved that in the opinion of this house the government should give consideration to the advisability of introducing legislation to provide a permanent system of cash advances on farm stored grain.

The reason we, along with farm organizations and farmers across Canada, support cash advances rather than the government's policy of bank loans is well known. We believe that a system of cash advances would provide money to the farmer as of right in the fall when he needs it. As long as the farmer had grain on his farm which was in reasonably good condition and in reasonably good storage, he would be entitled as of right to such advance.

Under this legislation, at the very time western agriculture has more grain on hand than it has had at any time in the recent history of the prairie provinces the government treats the farmers almost as though they were bankrupt. The government is saying to the farmers when they have had a series of good crops, when they might expect, in the ordinary course of events, that they would have some money in their own bank accounts, but when they are faced with storage congestion and inability to move their grain, "We are going to do nothing to enable you to solve your problems but rather 82715-172

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we are going to compound them, perhaps, by providing heavier debt obligations at high interest rates."

The legislation placed before the house last year had nothing to recommend it, and this legislation has, in some respects, even less to recommend it because the interest rate last year was statutory; it was fixed in the bill. This time, however, the interest rate is not stated in the bill but is to be left to the governor in council to determine. Over the years, step by step, this government is removing many of the rights of parliament. We see once again in this bill a further indication that the government wants to be allpowerful, that the government wants to legislate not by parliament but by order in council. In this case one can only assume from the present condition of higher and higher interest rates that this is a backdoor recourse to camouflage a forthcoming increased interest rate to agricultural producers. At a time when producers are facing severe financial burdens, the governments intends to add to those burdens.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce is well known throughout Canada. He is a famous man in many parts. His reputation is becoming more and more widespread, and one of the things he is becoming best known for is his determination to acquire for himself more and more power, more and more authority; to take authority away from parliament, give it to himself, and then recommend to the governor in council that certain action be taken. Judging from the record of the Minister of Trade and Commerce in the past he has seldom if ever failed when he has determined that something should be done. The Prime Minister is little match for the Minister of Trade and Commerce when the latter desires to do something. The government cannot stand up to this man, and neither can the Liberal party.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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?

An hon. Member:

Neither can the C.C.F.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Correct; neither can the C.C.F. and neither can parliament itself. Certainly the western grain producers cannot. There is probably only one man who has any real authority in Canada today who is fundamentally opposed to a system of interest-free cash advances, and that is the Minister of Trade and Commerce. But he is so allpowerful in this government that he is able to thwart the desires of western grain producers, the desires of opposition parties in this house and, I would think-I would hope- the private desires of a great many hon. members on the government side of this house.

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In all the experience I have had in talking to farmers and speaking to farmers' organizations I have yet to hear one farmer, or to hear of one organization, being in favour of this kind of legislation in all its aspects, and opposed to a system of cash advances. The Minister of Trade and Commerce does not worry too much about what kind of stuff he puts on the record; whether or not it is strictly in accordance with the facts causes him little concern.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

It may be true of you, but not of him.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Well, we hear from the

minister's parliamentary assistant, who has adopted the attitude of the Liberal party; that is the attitude of silence with regard to this measure. And it is little wonder that the attitude of the Liberal party should be one of silence, because this bill is so at variance with the desires of a great many people in this country.

The minister's explanation was inaccurate and misleading in many respects, and the parliamentary assistant has done nothing to make it clearer. I refer particularly to the statement at page 2161 of Hansard of March 13, 1957, where he spoke as follows:

The three wheat pools, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the united farmers and a great number of local organizations have asked that this bill be passed, and have asked in the exact terms in which the bill has been drafted.

That statement is not correct. That statement cannot be substantiated. There is not a farm organization, I warrant, any place in Canada which has asked for the legislation in the precise terms which this bill has provided. They did not ask for legislation that would leave it to the discretion of the banks to decide whether or not a farmer could receive a loan. They asked that something be given to the farmer as of right. They asked that the interest rates be low, lower than 5 per cent. Not a single farm organization has said, "We want the interest rates set by the governor in council." So the farm organizations have not asked that this bill should be passed in its present terms.

As a matter of fact they did not ask for the bill at all, because when they had a meeting recently, according to the secretary of the Saskatchewan farmers' union, the farm organizations passed the following resolution:

Resolved, that while we do not agree that the Prairie Grain Producers Interim Financing Act is the most satisfactory method for making money available on grain that cannot be delivered, however, in view of the late date in having a more satisfactory plan for cash advances adopted at this session of parliament, this committee recommends to the federal government the inclusion of the following amendments:

(a) That the basis for loans be set at $4 per specified acre up to a maximum of 800 acres.

Hon. members will note it says "that the basis for loans be set at $4 per specified acre". That provision is not in the bill; it is not mentioned at all.

(b) That the time for advancement of loans be set ahead to September 1.

That provision has been accepted.

(c) That credit unions and treasury branches be empowered to advance loans.

That provision has not been placed in this bill. Once again the government is discriminating against the credit unions. The government does not allow the hundreds of credit unions on the prairies to play a part in a program of guaranteed loans on grain. The farmers do not wish to have their loans from the banks; they do not want interest-bearing loans at all. They want cash advances. But if they are to choose between loans from the credit unions and loans from the banks as provided by this bill, there is no doubt that the farm organizations will support an extension of this legislation to include credit unions.

Why should the government not encourage credit unions? 1 think credit unions are one of the best developments in the financial field which have taken place in Canada this century, and I suggest that such a worth-while development should be encouraged wherever possible. I believe that the credit unions, in their experience, have probably lost less money than the chartered banks of this country. The history of credit unions shows that their losses are almost negligible, and there would be little or no risk to the national treasury if the government extended this legislation to include credit unions.

But the government would not do that. It would not follow the recommendations of the farm organizations. Yet the minister says the bill has been drafted in the exact terms requested by the farm organizations.

Then I come to the fourth provision that is requested. It is in these words:

That interest rates be as low as possible and in any event not higher than that paid by the Canadian wheat board.

The Canadian wheat board has had the interest rates it has to pay increased in recent months. The board too has become a victim of the government's monetary policy. But even so, even though its interest rates have been going up, the Canadian wheat board has been able to obtain money at an interest rate lower than farmers can get under this legislation. The farm organizations asked that interest rates be reduced by providing a ceiling so they would not be greater than the interest rates paid by the Canadian wheat board.

This session of parliament has before it a number of very worth-while measures affecting many regions and groups in this nation. There is a measure before the house to increase prairie farm assistance; but I think any fair minded person looking over the government's program in total for this session cannot help but come to the conclusion that the agricultural industry is the forgotten industry of the nation. If it were another industry the government would not hesitate to rush in with subsidies in order to help. It would not hesitate to bring in closure motions to force advances of $80 million and so on, but when it comes to the agricultural industry the government forces a higher interest burden on the backs of western producers.

I am sure the amendment before the house will be supported by the members of the opposition parties, and I would think unanimously. I would express the hope that members of parliament on the government side of the house, particularly those members of parliament who represent prairie graingrowing constituencies, will consider these issues very carefully. I believe that if even as few as half a dozen of them will stand up in their places and vote for the amendment moved by the hon. member for Moose Mountain, then the Minister of Trade and Commerce will have to stop, look and, I would hope, listen.

I believe the only thing standing between the producers on the prairies and cash advances is the ingrown and slavish loyalty of western Liberal members to the party whip. I suggest that parliament today is suffering because members of the house-

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

It is suffering at the moment.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

-on an amendment such as this will so often not stand up and vote as their constituents would wish them to vote. I am completely convinced that at least 98 per cent of the people of the prairie provinces support cash advances as opposed to bank loans. I believe that. I have never heard a person oppose cash advances, except in this house or other representatives of the Liberal party.

I do not think the amendment now before the house should be considered as a want of confidence motion that will endanger the life of the government. Certainly if a few members of parliament from the prairies decide to vote for the amendment it will have no effect on the position of the government. The government has such a large majority that if all the Liberal representatives from the prairies, including those who represent urban constituencies, stood up and voted for the amendment the government, if it wished to 82715-172i

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do so, could still defeat it by a very large majority. But the very fact that they would stand up and be counted on an issue that is fundamentally important to the welfare of a very large section of this country would, I suggest, within a few months result in the government, no matter what government may be in power, bringing such legislation before the house to be placed on the statute books of the country.

It is not just the farm organizations that are so much in favour of cash advances. As has already been mentioned this evening, local businessmen have just as much interest in this kind of legislation as the people who belong to farm organizations and represent the farmers. When a farmer is unable to sell his grain it is difficult for him to finance his business; and because of the generally tight marketing situation farmers by the hundreds, yes, perhaps by the thousands, are being forced to give up the occupation that is their first choice.

But difficult as it is for the farmers when they are unable to market their grain, I would say if there is any group that is in as bad or a worse position for the same reason it is the small businessmen, the independent dealers, the local merchants, the corner grocery store, the garage operators, the implement and oil dealers. These business people throughout the whole operating season very often have advanced credit to their customers at no charge, without interest, and they find themselves placed in a very difficult position when the grain cannot be moved at a rapid rate and farmers at the same time are not able to obtain a cash advance on their grain.

As a result many small businessmen have themselves had to go to the banks to borrow money and pay interest on it in order to meet their inventories, in order to pay cash to their wholesalers, in order to give interest-free credit to their friends and neighbours, their customers, who are the agricultural producers. When the farmer gets a good crop in this kind of situation and cannot pay his obligations the merchant must go on paying substantial interest charges on the credit he has advanced to the grain producers. Therefore I suggest that the whole matter of cash advances is fundamentally important to the economic life of the prairie provinces.

I have welcomed the recent indications from the government that the long-standing plight of the maritime provinces is being investigated and studied, and there has been an indication that action will follow. I welcome that. No doubt the money to pay for the necessary measures will come from people who live in all parts of Canada, but I think that as Canadians we should endeavour to provide a Canadian standard of

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living to people in all parts of the nation. When an area is depressed over a long period of time it behooves the government to undertake steps that will provide a fair share of the economic production of the country to the people who live in that region.

I suggest that along with studying the economic problems of the maritimes the government should be studying the economic problems of western Canada. The government are failing to take action, as we have asked, to solve the grain situation, and they are not easing the problem in other ways. They are making the problem more difficult.

They are allowing new horizontal increases in freight rates to add a further freight burden to the people of the prairies. A subsidy that was placed in the estimates, I believe back in 1952, of $7 million to provide for the maintenance of trackage, the so-called link between the industrial areas of Ontario and Quebec and the west, is still $7 million and is unable to play its part in levelling out freight rates today as it was in 1952 because of inflationary rises in costs and because of further horizontal increases in freight rates.

I suggest that legislation to put money in the pockets of the farmers is fundamentally necessary to the welfare of western Canada.

I suggest it would be of great advantage to people in all parts of our nation.

I have read from time to time that there is difficulty in the farm implement industry, and that there is difficulty sometimes in obtaining markets for our automobile production. There would be no underemployment, if I may use that term, in the farm implement industry if the government had legislation to solve the economic problems of the farmers of this nation. The fact that the government has failed to meet the needs of the agricultural producers, plus the fact the agricultural producers are not able to obtain their share of the economic production of this nation, results periodically in stresses, strains and hardships in other industries.

Let no one think that although the marketing year has become advanced, there are not at this time huge surplus quantities of grain on the prairies in the farmers' hands. Marketings have been up this year over last year. Exports have been up to date in this crop year over a comparable period in the last crop year. But about January 1, the beginning of this calendar year, a change in the export picture became noticeable. While our exports up to that time had been more than in the same period last year, about that time our rate was lowered. Since January 1 we have exported-these figures

were up to date just a few days ago-39 million bushels of wheat this year as compared to 53 million bushels of wheat in a similar period last year.

If one reads the grain publications, if one attempts to read between the lines of government statements, I suggest that anyone who has any knowledge of the Canadian grain business today cannot help but be concerned with the very severe drop in the export of Canadian wheat since the beginning of the calendar year. People who have knowledge of the grain business cannot help but be concerned about prospects for the future. While we got off to a good start in this crop year, we now hear it said rather frequently that the chances are that when July 31 comes, unless there is a change in the export climate in the meantime, present indications would suggest that we will export less wheat this crop year than we exported last year. I think that would be a very serious development for all Canada.

I have in my hand the most recent wheat review setting forth the exports of the various exporting nations during August to January last. The United States in that period exported 251 million bushels of wheat, and Canada exported 145 million bushels; the United States exported 106 million bushels more than we had. When one looks at the statistics for a comparable period a year ago one finds the United States exports were 119 million bushels and Canadian exports were 116 million bushels. In other words, a year ago we were exporting almost as much wheat as the United States. This year there has been a very tragic lag in the export of Canadian wheat.

When we have asked the government to do something about it in order to put some cash in the farmers' hands, they have said it is the United States program that is blocking the sale of Canadian wheat and there is nothing the Canadian government can do about it. They have been telling us for months, and for years that the Canadian treasury could not hope to compete with the United States treasury in a so-called subsidized export program.

However, just a few days ago the Minister of Trade and Commerce said in this house that the Canadian farmer had been for two years competing with the United States treasury in the export of wheat. The minister was not only prepared to say that he had been competing, but he was prepared to make an announcement that increased the burden on the western producer by saying there should be a cut in the price of wheat going to the mills to be milled into flour for export. Was it a subsidy on export flour paid for by the

treasury of this country to compete with the United States treasury? No; it is paid by the producers out of their meagre income, out of their standard of living. After the government have said they are going to force the farmers to provide a subsidy in competition with the United States treasury, a few days later they come along and tell us they are providing a means whereby they can increase the interest burden on the western wheat producers through a guaranteed bank loan legislation.

Then, after long and detailed negotiations, an agreement for the sale of wheat to Poland was announced in this house. I think every member in the house welcomed the announcement; farm organizations welcomed it. The government said it was prepared to have the credit guaranteed by the Export Credits Insurance Act. Then the Polish representatives had to go to Canadian banks to get the money in order to buy Canadian wheat.

I believe a question was asked in the house today by the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort as to the position of the Polish wheat deal; whether credit was being made available and whether if the chartered banks had refused to make credit available it was a method by which the chartered banks were retaliating for the government's monetary policy. I was not in the house at that time, but I am informed the Minister of Finance replied that there was no question of retaliation.

Well, retaliation or not, it is a sorry state of affairs when the chartered banks of this country, in the face of a guarantee given by this parliament in connection with a grain transaction that parliament believes to be in the interests of this nation, are in fact flying in the teeth of parliament and the expressed will of the Canadian nation by saying, "No credit".

What are the government going to do next to the grain producers? Are they going to make the grain producers bear the cost o subsidies for the export trade, load on them a higher interest burden when they are unable to sell their grain, then fail to follow througl with their own legislation in an expeditious manner so this deal might go through and huge quantities of grain on the prairies might be moved to market? We really need a market. For many weeks now there has been an embargo on grain going east; an embargo of longer duration than last year; an embargo of a serious nature.

I would suggest that even though agriculture may be diminishing in importance in an economic way, even though it may not form the same proportion of the gross national product of the country at this time as it did

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in past years, the movement of wheat east is important to the economic life of Ontario and Quebec, the city of Montreal and other port and harbour facilities. I suggest that every person in Canada has a stake in having the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade and Commerce look at this problem to make certain that within a matter of hours this deal should go through, since parliament and the Canadian people have agreed that credit should be made available to Poland so this grain may be purchased.

I have no hesitation, Mr. Speaker, in voting for this amendment and at every stage opposing legislation which, instead of solving problems that producers now face, stands in the road of a fundamental solution to those problems. I suggest the time has arrived when the government should take a look at this bill. The government should withdraw the bill and present legislation to this parliament before the house is dissolved which will make it possible for farmers, when they harvest a crop, to get some money and not be forced to go cap in hand, without any rights, to banks where very often they have not done business for many years, to ask almost in the role of a beggar for loans on which they have to pay a substantial interest charge.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. Rene N. Jutras (Provencher):

Mr. Speaker, I did riot intend to take part in this debate, and certainly not this evening. Let me say before I start that I am not rising because of the repeated invitations of our socialist friends in the house or, for that matter, because of their threats. I am rising for one particular reason. Obviously an attempt is being made by the socialists and to some degree by the other party to their right throughout the country, particularly in the western provinces at the moment, to try to discredit the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I had heard that it was going on out in the country, but there was a clear demonstration in the house this evening that the members of the socialist party are trying to propagate this idea throughout the country.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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CCF

Willis Merwyn (Merv) Johnson

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

Mr. Johnson (Kindersley):

Where were

you during the pipe-line debate?

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
Permalink
LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. Juiras:

I want to tell my hon. friends from that particular party that no amount of sniping on their part or any of their remarks will in any way diminish the reputation of the Minister of Trade and Commerce. He is by common agreement one of the greatest Canadians who ever lived. He has made one of the greatest contribution's during both wartime and peacetime. Let me tell my hon. friends of the socialist party that in spite of what they say, the Minister of Trade and Commerce has made one of

Grain

the greatest contributions to the cause of the grain growers in western Canada, and no amount of misrepresentation on their part will take that away from him. He has been disposing of our grain crops in this country for a great many years. He has gone through very difficult times to dispose of those crops, and in spite of the very heavy competition that my hon. friends complain about, and rightly so to a degree, from our United States friends to the south, the Canadian wheat board, with the advice of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, has been able to keep its pace and its place in the export markets of the world. That in itself is a great accomplishment, and nobody can take that away from him.

Out in the country my hon. friends complain that the Minister of Trade and Commerce is a tough character, that he is a very busy man and has too much to do. The fact remains that he has a tough job selling the grain in the world today. It is not an easy job, and we are fortunate to have the Minister of Trade and Commerce to handle the job. I defy anyone in this house to produce anybody who would be better qualified than the Minister of Trade and Commerce to do that job. There is certainly nobody in the official opposition who could undertake the job he has at the moment.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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PC

Lewis Elston Cardiff (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cardiff:

How do you know?

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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LIB

René Jutras

Liberal

Mr. Jufras:

I know from past experience. The record speaks for itself.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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PC

Lewis Elston Cardiff (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cardiff:

You don't know anything

about it.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Because we have never had a chance to find out.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

We would let free enterprise have a chance; we would not do it all ourselves.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

We saw what you did

in the 1930's.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Applewhaite):

Order.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

We would riot try to do it

ourselves.

Topic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN PRODUCERS INTERIM FINANCING
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM
Permalink

March 26, 1957