April 6, 1957

CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. G. H. Caslleden (Yorkton):

Before the minister answers those remarks, I would like to make it clear that the opposition to this measure by western members is due largely to the fact that if this is implemented we feel it will kill any opportunity there may be to have cash advances given.

The shortage of cash on the prairies in recent years, combined with the increasing cost of production, has had a very serious economic effect on a good many farmers. Some have had to leave their farms completely. I have known many farms which depend on grain and cattle raising where the herds have been completely ruined because there was not sufficient cash to pay debts and tax arrears in the fall of the year, with the result that the farmer was compelled to cut into his herd and sell some of his basic stock. The stock was not ready for sale, but he was compelled to sell it to get cash.

The fact is that the bill now proposed does nothing about relieving the grain grower in the west. Representations have been made on his behalf, and the minister must know what kind of representations have been made. He must know what has been the thinking Gf the people in the west. On December 3 last the farm union organization in their presentation to the federal-provincial conference had this to say:

The bank loan legislation implemented last year has not provided a solution. We feel that a permanent system of cash advances must be instituted to provide financial assistance to farmers during periods when due to congested storage facilities they cannot deliver their grain.

The minister knows they have not been able to deliver their grain. He knows what the situation is, and we need something which will meet that situation. These proposals will not do it. I thought perhaps we should try to block this legislation a little longer, but it is too late in the session to do that. We merely voice our opposition; and I endorse the words of the hon. member for Mackenzie when he says that if the government has anything else in mind we would like to know about it.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Do I understand that the hon. member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Thomas) is rising?

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

I have not spoken in the debate as yet. May I speak at some time? I am not closing the debate. I did not open the debate.

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

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

But this bill is in the minister's name.

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

Ray Thomas

Social Credit

Mr. Ray Thomas (Wetaskiwin):

On a point of order, I have no intention of speaking on this bill, but I would like to point out to the

Grain

minister that the committee on agriculture is now sitting, and that many hon. members who have followed this bill closely throughout its various stages are tied up there. Undoubtedly there are some hon. members on that committee who would like to speak further on this measure.

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

An hon. Member:

Too bad.

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

Ray Thomas

Social Credit

Mr. Thomas:

I ask the minister to take this into due consideration. Possibly we could go on with something else at the moment, at least until that committee has adjourned for the day, in order to give the members of that committee an opportunity to express their opinion.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

If the minister

speaks now he will close the debate.

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

Ray Thomas

Social Credit

Mr. Thomas:

Possibly he will want to

speak on the point of order.

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

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

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I have not had the benefit of listening to all of this edifying debate, which revolves round a very small point.

References have been made to other plans for putting cash advances into the hands of the farmers. I have never received a well worked out plan; in fact I have never received any plan endorsed by any farm organization. We have heard vague talk from the opposition about cash advances, free of interest, on farm-stored grain. Various people have suggested ways in which the cash could be put out but no one, as far as I have been able to follow the debate, has suggested any way in which such an advance could be recovered.

Mr. Chairman, I did have a meeting with representative farm organizations a month or so ago, and at that time those present urged that this legislation be passed. They said they were not ready to put forward any other plan at this time but that they might be in the autumn. I said I would be glad to discuss such a plan with them. I mentioned the fact that the plan must be a scheme not only for putting out money but also for getting money back, because loans are loans, and when I am responsible for paying money out from the treasury I like to have some reasonable safeguard about getting that money repaid. Despite all the vague talk and nonsense spoken by the opposition, no definite alternative plan to the one now being considered has been put forward at any stage.

I say I have not followed the debate, but apparently the people in the west have followed it, because I have here a number of telegrams, which I think I should read. They have evidently been sent as the result of

people reading Hansard and noting that all opposition parties have opposed this legislation and voted against it. I just put these messages on record, because I have been told I do not know the real feeling of farmers about this legislation, and that farmers are all opposed to it.

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

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

Will you read the ones that are opposed?

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

I am reading the only wires I have. The first is dated March 29, and it is from Mr. Ben Plumer, chairman of the Alberta wheat pool, addressed to myself:

We are very much concerned with the delay in the passage of the interim financing act for grain. The improvements provided in this legislation can he of much greater importance to farmers this year than they would have been in any recent year. On behalf of Alberta wheat pool I would urge that the government make every possible effort to have this additional help provided, and it may be especially important this year.

The next wire is from Mr. G. L. Harrold, president of the Alberta federation of agriculture. It was addressed to myself, dated March 29:

Amendments to interim financing act considered most important to Alberta farmers. Urge government pass amendments this session to meet early fall needs. We reserve right to make further study and presentation toward still more acceptable plan.

Next, a telegram from Mr. A. W. Platt, president of the farmers' union of Alberta:

Alberta farmers' union believe farmers will need cash for farm-stored grain early next fall. We do not believe that the present act with the proposed amendments is the best scheme that can be devised but it will be very helpful. We therefore urge proposed amendments be passed at this session of the house. We believe these amendments worth while and will support them.

That is more than those who purport to speak for the farmers' union will do in this house, apparently. The next is from Mr. J. E. Brownlee, president of the United Grain Growers Limited, and this telegram is dated April 1, 1957.

The directors and officers of our company believe that a substantial demand for loans on farm-stored grain will develop again this fall and we are very anxious that the Prairie Grain Producers Interim Financing Act now before parliament be passed before the close of the present session so that assistance as provided therein may be made available to applicants by September first. We believe the terms of that act substantially meet views recently expressed to you and comprise the only provisions which can now be made effective before the next crop is harvested.

Should farm organizations agree on any other plan for future years your government will no doubt give same earnest consideration.

The next one is from George W. Robertson, secretary of the Saskatchewan wheat pool, and is dated March 29. It reads as follows:

In the opinion of our board there is urgent need for an adequate method of making available cash

advances against farm stored grain in the coming year. The interim finance act is the only avenue presently available for this purpose and since this legislation expires on June 1 we would strongly urge that the proposed amendments to this act be enacted at the present session of parliament so that terms of act with increased maximum advances may be available to producers. We shall look forward to a further discussion with you at a later date on the whole question of legislation for this purpose in an effort to reach agreement more in line with previous suggestions for a permanent solution of the problem.

The next wire is from W. J. Parker, president of the Manitoba wheat pool. It is dated April 1 and reads as follows:

I consider there is positive need for policy providing cash advances against farm stored grain. I urge that the proposed amendments to interim finance act be enacted forthwith so that its terms with increased maximum provisions may be available to producers not later than September 1 next. If western farm organizations can agree on better plan for this purpose at some later date we would welcome opportunity to present such to the federal government.

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Would the minister indicate whether or not these wires are in reply to inquiries from the minister's department?

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

I could not say.

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Could the minister table the other correspondence that is related to these telegrams?

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arlhur):

If there is any other correspondence I will be glad to table it. However, I believe that these telegrams represent the views of the western farmers about this legislation. Hon. gentlemen opposite tell me that is not so, that they have better knowledge of what the western farmers want, but I take the views of the heads of the organizations that represent the western farmers and have represented the western farmers before some hon. members opposite were born.

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

Alexander Maxwell (Max) Campbell

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

Mr. Campbell:

To whom are you referring?

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arlhur):

I believe the

United Grain Growers organization goes back to 1906. I notice one or two opposite who were not very active in 1906. I was practising my profession in 1906 so I can exclude myself from that category.

It is all very well to talk vaguely about interest free loans on farm stored grain. Suppose such loans could be had for all the grain. How could the farmer pay income taxes and repay his loan and meet his current expenses. There is a great deal of nonsense talked about the advantage of letting farmers borrow all the money they like on farm stored grain without interest, but I think nothing would wreck the economy of the west faster than such a plan. It would put people everywhere heavily in debt and they would have little with which

Grain

to pay their debts and their current living expenses. Cerainly there are two sides to the question, as responsibile farm leaders recognize. As I say, no farm leader has even put forward a concrete plan along the lines that the opposition is advocating. Why? Because when they get a plan on paper they themselves see the weakness in the plan.

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

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Caslleden:

The United States farmer is in a much better position. That country has such a plan. No interest is charged on the advance if he sells his grain to the government within the first year.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

The government buys his grain and takes delivery of it. That is what we do to the extent to which we have storage available. I do not think I need to say any more. Hon. gentlemen opposite now say they are willing to accept the legislation. That is all I need at the moment and therefore I will close my remarks.

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

April 6, 1957