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.
Subtopic: AMENDMENTS TO ACT EXTENDING APPLICATION, FIXING INTEREST AND INCREASING MAXIMUM