June 23, 1972

PC

Stanley James Korchinski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Korchinski:

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I did not hear the minister's question. I threw out a challenge to him which I thought was valid. If the minister said that 20 million bushels have been sold, this does not mean that it has been sold at a higher price. Most farmers realize it has been sold at a very low price. It was given away; this is the point. The farmers know that if they hold it for another year they will obtain far more for their grain. That is why they are holding their barley at this particular moment.

I have not completed my remarks, Mr. Speaker, but I understand my time has terminated.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Roderick J. (Rod) Thomson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Rod Thomson (Battleford-Kindersley):

Mr. Speaker, I have a few comments I should like to make in respect of this bill. I assure the minister, however, that I will not take up too much time because I am as interested as he is in seeing this bill pass. This would seem an opportune time to make a few comments in respect of quotas as they apply in the country. It seems to me that often the quota arrangements are made by very able and very clever people who in many cases have never actually farmed, and who sometimes are unaware of the effect of these problems on the individual farmer. I wish to talk about terminal quotas. I think that, in general, the minister's idea is a good one. It is not reasonable to expect the railways or the elevators to handle a large proportion of the crop in a period of a few months at the end of the season, as they sometimes attempt to do. I think the minister is bringing at least some common sense into the quota system. I commend him for this. He complains sometimes that we do not give him credit for the good things he does. I wish to go on record in respect of this particular item. I believe it is an improvement.

One concern the farmers have about the terminal quotas is the fact that frequently municipalities have not built roads into their farms. Some farmers have difficulty because they cannot haul grain during the winter time because of snow or because of rain during the summer months. Sometimes the terminal quota will present a problem because some farmers are unable to deliver at the appropriate time. I would urge the minister to use some judgment in respect of the cut-off time. He has shown some indication that he will extend the barley quota if necessary.

I have another comment I wish to make concerning terminal quotas at the end of the year. I think that they should be at least near enough to the year end so that persons do not have to resort to storage if they wish to sell that grain on January 2 instead of in December. Hopefully, farmers will be in a position to pay income tax, and they have the same problem in arranging their business as does anyone else. If you must haul the grain, deliver it and then pay storage on it because of the quota which someone else has arranged for you, I suggest that this power to arrange your business is taken out of your hands. It is not reasonable that this should be so. I would ask the minister to consider setting the terminal quota not on December 10

but on December 16, 18 or 20 so as to take care of this obvious problem.

Now, I would like to speak briefly on another matter. I received a letter from a Peter Kirchgesner at Unity in connection with quotas at domestic crushing plants. I would like to say that the NDP, and I in particular, favour the rapeseed crushing industry in Saskatchewan and on the Prairies; we encourage it. I was a delegate when some of these matters were discussed with the Saskatchewan wheat pool, and I supported the industry. I would like to see more crushing plants for rapeseed. I have received complaints from individual farmers in connection with quotas on delivery to crushing plants. I have here a newsletter from Western Canadian Seed Processors at Lethbridge, stating that they do not seem to be getting enough rapeseed to satisfy their requirements. I will send it across to the minister and ask for his comments. If this is the case, I would like to know why these people cannot get enough rapeseed from the Wheat Board or from the market. Is there some financial difference from which these people would benefit, or is there some other reason?

Now, I should like to comment on the price of wheat, oats and barley under the Wheat Board. I favour the Wheat Board type of marketing, but I am a little perturbed at the low prices we are receiving for these grains. The fact of the matter is that there has been such a big movement of these grains that this might have concealed the poor price. If we had not had a reasonably high production, it would have been very apparent in the Prairies that the prices were much too low. I have been making inquiries in my constituency regarding the amount of grain left, and I have found that there is not as much on hand as the newspapers have indicated. At the moment, I am concerned about the fact that there is drought in some areas, and unless something happens to change the conditions, there will not be a big crop this year, particularly of coarse grains. In view of the quotas established this year, there may not be enough to sell. The low price for barley in particular is a cause for concern. The price of one and a half cents per pound for barley at the elevator is not very high when you consider the cost of producing the grain. I say that as a practical farmer who grows much of it. If you have a good crop, you must grow a great amount of it if you want to meet expenses, let alone make money when the price for barley is only one and a half cents per pound.

I should like to say a few words about the amendment introduced by the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar (Mr. Gleave). He stated the reasons for giving the farmers a choice, particularly with regard to rapeseed, as to whether they want to sell their grain on the open market or under the Wheat Board. Last winter I spoke to an elevator agent who told me about a farmer who had 3,000 bushels of rapeseed which at that time was priced at $2.46 on the open market. He thought he would hold it until it went up to $2.50. Something happened to the market and the price went the other way. Eventually, he sold out at $2.06. At 40 cents a bushel and with 3,000 bushels to sell, the loss amounted to $1,200. One of the advantages of the open market is that you can always lose money on it.

June 23, 1972

I must say, in defence of the open market, that it is the best way I know of keeping farmers happy with the Wheat Board. If you talk to a man who has suffered a loss on

1,000 bushels of flaxseed, rapeseed or rye, you will find that he is inclined to think the Wheat Board's method of operation is not so bad after all, despite some problems we have had with it. Any time you meet someone who has lost $1,200, you find that he does not want to tell his wife that he finally sold out at $2.06 when he could have had $2.46, and certainly he does not want to brag about this to his neighbours. My own observation is that all too often farmers tend to lose rather than gain in situations such as this.

I should like to ask the minister and the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar to leave this decision in the hands of the farmers themselves. I know that I would want farmers to decide. A mechanism could be worked out whereby they could decide, and I would be willing to leave it at that. Certainly, at present this is not a happy situation in so far as the two price system for rapeseed is concerned. Quite a few farmers in the north end of my constituency grow rapeseed, and there were times when there was a 15 cents differential between Maidstone and Lloydminster in the price they were receiving. This seems odd when there are just a few miles between the two places and yet there is such a big difference in price. We have spoken to the minister about this before and he has attempted to find a more satisfactory solution. I have just used this as an illustration to point out that we are not completely happy with some of the conditions of the pricing system on the open market. As I recall the history with regard to wheat, oats and barley, small individual shippers had been selling one load to the elevator at a loss versus a carlot price, which was one of the reasons the wheat pools and the Wheat Board were pressured into being formed in the first place. I suggest that the minister consider this problem more carefully. I appreciate the fact that he has done some studying of this matter and had others study it. Perhaps we will get some good answers from them.

I should like to make one other comment in connection with the provisions for sales emphasis. I think the changes in the Wheat Board Act were good and some of the changes in the bill are good. Previously, too much emphasis was placed on controlling the movement of grain within the country and not enough on placing that grain in a position and in a condition for markets. It is a decided improvement, although the provisions in the bill with regard to proteins were a reaction rather than action in advance, but at least they are a good reaction. The fact that there is emphasis on sales in this bill is, in my view, a good move. I think that we should pass this bill and allow the Wheat Board and those in charge of the grain trade to concern themselves more seriously with finding markets that are needed for grain producers in western Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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PC

Jack Burnett Murta

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jack Murta (Lisgar):

Mr. Speaker, I think all hon. members would be in favour of a producer plebiscite on the question of rye, flax and rapeseed coming under the Canadian Wheat Board, providing it was carried out in the manner suggested at committee stage. That is not really a contentious issue. But I would like to take issue with the amendment proposed by the NDP which calls for

Canadian Wheat Board Act

the Governor in Council to extend the application of both Parts III and IV to rye, flax seed or rapeseed "after considering the possibility of holding a plebiscite of the producers ..." We must be careful about the words "after considering." As was pointed out by the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Korchinski), the word "considering" means a great many things to many different people. An amendment such as this should not be passed at this time. When we were discussing a similar piece of legislation at committee stage, we received an indication that between eight and 12 organizations and interested groups in western Canada wanted to come to Ottawa to express their opinions on whether rapeseed should come under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board.

My third reason for opposing it is that at the present time the Wheat Board has its hands full marketing the crops that presently come under its jurisdiction. The growing of rapeseed has developed at a fantastic rate following its introduction to western Canada, and I believe that a crop such as this must be marketed in the most advanced way. I contend that our present system of marketing, in which futures can be used for selling the product and hedging can be used for purchasing the product, is the best system we know. To back up my argument I quote from the Free Press Weekly report on farming as follows:

Imports of rapeseed into Japan in 1971 totalled 407,371 metric tons, 405,895 tons of which were supplied by Canada, according to customs clearances in the annual statistical report of Japan Oil and Fat Importers and Exporters Association. Australia and the United States supplied minor quantities.

Canadian exports to Japan increased over 1970 by about 84,000 metric tons. The 1972 calendar year figures are expected to show a further large increase due to the removal of tariff restrictions on April 1,1972.

This is the present situation with respect to rapeseed. I firmly believe that to put it under the control of the Wheat Board would jeopardize our marketings of this crop. There are price discrepancies in the futures market, but sales must be the overriding consideration when we are discussing this matter. Everything depends on sales. Import countries want the advantage of hedging their purchases of rapeseed. A perfect example is the American soybean crop, to which the price of Canadian rape-seed is virtually tied. Americans market their soybean crop in a manner similar to our marketing of rapeseed. Many hon. members have said that by putting rapeseed under the control of the Wheat Board we could eliminate price fluctuations and bring about a more stable price. This may not always be the case. I believe that the law of supply and demand must be taken into consideration.

Again, I quote from the Free Press Weekly:

June rapeseed prices at Vancouver were off from April highs by almost 25 cents in mid-May, and prices for May rape at Thunder Bay were off almost 34 cents from April.

These are great price crops. The cause is to be found in a drop in our export business. As the paper pointed out:

Much of the price drop was because of a drop in export business. But failing soybean and oil prices depressed the rapeseed market, and the rape-bean price spread was widening, increasing to 86 cents ...

Background events in rape included a flurry of activity concerning changes in transportation policy by the Canadian Wheat Board ...

June 23, 1972

Canadian Wheat Board Act

A rapeseed scare in France over May threatened to have worldwide implications-

In this context, we see that putting rapeseed under the Wheat Board would not solve all our problems. It is a commodity which is traded all round the world, and it is affected by various other oil commodities.

Rye and flax seed are not so significant so far as volume is concerned, or so far as total income of western farmers is concerned, but when we talk about rapeseed we must remember that if we do anything to jeopardize our marketing of it, our traditional customers do not have to buy our rapeseed. There are other oil seed crops which they can buy such as coconuts, palm, and soybeans. When we talk about rapeseed in Canada, we must also talk about soybeans in the United States. They are the overriding factor so far as prices are concerned, and when we come to the crux of the question we are talking about the price received by the producer. Because of the volume of the American soybean crop and the manner in which the Americans market it, they have established a bench mark for oil seed prices, around which the price of rapeseed fluctuates.

Soybeans are sold on what we call a meal market, and rapeseed is sold on what we like to think is an oil market. I am optimistic that in the near future we will be producing various rapeseed varieties that will place us in favourable competition with the meal market in soybeans. When we do that, I believe that we will share an even greater percentage of the total world markets than we do now. I am saying this to stress that we must take a careful approach to ensure western producers the kind of marketing they want. We will need the most flexible kind of marketing system possible, and I contend that the one we have for rapeseed would probably give the best results. A difficult decision must be made and it should receive the consideration of commodity groups in western Canada. It is rather cfistressing that the rapeseed associations are not showing leadership on this question of marketing. When they decide where they want their industry to go then we, as Members of Parliament, can help to implement the decisions.

I think that everything that can be said was said in committee last spring. We in the Conservative party, would be in favour of a producer plebiscite run by the rapeseed association and other associations involved; if and when this comes about we will work with them to achieve their objectives.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Leg Benjamin (Regina-Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion proposed by my colleague, the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar (Mr. Gleave) and, in my usual kind, quiet manner, to make a last effort to persuade the minister and his colleagues. There should not be any argument about the acceptability of the motion. The history of the open marketing of grain from the beginning has been tragic and shameful, and I do not know how anyone can get up in this House and express support for such a 19th century system. It can in no way operate to the benefit of the grain producer because it is designed only to provide profits to the marketing end of the grain business and does nothing to protect the pro-

ducer as the pricing system has no relation to the value of the product. It does not take into account the cost of production nor the producers' need to make a living.

I was amused at the remarks of the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Murta) about the flexibility of this system. He is putting it mildly when prices can fluctuate to the extent demonstrated by his figures as well as those put forward by the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar. Surely, that is ample evidence to show that there has been a change in the stability of the price of grain now handled by the Canadian Wheat Board compared to the position before it handled the grain. Is has been demonstrated that this is a better system which operates in the interests of the grain producer, providing a measure of price stability even if the prices are inadequate.

Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to understand the reluctance of the minister and the government to accept this amendment, particularly as they originally had something of the sort in the bill. I find it difficult to understand why the minister, the government and the official opposition try to cling to the last remnants of an open-market system that has been proved to be detrimental to grain producers for so many years. I do not want to impute motives or suggest wrong intentions, but it is difficult not to be suspicious.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

Don't hold yourself back; let yourself go.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

Mr. Speaker, the minister felt that the amendment should be defeated because he has appointed a committee to look into the whole system of marketing, particularly of rapeseed. He mentioned two or three alternatives and he asked the committee to keep working. He felt that the amendment should not be accepted because the committee will be able to give the farmers more information to enable them to come to a proper decision. I fail to see how incorporating this amendment into the bill would interfere with the work of the committee or prevent it from providing more information to the producers in order to help them decide whether they want this grain or flax or rye brought under the jurisdiction of the Wheat Board. He mentioned that the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar was bringing in red herrings. I suspect this herring is redder than any, and it also smells. The hon. member for Lisgar feels that the Wheat Board-has its hands full now. Since it already handles the quotas for grain, I do not see why it could not also handle pricing.

If the arguments put forward by the minister, the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Korchinski) and the hon. member for Lisgar for not accepting this amendment are correct then it seems to me they must also come to the conclusion that it is reasonable that wheat, oats and barley should not come under the Wheat Board. This makes me even more suspicious that there are some members in the official opposition and the government who do not want an orderly marketing system for grain and who still oppose the Canadian Wheat Board. They still want grains handled under the nineteenth century system involving the open market, the grain exchange, the speculator, the parasite who lives on the backs of grain producers and does not work. The hon. member for

June 23, 1972

Lisgar confirmed my suspicions. His remarks led me to conclude that the official opposition opposes our amendment because it supports discredited policies, opposes the orderly marketing of grain and other aspects of grain handling that would be beneficial to producers.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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?

An hon. Member:

You don't believe that, do you?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

I urge the minister to change his mind and accept the motion. I know that many in his constituency who support his party want this amendment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

This speech is for home consumption.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
Permalink
NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

Members of farm organizations and farmers individually have, for decades, been asking for the proposal in this motion. It has been the dream of grain producers on the Prairies. They want control of their production. They want to control grain from the time they first plant it until they sell it. The dream of prairie grain growers who have wanted to control the marketing of grain and bring about an orderly marketing system goes back to 1935, when orderly marketing first began under the leadership of the late Right Hon. R. B. Bennett. He introduced that system as a sort of death bed repentance before the defeat of his government. Over the years it has been developed and now, in the main, has become the best method, I think, for handling our grains and for claiming a reasonable price. Surely, the minister ought to consider the experience of grain farmers under both systems. They have made up their minds and said that these three grains ought to be under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board.

I hope the minister will have second thoughts and decide that the motion is acceptable. The amendment would in no way set back or interfere with the work of those people whom he has appointed to look into this question. The amendment would allow the farmers, the grain producers themselves, to make the crucial decision. Surely, that is how it ought to be. It is useless suggesting that we ought to wait for another session, perhaps another Parliament, before bringing in an amendment like ours. After all, even the minister must know that, even if we are lucky, the Canadian Wheat Board Act will not be considered again for another three or four years. That might suit those who support the grain exchange and the so-called open marketing system, but it does not suit the grain growers. Again, I ask the minister to accept the amendment and to allow grain producers to make their own decision.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I was struggling against the temptation to speak in this debate but, after listening to the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre, was persuaded that I might make a useful though limited contribution. I was somewhat struck by what the hon. member said about the official opposition supporting discredited policies. I do not accept his contention that the policy he referred to has been discredited. You know, Mr. Speaker, it is necessary for us to show a certain amount of steadiness and consistency in this House. The party the hon. member supports has been discredited at the polls for a good many years, but members of that party keep

Canadian Wheat Board Act

coming back and, most of the time, they play a useful role. Of course, at times one wonders how useful it is.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

Thank you.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

I do not hold against them the fact that they have been discredited.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

We missed the hon. member last night.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

They have a role to play and they play it, even though they support policies which may have been discredited.

May I now speak about the amendment? I do not like the way new section 35(3) as proposed is worded. It reads in part:

The Governor in Council shall make any regulation extending the application ... after considering the possibility of holding a plebiscite of the producers in consultation with the appropriate representatives-

I would term that as a pretty weak amendment. If it had said there shall be a plebiscite, and the phrasing of such language is not beyond the ingenuity of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles), or that there shall be a plebiscite held on behalf of the producers in certain circumstances, we should have been more inclined to give consideration to supporting this amendment, if I may use the language of the hon. member who proposed it. As it is, the language is meaningless. All the governor in council must do is decide whether there is the possibility of holding a plebiscite, in consultation with certain people. I do not think that language has that precise and positive ring which would be needed if we were to support the amendment.

The other reasons for our not supporting the amendment have been eloquently articulated by my colleagues, and their reasoning, I am sure, has persuaded many hon. members to oppose the bill. Any doubts hon. members may have harboured I expect have been resolved by the hon. member for Lisgar and other hon. members.

As to the Wheat Board, I am not opposed to it. The Wheat Board, like many organizations which have been around too long, has suffered from a hardening of the arteries. It was not doing the job it ought to have done and it took some prodding and pushing to compel the Wheat Board to do what it has been doing reasonably effectively in recent months. The prodding and pushing of the Wheat Board from this side of the House has resulted in the Wheat Board showing a great deal more virility than I thought in the last few years it would display. I am still reserving my judgment in that regard.

I have given some reasons which compel me to vote against this amendment. However, there is one more. I think we should postpone doing what is suggested until we have considered other ways of helping the farmers involved, particularly those in the rapeseed industry. An inquiry is going on at present into the possibility of including the rapeseed itself as well as rapeseed products in those items for which cheaper transport rates will apply. I should not have said rapeseed; I ought to have spoken of rapeseed oil and the by-products of rapeseed. The inquiry

June 23, 1972

Canadian Wheat Board Act

is to determine whether those products are to be transported at cheaper rates.

Now, I come to the question as to how it was possible for my party a number of years ago to improve the situation of rapeseed growers in this country. I mention this because the hon. member in whose name the amendment stands gave an interesting historical dissertation about the marketing of rapeseed. One cannot disassociate the marketing from transportation. As we know, what happened was this: during the last war rapeseed oil was used, I believe, as a substitute for normal marine lubricants. In the last war, because of difficulties in transportation, certain marine lubricants were withdrawn from Canada and, so, rapeseed oil was developed for that purpose in this country. The Wheat Board-hon. members are at liberty to correct me if I am wrong-undertook to pay, I think, six cents a bushel for rapeseed and undertook to take all of that commodity that farmers during the war years could produce. When the war was over it was possible to bring to Canada again marine lubricants. Consequently, as demand fell, rapeseed was almost phased out of existence. I was interested in this matter because, in the Peace Biver part of northern Alberta as well as in northern Saskatchewan, many farmers, under strong pressure to diversify their production, had grown rapeseed and became concerned when support was withdrawn. The Liberal government of the day did nothing except sit back and allow the production of rapeseed in this country to decline to nothing at all.

A great many efforts were made by farmers in the west to get the government to act, including a very active intervention by a former Liberal member of this House from the province of Saskatchewan, Mr. Ross, who I think lived in the city of Moose Jaw. Through his intervention I became interested in the matter even before I became a member of this House. When I became a member of the Conservative party, which at that time was in power under the leadership of the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker), we persuaded the government to declare rapeseed a grain within the meaning of the Railway Act and carry the Crowsnest pass freight rates. This resulted in a substantial saving for rapeseed growers in the west and helped put rapeseed back into production.

We persuaded one farmer to take his case to the Board of Transport Commissioners as it was then constituted. As a member of the bar, I handled the case. A number of Conservative Members of Parliament were called as witnesses and gave evidence. We could not find members of other parties who were prepared to give evidence or help us at that time. The case before the Board of Transport Commissioners concerned whether rapeseed was a grain within the meaning of the Railway Act, because if so it would qualify for a cheaper freight rate to ports for overseas shipment.

We did not win the case but we made such an impression that the then government of the right hon. member for Prince Albert, with the hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings (Mr. Hees) as Minister of Transport, became interested in the matter. We ultimately succeeded in persuading the government: it took some pressure but we were able to do it. That Conservative government

listened to proposals, something that the present government obviously does not do. The government of the day was persuaded to amend the Railway Act and declare rapeseed to be a grain. As a result, rapeseed in western Canada again became a product of considerable importance. We are back in the same situation, only now the issue concerns the by-products of rapeseed-rapeseed oil, meal, and so on. The important thing today is to develop both a domestic and an overseas market. In order to do this there must be a reduction in transportation rates. That is where the situation stands.

If this government would direct its attention to the matter, and if my friends in the New Democratic Party, who have some interest, would bend their efforts to support us, the necessary legislation would be brought forward. Litigation probably will not be successful; we need a further amendment to the Railway Act to provide cheaper transportation for the by-products of rapeseed. If that is done we will have gone a long way toward solving this problem.

Rapeseed is a very important commodity in western Canada, particularly in my part of the country, in parts of northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Through the very assiduous assistance of the Department of Agriculture this crop has advanced to the stage where new strains are being developed. We have eradicated many of the problems which existed in the first stages of rapeseed production.

The minister should persuade his colleagues to introduce legislation in order to obtain cheaper freight rates for rapeseed by-products, both for domestic sale and for export. If this is done the need for amendments such as the one we are considering will probably vanish. If it is not done by this government it will be done by our government after the next election. In that expectation I shall not support this amendment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Prosper Boulanger (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Boulanger):

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Prosper Boulanger (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Boulanger):

The question is on motion No. 1 moved by the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar (Mr. Gleave). Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the said motion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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June 23, 1972