June 14, 1977

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT

LIB

Otto Emil Lang (Minister of Transport; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board)

Liberal

Hon. Otto E. Lang (Minister of Transport) moved

that Bill C-34, to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act respecting the establishment of marketing plans and to amend the Western Grain Stabilization Act in consequence thereof, be read the third time and do pass.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Alvin Hamilton (Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain):

Mr. Speaker, last evening during second reading I said the official opposition supports Bill C-34 on the grounds that it attempts to meet what the farmers of western Canada demand, and we want to give it a chance to work.

There has been a long debate in western Canada about the respective merits of compulsory and voluntary pooling. As I said last night, the great majority of the farmers, in my judgment, supported the concept of compulsory pooling for their main crop-wheat. But they had a great reluctance to go into compulsory pooling for all crops, both the export and the domestically consumed crops.

[DOT] (UIO)

There is a growing fear in western Canada about the continual encroachment of the rights of individual farmers to control their own destinies. Even though they are promised higher returns and are given the freedom to make their own decisions, they know instinctively they are losing something which is even more valuable than money. Therefore in this particular bill in which the minister proposes to allow the commercial companies, some of which are owned privately and some of which are owned co-operatively, to set up voluntary pools to which they can invite their clients to join on a contractual basis, supported by the discipline of the permit book as far as the contract is concerned, there is also assistance by the government in supporting up to 90 per cent the financial risk of the initial payment.

As I mentioned last night there is still a gap, which is the financial risk that the private enterprise companies, which pioneered the development of the rapeseed market around the world, and the co-operative companies will have to face. This financial risk is during the selling period of the crop year. There could be a decline in prices that would cause serious

financial jeopardy to the management or the company administering the pool. There could be a slowing down of markets, which would leave these companies with large amounts of rapeseed on contract for which they would have to pay storage charges and for which they would have to pay interest if money was borrowed for the holding of that grain.

These legitimate risks of private enterprise terrify many people. As I said last night, this terror goes back to the grim experience of 1929, 1930, and 1931 when the newly founded co-operatively owned pools went bankrupt because of the amount of the initial payment. The provincial governments of the prairies made loans to them, and eventually they went bankrupt. It was the federal government, under R. B. Bennett, which stepped in and backed up those loans which saved those pools.

The fear of having lost something for which they had fought so long brought such a deep fear into the hearts and minds of these people that never since that day have they done their primary duty, which is to sell western Canadian grain. They hold licences to sell grain on the Canadian Wheat Board but they never use them. Some of us have tried for years to get them to combine the four pools-the Alberta Pool, the Saskatchewan Pool, the Manitoba Pool, and the UGG which runs across the three provinces. We tried to get them to combine their economic strength and form one export company, which they did after a great deal of debate, called EXCAN. The essential fact which faces us is that, generally speaking, Canadian grain from western Canada saves the value of our dollar because of the tremendous export from western Canada into the hungry world, as the hon. member for Yorkton-Mel-ville (Mr. Nystrom) pointed out yesterday. This is something which affects the whole country. The grain business is now facing up to this great fear.

In the last 45 years nearly all the grain produced in western Canada has been sold by four big international companies. The names are well known-Dreyfus from France, Bunge from Argentina, Continental and Cargill from the United States. These giant international selling companies sell most of the grain in the world. Each of them has approximately 10,000 agents all over the world competing with each other for markets. On the basis of cost, they do a remarkable job for the western farmer.

Having said that, it is a matter of national chagrin and shame that we do not have Canadians out selling Canadian grain. There are exceptions, of course. One of them is Charlie Schwartz, who is worthy of mention. He has fought with all his heart to sell a few million bushels of Canadian grain. However, the facts are very simple. When you are selling grain, you are in a multi-billion dollar business. Even to get

June 14, 1977

Canadian Wheat Board Act

into the poker game, one has to buy ten million bushels, which is small, and it requires assets of at least $50 million to get into the game. When I was the minister, I recommended that these four giant pools should pool their resources and get into this poker game. If you are successful, the amount of money you get per bushel is minimal. The competition at the selling end is very intense.

The fact remains that we do not have any large, successful grain companies owned by Canadians and operated in the interests of Canadian farmers, selling our grain around the world. We have no Canadian company going out and pioneering new markets because of that awful fear of 47 years ago when they went bankrupt because of the selling business. Just like an old lady's fear, they never forget. As the younger people have come up through these farm organizations, they are taught from the minute they step into these pools the horrible lesson which was learned in 1929, 1930, and 1931, that if you get into this grain selling business you can lose everything in a matter of months. Therefore this bill we are talking about is an effort to encourage Canadian companies, whether they are privately owned or co-operatively owned, to get into this business of selling grain, even if it is just one product, rapeseed.

The rapeseed crop, using a round figure of 100 million bushels at a price of $5, is a $500 million product which has to be sold. You pay the farmer the initial payment, which has to be borrowed. If the initial payment is $2, that means $200 million has to be borrowed if all that grain is pooled. Until that grain is sold to get the $200 million back, you are in debt on the initial payment, plus the interest which has accumulated during the interim period. I mention all these things because they are common knowledge in western Canada, but they are not common knowledge here in the House.

In this bill the minister has put the Canadian government and the Canadian taxpayer behind these pooling operations to the extent of 90 per cent of the initial payment. That has to be a sound approach. Otherwise I cannot see these Canadian companies going into the selling business. At least now they are protected on initial payment guarantees. On the second stage the risk is still tremendous.

Last night the minister was asked if he thought a large number of people would go into the pooling. He very carefully gave the correct answer, that he thought a large number of people wanted to, but the people who are going to administer and run these companies were the ones who would be reluctant to move in on the basis of the great fear of what happened in the past. Therefore the story I put on record last night and again today should be considered as background against which the House would be well advised to support this legislation.

This legislation tries to meet the political feelings of Western Canada among those who want an average price. It tries to help out that group by putting government support behind the initial payment, by incorporating the discipline of the contract and the permit book as an encouragement to voluntary pools to

get started and embark on the dangerous business of selling grain. I myself have a feeling that when they do get started they will make a success of it and wish to expand. I hope they will make a start upon the basis of this new incentive and go out selling Canadian wheat, barley, grain, and soybeans. If these companies pick up their courage and attack the market it may turn out to be a very successful operation.

I want to conclude by making a few comments on the speech of the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre (Mr. Benjamin).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Is it worth it?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain):

I think it is. The hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre seemed to be speaking very hysterically, but really he was expressing, in his own way, the deep fear which clutches at the hearts of so many westerners, particularly in the City of Regina, who are frightened to go out and compete, who do not want any risks to be taken by these companies, and who want a single board by compulsion, with the taxpayers supporting all the risk. That, to my mind, was the essence of his remarks. Really, he was expressing a socialist background.

Basically, what was getting to him, what was making him so irrational last night, was that he knew his friends in high places in these grain companies are terrified to go out and compete with each other in world markets. I know he made personal references to me, the worst thing he could say about me in western Canada was that I was supporting the minister in charge of the Wheat Board. A terrible thing! He knows that the worst thing an hon. member can say about another hon. member in western Canada is that he is a friend of the minister in charge of the Wheat Board. The fact is that as an opposition we recognize good legislation, legislation which is necessary not only for the immediate satisfaction of the desires of both those who want pooling and those who want cash, and it gives us an opportunity to get a Canadian company selling. Hopefully this endeavour will benefit the handling of major products, including wheat and corn. In these circumstances I take the risk of associating myself with the minister, because this is good legislation and, dash it all, if I am afraid of taking a risk by supporting good legislation, I am not serving the people as I should.

I do not know whether the legislation will work, nor does the minister or anyone else. But I think the minister has given it a good college try and made the machinery available. The challenge is now before the companies which handle rapeseed, to go out and sell. This is the only way they can hold their customers. If they go out and sell, and do their duty under the private enterprise system, they may very well be rewarded by a good return for their efforts. Above all, they will be helping not only the people of Canada but a world which needs our products.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lome Nystrom (Yorkton-Melville):

Mr. Speaker, I too want to say a few words on third reading of the bill before us today. The hon. member for Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain (Mr. Hamilton) mentioned the importance of grain and oil

June 14, 1977

seeds throughout the world. 1 cannot help but underline that too, when contributing to a debate about grain or oil seeds of any sort.

I think I said last night that Canada's contribution accounts for up to 25 per cent of the world's wheat export market-we usually range between 17 and 25 per cent of it, depending upon production in this country as well as in other parts of the world, even though we only produce 11 or 12 per cent of the world's wheat, consuming only a small part here and exporting the major part. We are, therefore, a major exporter of grain as well as of oil seeds, making them a very important factor in our economy.

I also said in the House yesterday that if it were not for grain and oil seeds, this country would already be a net importer of food; we would not be self-sufficient in the production of food for our own use, despite the vast acreage we have in Canada.

I had a chance to go over some government figures for last year and they showed that if you take away grain and oil seeds we would have a net deficit of $1.5 billion for food. If you take the figures released by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) and by the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mr. Abbott) last Friday in the food strategy paper, we find that the deficit has increased over the last few months to about $1.9 billion. We would not be able to feed ourselves in this country were it nor for grain and oil seeds. That, Mr. Speaker, is why this debate is so important. It is important in terms of our balance of trade and in terms of supporting the Canadian dollar; it is important in terms of the type of food we produce and the manner in which we utilize the land acreage we have.

I want to remind the House, and particularly members from urban Canada, that this deficit is likely to grow. If we do nothing about reversing the trend in this country by setting aside land for the production of food, fostering our agricultural economy and becoming self-sufficient in more crops, then probably around the year 2,000, as the Science Council of Canada says, even with grain and with oil seeds we in Canada will not be able to feed ourselves. That is really a sad state of affairs.

We are already drifting in this country in the matter of food and agricultural policies. This is the point we must make as often as we can, from one part of the country to the other, until we can get the majority of the people, the government and the public service, to realize the situation, and draft a food policy which will plan the industry so that it will work for the benefit of all Canadians, including the farmers who produce the food.

The hon. member for Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain mentioned the big four in terms of the world grain trade-Bunge, Dreyfus, Cargill, and Continental. He also mentioned the fact that there isn't any great Canadian trader. He said something about the economics of international grain trade-I think these are things we should talk about in this debate. I know that my philosophy is different from his when it comes to how grain should be marketed and produced. He accused the hon.

Canadian Wheat Board Act

member for Regina-Lake Centre (Mr. Benjamin) of being a socialist. I personally hope that the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre is a socialist-if he is not then he belongs to the wrong party! I am a socialist myself and that is why I believe that individual producers have more freedom if they band together to market their grain through a grains board or through a wheat board.

What freedom is there for the little guy out there producing a crop if he has to depend on the futures market or on the Winnipeg Grain Exchange? I do not consider that to be freedom. It may be freedom for some of the big guys who can afford to gamble and take their losses, but it is certainly not freedom for the ordinary person in my constituency.

In my constituency we just came through a by-election last Wednesday. The Liberal campaign was based on freedom for people, freedom for farmers to make choices, the freedom of the individual. When the results came in, the NDP received almost 50 per cent of the votes; the Conservative party did not even get 30 per cent; and the Liberal party lost its deposit.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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?

An hon. Member:

That was because Otto was out there.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

All the Conservative party got were Liberal votes-it was one free enterprise party voting for the other. It does not make much difference whether it is the Conservative party or the Liberal party that is in opposition. Maybe the only reason the Liberal party lost votes is that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Lang) went out to campaign for them while the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) stayed home. That campaign, according to both the other parties, was based on individual freedom, and the farmers in my riding responded decisively with 48.4 per cent of the vote in the by-election, voting for the government party, the NDP. In a by-election voters usually take the opportunity to protest, so I am confident in a general election this party would do a lot better.

[DOT] (mo)

That is why I put forth the argument that all grains in this country should be marketed through the sole jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board where all farmers participate, pooling their risks and profits, working and co-operating together. That is the way to help the ordinary farmer and keep him on the land.

If that is a good idea for wheat, why is it not a good idea for some of the other grains? I do not hear many Conservatives or Liberals talking about getting rid of the Wheat Board. Some start picking away at the edges of the Canadian Wheat Board. It was the Conservative party that set it up, but that was after a great deal of pressure from all kinds of groups across the prairies. At one time there was a wheat board, but it was abolished in 1922, and then a voluntary wheat pool was set up in the place of the Canadian Wheat Board. The wheat pool which was set up on a voluntary basis was established in 1923 and fell apart in 1931. I think that was good evidence that voluntary pools do not work. This country has a history of voluntary pools not working at all.

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Canadian Wheat Board Act

I should remind the hon. member for Meadow Lake (Mr. Cadieu) that in 1921, the year after the wheat board was abolished in the first place and the futures market reinstated in this country, the average price of grain went down by some 85 cents per bushel, a drop of 34 per cent over the previous year. That is the history, and we should learn from it.

On the open market the farmer is subject to the ups and downs of things he cannot control. He cannot control the climate that affects the crops in his own country or around the world, but there is one thing he can protect himself against and that is the speculators and grain traders in his own country. He can protect himself against those who gamble with the rapeseed, the flax, the rye and the other things in the open market, like dice in a casino in Las Vegas.

Why do we not market all grains through the Canadian Wheat Board in a collective sense in this country so that all farmers could reap the benefits of any windfall gains there may be and share in any losses there may be, so that there is no middle man, no speculator or grain trader making a few million dollars from the sweat on the brow of the farmer? I think all the profit from grain in this country should go back to the farmer and back to the companies that he owns, such as the wheat pools, and not to the private grains exchange. That is not free entreprise, Mr. Speaker. I think if all grains were marketed through the Wheat Board that would be real freedom.

We have heard Conservatives in this debate say, "What the NDP is talking about is taking away your freedom. Here is a voluntary pool. That is real freedom for farmers." But there are parts of that pool that are not real freedom for the farmer-he can opt into the pool but he cannot opt out. If the Conservative party were really concerned about freedom they would want to amend this bill so that the farmer could opt in or could opt out. That would be consistent. As it is, once he opts in he cannot opt out-he is stuck there for better or worse. The history of pools in this country has shown it to be for worse.

Several little pools may be set up, none with real bargaining power, and many set up by private companies-maybe Cargill is one of them-that are not interested in returning the profits to the farmer but are interested in using the profits for their own ends. Many of them are set up with that objective. There may also be people who are bootlegging outside those pools, and that is a difficult thing to control when there are small pools with some people in and some people out and it is not known who is in and who is out. It is a very complicated system, Mr. Speaker.

As the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre pointed out last night, we should stick with one side or the other. We should either be free enterprisers and do everything through the open market, or come to our senses and do everything through the grains board by expanding the Canadian Wheat Board. I am sure the majority of people in my riding would like to see it done that way. I know that a plebiscite was held four years ago and the result was a decision to market rapeseed through the Canadian Wheat Board. At that time 54

[Mr. Nystrom.J

per cent of the people voted to do this and 46 per cent voted against it. I think attitudes have changed since that time, although I know even then the people in my constituency voted overwhelmingly to market their product through the Canadian Wheat Board. I am here to represent their interest and, in my opinion, that is the best way to market grain in this country so that the profits and risks are shared by all the people involved.

Yesterday I spoke about the rapid fluctuation in the price of rapeseed in Canada over the last few years. It has gone up and down by dozens of cents per bushel from one week to the other, or one month to the other. That is because of speculation on the futures market. If rapeseed came under a grains board as wheat does, there would not be that constant fluctuation in price; there would be stability. In March or February there would be stability in pricing. The farmer would not have to be concerned about when to sell his product because the price would be relatively the same throughout the year. On the open market, however, he may get a dollar per bushel more for rapeseed in March than in October.

That is the problem my grandfather used to speak about when he was producing wheat. Before the Wheat Board was established he would take his grain to the elevator in the fall and the speculators, the grain exchange and the Richardson security people in Winnipeg, all knew there would be a great influx of wheat. So in the old free enterprise economy when there was an over-supply the price would drop, and my grandfather and his friends would get just a few cents per bushel for the wheat they hauled to the elevator by horse and wagon in the fall.

The wagons were lined up to the country elevator, with one farmer competing against the other. That was rich competition; they got 20 or 30 cents per bushel-the free enterprise system at its so-called best. It was the speculator who made the killing in those days, buying grain at a low price and selling it high later in the year. After the small farmers like my grandfather had sold their grain in the fall in order to buy clothes for their children and pay taxes, they would not have any grain to sell in the wintertime or in the spring. But the large operator would have grain for sale at three or four times the price going in the fall. And the speculator would have grain to sell and make a windfall, but not the ordinary farmer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, thanks to sanity, we have the Canadian Wheat Board which has thrown that old so-called pure free enterprise idea out the window, thank goodness. In the fall when the small farmer takes his crop to the elevator he gets the same price as if he sold it in March. There are no speculators there, with dirty hands and sticky fingers, taking money from the farmers. The small farmer has been getting initial payments for his grain and then, at the end of the crop year, his final payment. That final payment is really the difference between what he got in the beginning and what it was sold for by the Canadian Wheat Board. It represents the profit or surplus which, but for the Canadian Wheat Board, would never be his.

June 14, 1977

I argue that we should market other grains as we market wheat. That would be better for the ordinary farmer and better for the country; let us plan our economy and plan our food production. We could produce more food and, with a planned economy, prosper more. Mr. Speaker, we do not believe in a few private enterprisers, a few of the big boys, skimming off the cream. I don't care if a few of the big guys on the Winnipeg Grain Exchange go broke. I do not represent them. I represent the ordinary grain producers of my riding, and overwhelmingly they want grain marketed in an orderly manner.

The farmer wants to market his grain through the Canadian Wheat Board, or collectively, and so reap the profits of his labour. Things are tough enough as it is for the farmer. He gambles on the weather, on international markets and international prices. Why he should need to gamble on the speculators I do not know. The farmer needs guarantees. If he is unemployed, he collects no unemployment insurance; if he hurts his foot in a grain machine, he collects no workmen's compensation. The farmer has no pension. His wife works on the farm. Apart from his farm income, usually he has no other income or salary. Many of the social benefits accruing to most Canadians do not accrue to farmers. Why should we make life more uncertain for the farmer by making him market his grain on the open market? It makes no sense for this country's farmers, or for the country itself.

I now come to my final point. Some say, "Let us market grain on the open market; let us have voluntary pools. That is a free enterprise idea which will allow the farmers to exercise all kinds of initiative and freedom." Mr. Speaker, our free enterprisers want guarantees as well as freedom. They want the government to guarantee 90 per cent of the initial price. They do not mind being free enterprisers and gamblers, if there is a guarantee; they do not mind being in the ball game, if they cannot lose. Surely they are dishonest and hypocritical. That is not old fashioned free enterprise.

This scheme would make old fashioned free enterprisers roll over in their graves. The scheme is nothing but socialized or subsidized free enterprise, state-free enterprise with guarantees. But that is the game the free enterprise boys like to play. For example, a few years ago our cattlemen and ranchers said, "We want no government interference, we are free enterprisers." Then, when the bottom fell out of the cattle market, the cattlemen came running to the government with their hands out saying, "Help us."

One year the cattlemen want no government interference; the next year the story is different. When the market turned down they ran to the government, asking for subsidies. Mr. Speaker, they cannot have their cake and eat it. For these reasons I am a socialist, in the NDP. I hear the hon. member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski) chuckling. I know he is a socialist as well.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

What a joke!

Canadian Wheat Board Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

I know he really is, because he did not shed tears when that biggest enterpriser, the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner), joined the Liberal party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

I had better stop laughing. I am helping you with your speech.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

I know this bill will pass, and we shall see voluntary pooling. Probably it will be no great disaster for the ordinary farmer, because he will not participate. I know the wheat pools will not get involved; not even Cargill need be involved. Perhaps these pools will work, but my guess is they will not. They have not worked in the past and it is unlikely they will work in future. Hopefully we will learn from this lesson and, when the next generation of parliamentarians finally comes to its senses, it will do the sensible thing, make sure grain is marketed in an orderly way under the auspices of a board like the Canadian Wheat Board, so that we can plan our economy properly and decently.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Jack Burnett Murta

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jack Murta (Lisgar):

Mr. Speaker, I had not intended to participate in this debate. However, having heard the hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) presenting his viewpoint on freedom of choice, the private enterprise system and socialism, I feel impelled to enter it. I cannot let his statements go unchallenged. You know, a bright young man who entered politics immediately after leaving university and who was never associated with farming should not hold himself out as an instant expert on agriculture. His speech was full of holes and wrong statements.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

It was fluff.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Jack Burnett Murta

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Murta:

Many of his statements were totally wrong. Really, when we debate third reading of this bill we are debating, as that hon. member, and the hon. member for Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain (Mr. Hamilton) suggested, freedom of choice. We want to preserve it; obviously the NDP does not. It wants the farmers to have only one choice, the NDP's choice. The NDP presumably would make the rules for the system and farmers would be forced to obey. That is not freedom of choice.

Most farmers think the Canadian Wheat Board is doing a good job of selling. We agree. It has made some innovations since I first appeared on the political scene. In the early 1970's it encountered marketing problems. It overcame those and, under a series of innovated measures, sold to the private trade; in other words, sold wherever it could. It saw world prices were lower and stocks building up. Farmers in western Canada overwhelmingly support the Wheat Board. It serves us well at present, but may not be adequate in the 1980's. Of course, farmers are given the option of selling to the private trade for instant cash, if they want it. They have that advantage. Really, when you come down to it, that is the crux of the question; freedom of choice.

[DOT] (M50)

I have some concerns about Bill C-34 because of the fact that although the opting in provisions are there, the opting out

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June 14, 1977

Canadian Wheat Board Act

provisions are not there. Of course a pooling system would not work if people were allowed to opt in or out on a yearly basis. I am a little concerned that we may see at some point in time, ten or 15 years from now, rapeseed totally under the authority of the pooling system or totally under the Canadian Wheat Board, and 1 do not think that would be the right direction to take.

The main concern I have about the bill is that it opens the door, however slightly, to a total marketing board concept. But be that as it may, at present what we have is, in my opinion, true freedom of choice. If I want to market my grain on the open market or through the Canadian Wheat Board, 1 can do that. The hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom), if he were a farmer, could do that same thing. He could market through the Canadian Wheat Board if he so wanted. It is not going to hurt either one of us. That is the point that is missed so often by the socialists when they talk about free enterprise versus socialism, about freedom of choice being really one freedom, that is, the freedom of marketing in one particular way.

In my opinion we have the best of both worlds so far as the marketing system at present is concerned. In many respects it is better than the American marketing system. I do not think Canadians will ever get into the grains selling system that the Americans have with their three or four multinational corporations which sell grain on a world-wide basis because, frankly, we do not have the resources; it is too expensive a game for us to play. But I certainly feel that with the Wheat Board operating the way it is and having a parallel system which allows me personally, or anyone else, to sell in a different manner if we so wish, that is the kind of system that we in the House should strive to preserve with every piece of legislation we bring in because in my opinion-and I know this opinion is shared by a good many farmers across western Canada-that is the kind of system that will bring us the maximum benefit so far as grains and oil seeds which we sell in Canada are concerned.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Les Benjamin (Regina-Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

Here is another CPR farmer. He farms on CPR right of ways.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
Permalink
NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

-I want to say a few words on third reading of this bill and to tell my friend, the hon. member for Edmonton Centre (Mr. Paproski), that as a CPR man-my father was one as well-I was born, lived, and raised and saw at first hand how farmers were treated by his free enterprise system and by the CPR. I worked on a section for a few weeks one summer.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

Have you learned to speak Ukrainian?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING ESTABLISHMENT OF MARKETING PLANS
Permalink

June 14, 1977