June 14, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I will come to that presently, as I go along. That is the position. Yesterday the hon. gentleman had the fullest opportunity to make a statement, and I am going to show how inaccurate were the statements he made at that time, whether or not intentionally I cannot say, because in the one instance it is quite clear that he knew what he was talking about, and in the next instance he left out the information that would indicate that he did know. Now let us proceed further with respect to what was

said by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yar-mouth in dealing with this problem. I am not going to deal with the remarks of the hon. member at any great length, but for the moment I would like to deal with one problem which was dealt with by the hon. gentleman. At page 3595, column 2, he said:
Let me give the house the Canadian exports for the first ten months of this crop year as they appear in the Montreal Star of last night. For the ten months, ending I presume with April, 1935

That would be only nine months.
-the exports from Canada were 113,802,184 bushels. For the corresponding ten months of 1934 they were 140,709*966, or a decrease this year of some 27,000,000 bushels.
The hon. member complained that I did not give those figures, which made it necessary for him to give them. As a matter of fact I gave the correct figures, which will be found in Hansard at page 3564, in the second column, showing that at the end of May the exports were 146,387,083 bushels. The amount exported for the corresponding period a year ago was 159,553,797 bushels, an excess over this year of only slightly more than
13.000. 000 bushels. Again at page 3594 of Thursday's Hansard the hon. member for S'helburne-Yarmouth referred to the carryover to-day as between 220,000,000 and
225.000. 000 bushels. There can be no such use of the word carryover until the end of the crop year. There is no carryover until then, and I was at great pains the other day to explain the factors that make up a carryover, because I realized that many members were not familiar with them. Apparently, however, the brief was silent in that particular; the friends of t'Hfe grain exchange had not given adequate explanation as to what constitutes the carryover. So instead of it being a carryover, properly used, the word should have been our surplus. The surplus of wheat, that is the quantity on hand at the present moment, is nearly 225,000,000 bushels. I said it was somewhere between 220,000,000 and 225,000,000 bushels, because sales are taking place every day and I did not know what might have been sold during the twenty-four hours prior to my speaking. So I said the surplus was between 220,000,000 and 225,000,000 bushels. For the sake of argument I will take the larger figure, 225,000,000 bushels, and in order that there may be no misunderstanding on that point I desire to point out further what was said by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Weir) later yesterday, as well as what was said by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth who, when referring to our carryover, spoke of it as between
220.000. 000 and 225,000,000 bushels.

Grain Board-Mr. Bennett
The hon. member for Macdonald, who had had considerable experience in conection with these matters concerning wheat and grain, and some knowledge of them, because of his desire to support the orderly, cooperative marketing of wheat on the one hand and at the same time to retain the goodwill of what is called the trade on the other hand, as indicated by his looking two ways yesterday, said, "I estimate that the carryover this year will be from 170,000,000 to 185,000,000 bushels." When this government came into power there was a carryover of 127,000,000 bushels, so that in five years, with the third largest crop in the history of the country, with the bonusing that has been going on in all the countries of the world in the manner I have indicated and with the depreciated currencies in the buying countries to which reference was made yesterday, all this violent attack takes place, if the estimate of the hon. member for Macdonald is correct, with respect to the difference between 127,000,000 bushels and 170.000,000 or
185.000. 000 bushels. If the figure be 170,000,000 bushels the increase will be 43,000,000 bushels; if it be 185,000,000 bushels of course the increase will be 57,000,000 bushels.
There are the facts. I merely take the figures used by the hon. member for Macdonald, speaking with knowledge of the operation of these matters in Manitoba, and those were the figures he gave last night. There is his statement, which you will find at page 3631 of Hansard, in which he estimated the carryover at 170,000,000 to 185,000,000 bushels. In that regard I think it very desirable that I should immediately point out to the house that the carryover of 225,000,000 bushels-* which is not the carryover as the word was used by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yar-mouth, but I am using that word in order that there may be no misunderstanding-that quantity, that surplus at this moment of
225.000. 000 bushels of wheat, is 25,000,000 bushels more than the estimated visible supply of wheat in Canada. I wonder if the true significance of that fact has dawned on the members of this house. The hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Loucks) had it in his mind last evening when he was speaking. This is what it means: If the farmers and millers have 10,000,000 bushels that means that the visible supply must be reduced by that amount, leaving 190,000,000 bushels of wheat, and there are 225,000,000 bushels held by Mr. McFarland in the form of cash wheat and futures. In other words somebody is
35.000. 000 bushels short on the Winnipeg market. That is what it means.
WThat happened last fall? I am going to recite my own experience. At three o'clock in the morning I was gotten out of bed in my
hotel in London because on the day previous there had been thrown upon the market at Winnipeg, from what source no man knows because it came into the wire houses, millions of bushels of wheat, just before the exchange closed. Someone sold one, two, three, four five million bushels of wheat short; somebody who had no wheat was offering wheat for sale, That is what was happening. What were we to do? The limit mentioned by Mr. McFarland, in his evidence before the committee, as to the amount of bushels for which he might become responsible under his credits, had been exhausted. My colleagues desired my view. I picked up the Daily Herald of London that day and read what I expected to see from the moment I received that cable, namely, that a raid had been contemplated by international dealers in this commodity, and for what purpose? Do I have to indicate the purpose when I indicate to you the present shortage? Before my message which was dispatched and which reached Ottawa at nine o'clock in cipher could be deciphered and telephoned through and the banks communicated with, there was thrown upon the market an additional quantity of wheat amounting to millions of 'bushels and the price fell six cents. Let us take the facts, Mr. Speaker. Let us realize clearly the gravity of the problem with which we are dealing. I said then what I sa.y now, that I do not propose so long as I can help it that the Dominion of Canada wheat producers shall become the play and sport of international speculators.
Let me proceed a step further. What wrecked the Bank of England; what drove the Bank of England off the gold standard?
Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver); It did not wreck the Bank of England.

Topic:   CANADIAN GRAIN BOARD
Subtopic:   PURCHASE, STORAGE AND MARKETING OF WHEAT AND OTHER GRAINS
Full View