July 4, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta


In subsection (b) of
section 8 lies apparently the direction given regarding the sales policy of the board. I

Grain Board
might not have thought it necessary to mention this at all were it mot that the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston), quite rightly, stressed the importance of this particular clause and' gave his interpretation of its meaning and the intent of parliament with regard to it, and the direction conveyed by the clause to the board in respect of its sales policy. I have no desire whatever to misinterpret in any sense the gist of the hon. gentleman's remarks, nor am I competent to enter his mind to know exactly what lay behind the argument he used. But certainly I gathered this impression from his interpretation-and after all interpretations may become serious if they become part of governmental policy at a later date-that a distinct change was to be expected as a result of this clause in the policy of the board as compared with the policy which had been carried1 out by Wheat Producers Limited through the operations of Mr. McFarland, and that a policy of much greater activity in the sale of wheat and the pushing of that commodity on the markets of the world was not only anticipated but expected. I think that is putting it fairly and not in any sense misquoting the hon. gentleman. It seems to me that the clause may be interpreted in that way if it is intended to carry out the objects stated, that is, if the sole object which shall actuate the board in exercising discretion as to what it considers a reasonable price shall be that indicated in the last clause:
-with the object of promoting the sale and use of Canadian wheat in world markets.
That is a most desirable object, but if it is the only factor to be considered when the board is determining what is a reasonable price, and if the price to be received is to be governed wholly by that consideration and need have no relation either to the intrinsic value of the wheat or the cost of production, or to the effect of ito sale on the producers and on the country, then it 'becomes a serious matter. I believe that .in this clause discretion is given the board with regard to the question what shall constitute a reasonable price, and I am simply stressing at the moment my belief that any board which took this as its direction, that a reasonable price was merely to be the best price that could be obtained, .and at the same time endeavoured to make the greatest sale possible in world trade, would be falling far short of its objective. The only proper interpretation, if .the bill is to be of value, would be that the abject should be to promote the
greatest, possible sale and use of Canadian wheat in world trade consonant with a reasonable price being paid having relation to the intrinsic value of the wheat, the cost of producing that wheat and the price which the producers might thereby ultimately receive. I think that would have to be kept very firmly in mind by the board, and while the board itself has discretion in this regard; while no statement is made as to approval by order in council or any suggestion made that the government itself shall have any voice in that price, I think we can take it for granted that a government which has made itself responsible for the financing, one that has been consulted in regard to and made itself partly responsible for the initial price, will be a somewhat effective influence with the board as to the price at which the wheat will be sold. I am simply pointing out again that the purpose of the bill could be defeated and the price to the producers put down below any reasonable limits if the board had1 in mind in ' carrying out these instructions only the sale of the greatest quantity of wheat which it could sell on the world's markets.

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