Mr. JOHNSTON (Lake Centre):
Mr. Wilson's statement reads:
The foregoing statement with respect to the individual European importing countries has drawn attention to the various devices used to stimulate domestic wheat production and to curtail wheat imports. These devices have included increased tariff protection, exchange control, import and milling quotas, licensing of imports and import prohibitions, price support and price fixing for domestic production, and control of the grain handling and flour milling industries. In consequence of the employment of these devices in varying degree in the European importing countries, wheat production in Europe, apart from the lower Danube and Russia, increased-
Here is the important part:
-increased from an average of 936 million bushels in 1922/26 to an average of 1,265 million bushels in 1932/36. This means that during recent years the European importing countries have been producing around 330 million bushels more of their own annual requirements than they did ten to fifteen years ago. The wheat imports of these countries have correspondingly diminished by approximately 300 million bushels annually during the same period.
That is the condition to which I wanted to direct the attention of hon. members, that the countries to which Canada once sold
Soldier Settlement Act
millions of bushels of wheat have increased their own production during the last few years by approximately 300 million bushels annually. How does that affect Canada? It lessens available markets to that extent, and I suggest to the house in all seriousness that if Canada as a country is going to continue to produce wheat in large quantities we must in some way reduce our cost of producing wheat, or else we shall have to go out of the wheat picture.
I have a few suggestions to offer, Mr. Speaker, and then I am through. I suggest:
(1) Serious consideration should be given to the matter of removing all duties on the general line of farm implements.
This suggestion does not come from the committee, but I am persuaded to make it because of the action of the machinery companies in November last.
(2) Cream separators should be placed on the free list, as they were for many years.
(3) No dumping duties to apply on farm implements or cream separators.
(4) Raw materials going into the manufac-ture_ of farm implements should be made free.
(5) Restore the Crowsnest Pass rate on farm implements and see to it that the full reduction in freight charges is passed on to the farmer.
(6) Appoint an agricultural economist to check on material and labour costs going into the manufacture of farm implements, this official to furnish the Minister of Agriculture with an annual report.
I make that suggestion for this reason, that if such an official had been on the job during the period I referred to, from 1891 to 1912, I think the farmers might have looked for a material reduction in the price of farm implements.
(7) Appoint a commission to inquire into the feasibility of manufacturing farm implements in the prairie sections of Canada, where seventy per cent of the farm implements sold in Canada are purchased.
We have cheap power out there, Mr. Speaker. The city of Winnipeg is noted for its cheap power. We have almost unlimited deposits of cheap coal in the province of Saskatchewan. I think this suggestion is worth while and should be investigated thoroughly.
In conclusion, sir, I suggest that the rehabilitation of the agriculturists in this country is a pressing national problem. To this end I suggest that immediate study be given to the matter of setting up a system of insurance on a contributory basis that would enable the farmer to supply his own seed and feed requirements in times of drought or
loss of crops from other causes. Had there been such a system in operation in the prairie sections of Canada during the period 1900 to 1930 the west could have taken care of her needs in this regard. Lastly I appeal to those of our people, who are more concerned with building for a united Canada than they are in making immediate profits for themselves, to assist in stabilizing this great basic industry. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that agriculture must be stabilized if we are to have in this country a well balanced national economy.
On motion of Mr. Bouchard the debate was adjourned.
Subtopic: MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND REPORT PRESENTED APRIL 8, 1937