I should like to get some assurance from the minister with respect to the Farm Improvement Loans Act. I understand that the intention is to increase the amount of the down payment and shorten the time during which the loan can be repaid. I think the minister will realize that if that is done it is going to make it very difficult indeed for the small farmer, or the man with an averagesized farm, to meet those conditions. If the intention is to try to cut down the number of loans made under the act, would it not be better to tighten up considerably the conditions under which entitlement to a loan is granted? In other words, in order to get a loan to buy a machine or to make an improvement on his farm, the farmer would have to convince the bank manager that the article was absolutely essential to the efficient operation of the farm. But once entitlement is granted I say that the terms of repayment should not be made any more onerous than they are at the present time. As the minister knows, the price of farm machinery is at a very high level today. If you are trying to buy a self-propelled combine costing $5,000, or a tractor costing three or four thousand dollars, and a substantial down payment has to be made with repayment within two years or less, it will be very hard for the small or
Consumer Credit Act
average-sized farmer to meet those conditions. Surely it would be better to tighten up the conditions under which entitlement is granted.