January 18, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert James Wood


Mr. R. J. Wood (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a brief word on this motion and on the amendment. I think the setting up of a fund as suggested by the hon. member for Meadow Lake is a very good idea, and I want to congratulate him for having proposed this motion. I think it should be borne in mind that this is a fund that has accumulated with the wheat board and is the result entirely of the efforts of the grain producers of the three prairie provinces; that this fund by which it is suggested we create scholarships would be set up on interest accumulated on securities to be bought by the board that would be appointed to look after the fund. That fund would provide scholarships for boys and girls of farmers of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, to enable them to study in the colleges of these three provinces.
Very important research work has been done in plant and cereal fields in years gone by and through that research, particularly in regard to the problem of rust, farmers in the west have saved millions of dollars. I know a young man from my constituency by the name of Leonard Shebeske who took up research work before the war and followed it up afer the war under a similar scholarship which he obtained, and through hard work he is now a professor at the Manitoba college and head of the cereal and plant research work there. If a fund such as that

suggested in this motion were set up to encourage other young farm boys and girls to follow this type of work I think it would prove to be very desirable.
Just recently we had in this house an announcement by the Minister of Trade and Commerce that we have now what is known as Selkirk 15B rust-resistant wheat available in small quantities to farmers in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan at $5 a bushel. In the Winnipeg Free Press a couple of days ago I noticed a report to the effect that there is a big demand for this same wheat across the border in the United States at $100 a bushel, and that it is not available there. This gives a little idea of the value of research work of this kind.
The losses from rust in the western prairie provinces have been very great in the past. Back in 1935 I think the losses amounted to over $30 million; but, through research, losses last year amounted to approximately $8 million. As I say, through research these losses are becoming less year by year. Now with the introduction of this Selkirk 15B rust-resistant wheat the losses will be still smaller.
I think it is commendable that a fund of this kind should be set up to permit research work on plants and cereals in the universities. In view of the fact that this money has accumulated from the grain producers of the prairie provinces, I think it is proper that it should be spent to the benefit of the grain producers of those provinces. I believe the suggestion in the amendment to divide the money among the farm unions of the prairie provinces would just create a lot of trouble.

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