With the assurance of the parliamentary assistant that the figures he gave for Ontario are reasonably accurate for the country as a whole, or would indicate the approximate time taken to process applications from the rest of Canada, I will proceed. I am pleased to see that there has been some considerable speed-up in the processing
Canadian Farm Loan Act of these applications, and the parliamentary assistant is aware, I am sure, that that is a very important thing.
This is not just a question of asking an applicant to wait another 30 or 60 days before he gets his money. Very often if he is not able to obtain a loan within a reasonable length of time his opportunity to buy a particular piece of land may vanish. I know that whenever a piece of farm property that is a reasonably good "buy" comes up for sale a number of people are interested in making a purchase. If a farmer who has to obtain money from the Canadian farm loan board has to wait an undue length of time for the money, he runs the risk of losing the purchase entirely or of having the sale price of the land run up because of competition.
I was interested in the submissions made by the Interprovincial Farm Union Council and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture this year, to all the members of the House of Commons in one case and to the cabinet in the other, in so far as they dealt with the Canadian farm loan board. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Interprovincial Farm Union Council asked for a general expansion of credit in this field. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, as I read their brief, made a particularly strong representation to the cabinet that the time taken to process these applications be speeded up, and that certain other steps should be taken by the board to make loans more readily available. Their submission reads, in part, as follows:
The unanimous opinion of those of our members who have had occasion to deal with the board is that its appraisal and lending policy is unnecessarily cautious and conservative.
That is the presentation made by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to the Prime Minister of Canada and to the members of his cabinet in Ottawa on February 15, 1957. That statement, that the board in its appraisal and lending policy is unnecessarily cautious and conservative, has been made in the light of a rather decided improvement in the board's operation. The submission goes on as follows:
The result is that the young man who looks to the board as a source of credit for getting established in farming finds that the amount which is available from the board is entirely inadequate for his purpose.
We would recommend a review and liberalization of the board's appraisal practices, and legislative provision for increasing the percentage of the appraised value that may be borrowed by farmers, especially where the amount of money borrowed is moderate.
Mr. Chairman, I do not want to modify any remarks I have made as to the improvement that has taken place in the last few
Canadian Farm Loan Act months. The federation of agriculture did not, apparently, give a great deal of weight to that improvement; rather, they made a presentation along the lines of that which they made last year, complaining that the policy of the board was unnecessarily cautious and conservative. They recommended a review, and liberalization of the board's appraisal practices.
The bill that went to the committee last year received somewhat full consideration from members of that committee and, as the parliamentary assistant said himself, the work of that committee has resulted in certain improvements. I wonder if the parliamentary assistant-the minister is beside him-is prepared to have the bill which will be brought down following the adoption of this resolution sent to an appropriate committee of this house as the other one was, that is, to the banking and commerce committee or the agriculture committee, for a further review of the operations of the board, particularly in the last few months since the committee met on the other bill?
It would seem to me in the light of the recommendations of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture that there should be a review of the board's general practices. I think at this stage it would be all to the good if the bill which is to be presented to this house could once more be referred to the agriculture committee so that members of that committee would again have the chance to question the board as to its operations and, which is of equal importance, to give representatives of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and of the Interprovincial Farm Union Council an opportunity to appear before the committee and state their views as to the operation of this act. I wonder if consideration has been given to referring this bill to the committee on agriculture?