March 26, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


René Jutras


Mr. Jutras:

Wait a moment; I cannot say three things at the same time. I will get to it. Since you have interrupted me I will repeat what I have said. The first suggestion offered by the farm organizations was to raise the amount. The government increased the amount. The second suggestion was to extend the time to make it coincide with the crop year, and the date was moved to September. Third, they asked to have the lowest possible rate, and the minister has left the rate to be determined by the governor in council. It is the intention of the government, I am quite sure, to try to obtain the best possible rate.
It is one thing to say you should have a very low rate, but if you get it too low then the farmers will not be able to obtain loans and the legislation will not be operative at all. There is a middle course to be followed in this regard, and I am satisfied that the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the government will strike the lowest possible interest rate they can negotiate with the banks which will still allow the legislation to be effective.
Any other scheme involving free loans or free advances through the wheat board or any other body are schemes of a permanent nature. If we discover that we must live for a few years with a huge surplus on our hands, then we will have to face up to the problem of developing some scheme of that nature or perhaps one similar to that in the United States; but that would represent a complete change in our system of marketing grain. We have always tried to dispose of our grain as fast as we could, and have endeavoured to reduce our surpluses to the minimum. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, conscious of the fact that we had a larger surplus than usual and that it was exerting an unfavourable pressure on the grain producers, proposed last year that the government pay the carrying charges on all the grain that is in surplus in the country, and this is still in operation.

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