January 28, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


David Bradley Neely



My hon. friend cannot understand that attitude on my part, and I quite appreciate that it is because he is not capable of taking such a non-partisan position. I wish, as I have said, to discuss this question in a non-partisan way, be-

cause it is one affecting not merely the welfare of western Canada, but every province in this great Dominion of Canada. I would like to ask my hon. friend the member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) if the prosperity of the people of western Canada is not just as vital to him and his friends as it is to the people of western Canada themselves. The prosperity of the people of the West undoubtedly means the prosperity of every province in this Dominion. If our farmers are not reaping a proper reward for their toil, then they have not the money to spend for the necessities of life and for those tools and implements by which they dig the wealth out of the soil.
Here is the situation so far as the wheat crop of this year is concerned. Up to the close of navigation over 92,000,000 bushels of wheat and over 25,000,000 bushels of oats were forwarded from the ports of Fort William and Port Arthur. That, of course, is not by any means the total wheat crop of the West. In this connection it may surprise the House to learn that while in former years under Liberal administration -I am not prepared to go the length of saying that the Liberal administration was responsible for this condition, but this condition actually existed then and this dissimilar condition exists at the present time -the port of Montreal received and handled the larger portion of our export wheat. Would you believe, Mr. Speaker, that in the year 1913, with this bumper wheat crop, nearly 100,000,000 bushels of which were forwarded from Port Arthur and Fort William before the close of navigation, the greater portion was forwarded to American and not to Canadian ports, and that American ships and American railways to-day are actually handling the bulk of the western trade? Where is the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce ' (Mr. Foster), that he has not observed this alarming state of affairs, and that our Canadian shippers, our ships and our railways are to-day handling only a small percentage of the Canadian wheat crop that is exported from this country? Of course, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce cannot be omniscient and omnipresent. He tries to be omnipresent, but that of course prevents him from being omniscient. When he tries to be present everywhere, he cannot know everything. Travelling as he has been doing during the last twelve months in all parts of the habitable globe looking for markets, although he and his friends were returned to power in 1911 on the question of refusing the greatest market
in the world, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce cannot be expected to be aware of all these facts. As I do not intend, however, to discuss this question in a partisan manner, I am going to leave my hon. friend the Minister of Trade arid Commerce at this point.
I have the figures, month by month, in regard to these shipments of wheat. I am giving you round figures. In the month of December, up to the close of navigation, there were shipped to Canadian ports just a little over 2,000,000 bushels, and to American ports over 6,000,000 bushels. In the month of November, the whole month there were shipped to Canadian ports 12,000,000 bushels and to American ports 22,000,000 bushels, and in the month of October, there were shipped to Canadian ports 15,000,000 bushels and to American ports 18,000,000 bushels. These are the figures for the handling of .the greatest wheat crop that western Canada has ever produced, and practically the same proportion holds good with regard to the handling of oats and other cereals grown in the west.
It surely ought not to be necessary for me to undertake to demonstrate that the great need of the wheat grower in the West is a market for his surplus grain. Here are the figures as to the crop of 1913. These figures show that Western Canada produced something over 209,000,000 bushels of wheat. If we take the population of Canada at 8,000,000 in round figures, 50,000,000 bushels or at the outside 60,000,000 bushels of wheat would provide for the home market. Of course, we do not use western wheat alone because some wheat is grown in the East. Great Britain can take from sixty to eighty-five or ninety million bushels of wheat. That is our export market for wheat. If we take the maximum figures, 60,000,000 bushels for Canada and 90,000,000 bushels for Great Britain, that makes 150,000,000 bushels. Will any member of the Government, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce or any gentleman representing a western province be good enough to tell this House what the Canadian farmer is going to do with that wheat surplus, which is increasing every year?

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