June 4, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)


This is one of the most important pieces of banking legislation yet offered to the House. The one great obstacle to successful farming in Canada is lack of credit. That obstacle has been largely overcome in Europe 'by the establishment of rural credit banks, and the United States is endeavouring to overcome the difficulty in the same way. There is no reason why the farmer, in regard to his product, should not be in the same position as the manufacturer, because, in a sense, the farmer is a manufacturer. Ninety-nine per cent of the farmers are honest, and will pay their debts. Failures -among farmers are less numerous than among manufacturers. When the farmer wants a comparatively small amount of money he is up against the loan shark. Suppose a farmer who has a good deal of live stock, but is short of feed, wants to buy feed to tide him

over the spring .months. He goes to the bank for $100. As he has nothing to offer in the way of security, the bank sends him to an attorney, or a gentleman who lends money. This gentleman takes the farmer's note for $125 at the legal rate of interest, and a chattel mortgage, which is duly filed. The result is injurious to the farmer, who is not given a fair chance; many prosperous farmers have been ruined by the methods employed by loan sharks. If a farmer is out of debt and has good credit he should be able to finance his business the same as any merchant does. * If he has a surplus of wheat which is of bad grade, as many western farmers have, lie should be able to get money from the bank to buy hogs or cattle to which he can feed that stuff and make from 50 to 100 per cent on the money in a short time. The bank is secured, because it has a first lien on the property, just as it has on logs that are going through the sawmill. It is able to get all necessary information about the farmer's standing and his prospects of success. The farmer needs this legislation very badly.
The quantity of stock in the country is diminishing. Take a man who has a large *farm and a large number of stock, and who, through no fault of his, has a crop failure. At present he is either compelled to sacrifice his stock or to borrow money from a loan shaik at ruinous interest rates. Why should such a man not be able, on the security of one or more head of cattle, to borrow money from a bank so that he may be able to carry over his stock? In Kansas and other Western 'States several banks have been formed for that purpose, and they show the greatest expansion and success of any monetary institutions in the United States; in fact, they have been so successful that they are able to lend to farmers who have plenty of feed, money to buy stock, and after the feed is fed to the cattle, the banks still look after the farmers, and the latter are able to make lots of money and to get rid of the middleman in their hanking just as they are trying to get rid ol the middleman in their buying and selling. This is the most valuable banking legislation that has been brought before this House, and those who are making money drawing up chattel mortgages, and the loan sharks who are lending at fifteen per cent interest are not going to prevent this legislation from becoming law. Had I my way, I would not send this legislation to the provinces; this House can legislate on /banking without any preference to the provinces. This is good legislation

and it will enable the farmer to get rid of a great deal of stuff which is now going to waste around his farm.

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