June 9, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)

PRO

John Morrison

Progressive

Mr. JOHN MORRISON (Weyhurn):

Mr. Speaker, I intend to speak but briefly this afternoon. I realize that the House is weary of this debate, but I have a few figures which I think should be put before hon. members for their consideration. I want the House to get a true perspective of what the western farmers are really up against in selling their wheat and buying their implements.
The constituency of Weyburn, which I have the honour to represent, extends along the international boundary for sixty-six miles, and the farmers there, particularly those who live near the line, have a living demonstration every day as to the opportunities of Saskatchewan farmers compared with those of the North Dakota farmers. I am going to give a comparative statement which I think is a fair one for the three prairie provinces, for I live in central south Saskatchewan, with Manitoba to the east and Alberta to the west. I have the comparative prices of wheat in Fortuna, North Dakota, and Tribune, Saskatchewan, thirty miles apart; also the retail prices of farm implements of average size, such as I use on my own farm.
1 got the daily prices of No. 1 and No. 2 northern wheat at the elevators at Fortuna and Tribune for the months of November and December, 1921, both heavy wheat marketing months, and I find that the Dakota farmer received 71 cents a bushel more than the Saskatchewan farmer during those months for the same quality of wheat, and that he received 31 cents more for the same grade. But, Sir, No. 2 Canadian wheat makes an American No. 1 wheat. I hold in my hand a copy of the report of the grain trade of Canada for the crop year ending August 31, 1921, on page 121 of which, table 91, the monthly average cash prices of wheat, and all grains are given. Taking the average monthly prices, I find there is just 4 cents difference between the No. 1 and the No.
2 grades of wheat. No. 2 Canadian wheat requires 58 pounds of good wheat; No. 1 American also requires 58 pounds. Our farmers know that No. 2 will almost invariably catch the No. 1 grade when they take it across the line, so that, it is fair to say that the Dakota farmer got 78 cents more for the same quality of wheat.
Then I compared the prices of farm implements. In order to be accurate I went to the trouble to get the prices of Massey-Harris implements for the years 1920, 1921 and 1922, and of the McCormick-Deer-ing and International, the latter with branches on both sides of the line, the former-Massey-Harris-only in Canada. I am going to quote the comparative prices, and I am sure that the figures will surprise most hon. members and enable them to understand then why there is so much dissatisfaction with the two old parties. These booklets are marked "confidential", so I will ask hon members to be good sports and to keep faith with me. In the McCor-mick-Deering and International lists, it is stated that "these prices include sales tax." It is not so stated in the Massey-Harris lists, hut it holds good, just the same. That is another outstanding proof that the sales tax, so-called, is really a buyers' tax; the manufacturer and his salesmen pass it on to me. It is a consumers' tax, first, last, and all the time.
Like many other hon. members, I have received a number of letters and telegrams protesting against certain taxes. One phrase included in a communication I received-I could not help noticing it-was this: "I cannot take care of it; competition in other lines will kill my business." What does that mean? It means: "I cannot evade the tax." That is putting it in plain English-cannot take care of it, cannot pass it on to the other fellow. People seem to think it is quite honourable to evade their taxes and pass them on to somebody else. A man who would be very careful about paying any other debt thinks it is quite the manly thing to do to evade, if possible, his debt to the country. I think something should be done to see that every man carries his share of the taxation. If I escape my share, some other person has to carry it; there is no dodging it. We have had a real good time; We have borrowed money; pay-day is upon us-and everybody thinks the other fellow should bear a little more of the load. I can sympathize in a measure, at least, with the Finance Minister in that respect; each person thinks he himself is the goat.
Until the first of March, 1921, the price of an 8-foot binder in Saskatchewan was $286; then it v,as raised to $337. There is a difference * f one dollar between the price of the Massey-Harris binder and that of the McCormick or Deering binder. The price of a drill jumped from $261 to $303; that of a 5-foot- mower from $103 to $125; hay-rake, $67 to $71; manure spreader,
The Budget-Mr. Morrison

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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