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

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have not argued in favour of a compulsory wheat hoard. I will say what I am in favour of very shortly. Indeed, I have said it already; I said it in the campaign of last fall, but I was denounced by my political foes-some of whom, by the way, now appear to be my best friends on this subject. I have no curves to take on this subject or on any other. It is suggested that I might reply to my hon. friend in the classic words of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) of

Wheat Board
yesterday; he cannot shake his gory locks at me. I am trying to show the House that it cannot possibly accept this report as a definition of the policy of this Parliament. It would land us in a quagmire. Imagine a wheat board with power to handle the whole crop and to fix the prices at which it should be sold to the miller in Alberta or in Saskatchewan; to fix the prices of grain to those people and then to say to them: "Here is a market; charge just whatever you like; we won't let any flour in; we won't let any wheat in; you have a closed market here to yourselves." That is the position we are asked to put the Wheat Board in by this resolution. And that is the position they will be put in if we adopt the motion; because if you permit the importations into these provinces then you put it out of their power to operate altogether.
Take the position of the eastern miller-[DOT] for example the miller in Montreal. The miller who is alongside the stream of grain, who has it at his door all the time, passing by, does not need to put in a stock; he can get it at any time. The miller in Montreal, though, can do that only during the period of navigation. Through that period he must stock up; he must get his grain and have his supply for production of flour later. He gets it and he protects himself by a system of hedging. Now, under the old Wheat Board and under the Board of Grain Supervisors, that situation was taken care of in this way: the Wheat Board sold to the miller the wheat-sold it first at $2.30-and allowed him to lay in a supply at that price. They also fixed the price of the flour for sale in Canada; they had to do so. You cannot fix the price to the miller and give him his market and not fix the price of selling; if you do, you give him a virtual monopoly under which he can do what he likes. So they fixed the price and said: "Within Canada you sell at that price." And what did they say with regard to selling outside of Canada? They said: "We will sell beyond Canada ourselves, and the balance over and above what we let you sell for here, over and above the margin of profit we fix, goes into the pool, is reflected in the participation certificates, and returns to the producer." That was a fair arrangement. In that way they kept the prices down fairly well to the consumer in Canada and they secured the whole benefit for the producer; it did not go to the miller. If the price went up, then the wheat pool behind was simply expanded by that amount; if the price went down, then there could at
least be no sale beyond the price or the margin of profit fixed by the Wheat Board
itself.
What is going to result if this resolution goes through?

Topic:   WHEAT MARKETING
Subtopic:   REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
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