June 7, 1929 (16th Parliament, 3rd Session)

LIB

James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

Mr. Speaker, the members of the committee on agriculture have spent the major portion of their time during the last few weeks in the consideration of this matter, and they thoroughly understand all the changes which have been incorporated in this legislation. Other members of the house who have been unable to follow the proceedings of that committee may not realize to the same extent the effect of the changes brought about in this proposed legislation, but I think they can be briefly summarized under two or three headings.
The Brown royal commission sitting in the province of Saskatchewan, brought down certain recommendations making changes in the car order book. The recommendations of that commission in regard to the car order book have been taken as being the result of evidence submitted and of careful consideration given thereto. The majority of the recommendations in that regard have been accepted by the agriculture committee and lave been incorporated in this legislation.
Considerable complaint has been made with [DOT]egard to the lack of uniformity in the out-urn standards of grain from our terminal ilevators and while the inspection board set ligher standards of outturns than the standards of inspection at Winnipeg, on appeal they could not be sustained. It was thought idvisable to provide by statute that the out-:urn standard of all grades of grain from the terminal elevators should be as near the average of the grade as it was possible to obtain. Therefore, in order to give uniformity of grade in the flow of grain to Europe or the orient during any one crop season, the committee decided to adopt the recommendations made by the officers of the western pool, that the outturn standards of the grade from terminal elevators should be 75 per cent of the average of the grade and 25 per cent of the minimum of the grade.
The committee was informed by its witnesses that that outturn standard was accept-
able to the handlers of grain in Canada as being an advisable standard to incorporate in legislation.
Evidence was submitted, also to the committee as to whether or not the existing machinery for the administration of the Canada Grain Act was sufficiently powerful to deal with the ever-increasing problems which arise in the business of handling our western wheat crop. The committee felt that the recommendation made by the Brown commission to increase the number of commissioners *to five instead of three, and to locate the commissioners across the country-one at Vancouver, one at Fort William, and one at each of the three western provinces-was not the best way in which to administer this act. It. took the view that the board should be mobile, mowing from -place to place in order to study problems in the administration of the act; that in place of the commissioners being separated, as they have been in the past, the members of the board should work together. However, in order to carry out the demands and the requirements of western Canada, and to meet the complaints arising in the handling and inspection, of grain, it was felt adivisrible to place permanently an assistant commissioner at Port William, another assistant commissioner in the province of Manitoba, one in the province of Saskatchewan and another in the province of Alberta. The new board would be assisted by four assistant commissioners who, under the act, would be given powers equal to the powers of the commissioners but who would be responsible to the main 'board for their findings and their actions. The opinion wa3 expressed by the committee that the business of handling the grain crop of western Canada is large enough to justify the extension of the personnel of the board and that this being a billion dollar business only men of the very highest calibre should be in charge of the administration of the act. When one realizes the volume of business transacted, the importance of the rulings made, both as to their financial consequence and the spread of that financial consequence among
250.000 farmers, he must agree with the committee that it might be difficult to get the class of men required at the salaries being paid. The committee therefore recommends to the house that there be an increase in the salaries of these commissioners. May I say in passing, Mr. Speaker, that the men who understand the grain business are practically all in the employment either of the grain trade or of the western pool. It is not an easy matter to get the type of man required for the administration of this act unless he be

Canada Grain Act
taken from some occupation of a similar nature, and t'he committee felt that it would be quite in order that the salaries should be raised to the amounts mentioned. Indeed it was said in the committee that it would not be paying too much if the chairman of this board were to receive a salary comparable to that paid to railway presidents, as both the volume of business and the importance of the work were comparable to the duties of such a man. However, the majority ruling of the committee was that the salaries should be increased to the amounts provided in the bill.
I think that covers the views of the committee with regard to the administration of the act. Briefly, they are, that the machinery be increased and that the best men available be secured for the administration of the act.
Another matter on which I might speak briefly is the discussion which took place in the committee with regard to a vexed question for many years in western Canada, that of whether or not our grades of grain should be mixed, one with another. Evidence was submitted by some very competent and well informed witnesses that the mixing of one grade of grain with another is the most logical method of disposing of our crop. Evidence was also submitted that in the mixing of grain, our higher grades are deteriorated by putting therein lower grades which rather lower their milling value and reputation on the markets of the world. After due consideration of all the evidence submitted, and of the problems of handling our crop, the committee felt that the introduction of legislation which would have to take effect within the next sixty or ninety days, and which would disturb the handling methods now practised, would be rather a drastic change. The committee also came to the conclusion that as regards the lower or so-called commercial grades of grain, it was not shown, nor, indeed, could it be shown at the present time, that any damage or ill effects could result from the mixing of those grades. But the committee came to the conclusion that as regards the statutory grades of grain, namely, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 red spring wheat, the grades which are more or less our guiding grades, no good could be done to them by mixing any other type or grade of grain with them. In other words, the committee decided that we could not improve the top grades by mixing; that there might be logic in the argument that the lower grades could be so improved. In regard to this question the committee brought down a recommendation that the 75-25 outturn standard tc which I have referred, should come into1 effect at once, with regard to all grades of. grain; that with regard to the commercialL
grades the general practice of mixing which has been heretofore in use, be continued, but that as regards the statutory grades, the committee advised the prohibition of mixing.
As I mentioned a moment ago, I think it is only fair to those handling grain to explain that probably there will be some change necessary in the system in the terminal elevators in order to bring into effect the recommendation of the committee. It may be that an organization like the pool, which has seven terminal elevators at Fort William, will be able to handle through one of its houses all of Nos. 4, 5 and 6 grades, and mix and treat grain therein. They may devote to the the handling of Nos. 1, 2 and 3 another house where they can bin separately and keep intact the grade as it comes through Winnipeg. All people handling grain, however, are not so fortunately situated. Some line elevator companies have more than one house and can adopt a system of segregation such as I have referred to. Other line companies, however, have only one terminal elevator and arrangements will have to be made in order to segregate within the one house those grades of grain which cannot be mixed and those grades which can be mixed.
Representations were made by our chief inspector that supervision would be necessary in order to enforce the findings of the committee, and that if the recommendation were put into effect immediately, a very much larger staff would be necessary to supervise the binning and see that that the statutory grades were kept intact than would be necessary if we postponed the enforcement of the new mixing regulations for one year, during which time arrangements could be made for handling the statutory grades in separate terminals. In this case all the supervision which would be necessary would be an inspection of the care going in and to see that each of these three grades was put into its proper bin. Therefore, with regard to mixing the committee recommended that the prohibition of mixing in the statutory grades come into effect on August 1, 1930.
I do not want to delay the committee with a discussion on the minor recommendations which can take place as the sections are taken up; and wish only to refer to major recommendations of the committee. That the 75 per cent of the average and 25 per cent of the minimum of a grade passing Winnipeg, be the standard for our grain going to Europe, is most important. This, it is felt, will give a uniformity of standard in the flow of our grain and is most desirable at the beginning of the season when the price s set. I miiight observe to the house that the 'prices set on Canada's grain are largely 6et
Canada Grain Act

on the samples which are submitted at the beginning of the crop season. Prices may fluctuate if the standard of the cargoes improves, but by this method it is felt that the Liverpool corn exchange and the other corn exchanges of Europe will know more definitely what they may expect to get throughout the whole crop year. They will know that the standard they are going to get is above the minimum standard on which the grain was bought, and it is felt that confidence will be established in the European buyer by prodding that the out-turn standard shall be almost the average of the grade.
One other point which was discussed and amended is the question of section 150. Section 150 was recommended by parliament two years ago and the import of it was to give to any producer of grain the right to take his shipment to any country elevator, to put it into storage and, when he had paid his storage charges thereon, to direct that it be transported to any terminal elevator of his selection. In simple language, that was the intention of section 150. Certain difficulties arose in connection with a ticket issued under this section. The grain companies handling grain contended that they had the right to handle grain for those who had a contract to handle the grain for producers and by the use of this ticket they deprived the producer of the right of determining the destination of his grain, claiming the right that they had under a certain contract. The committee has suggested a new wording for this section which, I think the house will agree, clearly and definitely sets out that under no set of circumstances can the rights of the producer be taken away from him.
But the committee has gone further. Under the old Canada Grain Act and under subsequent changes which have been introduced by the agriculture committee and recommended to the house, certain forms of tickets were prescribed by legislation. It was also prescribed by legislation that no other form of ticket should be used. This brings up the question of how the act is to be enforced with regard to providing that in all the thousands of country elevators, no violation of 'the spirit of this section shall take place. In other words, it was, I think, clearly pointed out to the committee that the auditing of all the country elevators in the Dominion of Canada to make sure that no one of them at any time used a ticket tha>t was not in exact conformity with the act, was a task which was colossal in size and would involve a tremendous expenditure. So, inasmuch as the question had been raised that section 150 had
!Mr. Malcolm.]
been violated by the insertion of certain words on the ticket which were not prescribed in the act-

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT
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