Mr. Cairns' seventh reason
is that Russian estimates of increased acreage have in the past not been lived up to. Mr. Cairns sums up by saying:
The inability to date_ to replace the lost animal power by machinery, the failure to provide suitable management, the very grave shortage of skilled workers, mechanics and agriculturists, and the general disorganization, all indicate that the possible results of collectivization are still very far from having been accomplished.
According to the International Institute of Agriculture, Russia's exports for 1928 were only 122,000 bushels, and practically none for 1929. Broomhall states they were 89,000,000 for 1930-31 but this is far above official statistics; many figures are stated for the purpose of gaining political advantage by way of international agreements, even as the exaggerations of the past were used for advertising purposes.
One cannot attempt to gauge the possible effect of the Russian crop, but it must be remembered that they seed about 100,000,000 acres of land on which the yield per acre has in the past varied as much as five bushels per acre, and this variation is almost equal to the world's visible supply.
Experience is now teaching us that by the proper application of trade treaties we can enlarge our markets, with t'he result that, for instance, we have this year, been able to ship to France during the past five months 7,350,000 bushels as compared with 1,821,000 bushels for the same five months of 1930. The milling companies of this country have also their part to play in the creation of new uses for wheat by way of new foods, and by advertising of such new wheat foods in the different countries of the world. And, even though the price of those foods is too high for consumption by most of the people in foreign lands, whose incomes are not great, there is, also, a restricted market for high quality products, and, in each country there are always people who are willing to pay good prices for the food they eat.
I am not of the opinion that there is any patent scheme by which the present difficulty may be overcome, but rather am I of the opinion that salesmanship will always sell a good product, and that the problem being an economic one, and production depending to a degree upon price, it will by that very fact solve itself, but we should, at the same time, hasten the solution.
In my opinion the home market is not a solution, inasmuch as it has not solved the problem for the United States, although I think we would be in a much happier position if we could sell 75 per cent of our crop
within this country and need only worry about the remaining 25 per cent, as is the case in the United States, whereas our local market only absorbs 25 per cent of what we produce.
It is stated by many that reduced production will, on the old economic law, solve the problem, but the production of a farmer cannot be controlled like the production of a factory. If you go to an individual farmer and ask him to cut his wheat acreage 25 per cent, he will at once ask you how you know that the price of wheat next fall is not going to be one dollar per bushel, and he will also ask you as to whether you may not be doing him out of 50 per cent of his profits by such a reduction. You can, however, make out a good case by stating to a farmer that if he will summer-fallow more land he will ultimately produce more bushels at a lesser cost. You may by such an argument, which is really well founded, be able to reduce the acreage.
The world is not suffering from a long period of over-production, but it is suffering from the fact that since life began man has been attempting to supply enough food for the world by growing wheat only to find that by reason of increased rainfall during the last four years as compared with the previous four years the average yield per acre was increased by two bushels per acre on a world acreage of 300,000,000 acres, and produced our present surplus of about 600,000,000 bushels. Without that increased yield per acre we would to-day be facing a shortage of wheat, and it would take very little to place us in that position again. A few inches of rain may nullify the effect of any attempt at decreased production and the lack of it may leave the world's supply of wheat exhausted.
I think the survey as given will indicate that we have a surplus of wheat on hand due to increased production in 1928, brought about by increased rainfall on 300.000,000 acres. It will also show that that surplus in Canada is rapidly being decreased and that in spite of tariffs and other barriers, our wheat is being sold in Europe as never before on a quality basis through the efforts of trade commissioners.
The situation in Russia may change at any time through the fact that their production per acre varies to an extreme degree due to the fact that they are now cultivating poor lands by way of increased acreage. The lessening of production per acre in Russia alone might decrease their crop by an amount greater than the world surplus, and a change in rainfall of one or two inches on the wheat-lands of the world would leave us with underproduction rather than over-production. In the struggle of the survival of the fittest, the
The Budget-Mr. Willis
Canadian grower is the most efficient, has the highest quality product, and can feed himself by mixed farming, and in the end will succeed.
The situation may change from a surplus to a condition of under-production at any time by variation in the amount of sunshine or rainfall which may come from the heavens during this year. Bread even at prices which have prevailed in the last few years is still the world's most. economical food and the chief commodity upon which the commerce of the world depends for life. Finally, it is well to remember that although man cannot live by bread alone, yet millions of the people of this earth are going to continue to eat bread and other products made from Canadian wheat.
I think I should be recreant to my duty if, before I sat down, I did not pay tribute to the most courteous and, in my opinion, most efficient department of the government, namely, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. May I pay tribute particularly at this time, because I got most of my figures from him, to Doctor Grindley who is in charge of the agricultural branch? May I thank at the same time the government of the day inasmuch as in regard to the wheat situation we now have a subvention of five cents a bushel? In Canada we export normally around 200,000,000 bushels annually and if one multiplies that by five cents, one finds it amounts to a gift to the Canadian wheat growers of around $10,000,000. May I also thank the present administration for the duty of twenty-five cents a bushel on corn? I have had occasion previously to discuss in the house the question of corn and barley. May I call attention to the fact that last year we imported 8,000,000 bushels of corn for purposes of feed and that we paid for that corn to Argentina and also to the United States in the neighbourhood of $6,000,000. Now we shall be able to keep their corn out and we have increased to a tremendous extent the market for Canadian barley which needs that market so badly.
May I finally pay my respects to the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Beaubien) whom I regret, is not in his seat? I do this because on two occasions the hon. member did me the honour of giving me some advice in this house. I do not belong to the Scotch nationality and I am not one of those who believe things should not be returned, so I am going, just for a moment, to give some advice to the hon. member for Provencher. I trust I shall not harm him, because he is not. in his seat and it wtould not be right if I
were to do so. But may I explain to the house the great ignorance under which I laboured when I came here? I looked up in the Parliamentary Guide the name of the hon. member for Provencher, and I found there that his party is the "National Progressive Party." When I entered the chamber first,
I looked for the hon. member for Provencher because he comes from my province. I had this idea, rightly or wrongly, on account of his being a National Progressive: I thought first, he being a nationalist, will probably sit close to the hon. member for Labelle (Mr, Bourassa) who, as I understand the matter, leads all the members of the Nationalist party in the house. Then, rightly or wrongly,
I had the further idea that as the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) leads the Progressive group in the house, this will place the hon. member for Provencher in a dilemma, but perhaps he will sit between those two hon. members. So I looked for the hon. member for Provencher when I came to the house, and by way of explaining my great ignorance, I was not able to find him in the seat which I expected he would occupy. I expected he would be in the seat now occupied by the hon. member for Battle River (Mr. Spencer), which is the only seat between the two hon. members whom I have mentioned.
I looked around for some time to find the hon. member for Provencher as a National Progressive.. Imagine my surprise when I found him sitting in the second row, right in the centre of the Liberal party! Imagine my surprise when I saw ham sitting in a seat in which normally a cabinet minister*would sit, right iii the heart of the Liberal party! Therefore it seems to me that having been disillusioned in this very abrupt manner, I should give some advice to my hon. friend. May I suggest to him that he approach the hon. member for Battle River and ask him whether he will not vacate his seat in his favour, lest in the house he be done the great injustice of being accused of being a Liberal.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL