Alfred SPEAKMAN

SPEAKMAN, Alfred

Personal Data

Party
United Farmers of Alberta
Constituency
Red Deer (Alberta)
Birth Date
August 24, 1880
Deceased Date
November 4, 1943
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Speakman
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=3cd49ad9-d55c-4fbe-b68e-e250641d1448&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
UFA
  Red Deer (Alberta)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
UFA
  Red Deer (Alberta)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
UFA
  Red Deer (Alberta)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
UFA
  Red Deer (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 237)


July 4, 1935

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I should like to make one comment on paragraph (e), emphasizing one point and perhaps enlarging on what was said by the hon. member for Camrose (Mr. Lucas). The clause which provides for certain sections coming into force only by proclamation may be looked upon as the centre around which the entire value of the bill will revolve. As I see it, the bill makes fairly adequate provision to enable the board to carry on their operations of buying the crop from the producer and marketing it. It gives them full power to bring order out of chaos, and to the degree that wheat is in their hands to prevent speculation and gambling in that commodity. I think it will

Grain Board

be realized that the entire power of the board to carry that into effect will depend upon the board handling at least a very large percentage of the wheat. This will depend wholly upon the provisions of this bill as to the fixed or initial price. In this respect I think the phraseology of the amended bill is a distinct improvement upon the original bill. As the bill was originally introduced it provided that an initial payment should be made, but under other provisions of tJhe bill it was obvious that that payment would be based upon the expectations of what the wheat might sell for in the final result. Under the previous bill that initial payment would have had to be made low enough to safeguard the board and make sure that the final proceeds would cover not only the payment made to the farmer but the costs of operation. I think this is a distinct improvement which has been brought about by sending the bill to the special committee. It makes the proper provision for the payment of what is in effect not only an initial payment but a minimum price.

May I emphasize again the point that the whole success of this bill will depend upon the minimum price being set at a point where the wheat will be delivered to the board. This price might be set so low as to make the legislation inoperative. The trade is being left perfectly at liberty to carry on exactly as it has carried on, except that the hedging support which was given in the past under the stabilization scheme will be withdrawn and the trade will be obliged to take their own risks or find someone else to hedge their futures. If the disparity between the initial payment and the market price is too great the trade will be able to carry on as at present. I believe we have present this evening representatives of the present and future governments. I am not saying who will be the future government, but I think I am safe in saying that its representatives are in the chamber at the present time. I want to impress upon the members of that government, and on the members of the present government in the interim, that there lies the crux and the centre of the power of this legislation. If the price is set high enough, the great bulk of the wheat will be sold through the board and it will not find its way into private hands and the purpose of the bill will be accomplished. Order will thus be brought out of chaos and speculation in our foodstuffs will be reduced or will disappear altogether. I do not think it is too much to say that the responsibility will rest upon that government of deciding whether or not this legislation will be operative and whether or not 92582-2701

the grain exchange will be permitted to carry on its operations. Upon that government will rest the responsibility of deciding what is going to be the final result of this policy.

I realize the error of placing any restriction upon the board and the governor in council in the setting of a minimum price. The Prime Minister outlined some of the difficulties in this connection, and I think I can see still others. It is impossible to set up legislation as a guide to what that minimum or fixed price should be. I realize that, and I realize also that the inability of parliament to make this bill effective by law places a greater responsibility upon whatever government may be called upon to exercise its discretion. I do not think that can be too thoroughly understood by the people of this country and by the producers whom this bill seeks to relieve. In the final analysis it will rest upon the government in power at that time to say whether or not this bill will serve its purpose. The producers should be in a position to know exactly who is responsible for the success or failure of this legislation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN GRAIN BOARD
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July 4, 1935

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

In subsection (b) of

section 8 lies apparently the direction given regarding the sales policy of the board. I

Grain Board

might not have thought it necessary to mention this at all were it mot that the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston), quite rightly, stressed the importance of this particular clause and' gave his interpretation of its meaning and the intent of parliament with regard to it, and the direction conveyed by the clause to the board in respect of its sales policy. I have no desire whatever to misinterpret in any sense the gist of the hon. gentleman's remarks, nor am I competent to enter his mind to know exactly what lay behind the argument he used. But certainly I gathered this impression from his interpretation-and after all interpretations may become serious if they become part of governmental policy at a later date-that a distinct change was to be expected as a result of this clause in the policy of the board as compared with the policy which had been carried1 out by Wheat Producers Limited through the operations of Mr. McFarland, and that a policy of much greater activity in the sale of wheat and the pushing of that commodity on the markets of the world was not only anticipated but expected. I think that is putting it fairly and not in any sense misquoting the hon. gentleman. It seems to me that the clause may be interpreted in that way if it is intended to carry out the objects stated, that is, if the sole object which shall actuate the board in exercising discretion as to what it considers a reasonable price shall be that indicated in the last clause:

-with the object of promoting the sale and use of Canadian wheat in world markets.

That is a most desirable object, but if it is the only factor to be considered when the board is determining what is a reasonable price, and if the price to be received is to be governed wholly by that consideration and need have no relation either to the intrinsic value of the wheat or the cost of production, or to the effect of ito sale on the producers and on the country, then it 'becomes a serious matter. I believe that .in this clause discretion is given the board with regard to the question what shall constitute a reasonable price, and I am simply stressing at the moment my belief that any board which took this as its direction, that a reasonable price was merely to be the best price that could be obtained, .and at the same time endeavoured to make the greatest sale possible in world trade, would be falling far short of its objective. The only proper interpretation, if .the bill is to be of value, would be that the abject should be to promote the

greatest, possible sale and use of Canadian wheat in world trade consonant with a reasonable price being paid having relation to the intrinsic value of the wheat, the cost of producing that wheat and the price which the producers might thereby ultimately receive. I think that would have to be kept very firmly in mind by the board, and while the board itself has discretion in this regard; while no statement is made as to approval by order in council or any suggestion made that the government itself shall have any voice in that price, I think we can take it for granted that a government which has made itself responsible for the financing, one that has been consulted in regard to and made itself partly responsible for the initial price, will be a somewhat effective influence with the board as to the price at which the wheat will be sold. I am simply pointing out again that the purpose of the bill could be defeated and the price to the producers put down below any reasonable limits if the board had1 in mind in ' carrying out these instructions only the sale of the greatest quantity of wheat which it could sell on the world's markets.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN GRAIN BOARD
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July 4, 1935

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Just one point in connection with the sales policy in disposing of that surplus. I think that the last speaker (Mr. Willis) is perfectly correct; there is no man in this house who would advocate such a foolish policy as a species of fire sale to get rid of the wheat, knowing its effect on the finances of the country and the price of the crop that is coming .on. That is why I was disturbed by the phraseology used .by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston). The average man not being acquainted personally with the hon. member might not set the same value upon his sanity and wisdom that I might, and without 'that knowledge it is almost impossible to avoid the deduction that this wheat should in effect be forced upon the market regardless of price. My reason for that fear is no't only the language used in connection with this particular item; I am bound to couple that with the suggestion that this should be looked upon as emergency legislation to carry on for one year with the right of extending it for a further year by order in council. The language would indicate that it was at least the hope if not the expectation of the hon. .member that this entire surplus would be wiped out within one or at most two years. I think it is impossible to avoid that deduction from his words. Yet I think every hon. member familiar with the situation and knowing the prospective crop which now faces us will realize that to dispose of this entire surplus in the face of world conditions and the coming crop would be a fire sale policy and absolutely destructive of wheat prices in this country.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN GRAIN BOARD
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July 2, 1935

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser). Had I voted I would have voted against the motion.

Topic:   EMPIRE TRADE AGREEMENTS
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS OF MOTION OF MR. HARRIS
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June 28, 1935

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I agree with the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) that, this year particularly, when so many new and important bills have been passed, bills that have been so extensively amended, it is difficult to know just what each bill finally contains and what the clauses mean, without having the bill as finally adopted. I am not talking about going home and spouting on the election platform, but every constituent at home has a right to ask his member of parliament what a particular bill is as finally passed. I have had numerous requests not merely for copies of bills but for an explanation of precisely what some particular bill provides, the terms of the bill, the powers embodied in it and what must be done under it. But I have not been able to give definite information; I have simply had to assure those who inquired that I should have to wait until the bill finally passed both houses of parliament, because bills are so extensively amended that you cannot tell in what form any bill will finally emerge. It is far more important this year than ever before that bills should be available in completed form to every member of parliament who wants them. Will bills be

Supply-M iscellaneous

available in the Senate in sufficient numbers to enable all members of the house to receive copies? If not, then the suggestion that copies of the bill can be obtained means little. It is practically useless if they are so limited in numiber that every member cannot receive i copy.

Topic:   PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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