Just a moment till I get through. I know the hon. member wants to ask something; I can see it in his eye. Just keep cool and swallow this. As I have already said, while I think I know farming fairly well, having farmed in three different sections of Saskatchewan, I would hesitate to tell any farmer how to work his land. I believe we are here to look after the financial interests of this country, and not to dictate how the mines or stores or farms should be worked. If we look after our financial interests and leave the farmer alone, giving him a square deal, he will look after himself.
We have been told that this government has done nothing to assist the farmers in the west, and that our better times have come about through the workings of Providence. I do not think that statement is true. I know the government have helped western Canada by legislation, and I wish to refer to just one thing in order to show what has been done in my own constituency. I point to the retention of the Crowsnest pass agreement, which has meant millions of dollars to the people in my constituency. We ship out of the constituency of Willow Bunch from twenty-five to thirty million bushels of wheat each year, and the retention of this Crowsnest pass agreement has meant a saving of from 5 cents to 6 cents per bushel, or an average of at least 54 cents. Multiply that out; it is only a short example in arithmetic, and you will see that each year this has meant a saving in my constituency alone of from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. And yet hon. gentlemen say this government have done nothing for the western farmers. Go to the people in my constituency and tell them that, and see what they say.
The improved condition of the country, especially in western Canada, is due, I claim, not only to Providence, but to some of the legislation to which I have referred which the government has put into effect during the past few years. But there is another factor which has helped to improve conditions. The farmers themselves of western Canada deserve some credit for the restoration of better times in Canada. I believe that the people of the Maritime provinces might do well to copy the example of the western farmers in this respect; it might help to better their condition. The farmers of western Canada faced their own problems
when they were up against hard times. By co-operative marketing, and by adopting better methods of agriculture, they have reconstructed their financial condition and rehabilitated to an amazing extent the agricultural industry. While the Canadian manufacturer has stood hat in hand asking the government for a handout, the western farmer has been helping himself. The western farmer may truly say, I think, to the manufacturing industry: We have saved ourselves by our own efforts; perhaps we may be permitted to save our manufacturing enterprises by the example we have given them in self-help and co-operative efficiency.
Let me refer for a moment to this great system of co-operation which we have formed in western Canada, known as the wheat pool. I believe the wheat pool has placed western Canada in a better financial condition and on a better footing than it has ever been in. I do not mean to say that the wheat pool has enhanced the price of wheat, that it is a monopoly that pushes up the price of wheat, but I do say this, that the wheat pool has encouraged among farmers a spirit of thrift that never existed before. Before we had the wheat pool, the farmer sold his grain in the fall, and after he had obtained his money he paid off his debts, and spent what was left; he was not content until it was gone. For two or three months in the year that made business good, collections were good, and the ordinary small business man had to hire extra help in order to handle the increased business. But immediately after the new year, the farmer would come in and ask for credit again; he would have to borrow money to see him through until the next harvest. But since the wheat pool was established, things are different. The farmer receives an initial payment in the fall when he markets his grain, and goes out and pays his debts; he has then little or nothing left over, and he saves what he has. He receives another payment later on in the spring, another in the summer, and another just before harvest. The payments are distributed over the four seasons of the year, and the result is that the farmer never gets very much money at one time, but he always has a little and he has become more thrifty, and has got on to a cash basis. The banks are not lending the same amount of money in the west that they did before, and our business men have not to carry so many farmers on their books as they did before. Conditions in western Canada are very much better than they were, due practically to the wheat pool. I repeat, it has taught thrift. Our merchants and small business men do
The Budget-Mr. Donnelly
not have to hire extra help now in the fall of the year, because business is good all the year round, instead of being exceptionally good at one time of the year and slack for the rest. This system is popular among our business men, who are loud in their praise of the wheat pool.
We have heard no objections from the other side of the House to the return of penny postage, nor to the reduction in the so-called nuisance taxes. Both of these steps seem to be in the right direction, and will help the farmer and the labouring man. They both seem to be popular throughout the country. The country seems to be well pleased with the budget as it is. Let me read a couple of telegrams which I have received from the constituency which I have the honour to represent:
Never was more proud of being a Liberal and a supporter of the Mackenzie King government than I am at the present time when I see the reduction of tariff duties on autos and general reduction of taxes. Wish there was an election to-morrow so I could speak again in the (interest of the government and yourself.
That is from one of the largest automobile handlers west of Winnipeg, not a member of parliament, but a business man. Here is another telegram-[DOT]
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL