I do not know that that
matters. The point is that we want the whole thing investigated in order to bring out the facts. Now as to the matter of overages. That has been fully dealt with by the member for Macdonald (Mr. Hen-ders), and I do not propose to say much upon the subject. I have heard it argued that the terminal elevator should get the overages because it must pay for the shortages. Now I do not know of any more convincing way to answer that argument than to say that such a contention amounts to this: Because the terminal
elevators pay for what they are caught stealing they should be allowed to get away with what they are not detected in stealing.
A great deal has been sa'id with respect to the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. Properly and honestly conducted, a grain exchange cannot be objected to. It is a legitimate place for buyers and for sellers, just as in the case of other commodities. But the Winnipeg Grain Exchange has become practically the whole channel through which our western wheat reaches the eastern miller and the buyer overseas. One rule that I believe exists with the Winnipeg Grain Exchange is objectionable. The member for Macdonald explained how the prices are fixed at country places. These prices are sent out by the North West Grain Dealers' Association each day, after having been fixed by an officer of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, and the rule to which I refer declares that any member of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange who is found paying a higher price than that authorized by its officer is doomed to expulsion from the organization.
I have had personal experience in this matter. On one occasion I sold three carloads of oats to a member of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. He signed a contract on a certain date and I had the privilege of shipping these oats later on. When I was ready to ship the oats the price had
dropped. They were loaded through the elevator of a well-known grain company and immediately these oats were shipped they wrote and asked me why I had not sold my oats to them. I replied that I had been able to get a higher price than they were willing to pay me.
I immediately got a request for all papers and documents in connection with this transaction, but I refused to comply with the request and, so far as I know, the matter was dropped. But the point I want to make is that if these people are able to penalize the man who goes out into the open competitive market and buys from the farmer at a higher price than the price authorized at Winnipeg, they will do so if they can find a way.
I now want to say a word or two with reference to the Wheat Board. Like every other public institution that Board at one stage of its existence was extremely unpopular, and at another stage it became extremely popular. I am quite sure that if I had been in the hands of fifteen committee men in my riding in the year 1919 they would have enforced my resignation from this House. I am just as sure that if my resignation had then taken place, my successor would also have been re-called last fall because the Wheat Board was not re-established. The fact of the matter is that the unpopularity of the Wheat Board was the result of the persistent and systematic agitation carried out by men who wanted to knock this Government by any means they could employ for the purpose. These men went about the country and told the' people that the participation .certificates or the "anticipation" certificates were next to valueless, and I know one man in my own neighbourhood who, as a result of Hie agitation, took his certificates home and threw them into the stove. Other men sold them in great numbers for a price not greater than twenty-one cents a bushel. Eventually these certificates were redeemed by the Wheat Board at forty-eight cents a bushel. These agitators-and some of them were paid agitators-who went through the country working up this agitation for the sole purpose of knocking the present Government, through the Wheat Board, caused a loss to the farmers which aggregated hundreds and thousands and perhaps millions of dollars. They told the farmers that this Government was their enemy, but they awakened one day to find out that their real enemy was to be found right in their own organization. The Wheat Board rendered efficient and valuable service to the farmers of Western Canada, and I have
here a testimonial which I think ought to bear some weight with the members of this House. This testimonial was given by a member of the Wheat Board, it was given by the man who is the President of the United Farmers of Alberta, Mr. H. W. Wood; it was given at a public meeting attended by some two thousand farmers and the report of the proceedings appeared in a paper which is not always friendly to the present Government, the Edmonton Bulletin. This is a verbatim report from the Edmonton Morning Bulletin:
The Canadian Wheat Board during its existence saved the Canadian farmer 50 millions of dollars and I am certain that if it continues to sell their grain along the same lines as before its abolition by the Government that it would save the farmers of this country several millions more.
The Wheat Board in the past has rendered efficient service and there is no reason why it cannot be continued along efficient operative lines providing you get the right kind of men on the Board. But let me tell you this, just as soon as you get politics and inefficiency mixed up with it then give me the open market.
Now, I want hon. members to note the significance of Mr. Woods' statement. He stated that in handling the wheat crop alone $50,000,000 was saved to the farmers of Western Canada in one year. If the same efficie'ncy and the same good results had been secured from handling all the other grain, that is, the oats, flax, barley and rye, another $50,000,000 would have been saved; that would he $100,000,000, according to the testimony of Mr. H. W. Wood, who is not politically a friend of this Government. I want to emphasize that the ordinary charges made by the Wheat Board for commission, handling, freight, storage and insurance were not less than those under ordinary conditions. So it follows that, if the statement is correct, the farmers of Western Canada this year might have been saved an equal amount, and that in other years they were deprived of this amount of money by the grain dealers.
I think it would be well for the Government to investigate the means of marketing the Western grain when the saving may be so great as $100,000,000 a year. We have got into the habit of thinking in big figures, but let us consider for one minute what $100,000,000 would do. It would pay almost the interest on the national debt; it would build 400,000 miles of rural telephone line-that is worth considering-it would build 2,000 miles of railway; it would put under cultivation 10,000,000 acres of raw prairie land; it is more money than has already been loaned by the Soldiers Settlement Board and it
would pay the duty on all the agricultural implements imported into the Dominion in a period of sixty years.
I have referred to the spread between the street and track wheat and other grain. I have talked to some of those who are of the type I referred to at the beginning of my remarks, and who want an election. They will say that there was not much spread at points on the Canadian Pacific Railway-and they are not altogether wrong in saying so-but that generally speaking the spread was greater on the Grand Trunk Pacific and at Canadian Northern points. But I have the word of the president of one of the largest grain firms in Winnipeg to the effect that both the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National handled the western grain this last year better than it had ever been handled before, considering the volume of wheat that was going out. And again I am afraid that there is a little touch of politics in this criticism. It is a curious thing that the men who are to-day damning the Canadian National system are the' men who damned the Canadian Pacific for forty years. They have at last come to the conclusion that the Canadian Pacific Railway is a pretty good institution and that the Canadian National is all wrong.
I want to urge most strongly on the Government that they investigate every phase of the marketing of wheat and other grains from the time the farmer drives his wagon on the scales at the country elevator point to the time the grain reaches Liverpool or until it is handed into the mills in Eastern Canada. I have heard more complaint about the way our grain has been handled this last year, and especially since the farmers got acquainted with the efficiency of the Wheat Board, than I have heard concerning any other phase of the economic life of Western Canada, and I feel sure that if the Government conducts a thorough investigation to find out where the abuses are, and the remedy for those abuses, it will do a greater service to the grain growers of Western Canada than any other action that this Government has taken or can take or that any Government in the past has taken. Certainly the Government will render a greater service to the farmers of these three provinces than anything that has been suggested by our friends in either Opposition party. I hope that such an investigation as was proposed by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Henders) will be proceeded with and that it will have concluded its labours in time to have the
results formulated before the next season's crop is harvested and ready for the market.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY