I am pleased the minister has made the correction. One of the contributing factors of limitation of the farmers' borrowing powers has 'been the debt adjustment acts of the different provinces.
Farm Loan Act
The de'bt adjustment act of the province of Manitoba, with which I am most familiar, does nob go as far as the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act. All the debt adjustment act of that province means is a postponement of the conditions; they have no power to write down. It is simply a postponement, and eveiry person who comes under the act in the province of Manitoba must put his cards on the table aDd give a true statement of his affairs. If he does not do so the debt adjustment board will not protect him. We know however that the farmers in western Canada who are not and never have been operating under a debt adjustment act at certain periods of the year want to borrow small sums of money to buy twine or other articles connected with production, and they find it impossible to borrow the small sums necessary. They cannot borrow it from the banks-and may I say I do not blame the banks. The condition is that a farmer with one hundred or two hundred acres of grain ready for the binder cannot get S30 or $40 to buy twine. But when the resolution was before the house I took the stand that the amendment to the Farm Loan Act should be complementary to the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act. I stated the impression had been created in western Canada that the Farm Loan Act of 1934 was complementary to the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, and many farmers were under the impression that if they went before a receiver and had their debts adjusted they could, go to the farm loan board and borrow the amount due after the readjustment had been made. They were further of the opinion that if they had to go before a board of review, such board having power to make a compromise despite the views of the creditors or debtors, they could use the farm loan board for purposes of consolidating their debts. The minister rather doubted that that opinion could exist. The minister distinctly said that the Farm Loan Act was going to be run along business lines and he could see no reason why the farmers in any part of the country should get the opinion that these amendments to the Farm Loan Act would be complementary to the debt adjustment act. But I have the Prime Minister with me. It is not very often, but I have him with me this time, for here is what he said in 1934 when he proposed the resolution that it is expedient to amend the Canadian Farm Loan Act:
I endeavoured to indicate to the house this afternoon in a broad and general way that this bill is complementary to the bill dealing with the adjustment of farm indebtedness.
Then further on he makes this statement:
I also indicated that the measure founded upon the resolution contemplates that additional advances to those already provided for in the provisions of the Canadian Farm Loan Act may be made, to enable a scheme of composition or arrangement to be carried into effect.
I know the Minister of Finance is a fair-minded man, except when some hon. member gets under his skin, and I do not think he could get any other impression from the words of the Prime Minister than what the farmers in western Canada got, namely, that immediately the machinery created by this parliament to make a debt compromise was available, together with this other machinery, providing 870,000,000 or $90,000,000, the farmer could go and use this other piece of machinery and consolidate his debts. I am still of opinion-I have not changed my mind at all-that if the Farm Loan Act and the debt adjustment act are going to work the benefits for the farmer that the minister and the government expect, they must work in conjunction. If they do not I doubt very much the success of these two pieces of legislation.
May I say this to the minister before taking my seat? The echoes of the Farm Loan Act and the debt adjustment act were heard throughout the country last year. In fact, politicians were going around saying that the farmers could borrow from the farm loan board at no more than five per cent interest. Now in 1935, with an election on the horizon, the minister can readily imagine what the supporters of the present government will be spreading around in the country to the farmers. They will point out that the legislation that was brought down last year was amended this year, increasing the amount available, and the minister who is a fair-minded man generally, can imagine what will be broadcast to the farmer, giving the impression much more strongly even than last year that both acts are designed to work together.
Topic: CANADIAN FARM LOAN ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO FACILITATE AND INCREASE THE EXTENSION OF CREDIT TO FARMERS