Ernest Edward PERLEY

PERLEY, Ernest Edward

Personal Data

National Government
Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
December 23, 1877
Deceased Date
August 16, 1948

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 530 of 531)

February 13, 1933


1 2

Department of Labour: Public works Direct reliefCity of Toronto .. $ 876,517 42 $1,144,027 83. City of Sault Ste. Marie .. 31,693 12 44,386 83City of Port Arthur .. 50,000 00 56,768 -77City of Fort William .. 107,450 00 55,868 52Town of Kenora .. 18,956 86 3,328 21Town of Fort Frances .. 33,771 60 6,058 95Town of Sioux Lookout .. 4,874 50 21,972 65Town of Dryden .. 877 20 187 81City of Winnipeg .. 1,215,745 65 1,802,389 58The above are Dominion contributions to supplement expenditures of the provinces and municipalities. Department of Public Works: 1 2Toronto .. $ 28,428 74 NilSault Ste. Marie .. 3,018 28 NilPort Arthur .. 101.024 05 NilKenora .. 2,030 83 Nil2. What was the total amount paid by the government to producers by way of premium in 1932?3. What is the total amount of the monetary gold stocks in Canada at present and how distributed?4. What is the total amount in value of goldexported to the United States since the passing of the order in council, October 19, 1931

(giving dates)?

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October 25, 1932

Mr. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Hon. members may laugh. These agreements are achievements, and possibly the greatest step in the direction of consolidating this empire than anything that has yet been accomplished. I think all will agree that the stabilization of the business of this empire will do more to rebuild the world's economic structure than anything else that can happen. In proof of that I quote from an article in a paper to which I think the opposition will not object, the Toronto Globe, which on October 15 said:

If these trade agreements do nothing more than shock the world and get it out of its somewhat fatalistic submission to depressed conditions, it will have accomplished more than any other possible agency. If they show the need of exercising industrial ingenuity and dexterity, or. as in the case of South American nations, lead to concerted action to meet the new contingencies, the benefit cannot help being far-reaching. In the meantime they have begun a new epoch in intra-Empire relations, in both unification and trade, which, it is to be hoped, means increasing helpfulness and development which the rest of the world can challenge only by adopting more liberal policies than now prevail.

In an issue of a later date the Toronto Globe says that it regrets Canada did not do what New Zealand has done, namely, pass these trade agreements promptly and without parliamentary debate.

I quote also the Winnipeg Free Press, which hon. gentlemen opposite will surely agree with me is not a great friend of this government. The Winnipeg Free Press calls these trade agreements " a definite step in the right direction." In Great Britain, parliament within a very few days of convening passed several


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

resolutions preceding the treaty and from a report in the press I notice that they are now on the second or third reading of the bill. I quote from a Canadian Press report of October 20 last:

By overwhelming majorities the House of Commons this evening passed a series of resolutions preparatory to ratifying the imperial trade agreements. . . .

The United Kingdom does not wish to stop trading with Russia, Mr. Baldwin said, but in the future Anglo-Russian trade must be on a more even balance than it has been in the past.

Crushing government majorities were recorded on the divisions on four financial resolutions which give legislative effect to tariff provisions inherent in the agreements concluded at the imperial conference. The majorities ranged between 350 and 400.

That is the businesslike way in which they are proceeding to pass these agreements at Westminster.

Right here I think I might well consider the main objections put forward by the right hon. leader of the opposition. He it was who put up the main barrage, and he made his greatest argument against the five year term of this agreement. Surely time should be the essence of this agreement as of all others, whether between individuals, governments, or nations. I claim that if the agriculturist of western Canada or any other part of this country is to avail himself of the real benefits that we believe will accrue under this agreement, he must have a chance to change his methods in order to increase his production to the point that will be necessary. It will mean an increase in the production of hogs, cattle, dairy products, lumber and many other items. This cannot be accomplished within a year or two, and I think that any term shorter than five years would be worthless. Any hon. member of this house who heard the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens), or the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Man-ion), deal with this phase of the argument put forward by the leader of the opposition must acknowledge that they answered it fully, and particularly when the Minister of Trade and Commerce pointed out that the treaty with the West Indies was for a term of ten years. But I do not ask the house to take simply the arguments presented from this side. I am going to quote an imperial authority, Sir John Simon, a Liberal member of the national government in Great Britain, who speaking in favour of the five year term in the House of Commons on October 20th is reported as follows:

Sir John Simon, speaking in the House of Commons today in the debate on the Ottawa agreements referred especially to the constitutional point taken by Sir Herbert Samuel over [Mr. E. E. Perley.l

the five-year term in the Anglo-Canadian agreement.

Sir John declared he had consulted responsible permanent officials of both the Foreign office and the Board of Trade on the question, and had been informed that the five-year terms was no innovation. The practice for trade treaties to cover a minimum period of years after which they might be terminated by either side on given notice was an accepted one.

Sir John made particular point of the Anglo-French treaty of 1860 which was concluded by Cobden and approved by Gladstone. This treaty was for ten years and the opposition then raised the objection now raised by Sir Herbert Samuel, he declared. Both Cobden and Gladstone had swept the objection aside.

What better argument could we have than that in favour of the five year term?

I wish to give some figures to the house which will I think show the importance of the five year clause. They are taken from the 1930 report of the United States statistical branch, and given in dollars the value of the 1930 exports of the first ten primary products from the United States to Great Britain:

United States Exports to Great Britain, 1930

Products- Value

Wheat $23,000,000

Wheat flour 8,500,000

Barley 5,600.000

Pig products 28,300,000

Lumber 23,500,000

Leaf tobacco 75,000,000

Lead 650,000

Zinc 300,000

Copper 20,000,000

Apples 10,300,000

That is a total of 8195,000,000 of primary products exported from the United States to Great Britain in that year. The figures do not include the exports of fish and dairy products, condensed milk, butter and cheese. If we add those to the figures I have just quoted it will be found that we are being given a preference in a market which the United States supplied to the amount of 8225,000,000 in the year 1930. Will it not then be generally agreed that it will take time for Canada to develop that market? There is this further fact. If we add the exports of wheat and beef from the Argentine, of wheat and lumber from Russia, of pig products from Poland and Denmark, the figures reach a total of some 8500,000,000, and we are being given a ipreference in that great market for our primary products-the products of the farm, of the forest and of the mine. The point I wish to make in that connection is that it would have been far better had the term of this agreement been made ten years instead of five.

I would also draw the attention of the leader of the opposition to this fact, that the strongest argument brought against the reci-

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procity pact o-f 1911 was that it was to continue for only one year. That is what defeated that pact, and we know what happened to the Liberal party on that occasion.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we come to the second objection raised by the opposition, and particularly by the leader of the opposition, namely, the possible increase in tariff. Hon. members who listened to the Minister of Trade and Commerce will agree that he answered fully the objections raised and gave good and sufficient reasons why a tariff is necessary so that we may enjoy a preference in empire markets. I draw the attention of hon. members opposite to the fact that in the Dunning budget of 1930, in order to give a preference to Great Britain, provision was made for an increase in the rates on thirty-eight items. I believe article 12 of the conference agreement, providing for the constitution of a tariff board, to adjust and settle any disputes in matters appertaining to the application of tariffs, will act as a safety valve. In my view this is a wise and just provision which will obviate any unnecessary misunderstandings as to tariff operation.

Up to the present time I do not believe any valid reasons or sound arguments have been put forward which would justify any hon. member in voting against the agreement. At this point I should like to refer briefly to the speeches of the hon. member for York-ton (Mr. McPhee) and the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher). As I have endeavoured to point out, the first named gentleman is inconsistent, because in one breath he uses the term "magnanimous agreement" and in the next the term "iniquitous agreement." He quoted certain figures to show the exportation of wheat from Canada during the years 1930 and 1931, and to those figures I now direct the attention of the house. At page 505 of Hansard the hon. member is reported as follows:

In 1930 we exported 207,000,000 bushels, and of this quantity we sent 77,000,000 bushels to Great Britain, and 129,000,000 bushels to foreign countries.

Concerning the year 1931 the hon. member said:

We find that in that year we exported 194,000,000 bushels, of which 63,000,000 bushels went to the United Kingdom and 131,000,000 bushels to foreign countries.

Had the hon. member been fair in his argument he would have said there was a possibility under this agreement of supplying Great Britain with the 131,000,000 bushels we had shipped to foreign countries. This agreement seeks to make possible the sale of that

great amount of wheat in a sheltered market under the protection afforded by this agreement.

Then the hon. member made reference to barbed wire. In my view if there is any commodity the opposition should keep clear of, it certainly is barbed wire. I hope hon. members opposite will not forget what happened to the barbed wire industry in the year 1897. At this point I should like to make a personal reference, for which I ask the special indulgence of the house. I have no doubt the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher) will bear out my statement. For many years he resided in my home town, and during that time held a responsible position in the town council. Further than that, his brother was employed for some years on what is known as the Perley farm. I am proud to say that due to the tuition he received on that farm he has since developed into one of the best farmers in the constituency from which my hon. friend comes. I venture to say that the hon. member knows my farm almost as well as I know it. On that place there are about thirty miles of barbed wire fencing. The fences consist of cedar posts with four strands of barbed wire. In other words there is one strand of wire 120 miles long. Twelve miles of that was built in the year 1896, the year the Liberal party came into power on its policy of free trade. Binder twine, barbed wire and coal oil were the three items mostly under discussion in western Canada. Before the Liberal party took office there was a high tariff against barbed wire, and it cost S2.90 per spool of eighty rod. The remainder of the fence was built when barbed wire was placed on the free list. Under that policy within two years the price of that commodity had doubled in price, and I know whereof I speak. That is a concrete example of how free trade actually operates. Many hon. members know what happened to coal oil and binder twine.

Probably I should give another concrete example. In the year 1918 and 1919 when the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen was leader of the government, to stimulate an increased production in western Canada tractors were placed on the free list. At that time there were twenty-two concerns in Canada manufacturing tractors or parts thereof. We know what has happened. Tractors were placed on the free list with the result that today with the exception of the small machine built by Ford, there is not a single tractor concern manufacturing in Canada. That is what happened the tractor industry under a policy of free trade.


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

I claim that the trade agreements constitute the foundation of imperial preferential trade. The Prime Minister put it well when he referred to the vision of Macdonald and Laurier. But, sir, it took the courage and vision, (he businesslike and statesmanlike ability of our Prime Minister, to put the preferential policy into force. Hon. members may call it bargaining if they wish, but certainly it is not one of conciliatory approach. That is the policy of the right hon. leader of the opposition. I well remember that in 1931, during the debate on the address in reply, the hon. member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine) asked the right hon. leader of the opposition what his method of approach would have been had he attended the conference of 1930. The right hon. gentleman replied that he would have made a conciliatory approach. We know the Liberal party under its present leader has always had its eyes turned toward Washington, and never more so than in the years 1927, 1928 and 1929. In 1930, in desperation the Dunning budget was introduced, by which one eye was turned towards London, the other remaining on Washington. They did give some preferences to Great Britain, namely on cut flowers and cast iron pipe.

I should like to go back a little further and place on Hansard a quotation to indicate the policy of the party opposite, and to show that not only has their policy been conciliatory, but, when dealing with tariff matters, it has been one of fear. I will quote from the speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition when he was Prime Minister in 1929, speaking on the budget. This can be found on pages 1403-4 of Hansard of that year:

I say that with the knowledge which we have before us at the present time, were ire to do what hon. gentlemen opposite by their amendment apparently wish us to do, namely raise the tariff, we would be creating in the minds of the American people the very sentiment which would cause them to raise their tariff higher perhaps than it was ever their intention to raise it. We do not intend to take any action of that provocative character.

May I say to my hon. friends opposite, in the other corner of the house, that were we today to take a step along the lines of increasing the British preference to a greater degree than exists at the present time that step also might be misconstrued, for we know that there are people on the other side of the line who are just as anxious to be trouble-makers as certain people on this side of the line.

That is a policy of do nothing. He is appealing to those south of the boundary, and also wants to make some slight appeal to the British. But it is within the memory of hon. gentlemen here that the Hawley-Smoot tariff came into effect shortly afterwards, which

[Mr. E. E. Perlpv i

closed the gates-the term he used the other day-closed the gates completely to the importation of our primary products into their market.

I could quote figures, sir, at considerable length to show how our trade with the United States under the Hawley-Smoot tariff decreased in 1928, 1929, and particularly in 1930, 1931 and 1932, right to the present time, owing to the tariff that closed the markets to us. Now we have the policies of the two parties, and I am going to propound to hon. members of the opposition and to the country a question which I think a reasonable one: Which do you think is the safest man to guide the affairs of Canada, one who approaches great questions with cringing and fawning and fear, or one who, like our Prime Minister, has the courage of his convictions and comes with a businesslike and sound proposition to lay before a conference, such as the proposition which formed the basis of these agreements? Which do you think is the safer man? There is only one reply. I will ask another question: Which do you think would command the greatest respect from the delegates assembled around this table in July 'last? Again there is only one answer.

Every part of Canada is anxious that we get down to business and pass these agreements. We want to get into the market in which we have the preference with our wheat, our flour, our cattle, bacon, ham, butter, cheese and many other items.

I would refer briefly to wheat, which is so important to the majority of farmers in western Canada. Many of the speakers opposite would have it thought that we expect an immediate increase in price. That is not the case; no one ever suggested that. What we do expect is a market for our wheat, a sheltered market, in which to sell in the neighbourhood of 150,000,000 bushels more than we are now selling annually. We admit, and it is recognized the world over, that supply and demand will always regulate prices; they have in the past and always will. But what we do expect is a market for more of our product. The opposition have argued that these preferences are useless. I would like to propound to them a question: What would they say if Great Britain should give Russia a preference of six cents a bushel, and place an embargo against our product? What would they say if she should give Denmark a preference on butter and bacon? What would they say if she gave Norway and Russia a ten per cent preference on lumber? We know what they would say; we know the howl that would go up. What dops this

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preference mean to the average farmer in Saskatchewan who produces say 5,000 bushels of wheat. It means that when that wheat is delivered at Liverpool, c.i.f., he would have an advantage of $300 over wheat from Russia or any other country. If that $300 is absorbed by a dumping process, then Great Britain has agreed to put in force an embargo against the dumping country. That possibility of an embargo, I claim, is the main strength of these agreements.

If I had time I could refer to bacon and ham and dairy products. The possible increase in hogs alone in western Canada is important. If, for instance, 300,000 farmers in the west increase their hog production by only ten each, it would mean a possible increase of 3,000,000 hogs, and that would be our quota. I want to make this point clear. We in western Canada-I know whereof I speak, and I think the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher) will bear me out-can market our coarse grains and wheat in the form of hogs and steers and average sixty cents a bushel if we can obtain five cents a pound on the hoof for the hog or the steer. That is what we want.

My time is short; I cannot deal at length with these items, but I want to say that the removal of the cattle embargo is a wonderful thing for the ranchers in western Canada, and to the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) we must give the credit for that. We know that in 1930 we exported in the neighbourhood of 30,000 head, within a year after he came into office. I would ask the hon. ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) how many were exported in 1928 and 1929 when he was in office? Not one.

I was going to dwell a little on what we have offered Great Britain, but I shall not take time for that. Let me say, however, that these agreements may be the means of causing the farmers in western Canada to change their system of agriculture. They may lead to smaller farms and intensified farming, which will be a good thing, tending to more stable husbandry and happier and more contented homes.

I will only refer briefly to the possibilities of diversion of trade from the United States to Great Britain, amounting to some $50,000,000. The Prime Minister referred to that, and we know it would be a tremendously good thing. These agreements work to the interest of the producer. The Prime Minister and his associates went to this imperial conference well prepared, and I think the results reflect great credit upon them. We have reason to be proud of the Canadian delegates, and of the

experts and statisticians who assisted the work of the conference. We cannot estimate the benefits that may accrue to every man. woman and child through the trade which will take place under these agreements, which were drawn up on the basis of mutual consideration by those delegates who assembled here while the empire was facing a crisis which, while not quite similar to that of 1914, was nevertheless extremely serious. Here in Ottawa, under the shadow of the peace tower, those serious minded delegates, representing one quarter of the world's population and area, gathered around a conference table and decided to take this step in an endeavour to save the empire.

I had intended to speak for a few moments on the currency problem, but I will not take up that question beyond saying that it is a problem with which all countries are wrestling today. Many policies have been suggested; some of them are very good, especially those which would stabilize the pound and the dollar, yet I think we must agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to be weighed before any serious step can be taken.

In conclusion let me say that the farmers of Saskatchewan, who for the last two or three years have been passing through trials, hardships and privations which they will not soon forget, want us in this House of Commons to stop-I was going to say this claptrap, but since I criticized an hon. member opposite for using a similar term I will not do so-this debate and get down to business. Let us give the farmers of western Canada a chance. I venture to say they are not downhearted, and I am sure they will continue to show the courage and fortitude that has stood them in good stead in the past, and will endeavour to play their part in building a bigger and better Canada and a bigger and better empire.

Mr. ST-PERE (Hochelaga) (Translation): Mr. Speaker-

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October 25, 1932

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, I would think it is quite apparent to the members of the house, and no doubt to the Canadian people, that we have had almost enough discussion on the resolution introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to approve the trade agreement between Canada and Great Britain. I would not venture to enter the debate at this time were it not for the fact that certain hon. members opposite, and particularly some from the province of Saskatchewan, have endeavoured to make it appear that nothing good can come out of these agreements for the Canadian people or even for the producers of western Canada. I feel it my duty, having the honour to represent in this house a rural constituency in Saskatchewan, to say that before coming to Ottawa I made a pretty thorough canvass of my riding, and I did not find a single businessman or producer who was not anxious that as soon as possible after parliament met, we should pass these agreements and see if we could get increased markets for our products.

I have noted with surprise the inconsistencies of the speakers opposite. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) referred to this last night. It has been a surprise to me to observe some hon. gentlemen opposite contradicting themselves, even in their own speeches, and to listen to some making statements the direct opposite of those made by their colleagues. To demonstrate this it is only necessary for me to refer briefly to the speech of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and to that made by his colleague, the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret). The leader of the opposition laboured hard and long to prove that Canada had coerced the mother country into these agreements, while the hon. member for St. James took strong objection that Great Britain had coerced Canada into these agreements and that we were being dictated to by an external government, such dictation, as he said, being wrong.

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The leader of the opposition, in his three and a half hour speech, I think proved conclusively that our leader is a great statesman and a great force in the empire today. In that speech the leader of the opposition, I consider, eulogized the Prime Minister when he said that my leader had dominated the conference of 1930; that he had dominated the conference in Ottawa in 1932, coercing Great Britain, forcing them to change their tariff policy, and dictating the tariff policies of other dominions. No greater compliment could be paid from the other side of the house to our Prime Minister. In fact, he placed the Prime Minister on a pedestal as being a great statesman and a leader. Surely then, we have reason to believe the statement made by Sir Cunliffe Lister in the city of Regina, when I had the honour and pleasure of listening to him address a joint meeting of the Canadian Club and the board of trade, and when he said that credit for the success of the conference must be given to the Prime Minister of Canada; for it was his vision in 1930, his vision again in 1932, in placing concrete propositions before the conference, that formed the basis of the agreement. We have also the statements of leading British statesmen such as Lord Hailsham and Lord Rothermere; and another leading statesman in Great Britain said that at last the empire had found a statesman. Let us briefly compare all the statements of these British statesmen and the leader of the opposition with that made by the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell) when he referred in his speech to the present Minister of Agriculture. He desired to express sympathy for him because he said that his associates around the council chamber were a lot of ignoramuses who do not know any more about agriculture than a sucking turkey. The hon. gentleman must have forgotten for the moment just where he was. He must have been thinking he was back on his farm in Saskatchewan, possibly in the hog pen or the poultry yard. I am sure none of the members on this side of the house understand what a sucking turkey is, but evidently it is a species produced by him while he was minister of agriculture. He need rot waste his sympathy on the present Minister of Agriculture, because the latter, in the two short years during which he has held that office, has done more for agriculture, has initiated greater improvements in agricultural matters, than the hon. gentleman opposite has done in almost a lifetime. Further, I take exception to any reference to any hon. member, and particularly a member

of the cabinet, as being an ignoramus. Such expressions are not becoming the dignity of the house. I have gone through the speech of the hon. member for Melville, and in the forty minutes he took, some of the terms he used are as follows: "political mummies,"

" taradiddle," " same old humbug," " ignoramus, " sucking turkey," " flim-flam," " warbling of Prime Minister," "nonsensical political trick." These terms were all used in his forty-minute speech, and one can well see why his leader, having a policy of Senate reform, did not designate him to that dignified chamber.

It is expected in the country generally and by the government that the administration will receive just and reasonable criticism from the opposition, but during this whole debate we have not heard a single constructive idea or suggestion from the official opposition.

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May 13, 1932

Mr. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Representing a portion of the province of Saskatchewan that is particularly adapted to agriculture, I think it well that I should make a few observations in a general way. In looking over the estimates of the Department of Agriculture I notice that material reductions are made in connection with almost every item, but I hope that the items which assist in the marketing of agricultural products will not suffer to the same extent. Already there has been a good deal of discussion with regard to these estimates, and I think it quite plain from what has been said by hon. gentlemen apposite that the late government had no constructive agricultural policy. Now hon. gentlemen opposite expect the present ministry in one year to do more to put agriculture on a firm basis than they did during the nine years they were in power. In my opinion the experiences through which the farmers have passed during the last three years will be the means of encouraging them to go into diversified farming. For a number of years we have been endeavouring to encourage them to do so, and if they do go in for mixed farming I believe that as far as quantity and quality go there are unlimited possibilities.

This evening the hon. member for Macdonald made a very interesting statement with regard to the quality and quantity of the products of western farmers. I had intended to give some figures, but I think the figures given by the hon. member will serve the purpose. If the farmers of the southern half of Saskatchewan-and I speak particularly with respect to that province-would go into mixed farming there is practically no limit to the quantity they could produce. With regard to quality, I think we have


sufficient evidence to prove that when the farmers of western Canada pay particular attention to any product, certainly they can produce a good quality. I need only refer to the fact that when those who have stock farms in western Canada exhibit their products at the royal winter fair in Toronto, they generally take a number of prizes.

The hon. member for Bow River gave a number of figures showing a comparison of the prices and values of farm products. He put on record the receipts from field crops in Canada during the years 1928 to 1931. To compare the amount received for the crop of 1928, when we had the largest cereal crop we have ever had in Canada, and when the average price for the whole year was almost the highest we have known, with the amount received for the crop of 1930, when there was a crop failure in a large part of the western provinces and the price was considerably reduced, does not assist in arriving at any real conclusion. The hon. member also spoke of the cost of production. Without going into details I only wish to say that from practical experience I know the cost of production will be a great deal less this year. If we have a fair crop in western Canada, with the present cost of labour and of many articles which the farmer has to buy, I believe the farmer will make more with wheat at 70 cents a bushel than he made in 1929, when the cost of labour and of everything else was considerably higher.

There has been a good deal of discussion with regard to the proposed marketing board. This afternoon I was delighted to hear the ex-Minister of Agriculture commend the creation of this board, and I think the hon. gentleman paid a very great compliment to the present Minister of Agriculture. The hon. member for Melville, seems to have changed in the last few days. When a member of parliament comes to a mature age I have noticed that he either becomes a very ardent partisan or takes the broader view and listens more readily to the. opinions of others, and I was very pleased to note that the ex-Minister of Agriculture is following the latter course. I think a marketing board should be formed. We need it at the present time. There is no use going into details, quoting figures to show the position of agriculture today, I think it is recognized by everyone that something must be done and done in the near future. WTe are faced with a grave crisis, with realities that must be met at once. A marketing board could do very much by way of making investigation and making a real survey, studying the whole question of market-

[Mr. E. E, Perky.j

ing agricultural products. I do not think if, would be wise to form a board unless we gave them teeth, so to speak, to some extent; that is to say, after they have made a certain investigation, and think that they could facilitate the marketing of our products and assist in bringing about an increase in the prices of those products, they might be able to act in some way or other. How they could obtain funds is another question. It might be through a levy or a bonus, although I think the farmers throughout Canada realize that the bonusing of products is not the real solution of our problem in agriculture. I believe, however, that this board, after care' ful investigation, should report back to the department and that action should then be taken.

I am sure that the present minister is quite anxious that something should be done. We in Saskatchewan are extremely proud of the Hon. Mr. Weir; we feel that Saskatchewan is well represented by him in the government. He is a man of energy and ability and a man of great capacity for study, and I believe he has realized since he has held this office for nearly two years that there is a real problem facing him. I know he intends to do the right thing. I can assure hon. members that my association with him has proven that he is absolutely anxious to carry on in a nonpartisan spirit. So far as Saskatchewan is concerned, I know for a fact many of the appointments he has made have been without any regard whatever to partisanship; he has endeavoured to get the right man for the job. I am sure, therefore, that when he comes, if he does in the near future, to establish an export board, he will get the proper men, irrespective of their political leanings.

I do not think it is necessary to prolong the discussion just now. We are going to take the estimates up item by item, and it does not serve any real purpose putting a lot of useless figures on record. Certain comparisons have been made which in my opinion are ridiculous; they serve no purpose. The hon. member for Macdonald to-night compared the price of a pound of puffed wheat to the price of a bushel of wheat. Well, that serves no useful purpose, and it would have been equally ridiculous had he made the comparison with wheat at any price from S2 up to $4 a bushel with puffed wheat at 67 cents a pound. Such comparisons, I repeat, are useless. We have had a good deal of discussion in general and I would advise that we get down to detail and pass the estimates.


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March 7, 1932

Mr. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

I was going

to mention that some very splendid parades have been held at class "B" fairs. One can see stock valued at hundreds of thousands

of dollars pass in review. Such an industry should be supported and we should endeavour to assist by a specific reduction in freight rates. These farmers have to import grains which they do not produce in their own district and more particularly products from grain such as bran aDd shorts.

One of the arguments in favour of the present rates was that they were maintained in order not to discriminate against shipments to certain points of delivery. In order not to discriminate against such points of delivery it has been found necessary to discriminate against the great majority of farmers but I think it is high time we gave sufficient consideration to the matter to see that no longer shall there be discrimination against those who are interested in a basic industry.

At the present time a rate known as the terminal rate provides for free haulage for a distance of one hundred miles between the points of Fort William and Winnipeg. Certainly such an arrangement does not allow for a fair or reasonable rate to points farther west. Certainly there is discrimination in favour of Winnipeg and other large distributing centres. Here again no useful purpose could be served by a continuation of the system now in use.

At the outset I said I did not think it necessary to give figures in support of my argument, but at this time may I put on record only a few. I am about to quote carload rates on grain and grain products in cents per hundred pound shipments from points within the province, both east and west. For the sake of convenience I am taking a point in the constituency I have the honour to represent in the province of Saskatchewan, namely Indian Head:

Carload rates on grain and grain products in cents per 100 pounds

Domestic Export rate pate

From Indian Head, Sask., to Moose Jiaw, Sask.,

distance 90 miles 14 cents -

From Indian Head, Sask., to Swift Current, Siask.,

distance 200 miles 20 cents -

From Indian Head, Sask., to Vancouver, B.C.,

distance 1,160 miles.. .. 52 J cents 27 cents

Hon. members will notice that there is a difference in the domestic and export rates between Indian Head and Vancouver of 25i cents. If the standard were changed from the 100 pound basis to the bushel basis, and the commodity changed to barley there would be a difference between domestic and export rates of 12 cents. From Moose Jaw to Vancouver, a distance of 1,060 miles the domestic rate is

Western Freight Rates

50i cents and the export rate 25 cents. Hon. members will note that there is a difference of two cents between domestic and export rates between Indian Head and Vancouver and Moose Jaw and Vancouver. The figures I have given would show clearly that if there were two cars of grain shipped from Indian Head west, one of which had been left at Moose Jaw for domestic consumption the rate would be 14 cents. If the second car was taken on to Vancouver and there used for domestic purposes, on a basis of the export rate per mile haulage they would take it from Indian Head to Moose Jaw for two cents. To my mind that is unreasonable and there could be no justification for such a rate.

Let us now consider shipments to points east. From Indian Head to Moosomin, a distance of 100 miles, the rate is 14i cents. If the car were taken on to Fort William, 620 miles farther, it would be taken that extra distance for 4J cents. I cannot see

that such an arrangement is fair or equitable, because the producer within the province should be considered. Also from any point in Saskatchewan to Montreal there is only a three cent differential as between the domestic and the export rates. I have just quoted figures to show that the differential from any point in the province to Vancouver is twenty-five cents. Why there is this discrimination as between the east and west bound rates I cannot understand, and I do not think any satisfactory explanation has been offered. Similar figures could be produced with respect to shipments from Manitoba and Alberta. I might say that when the question of these discriminatory rates was before the railway commission the argument presented by the governments of the three prairie provinces in every case was to the effect that there should not be any differential. I might also mention the fact that when its decision on the case was handed down by the Board of Railway Commissioners-it was quoted last session by an hon. member when speaking to the freight rates question-the Hon. Frank Oliver, then a member of the commission, gave a dissenting judgment. It is not necessary for me to read it now; it will be found at page 1813 of Hansard of last session. Mr. Oliver was of the opinion that there should not be any differential at all, especially on coarse grains, low grade wheat and feed wheat.

The whole thing boils down to this, that on a basis of equal freight rates the price in Vancouver would be twenty per cent in favour of barley as against com; on the present

basis barley is adversely affected to the extent of fifty per cent. I am informed that last fall after the imposition of the duty on corn many of the poultrymen and dairymen in British Columbia tried our western barley for their stock and found it in every respect equal to corn, if not better. They are prepared to use our coarse grains, and with a proper adjustment of the freight rates there would be no difficulty in our finding a very good market for them in that province.

Prior to the consolidation of the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk railways, we had a freight rate from the western provinces to Fort William of two cents less than the present rate. For example, from Indian Head to Fort William it was seventeen cents per hundred pounds, as against nineteen cents per hundred pounds now. That was owing largely to an agreement made between the Manitoba government and the Canadian Northern railway at the time when the provincial government guaranteed the bonds of the railway. The railways were able to haul domestic grain at a profit at that rate when there was only a single track line to Fort William, the freight cars were small, the engines were also small, and the rails were light. Surely to-day with double track lines, heavy rails, large capacity freight cars and powerful engines the railways ought to be able to haul domestic grain at a profit if the old rate were reestablished. At the present time it is very difficult to get a 1,000 bushel car, the railway agent wants you to load grain into a 1,200, 2,000 or 2,500 bushel capacity car. As for the engines, to-day they are so powerful they can haul from twenty to twenty-five more cars than in the old days.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if we could secure a fair and equitable adjustment of these rates I think it would be a very substantial benefit to all our producers of grain in western Canada; some three million people in the three prairie provinces who would be directly affected. The prosperity of Canada generally depends on the success of our great basic industry, agriculture, and, I repeat, those engaged in agriculture in the prairie provinces would be directly benefited by this proposed rate adjustment. And I am confident that the railways themselves would benefit if this adjustment were made. I think it is generally admitted that the railways make the greater part of their earnings on the haulage of export grain, and I think the movement of domestic grain should be on just as favourable a basis. Why should the railways charge so to speak a double rate and in some cases more for moving grain a hundred miles

Western Freight Rates

within a province than for hauling it seven hundred miles to a terminal? It is high time that this matter was given very serious consideration. I trust this resolution will meet with favour from this house, and that, being so endorsed it will be favourably considered by the government. If there are any obstacles in the way of action being taken due to judgments on appeals being still pending, I think such judgments should be delivered without further delay.

Mr. HARRY J. BARBER (Fraser Valley): Mr. Speaker, coming from the province of British Columbia, it gives me great pleasure to second the motion of my hon. friend from the prairie provinces (Mr. Perley) having for its object a reduction of the domestic grain rates. This matter has been brought to the attention of the house almost every session for the last five years, and the facts have been placed before by hon. members so fully that I shall be very brief in my remarks.

As the last speaker (Mr. Perley) has said, some further arguments have been brought forward that might well be considered in dealing with the subject. Under present conditions we believe that a reduction in the domestic grain rates, particularly as applied from points in the prairie provinces to the province of British Columbia-to which I shall confine my remarks-might be in the interests not only of the producer and consumer, but also of the transportation companies. I am free to recall the speech made by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) on the 10th of February last. He was referring to the problems his department had to face at that time, and one problem which was causing his department a great deal of worry was that of finding how we could influence the movement of trade so that there might be an easier and more equitable flow of goods from one part of the world to another and from one part of the country to another. Canada, with a population of ten million people, extends for some four thousand miles from coast to coast, and within our country we find that because of climatic and perhaps other conditions, in one section we can produce commodities to much better advantage than is the case in another section. This is so in the matter of grain, which is under discussion to-day. Perhaps in no part of the North American continent can grain be grown so successively as in the prairie provinces, and we in British Columbia are interested in grain from the standpoint of feed. As I say, under present conditions it might be good business to lower this rate,

and I have no doubt that by doing so we would increase the consumption and also increase the car haulage for domestic purposes.

I have in my hand, as perhaps other members have also, a letter from the Canadian Coal Committee. I was quite taken with the argument contained in the letter in regard to a request for a reduction in the freight rate on coal from 16.75 to 85 per ton. It is pointed out that this would work to the advantage of everyone concerned, and I think the same would apply to grain. They say that by this reduction the consumption of Canadian coal in the east would be increased, and that it would mean greater business to the transportation companies. With a revenue of, say, $10,000 per train of 2,000 tons, having in mind the thousands of cars rusting on sidings, the engines which are idle, the train crews seeking relief and the miners of Alberta who have to be clothed and fed, they say the fixing of a rate of $5 per ton would make possible such a movement that it would be a proper move to make from a national point of view, if only as a temporary measure. Further they say:

Ontario consumes over 4,000,000 tons of domestic fuel per season and if Alberta could only secure 25 per cent, or one million tons, it would mean 500 trains of coal, with a gross revenue to the railways of approximately $5,000,000, plus the benefit which would come from the expenditure of wages of the miners, train crews, teamsters, coal yard employees, and all those other people who would be directly or indirectly employed.

I think if we had time we could show that a reduction in grain rates would also greatly increase the business of the transportation companies. As I said before, the question of a reduction in domestic freight rates as applied to British Columbia is not new, and it is not necessary for me to go extensively into its history, but I wish to place before the house briefly where the matter stands at present as far as my province is concerned. A few years ago this question was referred to the railway commission, who heard the application in 1926 and gave judgment in 1927. An appeal was taken to the former government, which was heard in 1929. Although they had months to consider the question no judgment was given; the privy council as then constituted vanished after the election of 1930, and the new government came into power in September of that year. As rve understand it, this means a new hearing, because while the personnel of the court is gone the appeal still exists. Briefly, that is how the matter stands and we

Western Freight Rates

believe that if it had not been for present conditions not only in Canada but throughout the world, this matter would have received the serious consideration of the privy council much sooner.

The last speaker referred to the discrimination shown in export over domestic rates to British Columbia. Without question the domestic rate of 414 cents per hundred pounds from Calgary to Vancouver is excessive and discriminatory. It has been pointed out on more than one occasion that with an export rate of 20 cents, apart from the cost of sacking the grain, when our wheat reaches Yokohama and Hong Kong frequently it has paid no greater freight rate than we pay from prairie points to the Fraser valley and Vancouver island. The last speaker also referred to the all rail export rate from Fort William to Montreal, which is 344 cents per hundred pounds, while the domestic rate is 3 cents greater, or 374 cents. The distance from Fort William to Montreal is over one-half greater than the distance from Calgary to Vancouver, and there would not appear to be any reason for the difference between the export and domestic rate from prairie points to Vancouver. The differential on the haul from Fort William to Montreal, as I have pointed out, is 3 cents, while the differential on the haul from Calgary to Vancouver is 214 cents.

Unfortunately the same rate applies to the poorer grades of grain. As I have already said, under normal conditions the prairie provinces produce the highest quality of wheat, oats and barley, but from time to time a considerable proportion of the crop is damaged through exceptional seasonal conditions, and rendered unfit for export. The bulk of this damaged or low grade grain can be used for feed for cattle, hogs and poultry. Damaged grain, of course, is not as suitable for feed as sound grain, but if it can be secured at a sufficiently low price it answers the purpose fairly well. The present domestic rate of 414 cents per hundred pounds makes impossible the use of such grain by the poultry and dairy farmers of the Fraser valley, and compels them to either pay this added cost of 414 cents per hundred pounds or, as the last speaker said, buy imported corn.

My hon. friend also referred to the matter of barley. As hon. members will recall, last year a duty of 25 cents was placed on com in order to encourage the use of barley in the feeding of poultry. I made inquiries from some of the largest poultry plants, as well as from the milling people in my district. They assured me they had used considerably more

barley this year than they ever did before and they found it very satisfactory. We find at the same time large shipments of com came from South Africa free of duty under the British preferential.

If we are to carry out the principle that we established last session, of trying to encourage the poultrymen of British Columbia to use more barley, it is essential that we be in a position to lay barley down at a lower rate than at present if we expect to compete with imported corn. The whole question of transportation will no doubt come before the government and the house before long, and at that time it might be well to take into consideration the matter of rates under the question of cheaper transportation of products of this kind from one part of Canada to another.

It has been argued that the rate should be the same as the export rate. I do not know that the farmers of British Columbia are united on that. We would be satisfied with a small differential rate; if the differential on the westbound rate were reduced to the same level as that of the eastbound rate, that is, 3 cents, it would give relief to the poultry and dairy industry in British Columbia. It would give us a rate of 23 cents instead of 414 cents per hundred pounds. The retaining of the small differential would tend to establish a greater milling industry in the west. If this were done I believe it would be possible for the dairymen, and to a certain extent the poultrymen, to procure mill feeds at a lower rate than at present. The dairymen do not feed the whole grain; they depend almost altogether on mill products, such as bran, shorts and so forth.

I have tried to draw to the attention of the government, first, that lower rates on grain for domestic use would tend to relieve to a great extent the conditions prevailing in the poultry and dairy industries owing to the existing low market situation. Second, it would enable these men to produce at a lower cost and better to meet competition on the world market. Third, the lower rate would without doubt increase the consumption in British Columbia of the prairie grain, which would be beneficial to the producer on the prairie and at the same time, as I pointed out, give more business to the transportation companies. I have great pleasure in seconding the motion.

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