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The Chung Collection

Prices prices prices Chinese United Growers' Association 1937

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  THE PRICE BALLOON
A Short Analysis of the B.C. Marketing Act
To the Vancouver Citizen and His Wife:
Through the long months of winter, you and your
family looked forward to the time when you would be able
to wade into the new potatoes, cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes, grown in profusion a few short miles away. You took
your biggest shopping-bag, expecting to fill it with produce
that would please the appetite, and bring the red glow of
health to the faces of your children.
You were bitterly disappointed, were you not? Like
a giant with a mighty hammer, the Marketing Act shattered the dreams of thousands like yourself. Price cards
with ballooned figures sent you home with a sack of old
spuds and your shopping-bag full of cans.
The Government says that the Act is for your protection—that they cannot allow your health to be endangered
by low-grade produce. Then that Government proceeded to
set up a "Board" that arbitrarily places you on short
rations, or prevents you from buying at all.
Increased Prices Bring Prosperity?
Plain arithmetic tells you that your dollar is worth
around 50 cents in the vegetable market. Who gets the
difference? The grower? Let us take a typical case—
tomatoes. First crop B. C. Hothouse sold in Water Street
for $4.25 a crate. When and if the grower obtained permission to market his tomatoes, he received from $1.50 to
$1.80 a crate. The wholesaler, the broker and the "Board"
split the difference—$2.50 to $2.75. Will you be startled
to learn that the same grade of tomatoes, grown in the same
hothouse, sold on the Edmonton market for $2.75 per crate?
Had we the space we could analyse prices to producer and
consumer in other branches of agriculture and we would
find the same result in greater or lesser degree.
An Expensive Machine
What does our benevolent "Board" do with its share of
the spoils ? It needs it badly, in order to provide fat salaries,
padded expense accounts, and a fleet of automobiles, for an
army of officials, whose chief job seems to be the prevention
of growers from crashing barricades, in order to beat the
Act, that is supposed to work in their interests—and yours.
You wanted those new potatoes, didn't you? The
"Board" said that you could have them at $1.50 a sack, no
less. Then they proceeded to play Horatio at the Bridge, to
ensure that you would be properly gouged.
Did you read the words of Frank Higgens, K.C., Counsel
for Vancouver Growers Ltd., in Supreme Court in Victoria
on September 3rd ? We quote:
"It (the B. C. Marketing Act) is soaking the consumer and the producer at the same time. A big costly
machine is being built to impose levies and tolls, and
raise prices to the consumer, and at the same time make
it impossible for the producers to get a return."
The National Question
Perhaps you have been led to believe that the failure
of the Act to work in your interest, should be attributed
to the fact that 60 per cent of the vegetable growers are
Chinese. If so, then why is it that similar results to producer and consumer exist among the Dairy Farmers in the
Fraser Valley and the Fruit Growers in the Okanagan, where
similar marketing boards are operating. Here the growers
are practically 100% of the white race. Why has the pressure exerted by the growers in New Brunswick forced that
government to abandon the Potato Marketing Act? Will
that government, or the Government of B. C, make good
the loss of time and money, together with the wholesale
waste of badly needed food involved in the operation of an
Act definitely created in order to "soak" both the growers
and yourselves?
You have already concluded that this Act can never
work in your interest. We must now decide on the best
method of working for its abolition. We Suggest to You the Following:
1. That you send an individual letter of protest to Hon. Dr,
K. C. MacDonald, Minister of Agriculture, Legislative
Buildings, Victoria, B.C.
2. That you write letters to express your opinion in the
Vancouver Daily Press.
3. That you consistently publicise this issue among your
friends and acquaintances.
4. That you bring the matter forward at all meetings of
any organization to which you may belong, with a view
to the forwarding of a resolution to the Minister of
Agriculture. In addition that at those meetings, you
call for suggestions for further action on the matter,
whether your organization be Political, Fraternal, Religious or Economic in character.
"For a Free Market to Producer and
Consumer."
"Hands Off the Householder's Wallet"
"Forward to the Abolition of the B. C.
Marketing Act"
Issued by The Chinese United Growers' Association, Vancouver, B. C.

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