April 11, 1902

CON

Matthew Henry Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

Then you should not have told us that he was brought up on a fruit farm, if you did not know it.

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The MINISTER OP AGRICULTURE.

He was on a fruit farm when I first heard of him, and I knew his father owned a fruit farm, and I was informed by the late Speaker of this House, the Hon. Thos. Bain, that he had a fruit farm, and that the son had lived on a fruit farm, and was as thoroughly equipped with a knowledge of fruit-growing as his father was. His father is to-day a member of the Fruit Grower's Association, and has been frequently in communication with my department in regard to the fruit interests of the Niagara district.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I suppose the hon. gentleman has had several conversations with this young man as to his qualifications. Doubtless he has discussed the peach question with him. I had been at a loss for some time back to understand where the hon. gentleman got his information with respect to peaches ; I never knew before that peaches had stems on them until I heard the Eon. gentleman make that remark. Now If Mr. McKinnon gave him that information, I have grave doubts as to his qualifications. Did the hon. gentleman say that Mr. McKinnon is permanently appointed as an inspector ?

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The MINISTER OP AGRICULTURE.

He has been permanently appointed for this purpose up to the present time.

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L-C
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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

Yes.

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LIB
L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

When a Bill was passing through this House last session the hon. gentleman said it was not his intention to appoint permanent inspectors. The hon. gentleman was asked : Would these inspectors be only temporarily employed during the fruit season, and he answered, Yes. How does it come that the hon. gentleman has changed his policy since then ?

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

I have not looked up what explanation I gave last year when this Bill was up, but I know I had in contemplation the appointment of several inspectors by the year, as well as a temporary one.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I have some slight knowledge of Mr. McKinnon's father, whom I have known for the past 25 or 30 years. I also know something of a cousin of his who tried to supplant me in the House of Commons a .year or two ago, and this gentleman's father was very active in assisting him to get left at home. But it is rather a serious question, whether this appointment is proper or not. Mr. McKinnon, senior, I believe, is a member of a fruit association, and is an important fruit grower. I have no desire to minimize his position in that respect ; he has taken an active interest in that industry, and I presume as a shipper and all that. Still I think it is a question whether it is proper that Mr. McKinnon's son should be over the entire department that controls the inspection of the fruit. It would be a very difficult matter indeed, no matter how honourable the son was, to avoid giving a preference. I think there will be a feeling amongst other shippers that they will be handicapped to some extent by the fact that Mr. McKinnon's son is in a position to benefit him at the expense of others. Of course it is unfortunate that this gentleman's father Is a candidate at the present time in the Niagara district, and I would not for a moment suggest that his influence would be used there ; but I do say there will be a strong supposition that his influence will be used to the detriment of a large number of people who are engaged in that industry. I think the minister might seriously consider whether the fact of the father's connection with the Fruit Grower's Association, and the other fact of the son's connection with the inspection, will be regarded as quite satisfactory by the fruit growers of the province. I fear that it will destroy confidence very much in a proper inspection.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

I think practically that almost everybody whose name was suggested as an inspector in connection with this Bill had some personal or business relations with fruit shippers and would be, therefore, open to any such accusation, but I have not the slightest idea that there is any such feeling of alarm of Mr. McKinnon, jr, doing anything in coni neetion with his official position which would

justify any such fear on the part of the people.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Hr. ROBINSON (Elgin).

If the hon minister had accepted the clause which I wished to place in the Bill last year this difficulty would not have arisen.

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LIB

Charles Bernhard Heyd

Liberal

Mr. HEYD.

What difficulty ?

Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin.) This difficulty in regard to the inspection. The inspection would not have been needed at all. I asked the hon. minister to insert a clause providing that if apples, not according to the regulations, or apples that were rotten, were discovered, either in Europe, or any other country, in a barrel with a brand, or the packer's name or the grower's name and if three persons who purchased these apples could give prima facie evidence before a justice of the peace and this evidence were sent to Canada and to the county from which the apples were shipped, the packer or shipper might be brought before a judge and punished. Every barrel of apples cannot be inspected as every barrel cannot be opened, and if the hon. minister had accepted my proposition last year all the difficulty that has arisen would have been avoided. But, he refused to do so, and of course, he has to take the consequences.

Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.) This is a strange proceeding. One hon. gentleman complains that the inspector does not know anything of fruit growing, and that he had no training in that respect. Another tells us that his father is a fruit-grower and probably an exporter of apples and on that account he thinks his son is disqualified for the position which he now occupies. That might apply to other inspectors as well as to Mr. McKinnon, because I think if they are supposed to be qualified for their positions it would be well that their fathers and themselves should have been brought up on farms and have been engaged in growing apples, because that is the very thing that would qualify them for such positions. I do not think that it would at all disqualify any one for occupying this position that he had training for it by reason of his being on an apple farm.

'Mr. BLAIN. I just wish to say that Mr. McKinnon was not brought up on a farm. His father was the public school inspector in the county which I have the honour to represent and the young gentleman was born in that county. He went to the common school there and then he w ent to college and his father was not engaged in any kind of farming whatever until he removed from our county to the county where he now resides about eight or ten years ago and went into the fruit-growing business. I think the general complaint is that the hon. minister led the House to believe last year that when this Act was put into force the gentlemen who would be appointed as inspectors would

be men of experience, men who knew something about the exporting business and who understood the fruit-growing in this country. The complaint is that the most important office, that of chief inspector for the purpose of enforcing this law, has been given to a young man of no experience whatever, not having been brought up on the farm, not having been engaged in the fruit-growing business and not having a particle of knowledge in respect to the export of apples from this country. This is the chief charge and I think it would be looked upon as being rather serious. If the hon. gentleman had appointed his father who has had six or eight years experience in growing fruit there might have been some reason wliy that gentleman should have been appointed because of his experience.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin).

I spoke from memory a few minutes ago but I find in ' Hansard ' the clause that I wished to insert in the Bill. With your permission Mr. Chairman I will read it :

Whenever any barrel - or package of apples shall he found to he in violation of this Act or any of its clauses, on information being laid before a justice of the peace or a judge in the district in which the apples are found to be bad in any country, an affidavit shall be made by not less than three persons of the fact, whan such affidavit shall be forwarded under seal to the judge of the county or district in which the apple packers reside ; and said judge or magi s-trate shall have power to proceed under this Act, and a conviction may follow.

If that clause had been inserted in this Bill we would not have had all this trouble.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

It is evident that if the hon. Minister of Agriculture had paid some attention to the advice tendered him we would have escaped all of this difficulty. However, as the hon. member for West Elgin (Mr. Robinson) has made his case so strong, I will have nothing to say about it. I think the objection taken by the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson) is not without foundation. The hon. Minister of Agriculture knows very well that it is his duty, as it is the duty of the hon. members of this House, so far as possible for them to act, to avoid even the appearance of anything that will lead to wrong doing. I would be sorry to charge Mr. McKinnon, without personal knowledge, of having done wrong in the capacity in which he is now acting, but I want to say to the hon. Minister of Agriculture that he is open to the severest criticism. Let us take the position of Mr. McKinnon. He is to be the judge of fruit. He may come in contact with hundreds of people that may be influenced somewhat by Mr. McKinnon's conduct. Then, Mr. McKinnon is in the position of a prosecutor also. In accordance with what Mr. McKinnon says the case will be conducted. For a gentleman to be in that position he ought to be as free as possi-

ble, not only as regards himself, but so far as his associations are concerned, from any entanglements. If he is not, then he is not in a position in which he can even hope to have the confidence of the people. I am going to venture a statement in advance of any personal knowledge and it is that Mr. McKinnon was never recommended by the Fruit-growers Association of Canada, or of the province of Ontario, which would have the best possible means of knowing the person best fitted to discharge duties of that kind. My hon. friend is not open to censure for having made an appointment from his own party. That is the custom and no hon. member of this House will waste a moment in discussing it, but when the hon. member makes a party appointment and for that and no other reason, as he seems to have done in this case, he is open to censure. The Minister of Agriculture cannot tell this committee that he had a personal knowledge of Mr. McKinnon's qualifications. In any service at all, whether in law or in the knowledge of fruit, a man cannot possibly have knowledge unless he has experience and training. You might as well say that a bright young man would make a good lawyer without passing a single examination, as to say that a young man was fitted to be an inspector of fruit because his father bought a fruit farm while he was at college. The hon. gentleman says that he found this young man to be very useful, but he should have taken precaution to discover that before appointing him. Mr. McKinnon may know more about fruit than before he went to Paris, but it is perfectly clear that the Minister of Agriculture placed an inexperienced lawyer in charge of an agricultural branch, and that his doing so might have very disastrous results to the trade. I am not attacking lawyers.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

Hear, hear.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I rather envy those gentlemen who have a training as lawyers, but I pity them if they try to be farmers or fruit-growers. Hon. members of this House who know the history of this young man know that he had absolutely no experience in the fruit business, but nevertheless the minister elevated him to a position of great importance in connection with the fruitgrowing industry of this country.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

I cannot now remember whether I asked anybody as to Mr. McKinnon's qualifications for this office, but he had undoubtedly been recommended to me as knowing a good deal about fruit-growing.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

By whom ?

The) MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE. By the Hon. Thomas Bain, late Speaker of this House, whose judgment I will take

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

upon such matters as readily as that of any man in Canada. Mr. McKinnon had shown in his work in the department, industry and intelligence and exceptional ability as a business man, as well as practical worth. He was a well educated man; he had a legal training, and the work he has to do as the head of that particular branch is particularly connected with the organization and administration of the Act.

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April 11, 1902