Mr. W. J. ROOHE (Marquette).
This is a question that affects a very large portion of the community of the North-west who are engaged in threshing, and have a very great deal of money invested in this line of business. And when I refer to threshers. I do not wish to leave the impression that I refer to only a class of people who follow the avocation of threshing. There is a very large class of farmers who are interested in threshing and own threshing machines, and to whom the settlement of this question is as important as to those who own threshing machines and are not farmers. I believe you cannot purchase a modern machine for less than $2,500 or $3,000. This suggests the greatness of the amount invested in all the machines necessary to do the threshing in that great western country, which grew over one hundred millions of bushels of grain last year. Now many of the farmers have to mortgage their farms in order to purchase these machines, those of them who are owners of land. They have interest to pay on this money which they borrow, they have many risks to run, such as the drawbacks incident to bad weather ; they have to pay their hands oftentimes during this bad weather. They meet with accidents sometimes and have to pay out a good deal of money for repairs. Therefore the interest of the threshers is a very material interest, and is well worthy of consideration
at the hands of the head of the department under whose care such matters as this may come. They have to wait for months, and sometimes a year or more for ,the money which is coming to them for the grain which they thresh. When we take into consideration the drawbacks incident to their vocation, I say it is an impossibility for the Minister of Inland revenue to do too much towards meeting their wishes, insofar as no dissatisfaction is created in the other party to the contract.
Now, when we look at this Act as it reads at the present time, we find it says :
Every person who uses or who has in his possession for use in trade any weight, measure, scale, balance, steel-yard or weighing machine which is false or unjust
That is which has not the government stamp on it.
-shall incur a penalty not exceeding $25 and not less than $10 ; and in the case of a subsequent offence, of $50. And any contract, bargain, sale or dealing made by the same shall be void, and the weight, measure, scale, balance, steel-yard or weighing machine shall be forfeited and shall be forthwith seized as being so forfeited.
Now, here we have a machine insisted on by the department which at the present time the threshers cannot use, they could not get through with their threshing and comply with the Act if they had such a machine. It would be impossible to do it in the one season of the year. Therefore the threshers who are engaged in that occupation at the present time, are doing so illegally, so far as the standard measure is concerned. As a matter of fact they use a weighing machine or a bagger, which, in the majority of cases is agreed upon by both parties. But there are a class of people who may object to it, and take advantage of that Act and beat the thresher out of his just dues, and it is to meet this class that legislation is desired from the Minister of Inland Revenue.
Last year I referred to the fact that decisions had been given by the courts wherein the farmers have been allowed to go scot free in refusing to pay their threshers. That is tiie class I have just referred to, and it is to protect them from that class that the threshers desire this legislation. This machine that has been referred to by my hon. friend from Macdonald would be, I think, mutually agreeable both to the farmer and to the thresher. The Minister of Inland Revenue said last year that some one had invented a machine and would bring it to the department, and he thought it would be acceptable and would be adopted universally. I am not aware that that machine has been universally adopted, I do not think it has been. But the machine that has been brought to the department, the machine which the hon. member has referred to, is one that I think would satisfy Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).
the farmer as well as the thresher. It has been accepted by an officer of the department, and then refused by the head of the department. I attended a meeting of the Thresher's Union in my town last fall, at which this matter was discussed, and where their grievances were laid before the farmers. Every person there, farmer as well as thresher, was convinced that there was just cause of complaint on the part of the threshers, and a grievance existed which ought to be remedied by the Department of Inland Revenue. I do not know that it is necessary for me to go into the discussion at any length just now, before these papers are brought down. But I would urge upon the Minister of Inland Revenue the necessity for adopting some machine that would be mutually agreeable to the farmer and the thresher, in compliance with the promise he made last session.