This is to impose a penalty for delay which may be injurious to other people. I move that in subsection 13, after the word ' loading platform ' the words ' or at any siding ' be inserted. That will cover the point raised by the hon. member for Saskatchewan.
Applicants may make order according to their requirements, and where an applicant requires two or more cars, he shall make two or more applications as the case may be.
When may he order two cars or how ? The MINISTER OP THE INTERIOR. He can order as many as he likes, but under a subsequent provision, he can only get one until all others are given at least one. My hon. friend will see that section 59 covers the point he has raised.
I move to strike out the words ' on the Pacific coast,' and insert the words ' west of the I Hon. Mr SIFTON.
boundary between British Columbia and the North-west Territories.' This is to enable a railway company to fill orders for grain west of British Columbia boundary line which they cannot do under the Act as it stands at present. It has happened during the last season that railway companies have received large orders for shipments from persons in Manitoba and the North-west Territories to some parts of British Columbia or the Pacific coast. Under the law as it was they were unable to fill those orders because they had to be shipped in large specified quantities, and they could not get cars all at the same time to any elevator or warehouse, and the result was that they could not take the orders at ail. The railway companies were under a penalty if they furnished cars which they brought to the station in any other way than as provided by this Act.
I want to move another clause, and I think this is the proper place to propose it. I will read it :
These commissioners .shall semi-daily, as soon as possible after nine o'clock in the morning and twelve o'clock noon, on every day between the 31st day of August in each year and the first day of April t'he following year communicate by telegraph to the railway station agent at places in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories where grain elevators are situated, the price of No. 1 Manitoba hard wheat and of No. 1 Northern wheat at Fort William, at the said respective hours, and each such agent shall immediately after the receipt of such telegram publish the same by writing it legibly on a blacboard in a convenient place accessible to the public at such station.
I may say, Mr. Chairman, that if this was done, I think, it would to a great extent do away with much of this trouble that we have had as regards the loading of cars and the loading platforms.
I understand that such a provision prevails in certain states of the union, and it has worked very acceptably. It is true there will be some difficulty in carrying it out, but there should be none, for the reason that in several of the towns In Manitoba and the North-west Territories the price of grain in Minneapolis and Chicago is telegraphed every half hour. Now if the farmer could go to the station and ascertain the price of these grades of wheat at Fort William, at nine o'clock in the morning and at one o'clock in the afternoon, he would know exactly what price he is receiving for his wheat, and what rate the elevator pan or the track buyer is allowing him for it and what profit he is receiving. Then if he is satisfied with the profit that the grain dealer is allowing him he can sell him his wheat, if he is not satisfied with it he can ask for a car and ship it. I think if this system was adopted it would to a great extent do away with a great deal of trouble
we have had in the past with regard to this phase of the question. I brought this matter up before the minister last year and he requested me not to press it. I was not aware this matter was being brought up tonight, and in order to give him notice of it, I handed this motion to the clerk.
I think there is something to be said in favour of the suggestion that the hon. gentleman has made. The difficulty is in carrying it out. If I remember aright, the objection which obtained in my mind to this proposition when it was made before, was in regard to the commissioner taking the responsibility of deciding what the prices were and sending them out, because the probability is that the community at large would regard the commissioner as being responsible for these prices, and in cases of dispute as to accuracy, no doubt the department would be held responsible. There may be some way to work out the plan which my hon. friend has suggested. I have not given the subject any special consideration since the matter was before the House on a former occasion. But there is this to be said against it, that while the matter has been discussed and while every conceivable phase of the Grain Act has been discussed during the last year very fully by the grain growers who certainly do not lack full knowledge of the situation and the difficulties that they have encountered up to the present time, I believe none of them have suggested that this particular provision should be inserted in the Act. However, I am quite willing that it should receive proper consideration and I will allow the matter to stand over, if my hon. friend agrees to that view. I will leave the Bill in committee, think it over in the course of the next three or four days and get such information as I can upon the subject. I will ask the opinion of the commissioner as to whether he thinks it practicable or not and bring it before the committee again at a later day.
I was endeavouring to assist my hon. friend from Macdonald in regard to drafting something that would cover the case, but I do not know whether it is in proper form, as it has been done very hastily. There may be some difficulty in this matter if the commissioner is not at some particular point all the time. Is the commissioner stationed in any particular point, or does he move around the country ?
No, he is not at any particular point, but that difficulty could be got over in this way: He has an office in Winnipeg, and he has an assistant there, and, of course, the prices are quoted there every hour of the day. There would be no difficulty from that standpoint, because his assistant could send out the prices as well as he could himself.
The difficulty that the hon. minister speaks of as regards the question of liability would be a very serious one, and if the proposition of my hon. friend from Macdonald were adopted it would be very desirable to add, to the clause which has been drafted, some provision to the effect that neither the commissioner nor the government should be in any way responsible for mistakes, because mistakes sometimes occur in the transmission of messages. There will be no possibility of any wilful mistake, but it might occur, as the hon. minister says, in the transmission of the message or from wrong information received by the commissioner.
I do not think there is a very serious practical difficulty, with all due deference to my hon. friend from Macdonald. Some years ago, undoubtedly, farmers did suffer from lack of knowledge as to what was the price of grain, but I do not think it can be said at the present time that they have any difficulty in finding out what grain is selling for. When they come into town or come to a station, they have no difficulty in finding out what grain is selling for. The railway station agent is there and he gets the information, and there is nearly always more than one buyer. Still, I will go into it and see what can be done, if anything, to meet the wishes of the hon. gentleman.
I think the hon. minister is mistaken in regard to that, because I know that there are times when as much as 10 cents a bushel was made by grain men in handling wheat. If the farmers knew what the price of wheat was, knowing the freight to Fort William, they would get cars under circumstances of that Kind, ship themselves, and the dealers could not treat them in that way. The hon. minister says that farmers have no difficulty in ascertaining the price. The dealers themselves know the price. They get it from their houses every morning and every day at noon, and if the dealers can get that information there is no reason why the farmers should not have it from the commissioner. I have thought a great deal upon the subject, and I believe it would be a great benefit to the people of the North-west Territories, and I think if the hon. minister gives it as much attention as I have he will see that it is possible to provide for it.
If it is such a benefit as the hon. member for Macdonald says, how is it that the delegates of the Grain Grower's' Association sent down here by the farmers did not advocate it ? They never made any suggestion in that direction, and 1 think they can be pretty well trusted to look after the interests of the farmers in a matter of that kind.
I do no think that all the wisdom in the North-west Territories was
confined to the three or four grain growers who were sent down here. I have had opportunities of discussing this question with a great many farmers in the west, and they have expressed a desire to have such a provision as I have suggested.
The Grain Growers' Association represents the farmers of all parts of the North-west Territories. All the amendments to the Act that they desired were discussed, and when the delegates came down here representing the farmers, if they had required this amendment they would have asked for it.