September 14, 1903

CON

Edward Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. COCHRANE (East Northumberland).

Will the Finance Minister make this matter plain to me ? Is the letter of credit that was issued to cover the indemnity of members exhausted ? If not exhausted, where is the trouble ? That is what I cannot understand. If the letter of credit that the Auditor General issued to cover the indemnity of members is exhausted I would like to ask the hon. minister if the letter of credit covers both branches of the legislature, because, I understand, that in the Senate the cheques are being issued.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

It may be that )3he letter of credit issued to the Senate has not been exhatlsted. I have not had that branch of the matter brought to my attention, but the letter of credit issued to the officer of this House has been exhausted. The proper officer has made application to the Auditor General to facilitate another letter of credit and lie declined to do so. We propose by this Bill that in such cases if after two days the Auditor General does not issue a letter of credit the treasury board shall look into the matter and see whether there is any good reason why the credit should not issue and if there is not the credit shall promptly issue.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. Minister of Finance says that the Auditor General declines to issue a further letter of credit.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

To apply for it. [DOT]

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

To take the necessary steps ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Yes.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

What reason does he give for that ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I understand from the Clerk of the House, who showed me the letter on the subject, that owing to the difference that the Auditor General had with the Finance Department as to the method of dealing with these accounts he is unable to issue a new letter of credit. I think that is the substance of the statement made by the Clerk of the House.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Perhaps there would be no objection to laying that letter on the Table of the House ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I would be very glad to do so.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. FRANK OLIVER (Alberta).

It seems to me that this is not a question of taking away powers from the Auditor General but a question of preserving the powers of the House as representing the people of this country. It is altogether a mistaken attitude to suppose that there is any attempt

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CON

Adam Carr Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL.

to shear the Auditor General of any of his proper powers. But, it is possible and it has been a conviction for a long time that the Auditor General, having been clothed with certain powers for certain purposes, has by excessive zeal abused these powers to the detriment of the public interest. It has been a very good thing for the country that the question has been brought home personally to members of the House in a most pointed manner so that they will understand fully how the Auditor General from time to time during years past has prevented the payment of honest money to honest men who have honestly earned it in the service of the government.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


GRAIN STANDARDS.

CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. F. CLARKE (West Toronto).

Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to call the attention of the right hon. leader of the government to some correspondence which I found in my box when I returned to the city this morning. This is a matter of considerable importance, and I think it should be dealt with at the earliest possible moment. The correspondence is as follows :

The Board of Trade of the city of Toronto, Flour and Grain Section,

Secretary's Office,

Toronto, September 11, 1903. E. F. Clarke,' Esq., M.P.,

House of Commons,

Ottawa, Ont.

Re Grain Standards.

Dear Sir,-Acting under instructions I beg to hand you herewith copy of a resolution -which was unanimously passed at a meeting of this section held to-day in connection with the above matter.

Yours faithfully,

(Sgd.) F. G. MORLEY,

Secretary.

Excerpt from minutes of section, meeting held September 11, 1903.

Whereas the sale of Ontario -grain for export is being seriously interfered with, and in fact rendered almost impossible, on account of exporters being unable to forward to their customers in the United Kingdom and on the continent, standard samples representing the various grades of grain of this season's crop.

And whereas the handling -of it locally is also rendered extremely difficult on account of the Inability of country shippers to tell what the grain they are buying from farmers will grade when the new standards are fixed.

And whereas this difficulty and annoyance has been a cause of complaint to the -trade generally for the past two years.

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of the grain section of the board of trade of the city of Toronto, the Department of Trade and Commerce -should be severely -censured for their -neglect in not having yet arranged for the fixing of these standards.

And further that the letter of the deputy minister to the secratary of the board of trade under date of September 6th, -shows Inexcusable

ignorance of -the requirements of the trade on bis part.

(Sgd.) F. G. MORLEY,

Secretary.

If I understand anything about this question of grain inspection I understand that there was provision made in several Acts to give effect to the wishes of parliament and to promote the convenience of the business community.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

Do I understand that tlie hon. gentleman (Mr. Clarke) will conclude with a motion ?

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Yes, if necessary. I only wish to take up the time of the House for two or three minutes, but I will conclude with a motion to adjourn the House. Chapter 25, section 1 of 62-63 Victoria, An Act to amend the General Inspection Act, provides :

Subsection 3 of section 2 of the General Inspection Act, chapter 99 of -the Revised Statutes, is hereby repealed, -and the following is substituted -therefor :

3. The Governor in Council may appoint chief inspectors of any of the articles hereinbefore enumerated, who shall hold office during pleasure and -shall perform the duties hereinafter assigned -to them by -the Governor in Council.

Then, in chapter 25, section 2, I Edward VII., the Act is further amended as follows :

The Governor in Council may, from time to time, designate the several cities, counties, towns and other places or inspection divisions in Canada at and for which, respectively, it is expedient to appoint inspectors of the several articles hereinafter mentioned, or any of them ; and the Governor in Council may, from time to time, determine the limits of such inspection divisions and appoint at and for each of such cities, counties, towns, places o-r divisions, inspectors and deputy inspectors of any of the following articles :

Amongst the articles enumerated are wheat and other grain. I think I am not exaggerating the situation when I -say that the position must be an extreme one when such a representative and reasonable body as tlie grain section of the Toronto Board of Trade feel constrained to pass a resolution in such strong language as that which characterizes the one that I have just presented to the House. As far as I can gather there is no difficulty existing in regard to the inspection of grain in Manitoba and the procuring of the necessary samples for the grading of grain that has been purchased by country dealers. In Ontario there seems to be no machinery whereby those who desire to purchase the grain that farmers may have to sell are enabled to grade it. The situation is one of considerable tension, and I think the government ought to take action immediately to put the machinery provided by the Inspection Act in motion and have the grain standards decided upon forthwith and the necessary samples sent to the various purchasing

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centres in Ontario. I would call the attention of the government to one very serious statement made by one of the English delegates who was present at the meeting of the associated Chambers of Commerce at Montreal, where he spoke very strongly as to the difficulty they found in England in purchasing grain by ordering from samples which had been sent over there. The situation in Ontario is certainly a serious one. It demands the serious attention of the government, and I would like to ask the right hon. leader of the government what action is being taken or why things have been allowed to drift into their present condition ? I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

I am not aware that the attention of the government was called to the state of things which my hon. friend (Mr. Clarke) says exists at the present moment. I presume that the resolution of the board of trade of the city of Toronto has been duly communicated to the Department of Trade and Commerce, and if so we shall have a report from the deputy head on the subject. At all events, I will call the attention of the deputy head to the remarks of my hon. friend.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. E. KEMP (East Toronto).

This matter, it seems to me, is more serious than the members of the government realize. As has been stated, a vote of censure was passed by the grain section of the board of trade of the city of Toronto upon the Department of Trade and Commerce, and they also state in this resolution that this delay in appointing commissioners for which the government is responsible, has been going oil for a number of years. Each year it is necessary to have grain standards fixed at the very earliest moment immediately before the wheat commences to move. I understand that Mr. Parmelee, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce, has stated in an interview that the wheat has not yet commenced to move, that therefore it is not necessary that this board should be appointed, and that last year it was not appointed until September 26. Whether that is the case or not, I do not know. I presume it must be so, if Mr. Parmelee says so. That is no reason why the board should not be appointed until after the grain commences to move. All the wheat now being moved in the province of Ontario is being judged by last year's standards. It will be seen at once that this is unfair and unwise. I understand that the samples are to be sent to various parts of the country, as well as to Great Britain. Mr. Parmelee, I understand, states that the board will be appointed when the Minister of Trade and Commerce returns to Ottawa ; but even if the Minister of Trade and Commerce were here at the present time, there is no money. I Mr. CLARKE.

believe that between $600 and $700 is necessary to be at the disposal of the department for this purpose ; and surely the need of so small a sum of money should not prevent the government from acting. The gentlemen composing the grain section of the board of trade are very much inconvenienced, and feel that a wrong is being done to the grain dealers throughout the country, and to the province of Ontario generally, in connection with the export of wheat. I hope that the government will take some action, even in the absence of the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, to have this board: appointed and the necessary money appropriated for the purpose without any further delay. [DOT]

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

Mr. Speaker. it seems to me that my right hon. friend must be under a misapprehension with regard to this matter not having been brought to the attention of the government. The resolution which has been read to the House by my hon. friend from Toronto, would seem to indicate that the matter has been a subject of correspondence between the grain section of the board of trade and the Department of Trade and Commerce for some considerable time. My right hon. friend will observe, if he examines the resolution which has been read, that a letter from the deputy minister of Trade and Commerce to that body of date of the 0th of September is referred to. The matter would seem to be of very considerable urgency, for the reason that the question of the export of grain is upon these people now ; it is a matter that has to be dealt with at once, and a delay of a few weeks, or even a few days, at this stage, might result in very serious loss to the people engaged in this trade. I would hope, therefore, that my hon. friend would lose no time in urging upon the Department of Trade and Commerce, upon such officials of that department ns are responsible, upon the acting minister of the 'department, if the min-' Ister is absent, the absolute necessity of dealing with this matter at once ; because, as I have said, it is not a matter that can be delayed, because every day's delay may mean a very great loss to the people interested in this trade.

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September 14, 1903