May 27, 1904

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I have to-day $8,000 at my disposal to spend before the 1st of July next, but it is impossible to tell just how much of that I may be able to spend. After the 1st of July next, if this item is adopted,

I will have $8,000 to spend in the ensuing year, and I can only spend it during that jear.

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CON

George Adam Clare

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARE.

We are still in the dark. The minister led us to believe that the $8,000 of last year would not be expended.

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LIB
CON
LIB
CON
L-C
LIB
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Mr INGRAM.

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LIB
L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Can the minister tell us the size of the new office compared with the size of the old ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I have not that; I have just a letter saying they have taken this place, and that it is a much larger and better office.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

The hon. gentleman has complained about the crisis in the affairs of the Imperial Institute, that it is of no practical service and very little use to the people of Canada. Two years ago his object in having a new place was to show canned goods at certain periods of the year and Canadian butter and cheese, also Canadian hams and beacon, etc., etc., while the old institute was to be filled with minerals and forest products. I would like to know what he has done with respect to the exhibition of canned goods and displays of that character.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There has not been any display. I have not done anything about it, because the whole arrangement and organization of the institute was held in abeyance. I have not had an opportunity of doing anything in connection with it.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I am bound to say the minister is open to some censure for great carelessness in this matter. In 1902 he explained what he proposed doing in conjunction with Lord Strathcona to make the office he had rented of some service to Canada. Last year he made the same explanation, and yet nothing has been done. The hon. gentleman must see that he is not pressing this matter as he ought to do, and certainly he is not pressing it as the people of Canada require it to be pressed. The immigration department found that the people in England were not able to see the produce of this country, which hindered immigration, and for this reason the department of immigration was forced to take up this work and obtain offices in order to show the products of Canada. The hon. gentleman is not pressing the matter, and in the interests of trade more life should be put into him. I should think that the stuff that was bought on the last occasion should have had a better effect than it has had, and should have put more life into the hon. gentleman.

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LIB
CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

Coming from the same section of the country as the Minister of Agriculture, I am surprised at the item we find here with regard to the product of Walker's distillery, and I am afraid that we have some evidence in the muddled condition of the mind of the Minister of Agriculture to-day, that that purchase was so satisfactory that it has been renewed at a comparatively recent date, and that the habit that some one acquired in the consumption of those two cases has become permanent. However, I trust that the country is not going to be called upon to pay the entire bill.

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LIB
CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

It strikes me as peculiar. Of course, I know nothing of the peculiar moral standard of ministers of the Crown, but it struck me as peculiar that the Minister of Agriculture this afternoon endeavoured to make it very clear to us that it was possible for him to evade the law in regard to the expenditure of this first $8,000 for the first year. I think it would be much better that we should be frank in these matters, and from my knowledge of the Minister of Agriculture, that if anybody could find a loophole by which the law could be evaded, I would expect to find the hon. minister fully fit to fill that position. There may have been a position of a higher character taken by the hon. the minister in connection with that expenditure, but I, as a mere on-looker of the discussion, did not hear it. However, if that is the proper moral standard for ministers of the Grown to occupy in regard to their items, then I am sure the Minister of Agriculture will head the list. We seem to be proceeding in this matter with very little knowledge as to expenditures. The Minister of Agriculture acknowledges that he does not know, but has some hope that the provinces may do something towards bearing a portion of the burden in connection with this expenditure. He has no assurance of that, and is associating himself with an organization which he says has been in a very serious condition for the last two or three years, hardly worthy of any attention at all. I would be rather inclined to think the provinces, if they have had the same experience with the Imperial Institute that the Minister of Agriculture seems to have had, are not likely to contribute anything, and if they do not contribute anything and the Minister of Agriculture does use the $8,000 he is entitled to use, he says he is going to hurry and press the expenditure as rapidly as possible between now and the day of judgment, which comes very shortly, after which he has not the right to expend any of the previously voted money. I think it would be a great deal better if he should increase this $8,000 to a reasonable sum and not make an effort to evade the law, even by the tacit approval or sanction of thi3 House, when passing an item. I am convinced that this Imperial Institute is not

worthy of so much attention unless there is going to be a remarkable improvement in it. I have been endeavouring to get from the library of parliament some information in regard to this Imperial Institute, and the only report that I can get is a report of the Indian section of the Imperial Institute. In sending me this, Mr. Griffin says :

Nothing later than this has been published. The affair is very slow and not much use.

That is the opinion of the librarian of Canada, who has to deal with this institution. It is now going to come under a department that has not been very friendly to us in the past, in so far as the treatment of our live stock is concerned. Personally, I think that if we are to have an exhibition we must have a good one, and that $8,000 is not sufficient to provide a good exhibit in London. $2,000 would not more than pay for a first-class Canadian mineral exhibit in London. $8,000 is absolutely insufficient. I do not believe we are warranted in using the money we voted last year just for the purpose of using it, without taking time to exercise good judgment, or in trying to use it for the payment of a year's rent, which is not due until next year. That is a violation of the spirit and, I am inclined to think, the letter of the law. Under these circumstances, I do not think the minister is in a position which he should occupy. He states that this Imperial Institute has been, in the last two years, in a very imperfect and unsatisfactory condition, that it is now to be taken over by a new organization which hopes to do something with it, but which has not been very friendly to us. When I ask for the reports in order to glean something. and find absolute evidence of neglect on their part, positive evidence that they have not done what they ought to do, I think it would be just as well that the Minister of Agriculture should decide one of two things.

He has to decide, first, whether we will have an exhibit in London at all. If we are going to have that exhibit let us have it in connection with some tried institution that we know is going to he a success and let us put as much money behind it as is necessary to make it a success and to make it creditable to the Dominion of Canada. If not we are throwing our money away. Whatever money may have been expended lias been thrown away for the last two or three years as is witnessed by one or two hon. gentlemen in this House including the hon. minister himself who have borne testimony to the fact that the exhibition is unworthy of Canada. It is creditable to him to be desirous of improving it but he lias not made it clear in the minds of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House whether he is associating himself with an organization to-day that is going to make this exhibit in England as effectual for the benefit of Canada as we would like to see it.

Then, I do not think we get the fullest possible benefit as far as immigration is concerned from this exhibit. This exhibit may be good in the mercantile sense. It may be good by bringing us in touch with investors, mining speculators and men desirous of purchasing certain of our raw materials, but as an aid to immigration, I am sure that it is situated in the wrong part of England altogether. If we are going to have an exhibition there that is going to attract the people of England here as immigrants we must go to those sections of the country where the good immigrant lives, where we can come in touch with him rather than with the poor unfortunate who does not know how to labour. The poor unfortunate man who has been born of parents of more or less wealth, whose wealth has departed from them and who wish to throw that highly educated, inexperienced, impracticable young man upon the world, will come into touch with this London office, but as far as the small tenant or the agricultural labourer and the man who makes a practical settler in this country is concerned, we cannot expect to come in touch with him at this office. It may be worth this $8,000 to show our exhibits alongside of those of other colonies. It may be as the hon. minister said that we get a sufficient return from those specialists, those scientific gentlemen who are kept there to make these tests. The hon. minister spoke of two or three tests which he had made. I did not learn whether we gained anything of substantial value or not.

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Matthew Henry Cochrane

Mr. COCHKANE.

Yes, the sweet clover.

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May 27, 1904