June 16, 1904

CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I would say that before we proceed with this Bill the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) promised to bring down the recommendations made by certain persons outside, and any expressions of opinion received in regard to it. The hon. gentleman has not been good enough to favour us with those yet.

Topic:   THE INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think that what my hon. friend (Mr. Clancy) alludes to is the way in which this Bill was distributed amongst the people to give them an opportunity of studying it during the last recess and also an epitome of the expressions of opinion received from the people to whom this Bill was sent. I have here in my hand a statement of the distribution as made of 32,000 copies of this Bill. We sent out the Bill for the purpose of eliciting an expression of opinion from the people who are interested in it, in the following way : To

seed merchants in Canada, wholesale and retail 6.500 copies, to all the members of the Dominion Seed Growers' Association 430

copies, to all tlie officers of the different farmers' institutes, agricultural societies and farmers' clubs in all of the provinces, 6,340 copies, to newspapers in all provinces together with newspaper bulletin 970 copies, to members of parliament 210 copies, exchange list, that is experimental stations abroad, 230 copies, to individual applicants 550 copies, per department farmers' mailing list and to lists of members of agricultural organizations whose names were in the department, about 15,500 copies, in store about 1,270 at the date this memorandum was made out. I might in explanation, say that arrangements were made with the superintendents of the farmers' institutes in each of the provinces so that one man on each deputation or delegation was instructed to discuss the subject at every meeting. They wmre provided from the office of the seed division here with printed charts, with samples of various seeds and summary information showing the results of the investigations in the seed laboratory of the department here. There were about 900 of these farmers' meetings held. We have no absolute definite information that this Bill was read and discussed at all of them, but the reports that have been received from the institute lecturers would indicate that it was discussed at all of them, and that there is a strong desire on the part of the farmers in Canada for an Act that will tend to suppress the evils connected with the seed trade. Twenty-seven of these reports have been received from agricultural lecturers each of whom spoke at a large number of meetings and they all clearly show that the provisions of the Bill were fully supported by the farmers at every meeting. The only suggestions that have been made by farmers were to the effect that the Bill should be made more stringent. A large number of letters commenting on the Bill have been received from individual farmers during the past two months, and in all of them there has been an urgent appeal for the passage of this Bill and asking that it shall be made law without any unnecessary delay. I may say further that no communication has been received from any farmer entering any protest at all, or in any way pointing out that the provisions of the Bill would hamper his operations. We have received communications from some 13 seedsmen, more than one letter from many of them. In some of these the provisions of the Bill were pointed out as being too stringent. Several of the seedsmen considered that having to label all packages of timothy, alsike and red clover seed would greatly hamper them in carrying on their business. Letters were received from two seed merchants in support of the Bill as it now stands. We received a number of resolutions that were passed by the following- organizations : The Farmers' and

Dairymen's Association of New Brunswick, on February 23, 1903; the Nova Scotia Farmers' Association on February 9, 1903 ;

the Ontario Agricultural and Experimental Union on February 5, 1904 ; South Renfrew Farmers' Institute at meetings held at Brudenell, ICillaloe, Stewartville, Loch Win-noch, White Lake, Burnston, Gratton, Mount St. Patrick, Shamrock and Renfrew, on February 27, 1904 ; the Central Farmers' Institute for British Columbia on April 27, 1904 ; the South Brant Farmers' Institute ; resolutions adopted at different meetings held in the riding, February 29, 1904 ; the East Peterboro' Farmers' Institute on December 5, 190.3 ; the Metchosen Farmers' the Farmer' Institute convention held at Indian Head, Assiniboia, Feb. 11, 1904 ; the Farmers' Institute convention held at Brandon, February 10, 1904, and Farmers' Institute meetings in Haldimand, Monck, Brant, Oxford and Norfolk, 33 meetings in all where after discussion, votes on this question were taken and resolutions passed. I am informed that there was no opposition to these votes.

Topic:   THE INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Has the hon. gentleman the resolutions that were passed, and can he tell the committee whether these Farmers' Institutes propose to adopt the hon. gentleman's Bill or a Bill in this direction ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

We received a good many of these resolutions from the officers of these institutes, though not all of them. We also have letters from several others of the Farmers' Institute, lecturers who state in general terms that a large number of resolutions favouring the Bill have been passed by a number of local Farmers' Institutes. In these cases particulars have not been received by the department. The council of the corporation of Matsqui, British Columbia, have also passed a resolution. While I am on my feet, perhaps I may say a few words in general terms upon this Bill.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Before the hon. gentleman proceeds to explain, I would like to say that I must confess that I am somewhat disappointed at the information the hon. gentleman has given us. I am thoroughly in sympathy with a measure in the direction in which this Bill goes, but it was rather a surprise to the committee, I am sure, to me to learn that the hon. gentleman has received no support generally for his Bill, as it is, from localities in Canada the least interested in many features of this Bill. I would like to know, to what very great extent the maritime provinces and the western provinces are interested in the cultivation of clover for instance. I am surprised to find that the Bill has been so little endorsed generally throughout the country. We all know that when resolutions are passed at these meetings in favour of a Bill, such resolutions refer to the provisions of the Bill generally, and not to its details. I think there should have been more general ap-

proval before the Bill was presented to the House.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There were in all thirty-three farmers' institute meetings.

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

A vote was taken in all of these, and there was no dissentient vote. These meetings were held in Haldimand, Monk, Brant, Oxford and Norfolk; some of them large seed-growing counties in the province of Ontario.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Will the hon. gentleman be good enough to read one of these reso lutions.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

And at the same time state how many persons were present at each of these meetings ; as a rule there are about half a dozen.

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?

Mr. FISHER .@

This is a specimen resolution -which was sent from Burford, Ont., and it is written by I. T. Taylor, secretary of the South Brant Farmers' Institute, and addressed to myself :

Feb. 29, 1904.

Dear Sir,-At a series of Farmers' Institute meetings held in South Brant during this month, the subject of good seeds, and weeds was discussed, and the Bill called the Seeds Control Act introduced by yourself at the last session of parliament, was brought before the farmers and discussed. The following resolution was adopted at seven different meetings in the riding, and I was instructed to forward a copy to you :-

Resolved (re Seeds Control Act), moved by Thomas Parkes and seconded by Owen McAlister, that we, the members of the South Brant Farmers' Institute having been made acquainted with the provisions of the Seeds Control Act which was introduced in the House of Commons last session and laid over on account of opposition from seed merchants and other, and for non-support by those directly interested, desire to express our hearty approval of the said Act, believing that it would be in the direct interest of the farmers of the Dominion if such a law were placed on the statute-books, and that a copy of this be sent to our representative and also to the hon. Minister of Agriculture.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

That looks like a stereotyped- resolution prepared and carried around.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I have no means of knowing anything of the kind ; it was not prepared and it was not stereotyped by any body in connection with my department. My statement is, I think, correct, that this Bill was discussed at several hundred farmers' gatherings of one kind or another since last session of parliament, and the opinion of the farmers expressed at these meetings was practically unanimously in favour of it. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Clancy) himself says that he is in sympathy with the Mr. CLANCY.

principle of the Bill. There are several interests in the country which are affected more or less by this Bill; there are the farmers who buy the seeds ; there are the men who deal in these seeds, retail and wholesale, and there are the producers of the seeds. The origin of this Bill was a feeling amongst the farmers that they had no means to protect themselves against paying for bad seed, and against the even far greater injury fo them of sowing weed seeds instead of genuine seeds. This feeling was most insistent amongst the farmers of Quebec and the maritime provinces, who have suffered more than the farmers of the great province of Ontario in this respect.

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

It is rather difficult to trace where they come from, but of course they are sold to the farmers by dealers. In the maritime provinces hardly any seed is raised for sale ; in Quebec a certain amount is raised for sale in a few localities, but the great bulk of the seed raised for sale in Canada comes from the province of Ontario. Most of that seed is raised in perfect good faith by the men who raise it. They raise it to the best of their ability under their present conditions and methods, for the purpose of selling it in a legitimate way. As a matter of fact, everybody knows, nobody better than the seed merchants who purchase it, that a great deal of that seed is not of first quality, but is mixed with weeds or other seeds, while a good deal is not well ripened and consequently is not germinal. I do not say this as any reflection on the men who raise the seeds. They have been carrying on this business for many years to the. best of their ability and in a practical way; but at the same time the results have not been what the purchasers of the seed had a right to expect.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

The hon. gentleman knows that farmers generally have not in their minds the idea that the grain or seed they are growing is to be used as seed. Does the hon. gentleman mean the farmers or the seed growers, and to a large extent the seed merchants ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I was speaking more particularly of small seeds like the seeds of grasses and clovers. Seed grain is raised very frequently without any intention of it being sold for seed purposes.

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Sometimes clover is, although I am in the judgment of those who know the business when I say that in most cases it is grown for the purpose of being sold as seed.

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CON

June 16, 1904