The general association which was formed here this winter passed what I might call preliminary or tentative by-laws. I have just sent to my department to get those and they will be here in a few minutes, but I hardly think it would be advisable to incorporate them in the Bill. The regulations and by-laws might be very different in each association. This Bill does not Mr. CLANCY.
contemplate the formation of one association only for the whole Dominion, but according to section 4, it provides :
Not more than one association for keeping the records of selected seeds for each different kind of seed or garden crop, shall he incorporated under this Act.
There might he an association for the growth of seed corn, another for the growth of seed wheat, and so on, and each of these would have different by-laws and regulations. In the Act incorporating live stock record associations, on which this Bill is modelled, there are no such by-laws or rules, nor are they to be found In the Acts incorporating various other agricultural organizations.
Under this Bill you can only have one distinct association for each kind of seed. But take localities where different classes of cereals are grown and where different associations may be formed, will you have one set of by-laws and rules for all ?
I do not think it would be possible for more than one association to be formed to deal with any one particular class of seed. The seed growing oats in the province of Ontario, for instance, would have to be under one association, but that association might have its local branches. Otherwise you would have a clash of authority between the different associations in the issuing of certificates. We would then experience the same difficulty which has arisen to a certain exteut in the live stock business, and there would be one class of pedigree or certificates which would be valuable and another of no great value.
The objection to legislation of this kind Is simply this. Although these corporate powers are given for a most laudable purpose, the danger is that they may result in the forming of corpor-tions for speculative purposes without the usual liability attaching to the parties connected with them. That might be remedied by giving power to any one upon certain conditions, such as the payment of fees and agreeing to certain by-laws, the right of becoming a part of the corporation. The danger of a Bill of this kind is that three or four parties may form themselves into an association and become a close corporation.
The by-laws must be approved by the Department of Agriculture, and certainly no Department of Agriculture would think of allowing a by-law to be passed which would prevent anybody Interested in the business becoming a member of the association. Sections 1, 2 and 6 guard against the danger my hon. friend anticipates.
I think that probably, so far as that point is concerned it would work
out under sections 1 and 2, in connection with the schedule. But what that brings us to is this-we are doing what we are fre
quently invited to do, we are framing skeleton legislation and leaving it to the minister to fill it in according to his judgment. We are putting into the hands of the minister not only powers that are frequently asked by the ministers, but we are going a good deal further than we usually go. We are asked to give the minister indefinite power in a new field, in an experimental ^matter where we have, so far as I know, nothing definite in the way of knowledge or experience. It would be right for the minister-and I presume he will do it when called upon-to give us a distinct statement of exactly what this association, when formed, is intended to do, and what their powers are to be, and to outline-as he has thought the matter out-what will be the effect of their action assuming that they carry out liiSj intentions. Now, here we have under section 4 :
Not more than one association for keeping records of selected seeds of each distinct kind of field or garden crop shall he incorporated under this Act.
Now, suppose that one association is made for .keeping t'he records of selected seeds of wheat, another for barley, and so on with the various kinds of grain. But it is not confined to grain for it covers garden products as well. Suppose, that five persons, as provided under this Bill, form a society to keep the records of seed wheat for Canada. (By what particular method this is to be done I do not know ; no doubt that will be explained to us.) But, suppose that all these five people live in the Klondike. We shall thus have in the most extremely distant portion of the Dominion the association that will have control of the records of seed wheat for Canada. And another association in a section distant from the centre of the Dominion may have control with reference to seed oats, and so on, Then, we have it in the Act that no other association can be formed. How that can be beneficial, or how it can work out satisfactorily, I am at a loss to know. The minister says-though the Bill does not say it- that there may be branch associations. I submit to the minister that that will not be found satisfactory. It is bad enough to have the parent association consisting of five members controlling the whole matter in regard to one kind of produce, but it would be infinitely worse if that association could farm out the business all over the Dominion. I submit that that will not be satisfactory. As I said, this may be a good Bill or a bad one, but it is certainly the duty of the members of the committee to have such facts placed before them as will enable them to judge that the Act will probably result in good. This is an experiment, and, until it is shown beyond all reasonable 230J
question that there is necessity for it, that there is a difficulty to be overcome and that this measure is likely to overcome it, we should not move in the direction proposed- we should not make a plunge in the dark. The first thing is to have the minister define clearly the object of this association, and to state how it is to accomplish that object, what power it will have when in operation and what control we shall have over these powers as exercised from time to time.
I think that if the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lennox) examines the Bill, he will see that section 5 answers most of the points he has brought up. From the experience of other agricultural associations, X infer that no by-laws will be proposed by the association-and certainly, if proposed they will not be approved by the department -which will .not authorize anybody interested in the business to join. Taking the instance given by hon. gentleman that five people in the Klondike form into an association for the selection of seeds for the growing of wheat, let us see how it would work out. If they submitted by-laws which were accepted, then anybody in Ontario or any other province might join the association, and the people in the Klondike would be immediately swamped by the majority against them if they attempted to do what was not in the interest of the production of this kind of seed throughout the whole of Canada. There is no possibility under the provisions of this Bill that any group of people can seize the association and manage it for their own gain, for every association must be open for people in any part of Canada to join it.
To provide that anybody engaged in tlfe business for which the association was formed migiit join ? I think that section 5 which provides for the admission, suspension and expulsion of members could be added to or we could put in a special section to provide that any person in the business would be eligible for membership.
I take it that this will be the same as the live stock associations. Any one who pays his $2 Is eligible to all the advantages of the association. When he wishes to register anything, all he has to do is to make out the papers according to the
prescribed form of the association and send his fee.
Mr. Chairman. I do not wish to seem petty or small, but there is a point of order which it seems to me worth while to call attention to. A number of gentlemen on the other side, entering the chamber, deliberately walk by this side, and do not even do the gentleman who happens to be speaking the courtesy of bowing as they pass. I noticed that last night the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) deliberately walked by the gentleman who iwas speaking, and did not even deign to bow as he passed between that hon. gentleman and the chair. The hon. member for West Huron (Mr. Holmes) has just walked *by on this side of the House past the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) and 'has not done him the courtesy of bowing, although this is not the side by which he has to pass. Now, the rule is clear that no member shall pass between the member who is speaking and the chair. Yet, the hon. member for West Huron has done it five or six times, while gentlemen on this side were pSpeaking. yet he did not even extend the courtesy of bowing his head as he passed. I do not like to bring these matters up, but I insist upon the rights and dignity of hon. gentlemen on this side being respected.
I understand the Minister of Agriculture to say that a largely attended meeting was held in the city of Ottawa during the winter for the purpose of giving some opinion respecting the formation of a society of this kind. I would like the minister to give the committee some explanation as to the number of representative men that assembled themselves together. Perhaps at the same time he would give some information as to the resolutions they passed, and what general demand for the formation of an association of this kind has come from the people of Canada. Perhaps the minister would say as to whether there were representatives from all the provinces of Canada, whether the introduction of a Bill of this kind has the approval of the Minister of Agriculture of the local governments, and of the officers of the experimental farms. What X fear is the danger that we are going to spread out this kind of tiling until the average farmer will not know just where he stands. It would bother the Minister of Agriculture himself to know -whether he is controlling the whole of the agricultural interests of Canada or not. It seems all these organizations should come within the scope and control of either the Dominion government or of the local government; and I rather see in this some indication that a certain .number of men may form themselves together for the purpose of registering seeds of different kinds, and then they will lead the farmers to believe that it will not be possible for them Mr. SPROULE.
to grow any other kind of seeds than those-registered. It may be that in certain sections of Canada people may be growing a class of seeds which it may not be possible to have registered under this association. I think it is a measure that requires mature consideration on the part of the minister. I fear he is rather hasty in this legislation. I think it would be interesting to the committee if the minister would give us full information regarding these gentlemen who-assembled together in Ottawa recently, what was their object, and whether they made any very extended recommendations to the minister for the introduction of a Bill of this kind.
I am glad to give the hon. gentleman the information he asks for. In regard to the provincial governments their Departments of Agriculture were all communicated with, and a good many of them were represented at the meeting which took place here about three or four weeks ago. They expressed their sympathy with this work.