July 21, 1904

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

No, it is merely for the purpose of legislation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED-GROWERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Will there be any fee for the certificates ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED-GROWERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That will be decided by 1lie association itself just as is done in the case of registration of live stock.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED-GROWERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
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CON

James Gilmour

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GILMOUR.

How can you compare the two ? Live stock continues, the animals registered are continued, but the seed must perish before being reproduced. We should know the conditions under which registration shall be continued. They ought to be set out in the Bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED-GROWERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

It would make the Act very cumbersome indeed to embody in it all the by-laws and regulations under which certificates can be issued.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED-GROWERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
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CON

James Gilmour

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GILMOUR.

I think it absolutely necessary. This gives very wide powers,' and we do not know where we are going to begin or end.

Progress reported.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED-GROWERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
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SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES.

CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I understood that we were .to have the supplementary estimates today.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Will the hon. Finance Minister tell us when he is going to lay them on the table ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

In the preparation of the estimates there is always the possibility of delay, and I doubt if they will be down until to-morrow. I cannot promise definitely, but I hope to lay them on the table to-night or to-morrow.

At one o'clock, House took recess.

House resumed at Three o'clock.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES.
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WEIGHING OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN MONTREAL.

?

Hon. W. S.@

FIELDING (Minister of Finance) moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WEIGHING OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN MONTREAL.
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CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RUFUS H. POPE.

Mr. Speaker, be fore you leave the chair, I wish to call tlm attention of the House to a subject of great importance to the farming community, especially to that portion of the farming community that is engaged in dairying. And I shall conclude my remarks with a motion. For many years there has been a great grievance with regard to the manner of weighing dairy products shipped from the port of Montreal. This grievance i felt especially by the eastern townships and by the eastern portion of the province ot Ontario. The urgency of the case was made apparent to the government some) three years ago, when they issued a royal commission, addressed to W. G. Parmelee, Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce, for the investigation of this matter. At the beginning of the session I endeavoured to get some information in connection with the matter. Over two years have elapsed since Mr. Parmelee held this commission. It was felt-and rightly felt-by the farming community who are interested in the sale of dairy products that their affairs are handled in a neglectful way, not at all in keeping, with their importance. For two years this matter has been hanging fire since Mr. Parmelee was appointed. Early in the session I took the opportunity to put the following questions

1. Was there a commission appointed to investigate the weighing of butter and cheese ?

2. If so, when was this commission appointed, and what was the name of the person or persons who constituted the commission ?

3. At what places, if any, did the commission hold sittings ?

4. Did they take evidence, and were reporters and newspaper representatives admitted ?

5. Has the commission reported ? ^f not, why not ?

6. At whose request was the commission appointed ?

This question was answered as follows :

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WEIGHING OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN MONTREAL.
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?

Rt. Hon. Sir RICHARD CARTWRIGHT (Minister of Trade and Commerce) :

1. Yes.

2. The commission was dated the 7th December, 1901. Mr. W. G. Parmelee, Deputy

Minister of Trade and Commerce, was the person appointed.

3. Sittings were held at Montreal, St. Hya-cinthe, Victoriaville, Brockville, and Cowans-ville.

4. Evidence was .taken. Reporters and newspaper representatives were present during the sittings at Montreal. None appeared at any of the other sittings.

5. Yes.

6. The commission was appointed in consequence of numerous complaints having reached the government re the weighing of butter and cheese.

You will notice, Mr. Speaker, that the Tight hon. Minister Of Trade and Commerce {Sir Richard Cartwright) stated that reporters and newspaper representatives were present at the sittings in Montreal. I had heard that that was not the case, that they were not permitted to be present. And so when I received this answer from the Minister of Trade and Commerce I took the opportunity of communicating with twc newspaper men in Montreal, the first was the reporter of the ' Gazette ' on that occasion. I received his answer as follows :

Reporters were not admitted, but were handed a prepared statement by Parmelee after the examination was over each day.

I also applied to Mr. Paul, of the ' Star,' and received the same answer in the shape of an affidavit. So it is evident that the answer given me by the Minister of Trade and Commerce is not in accordance with the facts. As the right hon. gentleman told me that the report had been made by Mr. Parmelee, I wrote to the right hon. gentleman (Sir Richard Cartwright) and asked him if he would be good enough to send me a copy. The right hon. gentleman replied That he would be very pleased to do so, but that the report was not in his hands ; it was in the hands of the Minister of Agriculture, and I would have to apply to that hon. gentleman. At that time it was rather surprising. But since then we have been afforded an opportunity to learn how the departments are being run in couples, so we are not at all surprised when we are sent from one department to another for information. So I wrote to the Minister of Agriculture. And, on the 27th May, eleven days after my letter to him, I received the following answer :

Department of Agriculture, Minister's Office, Ottawa, May 27th, 1904.

Dear Sir,-Yours of the 16th Instant would have been replied to earlier but that the report for which you asked was one in the Trade and Commerce Department. I have obtained it and have had a copy made so as to afford you the courtesy of receiving it before the order of the House Is passed as by your motion. I may add that I shall be very glad to facilitate the passage of the motion when it is reached.

Yours truly,

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WEIGHING OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN MONTREAL.
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SYDNEY FISHER.


R H. Pope, Esq., M.P., House of Commons, Ottawa. The motion referred to was one calling for all the documents in connection with this matter. The only thing I have received in answer to that motion Is a copy of that report. However, we on this side are accustomed to treatment of that kind from the government. Of course, the government is necessarily the custodian of documents relating to public matters. When we, as an opposition, seek to perform our duties in criticising the acts of the government, and those for whom they are responsible, we can only do so on the information contained in documents in the charge of the government. It is evident that in the public interest that information should be furnished promptly. But that is not the treatment that has been accorded to the apposition by the government of the day since they came into power. On many occasions we "have had to piece out the information as best we could, or wait until the government was pleased to furnish it. I presume that I will have to wait until next year for full information with regard to that matter to be forthcoming. However, there is sufficient in the report of Mr. Parmelee to warant me in the conclusion that the government have been neglectful of the best interests of th > farming community. This matter was very earnestly brought before the government and the people of Canada by Mr. Bull, a gentleman with whom the Minister of Agriculture was acquainted, for I found that that hon. gentleman gave Mr. Bull a certificate of character. So far as I am concerned, I have practically no acquaintance with Mr. Bull. I met him here once when he called attention to this matter, and he furnished me with certain information he had received from the Minister of Agriculture and others, as well as with many letters to him congratulating him on making the move in the matter five or six years ago. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) said of Mr. Bull in 1902 : Having known Mr. Bull for a long time personally, although not connected with him in any business way, I gave him that letter of introduction. Mr. Bull appears to have presented the letter to the High Commissioner's office and to have received a letter from Mr. Colmer, secretary to the High Commissioner, introducing him to certain people with whom he wished to open business relations. He also said : He has been a produce dealer there, and has done a good deal of buying and selling of butter and cheese in Montreal. He informed me that he wished to open direct communication with the old country and it was for that purpose that he asked from me a letter of introduction to the High Commissioner, so that when he went to England he might have somebody to whom to refer. Mr. Aaron Bull, whose name is mentioned there, is one of the most respectable and substantial farmers of my county, a gentleman whom I could trust and rely on in every shape and way ; an old Quaker, if I may use the term, whose



724S Dame is noted for integrity and substantial standing in the community in which he lives. Mr. Charles A. Bull is his son, and he is a young man who, as I say, went to Montreal some years ago to enter business, and who, as far as I know, has conducted himself in a proper and trustworthy way. So I take it for granted that Mr. Bull, being a trustworthy person, according to the Minister of Agriculture, I may have confidence in statements he may have made to me. It is not necessary for me to put on record all the letters and copies of letters from the various parts of the dairying sections of Quebec and eastern Ontario in order to show the absolute need of this investigation and of some change in the law. That would take a long time and would serve no good purpose. Sufficient to say that they ' are here in any number. The existence of them is known, no doubt, to the Minister of Agriculture and those who take an interest in this question. I find that the Minister of Agriculture, in 1900, in replying to the letter of Mr. Bull, said : About the city weighers. I am not sure 1 could appoint a man to weigh the butter. I could, however, perhaps authorize somebody like Ruddick to be a referee in cases of dispute. If you or anybody else will work up a case such as you describe in general terms there is no doubt we could make such a row about it that either the local government or I would have to appoint a weigher. Instances such as you give me, if in detail as to dates, &c., and accompanied by such certificates carefully prepared and tabulated, would present such a case before the dairy associations or before the Butter and Cheese Board that they could not help acting. That was the opinion of the Minister of Agriculture in 1900. He felt that he was corresponding with a man of some consequence and worthy of his confidence. This is further shown by the fact that it was since then that the minister gave Mr. Bull the certificate of character to which I have referred. Now, we find that, on 27th March, 1901, he says : I have yours of 25th March. It is of the utmost importance that you should send me at once all the papers on the short weight matter. So, back in 1901, three years ago, this was a matter of urgency in the best interest ot the farmers of this country, and deserved immediate attention. And when I read this report, although the evidence upon which it was based was taken behind closed doors, without any of the frankness about the investigation that ought to have been manifested, it becomes clear that enough was known to warrant the commissioner in making this report, and to warrant the government in seeking to make a change in the system of weighing. However, after three years there does not seem to be the same urgency about the matter. The minister says in another letter to Mr. Bull :


CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

Department of Agriculture,

Ministers's Office,

Ottawa, April 20th, 1901.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SYDNEY FISHER.
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?

Charles A.

Bull, Esq.,

441 St. Paul Street,

Montreal.

My dear Bull,-I have yours of the 16th. I find your statement and the papers you sent me so-utterly inadequate that I will have to try and work it out with you personally if I can in any way succeed in getting a definite or clear statement from you. I have not had a moment's time in which I could do it this week. As soon as I have it I will send for you, but there is no use of your coming up here when I can't see you. In the meantime, I have written to the Board of Trade asking for a list of those authorized to-weigh. I have looked up the law and found just who is empowered and authorized to appoint all weighers in Montreal. I find that McLeod is not so authorized. I have written to him asking on what authority he puts his advertisement in the paper and weighs butter and chee3e. I am-moving in the matter as fast as I -possibly can, and the reason of any delay that there is, is because you have not been able to give a clear and definite statement which would be of any use in a public discussion in a matter of this kind.

Yours sincerely,

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SYDNEY FISHER.
Permalink

SYDNEY FISHER.

July 21, 1904