Of course they would have an explanation. Can you imagine a set of men banded together in an association handling between two and three million packages of cheese and butter not being able to give an explanation why they cut the farmers for shortage and never give them credit for overweight ?
-of avoiding cuts for short weight at the point in Europe to which they ship.
Do they know how they will weigh out in Europe ? If they do and if there is a shortage why do not they provide for it in the price they pay the farmers for the cheese and not take this underhand, unfair, dishonest means of getting even-and better than even-with the farming community of this country. Why, they admit the whole thing. They say that they are guessing at what the goods are going to weigh out in Europe. They intend to cut the farmer enough to pay for the shrinkage that may take place not only between his factory and Montreal but between Montreal and Europe. They buy the goods and surely they should be willing to run their own risk, instead of transferring to the farmer that risk of handling between this country and Europe as well as the risk between the factory and Montreal. That is a safe way of doing business, but it is mighty hard on the man who milks the cows and makes the butter and cheese.
This the undersigned looks upon as entirely another transaction for which the country maker should not be held responsible.
Mr. Parmelee is quite right-but the farmers are suffering just the same. And these hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House, by their neglect, by their indifference to the interests of the people, are permitting the farmers to be imposed upon by these men. And for what purpose ? The Minister of Agriculture told Mr. Bull to be careful to do nothing to disturb matters and create party capital, because that capital would be against his own party the one that he loves so much and serves so faithfully.
This is the Minister of Agriculture, who is
so much beloved by his party. I could well understand his writing that letter to Mr. (Bull, warning him to take no action that would hurt his party, but, on the other hand to let the farmers suffer, let them be hit, let them be bit. After he had warning, so much warning that he was obliged to take action, he went to work ; but when these gentlemen said: Stop, we are Liberals; we belong to your party-Mr. Ayer and all those gentlemen who are supporters of this government in Montreal, nine-tenths of these exporters belong to that party, perhaps nineteen-twentieths of them-1 say when these men interfered they received instructions to stop. The reports were slow, at last they came, and now they are pigeon-holed since the 22nd day of last October, and the farmers of this country continue to be cheated since that time.
The rule and the practice, the undersigned thinks, should be cancelled, and when a lot averages lull weight the maker should get the benefit thereof, or should get credit for all over weights instead of being mulct on the whole when a portion only is under weight.
This is the report of the commissioner whom this gentleman appointed. This is the man who represents the farmers, the practical farmer of this government. He has had time to frame his legislation here, but to-day we heard him spending his time trying to make political capital, getting up nothing more than campaign literature out of an organization of seedsmen. He had better spend his time in framing legislation to protect these men, instead of trying to reconstruct the Militia Department of Can ada. He should devote some more of his time to the farmers of Canada. There are many farmers in the counties of Missisquoi, Brome and Shefford who are suffering from the application of this tariff, who have suffered for years, and he knows it. He can spend time in interfering with the political part of a militia organization, but when it comes to the defence of the farmers' interests he has no time at his disposal, he is over-worked, he is too tired, he cannot get a move on. The farmers of this country must suffer from it.
Most of the butter and cheese is sold on Montreal weights, therefore the maker must rely on the integrity of the weigher, as he has usually no opportunity of seeing the packages weighed on their arrival, and for this reason there is a strong demand for the appointment of official weighers at the point of shipment. This in a general sense, the undersigned thinks impracticable as butter and cheese is shipped from nearly every railway station in Canada, and it is manifestly impracticable to maintain an army of official weighers to do the work.
The butter and cheese is usually sold at the various boards, but the delivery is not made at such boards except in so far as regards such as may have been manufactured in the immediate vicinity thereof, or nearer thereto than to any other station, so that even the appointment of official weighers at such boards would not afford the relief demanded.
The maker has the remedy in his own hands by declining to sell on Montreal weights and perhaps in some sections the competition between buyers is so great that they might come to terms and accept under certain conditions the factory weights, but the undersigned is of the opinion that such a course would only have the effect of creating dissatisfaction on the part of the buyer instead of the seller, and lead to as much friction, if not more, than at present obtains.
In conclusion the undersigned has the honour to suggest that the Act 28 Vic., chapter 6, be so amended as to provide for the appointment of weighers of butter and cheese by His Excellency the Governor in Council, instead of permitting such appointments to be made as at present, by boards of trade. This would give the weigher a status that he has not at present and would go far towards regaining the confidence of the factory men who now are aware that the weighing in Montreal is not in all eases done by an official weigher, but rather by an appointee of the butter and cheese association, which association is composed of buyers, some of whom might be, under the circumstances, regarded as exercising undue influence over a weigher when their own appointee.
(Sgd.) W. G. PARMELEE. Sir, that is the conclusion of this report vindicating the appeal of all these people from time to time for relief from the distressing conditions under which they found themselves placed. Mr. Parmeloe found he did not have to go very far ; he did not have to make a second or third visit to Montreal, his first touch at these centres showed him that there was something wrong, that there was something unjust, that there was something unfair towards the farming communities who shipped to Montreal, and that they were being deprived of money they ought to receive as the result of their labour. Mr. Speaker, I think I have said enough to satisfy every hon. member of this House that the government have been criminally neglectful, have been careless, and have been indifferent to the best interests of the dairymen who, in the eastern part of Canada at least, have been wronged i; the report practically tells us so. It tells us that the
system of taking all and giving nothing in return is not business, it is not law, it is not honest, it is not fair to those men who are working day after day and producing the dairy product of this country and shipping it to Montreal. It is not fair to them, and it is not creditable to this government that three years should have been taken up in getting out a report, and that when the report is out relief should not be given to these people, although recommended by that report, at the first meeting of parliament that takes place after the report is made. I say the Minister of Agriculture has been neglectful of his duty to the dairymen. He had enough evidence of this wrong before he ever appointed Mr. Farmelee, he had no need to appoint him. He did not need a roval commission to act, but the truth is that he was afraid of somebody, he