January 31, 1905

CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Because it applies to another portion of section 4. As I stated a few minutes ago, there are two conditions in clause 4, and clause 5 regulates or controls to a certain extent the first condition, but does not interfere in any way with the second condition. My hon. friend who spoke a few minutes ago insists that it does. I cannot help it if he does not understand it.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

Edward Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

As a plain, practical farmer, I wish to say that there is the trouble. The minister says he is pleading for the poor farmer. Well, I am one of them.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

My hon. friend is not a poor farmer.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

Edward Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

I made my Jiving as a farmer, which you never did. If the hon. gentleman does not understand farming better than he does this Bill, he would be in a very humble position in life if he tried to make his living by it. He tells the farmers that they can understand this Bill thoroughly. If it is so plain, how is it that the Minister of Agriculture, with all his wisdom, cannot explain it so that the lawyers of this House can understand it ? What position will the poor farmer be in w7hen he goes before a court? I want to impress this on the hon. gentleman's mind- because it requires a great deal to impress a fact on the mind of a gentleman who is so conceited that he thinks he knows it all- that this Bill is so complicated that with all his explanations he cannot bring it down to the comprehension of the lawyers of this House. I wonder if the Minister of Justice understands the Bill that he has drafted.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT.

I want to draw attention to the word ' free ' used in clause 4. I understood the hon. minister to say, when discussing clause 3, that he did not expect absolute purity; but the word ' free ' as used in clause 4, is not a comparative term; it is absolute, so that if there is one impure seed in a bushel it cannot be said to be free. That is an impossibility. There must be absolute purity from all the seeds enumerated in clause 3, and also those named in clause 4.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

No, no. That is just why I want clause 5, to which another hon. gentleman objects so much, so that we may make a regulation to provide that absolute freedom to a certain extent as it may be found necessary.

On section 7-exemptions from the Act,

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

Thomas Chisholm

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHISHOLM.

Why should the provision for cleaning seeds be confined to merchants ? It seems to me that the farmers should be included. A cleaning machine costing $800 might be purchased and taken

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

around from farmer to farmer in the same way as is done with a threshing machine.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

If the seeds were cleaned in the way my hon. friend suggests, by the farmers themselves, they would not be sold at all until after they were cleaned; and then they would not require to be exempted.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

Thomas Chisholm

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHISHOLM.

If the Minister of Agriculture took steps to educate the farmers as to the different kinds of seeds, he might encourage them to prevent the spread of noxious weeds without embarrassing them so much. If he had sample cases prepared, such as I think he has already prepared, with noxious seeds contained in small bottles, properly labelled, and if every seed merchant were compelled to have one of these cases on exhibition at the place where he sold seeds, and at the same time have a bottle containing the seeds he was selling absolutely free from impurities, so that the farmers could see them, he might in that way do a great deal to educate them without hampering them, and prevent a great deal of litigation.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am glad to hear the suggestion of my hon. friend. We have been trying to do that kind of work. We have had prepared a cardboard box containing samples of the weed seeds known in the country and are distributing those boxes to those who deal in seeds and the agricultural organizations throughout the country. That is one of the educational factors that we have been making use of in order to instruct the farmers so that they may be able to examine what they buy. We are not restricting our efforts to educate the farmers but on the contrary are increasing them.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT.

Are the provisions in clause 7 intended to apply to seed sold for export ? There are many noxious weeds which thrive in a climate such as ours, but might not mature in Great Britain, France or Germany, and seeds containing the seeds of such weeds might not be prejudiced thereby to anything like the same extent in those countries as in Canada. Will the provisions of this Bill apply to such seeds when sold for export ? The bulk of the seed trade in Ontario is with foreign countries, and it is not desirable that we should in any way restrict those markets.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Section G provides that no person shall sell or offer or have in his possession for sale for the purpose of seeding in Canada-Any seeds of timothy, &c.

I do not think that this restriction is in any of the other sections, but I might say that, as a matter of fact, our seed merchants export almost entirely the highest quality of seed. That is one of the evils we have to contend with, namely, that the best quality is exported and the inferior sold in Canada. The best quality is exported to countries where they have just such legislation as

we are now proposing. Consequently these countries have been able to get better seeds than our own farmers can procure. The Bill applies to all seeds held for sale in Canada, whether intended for export or not. If it did not, we would be constantly hampered in the enforcement of the law by having to decide whether the seed was intended or not for export.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT.

What the hon. minister says may be true as regards European markets, but the United States are prepared to buy all grades of seeds. They will not pay the same prices, but will buy any seeds at* a price. It appears to me important that this Bill should only apply to seeds sold retail for use in Canada. Why should we lessen the value of goods which we send to a foreign country ? If you will prevent dealers from buying certain seed even for export, you will make a marketable commodity a dead stock in the hands of the growers or merchants. I do not think this Bill should apply to seeds intended for export. We can safely let the foreign countries look after their own interests.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I have no desire to protect foreign countries, but the difficulty of carrying out this measure would be very much greater if -we were to allow seed to be held in this country, ostensibly for export. of a quality inferior to what is allowed to be sold in the country.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. A. A. WRIGHT.

I do not agree with the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cock-shutt). We should apply to seed for export the same test as to seed for use in the country. We should endeavour to gain the reputation of growing the best seed in the world, just as the growers in Germany of the sugar beet seed are reputed to grow seed that cannot be excelled. France has a similar reputation for cauliflower seed. When you want the best cauliflower seed, you must go to France. One word with reference to the fear expressed that this trade will go into the hands of a very few. As a matter of fact, the wholesale trade is limited to a very few and that is a good thing. How does this particular trade work' A wholesale firm sends out a traveller to the retail dealers in Renfrew. He tells these dealers that if he can sell a sufficient quantity to send a carload to the town of Renfrew, whence it could be distributed to the various other places, he will do it on more favourable terms. The freight is a very important factor. If the retailer can buy at wholesale prices every kind of seed he* wants and have it delivered cheaply at his own door, he will not fail to do so because he would then be able to undersell everybody else in his own vicinity.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Henry Horton Miller

Liberal

Mr. MILLER.

If the Bill should pass in its present shape, it may lead to some confusion. and some guiltless persons may possibly suffer. The main object of the Bill is to protect the farmer who desires to keep his farm clean and to purchase seed free from noxious weeds. I would suggest that in every case the purchaser should be entitled to a certificate from the seller to the effect that the seller has sold a certain quantity of a certain seed to the purchaser for seed purposes and has sold it, knowing that he is incurring all the responsibility under this Act. We should provide further that any seed sold without such certificate shall be deemed to have been sold for other than seeding purposes. That would meet the many objections raised. The objection that this Bill would drive the trade into the hands of the large dealers does not apply. As a fact the majority of seed merchants purchase their seeds from the wholesale seed merchants who have the appliances for cleaning.

Again, if we say that, in order that the farmer may be protected by the provision of the Bill, the seed merchant in the country store will suffer, then, I say, so let it be; it is a case of the greatest good to the greatest number. We might apply the same argument and say : We will allow every

person to sell drugs : We will allow every person to practice medicine. But we do not apply the argument in that way. There is another thing that, in my opinion, might be provided for by the Act and is not. I have known many cases of farmers purchasing in the spring what they believed to be turnip seed, but what they found out too late to be rape seed. It seems to me that where that is done there must have been not merely negligence but deliberate fraud.

If there is any way of punishing the man who is guilty of selling for turnip seed something that is utterly worthless for the purpose for which it is purchased, it would be well, I think, to cover the case in this Bill. There is another point which may not properly come under this Bill as it is at present, but which could easily be allowed for by some little change in the title and might be provided for in a special section.

I would suggest that there should be a provision in the Bill that the man owning or having under his control a threshing machine should be obliged, before he leaves the premises of one farmer to go to those of another, to thoroughly clean his separator.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I sympathize very much with the remarks of my hon. friend (Mr. Miller) in many of the points he has raised.

1 may tell him frankly, that, in consequence of the opposition to the details of the Bill,

I have thought it best to take one step at a time. I hope the day will come, and not very long hence, when we shall be able to go further than is provided for in this Bill, but I suppose it will be impossible, at one fell swoop to effect all the reforms in the seed trade that we would like to see, parti-_ - cularly as that trade has existed hitherto'

without control or supervision. I hope that, in the future, provisions shall be made, such as my hon. friend speaks of, but at present, I fear, we can hardly go as far as he would like. As to his first suggestion concerning a certificate accompanying every sale of seed, under the provisions of the Act, there is a subclause in section 3 providing that a certificate can be given that the provisions of the Act do not apply, but, in every other respect all the processes of the Act shall apply to every sale without a certificate required or given.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

Is any law similar to tliis in force in any country so far as the minister knows, and if so, does it work well ?

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January 31, 1905