If my hon friend will send us a note we will look into it. i want to say there is a prejudice all over this country against prison-made goods, and that prejudice applies to binder twine and operates to the detriment of the factory. It is a prejudice that is fostered in some directions probably by the labour unions. Of course, we think that our twine is good. I am so advised at all events, and I see no reason why in the interest of Canada at large, our twine should not be bought. After all, this is the people's factory ; the people of Canada are flaying for this. It is an attempt honestly made by the government to protect the farmers of Canada against the combine outside; and even if it does cost a little to keep it going, it seems to me that the people of the country ought to appreciate the fact that we are making this effort.
The hon. minister has told us that this is an effort to protect the farmers. I would like him to tell me how he is going to protect the farmers by putting his twine on the market at a price just a shade below the price fixed by the great American trust. It is well known that the cost of twine is not what fixes the price; it is just what the great American trust chooses to fix it at ; and yet the minister fixes his price just. within a shade of the combine price. Under these circumstances, I do not think that he is offering much protection to the farmer. The way to fix the price would be upon the basis of the actual cost of the material and labour. I believe the best twine made in the country is not pure manilla. I do not think the farmers want pure manilla. They want a twine composed of about 60 per cent manilla and 40 per cent sisal. The quantity of pure manilla twine used in this country is quite small as compared with the mixed twine. If you take 60 per cent of the cost of a pound of manilla fibre and 40 per cent of the cost of a pound of sisal, and remember that about 20 per cent of the whole Mr. BLAIN.
thing is coarse oil, a cheaper article, you will bring the cost of the binder twine very much below the figure which the minister gives. That would be the true way to fix the price if you wanted to protect the farmer, and not simply to shade below the price of the combine.
There is a good deal of (his twine sold in my section of the country; but the farmers got a bad impression of it because at first they could not get the twine they wanted, and later on it was sold to a private dealer for about half the money they paid. For instance, the farmer paid 10c a pound and the private dealer bought the balance for 5c, and the impression got abroad that the department were selling at too high a price to the farmer, and were losing on what was sold to the private dealer. With regard to the price, it is generally conceded that whatever the raw material costs, binder twine can be made at a fair profit for about lc a pound ; so that if the raw material cost an average of Sic. a pound, the government could sell it at 94c and have a fair profit. I would suggest that if the government would allow a small commission to some person to go around among the farmers and take orders, they would sell a very much larger quantity of twine. The complaint of parties who took orders in my section was that they practically got nothing in the shape of a commission that would be a fair compensation for their labour, or they could have sold a great deal more of it. That might be done for the benefit of both the department and the farmers.
I move that the House do now adjourn. My hon. friend yesterday asked me for some information in regard to the Transportation Commission. The Commission to-day is composed of Mr. Robert Reford, of Montreal ; Mr. Edward C. Fry, of Quebec, and Mr. J. H. Ashdown, of Winnipeg. It has not made a report. I think it made an interim report last year in regard to St. John. Mr. Reford, I am sorry to say, has tendered his resignation on account of illness. We have asked him to reconsider his determination, and have not heard from him since.