February 7, 1905

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That is the way that to i a very considerable extent the information is obtained by the Bureau of Industries of Ontario. Yet, it has been obtained successfully and accurately, so that those who are familiar with it accept it with confidence \ as being accurate. I do not see why information cannot be got for the rest of the provinces in the same way.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

If the information is already collected for the province of Ontario, what object has the minister in trying to collect it again ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

My hon. friend (Mr. It. L. Borden) will see that this information is gathered by the provincial government of Ontario. The same is done to a certain small extent by the provincial government of Manitoba. But it is not collected anywhere else in Canada. We want to obtain information for the whole Dominion. If the information is already gathered for the province of Ontario, then, under section 16 of the Bill, we are empowered to make use ol' it. We will not duplicate it. But, where the information has not been obtained, we will have to do the same work as has been done for the province of Ontario. But, even in Ontario, the figures cover only the facts for that province, and neither the people of Ontario nor any others have the figures for the whole Dominion. We know, for instance, how many horses there are in Ontario, but we do not know how many there are in the Dominion.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

How is the minister going to collect that information ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Just as it is collected in the province of Ontario.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR.

But let me call the minister's attention to the fact that the information for Ontario is not collected as he proposes to collect it elsewhere. The information for Ontario is collected by the assessors, whereas the minister proposes to collect it. by sending circulars indiscriminately to the farmers in the different localities. In the one case the information is authentic and reliable, and in tlie other it will not be.

Mr. BARR, it is tlie fact not only that the statistics in Ontario are carefuliy collected, but also that they are sent broadcast to the farmers. Every member of the agricultural society in the province of Ontario, and, I believe in tlie province of Manitoba as well, receives, week by week or month by month, the bulletins containing this complete and accurate information. And not only farmers but business men and men of all classes, have that information. And I cannot see in what way tlie minister proposes to increase the volume of our knowledge by the information he proposes to gather.

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?

Mr. F.@

iSHER. I do not expect to increase that knowledge so far as the province of Ontario is concerned ; but I want to try to get tlie same information for tlie rest of the Dominion and compile it with the knowledge we get from Ontario and make a national return covering the whole Dominion. My hon. friend from Haldimand (Mr. Lalor) says that this information collected by the provincial government of Ontario is furnished by the assessors. He is quite correct, to a certain extent, but not altogether, as I am informed. Some of it is collected by the assessors, hut a good deal is collected by direct communication with the farmers in tlie way I have suggested.

iir. LENNOX. The hon. member for Haidimand (Mr. Lalor) has assisted me in getting a partial reply from the minister as to the benefit to the farmers of Canada to be secured by collecting and disseminating this information. I understand the minister to say that, by reason of what lie proposes to do, the farmers will obtain more promptly, certain statistical information. He gives an illustration of that by saying that information will be. given, earlier than is now possible, as to the number of horses in tlie country, the number of acres under cultivation, the number of acres devoted to other uses and so on. But what, I ask the minister is this : Assuming that he is correct, how

is that going to benefit the farmers ? Is there any other way that he can suggest, beyond the one he lias mentioned, by which the farmers will benefit in the result of this measure ? If there is no other way, I am content to let the matter drop. But I want to be definite about it; to be able to say that I asked the minister to state all the benefits that would accrue from his plan and that I had a direct answer to my question.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I thought I answered that completely a few minutes ago when I said

tl'at the farmer wants information about his business which he has not got, but which will be collected and prepared for his use by the machinery X propose to establish under this measure.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

The minister does not seem to distinguish exactly the point.we put. He is assuming that certain information is necessary. Granting that we shall get certain information at an earlier day than we otherwise could-not very much earlier-I ask what dollar will the farmer make that he does not make to-day ? I have been unable, as yet, to see that the minister has explained that point. It may be owing to my density-

An lion. MEMBER. Hear, hear.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

In answer to the hon. gentleman who says hear, hear, I may say that I, at least, am trying to bring out information of interest to the people. But I have been unable to see what pecuniary benefit this will be to the people of Canada, and I spoke of the farmers merely by way of illustration. The minister has not yet explained that point so far as I can see.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I must grant to my hon. friend (Mr. Lennox) that the aetual dollars and cents value of statistics is rather difficult to define. We take a census every ten years. We issue reports from the several departments. I believe all this is a necessity of civilized government, and that the more of that information we can give the people concerning^ the business of the country the better it is for the jieople. And the sooner that information is before the people, and the better the shape in which it is furnished, the better they will be able to prosecute the enterprises in which they are engaged. I do not think I can particularize more tTian that.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

The minister does not seem to grasp the full meaning of his own Bill. lie is adopting a system that is partially in use in the United States. What good would the information now published under the United States system be if it were published a year or two later than it actually is under their present system ? The statistical information which is gathered in the United States by means which the minister proposes to adapt to Canada, is used immediately in the United States, where it is furnished within a week or two after the result is known. For what purposes is it furnished ? For commercial purposes, for railway purposes. You know the amount of corn which is likely to be cropped in a given year long before it is marketed ; the same with wheat, the same with cotton. The farmer in the United States knows the condition of the market every month. The Minister of Agriculture does not seem to know, to understand, or to grasp the object of this Bill he has introduced. The object of the Bill is to furnish Mr. FISHER.

to the mercantile class, to the farmers, and to the producers throughout the country, information as to the amount produced every month during the year. When he has possession of that information he knows what price to ask for his grain, or whether to hold it any longer. But the minister says, Oh, this information is supplementary to the' census, and it will be gathered a year or two afterwards.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think perhaps my hon. friend did not comprehend me when I spoke about the time the information would be given out. I meant that to refer to intercensus work to be done on a large scale. The office I speak of would issue interim bulletins much more frequently that that, information regarding crop returns, for instance, and matters of that kind, regarding which information would be given out from time to time as soon as it was obtained and compiled.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

The hon. gentleman stated also that this was a statistical Bill, an amalgamation of the census and statistics branches, that he was following the lines of the census law of the United States, the object of which he did not seem to understand. Then the minister speaks of the statistics gathered from the different provinces. What will be the result of the plan that he proposes to follow ? For instance, Ontario at the present time furnishes these agricultural statistics, so does Manitoba ; but as respects the other provinces, these statistics are to be procured at the federal expense. What will be the result ? The result will be that Ontario will say to this government, if you get this information at the expense of the Dominion for the other provinces while we have to pay for our own, we will drop our work, and you must pay for it the same as you do for the other provinces. All these things must be considered. The hon. gentleman brags about his census returns that he says he sent down to the printer so early that we will get it all in 1905, whereas the late government did not get their returns published till after 1897. He forgets to tell us the cost of the census of ten years ago, which was about half million dollars, and that of twenty years ago about $400,000, while his census up to the present time has cost about $1,200,000.

At six o'clock, committee took recess.

After Recess.

Committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to inquire where we are. I understand that you reserved your decision on a point of order until to-morrow. Has it been decided that we shall proceed with the Bill before we get your decision as to the point of ol der ?

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LIB

Charles Marcil (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

I understand that there was a kind of agreement entered into that the money clauses would not be taken up until the decision was rendered to-morrow.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

And that we shall go on with the other clauses ?

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LIB

Charles Marcil (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

Go on with the others, if there is no objection.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Clause 1 is a mere title clause, and that is generally left until the end. I would, therefore, ask you, Mr. Chairman, to proceed with clause 2.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Before you proceed with clause 2, I would like to have a little more information on this Bill, because it seems to me we are not going to realize what the hon. minister told the House we might expect to realize ; that is, by adopting this method suggested now we would materially reduce the cost of taking the census at each decennial period, and that we would get the census much more correctly taken than at the present time. In answer to a question, I understood the hon. minister to say that one of the ways in which this would be accomplished would be the education of certain parties to do the work. In order to ascertain whether that might be accomplished or not I inquired whether it was intended to educate the enumerators. I understood the hon. minister to say that it was not, that there were only certain parties in the office who would be working at the census from year to year between the ten-year periods. So that the parties, above all others, who, in my opinion, would require education to get the work correctly and expeditiously done- the enumerators-would not be touched by any provision of this Bill. I did not understand the hon. minister to say that they would be in any way touched.

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February 7, 1905