February 7, 1905

CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

Clause 4 says there shall be appointed under the authority of the minster one or more enumerators. Now what would be the character of those men? Would they be permanent government officials?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

No. These enumerators would be appointed when a census was to be taken. As I explained a moment ago, most of the information taken between the regular censuses would not be obtained by correspondence. I also pointed out that such information as the taking of a census of the population in Manitoba, or in any other province where the law requires it, would have to be taken by enumerators. But the collecting of statistics in regard to production, in regard to industries, and that kind of thing, would not require to be done by enumerators-unless it was thought absolutely essential to get occasionally more definite information upon particular subjects. Then we would have authority, if it was thought wise and if we got the money to do it with, to appoint enumerators besides those of the census year. But that would be entirely dependent upon a vote of the House, because the money I am speaking of would not nearly meet the cost of appointing enumerators around the country to get information. My hon. friend will see that that clause deals with the appointment of enumerators for every census. The clause goes on to say :

The minister may also employ from time to time such agents or persons as are necessary to collect for the office of statistics and information relating to such industries and affairs of the country as he deems useful and in the public interest, and the duties of such agents or persons shall he such as the minister determines.

That is the authority under which the information would be collected when it is necessary to collect it by agents. But in a general way, my idea is that that information should not be collected by agents, but should be collected by filling up forms through the post office.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

May I ask the minister if he has considered that under the assessment law in the different provinces, the local governments collect ail this information every year ? This could be obtained from the local governments without the expenditure of this large amount of money. For instance, in the province of Ontario every year assessors are appointed who take the number of children in a house, the number of horses, cattle and so on.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

If my hon. friend will turn to clause 16 of the Bill he will see that:

Whenever in any province or territory any system is established or any plan exists for collecting agricultural, commercial, criminal, educational, manufacturing, vital or other statistics, the minister may, under authority of the Governor in Council, arrange with the Lieutenant Governor in Council of such province or territory, or with the organization possessed of such system or plan, for the collection and transmission of such information as is required by schedules prepared by the office under direction of the minister and approved by the Governor in Council "for the procuring of such statistics.

That gives us the authority.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

May I ask the hon. minister if it is his intention to adopt that for the province of Ontario ? The hon. gentleman is well aware that in Ontario the assessment is made every year. Therefore, may I ask the hon. minister if he intends to have enumerators in Ontario in addition to those who are now doing this work, or are we to understand that in Ontario there will be no new enumerators appointed ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Wherever the statistics can be obtained from an existing organization the intention is, under the powers of this Bill, to utilize that existing organization, and in no case, under such circumstances, to create a new organization to do the same work.

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CON

John Waterhouse Daniel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DANIEL.

I would like to ask the hon. minister what method he proposes to adopt to collect the vital statistics especially in the eastern provinces. In the province of Nova Scotia at present I believe they have no Registration Act, and I would like to know how he expects to collect the statistics there or in New Brunswick, or if

he intends really to have a system to collect the vital statistics of the whole Dominion, so that we can get them fully and correctly.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Clause 15 of the Bill gives that power, and it would be my intention to utilize that power for that purpose.

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?

Mr. D.@

iNIEI.. Is it the intention of the hon. minister to take action in the direction of collecting the vital statistics of the Dominion ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I may say in general terms that while I have not formulated any plan of doing that at the moment, I think it is perhaps one of the earlier classes of information that we ought to attack. The vital statistics are at present pretty well collected in most of the provinces. Wherever they are we would utilize the provincial machinery for that purpose, and simply get the information from the authorities who have collected it. Wherever that was not done in a province or in any other way than provincial we would feel it necessary to obtain that information. '

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

Does that mean that the hon. minister proposes to perform duties that the provinces are doing for themselves and impose upon the people of the Dominion an expense that is not justified ? The provinces have the power to collect these statistics and in my own province they are doing it. If it goes abroad that where a province fails to do that which it ought to do the Dominion is ready to pay the cost out of its own exchequer, there will be an abandonment of a great many matters which belong to the provinces and the whole load will be imposed upon the Dominion. I hope the hon. minister will consider that before he embarks upon a proposition of that kind.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

In this connection perhaps my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture will allow me to remind him that in the province of Quebec, as the hon. minister knows, we collect many statistics and the scope of these statistics has been enlarged a little by perfecting our system of vital statistics. My hon. friend knows that under our municipal system, the secretary treasurer of each municipality is obliged to furnish to the government every year a very large quantity of information particularly concerning the agricultural districts. It does not cost anything, as my hon. friend from Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) reminds me. My own feeling is, without having studied very carefully my hon. friend's Bill, that it would give us a great deal of relief if my hon. friend would allow that Bill to stand over, at any rate, for one year. It is surprising the amount of money we have spent in order to take the last census. My hon. friend is aware that we have spent, I think, $1,250,000, or somewhere near that sum-a great deal more

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CON

John Waterhouse Daniel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DANIEL.

than we ever spent before. It seems a very large sum to spend to find out the population of the country that scarcely amounts to six million souls, and from what I have seen, census taking costs more in Canada than it costs in any other country, having regard to population, except, perhaps, India, because in India there is a prejudice and fear on the part of the natives in re' gard to the enumerators and census officers, which certainly does not exist here. I would submit to my hon. friend that he might, instead of enacting this Bill this year, bestow some consideration on the system of census taking which .is known as the de facto system and w'hich is the system prevailing in England. I was astonished some time ago upon reading in a review how easily and how promptly the census was taken in England and at what a comparatively small cost as compared with w'hat our census costs us here. Papers, formulas, or blanks are distributed, and the whole census in England is taken in the space, I think, of one or two days, at least the principal portions of it. Each citizen is obliged to make a return under severe penalties. This is the de facto system as opposed to our own system which is the de jure system. I have noticed that this last census has cost us a great deal more than any other census which has been taken. We take it every ten years and after the little word of explanation my hon. friend has given us of this Bill, it is reasonable to conclude that we are laying the foundation for an expenditure during the next ten years of from $35,000 to $45,000 a year. I think it is -well for us to pause, because we have so much to do with the little money at our disposal, so many improvements that are absolutely necessary. Our constitution provides for a decennial census, and for my part I would like to spend a little more every ten years to get correct information than to make the census a permanent burden upon our resources.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

My hon. friend (Mr. Monk) has brought into the discussion twro points which I will not elaborate upon just now. One is the cost of the last census and the other is the question of the de facto as compared with the de jure census. In regard to the former we have discussed that a good deal, we have threshed it out pretty well and I am not going to deal with it just now. In regard to the de facto and de jure census I may say that the de jure system was deliberately adopted in Canada at the commencement of our census taking, at the time of confederation, I think, in fact, before confederation, and it has been continued from that time to this. At the time at which I was charged with the duty of taking the last census, I discussed pretty thoroughly with a number of Individuals whom I thought informed upon this question the advisability of proposing a change

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from the de jure to the de facto system. While theoretically a little attracted myself personally to the de facto system I came to the conclusion that in this country and under the circumstances and conditions of our census taking it would be unfortunate, and that it would not be at all advisable to attempt to introduce the de facto system because the change necessarily would to a certain extent vitiate comparisons between the information gathered under one census taken de facto with the same information gathered in another census taken de jure. But, more than that and 1 think far more important was the fact that under the system which is pursued in England when the census returns are taken, as my hon. friend says, de facto, taken in one day, or one night, there is very little information got. There is simply the counting of heads, or noses, and some vital or mortuary statistics. There is nothing taken in regard to the industries of the country. There is no information gathered as to the productions of the country, as to houses, factories, as to plani, machinery or investments in the'se factories, as to the amount of the product that is turned out, or as to the agricultural productions of the country. The census taken in England is taken cheaply. It is taken in one night but it only gives the actual figures of population and some vital or mortuary statistics.

Our census is taken on an entirely different system.. The census in the United States is on a larger scale than ours, but it is on the same principle, and I venture to think that, especially in this a rapidly growing and progressive country, one of the most important parts of a census taking is tlie collection of information as to our industrial, agricultural, fishery and forest productions, to furnish information to people who want to invest money or to settle in this country and also to furnish information to those who are engaged in the active life of this country as to openings and the possibilities of development in their own lines of business. I would be sorry indeed to think that our census should be changed to a census such as that taken in England, even to make that saving to which my hon. friend alludes. The two things are totally different, and with census taking of the kind we have here, the de jure system works out on the whole the most satisfactorily. Under our .social system here there are a great many people who are away from home at any particular date. If these people were to be enumerated only where they were at that date, the information gathered would be in many'cases misleading as we have to take not only the actual counting of the people, but also all this other information to which I have alluded, and we can easily take the number of people even though they might not be under the roof in which they ought to be numbered on that particular date. Our census is not taken in a night,

but it is taken during a very short period, of two or three weeks, during which the information is gathered by a comparatively small number of enumerators. If the work was done as it is in England we would have to depend entirely on the people [DOT]filling up correctly a paper left at their houses, and I think we would be led astray by the results even in the number of the people alone, but to get the other information, would be quite impossible.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Are you not introducing the same principle here where y'ou send out papers and expect parties to make returns ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

We expect selected parties not evex-ybody. In the case of industrial establishments all the information is obtained from the people actually engaged in the management of the industry who would be able to give us the information we want. We are not goiixg to every household, but only to the people who will give information about the industries and who can also give it about other things.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

You would have to send them to a class of people intelligent enough to understand. There ax'e not sufficient instructions accompanying these schedules to enable every one to understand them, and therefore tliey will not be correctly answered.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think my hon. friend does not quite understand me. In the case of in-dustilal establishments of course the form would have to be sent to every establishment ; in the case of other information a great deal of it would have to be gotten from an official or individual in the community who would give the information in general terms. That infoi'mation would not be absolutely accurate; it would be sufficient to give the information, but not sufficiently accurate for census pui'poses. We cannot expect, without actual enumeration, absolute accuracy, but in general statistical work we can get by shell a system as I have indicated information sufficiently accurate to serve between the census.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Do we not get much of this infoi'mation already through the Statistical Branch of the Department of Trade and Commerce ? Then too, much of it is obtained from the Bureau of Industries, that is carried on for the province of Ontario which makes these returns annually, while the Department of Trade and Commerce makes its returns every month. It seems to me this is duplicating this work.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I have not under my hand at the moment the report of the Department of Trade and Commerce, but unless I am mistaken that is compiled to a large extent simply from the customs returns and does not give the production. I do not think it goes into industries at all ; I know it does not go into agricultural, forestry or mineral

production. I am speaking now subject to correction, but I think it is purely in regard to the movement of trade and is prepared almost entirely from the trade tables of the Department of Customs.

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February 7, 1905