February 7, 1905

CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Ur. SPROULE.

I understood it was to extend not only to the Department of Trade and Commerce, but to the Department of Minerals and to the various other branches of industry. That is my remembrance of what was told the House when the Bill was t passed. This information was to be collect' ed and a certain number of parties iu the office were to be permanent officials to collate these figures and to publish them in such a shape that they could be issued from month to month and distributed throughout the country. I am not prepared to say if the production was to be given. That information we in Ontario, get from the Bureau of Industries. I think we have a permanent staff in connection with the census working for the whole ten years.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

We have a staff which is working on statistics and which prepares the year book annually, practically nothing else.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

How many years is it since the census was taken ? We are now in 1905 and it was taken in 1901. The work of the census has all been done and yet you still have that staff ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

As I said in answer to a question by the bon. member for Leeds (Mr. laylor) yesterday, the work of the census as a census has been finished. There is still a small staff which is working on general statistics trying to work out tables and information from the census compilations. That is a portion of census work which is practically permanent and which the office that I am now about to create will be doing all the time from one census to another. Such information as is contained in former census volumes has been prepared and finished ; but there is a constant desire to make comparisons and to draw tabular information from these regular compilations of the census which would supply work for a considerable staff from one census to the other. That work would be done all the time by this office. But besides that, I want to get corroborative or corrective information between the censuses. There is an infinite variety of information of great service to the community to be made up from the census returns and from tables which have perhaps never been included in the census volume, but which can be and ought to be taken for the statistical information of the people at large, and which ought to be issued from time to time. As I have said, there is a little of that work now being done in my office, and, if this Bill passes, there may still be a little of it done by the general statistics staff ; but I want to provide a machinery by which that can be Mr. FISHER.

done better and by which interim information can be collected between the censuses.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It certainly seems to me that this Bill will duplicate many of these offices. We have already a mines branch in connection with the geological survey which collects mining information; we have a staff collecting information for the Yearbook ; and we have a staff connected with the Department of Trade and Commerce collecting much of the information which the hon. minister proposes to use in this new department. If we add another branch to these three, shall we not be rather multiplying the work ? You might possibly consolidate the work, and make one staff do the work now done by three or four ; but unless you do that, it seems to me that you will be increasing the expense, very materially without obtaining any compensating return therefor.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

With regard to the Yearbook staff, that is in my department and will be consolidated with this. With regard to the mines branch referred to by my.hon, friend, I confess that I am not very familiar with what information they are issuing,

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That would be included in the work proposed here. My memory of the Trade and Commerce returns is that they are simply a compilation of trade statistics.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I understood the hon. minister to say that the annual expense of this proposed office will be between $35,000 and $40,000 per year-say $40,000. In ten years that will amount to $400,000. Are we to understand that when the time comes for taking the general census, the cost of that work will be decreased by that amount as a result of the introduction of this Bill ?

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LIB
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Are we to understand, then, that the cost will be increased by that amount ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I mean to say that when the census year comes, the census will have to be taken, and that the work connected with this office will only decrease the cost of that work in so far as the staff of this permanent office will be more complete and better prepared for the census work.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I suppose some calculation has been made. Perhaps the hon. minster could say about what amount that would be ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I would not like to venture a statement on that point. I believe it would somewhat decrease the cost of taking the decennial census. I could not just say how much until I have had experience.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

So far as my knowledge goes, I have not heard that there is any de-

niand from the public or from the members of this House for any more statistics of this character. It may be that some of the work proposed by this Bill could be done by strengthening some of the departments that already exist. We have now a duplication of statistics, as in the Trade and Navigation returns and the report of the Department of Trade and Commerce. We are overloaded with statistics ; we have more statistics than any member of this House can digest. It is a very difficult matter to know how to dispose of the various books that come to us during the recess, in such a manner that they will be useful. Moreover, we are spending an enormous amount of money on the census. While the census of 1881 cost $456,904.19 and that of 1891 cost $570,115.54, the census of 1901 has cost up to the 7th of March, 1904, $1,179,376.01, and notwithstanding that the complete census is not yet at the disposal of members of this House or ready for distribution to the public. No later than this afternoon 1 inquired for the last volume or the last two volumes, and I was told that there are certain portions not yet completed ready for distribution, although four years have passed by since the census was taken. It seems to me that there is a good deal of theory in this Bill ; and, considering the tremendous cost of taking the census and the immense amount of statistics we already have, and the duplication of statistics that takes place at present, it seems to me that we ought to hesitate about adopting such an elaborate plan as that laid before us in this Bill.

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

I fail to see the necessity for this enormous expenditure. I do not think the hon. Minister of Agriculture has considered fully the very valuable statistics we now have in our different provinces and territories. For instance, in the province of Ontario we have almost every statistic that could possibly be required. We have the annual report of the Ontario Bureau of Industries, in which you will find all the agricultural statistics which could conceivably be obtained in our province ; and I understand that there are similar x-eports in the province of Quebec and the other provinces. Then, we have repox'ts in regard to the industrial industries of the province. In fact, our pi-ovince has an army of inspectors going about obtaining statistics in regard to the different industries of the country, and their reports are very full and complete. We have also our annual report as to population, births, marriages and deaths.

We also have reports regarding the mining industries of Ontario and covering in fact all the industrial, agricultural, and mining life. As I understand the proposition here, under sxxbsection 2 of section 4. is that the minister takes to himself the right to employ from time to time such persons as ai'e necessax-y to collect statistical infoi'm-21

ation, and he tells us that, according to his intex'px'etation of that section, he will inquire from parties who are friendly throughout the different provinces and they will give him the information. But sxxch information "cannot be as valuable as that which we find in the repox*ts issued by the different provincial authorities. We are going to add an expenditure in the next ten years of half a million dollars, according tc the statement of the hon. minister, for reports which are not authentic and wixieh are to be obtained from the friends of the minister throughout the Dominion, and this, in spite of the fact that we have to-day in the different provinces, authentic reports of a similar character which ax-e issued yearly. I quite agree with my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) that this Bill should stand over until we have the opportunity to look mox-e carefully into it. Take up the last report for the pi-ovince of Ontario issued by the Ontario Bureau of Industries, and you will find the minutest details given regarding the crop production. Yoxx will find that they take up the question of fruit trees and live stock, and labour and wages, and give statistics on all these points. Then take up the factory inspector's report and yoxx will find that it gives the number of employees, the output of the various indus-tx-ies, and so oii. Take xxp the x'eport with regard to the mines axxd yoxx will find similar information in detail.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

What I said was that at present we are speixding a little under $20,000 oxx this kind of work and we would have to add to that $20,000 more. The addition I am proposing is $20,000, or $40,000 in all per annum.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LABOR.

Did the hon. minister not say that that would be liable to increase every year?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

It may. As the demand for information increases, the expenditure will be apt to increase. If there is no demand for this information, the expenditure will not increase. I am proposing an increased expenditure of $20,000 a year. As regards what my hon. friend from Cornwall has said, while it is true that the province of Ontario has the report of the Bureau of Industries, there is no such x-eport in any other part of the Dominion. I think that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, give some vital and mortuary statistics and that Manitoba furnishes some agricultural statistics. As regards the reports of the industries in Toronto, there is not an army of officers going around collecting these reports. They are largely the results of correspondence anil "are sent in by individuals from different parts of the country. With regard to the report of the inspector of factories, it deals mainly with the conditions of the factories from a hygienic and safety point of view, but I do rxot think it gives the details of

their production. The province of Quebec does not collect statistics of this kind. It does collect certain mortuary and vital statistics, and has a report of the factory inspector on the conditions of the factories. Those we will certainly make use of. My hon. friend from Toronto (Mr. Osier) says there is no demand for this measure. I would reply, there is a constant demand in my office for just such information as it is proposed we shall get by virtue of this Bill.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

The information published by the province of Ontario is regarded as fairly complete.

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February 7, 1905