February 14, 1905


Postmaster. Now you have a right to say what you please about boxes.


LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I understand that some, one in the county of Dorchester has had a claim against the government since 1891. I have never heard that we had a creditor in the county of Dorchester, but I have no doubt the government can pay anything that is owing to him so that if my hon. friend (Mr. Morin) will send me the letter I will see what can be done with it.

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CENSUS AND STATISTICS.


House went into committee to consider the following proposed resolution : Resolved, That it is expedient to provide that the Governor in Council may from time to time pay out of the moneys to be provided by parliament for such purposes, such sums as are required for the taking of the census, and for the collection, tabulation and publication of agricultural, commercial, criminal, educational, manufacturing, vital and other statistics ; the remuneration of the necessary officers and clerks and the payment of all expenses incurred in carrying into effect an Act for such purpose.-Mr. Fisher.


CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

Before this resolution passes, might I ask the Minister of Agriculture how the money, some $18,200, which we voted last year for agricultural statistics was expended ? The Auditor General's Report dealing with this expenditure is not yet down and we do not know what was done with that money.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. SYDNEY FISHER (Minister of Agriculture).

I could not give my hon. friend (Mr. Taylor) a detailed account of it of course. The sum which he refers to was in the estimates for the current fiscal year. A. portion of it has been expended that was voted for general statistics. I speak from memory-I would have to look up the vote of last year to be accurate-but I think the sum mentioned was a part of a vote for general statistics, and the vote for the year-book would be included to make up the sum the hon. gentleman mentions. That which was voted for the year-book was spent in paying for the printing and binding of the year-book. The vote for general statistics was expended in the payment of the clerks who are engaged in statistical work in the Department of Agriculture. I do not remember any other expenditure that has been made under that vote during the current fiscal year ; 1 do not think there is any other expenditure. I do not remember at the moment the figures the hon. gentleman used but I rather take it that it covers the votes I have mentioned. I am just reminded of another vote for what is called criminal statistics, which appears in the estimates for my department, and which is also, I think, included in that .sum of $18,200. I have here a list of the employees and the salaries they have been paid, and I am not aware that there has been any other expenditure.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

There was a special vote for the Statistical Year-book at $6,000 ; that had nothing to do with the amount I referred to, which is for general statistics, $18,200. That is apart from the year-book. Was that money spent in gathering statistics ? If so, of what nature were these statistics and was this expenditure outside of the census or was the money used as part of the expenditure in connection with the census ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I do not know the figures to which my hon. friend alludes, but the figures I have are $3,200 for general statis-

tics and a supplementary vote of $10,000 for general statistics.

-Mr. TAYLOR. If my hon. friend (Mr. Fisher) will refer to the estimates now before us, on page 32 he will find the figures I refer to.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Perhaps the second vote I referred to may have been $15,000 instead of $10,000 as I suggested ; that would make the $18,200.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

And you are asking the same amount this year. I want to know how that money is expended.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I shall be glad to give the information up to the present time. That vote lias been expended on statistical work, part of it, the usual statistical work always carried on in the department every year and part of it special statistical work, that is work drawn from the compilation of the census, and it has been found that a portion of that latter work has been of sufficient value to be included probably in the final reports or volumes of the census. The consequence is that I might almost say that a portion of it has been devoted to such work as is contemplated in this Bill, that I have now before the House, between the decennial census. It is largely the kind of work, although not all of the kind of work that the Bill contemplates and which I would like to see taken up and continued by the officers of the department between the decennial census years and the work which was necessary after our decennial census year on the compilations of the census of that year. I can give my hon. friend (Mr. Taylor) the expenditure which has been made with regard to the individuals employed &c., if he desires it.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

As this is a somewhat important measure, I would like the minister to give us an outline of what the expenditure contemplates in connection with this new office in the immediate future and what work would be performed by the officers of this new department for the first few years ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I would say to my hon. friend when discussing this Bill a few days ago in committee, before the financial resolution was before the House, the question was asked of me as to the probable expenditure involved in the proposed legislation. I then said that I thought it would be about $20,000 more per annum, practically immediately, than we are how spending on statistical work in the department. I have since been' going carefully over what I would like to do under this Bill, and I think that the amount which I then indicated is quite sufficient to accomplish all that I contemplate or expect to do for several years to come with the possible exception of some expenditure in connection with printing which I did not take fully into Mr. FISHER.

account when I made that estimate. I do uot know yet that the printing would require more money than the amount I stated, but I want to be entirely frank with the House and do not wish in any way to say anything which I am not quite sure is within "the mark. I therefore thought that I ought now to say that if we are to undertake to publish monthly bulletins or to publish every year a very large amount of statistical information that we gather, in extended form, it might be that the printing bill would be larger than I at first thought.

An extra thousand or two of dollars might therefore be required from year to year for printing. I wanted to give this explanation of the financial side of the ease so that there would not be any suspicion that I was minimizing or misrepresenting it.

My hon. friend from Jacques Cartier has asked me to give an outline of what is proposed. We have had under the law a general census every ten years, and a census of Manitoba taken in the mid-year between the regular decennial censuses. In 1885 or 1886 we had a census of the Northwest Territories taken on the same basis as the census of Manitoba; but since that time there has been no special census taken of the Northwest Territories. Under this Act I propose to continue to take every ten years a census of the whole Dominion of Canada, and to take in the mid-year between the regular census years, a census of Manitoba, and, if this parliament at the present session should create two new provinces in the Northwest Territories, or any provinces, to take a census of them in the same way that the census of Manitoba is taken. The Manitoba census is taken by virtue of a provision in the Subsidy Act. Nobody can say to-day what may be decided in regard to a new province or new provinces in the Northwest Territories. But whatever is decided in regard to subsidies for those new provinces, I think it is well that this Act should provide for the censuses to be taken in the province of Manitoba and in the new provinces to be formed in the Territories. The figures which I have given do not include any expenditure which may be necessary in connection with those censuses. Those figures indicate what I expect the annual expenditure to be, in addition to which special provision will have to be made for the taking of the decennial census and for the taking of the census of Manitoba and the other northwest provinces. As I have said, I believe the value of this work will be very great; and, as the work will grow, it may be that a few years from now the minister will have to come down and ask for a larger vote on this account; but, so far as our expectations or intentions go at the present time, the money I have spoken of will. I think, cover the necessary expenditure for several years to come.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I inferred from wliat the hon. minister said at first that there would be a considerable saving in the cost of taking the decennial census. Where will that come in?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That will come in whenever the vote is taken for the decennial census. I hope and believe that the organization of this work regularly and permanently will facilitate and cheapen the taking of the decennial census. The saving will be in the appropriation made by parliament for the decennial census.

Mr. Si'ROl'I.E. I wanted to know by what means you were to make a saving, and how much the saving would be.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

It would be difficult to say how much the saving would be. Thu officers appointed permanently would be able to devote a good deal of time and attention, for a year or two before the taking of the decennial census, to preparation for that, work, so that it would not have to be all done within a few mouths, as has hitherto been the ease. It would not reduce the expense of the work of the enumerators or the local commissioners throughout the country, but I think it would reduce the expenditure at the head office. It is proposed by this Act to consolidate the three present laws relating to the statistics-the General Statistics Act, the Criminal Statistics Act and the Census Act. The work will be an expansion and enlargement of work which was contemplated when the General Statistics Act was passed. That is proved by the fact that in this consolidated Act I ask for very little increase of powers. Practically I have to-day the necessary powers for nearly all the work for which I am asking powers to-day. That work is the collection of statistics.

The kind of work to be done I outlined the other day. I would like to do for the Dominion a good deal of what is being done in Ontario through the Bureau of Industries. I would like to give statistics every year of the crops, the live stock, the areas of land under different crops and so on, and establish a system by which bulletins would be issued giving correct information with regard to agriculture, and also probably every year a larger bulletin or pamphlet giving a compilation of the results. In some years we might take up one group of subjects, the next year another and so on, and thus, the course of the whole ten years between the two censuses, publish probably four or five times certain classes of information. At present we have no such information for the Dominion which we have for Ontario and one or two other provinces, and what is obtained in Ontario is not available to the people in other parts of the country. 1 think that that work ought to be done for the Dominion and published as often as can reasonably be expected. I would not un-32

dertake at the outset to issue the whole of the information every year, but I do think it would be advisable immediately to issue some of it every year. Some classes of information we might issue two, three, or four times, between the two decennial censuses, That is as regards agricultural information, but it is equally important to get industrial information. Let me add that in the agricultural information would be included everything that grows upon the soil. Forest areas and the production of wood would be included, but the manufacture of those products into other articles would come under industrial information. As far as the latter information is concerned, we have to-day practically none of an official or authentic character except that contained in each decennial census. It is important, in the development of our industries and national progress, that we should have that kind of information more frequently and thus follow the example set by other countries. I would consider it advisable, at least once and more probably twice or three times between the census years, to take a pretty complete industrial census. I would not have it taken by enumerators or by sending agents to individual factories, but would get the information by correspondence and by sending out schedules to be filled up. This work could be done by the central office at Ottawa without any need for the great staff which we have to employ throughout the country at each decennial census. Nearly all the agricultural information we can get in the same way. To a large extent it. is got in this way in the province of Ontario for the bureau of statistics. I might say that in the year 1902 the United States passed an Act for the establishment of a permanent census office, and the arguments they gave in favour of the scheme are very largely those which apply to this one. The condition of affairs there used to be pretty much what it is to-day here. They had no general census statistics. Some of the states had partial statistics, but there was nothing in the shape of national statistics taken between the censuses. They have, however, established a permanent census office for the purposes I have outlined, and they do the work in the same manner and on the same lines I have indicated. They are this year taking an industrial census of all their manufacturing establishments, without any army of enumerators or agents throughout the country. They are doing it by correspondence. by sending out schedules to be filled up from the central office at Washington. and they are satisfied with the results so far as the work has gone. I would like to see such information got here between the two censuses-probably twice or three times. We shall not take all the Industries in any one year, but might so arrange that a very small staff working every year would be able to get in the ten years an immense mass of new information which would be of

the greatest value to every one engaged in industrial enterprises.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

I think the hon. minister should allow this resolution to stand until we get the information I am asking for now. A few days ago I asked this question :

Has the work in connection with the taking of the census for 1901 been completed ?

To that the minister replied :

The work in connection with the taking of the eensus for 1901 has been completed.

I then asked if the services of the staff engaged on this work had been dispensed with, and got this reply :

Yes, in so far as the taking of the census and the compilation are concerned ; but' there are a certain number of the staff still in the service of the government working on tabular statements drawn from the compilation of the census. These are paid out of the general statistics vote.

Then I put a third question : How many are still retained in the service of the government ? And was told that only six persons wei'e so engaged. X asked again :

What has been the total expenditure in connection with the taking of the census of 1901 up to 1st January, 1905 ?

To this the minister replied $1,192,296.19. What I want to know is what is the total cost in connection with the census from start to finish. Last year we raised the vote from $12,000 to $20,000 for the archives. Then we voted for the collection and compilation of criminal statistics, $2,000 ; for the statistical year book, $6,000 ; and for general statistics, $18,200. That vote is asked for again. I want to know what was done with that $18,200. Did a large portion go to pay this census staff that are still retained in completing the census ? If so, how are we to know, ten years hence, what the census of 1901 actually cost us ? I gather from the answers of the minister the other day and to-day that persons are still employed working up the figures from the census, which figures will be published in the last volume. If that is work in connection with the census, surely it should he paid out of the census vote. The census of 1S81 cost less than half a million, and the census of 1891 just about half a million. And, so far, we have paid for the census of 1901 almost a million and a quarter, and still, judging by the minister's answers, money is being paid on account of the census to-day. It is only by questioning the minister in the course of such debates as this that we can gain information. I put a question on the notice paper the other day asking for information which, it seems to me, the minister might easily have given. He has three or four staffs gathering statistics, yet he could not answer these simple questions :

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LIB

Mr. FISHER. (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

1. How many inspectors or other persons have been appointed or employed to attend to the enforcement of the Fruit Marks Act of 1901 ?

2. What amount has been paid for the services of said inspectors or other persons up to the 1st of January, 1905 ?

3. What amount has been paid for travelling and other expenses for said inspectors or other persons up to 1st of January, 1905 ?

These were simple questions and called for only such information as we require for the intelligent consideration of measures that the minister brings before us. He might have asked one of his clerks to turn over the book and, in five minutes, get the information to enable him to answer these questions. But, instead of answering he told me that the information is so voluminous that I must move for a return. I think this is unfair. And now he wants us to pass this resolution. But before it is passed we want certain information. The Auditor General's Report is not down showing what was done with the vote of $18,200, nor does the minister undertake to give that information to the committee. Before we can vote the people's money we ought to know what has been done with other votes.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am willing to give the information the hon. gentleman (Mr. Taylor) asks for. He speaks of the Auditor General's Report not being down ; hut he knows that the expenditure since 1st July last, to which he refers would not be included in that report.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

I want to find out what was done with the general statistics vote.

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February 14, 1905