February 14, 1905

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am quite willing to give that information. I have already said that the general statistics vote was applied to the payment of a staff engaged in that work. Of that staff there are a number who have been there for years, who are practically permanent. The names of some of these are Messrs. Munroe, Watts and Pelletier and Miss Ross. These have been paid out of this vote the same as in former years. I think that Mr. Pelletier was appointed three or four years ago, hut the others were all members of the staff when I came into office. There is almost infinite work to be done in preparing tables giving in form to be used by the public, information from the census schedules. Much work of that kind has been done by this staff within the last few months, and this may appear in the last volume of the census. It is not really census work. The census volumes could have been published on the 1st of July last. But the volumes were not all printed. All but two were not as complete as they are now, but they were as complete as census volumes need to he. This preparation of tables of which I have spoken' Is statistical work pure and simple. It is a kind of work which, I hope, if this Act is passed, to have carried on all the time from one census to another. It is for

work of that kind that I retained a portion of the staff who had been employed on the census, knowing them to be experienced in that kind of work and being aware of what they could do. I had no intention of hiding what was done, and thought I had given the hon. gentleman (Mr. Taylor) the information he asked for in as complete form as be could expect. I have nothing to hide in the matter. If this Act is passed, I will have officers working for the next five years in the compilation, or rather tabulation-for I prefer to reserve the word compilation for the census work for publication in the census volume-in the tabulation of information drawn from the census. That is, to a large extent-but not altogether-the work which these clerks have been doing for the last six months who are paid out of the vote for general statistics. I say frankly that, in doing that work they did finish a small part of the compilation of the census volumes which was not quite complete on the 1st of July last. But it is statistical work within the proper meaning of that term.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

As I understand the minister, he says that some part of the statistics contained in the Year-book are taken from the last census and some other part collected in some other way. Do I understand the minister to make that statement ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I do not remember making that statement, but the Year-book, as a rule, is compiled from the departmental reports of the year. There are certain tables in it taken from the census. For instance, I think the population tables are taken from the census and then computed on a certain basis of the actual increase for every year. I think there is a statement of the population of the country every year in the Statistical Year-book which is computed from the last census on a fixed proportion of the natural increase, and in that way it is taken from the census. I think there are some other tables computed in the same way from the census. But the Year-book for this year would not have any statistics taken from the census of four years ago. It would have to be computed to bring it up to what the officer in charge of the Year-book would calculate to be the statistics for this year. But the great bulk of the statistics in the Year-book are taken from the departmental reports for the year, and one reason why the Year-book has been late in coming out is that the officers working on it can only begin their work when the other reports are finished and supplied to them.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Are we then to understand that the information contained in the Statistical Year-book is all taken from the last census returns and the departmental books that are published ? Or, in other words, does the Statistical Year-book contain any further information than that which is procured from these two sources ?

32J

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The officer in charge of the Year-book gathers no outside information each year for the Year-book ; it is only from the publications of the government that he compiles or tabulates it. He does not collect statistics in the way that this Act contemplates they shall be collected in the future, and which I hope to do with the power proposed to be given.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I understood the minister to. say that some proportion of the $18,000 expended last year was for the purpose of collecting special statistics.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

No, what I said was that of this $18,000 $15,000 is a new vote. The $3,200 which has been voted for general statistics for many years back has always been expended in the payment of certain salaried officers who are doing work on the Yearbook. The work I have spoken of was other work, but none of this money was spent in the way of gathering information from outside sources, it was only spent on work connected with the compilation of the census and the preparation of tables from information in the census.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Then the Statistical Yearbook gives no new information whatever, it is simply a compilation of the returns of the different departments?

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LIB
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Then the minister proposes to expend a certain amount of money for the collection of information between the censuses that are now being taken? Would the minister state how he proposes to collect that information in the province of Ontario, both in respect to agriculture, commerce and manufactures?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

If the hon. gentleman will look at the Bill he will see that I take power to get such information as I can from any provincial or local sources ; when I consider it accurate and complete I would not undertake to do the work over again.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

The minister stated the other day that in the province of Ontario there was very full information taken every year by the assessors ? Does he propose to take any further information in the province of Ontario in respect to these statistics ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I cannot say just now what the assessors do collect. I think myself we would not make any commencement of getting more information than is now published by the Bureau of Statistics in Ontario on agricultural subjects. Perhaps afterwards we might arrange to get more.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

What about other subjects?

Mr. FISHER, Yes, industrial subjects, because in the province of Ontario, so far as I know, there is no information of an industrial character such as I have outlined and that I think we ought to collect. But

we would not need to collect whatever is already collected by some local or provincial organization. If there was a local or a provincial organization which already collected such information, I would make use of it, and supplement it where necessary.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

We are to understand then that in Ontario, at least, the agricultural statistics that will he procured under the new expenditure will be no different from what they are at the present moment, but the minister proposes to expend money for the purpose of procuring commercial and manufacturing statistics which will be valuable to the people. I suppose, before bringing down his Bill, he has outlined some plan that he proposes to adopt before asking for this increased expenditure. He knows that at the present time there is a large number of manufacturing concerns in Ontario and he knows that information respecting them and respecting commercial affairs, would be valuable to the people. Surely the hon. gentleman must have some fixed policy in his mind of the way he proposes to collect that information ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I thought I had already answered that question. My plan would be to take industrial statistics, as well as agricultural and manufacturing statistics. For that purpose I would have the officer here prepare a schedule of questions, and I would send these questions out to the industrial establishments whose record we have in the department. I would have the office here secure information by the best means in their power as to new industrial establishments wherever any sprung up. I would ask the managers or members of these establishments to fill up the schedules which were sent to them, and return them to the office here. That information would be very considerable in its character, it would enable the office here to compile those answers and tabulate them in a proper form to be published. I think that ought to be done as far as manufacturing industries of all kinds are concerned, once, twice or three times between every decennial census. That ought to be done, not only for the province of Ontario, but for the whole Dominion. I may say that the work of this office would be done for the whole Dominion, the same kind of information would be obtained for the whole Dominion, the information will be compiled for the whole Dominion in all its subdivisions and would be issued as information concerning the Dominion of Canada. I do not know whether that covers the ground referred to in my hon. friend's question.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROUDE.

Suppose they refuse or neglect to give answers to the question ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

We have power to require them to give the information under this Act. We have power under the Census Act to require the information when taking the census. If anybody refuses to give us in-Mr. FISHER.

formation he can be summoned before the court and ordered to give it, and if he then refuses he is subject to a penalty. I forget the exact penalty but it is a serious one. There is a fine and imprisonment in the final resort for a refusal to give information. In this Act I ask for power to get that information in the same way in any investigation undertaken by the office. This same power I now have in connection with information in census work.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I would like to ask the hon. minister if this work will be done without the appointment of a number of officials in different parts of the provinces ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The outline I have given does not contemplate the appointment of officials. At the same time, I do take power under certain circumstances and for certain special investigations, if by Order in Council these investigations are decided upon, to appoint a special official for such special investigations. That is now given me under the General Statistics Act. I can to-day appoint an official under the General Statistics Act to go and make an investigation of any special industry in Canada and get statistics and information in regard to it, but I could not force people to give information. By this Act, if passed, I will have that power, but otherwise I have the power now' except wTith that limitation of which I have spoken.

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February 14, 1905