February 14, 1905

L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Here are a few words from the letter :

The bureau in seeking your co-operation in this matter gives you the fullest assurance that any information you may give will be received in the strictest confluence, and will only be used in tabulated form, and in such manner as will not disclose the identity of the person supplying such information.

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Will the hon. gentleman furnish me with the list of questions asked ?

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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L-C
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Even supposing that this work is done for the province of Ontario, it is not done, as the' hon. member for Jacques-Cartier (Mr. Monk) says for the province of Quebec. I propose to ask that information from the manufacturers all over the Dominion. I have already told the committee that I had no intention of sending out enumerators between censuses to collect industrial information. I would do the work by correspondence, by sendjng schedules to be filled up by the heads of the industrial establishments. I want it throughly understood that, if such machinery as my hon. friend seems to think necessary-a corps of enumerators all over the country to collect this Information-were adopted, the amount I have estimated would

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

not be nearly enough to meet the expenditure. The estimate I have made is based upon the plan outlined. First, we will take all the information that is now collected by local, provincial or any other machinery, and, secondly we will collect Industrial information by sending out schedules asking for reports to the office. I have no intention of going into the more expensive method referred to by my hon. friend from Jacques-Cartier. This is a scheme which has been adopted, as my hon. friend says in the United States. Their expenditure is very much larger than ours. For instance their census cost about $11,000,000 against, about $1,000,000 for ours. My hon. friend says that they have a very much greater number of people to enumerate. But the area over which the enumeration takes place in the United States is not larger than in Canada. The expenditure in proportion to the number of people might reasonably be expected to be greater in Canada. Also, speaking from memory and subject to correction, I think there is a considerable amount of information in connection with mineral production given in our census which does not appear in the census of the United States, but which it is the intention of the permanent bureau of census of the United States to collect.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I do not see how my hon. friend (Mr. Fisher) can even avail himself of the statistics gathered by the provinces without either outside work or making an arrangement with the provinces and contributing at least a small sum in order to secure the benefit of the statistics collected by the provinces. As he has said, the statistics of the provinces are not compiled as he would want them compiled, and there must be expenditure in getting them in the shape in which he wants them. He must make an arrangement with the provinces, an arrangement which, X think, we ought to control to a certain extent; or else he must employ outside help. And once he enters upon that he will find the expense considerable. Moreover I fear, as an hon. member on this side has suggested, that once we enter upon this work, the provinces will abandon the statistical work in which they are engaged, in order to save expense and oil the plea that we are doing the work. That is one reason why I would urge that an arrangement be made with the provinces beforehand. I do not wish to prolong the discussion. If this were merely a question of the expenditure of $20,000, it would not be of so much importance. But I again call the attention of the committee to the fact that three departments which naturally are closely connected are now separated. We have the Department of Labour, under the Postmaster General-for what reason, I cannot imagine, except expediency at the time of its establishment-possibly political expediency. We have the Department

of the Census under the Department of Agriculture, though there is no natural relation between the two. We have the Department of Trade and Commerce. X really think that more effective work would be done and some money saved if these three departments were under one head.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

We have now six millions of people in the Dominion of Canada. And, since 1896 this government have increased the public expenditure enormously. In 1896, under the former government, we had a statistical department. When the year for taking the census came round, the work was done under that department for about $500,000 on each of two occasions. The last census, under the present government, cost more than double that amount. Now, after the census has been nearly completed the Minister of Agriculture proposes that we establish a census bureau. The people of the United States, up to 1902, got along very nicely with only a statistical department.. They did not think it necessary, until they had a population of about eightly millions to have a census bureau. But we, with a population of only six millions think we must have a census bureau. We have had a statistical department for years. We hqve had a Department of Labour which has agents all over the country furnishing it with statistics.

Now how does the hon. gentleman propose to obtain his statistics 7 He says the reason he is asking for so little money is the excellency of the method he proposes to adopt, namely : to issue a circular letter

to the various individuals in order to get the information. In the province of Ontario where they have agricultural, industrial and mining statistics, they have found that the circular letter method for collecting statistics does not work well, it is largely a failure, and it will be still greater in the hon. gentleman's case. Indeed the failure will be still greater, because lie is proposing to perform an entirely new work in a new field, while the Ontario system has been going on for years. Now what do we find in this circular lgtter ? We find that they ask for :

Name of firm ; post office address ; character of business ; capital employed, including plant; number of days in operation during the year ; gross value of product manufactured during the year; lias the production increased or decreased during year ; if either, what per cent; value of materials used in production during year, including fuel, gas, &c.; total taxes paid during year ; total insurance paid during year ; amount invested, if any, in permanent repairs or plant enlargement during year ; total number of employees during year (wage-earners only) male and female ; total wages paid during year to wage-earners only, male and female ; highest weekly wages paid, male and female ; lowest weekly wages paid, male and female; total

number of salaried clerks and officials, male and female ; total salaries paid to clerks, officials, &c., during year; have wages been increased or decreased during the year; if either, wbat per cent; what class of employees has increase or decrease affected; if both, what per cent in either case ?

Now, I doubt very much whether the hon. gentleman, under his method, can draw up a better set of questions than those twenty-one questions I have read. Of the method of collecting statistics, the Ontario officials say :

Notwithstanding that every assurance of confidence was vouchsafed by -the department, but 307 answers were received to 3,000 circulars issued, demonstrating the prediction previously expressed that the mail method of seeking such information is altogether ineffective.

Now here is a province that for years has been collecting statistics, having educated people to the necessity and importance of replying to these circular letters, yet we have the admission in that old province of the total failure of that method. I pointed out the other evening that for the amount of money the hon. gentleman was asking his method would never work. Instead of asking for $35,000 he is now asking for, the expenditure will be largely increased by the establishment of this branch of the census bureau. The creation of this department of the census bureau will mean a head, a deputy head, possibly, and many assistants, it will mean the incurring of a large amount oil. expense. Now instead of doing that, why not adopt the machinery you have at band ? You have a statistical department, give it more clerks, and obtain by its means the information that you are proposing to obtain by this new method. It would mean less expenditure, and to my mind, it would accomplish all the hon. gentleman is endeavouring to accomplish by this legislation. The people of the country are complaining of too much government, of over legislation. They say that we have too many members in this House, too many ministers in this government, too much government machinery, and they are complaining of the burdens imposed upon them. We are to have this session the creation of one, or perhaps two, more provincial governments in the Northwest Territories, no doubt a very proper thing ; but they will certainly increase the expenditure of government in this country to that extent. Instead of going on with this Bill, let the hon. gentleman adopt the suggestion of my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) and see what the United States are going to accomplish by their new census bureau. The time for taking the new census will soon be on us, and I hope we will then be in a position to take a better census than has been taken this last time. This last time there were many statistics collected that were really unnecessary, because the several departments already had the figures recently collected which Mr. INGRAM.

would have served the purpose, instead of issuing so many schedules to collect the same information. For instance, we have an Indian Department, a Department of the Interior, who know perfectly well the number of Indians we have on the reserves, and know all about them. What more could we gain by employing census enumerators to go round and take these Indians all over again ? That is only one instance of the prodigal manner in which the public money has been expended, and that is one reason why the cost of taking the last census has already reached $1,250,000.

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The questions asked in the province of Ontario for collecting industrial statistics are more numerous than I would propose to ask. But there is this essential difference in the operation of the method, that whereas the provincial government lias no authority to compel people to answer questions, and as a matter of fact they do not answer them, I have power at the present time, under the General Statistics Act, to require answers to such questions. I desire to obtain the same power under the Bill I now propose. I have that power at present, but only in so far as the census year is concerned ; I want the same power to obtain answers to these questions. I think the reason why the information with regard to industries in Ontario is not complete is that the local authorities have not got power, and cannot collect the information. Practically the Bill now before the House is a consolidation of the General Statistics Act with the Census Act.

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?

Mr. BRAIN@

May I be permitted to draw the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that in the province of Ontario no new manufacturing establishment can commence operations until it has first been inspected by the factory inspector, and a certificate given that everything is all right. Yet the hon. gentleman says that the reason he wants this large amount of money is to get industrial information in the province of Ontario, as well as elsewhere. I do not think the hon. gentleman has given sufficient information to the committee, and I do not think he has sufficiently posted himself on this question before he has ventured to introduce this measure and ask for this large amount of money to be expended. Speaking for the province of Ontario, I object very strongly to this expenditure of money. If the Ontario government is to expend a large amount of money for taking care of this work of enumerating the industrial institutions and collecting agricultural statistics, paying for it out of the treasury of that province, why should not other provinces do the same thing ? Are we going to govern in Ontario and regovern in the Dominion, or govern in Manitoba and regovern in the" Dominion ? As my hon. friend from East Elgin (Mr. Ingram) has pointed out, the people are opposed to this

expenditure. We are paying enormous amounts of money for provincial information and it is now proposed to duplicate this expenditure in the Dominion. 1 am sure that the hon. minister, when he looks into these matters more fully, will either abandon the proposition or come forward and give more detailed information as to what is done in the different provinces.

Resolution reported, read the first and second time, and agreed to.

Mr. FISHER moved that the House go into committee on Bill (No. 5) respecting the census and statistics.

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Weil, if my hon. friend objects to going into committee on the Bid I will not press it, but I would be glad to go on with the matter.

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

If my hon. friends object we will have to go into Committee of Supply. Do my hon. friends prefer going into Committee of Supply ?

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

We might as well make some progress on this matter.

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CON
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I think that as soma bon. gentlemen on this side of the House would like to consider a little the suggestions which have been made by the hon. Minister of Agriculture it would be better to allow the matter to stand until to-morrow.

Topic:   CENSUS AND STATISTICS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I do not wish to press it.

Motion withdrawn.

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SUPPLY-ICE JAM ON THAMES RIVER.


Hon. WILLIAM PATERSON (Minister of Customs) moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.


February 14, 1905