March 1, 1905

CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. F. COCKSHUTT (Brantford) moved :

That the Bill be not now read the third time, but that' the same be referred to a special committee to be named by the Prime Minister and that the said committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses on oath and such other powers as may be necessary.

He said : Mr. Speaker, in making this motion I desire to offer but a few' remarks. We have taken exception to various clauses of the Bill from time to time as they have been before the House, and though some few minor amendments have been made, I think that the Bill has not received that attention it should have received. We have called the attention of the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) to various points in the Bill

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think the hon. gentleman's motion is out of order. The rule appears to be that no amendment, not merely verbal, shall be made to any Bill on the third reading.

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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT.

I am not making an amendment to the Bill. This is a motion asking that it shall be sent to a special committee, and that it shall not go to the third reading at all. I have consulted an authority on the point. I am quite willing to abide by the ruling of Mr. Speaker. This is an amendment moved that the Bill shall not go to the third reading now, but that it shall be referred to a special committee, not a committee of the House, but a special committee to be named by the right hon. First Minister. I shall wait until Mr. Speaker decides the point.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think the first motion should be to discharge the order, and then to refer this to the committee.

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CON

Peter White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WHITE.

My hon. friend (Mr. Coclc-shutt) may move that the order be discharged for the third reading and that the Bill be referred to the special committee.

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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT.

I will move :

That the order for the third reading of Bill (No. 7) be discharged, and that the same be referred to a special committee to be named by the Prime Minister and that said committee shall have power to send for persons, papers-and records, to examine witnesses on oath and such other powers as may be necessary.

I was desirous of pointing out that various amendments have been made to this Bill since it came before the House. Borne of these we have been able to comprehend, others we have not. I must say that it remains in a very unsatisfactory state now, in so far as I have been able to gather the opinion of the House on the matter. The bon. Minister of Agriculture yesterday, for some reason or other, was in very poor voice for him. We could not very well hear what he said, and therefore we were unable to take that part in the debate which we should like to have taken. Therefore, I feel called upon to move this amendment which X have just offered to the House. In the first place, I desire to point out that the time mentioned in clause 1 is too limited. That I have previously drawn attention to, and it is not necessary to give further reasons than simply to say that this is a serious objection to the Bill. Then clause 3, providing for the placarding of the sacks, is also a most objectionable one. The hon. gentleman has had pointed out to him time and again that it was impossible to carry out this provision of the Bill, but he refuses to take any notice of that objection, which, all the trade will tell him, is absolutely well-founded. It is impossible to placard these bags even if we were willing, because if the seed should contain any of these weeds which are enumerated, it is necessary to placard the bag with the names of these weeds. It is impossible to do that. Further, seed for the foreign market would not be accepted in bags placarded in this way, and for that reason I desire again to point out to the hon. minister that it is impossible that this provision can be carried out. Then as to the exemption of the grower while the dealer is prohibited from selling this article, I desire again to point out that there are serious objections to this provision. The hon. minister announced that his object in bringing in this Bill was to ensure the purity of seed, but it turns out, in view of this provision of the Bill, that it is not for pure seed at all. If that were the object of the Bill, that clause should not stand for a moment. That particular clause cannot stand the test of good judgment at the hands of this House ; therefore, I think the hon. gentleman should recall that clause. Then in regard to the standard for seed that he sets up. I have submitted, and I am sure it has not been controverted by the hon. gentlemen opposite, nor can it well be, that it is impossible to comply with the provisions of clause 4, I think it is. It is impossible for us to get a large amount of seed of No. 1 quality. No. 1 quality will be a very scarce article according to the Bill. The Bill makes it difficult to procure No. 1 quality, but when you have procured that quality you have not a first-class seed by any means. That, I think, is a very serious objection to the Bill. The hon. minister sets up a standard for No. 1 quality, and after he has

obtained that quality, according to the test of purity which he makes, he has a very inferior quality of seed, as he takes no stock in the colour of the seed nor in the size of its development. These are two very important factors in seed which the hon. gentleman discards entirely. The evidence taken by the Royal Commission that inquired into the .matter in England discloses the fact that two of the prime necessities of No. 1 seed are that it shall be of large well developed size and have a good bold colour. Both of these items are absent in the hon. minister's estimate of No. 1 seed. There is another very good reason why the clause setting up a standard for No. 1 seed should meet with the opposition of the House. The requirements of the clause are such that only a limited quantity will pass the tests, and will not be the best of seed by any means. But it must be placarded nevertheless as inferior if it contains five out of a thousand weed seeds. That is surely a great injustice to a large amount of the product of this country, because having to be placarded it makes it comparatively unsaleable. It is placed at a discount on the market, because you have branded upon it all the various impurities which it contains, though they may be very limited in quantity.

It is quite possible under this Bill that these weed seeds may prevail to the extent of 10, 15 or 20 to the thousand, and still you will have a very much better article than you would have with a sample that is poor in germination, but true to name and which at the same time may have only five weed seeds to the thousand. Therefore, I think the hon. gentleman has missed the object of the measure entirely in setting up his standard. He has not got a good standard for No. 1 seed after having graded it according to this Bill. For this and for various other reasons that have already been adduced in the House, and that are convincing to the judgment of all men who desire to have a good practicable and workable measure, I believe that this Bill should be submitted to a special committee where the evidence of those well qualified to judge can be obtained and the matter can be fully threshed out before a committee of farmers, growers, dealers and all concerned. Let every clause stand on its merits and if it is found that the Bill will pass before this committee and is believed to be a workable and practical measure which will serve the best interests of agriculture in this country by all means let us pass the Bill. But if it is not found to be such a Bill as will pass the ordeal of a committee, either the Committee of Agriculture or a special committee to be named by the Prime Minister, then I think the hon. gentleman should introduce into it such amendments as will make it a satisfactory measure. I am sure that he has misgauged the feeling of the country to a

large extent. The farmers in the district from which I have the honour to come are, I believe, strongly opposed to this measure.

S. Herrold & Son, of Brantford, who are well known to the Minister of Customs and [DOT]who are not political friends of mine write me a very strong letter in which they inform me that the farmers in that district are dead against the Bill ; that they are unalterably opposed to this Bill. I have letters from Mr. Bruce, who formerly sat in this House, from Mr. Ewing, of Montreal, from Mr. Hogg, of Oakwood, from Mr. Steele, of Toronto, from Mr. Keith, of Toronto, and others who stand high in the trade, every one testifying that they do not think the Bill practicable and workable. These men have spent their lives in the business and are thoroughly familiar with the requirements of the trade and of agriculture, and I maintain that if the minister persists in forcing this Bill through the House it will either drive out from the trade the men legitimately entitled to stay there or it will become a dead letter on our statute-book. Both of these results are undesirable and the minister cannot wish for either of them to come to pass. I ask then that in fairness to all concerned, this Bill should be submitted to a committee where persons, documents, and evidence may be adduced to show the various features of the Bill that are impracticable and unworkable or wherein it fails to meet the wishes of the hon. gentleman who has introduced. it. If this is done, I think we will secure a practicable and workable measure, and I again suggest to him that he should read carefully the evidence taken by that British committee of which I have spoken which was appointed to deal with this very subject. The members of that committee travelled from end to end of the British .Isles, took the evidence of all parties concerned and of every one interested in seeds and after having deliberated and taken evidence under oath they submitted that in their opinion it was not desirable that government control should be introduced. If this is the case in Great Britain and they are the best Judges of seed in the world to-day,-we have no men in this country who can equal them-I submit that the hon. gentleman should take a leaf out of the book of the British government and appoint a committee to deal with this matter, a committee who will thresh out every clause of the Bill. I wish to point out one of the amendments which the hon. gentleman put in with s-egard to the labelling of screenings which he allows to be held for export, whereas a large number of better seeds between screenings and No. 1 are not allowed to be held for export. Therefore a man must [DOT]either not hold these seeds or label good seeds as screenings. Surely he does not want to insist on trying to carry out so unreasonable a provision as that. The hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Bor-Mr. COGKSHUTT.

den) pointed out when this amendment was introduced that it bordered very close on nonsense and so it does. The minister allows the lowest grade to be held as screenings if for export, but the many intervening grades between screenings and No. 1 he refuses to allow to be held. Surely in view of this the minister will not insist on passing the measure through the House. It is very ill-considered, there is no hurry about the Bill, and I submit that it is far better to have a delay of two or three weeks and have a practicable working measure that can be carried out than to come to this House and insist without due consideration on the passing of this measure. I am sure that 50 per cent of the members could not hear the hon. gentleman yesterday when the amendments were introduced. We were asked to vote these amendments blindly and to take the whole dose down at once. It is surely not in the interests of enlightened legislation, not in accordance with the wishes of the members of the House of Commons of Canada, that we should endorse a Bill that contains so many imperfections ; there are as many imperfections in it as there are in the seeds which the hon. gentleman describes. Twenty-five varieties of weeds may be in the seeds and I am sure there are more than 25 imperfections in this Bill that might be easily remedied by reference to a committee. I have pleasure in moving that this Bill be not now read a third time but be referred to a committee.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Before you put the question, I would like to say in reference to the remarks of the hon. gentleman, that this whole question has been threshed out.

I think that everything the hon. member has said has been said iu the House by himself perhaps more than once. The hon. gentleman asks that the Bill be referred to a special committee, but the Bill has been through a general committee, through the Committee of the Whole House, and I do not think any better committee could possibly be struck to consider it any further. The Bill has been before the House not in every detail as it is now, but in principle, for the last three sessions. There is no question of precipitancy, there is no question of hastiness, there is no question of lack of consideration. The hon. gentleman himself and other gentlemen on both sides of the House have discussed every detail of this Bill over and over again. Every detail has been discussed in committee and now the Bill is up for its third reading. I cannot see any utility in delaying the passage of the Bill or referring it back to any special committee for any particular object. I can therefore only ask the House to reject the amendment of the hon. member and ask that the Bill be read a third time and be sent up to the Senate.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I do not wish to say more than a few words, although I regard this as

a very important measure. The amendment leaves to the leader of the government the selection of the committee or the composition of the special committee to which this Bill might be sent. This is not a new question, but there are new features in connection with this Bill. It is casting no reflection upon the ability or the energy or the care of the hon. minister who introduced the Bill to say that if we submit this to a committee having special knowledge of the matter and having special facilities for investigation, good as the Bill may be, it will be greatly improved.

Throughout this whole discussion I have desired that this Bill should be referred to the Committee on Agriculture. What have we a Committee on Agriculture for if not to consider such questions as this ? The fact that it has been before the Committee of the Whole House is no answer to the present motion for a reference. It is provided by our rules, and sanctioned by our practice, that a motion of this kind may be made at any stage of a Bill. I do not wish to be considered as opposing the principle of the Bill. I recognize that the minister has devoted much time and care to it, and it is shorn of many of the objectionable features which it had when it was introduced, Although I believe, as the hon. member for Brantford has suggested, that it is still full of the seeds of imperfection, yet these might be very well eliminated if it were referred to a special committee ; and we have excellent examples for that course. We have the example of Great Britain, a country many centuries older than our country, where, after a full and exhaustive investigation, it was decided that such a measure was not adapted to the conditions of the country ; and there may be ground for pausing to see whether this Bill is adapted to the conditions of Canada. At all events, we would have experts on these matters, not only on the committee but coming before the committee to give evidence. We would also have, what the members of the administration, from the Prime Minister down, have been pressing in Railway Bills that those most interested can come before the committee as they cannot come before the House, and express their views. I am entirely in accord with the practice that has prevailed, of threshing out these matters before the House ; but this is a matter requiring special investigation, and the knowledge of experts and practical farmers. I believe it is highly in the interest of agriculture that the Bill should be referred to the Committee on Agriculture, with power to send for persons, papers and documents. and that there should be a thorough investigation in order that the faults still in the Bill may be eliminated, or, if not, that the Bill be discontinued.

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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYCE.

I am sure that the House cannot fail to recognize the labour which

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the hou. Minister of Agriculture has bestowed upon this Bill, in the honest and faithful endeavour to obtain by legislation pure seed for the farmers of this country. But if, as appears to be the case, the Bill, which has been through several stages in this House, has, in some of its details fallen short of the object in view, if it does not go the length of providing the remedies desired, the hon. Minister of Agriculture should hesitate before he obstructs such further investigation as would throw light upon the Bill, and enable it to become more workable. The hon. gentleman suggested, I think, in committee, that I was here to oppose the Bill. I am not opposing it. I recognize that the principle involved in the Bill is one very much to be encouraged, and I would not detract one iota from the credit due to the hon. minister for the labour which he has bestowed upon it. There are three classes affected by this legislation- the seed merchant, the farmer who purchases seed, and the farmer who grows his own seed. The farmer who grows his own seed has a different line of argument to advance with respect to the provisions of this Bill, from those of the farmer who purchases his seed. The latter Is entitled to the fullest protection. In my opinion, which entirely coincides with that of the hon. minister, it is of the utmost importance that pure seed should be guaranteed to the trade at large. As the hon. minister has said, this Bill has been before this House practically for two years. That may be so : but when it came to be considered in committee during the first few days of the present session, it was found to be so weak and to fall short in so many important respects that the hon. gentleman was forced to withdraw it and have it feprinted ; and when it came down yesterday in its reprinted form, we found it to be still imperfect. In one clause especially, it had to be amended. So the hon. minister is learning day by day that even when this Bill goes through its final stages, there will be much in it to be altered ; and if it can be altered in one respect, it can be in others. I have not heard the hon. minister say that he has received expert testimony upon the clauses referred to by the hon. member for Brantford. It is of the utmost importance that expert testimony should be had before the various clauses of the Bill can be intelligently dealt with. I therefore submit to tlie hon. Minister of Agriculture that ft would be in the interest of the purpose of this Bill, as a practical working measure, to have it put into such form that it would serve the interest of all the glasses of people sought to be benefited or protected by it. There is one clause to which I have repeatedly, I fear with tiresomeness, drawn the attention of the House and the hon. minister, that is, subsection 2 of section 8. It is from my point of view an unheard-of thing to legislate that the honest agent for

the sale of seeds, who is entitled to the immunity provided by this subsection, should, notwithstanding that the section declares him to be immune and not liable to conviction, be mulcted in the case of conviction, while the principal, when his name is disclosed by the agent as a condition precedent to his statutory innocence being established, is also prosecuted. Now, I say in all seriousness and candour that it is an unheard-of proposition, that the innocent receiver of stolen goods, not knowing them to have been stolen, should be liable to prosecution as well as the thief. If it were only to save the innocent dealer, who does not open the package, who does not know the state of the seed, and who had no reason to believe that the seed did not comply with the provisions of the Act, and discloses the name of the person from whom he purchased the seed, and the date and the place of the sale, I say the Bill should be altered. If only for the purpose of protecting from prosecution a man of that character, a man who is innocent according to the spirit of the Act, it would be well for the minister to hesitate before pressing this Bill through the House. I sincerely trust the hon. minister will give his best consideration to the motion of my hon. friend from Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt), if not upon all the grounds suggested by him, upon genera] grounds, and in order that we may have a useful and workable piece of legislation which would really protect the class of people it is intended to.

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CON

Peter Elson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ELSON.

Representing a purely agricultural constituency and being a practical farmer myself, I have taken a very deep interest indeed in the Bill introduced by my hon. friend regarding the inspection and sale of clover and other seeds, and I desire to compliment the hon. gentleman for what I believe is an honest effort on his part to bring about such legislation as will enable our farmers to obtain clean and pure seeds. I fear, however, that the provisions of this Bill will not have the desired effect, either as regards the farmers or the merchants, and certainly not that which the hon. minister himself desires. I am convinced that if it should become law, it will decrease the price of clover seeds which the farmers have to sell and increase the price to those farmers who have to buy it, and who are the only members of our community who would after all require to purchase. Let me illustrate my argument. Let us take say four farmers who have each ten bushels of clover seed to sell. The Bill provides that a farmer may sell his seed to another farmer without coming under the provisions of this measure ; but if a farmer should have to go around among his neighbours and peddle his seed, that would not be only a humiliating position for him to occupy, but he would soon find that he would not get much sale for it. I fail to see how we can very well dispense with the services of the middle man or the merchant in the sale of Mr. BOYCE.

our seeds. Then when farmer No. 1 brings his ten bushels of seed to the merchant, the merchant, with his keen eye or glass, finds that It contains noxious seeds, and he says : There is an inspection law at present and this seed will not stand inspection and grade as No. 1, consequently I can only give you a low price for it. The farmer, who has no other recourse, must take the price offered. When farmer No. 2 comes with his ten bushels, the merchant says to him : Your seed is not quite so good as that which I have just got, because it contains a quantity of oxeye daisy, mustard and other bad seeds, and consequently I can only give you a low price. The farmer, of course, must take the price offered, and his seed is dumped into the same bin with that of farmer No. 1. Then comes along farmer No. 3, and the merchant says to him : Your seed contains a certain proportion of noxious seed, and I can only give yon a low price. The farmer again cannot help himself, and sells at the price offered, and the merchant dumps No. 3 seed into the same bin with the others. Then farmer No. 4 appears on the scene, and his- ten bushels are fairly good seed. The merchant says: I cannot detect very much noxious seed in your ten bushels and I will give you a fairly good price, and he buys it and dumps that also into the same bin. So that there are forty bushels in the same bin. Then the inspector comes along, dips out a little of the seed from the bin, examines it and grades it as No. 1. When a purchaser comes to buy some clover seed, the merchant says to him : I have here a bin graded No. 1 by the government inspector, but I must charge a big price for it; but the purchaser, of course, can do nothing else but buy, and he gets his portion from the top. Another purchaser comes, and another, and so on. But at each sale the merchant has to dip deeper into the bin ; and according as the quantity in the bin decreases, the quality of the seed becomes worse. But it has all been graded as No. 1, and the last purchaser pays the same price as the first. So that the farmer who sells has to take a low price, whereas those who buy have to pay a big price, and the profit is to the merchant, who. of course, in view of the uncertainties and difficulties with which the law surrounds him, is entitled to a fairly good price in order to enable him to handle the goods at all. Any legislation which turns against the interests of the farmer should be most carefully considered. If the Minister of Agriculture could devise some means for winnowing out the noxious seeds from the good, thereby giving to the farmer the clean seed on the one hand and the noxious weed seed on the other. There could be no objection to this measure, but so far, we have no machine which will accomplish that. But if the hon. minister could succeed in obtaining such a machine and have it put upon the market, he would certainly be rendering greater service to the

farmers of the Dominion than has ever been rendered by any previous Minister of Agriculture. We have heard, it is true, within the last three or four months, that certain gentlemen on the other side of the line, who are gifted with wonderful inventive genius, have invented a separating box which has been introduced into Canada, and which they guarantee will separate the sheep from the goats when an election is on, provided, however, that the person to whose lot it may fall to operate the machine does so as intended by the inventor. But although that machine was introduced into the province of Ontario at the last general elections, it evidently was one of those machines which did not meet with the approval of the larmers, judging from the tremendous vote they gave against the late provincial government.

I feel that legislation is against the agricultural interest of this country, is legislation in the wrong direction. Why, our agricultural interest is , the greatest interest we have, it is the foundation of our prosperity; and legislation that bears against that interest is an injury to our country. We are proud of the millions of acres of fertile land belonging to the Dominion of Canada where millions of settlers may make their homes. As each settler tills his farm, the soil yields its return to his labour. His children grow up about him, and as they grow their little hands do what they can to help their parents. And as they grow to manhood and womanhood they branch out and more settlers' homes are established. And the wealth that is produced, being greater than the people can consume, it is exported, and brings back to the Dominion gold for our exchequer. And, better than gold, better than diamonds and rubies, it brings to our shores the man of intellect and energy and ambition to settle upon our lands and till them, to build up our country until it becomes the strong right arm of the British empire. Now, Mr. Speaker, through you I desire to appeal to every honourable gentleman in this House, who, likejnyself, is a practical farmer and desires that the produce of his lands shall not be lowered in value on the one hand or overcharged for on the other-through you. I appeal to these lion, gentlemen not to support the third reading of this Bill, through you I appeal also to the professional gentlemen in this House-and there are a fine lot of them here. No men are more anxious than they that our farmers shall prosper, knowing, as they do, that, if the farmers prosper, they have a better opportunity to obtain all that is right and honest from that portion of the agricultural community to whom they may be called upon to give their professional services. Once more, through you, I appeal to the business men in this House. We know that none are more anxious than the business men of the country that our farmers should

prosper. They know that when the farmers prosper the whole country prospers, that bills are more easily collected, that, in fact, the prosperity of the farmer seems to oil the machinery of business so that it moves on smoothly and effectively, as we all desire that it should. This Bill has been discussed at considerable length, yet, what I would like to see is the Minister of Agriculture, of his own accord, lay the Bill over until next session. We are told that in the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom. And I am sure the wisdom would be pouring in from hundreds of thousands of farmers all over the Dominion, between now and next session; and, undoubtedly a better Bill would result.

Here is what I would suggest to the hon. minister: Instead of going on witll this

Bill let the government offer a prize of $1,000 or $2,000 to any person who will invent a fanning mill that will entirely eliminate the noxious weed-seeds from the good seeds and that can be sold at from $30 to $50. Such a machine would be within the reach of every farmer, and its use would overcome the difficulty that is sought to be met by this Bill. Every farmer would clean his own seed at home, and no noxious weed-seed would be taken to the market at all. There would be no difficulty for the farmers, no difficulty for the merchant, no difficulty for the Minister of Agriculture;-everything would be right and prosperous without the need of such legislation as is here proposed. In closing my remarks, Mr. Speaker, I thank you and the attention they have given me during this my first speech in the House of Commons.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROTJLE.

I wish to congratulate the farmers of Middlesex and of the country upon the able representative whom they have sent here to speak on their behalf. After the appeal he has made to the Minister of Agriculture, it is hardly to be supposed that that hon. gentleman will persist in forcing this Bill to a third reading at the present time. But I rose more particularly to refer to another question in connection with the Bill. While I support the motion of the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) that this Bill shall be sent to a special committee, where evidence from all sources may be taken in regard to the important questions involved, the committee to which above all others, this Bill should be sent Is clearly, in my opinion, the Agricultural Committee. Years ago we had an inquiry in this House which lasted for several weeks. Its object was to help in deciding whether it would be beneficial and in the interest of that important class, the farmers of the country, that we should have an Agricultural Committee, and that all questions affecting the interests of the farmers coming before this House, and all * measures and proposals for the benefit of

the farmer, might be considered by that committee. And for what purpose? So that the committee could call before them persons who could give evidence or information, and also consider papers that would assist them in reporting to the House suggestions to be carried out in the interest of the great farming class. That committee was established. It is a large committee. I believe that every farmer in this House is a member of that committee. What could be clearer than that it is to such a committee that this Bill should be referred ? Agriculturists are more interested in the subject of this Bill than are any other class; and the farmers on the Agricultural Committee would be more likely to pay direct attention to it than would any class in this House. , For that reason, it has been the rule to send questions of this nature to that committee. But the Minister of Agriculture, for reasons best known to himself, sees fit to avoid sending this Bill to the Committee on Agriculture. When a Bill comes up that is of interest to the railways, what is done with it? For instance. a Bill comes up relating to cattle-guards. The farmers are interested in that Bill on the one hand and the railways on the other. That Bill is sent to the Railway Committee, where railway interests always seem to be dominant. The government insist on sending it to that committee. And with what result? Such Bills are nearly always killed in the Railway Committee. Or, when a Bill is introduced in regard to ditches and water-courses, giving property owners the right to drain across the railways, though the farmers are interested, the Bill goes to the Railway Committee on railways, where the railway interests are dominant. So, when a Bill is introduced in this House which affects the interests of only one class, the agriculturists of this country, why is it not sent to the Committee on Agriculture?

Tlie Minister of Agriculture refuses to allow that Bill to go there, and I say he discredits the committee that he is responsible for appointing every session of parliament. He discredits the agriculturists on that committee and says by his conduct that he is not prepared to trust them, intimating that either they are not intelligent enough to do what would be in the interests of the farmers, as otherwise he would en-tiust them with the consideration of this Bill. It was for that purpose this committee was appointed. Years ago we had Bill after Bill in which the farmers were interested, every one of winch were sent to that committee, but when the present Minister of Agriculture took charge of the department, he who professes to be so great a friend of the farmer, he will not allow these Bills to go to the Agricultural Committee where we could take evidence and present the findings of the Committee to the House. The other day the minister said, speaking of Mr. SPROULE.

this committee, that the Committee of the Whole House was much better. But no one knows better than himself the disadvantage of discussing questions of that nature before a Committee of the Whole House. What are the disadvantages ? One is that you cannot bring the farmers here and get their opinion on it, but you can bring them before the Agricultural Committee. You cannot bring the seedsmen here and ask them questions before a Committee of the Whole House, but you can do so before the Agricultural Committee. You cannot take their evidence here, but there you can take the evidence of all parties concerned. While ,vou might name a private committee that would be perhaps equally valuable with the Agricultural Committee, still I hold that the Agricultural Committee is the proper one to deal with this Bill, where it can be considered from a farmers' standpoint, and where the farmers themselves can be asked their views upon it. If, after doing this, we could manage to prepare a Bill that would accomplish the object the minister has in view, it would be desirable to do so. I am not opposing the Bill, because I believe it to be one of great importance, but I desire to see the Bill, when it is passed, made workable so that it will be a real advantage to the farmers and to the seedsmen in carrying on their operations.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I simply desire to say that I am anxious that the Bill before the House should, if passed at all, be passed in the very best possible form. I am desirous that the farmers of this country should be put in a position to secure the best and the cleanest seeds that can be obtained. While I propose to vote in favour of this amendment, I distinctly desire it to be understood that I am in no way opposed to the Bill. The effect of this amendment may be to delay its passage for a short time, but I hope it will also have the effect of further perfecting the measure and making it what I trust the Minister of Agriculture desires it should be, a good Bill, a Bill in the interests of the agriculturists of this country. While I support the amendment, I do not wish to be understood as being in any way opposed to the Bill.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I desire to duplicate the v ords just spoken by my hon. friend from ITalton (Mr. Henderson).

Mr. W'M. WRIGHT. When this Bill was in committee I expressed the conviction that ir would be found unworkable if it became law. I think the penalty clause of the Bill is objectionable. It provides a penalty for selling seed as No. 1 which does not come up to the requirements of this measure. 1 want to ask the Minister of Agriculture whether he knows that seed is sold by the wholesale seedsmen of this Dominion as No. 1. I know from personal experience that some of the largest wholesale seedsmen in the country do not sell seeds

18S1

by number. You might buy any quantity of seeds of any kind without their being numbered at all, although of course some are of a better quality than others. I may mention that some wholesale seedsmen classify their seeds-I refer now to clover and timothy seed-by the names of certain animals. A superfine seed they would call by the name of some fur bearing animal, for instance, the ermine, and they would classify other grades by the names of other fur bearing animals. Grasses are named in the same way. 'So these dealers might sell any quantity of seeds of any kind without being liable, under this Bill, for selling seed ns No. 1. I cannot find anything in the measure by which you would be able to touch them if they sold seed under some particular name. Then there is another penalty provided if the dealers do not put a certain brand on the bag or receptacle containing seed, giving the name of the noxious weed seeds it may contain. Suppose that the wholesale seedsmen of this country agree to put a particular label or ticket on every bag of seed they sell, showing that the seed may contain' the different weed seeds mentioned in the Bill ; they might put these labels on all the seeds sold and there would be no means of determining what they were selling as No. 1, they would be within the requirements of the Act and could not be punished. So there would be no remedy for a farmer if he bought impure seed. I object to the legislation passing through this House that will not be effective. I am heartily in accord with the Minister of Agriculture in his desire to get clean seeds for the farming community, and if the Bill was likely to be effective even in a small measure in bringing this about, 1 would give it my hearty support. But there are many ways in wrhich the penalties might be evaded, and a great deal of seed could still be sold without the purchaser beiug able to get at the wholesaler if he sold unpure seed. I think it would be well to have this phase of the Bill thoroughly looked into, and I think it would be well to send the Bill before the Agricultural Committee where we could hear, not only the farmers and the wholesale seedsmen, but a so the retail dealers throughout the country. These latter are an important class, and the Bill ought to be carefully considered from their standpoint, as well as from the standpoint of other persons interested, in order that we may crystallize all the information into legislation which will be a benefit to the farmers of this great Dominion.

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CON

Herbert Sylvester Clements

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLEMENTS.

I agree with the remarks of the hon. member for Middlesex (Mr. Elson) in speaking on this Bill. He spoke as a farmer, and I speak as a farmer myself. We are all interested in any measure that is calculated to benefit them. Like the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson), I am going to vote for the amendment, not because I am opposed to the principle of the Bill, but because I think that ii its present form it is not in the interests of the farmers. I think the Bill can be greatly improved by sending it to the Committee on Agriculture where the farmers can be heard on it, as I think they should be heard on it. I am opposed to it for several reasons. In the first place, I think in its present form it would be detrimental to the farmers in selling their clover and other small seeds, because it will amount just to this, that a few dealers who will go into the business after this Bill becomes law will be mulcted one or two dollars per bushel on every bushel of clover seed they sell. I am also opposed to it because it will have the effect of driving a certain class of people cut of the trade, who are to-day doing a great deal to supply farmers with good seed, I refer to the millers. I know what they are doing in this direction, I have been in the milling business myself for the last ten years, and I know to what trouble they have put themselves in order to get pure seed for the farmers at actual cost. I just wanted to offer my objection to the Bill os it is at present and I trust that the hon. Minister of Agriculture will not be so arbitrary but that he will be a little more lenient in his views and allow this amendment to carry and possibly next session, or at some time in the future, allow the Bill to be presented in a more practical form.

Amendment (Mr. Cockshutt) negatived on division.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAUGHTON LENNOX (South Sim-coe) moved :

That the Bill be not now read the third time, but that the order for such be discharged and that it be referred back to the committee of the whole with instructions to amend the 10th paragraph thereof by striking out the word' * five ' where It occurs between the words ' exceeding ' and ' hundred ' in the fifteenth line of said paragraph and substituting the word ' one ' therefor, and by striking out the word ' twenty ' from the said fifteenth line.

He said: I wish to direct the attention of the House to the wording of section 10 for a moment. The 10th section provides that any person charged with the enforcement of the Act may enter upon the premises of the owner or other premises, including the premises of a railway or steamboat company and may take samples and so on. Then it goes on to provide that any person who obstructs or refuses to permit the making of any such examination or the taking of such samples of seed shall upon summary conviction be liable to a penalty not exceeding $500 and not less than $25. The other section providing for penalties is section 8. I pointed out at an earlier stage of the discussion that the penalties under section 8 might amount to as high as $25,000, and the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher), upon further considering the Bill saw his

way to amending tlie section and reduced the penalty so that the maximum in each case will not exceed $25. This is a large penalty and it is for a new offence, an offence which might arise without any intentional wrong on the part of the person who is to be fined. The Bill' provides that this fine may be imposed not only upon the owner but upon any person who is in possession for the time being of the seed. It may be a railway company, a common carrier, it may be any person on whose premises the goods are temporarily deposited or housed and it may be even a person who is driving a load of grain to market. If an officer comes up and insists upon making an examination and if this person refuses or obstructs in any degree he is liable to a fine of $500 if the magistrate sees fit to inflict a fine to that extent. This is, as the hon. minister said the other day, to some extent, an experimental matter. This is a matter of educating the people up to a certain standard and it is not advisable that we should have drastic legislation at the beginning. Would it not be manifestly unfair if a railway company which was carrying this grain from place to place, refused in such case to stop its train in order to permit of the examination here spoken of being made? Yet the result would be that if a railway company refused to delay its trains in order to permit of this examination being made it could be fined $500. We must be reasonable in these matters. A gentleman who has a number of people in his employment may be about closing his premises. An officer of the government steps up at about the time they are closing and says: I demand that I shall be permitted to go through and make a thorough examination of the goods in this warehouse. If you obstruct me you are liable to a fine of $500. The merchant says : I am going to close my premises and you may come back at some more convenient season. Then, he is liable to a penalty and to a penalty of $500 if he is taken before a partisan magistrate who sees fit to go to the full statutory limit. Other cases may arise. A merchant has married a wife and as scripture hath it, ' therefore cannot come ' to wait upon the government official forthwith, and he too therefore will be fined $500 if the instrument of the government for the time being should summon him be-for a partisan magistrate-and we have had glaring examples of partisan magistrates time and again. I feel that there is a bond of sympathy between the hon. Minister of Agriculture and myself as farmers engaged in the common undertaking of expediting the business of this House, as we are both trying to do to-day, and also in bring good results to the farmers, and I would say to my hon. friend that taking it all in all, as this is to some extenf an experimental matter, it is unwise that we should put this drastic measure in force in its present form. I therefore propose to change the maximum

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

fine from $500 to $100 and make the lowest penalty $5 instead of $25. It will be carrying out the principle involved in the law, it will afford reasonable means of enforcing the law, it will be a protection to the man who until the law becomes known, bona fide objects to inspection, and at the same time it will give ample power to the government officials. And, if a further argument is required I will point to the fact that this penalty of $500 stands side by side with the penalty under section 8 which has been reduced to $25. Surely this penalty under section 10 might be reduced to $100.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I would say in reply to the arguments of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lennox) in the first place, that this question was discussed in the committee and the committee decided to retain the penalty as it is. I would say again that this penalty is not a penalty under ordinary circumstances for the contravention of the law, but it is the penalty for a person who obstructs an officer in the discharge of his duty, a serious offence, an offence which must be deliberate as the officer will have to declare what his duties are and what he is there for. The penalty of $500 is the limit. I can imagine circumstances under which a person would obstruct an officer in the execution of his duty in carrying out the law where $500 would not be at all too much as a penalty for the offence. But, the penalty of $500 is not necessary. The penalty is to be $25, and it may be increased up to as high as $500. Under these circumstances I do not think the penalties as herein described are too great, and I must ask the House to reject the amendment.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I understand that this Bill, if adopted, will not interfere with the sale of seed from one farmer to another. I wish to draw the minister's attention to a new form of selling seeds in Ontario by one farmer to another and perhaps I can do so by reading the following advertisement:

Seed Fair, Town Hall, Brampton, Saturday, February 25th.

Under the direction of the Peel Farmers' Institute, Professor Zavitz, Guelph Agricultural College, will be present and deliver an address on ' Selection of Seed ' in the afternoon.

All persons having seed grain, clover, grass, corn or potatoes to dispose of are invited to bring samples (two bushels). Open to everybody, but exhibitor must become a member of Farmers' Institute.

Exhibits of new varieties are specially desired, even though not for sale.

The Institute will not assume responsibility for quality of seed.

Send in your" entries as early as possible, stating variety, quantity for sale and price per bushel.

This is a splendid opportunity to sell seed. The demand will be good, as seed is scarce.

G. Downey, T. J. Cumberland,

President. Secretary.

The point I want to ask is whether this Bill if adopted will interfere with the farmers' institutes having seed for sale in the manner set forth in this advertisement.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I am not prepared to give a legal opinion hut I would say that the Bill would tend to the sale of pure seed and to the sale of seed under the circumstances mentioned.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Clause 2 of section 3 of the Bill says :

The provisions contained in this section shall not apply to the sale of seed that is grown, sold and delivered by any farmer on his own premises, for seeding by the purchaser himself, unless the purchaser of the said seed obtains from the seller at the time of the sale thereof a certificate that the said seed is supplied to him subject to the provisions of this Act.

Here is a clause which states that a farmer can sell to his neghbour farmer on his own premises without being subject to the penalties under the Bill. Here are farmers who bring the seed together in large quantities at what is called a seed fair, and I do not think it would be in the interest of the farmers or of the country that a Bill should be passed that would prohibit the farmers from bringing their seed in and selling it at such a seed fair as that to which I have just referred.

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March 1, 1905