March 14, 1905

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I hope my words cannot be construed to mean any reflection upon the gentleman to whom the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson) referred. I had no such idea in mind. I was dealing generally with one of the reasons why the apple packers and shippers had found it necessary to fix a minimum box, that reason being that the market on the other side wished to know that they always got at least so much when they bought a Canadian box of apples. I did not allow myself for a moment to make any reflection upon such a firm or body of men as have been referred to. As to the labour question involved, I think that particular phase of it was brought forward in the Fruit Growers' Association, and they discussed it on various occasions, and thought that a box of the size indicated by the resolution was one that could be properly and easily handled by the people engaged in this work.

ill'. M. S. SCHELL. I had not intended to speak on this question as I spoke some weeks ago when the subject was before [DOT] the House. I then expressed my approval of the Bill except on one point, and, that I understand, has been a compromise. There really has been some difference of opinion among the shippers as to the size of the box to be used. But I wish to

correct some wrong impressions that seem to prevail in the House. In the first place some have the idea that it is intended that the boxes should be used supplanting barrels. That is not the idea. Barrels have been used more largely than boxes, and will continue to be used more largely than boxes so long as the material can be got to make the barrels at a reasonable price-at least that is our impression. Another opinion that seems to be held is that the., shippers themselves are against the use of the box. The hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) has intimated that the growers desire to have the box, but that this is not desired by the shippers.

I am speaking as a shipper of apples. I have been engaged in the business for a great many years, indeed I may say that I commenced as a boy in 1880, about twenty-five years ago, in the business of exporting apples, and I have continued in it ever since. Two years ago we shipped over 12,000 boxes, so we have had some Mr. HENDERSON.

experience in the matter of boxes. Besides, we also shipped apples _in barrels to a very large extent, some 25,000 barrels, the same season, and we only used boxes because we could not get a sufficient number of barrels that season. I think the shippers are desirous of using a uniform size of box, as proposed in this Bill. I have been in communication with some of the largest apple shippers in the province, since the Bill was introduced, and I may say that in every case, so far as I have been able to learn, there is a desire for a uniform box, of some form. There are different views as to the size, some would prefer a trifle larger, some would prefer the exact size mentioned in the Bill, and some would prefer possibly a trifle smaller. As the minister lias intimated, the size proposed seems to be a compromise, and a compromise so satisfactory that I do not think there will be much objection urged against it by the shippers. Then there is another point I might emphasize, and that is the desirability of having a standard for the minimum box. You know the tendency would be in shipping to European markets that if one shipper uses a large box for which the price is fixed, and the trade begins to accept that size, the man who ships in a smaller sized box would in a measure partake of the benefit that accrues to the trade from the price of the larger box. But when you fix the minimum size, they are not permitted to use a smaller box, and that is one of the strong points in support of tlie position taken by the minister in compelling the use of a minimum size, it is I think desirable to have a box at least as large as is suggested, for this reason, that when the goods are landed on the dock at Liverpool, Glasgow or Hamburg, the rates fixed for handling, that is the dockage charges, the landing charges, and incidental charges of that kind, are based upon the package. It is therefore desirable to have the Box of a uniform size, and then those in the trade can make their statement with more force to the authorities on the other side who tlx their charges in proportion to the size of the package. That is one of the difficulties we have to-day in shipping boxes to the European markets. The landing charges are exorbitant, they are out of all proportion to the charges that are made for barrels ; but if we have a uniform size then the trade can go to the authorities who fix the landing charges, with a stronger case, if we can show that the boxes used will all be of the standard size, and no smaller. We know however that the tendency will be on this side, not to make it any larger, but to come as near as possible'to the size that is fixed by the law. So I think these arguments all tend to confirm the desirability of having a standard box. one that we can all agree upon as nearly as possible. Possibly there may continue to be some difference of opin-

ion, both as to the size of the box *and as to the quantity the box should contain, but the differences will be slight. Xt>w, Sir, I want to say again, as I said when this question was up before, that 1 think the minister is deserving of commendation for the success with which "his Fruit Marks Act, put upon the statute-book a few years ago, has been working. I believe the Bill now before the House is likewise calculated to advance the interests of the grower, to advance the interests of the shipper, and to advance the interests of the country generally, because our interests are identical. I am both a grower and a shipper, and therefore can speak for both classes. I think it is just as much to the interest of the grower as it is to the interest of the shipper that these matters should be put upon a basis that will be followed by the trade generally. For my part I can see no reason why any member of the House should hesitate a moment to support this Bill.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

The question before the House is one of great importance to the fruit industry of our country. I was sorry, though, to see the Minister of Agriculture deal with the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) in the manner in which he did. It is not the first time this session that I have noticed how some of the ministers of the Crown have tried to browbeat members of parliament on this side of the House when they are doing their best to obtain information from the ministers. However, Mr. Chairman, I think the Bill before us is in the right direction. I agree with the minster in his efforts to fix the size of the box, and to make it a uniform size. But I would like to impress upon the minister what I believe is of more Importance to the fruit industry of this country than merely the size of the box and its dimensions, and that is the fact the transportation of fruit in this country deserves a great deal more consideration than the minister has been giving it. In the discussion that took place last session on the subject of transportation of fruit across *tlie ocean and the ventilation of the steamers carrying the same, he will remember that the strongest kind of condemnation was visited upon the administration for the manner in which fruit was transported to the markets of Europe. I hope the minister has remedied to some extent the transportation facilities for perishable fruit. As he is aware, we are subsidizing ships to the extent of $100,000 a year in order to obtain cold storage and ventilation on those ships carrying fruit across the Atlantic.

The minister admitted at last session of parliament that he had practically no control over that cold storage. He admitted that he had entered into a contract some years ago and had granted a subsidy of $100,000 to those vessels ; and yet the department of which he is the head has no control over them. If he will look at the records, he will find that thousands of barrels of apples that are sent across the Atlantic reach the shores of Great Britain in a decayed condition and not fit for the market, simply because the transportation facilities are not what they ought to be. The minister may' tell us that the shippers have the privilege of using the cold storage on the boats ; but it is almost impossible to ask the shippers to pay the extra charge placed on the packages put into the cold storage, especially when the thermograph records show that he has no control over the cold storage arrangements. I sincerely hope that the minister will take this matter into his consideration, and give us some legislation that will improve the transportation facilities very materially.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

What the hon. gentleman refers to has nothing whatever to do with the subject before the House. I will deal with that when we have some motion before the House that refers to it.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
?

Mr. OOOKSHTJTT@

I understand, from what the minister says, that he does not provide in the Bill that the box shall be of a certain size. In my argument I was proceeding on the basis that the boxes would be uniform in size, which I understood the hon. minister to argue would be more convenient for the shipper. Now, I understand him to say that the boxes are not necessarily to be uniform in size, but that they are to be not less than the dimensions specified in the fourth section. That did not seem to be the intention of the section, but if it is, a good deal of my objection is overcome, <1 admit. But in section 2 it is provided that only apples packed as provided in section 4 shall pass as being properly packed. If the dimensions referred to are not part of the consideration, then I think the hon. gentleman is correct ; but if the dimensions specified in section 4 are those to which we must conform, then I think the hon. gentleman's argument does not well bang together. Another point, which has not yet come out-and perhaps the minister will pardon me for making reference to a subject that he may consider foreign, (hough it is relevant-is that it is not provided what kinds of apples are included in these provisions. There are produced in Ontario large quantities of dried or evaporated apples, and also of canned apples ; but it is not stated in the Bill whether it is to apply to these or only to apples as they come from the tree. I presume that the intention of the minister is that the Bill shall apply to apples as they come from the tree ; but he does not make that evident in his argument, and the Bill is not conclusive on that point.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

In reply to the hon. gentleman's question, I may say that the Bill

applies only to what are called green or whole apples. It does not apply to evaporated, canned or any other kind.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
CON

William Jackson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILLIAM JACKSON.

We are here this afternoon discussing whether or not we shall have a standard box for the shipping of one of our Canadian products. It has been said this afternoon that if the farmers of the province of Ontario had been allowed during last fall to use boxes, they would have saved an enormous quantity of their apples. In answer to that, I would say that if we had left more apples on the ground, some of us would be better off than we are to-day. I do not think that they were destroyed because we had not boxes to put them in, but because apples were not a very desirable commercial commodity last fall. With regard to the argument that if we had the privilege of using standard boxes, they could be made in the winter, the same thing applies to barrels. It does not require any great amount of skill to set up an apple barrel ; but I do not think it would be advisable for the ordinary farmer to start in either the box-making or the barrel-making business ; he had better leave that to some one else. In regard to the statement that the same quantity of apples sent to Great Britain in three or four boxes would bring three or four times as much as if sent in barrels, that is misleading, because the apples sent in boxes are often of better quality than those sent in barrels. We know that during the last three or four years the price of apple barrels lias almost doubled. That is why we are trying to get something else in which to ship our apples to the old country. If we could make a little barrel as cheaply as a box, the apples shipped in it would bring as good a price, and they would go in better condition than in a box. At present, we have a standard barrel, the size of which is, fixed by statute, and if we are going to commence shipping apples in boxes to the old country, we must have a box of a standard size. If we are going to have two sizes of cases, they should be specified. Anything sold by the box should be shipped in boxes of uniform size. In regard to anything sold by the pound, it makes no difference.

As to the size of the boxes, it is my belief that these boxes are small enough. In fact, this Bill does not go far enough in reference to the specifications of the boxes, for it only provides for a certain inside measurement, while, in my opinion, more is necessary. You allow one manufacturer of boxes to put in a certain dimension of material on the outside and another manufacturer to put in different sized material, and so your box will lack uniformity. These regulations should go further, and state what the size of the material in the boxes should be. If you are going to place them in cold storage or on a steamship, you must have the boxes uniform in size outside as well as inside. I Mr. FISHER.

believe that this box is plenty small enough ; indeed, I would like to sell my apples to the Minister of Agriculture on the principle that the full of one of these boxes is a bushel, because I have an idea I would get the long end of the deal. I do not believe that the minister could get a bushel of apples into one of these boxes ; I do not think it is possible he could put a barrel of apples into three of these boxes. I repeat that if we are going to send apples to the old country in cases, we should have a case which is really uniform.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The dimensions stated in the letter have been discusse'd at the meetings at which the dimensions as printed in the resolution were adopted. The dimensions as printed in the resolution are of the nature of a compromise, and they have been adopted as being on the whole the most feasible and most practicable. One strong-reason for the adoption of these dimensions is that the size is very easily made and easily described ; the box-makers as well as the packers have an objection to the dimensions of a box which involves the small fraction of an inch. It is true that the dimensions in the resolution are less than the cubic contents of a bushel by, I think, 12 cubic inches.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Eighteen inches according to this.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Perhaps so, but I have understood from those who have considered the matter thoroughly that this was such a slight difference that they did not think it worth while to consider it. I appreciate what the hon. gentleman has said, and I can only say that the question raised in that letter has been thoroughly discussed.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

The resolution states that the package shall be a good and strong box of seasoned wood. Would it not be possible to allow the box being made of other material than wood ? Lumber is now very scarce in some parts of Canada, and they are substituting light sheet steel for it in the manufacture of many articles. Many years ago flour was altogether put up in barrels, but the minister is well aware that linen sacks have been substituted to some extent, and very often flour is sold in paper bags. I think it would be important if the minister provided that the box should be of seasoned wood or of some other suitable material.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think myself that the substitution of any other material in this country to-day would be so much more expensive than wood that there is no danger of any one wanting to put up apples in a package not made of that material. We have had a few papier macho barrels made, but they have never been practically used. If in the future any such necessity arose, we might amend the clause just as under similar circumstances it would be necessary to amend the section with regard to barrels. But for a long time to come there is no likelihood that any material but wood will be used.

Amendment (Mr. Fisher) agreed to.

Resolution, as amended, reported, read the second time and agreed to.

Mr. FISHER moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 121) to amend chapter 26, 1901. respecting the packing and sale of certain staple commodities.

Topic:   J. M. SHUTTLEWORTH.
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time. .


SUPPLY-THE BUDGET.


Sir WILFRID LAURIER moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.


CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. GEORGE E. FOSTER.

I do not see the Minister of Finance in his seat, hut I would ask the First Minister whether the Finance Minister has come to any conclusion as to when he will deliver the budget speech.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE BUDGET.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I cannot give the information now, but if my hon. friend will renew the question, say on Thursday, I think I will be able to tell him.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE BUDGET.
Permalink

BANKING ACT AMENDMENT.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to inquire also whether the government have

under consideration the desirability of making an amendment to the Banking Act, so that there shall be some inspection on behalf of the government of the banks of the country. The right hon. gentleman knows that there has been a recent bank failure in Nova Scotia which has attracted some attention in financial circles, and that failure has renewed discussion with regard to this matter which was somewhat to the fore two or three years ago. I have had an inquiry from one source as to whether it was probable that the government, in view of this failure, would take up the matter again, announce some policy upon it and perhaps amend the Banking Act accordingly. I know of course the objections that have been raised to this proposal before ; I think the principal objection urged by the Minister of Finance was that there might be a certain moral obligation on the government if they carry on an inspection of banks- no more than a moral obligation but one which might give any government trouble -an obligation to compensate persons who had invested money in a bank which had then failed and who might think it would be only fair-play on the part of the country to make good any loss thus sustained. I am not rising for the purpose of advocating any particular form of inspection, but of ascertaining whether the government has this matter under consideration and as possibly it may not be convenient for the right bon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to give an answer in the absence of the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) I would be very glad if the next time we go into supply that answer would be given if the Prime Minister cannot now give it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   BANKING ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

March 14, 1905