March 21, 1905

VACANCY.

LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I have the honour to inform the House that my attention having been called, by the hon. member for Toronto North, in his place, to the fact of the demise of Edward Frederick Clarke, Esq., member for the electoral district of Toronto Centre. I have, in accordance with section 8 of chapter 13 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, issued my warrant to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to make out a new writ of election for the said electoral dis trict.

Topic:   VACANCY.
Permalink

THE TELEPHONE QUESTION.


Hon. Sir WILLIAM MULOCK (Postmaster General moved : That Messrs. Bergeron and Geoffrion be ad ded to the committee appointed on Friday last to consider the telephone nuestion. Motion agreed to.


PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.


Bill (No. 121) to amend the Act respecting the packing and sale of staple commodities -Mr. Fisher-read the second time and House went into committee thereon. On section 1-dimensions of apple boxes, penalty ; certain packages excepted.


CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I regret that I am again obliged to enter my strongest protest against the passage of this Bill in the form In which it is at present worded. I do not conceive that it is in the interests of the trade of Canada that the Bill should be so worded. The hon. minister has told the House in discussing the resolution on which this Bill is founded that the fruit associations of this country have described the size of box in which apples should be packed for export. I think the minister should liave laid upon the table of the House some resolution of some fruit association to show us where the authority came from for fixing the special size of box which is prescribed in this Bill. In sections of the country where the fruit industry is extensively carried on there is a very strong protest against 91i

the size of box here prescribed, and it is the more strange to me that the hon. minister should have given us that information, inasmuch as the gentlemen from whom I obtained information are members of fruit associations, and no doubt were present at some of those meetings when the matter of the size of the apple box was discussed. The difference between the minister and myself is this : I have proposed that a box should be designated in the Act, the size of which would be some well known quantity. For example, I suggested that the box should contain one-quarter of a barrel. The standard barrel of apples is a well known mea- * sure. In the old country apples are sold by the barrel, and people there understand what a barrel of apples is. We have fixed by law the size of a barrel of apples and the quantity is known amongst us-and, I believe, correctly-as three bushels. If we are going to authorize the shipment of apples in boxes containing less than a barrel, I contend that these boxes should contain some well defined, specific quantity that would be well understood by the purchaser in the old country. The box defined by the Minister of Agriculture is a nondescript box which represents practically nothing specific. It is not one-fourth of a barrel ; it is not one-third of a barrel ; it is no definite fraction of a barrel that the people will understand.

It is less than one-third of a barrel and it is larger than one-quarter of a barrel. To my mind, the box that would hold one-quarter of a barrel would be a very much better package than one that contains no definite fraction of a barrel. When this matter was last discussed, the Minister of Agriculture almost insinuated that my object in advocating a smaller box was that the shippers in this country might take advantage of the buyers in the old country and sell them a smaller quantity with a view of enhancing the price. I had no such intention or thought, but I do tell the minister that the use of the box which he has described will have the effect of defrauding the people of the old country. The purchaser will naturally ask how much there is in the box, and he will be told it is a bushel, or one-third of a barrel, when, as a matter of fact, it is not.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

It is very considerably short. The minister shakes his head, but I can tell him that he is all wrong ; he has taken his information from young men, who have not the experience of practical men in the business, who have investigated the matter. Three boxes of the size prescribed in this Bill will not fill a barrel ; a fact which has been demonstrated by practical test. The box which the minister proposes will contain the contents in cubic inches of cne-third of a barrel, but he forgets that there is much waste of space when you pack three or four packages instead of one barrel, there being a large amount

ol' space In each package that Is not filled and you would require three packages, each containing a larger cubic space than exactly one-third of a barrel, to give the quantity of fruit that would go into one barrel. There is where the difference comes in, and whether the package is square or round it matters not. In the section of the country in which I live the people have practically tested this. They commenced with a large box and they kept reducing it in size until they discovered a box that would practically hold exactly , one fourth of a barrel. The minister has failed to make allowance for the greater waste of space in three smaller packages as compared with one large package. It is not a good plan for us to legalize what I call a nondescript box ; a box that will not hold one-third of a barrel and which holds more than one-fourth of a barrel. If the seller tells the buyer that this package contains one-third of a barrel that statement is untrue. It contains the cubic capacity of one-third of a barrel but it does not contain one-third of the quantity of apples that would go into a barrel and so a fraud will be perpetrated. I again appeal to the Minister of Agriculture that he should not destroy the trade, because the adoption of this box will certainly have that effect. In a couple of years the people of the old land will discover that a fraud is being practiced upon them ; that they are not getting the quantity of apples they expected to get, and consequently the Canadian apple trade will be injuriously affected. Surely the minister can avail himself of further information for the purpose of determining the size of a box that will contain exactly what it is represented to contain. I believe that the box which the minister proposes is too large, and I would rather favour a reduction in its size. If the minister prescribes a box that will contain a full quarter of a barrel, it would be very much better for the apple trade generally, This package, which the minister provides for in the Bill, is going to be detrimental to the apple shippers as a whole, and it is going to be peculiarly detrimental to those in my section of the country who now use a box of a certain size, and who will have to change the size of the box and educate the people of the old country up to the change from the now customary sized box. I trust the minister will not press the measure without satisfying himself that the box he prescribes does contain one-third of a barrel, and that it is therefore such a box as can be used without giving any unfair advantage either to the buyer or to the seller.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB

Archibald Campbell

Liberal

Mr. CAMPBELL.

I do not agree with my hon. friend from Haltou, that this Bill, is going to injure the trade of the country. I understand that this box is exactly one-third of a barrel, but that when you empty a barrel of apples into three of these boxes Mr. HENDERSON.

they would contain about three ordinary sized apples less than the contents of the barrel. That would not be a very serious, injury to the trade. The Minister of Agriculture deserves a great deal of credit for introducing a Bill of this kind. I have had a great deal of experience in furnishing packages in which to ship apples, and I know that during the last few years the apple trade has been injuriously affected because of the defective barrels in which the apples were shipped. The barrel when it is dry is taken into the orchard, and, if it gets wet the staves swell, the hoops burst and the barrel is liable to fall to pieces. Last year many apple barrels were made out of green timber, and I venture to say that when they reached the old country many of them were broken to pieces. That injures the sale of our fruit in the old country* and therefore I say that the minister is to be congratulated on attempting to provide a proper package. In the contraction of boxes it matters very little whether the material is dry or green, because when properly put together the box is not liable to be broken, and besides that, boxes will pack closer than barrels on ship-board, the consequence of which Is that they will occupy less space and the freight rates on apples will be less than they are to-day. I think, therefore, this proposition, instead of being an injury, would be a great benefit to the trade.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson) has appealed to me not to put this Bill through. He says I have spoken of resolutions which he has not yet had an opportunity of knowing or seeing. I have those resolutions under my hand, and I will take the opportunity of reading them to the hon. gentleman.

The fruit growers of British Columbia, where they use the box exclusively, have discussed the question of the size of boxes frequently at their associations for a number of years. At their annual meeting in

1902 they reaffirmed a resolution adopting the size 10 in. x 11 in. x 20 in. In the years

1903 and 1904 no objection was made to these dimensions and the conclusion is that* all things considered, this box is satisfactory.

The Ontario Fruit Growers' Association discussed the matter at their annual meeting in Walkerton, in December, 1902, but decided that the matter might stand over for one year, during which time a committee appointed for the purpose would secure all the evidence and experience of Ontario shippers and submit it at the annual meeting in 1903. The committee met during the fruit season in St. Catharines and Grimsby and considered a large number of different sized boxes in the packing houses. They also conducted a wide correspondence upon the subject and submitted their report at the Leamington meeting in November, 1903.

2S45

The following resolution was passed at that meeting :

Your committee would recommend that the Canadian commercial apple box be one of which the cubic contents are about one-third of the Canadian commercial apple barrel, and measuring inside ten inches deep, eleven inches wide and twenty inches long ; and that the Canadian pear box be one-half the capacity and [DOT]one-half the depth of the apple box ; and that the secretary communicate with the secretaries of the fruit-growers' associations of the other provinces in reference to uniformity in this matter.

This motion, moved by E. D. Smith, M.P., and seconded by Wm. Rickard, M.P.F., was unanimously carried.

In December, 1903, at Hemmingford, the Quebec Pomologieal Society passed the following resolution :

That we recognize the necessity of having boxes of uniform size for the exportation of apples, and recommend the trial of the size [DOT]mentioned, viz., 10-inch by 11-inch by 20-inch.

This motion was carried unanimously.

In January, 1904, the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association met at Bridgewater, N.S., and passed a resolution recommending that the box 10 x 11 x 20 be adopted as the standard box for Nova Scotia. This motion was moved by Secretary S. C. Parker and seconded by G. H. Yroom, and carried unanimously.

In February, 1904, the Prince Edward Island Fruit Growers' Association met at Charlottetown, and the following resolution was passed :

That this association formally adopt the box package 10 x 11 x 20 inches (inside measurement) as recommended by Chief MacKinnon, and already adopted by the associations of Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

These resolutions are clear and definite, [DOT]and they give the dimensions which are provided in this Bill. So far as the fruit growers are concerned, there is no question as to this matter ; and I may say, in reply to my hon. friend, that these associations are composed not only of fruit growers, but of a large number of other people who are interested in the fruit trade ; and at these meetings none of the objections put forward by my hon. friend were mentioned. At any rate, there is no record of them, as these resolutions were passed unanimously. I take the following passage from the address of Inspector Maxwell Smith before the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association :

This package, measuring 10 x 11 x 20 inside, Is the box that has been recommended by your association for a number of years, and which has also been endorsed by the Ontario Fruit *Growers' Association at its meeting in Learning-ton about two months ago. So we are making some progress towards a uniform box.

There has been a demand for a uniform box, and the size provided in the Bill is that

which has been unanimously endorsed by these people as the best one to adopt. I appreciate fully that there may be some slight diversity of view ; but at the meetings where the people particularly interested discussed these questions, those diverse views were either not brought forward at all or were not supported sufficiently to enable them to be put on record. Let me give one or two other statements in regard to this. Mr. Brandritk, the secretary of the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association, says :

This association recommends a box having a capacity of 20 x 10 x 11, inside measurements, and we are of the opinion that having always used boxes we are in a better position to advise as to the requirements than our eastern friends can be. However, what we want is a lawful standard box, as at present anything is a box of apples, from 35 to 50 pounds.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
?

Mr. G. W.@

Hunt, the manager of the Ottawa Fruit Exchange, says that the ' Ontario Fruit Growers' Association cannot do better than join with the other provincial associations in recommending the size 10 x 11x20.' He also says: 'Growers have

resorted to all manner of packages, we have received this year (1903) boxes ranging in size from 18 inches long, 10 inches deep and 12 inches wide to dry goods cases containing about two barrels and a half.'

Now, I want to quote just one other thing, which is a fair discussion of this whole question. This is an extract from a letter of Mr. G. W. Hunt, of the Ottawa Fruit Exchange, a gentleman who has handled a great deal of fruit as a business man :

Growers have resorted to all manner of packages this year. We have received boxes ranging in size from 10 x 12 x 18 to dry goods cases, containing about two barrels and a half. I would recommend a medium size, holding as nearly as possible one bushel. This package would be very convenient for more reasons than one. The principal one that I would mention here is the fact that a great number of our Fameuse or snow apples go to the United States, and if we use a bushel box we pay duty for that and no more, but if the box holds less than a bushel we pay for a bushel anyway, and the duty is 25 cents a box.

Mr. Yroom, fruit inspector, having examined the London market in regard to the number of different boxes, says :

I heard a great many complaints about the Canadian box on account of the variation in the size. A box containing forty pounds is about the right size for the English market.

Not many boxes are wanted for thev export apple trade. In fact, only a few choice' apples should be shipped in boxes. The barrel is the proper package for the great bulk of Canadian apples.

Mr. Russell, a very large dealer in Glasgow, writes as follows :

In regard to packing of apples in boxes I consider this package should only be used for No.

284S

1 fruit, as the demand for apples packed in this way is only for better class trade, and, in fact, anything apart from really fancy stock sells as well if not better, in barrels than in boxes. This package should weigh on an average from 50 to 54 pounds gross, and the use of Excelsior among the apples (unless for soft varieties) should be discontinued.

The 20 x 11 x 10 box is what is commonly known as the California package, and is adopted almost universally there. Mr. AVm. Wilson, the proprietor and inventor of the Wilson case, also a packer and shipper, says : [DOT]

One-quarter-barrel-case, 18 x 12 x 9, holds just 28 quarts, or about 40 pounds of apples, and is equal to one-quarter barrel of 112 quarts, the former size of the barrels, and, while 18 x 12 x 9 is a very economical size case for packing apples, it has no exact proportionate relation, either to the standard bushel or barrel of today.

One standard bushel case can be made for twelve cents, whereas the 'quarter-barrel costs ten cents.

The cost of dock dues in Britain is charged per package, within certain limits, so that bushel cases would cost same as quarter-barrels.

One bushel, being a standard measurement everywhere, as well as an exact proportion of a barrel, is, therefore, the only proper standard for a national package, whereas calculations made by the quarter-barrel would only produce confusion and friction between buyer and seller.

Half-bushel cases are also very convenient, and in exact proportion for the finer fruits.

Bushel cases have an advantage over barrels in ocean freight, for while five barrels are charged as one cubic ton, it takes about twenty-four bushel-cases to make forty cubic feet.

My hon. friend will see that what I stated in general terms before the committee is endorsed by the resolutions passed by these

various associations. My hon. friend must not suppose that X was casting any reflection on those he represents, when I said there was difficulty in the English market because the people there did not know what they were getting when they got a Canadian box of apples. There is a temptation no doubt, when selling by the box, to sell as small a quantity as possible, and therefore it is in the interest of the trade that a minimum standard should be fixed for Canadian boxes just as for Canadian barrels. Everybody knows when he buys a Canadian barrel what he is getting. but he does not when he buys a Canadian box.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I quite agree with the hon. gentleman as to the desirability of having a standard box, but X do not regard the standard he prescribes as a suitable size inasmuch as it does not contain the one-third of a barrel, which is the well understood measure in the old country. The hon. minister will not undertake to say that the box prescribed in this Bill will hold a bushel of apples or one third of a barrel.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

There would be a difference in weight.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Certainly, according to the variety of apples. You could not take weight for a standard at all.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
?

Mr. BDAIN@

How will those boxes be stamped as regards the quality of the apple ?

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There is nothing about that in this Bill.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
?

Mr. BDAIN@

How will the purchaser know whether the box contains number one or number two apples ?

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

They have to he stamped under the Fruit Marks Act just as a barrel or any other package.

Topic:   PACKING AND SALE OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES.
Permalink

March 21, 1905