July 10, 1908


Motiou agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


GOLD AND SILVER AND PLATED WARE.


Bill (No. 197) respecting the sale and marking of manufactures of gold and silver and gold and silver plated ware-Mr. Fisher -read the second time and House went into committee thereon. On section 1,


CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

What are the changes in this Bill from the Act formerly passed but which never came into operation ? It was to have come into operation in some seven or eight months but I doubt if it ever did. That Act was carefully thought out in committee, and I would like to know what the .changes are.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The Act to which my hon. friend refers was passed in 1906. The different interests were represented in the committee which considered that measure and they threshed out their different views, But before the Act came into force, the interests concerned found that some of its provisions would interfere with their trade and they asked the government to postpone its coming into force.

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

No, automatically at a certain date. It was not as usual the date of the assent to the Act, but the date fixed was March 13 last. Shortly before that date, the wholesale dealers in jewellery, the retail dealers and the manufacturers met together to discuss how it would affect them and found it would act prejudicially. They made representations to the government a few weeks before the date fixed for its coming into force. The government did not see how it was possible to make the necessary amendments and put them into shape before March 13, so we brought down a short Bill simply repealing that Act, and told the interested parties that we would if possible this session bring in a new Act to meet their views. The chief difference was with regard to the amount of gold in what are called pure gold articles. The dispute was whether nine carats or ten should be required as the minimum. The old Act re-

quired ten and tlie English law requires nine. Therefore with a ten carat requirement, the importation of English goods was practically prohibited. Eventually the manufacturers, while not agreeing to the change to nine carats, said they would leave the decision with the government. The importers and dealers all wanted nine carats substituted for ten. Various minor amendments were also suggested and the question was threshed out between the officers of the Crown and a committee composed of representatives of the retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. This committee drafted a new Bill, but it was found that, owing to their inexperience in drafting legislation their Bill was not in proper shape to present to parliament, and the Justice Department undertook to draft another.

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CON
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Yes. The other amendments are minor ones.

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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCKSHUTT.

Has the Bill been threshed out by the representatives of the various interests concerned and found satisfactory ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The accredited representatives of the retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers went into the whole matter and discussed it with the law officers of the Crown, and they have agreed on the provisions of this Bill, which has been well di^ cussed in the Senate and meets their views:

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CON

William Foster Cockshutt

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCICSHUTT.

Does it come into immediate operation ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

No, on the 1st of October next. .

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to ask the Minister of Agriculture one question about the Bill. I have had a communication about it, in which a reference is made to section 9:

The original intention of the manufacturers was to have goods marked in such a way that the public could distinguish between spurious and reliable articles. To accomplish which it was proposed 'that gold jewellery when stamped should possess such marks, and only such marks, as would enable the consumer to determine, first, the maker; second, the period of time when made; third, the quality of the article made. Section 9 deals with this question. but absolutely fails in every (particular. As we read the section, permission is given to stamp or apply either a trade mark only, or a quality mark only, or numbers not denoting quality only, and a trade mark combined with a dealer's initials only, or if the dealer prefers, all or any combination of said referred to marks, and the date mark is eliminated entirely.

I think the minister has a letter containing the same statement, that is from Mr. Ellis. The matter is a highly technical one, and I do not profess to understand it, but Mr. FISHER.

I thought it my duty to make these observations and to read this communication, in order to be sure that the matter has received the attention of the government, and that the minister is satisfied, if he is satisfied, with the present condition.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I had the same communication from Mr. Ellis. .While perhaps his views may be slightly different from the accredited representatives of the trade, we have looked into that matter, and the Senate went into the question carefully, and this section 9 seems to cover the consensus of opinion of the trade. As I understand it, Mr. Ellis' objection is to the removal of the necessity of the trade mark. But the Bill provides that the article must contain a trade mark registered in Canada, and that the trade mark contains the date. If the article is marked with a foreign trade mark, it must be registered, and the mark must be put on at the time of manufacture. But if there is no foreign trade mark put on, then it could be imported without that trade mark.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

What is to indicate the day of the manufacture? If only the registration trade mark is given, that would give no indication to the public.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

If there is no trade mark on. the date of the manufacture would be in the record, but the importer would have to comply with the Act. If there are any trade marks, any special marks, they must be in accordance with the Act.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I think we are all agreed that the object of the Bill is to prevent the practice of fraud on the public, but at the same time, while securing that object, it is desirable to disturb as little as possible the trade of the country in this important branch. 1 assume that the government has taken this question into careful consideration, but I do not suppose that at this stage of the session we will be able to give the subject any elaborate discussion, even if we had the technical knowledge to be able to do so. 1 would like to know from the minister whether he is satisfied, and whether the officials of the government having that matter in hand, are satisfied, that this Bill does, to as great an extent as practicable, prevent fraud and imposition upon the public. Some cogent illustrations of that evil were brought to my attention last year by gentlemen who wete engaged in the trade, particularly by Mr. MoNaught, who thinks the Bill in its present form is calculated to do away with those evils. Is the government satisfied that this legislation will have that effect?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I can say, practically yes, in regard to that. There could be greater protection, but I think it would be an interference with trade which would not be desirable. We must recognize the conditions,

and we must recognize the evidence of those who are engaged in it. The provisions of this Act seem to prevent any fraud, so far as that can be done with fair consideration for those engaged in the trade. It might be possible to invent greater restrictions, but I think it would be impracticable to enforce them. Mr. McNaught is urging . upon us very strongly that this Bill should become law.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

I am not quite clear whether it is compulsory that the imported article should have a trade mark on it.

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July 10, 1908