CURRIE (North Simcoe) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 131) respecting pure foods.
Bill (No. 128) to incorporate the James Bay and Eastern Railway Company.-Mr. Girard. Bill (No. 129) to incorporate the Ontario and Ottawa Railway Company-Mr. Low. Bill (No. 130) respecting the Vancouver Island and Eastern Railway Company.- Mr. Ralph Smith.
PURE FOOD ACT.
Mr. J. A. CURRIE.
Pure food is now attracting world wide attention especially in respect to the conditions under which food is prepared for human consumption. The United States, the Australasian colonies, Great Britain herself, all civilized countries are. legislating in the direction of securing the purity of food. In Canada we have the Adulteration of Food Act, and we have the Canned Goods Act, and we have the Inspection of Foods Act, all directed more or less towafds this object, but to any one who has studied the subject it would appear that something is still wanting. This Bill among other things proposes to provide legislation for the establishing of standards of pure food, and in drafting the Bill I have endeavoured not to intrude upon the prerogatives of government by placing any charge upon the public or interfering with any trade. I trust the Minister of Inland Revenue, under whose jurisdiction
such matters come, will give this Bill careful consideration. My only regret is that some medical man who may understand the matter better than I, is not in charge of the Bill. This Bill provides that it shall be called the 'Pure Food Act', and that it shall be read and construed with the Adulteration Act, the Canned Goods Act, and the Inspection and Sales Act, and, following the precedents set by the legislature of Victoria it to some extent consolidates these Acts relating to pure food, and provides a uniform law on the subject. Under the heading of 'interpretation', the chief point is the definition of the words 'article of food' and for the purpose of this Bill an article of food is defined to be every article used for food or drink by man. Then, the Bill provides, similar to existing legislation, that an officer may enter upon and examine premises, and 'an officer' for the purpose of this Act is interpreted to be an officer under the meaning of the other Acts to which I have referred. The provisions with respect to seizure and so forth are similar to those in the Inspection and Sales Act and the Adulteration Act. This provision is made because there may be included in the standards fixed under this Bill certain things which are not contained in our present legislation.
Another clause provides that food put up for sale must bear a legible stamp or stencil mark, giving the name of the article, the quantity, measure, volume and so forth, and the name and address of the vendor or maker. The package must have on it, placed in a prominent position, in prominent letters, the words ' prepared under the regulations and standard of the Canadian Pure Foods Act.' The purpose is to give in a larger measure_ a guarantee to the public that these articles are properly prepared.
I find that other countries compel manufacturers to place a guarantee of this kind on their exported goods, so that it gives to the foreign consumer a certain guarantee of their quality. I desire that we should have the same law here, so that any foods or other articles of food that we sell abroad will carry with them a stamp of a pure food law of our own, such as is carried under the laws of the United States and Australia. The next subject that is dealt with is how samples should be taken in packages. Another clause concerning witnesses, provides that a witness need not be compelled to disclose where he obtains his information, also making a provision where and how an officer may purchase samples. Then another clause provides that the prosecution must be instituted within forty-two days after the information has been given, that is to limit the prosecution to a certain specified time. Then again when a person is summoned under this Act the summons is not 89
returnable for fourteen days. The next clause perhaps is one of the most important and defines what is meant by adulteration.
For the purposes of the Pure Food Act an article of food or substance or compound or other article shall be deemed adulterated or falsely described,
(a) When it contains or is mixed with or diluted with any substance in any quality to the prejudice of the purchaser or consumer, or in any proportion which diminishes in any manner its food value or nutritive properties as compared with such article in a pure or normal state and in an undeteriorated or sound condition,
(b) When it contains or is mixed with or diluted with any substance of lower commercial value than such article in pure or normal state and in an undeteriorated or sound condition, or
(c) When it does not comply either wholly or in part with the standard therefor prescribed under this Act by any regulation, or
(d) When it contains any substance prescribed as a prohibited addition, or
(e) When it contains any substance concerning which any restrictive regulation has been made in excess of any quantity or proportion permitted by any such regulation, or
(f) When it contains methyl alcohol, or not having paid customs or excise duty, it contains more than two parts of proof spirit per centum, or
(g) When any article of food or other article or substance or compound in any package is described by any stamp or stencilled or impressed or printed or written statement or claim or brand or covering or label or mark or tag purporting to name or indicate the nature or quality or strength or purity or composition or origin or age or proportion of any article of food or ingredients or substances contained therein, which statement, claim, brand, covering label, mark or tag, is false or incorrect or misleading.
This clause in the Act virtually follows the Australian and American law. The next clause takes up the question of the addition of certain injurious drugs to liquors and wines, and provides that certain dangerous ingredients shall not be contained in them, such as cholorides, sulphites, sulphuric acid and other substances of that nature. The next clause deals with the quality of the tin which is supposed to be used in putting up a package, and makes provision against there being a dangerous quantity of lead in the covering or package. The next clause deals with toys, wall paper and articles of that kind, and provides that there shall be no arsenic in the paint used on them. Then another clause deals with the matter of use of dangerous compounds in wall paper, leathers, and so forth. This provision against the use, for instance, of arsenic and lead, is contained in the statute-books of other countries, and is borrowed largely from them. The principal clause deals with the question of who shall
fix these standards, and that is perhaps the most important section in this Act. It reads thus:
The Governor in Council may appoint for the purposes of this Act a pure foods standard commission.
(a) Such commission shall be composed of fifteen members. The chief analyst of the Dominion shall be a member and shall preside as chairman of the commission. _
(b) The other members of the commission must hold the position for the time being or have held the position of professor or teacher of any one of tlie following subjects in a recognized university in the Dominion of Canada, chemistry, biology, materia medica, physiology, agriculture, sanitation, bacteriology, veterinary science. The said members shall be appointed from the following faculties : One from a university in Nova Scotia, one from a university in jPrince Edward Island, one from a university in New Brunswick, one from the University of Laval, one from the University of McGill, one from the University of Queens, one from the University of Toronto, one from the Western University of London, one from a university in Manitoba, one from a university in Saskatchewan, one from a university in Alberta, one from a university in British Columbia, and two provincial medical health officers.
The commission shall have power to fix a standard for foods and drugs, and to establish regulations. In the United States this commission is composed of three officers of the government who frame regulations and fix the standard. There has been considerable difiiculty and controversy over these standards, and in order to avoid any theories or fads in the establishment of our standards, I think it would be wise for us to have a board of experts as large as possible, and composed of men who would be above reproach in any possible way. I think the commission I have suggested in this Bill would be well qualified to fix the standards on those articles mentioned in the Bill, and they would remove any onus from the department or officers connected with the department. The public at large could have every confidence in this commission who had fixed these standards.
There are other clauses which provide that the -commission shall meet twice a year, and that the commission shall be called on notice of the chief analyst for the purpose of considering the advisability of placing some new article on that standard or of changing the present regulation.
Those, Sir, in substance, are the main provisions of this Bill. I trust the Minister of Inland Revenue will take it into his favourable consideration, and will adopt if possible some of its provisions and incorporate them in our present law. At present the standard is fixed under the Adulteration Act, and virtually it is the chief analyst whose duty it is to fix the stand-Mr. J. A. CURRIE.
ards. The Act has been on the statute-book for many years, and we have had no standards as the law says we shall have. The duty of fixing the standards being placed upon the shoulders of one man exposes him possibly to attack from manufacturers on the one hand, and also to attack from the public on the other. For that reason I think the commission as proposed here would lead us wisely out of the difficulty. The Australian law provides for a commission established on a similar basis, and it has received the commendation of those who have given consideration to the matter of pure foods in other countries, and other countries have followed a similar plan. I think, Sir, that the matters dealt with under this Bill are of sufficient importance to the people of Canada to merit that, the Bill should be considered in committee, to see if we cannot arrive at some better method of securing a high quality of foods in this country than we have at present.
Mr. Speaker, it would be premature to discuss the Bill, as explained by the hon. member for North Sim-coe (Mr. Currie), at the present time. When it is printed and circulated and when we have had time to study its provisions it will be the proper time to give that consideration which my hon. friend asks for it. But, as my hon. friend explains the Bill, it seems to me, that we would require to amend or repeal the Adulteration of Foods Act. The most important provision in the Bill, as explained by my'hon. friend, is that providing for the establishment of standards for foods. In the present Adulteration of Foods Act, as my hon. friend has just stated, there is power for the Governor General in Council to establish standards of food and if the Adulteration of Foods Act in Canada has not been that success that it might have been it is due to the fact that standards of food have never been established. But, for some months the chief chemist of the department has had the question under consideration and food standards are now being prepared and_will be in force, under the present Adulteration of Foods Act, I think, on the first of April next. These standards embrace 500 or 600 articles of food. It has been a large undertaking for the chemist of the department to prepare these standards, but I am hopeful that as soon as the manufacturers of food stuffs in Canada and others interested have been apprised of what these standards are going to be, and as soon as the standards are properlv prepared they will be enforced. I just want to state that at the present time under the Adulteration of Foods Act the department is preparing to put into force what is apparently the most important provision of my
hon. friend's Bill. However, after the Bill is printed and circulated we will have a better opportunity of considering it.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.
RATIFICATION OF FRENCH TREATY.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN.
If the Minister of Finance would be good enough to communicate with him as early as possible I would be very glad; or, perhaps the hon. Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Frederick Borden) is acquainted with the circumstances and can answer my question.
On the orders of the day being called:
Mr. Speaker, before you proceed with the orders of the day, may I have your permission to state that a telegram has been received announcing that the exchange of ratifications of the F'ranco-Oanadian treaty took place this day at Paris and therefore the treaty is now in operation.
INQUIRIES FOR RETURNS AND PAPERS.
Mr. U. WILSON.
I would like to inquire about a return with reference to immigration agencies that I moved for on the 18th day of November. The minister, a few days ago, said that it had been brought down long ago, but I made inquiry this morning and found that it has not yet been brought down.
I will call the attention of the hon. Minister of the Interior to it.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN.
I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), in the absence of the right hon. the Prime Minister, whether or not there is any answer to the inquiry made by my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) yesterday with regard to further documents touching the question of naval defence. I would like to know whether all the papers relating to the recent defence conference have been brought down, whether there have been any subsequent correspondence or communications, which, in the ordinary course, would be laid before the House for the purposes of a debate upon the second reading of the Bill. If there are any such documents or communications I think they should be laid on the table of the House not later than to-day in order that we may make ourselves acquainted with their purport before the debate takes place on Thursday next.
I will see that the attention of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister is called to the matter a3 early as possible. I have no doubt he has given his attention to it, but unfortunately he is not very well to-day and unable to be present, but I will see that his attention is again called to it, so that if there are any additional papers they may be brought down.
Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.
My impression is that all the papers have been brought down. Precisely the same papers have been laid on the table of this House as were laid on the table of the House of Commons in England. The conference was secret, as was announced at the time, and sol were the meetings of the subcommittees of the conference and unless some correspondence in reference to certain ships which have been under consideration may be in my hon. friend's mind I do not think there is any thing whatever connected with the conference per se which has not been laid on the table.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN.
I do not know of anything except that we would like to have the definite assurance that every thing which ought to be brought down and which in the ordinary course would be brought down has been laid before the House.
. Sir FREDERICK BORDEN. I will look into that myself to-day.
I wish to draw the attention of the minister in charge of the Department of Marine and Fisheries to return (No. 82) respecting the salmon fisheries of Digby county. I find that this return as brought down is incomplete. I know that certain investigations were had subsequent to the conclusion of this return, and I would ask that the return be completed as early as possible.
I will call the attention of the acting minister to the hon. gentleman's request.