February 3, 1911

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 108) respecting the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.-Mr. McCraney. Bill (No. 109) respecting the Ontario and Minnesota Power Company, Limited.-Mr. Conmee. Bill (No. 110) respecting the peoples' Railway Company.-Mr. Nesbitt. Bill (No. Ill) to incorporate the Saskatoon and Hudson Bay Railway Company.- Mr. Carvell.


STORAGE OF FOOD SUPPLIES.

?

Mr. E. N.@

LEWIS (West Huron) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 112) respecting the storage of food. He said: The Bill which I desire to introduce to the House, in amendment to the Cold Storage Act, has reference to the greatest question now before the people of this country, the cost of living. The need of something of this kind has been brought forward with great prominence in the last few days in connection with the question of the right to destroy $100,000 worth of eggs which have been in cold storage in the vicinity of Montreal. In the United States there has been so much interest in this matter that one of their most prominent men, Henry Cabot Lodge, has introduced" into the Senate of the United States a Bill dealing with it. Mr. Sulzer has also introduced in the House of Representatives a Bill to prevent the sale or transportation in inter-Mr. BLAIN.

state or foreign commerce of articles of food held in cold storage for more than one year, and Mr. Moore, of Pennsylvania, has introduced a Bill to regulate the storage of food supplies in the District of Columbia. The Bill which I introduce differs somewhat from these Bills. Section 11 of the Bill, amending the Cold Storage Act, provides :

11. That from and after the passing of this Act it shall he unlawful in Canada to keep in storage in any warehouse or other place of deposit for a longer period 'than one year any meat, fish, poultry, game, butter, eggs, oysters or other food products intended for sale or distribution.

Section 12 provides:

12. That whenever it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Dominion medical health officer or food inspector that any meat, fish, poultry, game, butter, eggs, oysters or other food products kept in storage for a Period under one year, may not be sold or distributed without prejudice to the public health, the said medical health officer or food inspector shall cause such products to be seized and destroyed.

As hon. gentlemen are well aware, there is a prejudice against the cold storage system, but that is a mistake. There is no doubt that, as Mr. Wilson, the secretary of the Department of Agriculture of the United States, says, that system is one of the greatest blessings to mankind. It started in the cold spring house or the cold cellar of the farm and the refrigerator or ice box of the home. In old days the storage of food products in the time of plenty for use in the time of need was practised.' The object of cold storage is to lay up food in time of production for human consumption when the time of production is over. While that system may be used to the public disadvantage, it will, if properly regulated, tend to the balance ot prices. It enables poor people, or people of moderate means to procure the ordinary necessaries of life at a time when they are not being produced. But the storage system should be guarded. In inquiries made by our neighbours to the south it -has been proved that certain articles kept for six months deteriorated. Butter can be kept much longer than eggs. Eggs kept for three months or more will deteriorate, while poultrv taken out of cold storage at the end of three months can hardly be distinguished from fresh-killed poultry. After three months, however, there is a gradual change for the worse. I consider, from the information which I have obtained, that the keeping of food products afteT the time of the year when they can be reproduced is deleterious. Dr. Wiley, chief of the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Department of Agriculture, gives a list of different foods which can be kept without deterioration for different periods,

according to the nature of the food. I do not claim that this Bill, which I desire to introduce, will cover the whole case. I merely wish to introduce it, as I think it is the duty of an opposition member to bring to the notice of the government any desirable legislation along this line, and I ask the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Inland Revenue to take up this matter either by introducing legislation of their own or by having this Bill sent to a committee.

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LIB

William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM (Huron).

I think that the hon. gentleman perhaps is mistaken somewhat in speaking of the time in which food is left in cold storage. The time has not so much to do with the deterioration of the food as the regularity or otherwise of the temperature of the cold storage in which it is kept. Cold storage being carried on under the supervision of private individuals is frequently badly managed and the temperature allowed to vary. Therefore, if we had a law compelling cold storage companies to keep the food under proper temperature that might be better than to enact a time limit. Different products require different temperatures, and when all are kept in the same temperature, some are bound to deteriorate and he spoiled. I do not object to this Bill going to a committee, but I would object to a time limit being fixed altogether irrespective of consideration of temperature, and accommodation. Much also depends on the condition in which the food is when placed in cold storage. To destroy food on a certain day irrespective of its condition just because it had been kept a year would be not only unjust but foolish and useless.

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RECIPROCITY ARRANGEMENT.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Before the orders of the day are called I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) when we may expect the tabulated information which was referred to the other day in connection with the reciprocity proposals now before the House? I think that should include all the information furnished congress to which allusion has already been made, and also contain any definite information as to the extent to which the proposals would affect other countries. That subject was alluded to in the speech of my hon. friend. I would also suggest the desirability of having this in printed form as nearly as possible because it would be only proper and fair that we should have it in our hands for, say, a week before the debate.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I do not agree with my hon. friend that he should have this information in his hands a week before the debate, but I do agree that we should have it at the earliest possible moment. I hope

by the beginning of Monday's session, at the latest, that we may have it.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I do not want any unreasonable delay in entering on the debate but the information required will involve a good many considerations which cannot Ibe digested in an hour or two, as the proposals are exceedingly comprehensive and the information afforded in the documents submitted to congress is rather voluminous.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I hope to-day or perhaps to-morrow to receive some additional copies of the American information, but I thought it well also that we should have information from our own officials, and I hope to have that in the hands of hon. gentlemen with very little delay.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

'So that we may avoid having insufficient information when it does come down, through any mistake in our not understanding one another, let me again point out what we would like to have. I presume the Minister of Finance knows pretty well what we do want, and as I explained the other day we want everything concerning which there may be interests affected by this proposition. It would be very convenient to have a table of the varies duties on one sheet such as was furnished by the minister when he made his statement. This would give the different duties on the same sheet, and we would not have to turn from one sheet to another in order to make comparisons. It would be much better to have them on the one sheet so that we could see exactly the differences in the schedule. The other information required is what my hon. friend spoke about, regarding the British preference, whether it applies to Great Britain or the overseas dominions, also to the articles to which reductions apply as between ourselves and Australia, with which country we are in communication for a preferential arrangement also a list of the articles affected by this agreement in which all favoured nation exchanges should be given. That is the kind of information we want, and no doubt the hon. minister knows exactly what it is.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I gave instructions to my officials to read my hon. friend's observations and endeavour as far as possible to cover the ground he presented. The statement brought down, and which is in ' Hansard,' I have given instructions to include in the printed form so that it may be accessible. Whether it will be in one form or another I cannot tell, but no doubt it will be in the most convenient form. I hope to have that down to-day or Monday at the latest, and it will cover all the points raised.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. FOSTER.

There is another point I wish to mention. I asked for a return of

the correspondence with reference to the reciprocity negotiations-correspondence

with the government or any member of it in favour of reciprocity, documents, petitions and the like. Also correspondence, petitions, and other documents opposed to reciprocity. It would toe important as well to include any correspondence between the government and any member of the government, and outside parties either in favour of or against reciprocity.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Has my hon. friend examined the return (brought down to-day- a supplementary return.

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CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

With regard to cerres-pondence respecting reciprocity with the government there is practically none. Many people made representations to the government but beyond a polite acknowledgment of their letters, there is no correspondence. In some cases these representations, although not marked confidential, are such as I would hardly feel free to bring down because they relate to particular interests that might be, or thought they might be affected by the negotiations, and I could not without their consent publish these. So far as the government is concerned, we have no correspondence on the subject. I have had correspondence with individual members of the House in which they have given their views. My hon. friend would not expect me to bring this correspondence down. And, of course I would not, anyhow.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

It is evident that this arrangement deals with sectional interests and what you might call private interests, that is, in fact, one of its great characteristics. And what I wanted to get at as far as possible, was what these interests felt on the subject, and what information they had given to the government with respect to it. It seems to me that you could easily stretch the view expressed by the Minister of Finance so as to cover the arbitrary exclusion of most essential information. I do not concur in the idea that it is private correspondence that goes on, for instance, between a man interested in fruit growing or dairying, and the Minister of Customs or the Minister of Finance on these subjects, if it is not marked ' private.' I think the minister takes a great deal upon himself when he undertakes, in effect, to put the mark ' confidential ' upon it. This is information that ought to be made known in the interest of the country, it seems to me.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

May I ask the Minister of Finance if he had correspondence with every member of the House or only with a few?

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CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I do not know that my hon. friend (Mr. Reid, Grenville), was good enough to write to me on the subject; but if he did so, and his letter was not marked ' private,' I would feel free (to bring it down.

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February 3, 1911