May 10, 1911

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

W'hen this Bill was before the committee the other day, l was asked who recommended these weights. 1 find they u'ere recommended by two organizations in the province of Quebec, and in the province of Ontario, which are composed of vegetable growers. The weights have been examined by the officers of the experimental farm, and have been reported upon as the correct weights for the articles mentioned in the Bill.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

The only change i3 in regard to potatoes.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Yes, 80 lbs. was the weight in the province of Quebec, and this makes it general throughout the Dominion. In Ontario the practice has been 90 lbs., but there has been no law fixing it at 90 lbs.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

What means will the minister take to acquaint the people oi Ontario of the change?

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I will see that it is published in the agricultural papers generally.

Mr- BLAIN. Has there been any general request from the province of Ontario for this rather drastic change? The minister says that it has been asked for by certain organizations. I may point out that this will make a great change, and I cannot see what advantage it will bring either to the buyer or the seller. For many years it has been the custom in Ontario to buy and sell a bag of potatoes at 90 pounds. Perhaps the minister will say that it is desirable there should be uniformity. I am not so sure that they would support so drastic a change. I am not sure that if it were submitted to the agricultural societies the minister would receive their sanction generally.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I do not think the farmers would object to selling 80 pounds for a bag of potatoes instead of 90 pounds.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I think they would. Men have grown up to do business in potatoes with 90 pounds to the bushel. That is the general custom, and when the hon. gentleman introduces a measure to change that to 80 pounds, it will create a good deal of confusion. In the first place, almost all the bags used by the farmers in every part of the province are made to hold 90 pounds. In future they will have to take a 90-pound bag and put 80 pounds of potatoes into it. It is a very great disadvantage to the farmer and no advantage to any class of people that I know of. I am quite confident that if the minister will consult his friends and the people of Ontario they will not endorse a proposition of this kind. I would like to

MAY 10, 19n

enter a protest, mild as it may be, against the very drastic change that will be introduced by the passage of this measure into the potato market in Ontario. I do not think that the suggestion that because it is 80 pounds in Quebec it should, therefore, be 80 pounds in Ontario, will be sufficient for the farmers in the latter province. It will make a very Unsatisfactory condition of things if after a custom has grown up extending over half a dozen generations it is suddenly changed without any very strong demand for it. There may be some reason for changing it other than the reasons that are mentioned, but I do not think my hon. friend will find any class of farmers or those interested in the potato business in Ontario who would consent to so great a change that will cause the greatest inconvenience to the people of that province.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I think it is distinctly a mistake to change it to 80 pounds, because all over the country a bag of potatoes is a bushel and a half, and a bushel of potatoes is 60 pounds. A bushej of potatoes here is stated to be 60 pounds. What is understood by Dominion standard pounds?

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think there is a Dominion standard pound in the Weights and Measures Act.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON (Lennox and Addington).

I quite agree with the minister that the weight of a bag of potatoes should be the same in every province, but I remember that when the change was made to 80 pounds in the province of Quebec, it was to accommodate certain dealers and farmers around the city of Montreal. I see no reason why the weight should now be changed all over Canada to 80 pounds. I do not know how you will fix the number of pounds to the bushel. A bag of potatoes in our province has always been understood to be a bushel and a half-that is 90 pounds-and while the minister is anxious to make the weight of a bag of potatoes the same throughout the whole country, I think he should adopt the standard as 90 pounds.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

This Bill has been prepared by the Department of Trade and Commerce, and I shall be glad to allow the committee to rise in order that I may consult my colleague, and see if he approves of that suggestion.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR.

I had an opportunity of going with the deputation that was here in connection with this matter, representing the vegetable growers and fruit growers, not only of Quebec, but of Ontario as well, and I listened to their arguments before the minister. There was a representative of the association from my own county. Their argument was that in the city of Toronto,

for instance, potatoes were sold by people who put them into smaller bags, and disposed of practically 70 pounds of potatoes as a bag. Thus they were able to undersell the legitimate dealers in potatoes who were selling 80 or 90 pounds to the bag. They suggested to the minister that he should make it uniform with the province of Quebec in order that the public would not be deceived, and that there would be a standard weight for a bag of potatoes, so that the consumer would know, in buying a bag of potatoes, that he was entitled to get 80 pounds.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Edward Kidd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KIDD.

I quite agree with my hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Blain), that it would be a great inconvenience to change the weight of a bag of potatoes from 90 pounds to 80 pounds. Sixty pounds to the bushel has been a standard measure, I suppose, ever since we commenced to handle potatoes in Canada. I think it would be very much better if in the province of Quebec the standard were made 60 pounds to the bushel or 90 pounds to the bag, or even to provide that potatoes shall be handled by the hundred pounds. I think that to adopt a standard of 80 pounds to the bag would cause inconvenience. If it were made 80 pounds to the bag, there being 60 pounds to the bushel, how could you be sure that you were putting the specified weight into [DOT] the bag, because you would have to get it down to the proper number of pounds?

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It would be a bushel and a third.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Edward Kidd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KIDD.

Yes, a bushel and a third.

I think it would be better to change the standard in Quebec to 90 pounds, and make it equal all over the country. It would be a great convenience to have a standard bag of potatoes all over the Dominion as it would also be to have a standard bag of oats. It would be better to have it 34 or 32 pounds to the bushel throughout the whole country.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There is no standard weight in Ontario, or anywhere else except in Quebec. A man might sell a bag of potatoes, and sell any quantity he chose.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Edward Kidd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KIDD.

What does the minister mean by saying there is no standard in Ontario?

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There is no standard in Ontario, or anywhere else except Quebec.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Edward Kidd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KIDD.

If you sell a bag of potatoes containing 80 pounds in Ottawa you will find that there is a standard before you get away. You would find the market inspector after you, and he would take the potatoes and you along with them.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That is the practice. I do not know what the law courts would say, but there is no standard.

Topic:   INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.
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May 10, 1911