February 26, 1915

LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

At one time I was under the impression that the inspectors of weights and measures were on duty for the protection of the public, but that appears to be a misapprehension. As I understand their duty-what the minister has said confirms this, and I tfhink the public should know it-it is the protection of the dealer who owns the weight and measure, and not the protection of the public. The inspection is to guarantee that the dealer is not using a weight that is too heavy or a measure that is too large; it is no guarantee to the public that they are getting a full measure or a full weight. The point I want to make is that the inspector does not make his inspection in such ways or at such times as to give the public any assurance of protection. A dealer has a scale which is inspected and stamped by the inspector. That scale is in evidence when the inspector is there, and some other scale is in use when he is not there. I am not criticising the administration of my hon. friend; I am merely making the general criticism that so far as I am aware, the Department of Inland Revenue does not take steps, through the operations of their weights and measures officials, to protect the public interests and to see that honest weights are given and honest measures used.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

I am afraid I did not make myself clear in answering the question of the hon. gentleman. Every merchant is compelled by law to have his

10 p.m. scale inspected at least every two years, but the inspectors are on duty all the time, looking over the scales that have been inspected, seeing that no other scales are used, and that no method is adopted whereby the merchant or anybody else may rob the public.

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LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. M. MARTIN (Montreal, St. Mary's):

(Translation): Mr. Chairman, in Montreal complaints are made not only as regards the inspection of scales, but as regards the inspection of measures, such as pints,

quarts, etc. The public believe that they are not sufficiently protected in that respect, and I would like the honourable gentleman to inform the House as to the measures taken towards meeting such complaints.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

The officers of the Department are at all times available to the public-free of charge. They play as it were fhe part of detectives and make every inquiry in that connection. It is their duty to give their services for the protection of the public.

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LIB
LIB

Alexander William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. A. W. CHISHOLM:

What is the standing of D. Campbell, an official of the weights and measures branch at Strath-lorne? Is he an assistant, or the chief officer?

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

I have not the information here.

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LIB

William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM:

To begin with, let me tell the minister that I have a good deal of confidence in his sense of honesty and fairness. I am going to make one request of him. I am going to ask him to muzzle this man Daniel Campbell. He is the most active and I would say the most unscrupulous politician in the county of Inverness- and we have some of them there. It is seldom I have been heard to find fault in this House with any of my opponents in Inverness county, and I would not do so in this case if this man were not a paid officer of the Government. His business makes it necessary for him to go and see men of all shades of politics. There is not a convention, or a meeting or assemblage of Conservatives in the county of Inverness but he must be there and be head and tail of everything. He would have a perfect right to do that if he were not a paid officer of this Government, but if he is, I do not think it is fair or right. I will go further and say that I would not be very confident that a man would properly discharge his duties who is so influenced as this man is. He is a good officer, I believe, and does his duty all right when his political leanings do not carry him away. It is nothing to him to go to a meeting of the municipal council and stay there for a week at a time, when I am sure he has something else to do. At all events, he is paid for doing something else, and he attends the council for nothing else than to further the political interests of his party. I ask the minister

to take these few remarks to heart and correct this man, who is the only man in the county of Inverness that I have a word to say against.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

I will certainly see that this man keeps quiet.

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LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. M. MARTIN (Montreal, St. Mary's):

(Translation): Mr. Chairman, I wish to

draw the attention of the Honourable Minister of Inland Revenue to what is going on in the country in regard to cut tobacco. I may state that the Department is losing heavily as a result of frauds committed, I am satisfied, at its expense. Many farmers cut their tobacco by passing it through a straw-cutter, without holding any license from the department. That is being done constantly, and more especially during snowstorms or bad weather, when such farmers shut themselves up in their barns and proceed to cut their tobacco. That is unfair competition on their part, and the Government is made to lose heavily thereby. I think that the department should have watchful inspectors, so as to put an end to such frauds.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN :

(Translation) : In

answer to the honourable gentleman, I may say that our officers, though numerous, are kept busy going around and enforcing the law in that respect. The department is aware that frauds are being committed, detrimental to the revenue. Rigid measures have been taken to prevent and put a stop to such abuses. I thank the honourable member and shall be glad if he will suggest to the department any means that he may deem advisable for the better enforcement of the Act.

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LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. M. MARTIN (Translation):

I would like to point out to the honourable gentleman that, in the same way that there are dishonest farmers, there are unscrupulous grocers who sell [DOT] cut tobacco in bags labelled thus: "Black Tea," "Green Tea," "Japan Tea," etc.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN :

I shall be glad

if the honourable gentleman will forward to the officers of the Inland Revenue Department, in Montreal, any information in his possession. They have strict orders for the enforcement of the Act.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Referring once more to the inspection of weights and measures, I am to understand that it is a part of the duty of the officer, and the responsibility of the department, to protect the public. But I have

not been given to understand that by inspectors of weights and measures whom I have met. They have told me that they were purely officials; that is to say, that they were simply to test the accuracy of the *weight or the measure and that beyond that they did not have any responsibility for what I have called the protection of the public. That might be considered to be in the interest of the dealer rather than of the buyer. Now if it is the duty of the inspector to protect the public, I suggest to the minister that he pass the word to his inspectors all along the line to use greater diligence on that side of their duties than they have hitherto done; and that they recognize that they have a responsibility in the protection of the public in the actual use of those weights and measures, and that they take due means to discover-and in some cases it would not require very much effort- whether short measures or light weight was being given to the public.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Have not the inspectors power to confiscate inaccurate scales and measures?

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LIB
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

It seems to me then, they have the power which the hon. gentleman thinks they lack. While it may be true that inspectors of weights and measures are supposed to protect the man who owns the scale, it is undoubtedly true that they make their inspections at unexpected times. They are liable to drop in at any moment to inspect the scales, and I would take that as an indication that inspectors are intended to protect the general public from improper weights and measures. I wish to call the minister's attention to one thing which I think worthy of his consideration. At the time the investigation was held at Montreal, in regard to the weighing of cheese, I visited that city and went over one of the factories where scales are manufactured. They told me that they manufactured a scale which was in general demand in the cheese factories throughout eastern Ontario and western Quebec, and they demonstrated to me that that particular kind of scale could not be relied on for any length of time. It might be tested to-day and prove correct, but after being in use for only a short time the scale would become defective.

I may say that there was a scale generally called for by the trade because it sold at a smaller price than a better scale. On account of that defective scale being in pretty general use in cheese factories throughout eastern Ontario and western

Quebec, there were discrepancies in the weights as given by the factories and the weights as recorded in Montreal, this leading to disputes and possibly a good deal of sore feeling because each party thought that his weight was right. The factory no doubt thought that they were weighing their stuff properly and the people in Montreal claimed differently. Is not the advisability of. getting out a standard scale in cheese factories, a scale which will stand the test of time and use, worthy of the consideration of the Minister? I would, in addition to that, express the view that the scales in cheese factories in particular should be inspected more frequently than they are. They should be inspected not merely once but twice or three times in a season. That would make for a better understanding between the producer of the cheese and the big exporter in Montreal and not only that but it would have a tendency to give us a better name in the English markets if our cheese went over there without any reflection being cast upon the people as to their giving full weight. I would like the minister to give his atttention to these suggestions.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

I shall certainly take

note of the remarks of my hon. friend and give them consideration.

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LIB

Gustave Benjamin Boyer

Liberal

Mr. BOYER (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, as regards the inspection of scales in cheese factories, I may point out to the hon. gentleman that we have, in the province of Quebec, inspectors appointed specially by the provincial Department of Agriculture and under the control of the Dairymen's Association, whose duty it is to inspect at frequent intervals cheese factories and creameries. If only we were in a position to enable such inspectors to inspect scales, a work which is now under the control of the hon. gentleman, that department would find such inspectors to be very capable officers whose services would be precious to the public. The Minister of Agriculture was favourable to such a proposal, and the dairy industry in our province would be largely benefited by the granting of such powers to the aforesaid inspectors. Such inspection of the scales would entail no extra expense on the Government and would prove entirely satisfactory to the public.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN (Translation):

My attention has already been drawn to the matter, and it is being considered. I am confident that we shall be able to devise a means of inspecting scales in cheese factories and creameries that will be entirely satisfactory to the public.

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February 26, 1915