April 16, 1918

UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Before the minister brings in his Bill I would suggest that he provide against meats being kept in cold storage warehouses beyond a certain period. I trust the minister will provide in the Bill for giving the people of this country control over these cold storage warehouses, which I understand are the main factor in the tremendous increase in food prices. If the cold storage warehouses were compelled to market the goods they have in storage at stated periods, after being put in, instead of being allowed to carry them for two or three years, the people would get food a great deal cheaper. It is an injustice "to the public to permit such a monopoly as this to spring up. If the minister would look at the Acts that have been pased in the province of Victoria, Australia, I think he would find something to help him in framing an Act that would be of some benefit to the public. Canned goods, if properly canned, will last for ten years, but if not properly canned, they will not last ten days; that is the whole sum and substance -of the trouble. But this is to be borne in mind. A great quantity of the canned goods coming into this country are imported from other countries than the United States. A vast quantity of beef, for instance, have been imported from the Argentine Republic, and no doubt it is

still finding its way into this country. Eggs from iChina are also co-ming in, some of them twenty years old, no doubt. The minister should take these things into consideration and should be empowered to provide regulations from time to time to cover cases as they arise, such as the bad chicken that had to be cremated in Winnipeg. The minister in Australia has power to frame regulations and stop these abuses.

I know the Minister of Agriculture is desirous of doing everything he can to protect the public and we must all give him credit for his sincerity in that regard. I am sure he will be fearless in doing his duty.

iMr. CLEMENTS: Is it intended that

every manufacturer of canned goods shall have his monogram or the firm's name on every can of his product? I have heard a good deal said about cold storage warehouses this afternoon, and, am bound to say that if some of the gentlemen who have referred to cold-storage abuses had gone into the subject a little more fully, they would have realized the benefits of cold storage better than they do. The reason I ask the question is this-on the Pacific coast, and on the Atlantic coast too, there is a very great difference in the grades of fish caught at different places along the coast. A certain fish, whether it he a chum salmon, a dog salmon or a cohoe salmon, is of very much better quality in one section of the province of British Columbia than in another, and it would be very unfair for a manufacturer putting up chum or dog salmon along one section of the Pacific coast of British Columbia to have his pack compared with, say, a northern or a southern pack. I have always contended that the manufacturer should place his name or his firm's name on every can, whether it be in the province of British Columbia or in any other province, and I sincerely hope that the minister will see that every manufacturer of canned goods in Canada stands behind his own brand and has his name printed on every can in [DOT]his product.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I should like to refer for a moment to the suggestion made by the horn, member for Toronto (Mr. Thomas Foster), that this Bill does not go far enough. As I understand it, this Bill deals only with the inspection of foods intended for import or export, and it has perhaps escaped the attention of the Government that a great proportion of the meats consumed by the people of this country are not imported. In not only the smaller cities but the larger

cities as well a good proportion of the meat is slaughtered by the farmers in the country and is brought into the city markets and there disposed of to the consumer

Of that food, I think, there is absolutely no inspection and no guarantee that it is fit for human consumption. I am quite ready to admit that in most cases there can be no fault found with the kind of beef and pork that is brought into the markets of the cities. In the city of Kitchener, from which I come, the suggestion has been made at times that all foods brought into the city for sale should have some kind of inspection. We considered that matter for years, and were not able to find a solution, largely because the matter of inspection led to too great an expense, and placed a heavy burden either upon the farmer who produced the food, or else upon the consumer, and under present conditions, where foods are very expensive, and especially meats, perr haps it is not the time to deal with the matter. I would like to make the suggestion that if the Government could direct its attention to that phase of the matter, so that all meat which ordinarily would require in-specion should be inspected with possibly the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, I think a great service would be rendered to the consumers of the cities and towns. Perhaps this is not the place to make that suggestion, but I do so because the hon. gentleman from Toronto (Mr. Thomas Foster) mentioned it, and because I believe it is very well worth considering.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I might say, with respect to the observation of the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) and of some other hon. gentlemen who have spoken on the subject that the scope of the Meat and Canned Foods Act is to cover the inspection of articles for interprovincial trade or for export. No matter how desirable it may be to extend the scope and operation of the Act to cover all goods offered for sale, there are obvious difficulties in the way. For instance, a man manufactures sausage, bacon or ham, and brings it into his local market to sell. Very practical difficulties are presented in the creation of a Dominion system of inspection that will adequately inspect, and I believe such inspection for consumption within the province where '.t originates is under provincial regulation, and quite within provincial and municipal power, and the purpose has been to secure a safeguard in that respect through municipal and provincial regulation, leaving to the Dominion the

matter of controlling inspection where the article is'for provincial trade or for export.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I should like to get an answer to the question asked by the hon. member for iMatane (Mr. Pelletier). I listened with astonishment to the statement made by the hon. member for West Hastings (Mr. Porter). Goods were manufactured in Canada for export and were shipped across the ocean, to be consumed by Canadian soldiers. It is very painful to have to hear such statements as that made by the hon. member for West Hastings (Mr. Porter). Can we not get from the Minister of Agriculture a statement of what he intends to put in his Bill? I think it would be proper he should define the qualifications of the inspectors, if he is going to have any. The Bill is generally prepared at the same time as the resolution. The discussion on this resolution is to enlighten the 'House, or to suggest to my hon. friend certain things which occur to the minds of hon. members of this House, according to the knowledge they are able to impart. Why not tell us what will be the qualifications or requirements necessary under this Act for the man to be appointed inspector in order that the people of Canada may expect good service, and have good men in this most important position? Because, after all, the health and welfare of the community depends a good deal upon these people, their honesty and technical knowledge. The hon. gentleman from Matane (Mr. Pelletier) asked, in the case of slaughter houses, if licensed veterinary surgeons would not be appointed. Why not put it in the Bill that, for certain classes of inspection, only men of certain qualifications shall be appointed? This would, at the same time relieve the minister from the burden of patronage. In spite of all the confidence I have in the Civil Service Act, which will he discussed in a few days, I am afraid there will be some loopholes yet, where some fellows will have enough brass, in spite of the law, to walk up to the Minister of Agriculture and say, " I want to be appointed inspector of this or that," and if the applicant does not come within the four corners of the statute, my hon friend will only say, " I cannot appoint you, there is the Law." It will help him, and will give a great deal of satisfaction to the consumers of this country.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

The regulations at present in effect governing the control and inspection of Canadian products provide for the very point my hon. friend raises. Every

abattoir or packing-house established in Canada is required to have qualified veterinarians to supervise the work. 'They are assisted by lay inspectors who need not be qualified veterinarians, but whose qualifications must be such as to satisfy the Dominion Director General of Veterinary Service that they are fit for the position. It is not expected or contemplated under this that additional inspectors will be Created. There will not be any need for it so far as I can see. The admission of products from other countries oan be supervised by the customs officers who will see that the proper certificates are attached to the article before it is admitted. I appreciate just as fully as my hon. friend the importance of having these goods thoroughly and properly inspected. I assure him that, as far as the possibility of patronage entering into the administration of this Act is concerned, I have no hesitation in making the declaration that it is absolutely not going to enter into it, as far as my administration is concerned. We .have suffered considerably in Canada from the injection of the patronage evil into Government service, and it is time in my judgment that it was eliminated from it.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

So far the Minister of Agriculture -and all t'he other members of the Cabinet have dodged the issue raised by the hon. member for West Hastings. I think the condition of things exposed to the Canadian people to-day deserves a statement from the Government. If such conditions of inspection exist in one factory, as stated by the hon. member for Hastings, I would be ready to believe the same condition existed in other factories throughout the country. Had the question been raised on this side of the House, t'he Government might have thought it was a political attack, but it has been raised on the other side of the House, and I think we are entitled to a statement on this question.

Mr. 'CRERAR: I would say, in reply to the hon. member for Hastings, that, of course,

I have no knowledge of the case cited by him. I have no hesitation Whatever in saying that such condition of affairs should not be permitted to exist. I take it that this happened some time ago, and I shall certainly take the opportunity to investigate the matter and obtain all the information I can upon it.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

This subject is undoubtedly a very technical one, and I believe, after a discussion of an hour and a half, we do not yet understand fully the

extent or purport of the resolution. The hon. gentleman from West Hastings has brought before the House a case in which the law was violated. Of course, it may have been the result of an accident, but as to what the facts are we are not very clear. But the fact to which I want to draw the attention of the Minister of Agriculture is that this cannot have the effect of improving the law as it is now but rather of emasculating it. If I understand this resolution aright, it will not make the law more rigid but it will reduce the rigidity of the law and make possible its evasion. The law we have to-day, the Act passed in 1907 provides that all food, whether animal or vegetable, shall pass inspection. There is no exception to it. Here is the letter of the law, section 3:

All animals intended for slaughter in any establishment shall be inspected as provided by the regulations.

No animal shall be allowed to enter the parts of an establishment where slaughtering is carried on, unless it has undergone such inspection and been found to be healthy and fit for food. '

Section 13 of the Act reads:

AH fish, fruit or vegetables used in any establishment where these articles are prepared for export, shall be sound, wholesome, and fit for food ; and any such articles or products thereof found in the said establishment unsound or unwholesome shall be confiscated and destroyed as provided by the regulations.

Under these two sections all animals, fish, fruit and vegetable foods must go into an establishment. By the Act the word "establishment" is defined and what is the definition?

"Establishment" means any abattoir, packing house, or other premises in which such animals are slaughtered, or in which any parts thereof or products thereof, or fish, or fruit, or vegetables. are prepared for food or export or are stored for export.

Again we find the definition of the word "food":

"Food" includes every article used for food or drink by man, and every ingredient intended for mixing with the food or drink of man for any purpose.

This means that all kinds of food, without any exception, which are to be exported, shall have to pass through this examination. No exception is made. What, however, is the principle of my resolution of my hon. friend? Instead of having this rigid provision that all food must be inspected, that there may be no exception, the law is to be emasculated by substituting the will of the Governor in Council for the rigidity of the law and the will of Parliament. Here is the resolution and I call the attention of my hon. friend to it.

Resolved, That it is expedient to amend The Meat and Canned Foods Act, chapter twenty-seven of the statutes of 1907, and to provide that an establishment as defined in the said Actwhich I have just read-

-shall include any abattoir, packing house or other premises in which any food or food product which may be named by the Governor in Council is prepared for food for export or is stored for export.

This means that instead of, as we have to-day, the rigid letter of the law that all food for man must be inspected and must pass through this establishment, the Governor in Council has it in his power to say, in his wisdom, that any kind of food shall, or shall not, be inspected. It may be poultry. it may he bacon, it may be .anything else; the Governor in Council has the power to except from the provisions of the law any food that he thinks it proper to except. That is not making the law more rigid than it was before. It is giving to the Government a dangerous power because it seems to me that there should be no exception at all and that all food should be inspected. The Governor in Council should not have the power to except any food from that inspection. In that respect the resolution is certainly emasculating the Act as it is at present and I call the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to it. For my part, I have no doubt of his good intentions; I give him every credit for them, I do not think he has been the draughtsman of this resolution, I think he should take into his very serious consideration the question as to whether he should ask Parliament to adopt such a provision as that.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I can assure the committee that it was not the intention to have the construction put upon this resolution which the right hon. the leader of the Opposition attaches to it. It is possible that the resolution may be faultily draughted, but I shall read the amendment which it is proposed to make to'Section B of the Act, defining the meaning of "establishment. ' Paragraph B, as it stands at present: is:

(B) "establishment" means any abattoir, packing house, or other premises in which such animals are slaughtered, or in which any parts thereof or products thereof, or fish, or fruit, or vegetables, are prepared for food for export or are stored for export.

With the addition that ic proposed to 'be made, it will read as follows:

(B) "establishment" means any abattoir, packing house, or other premises in which such animals are slaughtered, or in which any pants thereof or products thereof, or fish, or fruit or vegetables or any food or food products

which may be named by the Governor in Council, are prepared for food for export or are stored for export.

If I understand the argument of my right hon. 'friend, it is that the addition of the words "or any food or food products which maybe named by the Governor in Council" limits the preceding words?

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Yes.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

That is not the intention. The idea we had in mind was to cover all additions to these present categories of food; that is to say, some food that might be manufactured or invented and which would not be covered by the preceding words. Take, for instance, condensed milk. Condensed milk would not be included unuer the definition as it previously stood. At any rate, that was the purpose of the addition to the definition of the term "establishment." I shall be very glad to take the suggestion of my right hon. friend, which, I admit, is a very important one, into consideration and discuss it with the officials of the department.

Sir WILFRID LAU'RIER: I would be

very glad if my hon. friend would do that. But, let me call his attention to the fact that condensed milk is an article of food. Let me again refer my hon. friend to the definition of " food":

"Pood" includes every article used for food or drink by man, and every ingredient intended for mixing with the food or drink of man for any purpose.

_ This includes condensed milk. The objection I have to this provision is that the Governor in Council takes it into his power to remove from the disposition of this Act any kind of food whatever. The law should be left as it is that all food should be subject to inspection.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

What is the necessity

for changing the law as it stands?

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. ORERAR:

I take it that the hon.

gentleman was not in when I gave my explanation at the commencement of the discussion this afternoon?

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UNION
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

It is necessary to widen the scope of the Act so that the 'regulations may apply to food imported into Canada as well as food manufactured in Canada. That is the object, broadly speaking. In reference to the suggestion of the leader of the Opposition, I take it that it would be met if the words " which may be named by the Governor in Council" were eliminated?

TMr. Crerar. 3

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Exactly.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I shall take it into consideration.

Resolution reported, read a first and second time and agreed to.

Mr. Crerar thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 55, to amend the Meat and Canned Foods Act, chapter 27 of the statutes of 1907.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


THE RESIGNATION OF MR. W. F. O'CONNOR.

CORRESPONDENCE LAID ON TABLE BY MINISTER OP LABOUR.

UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Hon. T. W. CROTHERS (Minister of Labour):

With the consent of the House I desire to place upon the Table a return to an Order of the House re the O'Connor correspondence.

Topic:   THE RESIGNATION OF MR. W. F. O'CONNOR.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE LAID ON TABLE BY MINISTER OP LABOUR.
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April 16, 1918