April 25, 1918

INSPECTION AND SALE ACT AMENDMENT.


House again in committee on Bill No. 20, to amend the Inspection and Sale Act (Hay and Straw Inspection), Mr. Boivin in the Chair, continued from April 24, 1918. On section 340f-bales to be tagged showing weight:


L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

We had reached clause 340f of the Bill and Sir George Foster had moved that the clause be struck out. The hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis) had moved in amendment:

That clause 340F be replaced by the following :

340F. Every seller of hay or straw in Canada shall affix to every bale of hiay' or straw sold or offered for sale a tag, having thereon, plainly written and legible, the name of the seller and the weight of the bale.

Amendment negatived and section 340f stricken from the Bill.

On subsection 340 H-How railways are to facilitate inspection:

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I move to strike out this subsection.

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Motion agreed to. On subsection 341-Governor in Council empowered to prescribe fees for inspection:


L LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DENIS:

The present law provides that a fee of twenty cents a ton shall be charged by the inspector. I am at a loss to understand why the present law is not maintained, and what reason there is for making the proposed change under which the Governor in Council is given power to prescribe fees. Is it the intention of the Minister of Trade and Commerce to so regulate matters that different fees will be charged in different sections in the country?

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

My hon. friend has, I think, the right idea. Sections where inspection may he carried out may differ very largely as to the quantity of hay which is inspected in each district. An inspector is paid by fees, hut it is impossible to get an inspector, or to keep him, unless he derives sufficient remuneration from those fees, that being the only payment made to him. It may he impossible in some districts to even get an inspector, although he may be wanted there, unless a higher fee be fixed than in a district requiring a large number of inspections. That is one reason. The other reason is this : If there are many inspections and the experience of the year shows -that after the expenses have been met

and a fair remuneration made to the inspector there is too large a surplus, so that the inspector may be getting more than he ought to, in that case the fee may be reduced somewhat so as to bring the amount derived up to a reasonable remuneration. That is the object sought to .be accomplished.

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L LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DENIS:

My opinion was that in certain cases the fee was high enough, or even too high.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Yes.

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L LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DENIS:

The minister's explanation is quite intelligible to me, and therefore I have no objection to offer.

Mr. MAH1ARG: Are we to understand

from the minister that the inspection fee may vary according to districts?

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Yes.

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PRO

John Archibald Maharg

Progressive

Air. MAHARG:

Does the minister not

think that that is a very unfair principle? It does not apply to other products of the farm, for example, all kinds of grain and stock. In such cases the inspection fee is a flat rate, and I understand the inspectors are paid a fixed salary. If there is any shortage the Government makes good the deficit, and if there should be a surplus it stands to the Government's credit. I think the change proposed will work a hardship and prevent an. inspection from *being had where it is really wanted.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The whole system of inspection, so far as this. Act is concerned', is based on its not being compulsory; no one is obliged, to pay the fee. unless he so wishes. The system is also based on the .principle of payment by fee, and not by salary, so that my hon. friend (Mr. Maharg) will see that in some cases unless the fee were fairly good it would be impossible for the district to get the services of an inspector, whilst in other districts, where there was a large quantity of hay to be inspected, a fixed fee might take more from the sellers than would be advisable and might yield a larger salary to the inspector than he should reasonably ask. Taking into account the differences in districts, it is almost impossible to prescribe a fixed fee unless you give a salary which shall work equitably. That is the reason for the provision to fix the fee by Order in Council. I think my hon. friend (Mr. Maharg) will see that unless you pay salaries there is no other equitable w.ay by which in the first place you could get good inspectors, and in the second place make provision

that the inspectors should sufficiently be paid in certain cases, and not paid too much in others.

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L LIB

Joseph-Charles-Théodore Gervais

Laurier Liberal

Mr. GERVALS:

Mr. Chairman, after the discussion raised by the remarks of my (hon. friend from Lapraii'ie and Napierville (Mr. Lanctot) in connection with section, 340f of this Bill, the hon. Minister of Trade and -Commerce has deemed it proper to strike out that section. After further discussion, it was thought proper by the . hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis) to move an amendment to that section providing for the identification of hay when it has reached its destination. The hon. minister thought it proper to have the discussion adjourned on this motion.

Section 341 now under consideration deals with such fees as shall be charged by the inspector. I have read' the Bill through over and over again, and 'I must confess that, apart from section 341, the Bill under consideration does not in any respect differ from the Act passed in 1906; the only requisite provision and the one which is the most -essential-I mean the clause providing for identification of the hay-has been cut out by, the honourable minister himself, and he has also discarded the clause which provides for the official grading of hay and of straw. I cannot see what is the use of a Bill like this which is really a repetition of the Act passed in 1906. If the intention is only to change the inspectors' salaries, why not proceed in the usual way, i.e., by amendments or by Order in Council?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I think it is very desirable that the fees to be charged by inspectors should, if possible, be enumerated in the Act-.' The minister himself doubtless understands that the interested parties would like to have the fees to be charged inserted in the Act, and, of course, the cost of inspection is a very important part of the proceedings. Now the sellers on consulting the Act, if passed in its present form, will be unable to learn how much the inspection is going to cost them, or what the Act means, unless they get a copy of the Order in Council which is referred to. It is always desirable to have an Act of Parliament complete in itself and to embody all its requirements within its four corners. I would, therefore, urge upon the minister to carry out my suggestion. Let the Bill stand- over for a few days until the nature of the Order in Council has been determined, and then incorporate in it the requirements of that Order in Council. I am sure that the whole country will

then appreciate very much better the provisions of the law, and the interested parties- be saved the trouble of looking around in order to ascertain what may or may not be in the Order in Council. It might be fixed in this way: in the schedule of fees the amount could be fixed at so much per ton, not to exceed so much per day. If a man, at the rate of 20 cents a ton, would make too much pay for one day, a maximum amount which he could not exceed could be put in the Bill. And, if there is not sufficient tonnage to be inspected to yield a fair day's pay at the rate per ton, there could be a provision in the schedule that he is to receive not less than a minimum amount per day. If a man requires an inspector to inspect, say three tons of hay, it could be provided that the inspector would receive half a day's pay or more, as the case may be.

Sir GEORGE FOSTETt: Who will pay that?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

The man who hires the inspector.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

In that case, if the man hires- the inspector on a day that there is not much hay to be inspected, he will pay the inspector a large amount. If he gets his hay inspected on a day when there is a large amount, then he will get the inspection -for a very small amount. My hon. friend will see that it is practically impossible to let the Bill stand over for a day, or several days, on that account. Take, for instance,, my hon. friend's own locality. There is -a difference between Sydney, or North Sydney-which is the hub down there -and Montreal. You appoint an inspector for Montreal, and say that he shall receive 20 cents for every ton inspected. Montr real, I suppose, in the course of the season may possibly handle 30,000 to 50,000 tons of hay. Sydney would require inspection for comparatively a much smaller amount. It is impossible to fix in the law the amount which would be reasonable for Montreal -and which would -also be reasonable for -North Sydney, and it is impossible to find out just how many districts there may be with varying capacities of h.ay to be inspected, and to fix the fees according to the capacity of inspection. I think my hon. friend will see that, with all the desire possible to ha,ve everything in the Act that can be pu-t in, it is impossible to put the fees in the Act and have an equitable arrangement.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I cannot see, Mr. Chairman, how it is possible to put an equitable

fee in an Order in Council which it is not possible to put in an Act.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEOEGE FOSTER:

I will explain. My hon. friend, or the people in North Sydney, demand an inspection district. We get, as far as possible, statistics with reference to the amount of hay that is sold on the market in North Sydney, and an estimate will be made from that as to what proportion of that hay will be inspected when it is sold, because inspection is not compulsory. The Order in Council will then fix the fee at a rate which would give the man who is to be appointed as inspector at North Sydney a reasonable amount for his time and labour. You could not get a man in any other way, it seems to me. So, you have to take the circumstances of the district into account in fixing the fee. That you cannot do in the Bill.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

As I understand it- and I am not familiar with the old Act- the present fee is 20 cents a ton. Perhaps the minister h-as had some complaints about it. I have not heard of any general complaint about that fee being too small or too great. It is evidently regarded as a fair charge. Why change the condition?

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April 25, 1918