I am not quite sure what the procedure is in a resolution of this kind, and therefore I would like to have an assurance from the minister that opportunity will be given for a full discussion of this matter either in the Marine and Fisheries Committee, or in the House after the Bill has been introduced.
ample opportunity for discussion will be afforded. I only wish that it was not necessary to ask for the passing of a resolution of this kind. It seems to be a great waste of time, and it is hardly fair to the House because hon. gentlemen have not the opportunity of knowing in advance what the Bill contains. However, there will be opportunity for discussion when the Bill goes to committee.
I represent a fishing constituency, and I do not object at all to this measure, although I have heard no expression of public opinion with respect to it. I learned last fall, however, that some fish were inspected at the Magdalen Islands by an inspector from Prince Edward Island, to which inspection my constituents objected very strenuously, contending that the inspection should be done by a man from their own district. On the whole I think this is a fair measure and that it will satisfy public opinion, but the minister will be expected to give full information with regard to it. For example, if the measure passes will there be a large number of inspectors appointed to carry out its provisions, or will the department utilize the good services of some of its present officials? In the-present financial state of the country I would not favour any wild expenditure for inspection purposes. The department should avail itself of the services of the present staff of inspectors or officers and thus avoid any additional expenditure.
The system of inspection to be adopted is the really important and serious feature of the Bill. If fish were to be inspected immediately they were put in the containers, it would mean employing- a tremendous army of inspectors, which would be undesirable and make the administration of the Act very expensive. I shall read a memorandum given me with respect to that by an officer of the department:
That with respect to the fish a system of inspection similar to that applied to fruit should be adopted, by which means the packers would be required to cuire, grade and pack their fish in accordance with the standards set; that they, not the inspectors; would be required to mark the packages with the kind, grade and weight of the fish contained, but that the inspectors would be empowered to thereafter examine the fish at any convenient time or place, in order to ascertain whether they are correctly designated by the marks on the package.
That appears to be about the only system of inspection that could be worked out, and it would not be necessary under it to have a large number of inspectors.
trouble is that every fisherman on the coast is also a packer. The blue-book tells us there are some eight thousand fishermen whose operations cover about five thousand miles
of coast, and the difficulties in connection with administering regulations of this kind would be very great on account of the scattered way in which the work is done.
If the packers of fish operated like the packers of fruit, and there were places where fish was handled in large quantities, as is done in the case of fruit in the Annapolis valley and other points, the task would be a much easier one. I understand that in many places fruit is sold on the trees, and the packer comes along with his crew of men, and the necessary boxes and barrels, and the fruit is picked and packed under inspection.
That may be so, but the conditions under which fish is packed differ greatly from those under which the packing of fruit is carried on. A man may be living in a little harbour in an isolated place. He catches the mackerel and packs it himself in barrels, which are sometimes made by himself, and the difficulty of getting an officer to go to that man's place and inspect the fish after it is packed will be very great indeed. If the inspection work is done in that way it will require an army of officials and will prove very expensive.
I quite agree with my hon. friend. But ultimately these fish are forwarded to some centre; for instance, in my hon. friend's own constituency a great quaritity of pickled fish would reach Canso at one time or another, and would be inspected there.
The Bill provides for regulations which will set up standards. The packer will assign the standard or grade of fish himself, and he will place that mark on the barrel. Later when the fish reach a certain place they will be inspected by the regular inspector.
On the Atlantic coast the fishing is over in September and October, and consequently there are no more fish to inspect until the following spring. Therefore, the ensuing April would suit Atlantic coast conditions.