February 23, 1923

LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

In the western provinces the money is paid through the medium of the agricultural societies that have the administration of the seed fairs; and I think that is the way it is handled all over Canada.

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CON

Thomas Henry Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON:

The minister did not get my question correctly. I asked if this money was paid over to the provincial authorities.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

No, it is paid to the agricultural societies because they administer the seed fairs. That is my understanding.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

Is it the policy of the seed department to establish seed cleaning stations; and, if so, has anything been done along that line? '

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We have in the

western interior elevators very efficient seed cleaning machinery. We have no stations established for the purpose of seed cleaning, but in Alberta they have local seed cleaning stations to accommodate the growers of pedigree seeds. The activity of the Seed branch with respect to the distribution of seed has been confined largely to the West. Even last year

Supply-Seed Control

when they were short of seed oats in eastern Canada the supplies were taken from stocks held in the West.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Does the control of commercial seed houses come under this item; and, if so, is there a standard of purity set for garden and grass seeds supplied by those houses.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We control them in this way,-we control the quality of their product. I presume we would have authority to enter and examine their seeds. All these matters are being dealt with in the bill now before the Agricultural Committee, in which bill standardization of field and garden seeds is provided for.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I intended to say a few words about garden and grass seeds, but I shall reserve my remarks until that bill comes down.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I think it will be dealt with next Tuesday.

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PRO

Robert Gardiner

Progressive

Mr. GARDINER:

Is it the intention of the department to continue the Seed Purchasing Commission?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Does my hon. friend mean that we are to keep the commission going when there is nothing for it to do, or will we re-establish it when there is something to engage its attention?

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PRO

Robert Gardiner

Progressive

Mr. GARDINER:

I understand that ever since the Seed Purchasing Commission was established there has always been something for it to do. I believe there is quite a lot of work for it to attend to this year, and I would suggest to the minister the advisability of continuing the commission in force for at least some time yet. We farmers in western Canada have derived a great deal of benefit from the work accomplished by the commission and would be very loath to lose the services of such a very effective body.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Last year we had a reasonable staff on that commission and, I have already intimated, a large amount of western seed grain was distributed in the prairie provinces to take care of a shortage there. This year we were prepared to go ahead with the purchase and distribution of seed, but the provincial governments of the western provinces were not ready to play their usual part in guaranteeing payment by the municipalities where the latter were not able to pay cash for the seed distributed. Therefore we could not do business this year.

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PRO

Robert Gardiner

Progressive

Mr. GARDINER:

There is just one other point in connection with that. The Seed Purchasing Commission has always paid its way, it has never cost this country one dollar.

Not only that, but the commission has provided business for the interior elevators amounting to over $600,000. Taking that into consideration and also the fact that this commission has been of great benefit not only to the West but also to the East, I believe it is the duty of the government to continue it in operation. Certainly we in the West would be very loath to lose its services.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I omitted to sav that we have a small staff of two in the office ready to do business on a moment's notice if required. The Seed Commissioner, Mr. Wilson, is paid on a per diem basis and his services are available at any time. The seed supply of the West is pretty well distributed, and as the provincial governments do not think it is necessary that there should be any intervention at this session, we feel that it is not our business to take any active steps in the matter. There is no necessity of our going into the business unless there is some co-operation on the part of the province in connection with payment for the seed.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

What steps have been taken to see that the new Fertilizer Act is being complied with?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We usually wait un til there are complaints. Our inspectors and analysts however are carrying on their work and taking steps to see that the material is up to the requirements. I do not know of any particular violations of the law this year; if there have been any I should be glad to hear of them. There is no doubt that in some parts of Canada the matter is a very important one; in fact, it is the object of the act to see that consumers are protected.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

the assurance that before the department grants licenses for brand numbers, this requirement of the act shall be complied with. I think also that the department should print bulletins giving all this information to those who ask for it. We feel that we have been defrauded in times past; we have bought fertilizer made of material which, though it would stand the analysis, was not plant food. Two years ago the fertilizer men appeared before our Agricultural Committee here and on that occasion they admitted that materials were used in the manufacture of the product that we at least did not believe were plant food. I refer to such things as ground leather scraps, ground mustard seed, wool, hair, feathers and so on. They say that these tilings can be treated and made available for plant food; I have my doubts myself, and I think even the chemists disagree in that regard. But the department should insist on having a statement of all the material entering into the manufacture of the article when application is made for the registration number of the brand.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

This matter is

being followed up pretty closely, because there has been a disposition to put spurious articles into fertilizer, and even with the most careful supervision they sometimes get past. There may be some manurial properties in feathers, but I should think it would be of very slight value indeed.

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CON

Thomas Henry Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON:

I would like to ask

the minister on what basis the grants are made in connection with field crop competitions? Is it on the basis of the amounts contributed by the agricultural societies? I would also ask whether Ontario participates in that grant, and if so to what extent? I have been president of an argricultural society for a good many years, and I never heard of the federal government giving this assistance in respect of field crop competitions.

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February 23, 1923