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