February 20, 1925

LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

If the hon. member wants some good winter apples, we can give him from Nova Scotia Northern Spies or Wag-eners. In the early year we can furnish Gra-vensteins and so on. Our late apple, which is the Russet, is a very small apple, but when we pack them we pack them well.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

My particular reason for

exhibiting these apples to the committee and

the minister is to draw attention to something that, I think, is very unfair. I had what I thought was No. 1 wheat that weighed 65 pounds to the bushel and it was graded by officials of the government as No. 3 wheat. With the proceeds of some of this wheat, I buy No. 1 apples, Fancy, and then I get such apples as I have exhibited in this chamber: Is there any protection for the

fruit buyer? If not, it is time there was some, if we are to spend thousands of dollars in grading apples and other fruit. If we who live on the prairies are to have our wheat and oats graded in this very strict manner and then have to buy apples that are graded by the growers themselves, certainly an injustice is being done to us. Either we should be allowed to grade our own wheat or the department should see that these apples are properly graded.

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LIB

Lewis Johnstone Lovett

Liberal

Mr. LOVETT:

Were these apples that are exhibited here to-day marked as No. 1?

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PRO
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I appreciate the grievance my hon. friend has brought to the attention of the committee; but 1 think that in justice to the grower of fruit in this country one simple basic principle ought to be remembered, and that is, that all fruit is perishable; it is not like iron or wood, that will last indefinitely. The variety of apples to which my hon. friend refers is what we call an early winter apple. I think about December is its main month of marketing. You cannot expect to keep a fall apple, for instance, a Transparent, through to Christmas. Another variety, the McIntosh, which comes along about October and into November cannot be kept over until March unless it is kept under ideal cold storage conditions, and then, once released from cold storage, it must be used immediately. The placing of creamery butter in cold storage may keep it in perfect condition, but once it is released, it must be used. The same applies to any article that is of a perishable character. It- is most unfair of the hon. member to suggest laying on the table a few selected specimens of apples and to say that these are a sample of what the Okanagan fruit grower sells or markets as No. 1 Fancy. The hon. member knows quite well that that is not the case. He, like anyone else, when he buys an article, is at liberty to use his eyes and to look the article over. I quite admit that if a retailer buys from a wholesaler a dozen boxes of apples, they are released from cold storage and he offers them for sale in his store. If he does not sell them for a few days, the

Supply-A gricul ture

very fact that they have been in cold storage and released will cause them immediately to commence deteriorating. If he keeps them in his store for a week, a month or two months-and probably these apples were in a store for six weeks or two months-naturally, they will deteriorate and they cannot be expected to maintain their perfection over a long period of time. No amount of inspection, no skill on the part of the inspector, no element of science in cold storage facilities, will ever rectify what my hon. friend is complaining of at this time. There is nothing that can be done in or out of this parliament, by scientists or others, that will change this condition; It is a condition of nature and nothing on earth can change it. I deprecate very much this suggestion being broadcasted throughout Canada in regard to the Okanagan fruit growers, a class of producers and horticulturists who have suffered perhaps as much as any other class of agriculturists in this country during the last thirty years in endeavouring to bring their products up to the highest degree of perfection possible. The result of their work is that this year the Okanagan fruit grower has, I think, time after time, taken first rank and first prize in international exhibition for his fruit.

While I am on this subject I should like to say a word in regard to some observations made by the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Martell). I was in the Old Country last fall for a few months and I took particular care, for my information and satisfaction to look into the marketing of Canadian fruit. I saw a very large quantity of magnificent Nova Scotia apples marketed in England. I saw many of our own, and also a very large quantity of western American apples, that is apples from Washington and Oregon, Hood river and Wenatchee and so on, districts in the western states, offered for sale. The Canadian apples for sale on the London, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool markets in England did splendid credit to Canada. We are gradually building up a system of marketing these perishable goods at great distances and we ought to pause and realize what the grower is doing for himself, with the assistance certainly of the various governments, Dominion and provincial, through their officials. We ship scores of carloads of apples from the Okanagan Valley three hundred and fifty miles by rail to the Pacific coast, load them on steamers, ship them down through the tropical climate of the Panama canal, a month's journey or more, and unload them in England. And then they are distributed all over England, and distributed successfully, too. In a less circuitous way the Nova Scotians load their fruit on the

Atlantic and do a similar business. This is something which a few years ago was looked upon as a hopeless undertaking and yet it is done successfully to-day. And we are doing it by the aid of science and through the devoted attention and assiduous application of the growers, and the persistence of the producers generally, with such help as is given by the department. I say, therefore, that Canadian fruit is not represented in anything approaching a fair light by the remarks and the exhibits of my hon. friend.

Now, as to the protection of the consumer. Undoubtedly we ought to do all we can to protect the consumer, but I do not know what more we can do than we are doing. You will not do it by inspection, for if you inspect an article you examine it when it is packed, and you cannot expect that box to remain in the same condition from the time it leaves the producer until it is used by the consumer. Perhaps the consumer leaves it in his cellar or in a hot pantry, and apples that are treated in that way must fall to pieces through the very processes of nature. So that when anyone gets up and suggests that a fruit after going through these miscellaneous experiences should stand up like the perfect article he is not talking-well, I was going to say, common sense, but at any rate he is not saying what is reasonable.

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PRO
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The apples have shrunk in size in the natural course of things.

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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Anyone can tell by looking at this apple which I have here that it has shrunk, and apples that have been in cold storage for any considerable length of time inevitably get that way. This particular apple that has been exhibited here looks to me as if it were half cooked; possibly the assortment from which it was taken was left near the stove in a country store in Alberta and shrivelled up.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

It is supposed to be for December consumption.

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PRO
CON
PRO
LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The hon. member for Maoleod (Mr Coote) had taken his seat when the hon. member (Mr. Stevens) rose.

Supply-Agriculture

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

In less than half a day apples that have been kept in cold storage will deteriorate when brought into a warm store. Scores of times I have seen boxes of apples in this condition in grocery stores where the grocer had no interest in nor knowledge of the business of taking care of fruit, and very often the lid is knocked off the box and the apples are set beside a stove. Naturally this would ruin them.

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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Yes, of course. As to size, a No. 1 apple, which is preferred by the very best hotels, our highest class of trade, is usually about the size of this specimen I have here. You can get a Wolf River apple almost as big as my hon. friend's head-not as big as he thinks it is but as big as it actually is; and you can get on the other hand a Northern Spy, which my hon. friends from Nova Scotia produce in such perfection, two or three times the size of this one. It is not reasonable, therefore, to produce a few culls, the brief history of which no one knows, and suggest that they are a reflection on the producers of fruit in this country.

Personally I do not know very much about the activities of this branch of the department, but I do know some of the inspectors; and speaking only of those with whose work I am acquainted, I must say that the department deserves credit. And if the department observes in all its inspectors the same high standard I have found in the case of those whom I know, I should have no complaint to make in regard to the inspection of fruit. As to the broad problem of how far we should extend the system of inspection while at the same time taking care to conserve the public rights in the way of taxation, this is a question of considerable importance. I rise now, however, merely for the purpose of repudiating, and repudiating strongly, the aspersion that was being broadcast by my hon. friend in regard to the producers of Okanagan whom I have known for the last thirty years and .vith whose struggles I am quite familiar.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

In my remarks I did not refer to the condition that the apples were in. Now, I was bom in an apple country and I have eaten my share of apples ever since I have been big enough to eat them, and I hope to continue d'oing so as long as I can get them. I know that a Delicious Apple will become bad in time; but for a man to say that these apples that have been exhibited here were entitled to the brand Fancy, even when they came off the tree, is absurd;

[The Chairman.]

he must have a very great imagination so far as the grading of apples is concerned. If the hon. member is proud of them I am sure he is at liberty to feel that way.

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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

Did the hon. member see the box out of which these apples were taken? I have never in my life seen a No. 1 like the specimen we have seen here and! I have seen many cars of apples that came out of British Columbia.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

I may inform the hon. gentleman that the box from which these apples were taken is still in my cellar at home. I bought the apples as No. 1 Fancy Delicious, and hon. gentlemen will not wonder that I have brought the matter to the attention of the minister. I have a good deal of admiration for the apple growers of Okanagan, just as the hon. member (Mr. Stevens) has, I have personal friends in that part of the country. For this very reason I think it is in the interest of these fruit growers that such apples as these should not be put out under the label Fancy. The hon. member told us of the prizes which the British Columbia apple growers were able to win in the markets of the world. That is something we are all proud of. But what we would1 like would be to get some of these prize apples at home, and to know that we were getting good fruit when we paid $3.75 a box for apples. And that is what I paid for this particular lot. I bought them in the town of Nanton, sixty miles from Calgary.

I am not blaming the fruit growers of the Okanagan collectively for the condition of the apples I bought, I am simply bringing the matter to the attention of the minister; and when I do so I get a nice curtain lecture from the hon. member. Has he the interests of the apple growers at heart when he tries to make out that it is all right to label apples of this size and colour Fancy?

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February 20, 1925