No one claims that they are accurate. For instance, the dairy branch gives the number of pounds of milk consumed in the country. That is only an estimate. I think perhaps the best answer I can give to the hon. gentleman's question is that the bureau of agricultural statistics have brought their estimates into line with the estimates of the dairymen.
approximately the same or higher than the figures that I quoted last night, according to what I have been able to gather from the minister and my hon. friend from Swift Current (Mr. Bothwell). Suppose a member asks for certain figures from the dairy commissioner or from any officials of the Department of Agriculture, and some other member gets figures from the bureau of statistics, and the different sets of figures are disputed in the house. What I want to understand is whether the revised figures that have just been given by the minister are close approximations as can possibly be made.
the figures compiled by the bureau of statistics with reference to the production of milk? It is obvious I think to all of us that there is no body of statisticians who could possibly compile precise figures as to the production of milk, when you take into consideration the hundreds of thousands of cows
in this country owned individually and by families, and so forth. The ' production of that class can only be estimated. But once in every ten years, when the census is taken, a fairly complete compilation can be made. The practice of statisticians is to get the official figures from business sources, like creameries, dairies and so forth, and then they compile an estimate based, first, upon their own information, and secondly, by reference to the statisticians of the provincial governments. All these figures are brought together and very carefully analyzed and compiled, and then the figures are placed before the public as the bureau's own. But it is only an estimate. When the census is taken a check is made. This autumn, for instance, when the compilation of farm statistics has been completed, the bureau will be able to estimate how nearly they come to the correct figure. I think in all fairness to the officials it ought to be said that there is no human method known whereby these figures could be accurately and completely compiled. [DOT]
The Minister of Agriculture said that according to the revised figures, after the system was changed, from 1925 to 1930 the annual production of milk was approximately 14,000,000,000 pounds, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce now tells me that those figures are as accurate as can possibly be got. I accept his statement. So far as the figures are concerned, we now know where we are. We know that the figures which were quoted by the hon. member for Melville to this house were as accurate as could possibly be got. We know that the figures I quoted were as accurate as could possibly be got. We know that the figures quoted by the hon. member for South Hastings were not as accurate as our figures. That has been established beyond a question of doubt by the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I am glad to have that point made clear.
Mr. WEIR (Melfort)r So far as I understand the figures given by the hon. member for South Hastings, they were as accurate as he could get because he was quoting from the bureau of agricultural statistics, and he quoted those statistics accurately. He may not have known of this other source of information at all.
deny that the hon. member for South Hastings made an accusation in this house against the former Minister of Agriculture and the preceding government, that they cooked the figures in order to make it appear to the public, just before an election, that the production of milk was higher than it actually was.
South Hastings is not in his seat, and I think in fairness to him it ought to be said that his statement was this: At that time, in
1925, these officers to whom I referred a moment ago made a change in their method of compilation. I think the officers of the Department of Agriculture drew to their attention that this miscellaneous group of producers were really producing more than at the time the original form of estimate was made, and consequently they changed their method of compilation; not that there was anything wrong about it, but just to get a little nearer to an exact estimate. That was really the point which the hon. member for South Hastings desired to make.
Will the Minister of Trade and Commerce be good enough to explain how the statistics are made up in his department? Will he not agree with me that it is rather strange that his officials and the officials of the Agriculture department on an important matter of this kind concerning agriculture should not get together and put before the public the same figures, instead of the Department of Agriculture issuing one set of figures and the Department of Trade and Commerce a different set of figures? I do not think that is right, and it ought to be corrected.