May 29, 1931

CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

But so far as an estimate can go, they are correct?

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

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.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Are there in the

minister's possession any estimates more accurate than those placed on Hansard last Tuesday and which the Minister has now confirmed.

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CON
LIB
CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I thank my hon.

friend very much. I think we shall get along more pleasantly now that we have that understanding.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

The revised figures are

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.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

May I say a word as to

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

Supply-Agriculture-Dairying

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]

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

I am glad to get that

explanation from the Minister of Trade and Commerce. The figures that we get from the departments at Ottawa in regard to the production of milk are as accurate as we can possibly get?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Absolutely.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

They might not represent the exact amount of production, but they are as close as we can get?

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CON
CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

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.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

The minister will not

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.

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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I did not understand that any charge was made. Will the hon. member read the charge?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The hon. member for

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.

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

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.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I quite agree in so far as that is the case.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

To clear up the point I was discussing a moment ago, may I quote to the Minister of Agriculture what the hon.

Supply-Agriculture-Dairying

member for South Hastings said? At page 2050 of Hansard I find this:

Mr. Tummon: I made the statement that

the figures were changed in the year 1929 just previous to the elections, and I am prepared to substantiate that statement.

If that is not a direct charge, it certainly implies that the former Minister of Agriculture changed the figures in 1929, just previous to the elections, to derive some party advantage from it.

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May 29, 1931