March 12, 1935

LIB

Wilfrid Girouard

Liberal

Mr. GIROUARD (translation):

I was paired with the hon. member for Richmond-Wolfe (Mr. Lafleche). Had I voted, I would have voted for the third reading of the bill.

Topic:   BET1SED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE (translation):

I was

paired1 with the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst). Had I voted, T would have voted for the third reading or the bill.

Mr. DUMiAINE (translation): I was paired with the hon. member for Lac St-Jean (Mr. Duguay). Had I voted, I would have voted for the third reading of the bill.

Topic:   BET1SED EDITION
Permalink
CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE (translation):

I was paired with the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Ferland). Had I voted, I would have voted for the third reading of the bill.

Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

Meat and Canned Foods Act

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   BET1SED EDITION
Permalink

PRIVATE BILLS

SECOND READINGS


Bill No. 28, for the relief of Mary Wynifred Bayford Bennett.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 29, for the relief of Lillian Gulden McIntyre.-Mr. White (Mount Royal). Bill No. 30, for the relief of Minnie Elizabeth Lyons Dafoe.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 31, for the relief of Trevor Eardley-Wilmot.-Mr. Bury (for Mr. Bell, St. Antoine).


MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT

TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH


Hon. GROTE STIRLING (Acting Minister of Fisheries) moved the second reading of Bill No. 25, to amend the Meat and Canned Foods Act. Mr. NEILL Explain.


CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this amending bill is to make quite sure that power does exist under the statute to charge fees for inspection. There is no doubt that under section 18 of the Meat and Canned Foods Act fish and shellfish packed in cans shall be inspected. There is no doubt that under section 26 of the regulations under this act provision is made for that inspection, and there is no doubt that under section 20 of the regulations a fee is prescribed, but there is doubt as to whether there is power in the act to collect that fee. Therefore the purpose of this amending bill is to make sure that the measure contains a specific statutory provision, and that is its only purpose.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, when the resolution preceding this bill was in committee, at page 1438 of Hansard the minister was kind enough to indicate his willingness to send it to the marine and fisheries committee. The right hon. gentleman who was leading the government at the time, however, suggested that there was no reason for doing so, as it was merely a formal matter, but I pointed out that it goes further than that. The explanatory note in the bill states:

Section 20 of these regulations provides for a fee for inspection at the rate of one cent per case. The fee is a reasonable one, and at present covers only the cost of inspection.

One reason I should have liked to see the bill go to the marine and fisheries committee is that I challenge both those statements. I say the fee is not reasonable and that it should not be imposed at all. The fee is high, and is not appropriate. Perhaps I am repeating

something I have said previously, but the point is this. I cannot find any other raw product or semi-manufactured product in any other part of Canada in connection with which the person who produces the article has to pay a high fee for its inspection. I think an appropriate parallel would be that of lobsters. If the minister is prepared to show that the lobster people in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick pay a high fee for the inspection of their lobsters it might be a parallel case, but that is not so. The only inspection that takes place in that connection is the inspection of the canneries, which is carried on by officials paid by the government, so the procedure here is entirely different.

There are three main objectionable features to tills inspection fee. In the first place the canneries themselves appoint the inspectors. That statement may be challenged; technically, they do not appoint them but practically they do, because they recommend who shall be appointed. Is that not much the same thing? So we have the extraordinary situation of the government deciding that a certain product shall be inspected, in order to encourage its marketing and sale. I quite admit that this is necessary, but then they say to the people who put up that product, "You name somebody to inspect it and we will appoint them." This method is unworkable, as I predicted it would be, for a dozen different reasons. The next feature is that the cannery men have to pay for this inspection. Why? Do the people whose cheese, butter or meat is inspected have to pay a special fee? No, it comes out of the consolidated revenue fund, so why should the cannery men ibe mulcted to this extent? There is a further considerable tax placed upon them in this way; quite a large quantity of their tinned goods must be opened and destroyed, and that is quite an appreciable addition to the cost of packing. Under the Meat and Canned Foods Act, in connection with other canned foods such as vegetables it is the duty of the inspector to prowl around the cannery to see that sanitary conditions are all right, that the articles put up, vegetables for instance, are fresh and sound, to see that any colouring matter used is correct chemically and so on. Then in his discretion the inspector may open certain tins, but the suggestion of the act is that most of the inspection takes place in connection with the operation of the cannery.

That is not so in regard to salmon canning. The regulations tare very strict; they say that out of fifty cases the inspector must take so many, I think twelve. Out of 101 oases he must take eighteen, from 501 to 1,000 cases

Meat and Canned Foods Act

he must take' twenty-four, and so on. They must be taken out of that particular lot offered for inspection, and if the cannery happens to be doing business in a small way, not selling 50,000 oases at a time but drawing out only perhaps 100 oases, the cannery must pay dearly, because the expense is greater in proportion. One tin is taken out of each of these cases and opened, and of course the contents are a total loss. In a cannery putting up 100,000 cases the loss, according to whether he took it out in large or small lots, would run from $6,000 down to $1,100. Then, he has to pay a cent a case, and on a pack of 100,000 cases this item alone amounts to $1,000. I submit that it is an improper tax; it is not a fee. I say it is a heavy tax.

Then further, the statement is made that the fee is reasonable; I say the fee is not reasonable. I figured it out on the amount of salmon canned in British Columbia. Out there five inspectors are appointed, but only three do the work. Those three have power if necessary to call in the other two. They are paid by the case, however, and we may be sure there would not be much danger of the other two men being called in. It is only natural, human nature being what it is, to keep as much of the money in one's own hands as possible. So hon. members will understand that the fees are divided among three men, and in that way they receive sums much greater than those which would be appropriate or even necessary. For much smaller sums we could get men to devote their whole time to the work. The inspectors I have mentioned do not guarantee to spend their whole time or even a considerable portion of it; they simply agree to do the inspecting. In addition they carry on lucrative businesses. I may add there is even the suggestion that they are interested in competitive business. For the moment however we shall let that matter pass. At any rate they are acting as brokers, and are being paid on the basis of so much a case, with the result that their remuneration comes to an amount much greater than is necessary, and much greater than need be paid.

I feel this matter might be more easily debated in committee, upon which occasion the arguments I have advanced might be answered. I point particularly however to the lobster industry and to the industry connected with dry salt herring, and the inspections in connection therewith. Have the people in those industries had to pay for that inspection? No, the government inspector does that work. Then, why should the canneries, which for various reasons seem to be running in hard luck, be singled out to be mulcted first by

having an unusually large number of their tins destroyed and then by having to pay inspection fees? I believe they will be quite willing to stand the loss of tins, and possibly it would be proper to ask them to do so, but I do not know why they should have to pay this inspection fee, one which is not paid in any other parallel industry in Canada.

I suggest the minister should consider the arguments I have advanced. They may be combatable-I do not know-but so far I have not heard any answer. I do suggest however that we would do well to allow the matter to go to the marine and fisheries committee.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM DUFF (Antigonish-Guys-borough):

Mr. Speaker, before the minister

closes the debate may I say that I cannot understand why the fisheries must be subject to all sorts of restrictions, taxes and fees. It seems to me that the officials of the department in the Hunter building must sit up nights trying to find ways and means to discourage the fishermen, the packers and the canners from carrying on their legitimate occupation. Why should there be any fees in connection with canned fish and shellfish any more than with canned tomatoes or canned peaches? Why should the department ask the house to place a fee on canned fish and shellfish? How are they going to make their decisions so far as shellfish are concerned?-because that would mean fish on the shell, not in cans. How could an inspector tell anything about them? Could the minister explain that? I am afraid hs is like other ministers who have preceded him; they do not know what it is all about. It is about time we had a shake-up in the fisheries department; that department should not continue to discourage this great industry, one more capable of development than any other industry in Canada. The officials of the department are trying to place all kinds of restrictions and regulations in the way, and the result is that people get tired of it all and will not invest their money in the industry. I say to the minister that there is only one thing to do with Bill No. 26, and that is not to proceed with it, because it is not in the interests of the fisheries. Why should there be any fee on canned fish? It is all right to have officials going around and inspecting them, but even then it is impossible to carry on a proper inspection. I don't object to the fishermen having to take out licences, but I do object to them having to pay a licence fee.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

It looks fishy to me.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I am surprised to hear any hon. member advance the view that an inspection of articles of trade should not be undertaken.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I did not say that. I said

that the man who bought fish should be the man to inspect them, not some official

appointed either for political or for other purposes who would1 not know whether a fish was good or bad.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I repeat that in the early part of his remarks the hon. member said that in any case the inspection was bad-

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

No. I said it was inadequate.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink
CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

-and should not be undertaken by the department. The inspection to which the hon. member for Comox-Alberni has referred is one which has been discussed and considered by the trade concerned for a good many years. Various methods of inspection have been attempted; some have been discarded, and others to which reference has been made have for the last few years been carried on, as I maintain, successfully. There is a difference of opinion on the subject; there is a difference of opinion on most of these subjects, and I quite agree with the hon. member for Cornox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) that possibly the way to thresh it out and give everybody an opportunity of being heard is for the bill to go to the fisheries committee. I have no objection to that. Everybody will have an opportunity to ventilate his views there, even my hon. friend who does not agree with inspection at all, and after the second reading I shall be glad so to move.

Motion agreed to and bill read the second time.

Mr. STIRLING moved that the bill be referred to the committee on marine and fisheries.

Topic:   MEAT AND CANNED FOODS ACT
Subtopic:   TARIFF OF FEES FOR INSPECTION OF CANNED FISH AND SHELL FISH
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


FISHERIES ACT, 1932 POWER TO PRESCRIBE PEES FOR FISHERY LICENCES

March 12, 1935