Those of us who were bom on the farm and received our early education there have never lost our interest in the experimental aspect of farm work. We have found that some of the greatest wonders of the world are on the farm. Last fall I witnessed gardeners planting brown bulbs in black earth. The bulbs have been frozen and thawed, and frozen and thawed again. It would do any expert in agriculture good to observe the floral beauty displayed to-day in front of these parliament buildings. It is magnificent. If hon. members taking part in the debate would see those flowers, which are more gorgeously clothed than Solomon in all his glory, they would be a little more appreciative of the work done, not only by the gardeners around this building, but by the Minister of Agriculture.
Now that the war is over I understand there is likely to be a much greater importation of bulbs and plants of all kinds into Canada. What measures are being taken to see that they are free from disease? I understand that in certain sections of Canada the production of bulbs and plants has become an important industry. I am told that in British Columbia the industry has been developed to a considerable extent. Are the products from that province being inspected so that there will be no danger of any plant diseases being spread to other provinces?
All regulations which applied prior to the war, and any which were added during the war, are being enforced. We are increasing inspection staffs to see that regulations in connection with the importation of bulbs and other plants into Canada are enforced. During the war the production not only of bulbs but of different kinds of seeds and plant life was developed to a considerable extent in British Columbia. Up to the present time new importations coming into Canada since the war have not affected that industry,
but attention is being given to the fact that the industry has been developed, and that care should be taken to maintain it.
Do I understand that before importations are made they must have a certificate of health? Or are they not inspected until they enter the country, with the result that they may have to be returned or destroyed?
It is not always possible to obtain certificates of health. On entering the country they are inspected carefully. Hon. members might be interested if I were to place on record the following regulations with regard to the importation of nursery stock:
Nursery stock includes all plants, or parts thereof, for ornamental purposes, propagation, or cropping.
1. (a) A permit must be procured by the importer from the secretary, destructive insect and pest act advisory board.
' (b) The importer is required to advise the exporter of the permit number. This number must be marked upon the containers and shipping papers. (In the case of importations by parcel post, a special label is issued.)
(c) The permit must be presented to the customs by the importer when clearing the shipment. The invoice must conform with the permit as to kinds and quantity of plants.
2. (a) Shipments must be accompanied by a certificate of inspection listing the kind and quantity of plants contained in the shipment and certifying them as apparently free from insect pests or plant diseases.
(b) Importations are subject to re-inspection on arrival in Canada.
3. (a) Importations may only enter through one of the following ports: Halifax. N.S.: Saint John, N.B.; Montreal. P.Q.: (Quebec. P.Q., subport) ; Ottawa, Ont.; Toronto. Ont. (parcel post only); Niagara Palls, Ont.; Windsor, Ont.; London, Ont.; Winnipeg, Man.; Estevan, Sask.; Vancouver, B.C. (Victoria, B.C. sub-port).
(b) On arrival at a port, a shipment is either inspected immediately or permitted to proceed to destination for inspection on the premises of the importer: It may not be moved from the
port unless either a "Certificate of inspection" or a "certificate of clearance" has been issued to the customs.
Some of the countries from which these importations come were overrun by the enemjq and perhaps the same care has not been taken to see that the plants are in healthy condition, or that plants which are infected are culled out. I do not think the minister answered my question whether bulbs and nursery stock from British Columbia require a certificate of health before shipment from that province.
Anything of that nature brought in by immigrants is subject to inspection. All motorcars crossing the boundary line are treated in the same way. Seeds of any kind which are brought in, whether of potatoes or of anything else, are inspected. Aeroplanes, too, are subject to inspection. Of course I presume some people make an effort to avoid the inspection, but every effort is made to see that they do not.
I notice an increase of about 400 per cent in the equipment required by the division this year, and an increase in travelling expenses of about 60 per cent. In looking over the public accounts for last year covering this particular division I notice that a number of new cars and used motorcycles were purchased, after deducting an allowance of $300 for one used car. The public accounts show that last year two used cars were turned back at $565. Perhaps the minister could explain these two items, and at the same time indicate what travelling allowances are permitted to members of this and other divisions. I do not think the minister was quite right when he said last night that the car mileage allowance for employees who used their own cars was at the rate of nine cents per mile. I looked up the order in council which was passed last year just before the election, and I found that except for British Columbia the amount allowed for car mileage is nine cents per mile for 4,000 miles. I assume that is what the minister meant last night. After
4,000 miles has been travelled by a car, the rate is eight cents per mile. It seems to me that that is an adequate mileage allowance. Could the minister indicate what equipment is being purchased, particularly cars, and the nature of the discounts allowed? I think we are not getting a sufficient allowance on our used cars, unless they are actually in very bad shape.
The provision for paying for the operation of a car is on the basis of nine cents per mile. The rate was seven cents until the beginning of the war and for some time into the war, but it was found impossible to get men to drive their own cars because of the difficulty of getting cars and the extra cost of maintenance; therefore the basic rate was raised to nine cents per mile for the first 4,000 miles, and when a car covered a greater mileage than that, the rate was lowered.
With regard to looking up the records having to do with car purchases and finding why more was allowed on one car than on another, I may say that our cars are all rather old and badly worn at the moment, because we could not buy any new ones after 1942; at least it was not easy to buy them. Incidentally I might mention that this was one of the most difficult votes to get past the treasury board. The amount to be paid is established in this manner: We call for tenders, usually from three different dealers.
Suppose it is in Yorkton; they would ask two dealers in Yorkton and one dealer outside of that community to bid, and the best bid would be accepted. A dealer may say, "I will allow you $300 for your old car and charge you so much in addition for the new car." Another dealer may look the car over and say that he will allow a little more. Three bids are required under normal circumstances. During the war period it was not always possible to carry on in that way, and it is not yet, because often a dealer has no cars, or if he has cars, they are covered by permits already in his hands. The practice has not been established definitely for the whole area of transactions, but that is the practice followed to establish the value of the car.