October 16, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. FIELDING.

Mr. Haycock was appointed as au inspector to carry out the provisions of the Act 2 Edward VII., chapter 32 : ' An Act to amend the Act respecting the packing and sale of certain staple commodities,' in which reference is made to binder twine. He was appointed for the purpose of examining binder twine and of seeing that the binder twine offered for sale complies with the requirements of the law. What are the requirements of the law ? The requirements of the law are that :
Every manfacturer, importer or dealer who neglects to comply with the provisions of this section shall, on summary conviction, be liable to a penalty of not less than twenty-five cents per ball ; and every manufacturer, importer or dealer of binder twine which is not of the length per pound which is stamped upon the ball, shall, on summary conviction, be liable to a penalty of not less- than one dollar and not more than twenty-five dollars per ball, and all such twine deficient in quantity shall be confiscated to the Crown : provided that no deficiency in the number of feet contained in any bail shall be deemed a contravention of this section unless the deficiency ex'ceeds five per cent of the length stated upon the stamp.
Any proceedings under this section shall be taken within six months from the sale of any such ball.
The word ' dealer ' whenever it occurs in this section shall be held to mean the dealer who is the direct purchaser from the manufacturer.
- There were two things that Mr. Haycock was bound to look after, first, that the balls should contain the name of the manufacturer, and, second, that they should have stamped upon them the number of feet per pound. Well, Mr. Haycock went out to discharge liis duties, and he found twine that did not comply with the requirements of the law. He said in his evidence before the Gommittee on Agriculture :
I visited a large number of places and I may just say that the first place, the first point at which I got any bad twine was at Gretna. There I found a lot of twine that was not marked in accordance with the Act and I inflicted a penalty of $25 which was paid and deposited to the credit of the Receiver General of Canada.
By Mr. Gilmour:
Q. And do you say you inflicted a penalty ?
A. I did.
By Mr. Sproule :
Q. You inflicted a penalty without bringing the party before a magistrate ?
A. I did so. The party was satisfied and would sooner pay the penalty than go before a magistrate. However, it is a matter for you people to discuss.
You went on to state that:
By Mr. Blain :
Q. Do I understand that after the fine you had the twine re-marked and that the agent went and sold it ?
A. Yes.
We contended that he had no such authority.
Q. Do you consider you would have the right and power to do that ?

A. I find the Act says that every ball of binder twine that is offered for sale shall have attached to it a stamp with the name of the manufacturer, the importer or dealer, and the number of feet per pound. This twine had the name of the manufacturer but not the number of feet per pound and I had to fine this man. I told him that all he had to do was to put the number of feet per pound on that ball and that it would comply with the Act.
Q. Surely that man would not have the power, would he ?
A. I do not know why ?
Q. I can easily understand why.
A. Not if he marks it properly. * If he marks it improperly, then he is liable to a penalty of $1 per ball.
Q. Suppose that any dealer in this city had ten tons of twine ?
A. Yes.
Q. And you went and inspected it and found it did not come up to the requirements of the Act ?
A. Yes.
Q. Would you think that the dealer had any right, under your instructions to mark the twine with the number of feet and then go and sell it ?
A. He could mark it anything he liked.
Q. Not after paying the penalty ?
A. Yes.
Q. Surely, the agent would not have that power ? I would have thought that twine ought to be put off the market entirely. . . .
A I said to this man, ' If you had the
number of feet per pound, neither I nor any one else could touch it, and if you put the number of feet on the twine that it actually measured, you would be perfectly safe.'
Here is a party who was selling twine that did not comply with the law, and yet he is authorized to measure and mark it himself. This was held by many members of the Committee on Agriculture to be an authority not given to the inspector under the Act.
Q. Supposing an agent in this city was to buy ten tons of twine and it had on a tag such as you have in your hand, and bore the name of the importer. If that is put on, then the agent having the twine could decide for himself the number of feet per ton and put it on himself ?
A. Yes, and if he does not do it correctly then he is liable to a fine of $1 per ball and confiscation.
Q. Then the Act has no value because it says it must bear the statement of the manufacturer ?
A. It says the manufacturer, importer or dealer.
Q. If you allow that to go, then each man would have the right to put the number of feet per pound on himself?
Further on be was asked :
Q. Do I understand you to say (hat this twine shall be confiscated to the Crown or not ?
A. No, it did not make any misrepresentation. The tag does not make any representation at all as to the number of feet.
Because there was no tag on it. and therefore he could not confiscate. He says :
I had instructions from the department that I have the power to collect the penalty.
He was asked again :
Q. You consider that under the statute you are authorized to impose the penalty and collect it ?
A. I do not impose the fine ; I simply collect the penalty.
it seems to me that is a distinction without a difference.
I do not convict the man. I simply collect the penalty.
Q. You persuade him that a fine will be imposed upon him, and that he had belter pay you ? Is that the case ?
A. They simply prefer it that way ? Yes, that is. the way.
He goes on further :
Q. Have you a tag that was taken off certain twine that did not comply with the law ?
A. Yes. That Is improperly 'narked too ; the name of the manufacturer is not on It.
By Mr. Sproule :
Q. Do you fine according to the Act a dollar a ball for every ball ? What did you do with that case ?
A. The Act, if you will read it carefully, says that the dealer shall be held to be the direct purchaser from the manufacturer. The gentleman in whose possession I found this twine did not purchase it from the manufacturer, so, according. to the. Act, I could not treat with that man.
He finds the twine in the possession of a man who is selling twine not properly marked, and he says that because this dealer is not a direct purchaser from the manufacturer, he cannot fine him, as the law does not authorize him to do so. Then, that is a lamentable defect in the Act. Then in answer to Mr. Henderson, he says :
The Act says the word ' dealer,' whenever it occurs in this section, shall he held to mean the dealer who is the direct purchaser from the manufacturer.
Now, here are two features of the case to which I wish to direct attention. In the first place, the inspector assumes that he is to fine the party who has in his possession twine that is not properly marked, without lodging a complaint before a magistrate or before any tribunal that is authorized to try the case. He collects the fine and says he hands it over to the Receiver Generali That is an authority which the Act does not give him. The Act says :
Every manufacturer, importer or dealer who neglects to comply with the provisions of ttis Act shall, upon summary conviction, be liable to a penalty of not less than twenty-five cents per hall, or $25.
Now, I draw attention to the fact that there was no conviction before a magistrate and no complaint made. The man had no opportunity to defend himself, but the inspector comes in, imposes a fine, collects the money, and deals with it as he sees fit. He says he passes it over to the Receiver General. That may or may not be correct. I am not calling that in question ; but I am drawing attention to the fact that he is exercising an authority which he does not possess under the Act. The other

.feature of the ease is this, that where he finds twine in possession of the dealer, if the dealer is not prepared to say that he purchased it direct from the manufacturer, the inspector has no power to fine him. That is a defect in the Act as well as an excessive authority on the part of the inspector. I claim that he improperly exercised an authority which the Act does not give him. The authority of the inspector should be better defined or his instructions should be more explicit. I appeal to the Minister of Justice whether it is competent for any inspector to impose a fine without lodging a complaint before a competent tribunal, where the party alleged to have violated the law would have an opportunity to defend himself ?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE-BINDER TWINE.
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