It will perhaps be proper for me to give a little explanation of the objects of this Bill. Hon. gentlemen who have been for some time in the House will remember that about five or six years ago -I think in 1899-an Act was passed to authorize the incorporation of Dominion record associations. That Act was for the purpose of authorizing associations of a Dominion character for the purpose of keeping the records of thoroughbred live stock, under which the authority was given for the formation of associations, each association to be for the purpose of a particular breed or class of animals. Under the Act associations were empowered to adopt con-breed or class of animals. Under the Act, a number of associations were incorporated. Recently a request has come from the live stock men of Canada, expressed particularly in the winter of 1904, to nationalize the records of thoroughbred stock in Canada. That request was formulated and presented to me as Minister of Agriculture at the meeting of live stock men which took place last winter, and which was called the national live stock gathering. They wished two things ; In the first place, to have the official stamp of the department affixed to all pedigrees which were to be Issued by the record associations incorporated under this Act, and they wished, in the next place, to have this work of keeping these live stock
records placed under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture here at Ottawa and removed here for the convenience of people all over the country. I would premise toy saying that this work has been more or less local in its character up to now. In the great province of Ontario, which is the great centre of thoroughbred live stock in the Dominion, live stock asso ciations were called, as a rule, Dominion associations, although they were formed under provincial Acts of Ontario. They practically did the work very largely for the Dominion, but still there were other associations and organizations in other provinces formed for the same purpose-in the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and in the province of Quebec, and I think there was also one association started in-the Northwest Territories. There was, however, a very strong movement on the part of the people of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories for the formation of more associations of this kind, and it is largely due to this movement that the request came for the nationalization of the records. The object of this nationalization is to simplify the records. If we were to have in Canada a registration for, we will say, pure bred Ayrshire cattle in Toronto, another in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and another in Manitoba or British Columbia, it would be obvious that there would be a great deal of confusion, and it would work to the detriment of the breed. Anybody purchasing a thoroughbred animal would hardly know in what record to look for its pedigree, and he would hardly know whether the certificates given by each and every one of these associations had the same and equal value. Therefore, it was found by the live stock men that the point had been reached when it would be extremely important that these records should be made national in their character and should be under the same supervision and control.
When this matter was presented to me I felt that there were two points to be very carefully considered. The first was that the live stock men themselves who had been managing this work, in the province of Ontario especially, extremely well, should continue to manage the work, that there should be no interference with the business of the association on the part of any government officials or on the part of the department, but that the work must be carried on by the men who were interested in it and who had succeeded in the past in doing it very well. The only question was as to the representation of people all over the country in that work, instead of it being local in its character. Then came the question of affixing an official stamp to the certificate, and I felt it was rather a delicate point to take up. If there were an official stamp affixed to the certificate of pedigree, it could only be of any value when it was affixed after consideration and investigation to see that the pedigree was correct.