May 7, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


This matter was gone into carefully, amongst others, by Mr. Gar-row, an eminent lawyer in the west, and he came to the conclusion that there was a most effective combine in that line, and one most injurious to the small tanners of the country. I hold in my hand a letter from Getty & Scott, of Galt, in answer to a letter from Mr. Smith, of Goderich, asking for information on the subject. In this letter they say :
We have Mr. Blackwell, formerly of the Stratford Shoe Company, cutting stock for us, and he informs us that you have an oak tanned stock which is very suitable for our work. While we are on the manufacturers' list of the Tanners' Association, yet if we can get a good line of stock, and at prices that would pay us to do so, we would not hesitate to break away, as the whole thing is systematic stealing.
As I understand, there are two classes of sole leather made by the tanners of the country-one called ordinary slaughter-tanned leather, and the; other Spanish sole-tanned. Only a few large firms make the Spanish-tanned leather ; and a number of men who deal In leather have entered into an agreement that they will buy all their stock from those parties who are in the combine, because by doing that they get a rebate of 5 per cent on all purchases. The result is that those who are not in the combine are obliged to buy from the parties who make oak-tanned leather, which most of them require, while those tannens who are not in
the combine and who produce only the slaughtered leather, find it impossible to sell their product. In order to get the rebate of 5 per cent, all parties have to agree to buy only from those in the combine, and have to make an affidavit at the end of the year to the following effect:
Copy of Affidavit.
Dominion of Canada, Province of ,
County of .
To wit
In the matter of the rebate allowed by members of the Tanners' Association to purchasers of sole leather from them.
I, of the of
in the county of do solemnly declare [DOT]
1. That I am a member of the firm of
carrying on business of
in the of
and as such have a full and intimate knowledge of all transactions of my said firm or business and know that the statements herein contained are absolutely true.
2. That since the day of
up to the time of the making of this declaration I have neither purchased nor used in any way whatsoever, nor contracted to buy directly or indirectly, nor contracted for the production or manufacture of any sole leather of any kind or description whatsoever (except oak sole leather), save from the following firms: Shaw, Cas-sils & Co., Beardmore & Co., Breithaupt Leather Company (Limited), Logan Tanning Company (Limited), C. S. Hyman & Co., Bowman & Zln-kan, Dowker, McIntosh & Co., Marlatt & Armstrong, Muslcoka Leather Company (Limited), Acton Tanning Company (Limited), Magnetawan Tanning and Electric Company (Limited), Wing-ham Tanning Company, S. Arscott & Co., Benton, N.B.; Warren, Tobey & Co.
3. That my firm has not, neither has any partner of mine, nor has any one acting as my agent, nor has any one acting as the agent of my firm, nor has any one acting as the agent of any partner of mine, nor has any one acting as the agent cf the business described above, nor has any one employed by me or by any partner of mine or employed in connection with the business described above, nor has any one connected with me or with any partner of mine in any way whatsoever in the business referred to above, nor has any one connected with my firm or with the business described above, either purchased or used in any way whatsoever, or contracted to buy directly or indirectly, or received for sale or sold on commission, or dealt in any way with, or contracted for the production or manufacture of any sole leather of any kind or description whatsoever (except oak sole leather), save from the above-mentioned firms.
4. That I and all who are in any way connected with the business described above, have done no act that would disentitle the said business to the said rebate offered upon certain conditions by the firms mentioned above, in two circulars dated December 31, 1895, and January 31, 1896, but on the contrary we have faithfully fulfilled, both in letter and spirit, all conditions contained in said two circulars.
5. That the statement marked Exhibit * A ' to this declaration is a true and complete account of the sole leather purchased or contracted tor by any one connected with the business described above from the above-mentioned firms.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously, believing it to be^true, and knowing that

it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath and by virtue of the Canada Evidence Act, 1893.
Declared before me at in the
county of this day of
, 1897.
A Commissioner, &c.
Now, if that is not a combine, I do not know what is, and it affects all the small tanners throughout the country. I could give the names of dozens of tanners who are unable to sell their product for that very reason to the dealers who formerly handled their product. The government have been appealed to on the strength of the provision in the Customs Act which empowers the government, on proof being furnished of the existence of a combine which tended to interfere with the freedom of trade or to enhance prices, to take the duty off goods which are made the subject of such combines ; but, the government, up to the present, have refused to initiate any action in this matter, although representations have been made to them by individuals, and also collectively by petition, from different parties. The Minister of Finance tells us that they are going to take up the question of this paper combine. X can only suppose that is because they are more afraid of the press of the country than they are of the leather men, while the combine I refer to is quite as injurious and affects as large a number of people. I would strongly urge upon the government the wisdom and necessity of attacking this combine, which is a very injurious one, and the effect of which is widely felt among those engaged in the tanning business.

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