June 4, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I would Tather not
mention the names, unless my hon. friend insists. I will show them to him in private if he so desires. On February 24 last the firm to which my hon, friend refers had on hand in one place $2,145,368 worth of such foodstuffs as I have mentioned. In a month they purchased articles of this kind to the value.of $2,427,439, and sold $2,242,290 worth. On the same day they had on hand in Montreal $682,487.09 worth of these articles. They purchased in a month commodities of the kind mentioned to the value of $465,176.61, and the value of the sales made was $484,899 18. On the some date they had on hand, at Winnipeg, $89,051.73 worth of these articles; the quantity purchased that month was $25,230.62; and the quantity sold was $50,698.29. The gross value of the commodities on hand, February 24, 1917, was:
Toronto $2,145,368.18
Montreal 682,487.09
Winnipeg 89,051.73
Total $2,916,907.00
When we have a firm doing as much cold storage business as this firm is doing, having over $2,000,000 worth of these commodities on hand, and buying in and selling out two or three million dollars worth a month, that does not show that it is holding back any commodities for an increase in price. This firm has a month's supply on hand at a time. This firm is at the present time turning over $3,000,000 a month; in fact, I am told that it is turning over a million dollars a week. The
common idea that these commodities are hoarded up in cold storage for the purpose of keeping them there until prices go up is not well founded. One trouble, I think, is that we have not enough goods on hand. This firm, which is the largest firm of its kind in Canada, has only a month's supply on hand, and if it cannot buy any more goods, it cannot ship any more away, it is buying and selling every month. We have gone into these different commodities, sugar, coal, cold storage commodities, canned goods, and the report, on cold storage, is in process of preparation and will be ready in a few days. I am glad to say that so far as the prices of sugar and coal and the quantities of foodstuffs kept in cold storage are concerned, there is no reason for complaint.. It is a very good thing for the people of this country to know what the conditions are, because statements that are not well founded are frequently made to them. One hon. member has said: Can
you point to any article on which by your efforts you have reduced the price? I do not know that I can. I cannot point to any particular burglary that police constable John Brown has prevented by walking the streets of Ottawa, for the last five years, but it does not follow that we should abolish the police force of Ottawa. The refiners, the wholesalers, and the retail dealers know that we are on the job.

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