June 9, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)



The provision does look a little severe but there has been so much humbugging in regard to the packing of potatoes and apples that some action was called for. I am sure my hon. friends from the prairies who have bought apples in barrels have often discovered the fact that the apples on the top were very much superior to those lower down. I am not familiar with the practice of selling potatoes in barrels; but in this case it is not so much a question of big potatoes as it is a question of their quality. There may be nice potatoes on the top of the barrel and smaller potatoes in the bottom. You can plug a barrel of potatoes in the same manner as you car. plug a barrel of apples. In regard to the matter of confiscation, unless you have a provision with teeth in it, it will not bite, that is all there is to it. I am a little bit familiar with provincial laws with regard to this matter. It looks a little severe, but, in the working out of it, there is no injustice. I might call attention to the act regarding fruit marks and fruit packages. One does not require a long memory to recall the day when there was no Fruit Marking Act. It was simply scandalous, and it can be improved a lot yet. However, it has been substantially improved since the following clause was inserted in the act.
All packages of fruit not branded or marked in accordance with such regulations shall he forfeited to His Majesty, and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the minister may direct.
That is pretty hard. The act was amended in 1907, 1908, 1912 and 1913; so that that provision has been there since 1913. There have been only two prosecutions under that clause, and they were such flagrant violations of the law that I asked Mr. Baxter, the fruit commissioner who recently left us, in regard to them. He told me there were two prosecutions, and that both had a very salutary effect.

Without the law, he could not have had the prosecutions. I do not think any inspector with any common sense-and if he has no common sense, he will not be in the position long-is going to worry the life out of people by prosecutions, unless he has substantial reasons. If he exercises his power indiscreetly, we will get rid of him. These prosecutions will have a salutary effect. We already have this power in regard to apples, and we are now adopting it in regard to potatoes. Can hon. gentlemen see any more danger in the provision in regard to potatoes than there would be in regard to apples? All law must be administered with a reasonable amount of common sense, sound judgment and discretion. If a man tried to make trouble, of course, he could make all kinds of trouble. With regard to the size of the barrels, anybody who has ever sold potatoes in any kind of packages, knows that they vary in weight just as wheat varies, but to say that the package shall hold so many pounds of potatoes-

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