Hon. S. F. TOLMIE (Victoria):
Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand a letter from the firm of Hayward and Scott, wholesale produce and commission merchants, Vancouver, B.C., in connection with the export of vegetables to the British troops in China. I will not take up the time of the House by reading it all, but I wish to read this extract:
We notice Mr. Tolmie's inquiry and reply of Mr. Motherwell as to why white dealers and growers had no opportunity of quoting on potatoes supplied to the British forces in China.
We understand these orders were placed by Mr. Clarke who is the Dominion fruit inspector in Vancouver. The business was given to R. Robertson Company, and two shipments were made-R. Robertson Company shipping the first orders-buying both potatoes and onions from Chinese dealers. White dealers and growers had no opportunity of quoting on the first order. There were hundreds of tons of potatoes available in the hands of white dealers and growers, had they been given an opportunity to quote. The second order for potatoes which went forward on the last Canadian Pacific boat, Empress of Canada, sailing from Vancouver February 26, was also filled by R. Robertson Company.
The onions on the second order were supplied by Fraser-Wood Company. Some of the dealers heard this second order was being placed and called up Mr. Clarke, but received no encouragement from him-evidently it was a cut and dried proposition that Robertson Company was to receive this order-Fraser-Wood, however, brought a little influence to bear through Ottawa, and received the onion order.
This statement by Mr. Clarke and Mr. Robertson that it was impossible to supply potatoes and onions from white growers, is absolutely untrue, and also the statement that the time was too short to secure these goods, is also wrong. R. Robertson Company are brokers who do not carry any stocks. It may have been difficult for them to supply goods, but other dealers and growers who carry a stock on hand would have had no difficulty in filling these orders.
R. Robertson Company had the goods put up by Chinamen and these potatoes were grown by Chinamen. Messrs. Motherwell, Clarke and Robertson's assertions that white dealers and growers were unable to supply these goods is untrue.
There are thousands of tons of potatoes both in Vancouver and the adjoining districts grown by white growers and these could have been supplied, had they been given an opportunity of quoting. It surely does not look very consistent to have the Chinese supplying the ammunition to fight the Chinamen in China.
We are enclosing copy of a picture taken on the wharf showing these goods being delivered by the Chinese dealer in Vancouver.
I have also a picture of the dock showing a large number of potatoes in sacks, a truck loaded with potatoes alongside, with a Chinese chauffeur, and on the side of the truck appears the name Wong Fat. Has the minister any further information on this question?
Subtopic: ALLEGED PREFERENCE TO ORIENTALS