Mr. LANCTOT (Translation):
Mr. Chairman, I had the privilege of being present at the sittings of the committee on agriculture
which, some time ago, recommended the adoption of this bill. To-day, I wish to set forth the viewpoint of the province of Quebec, because in this country there are various qualities of hay. I wonder whether Alberta, among other provinces, grows really hay for commercial purposes. I rather think that this bill is especially introduced to please the farmers of Alberta, because there is a variety of other things in their hay. They made the sale of this hay legal, although they admitted that it contained wood and bones of animal carcases, etc.
As I stated, before the committee of agriculture, there are to-day all kinds of new machinery to take care of the hay crop, work which we old timers of Quebec used to do by hand. I am still in favour of grading the hay in the field after it has been mowed and raked separately; we do not gather it in hay-cocks to-day because we have hay loaders. Unfortunately, this makes the hay more difficult to grade. It is different with grain, which we can pass through the fanning-mill, and if necessary we pass it through two or three times so as to obtain grain suitable for seeding. The hay cannot be put through the same process. For instance, in one mording about 20 arpents of hay is cut on a piece of land measuring 15 arpents in length by li to 2 arpents in width; let us suppose that we have in succession a strip of pure clover, another of mixed clover, and a third of fine timothy; in my father's time all the timothy, the pure clover and the mixed clover were handled separately and also placed in different bays in our barns so that we had some fine, medium and ordinary hay. We therefore had a bay of fine hay, a bay of medium hay and a bay of ordinary hay. When it was taken into the bam we could separate the various qualities and we sold the hay according to its grading, Nos. 1, 2 or 3; who could grade the hay to-day while it is being pressed since it is all mixed? Grading is simply impossible. I have been a hay dealer for the last 36 years. I employ, to grade the hay, men with experience, as well qualified as any inspector of the Department of Agriculture. When I purchase 100 tons of hay from a farmer I send an expert; the latter examines two cars and grades them. He places in one car the best quality of hay and that of medium quality in one of the warehouses which we have here and there throughout the district where the hay is bought. If the hay was graded in the fields we could caution the farmer; and he would bring us
Dumping Duty-Mr. Anderson (Halton)
hay of good quality only and we would not be bothered with the kind of hay which we are apt to have in storage. In my own county the farmers bring me good hay, because I tell them to grade and separate it in the fields. I am aware that for a farmer who has very little hay to sell and but one barn, it is harder. However, when farmers have three or four barns at their disposal for hay, they can grade it better than inspectors and dealers. We, the dealers, together with our experts, grade it the best we can, yet the hay is mixed, it can be camouflaged but this does not often happen in a county where the dealer can warn the farmers and tell them to do the right thing. You know that the careful person is always in demand; he goes to the trouble of grading his hay and sells a better product. As a rule we pay him sufficiently to indemnify him for his trouble.
In regard to this measure and many others introduced by the Department of Agriculture, we find it is overdone and it is very annoying to have so many acts in regard to every thing and which have no meaning.
As to the province of Quebec which grows a great deal of both timothy and other hay of good quality, I think that the expert, who championed the bill before the committee of Agriculture (Mr. Clarke), should allow the old dealers to carry on without troubling them. We can assure him that the experts of the Department of Agriculture cannot do any better than we can.