I have listened to'the discussion this afternoon on this question, and, while not a practical farmer, I represent a farming constituency, and I have observed that the discussion has been nearly altogether from the standpoint of the seed merchant and to some extent from the standpoint of the province of Ontario. I have heard two or three speeches from gentlemen from the west, but not a word as yet from the maritime provinces. I would therefore like to discuss this measure for a few moments from the standpoint of a maritime member, and one of the representatives of the maritime farmers. I can assure you that there is no question of so much importance to the maritime farmers to-day as the seed question. We have attempted for some years to improve the quality of the seeds we have to use. We cannot tell why, but it is a fact that we do not raise our own grass seeds to any great extent in the maritime provinces. We are compelled to purchase them mostly from the province of Ontario, and it seems almost impossible for a farmer to get a good quality of grass seeds. He can prepare his land for a crop of wheat or any other grain, and the crop will be fairly free from weeds ; but the next year after he uses Ontario grass seed, he will probably have more sorrel in his crop than timothy or clover. Our farmers have taken various courses in their efforts to overcome this difficulty. They have banded themselves together in societies and have imported the seed direct; our merchants have tried to get good seed for them ; but no matter what we do, it seems impossible to get good results, Now, it seems to me that this Bill is exactly in the right direction. It has been described here this afternoon, I think by the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt), as a drastic measure ; I think he almost: went so far as to say it was vicious legislation, and he did say that it was
legislation unprecedented in the annals of any civilized country. Well, Sir, if this Bill *will be the means of overcoming some of the difficulties under which the farmers of this country are suffering in connection with the purchase of their grass seed, then Canada will have the distinction of being the first civilized country which has tried to grapple with this question. I cannot see any difficulty in the way of working it out. It seems to me that it, would be nonsense to appoint a staff of inspectors to enforce the Act. If it is going to be useful to the farmers, they will find the means of working it out. If it become law. we in the province of New Brunswick will do so, whether they will in the province of Ontario or not. We will simply get some farmer to take a sample of the grass seed which he has purchased from his local merchant, and have it tested, and if it does not come up to the requirements, we will lay an information against the local merchant and see where the trouble is. You may say that this will be a hardship on an innocent merchant. By no means, because by subsection 2 of section S, if the merchant be able to show that the package has not been broken, and that he has purchased it in good faith, and gives the name of the merchant in Montreal or Toronto from whom he has bought the seed, the onus will fall back upon the latter.
Topic: INSPECTION AND SALE OF SEEDS.