We are in hopes they will act. The public would penalize them in some way, at all events. As a nation we have not yet perhaps entirely outgrown the extravagance of the pioneer in our use of the natural wealth of the country. This no doubt, in some measure, is the reason why ,the consumer calls for fish not only of standard variety, but also of standard size, the smaller which in other countries find a ready market, being in little demand here. And here I venture to express the opinion that the method in towns and cities of purchasing food for the household by telephone, rather than as formerly, by a visit to the market or shop of the dealer, and the delivery by the seller, instead of by the purchaser is probably in itself responsible for a substantial increase in the cost of supplying the family table.
In those great natural storehouses,- seas, rivers and lakes-a bountiful providence has reserved to the people of Canada an almost unlimited supply of sea foods. With this great natural advantage, aided by a properly organized system of distribution, fish should be cheap in Canada.
In the distribution and sale of food fishes is there needless expense which can be eliminated? Are there excessive or unnecessary transportation or other charges? Are there multiplied profits which might
be avoided? I believe the answer should be "yes" to all these questions. They are questions to which, however, it may be undesirable to give an offhand answer; but they are questions that should be answered M possible. They are questions of importance to the consumer who wants to know he is not paying undue profits; and no less are they of importance to the fisherman, whose future market must depend, in a great measure, upon the product of his industry being available to the consumer at fair and reasonable prices. Yet, tnis at least we know, that to-day and for years to come, economy -should be the watchword of this nation. Anything which will tend toward reducing the cost of supplying the family table calls for serious consideration.
I have some suggestions which I propose to make in a very kindly -spirit to my hon. friend the minister who takes -a deep interest in- this matter an-d I will make them as briefly as I can. I believe there are others who desire to speak on this important resolution. The present method of distribution of sea foods seems extravagant and wasteful. I think it -should be more highly organized. Reshipments involving several freight or express charges -should be avoided, where possible. Transportation corporations all of which have -been generously bonused by the people of Canada, should recognize their responsibility. They -should aid in the distribution of a cheap food, by making especially favourable rates, which hitherto they have not seemed inclined to do.
This, I am informed, -can be done without disturbing other rates by placing fish in what is known as a "commodity" classification instead of -as at -present. F^st freight trains, and what may be termed the "peddler car" system would also greatly aid in affecting cheaper transportation. The "peddler car" is a -through car with a through rate, carrying car-load lots, and distributing its load at different points en route, -an additional charge being made each time the car is opened for that purpose. The transportation -companies, being in favor of less than carload rates, are against the "peddler" caT.
Fi-sh dealers at inland points could get a better service by placing their orders a reasonable time in advance. Shipments could then be consolidated, and carlo-ad lot rates obtained. Thi-s, combined with a peddler car -service, would effect a great saving in the cost of transportation. It would also tend to eliminate the jobber,
and so save his profits, to the benefit of the consumer.
Avoidable waste occurring, owing to lack of proper facilities in most retail markets for preserving and attractively displaying the fish, should be overcome. For not only does it add to the cost of the fish to the consumer, but nothing is more liable to discourage its general use than careless methods of handling; while to obtain good, fresh fish from Tetail dealers under such conditions, is impossible.
The Department of Marine and Fisheries,
* which for many years has been1 expending large sums in protecting the fisheries of sea and lake, should now, I think, go a step farther. In every important community they might establish, or exhibit for demonstration purposes, a model fish market. This might consist of what is known as a silent salesman, or glass case, with proper refrigeration. In a short time progressive fish dealers would, no doubt, properly equip their premises. A vigorous campaign should be set on foot for promoting the consumption of sea foods, not on fast days only, as chiefly heretofore, but as a stable article of diet throughout the year.
A demonstration kitchen, conducted by one who understands how fish should be cooked and served, should be made a feature at all fairs in Canada. The department might very easily keep this service up the year round in those centres where it would do the most good, until the blessings of a fish diet were known.
It should be borne in mind that the increased consumption of ,fish will aid in solving some features of the transportation problem. When .fresh fish can be shipped in carload lots, the rates will be much less, tending to reduce the cost of the fish to the consumer. In this good work an important section of the press of Canada has already rendered signal service, and is entitled to the thanks, both of the fishing interests and the consumers. With their continued co-operation advantageous results can, I believe, be attained. With this introduction I beg leave to move the resolution standing in my name.
Topic: TRANSPORTATION AND MARKETING OF FISH.