I have not looked into the details of the two laws. I prefer the Dominion law, under which the delinquent may be punished without the prosecution being obliged to prove positive knowledge on his part. If the hon. gentleman disapproves of that he ought to introduce a motion to change the law, and I will be very glad to discuss it with him. I think that our law is the better, it being more direct and easier to enforce. Of course this parliament has no control over the Ontario law.
Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin).
I do not rise for the purpose of changing the law but to call the attention of the minister to the fact.
I suppose that a prosecution might be taken out under either law. If a prosecution be taken out under the Dominion Act, that Act will guide the judge, but if under the Ontario Act, I suppose that he will be governed by it. I would not like to give a legal opinion, but perhaps the leader of the opposition may enlighten us.
Have they not found bene-' ficial effects from the fact that we have these inspectors appointed, independent of the convictions secured ?
Yes, I think I can say most positively that the shippers generally and the packers generally have appreciated this law and have, in many cases, exerted themselves loyally to carry out its provisions. But, of course, they have found difficulties in the way. Long continued practices in the trade are not done away with in a day; and, even with a perfectly loyal intention to live up to the provisions of the law, no doubt many cases have occurred where the law may have been violated. That is one reason why we have not undertaken to strictly or severely enforce the law. Where we have thought that people deliberately disregarded the law, or where-as in a very few cases- they deliberately told us that we could not enforce it, we have undertaken to show that the law was enforeible and effective.
Does the hon. minister know that any of his inspectors have taken power into their own hands, and, where they found apples that were not up to the mark, have said : If you will pay so much, we will let the thing go ?
I know of no such case, and if such a case were brought to my notice, the inspector would have a short shrift before dismissal. But I know the character of the inspectors, and I feel confident that not one of them is capable of such an action. I would say in general terms, before closing this general expose-
How do I understand the minister in connection with that mat-
Mr. ROBINSON (West Elgin).
ter ? Do I understand him to say that if he knew of an inspector who acted like that he would dismiss him ?
If I knew of an inspector who had made a bargain with an individual whose fruit he found to be unsatisfactory, to let him off in consideration of a payment, I would dismiss him at once.
I wish to be quite clear as to what the minister has said concerning Mr. McKinnon, the chief inspector. I am sure that the House and the country will regard the position of Mr. McKinnon as one of great importance. Do I understand that the minister told the committee that Mr. McKinnon was a gentleman of large and ripe experience ? Did he say whether Mr. McKinnon had served a time as a fruitgrower sufficient to entitle him to the confidence of the people of the country, and that, after giving up fruit culture he practiced his profession as a lawyer-in other words, that Mr. McKinnon had an equipment that would entitle him to the implicit confidence that men should have in one whose duties are so important and involve so much affecting the great trade that we hope to make so much greater than it is now ? The hon. minister shakes his head. If I misunderstood him, perhaps he will explain.
The hon. gentleman (Mr. Clancy) has said a great deal more than I said. Mr. McKinnon is a comparatively young man. He was brought up on a fruit farm in the Niagara district, and engaged in that work until I do not know what age. He was employed by me in my department to do certain work in preparing the fruit exhibit for the Paris Exposition. He went to Paris in connection with the fruit exhibit, and showed himself eminently qualified to attend to fruit matters. He is an educated man, with a university training, and he has also a legal education. I do not think he has ever practiced the law. He obtained his degree not very long ago-if I remember well after he returned from Paris. As I say, he is a young man. I have frequently found that young men are the most efficient officers I can get, if they have had the necessary training and education to fit them for their work. The experience I have had with Mr. McKinnon in connection with his former work and in connection with this Act, convince me that he is a most efficient officer, thoroughly well equipped for his work. It is because I believed he had the necessary qualifications that I placed him in this responsible position.
Perhaps the hon. gentleman will permit me to tell the rest of the story. I am far from desiring to make it appear that it is a crime to be a young man, and the hon. minister will not urge that against
me. I am told that Mr. McKinnon is a young man whose father occupied a very responsible position as school inspector, but had nothing to do with fruit farming until six or seven years ago. The last six years or so, I am told, is the only time during which even Mr. McKinnon's father had any experience in fruit-growing, and I understand that it is not possible that Mr. McKinnon, jr., could have had the slightest experience, because during this whole period he was at college. Since then he has passed his examination, and, before he had time to enter upon the practice of his profession the hon. minister discovered qualities in him that caused him to send him on a trip to Paris. Now, if Mr. McKinnon has given such service as the hon. minister says, he is a very extraordinary young man, because he has succeeded in spite of not having experience or any of the qualifications required for duties of this kind. It is as well for us to 'look at this matter in a plain light. No glozing over the matter by the minister will make it appear that a man, no matter how bright he may be, can have, without experience, the qualifications for the performance of such duties as devolve upon this officer. The minister says he employed Mr. McKinnon because he was a lawyer, and that the carrying out of the law required judgment and discrimination. To use the minister's own expression, from which I do not greatly dissent, in having the Act faithfully carried out, it was thought to be as well not to be too harsh. That is what I understood the hon. minister to say.
I am sure the hon. minister will admit that, if experience in the practice of his profession as a lawyer is necessary, Mr. McKinnon is destitute of a single qualification to enter upon duties of this kind. The hon. minister must see that it is not enough to say that Mr. McKinnon served him in Paris. It is not very hard to understand that Mr. McKinnon was picked up because he was a political friend. I would like to ask the hon. minister if Mr. McKinnon is not the son of the Liberal candidate for the local legislature for the county of Lincoln. Perhaps the hon. minister is innocent of that-he is usually innocent of these things. I suppose he did not even know Mr. McKinnon's politics.
Now Mr. McKinnon has also drawn considerable sums in connection with the Paris Exposition. I see he has drawn $893.56 in some three months ; that of course includes his living allowances as well as his salary. When I turn to what is called the general expenses in connection with cold storage, I find Mr. McKinnon has drawn $510.10. I am not disposed to quarrel with the sums paid him if he has given efficient service ; but I do dissent from the position that the 82
hon. gentleman can pick up any young man or any old man in this country who is without experience, as the hon. gentleman well knows Mr. McKinnon was-for he was not even born on a fruit farm, and has not been long out of college, because I am told he is under thirty years of age now-and the very moment almost that he has passed his law examination the hon. gentleman takes him into his service. Every one knows that it is a perfect farce to allege for a moment that Mr, McKinnon ought to be given charge of duties so important. I am persuaded that the thoughtful men of this country will have little confidence in such an appointment, not because Mr. McKinnon may not be a very bright young man, but because he is without the experience necessary to discharge those duties.
In reply to the hon. gentleman I may say that I am aware that Mr. McKinnon was a Liberal, and I do not feel that I have committed a crime in appointing a Liberal to office. I do not know of any particular reason why that fact should be a disability in my mind or in the mind of any other Liberal minister. It would be a new theory entirely in this country. But I want to tell the hon. gentleman that Mr. McKinnon was not appointed to this office because he was a Liberal ; he was appointed because I believed him to be fit for the position, and I had some little experience and knowledge of what he could do in regard to the work of preparing fruits for the Paris Exposition. I found him with some administrative capacity, and some knowledge of general affairs. I knew he had had a university training, and also a legal training ; but even if he had been without experience in practising before the courts, the legal training would be no disadvantage to him. I regret to say that in our agricultural work of this country it is not always easy to get the right man for any particular kind of work ; and I daresay my colleagues in the other departments find the same difficulty when they have some special work to be done. I have found Mr. McKinnon exceptionally bright and satisfactory, and in discussing this work with him, and knowing his antecedents, and knowing his training, I believed he would be suitable for the work. The event has well justified my choice, because I have found him very judicious and very effective in the performance of his duties, so much so in fact, that I propose to continue him in that work, or in other work that may arise in my department. I would be glad if I could attach him to the department as a permanent officer, and secure his services for the country in future. So far as his father is concerned, I am aware to-day that he is a candidate in the local elections in Ontario. I am not going to allow that to stand in the way of his son being an officer in my department. I do not think that is a valid objection, nor
do I think that, if the tables were turned, the hon. gentleman would consider that an objection.
I understood the minister to tell us in his brief remarks in introducing this subject, that Mr. McKinnon's father was the owner of a fruit farm, and that this youug man had been brought up on a fruit farm. But if the hon. gentleman is correct In his statement now, he was not on the farm at all and did not know anything about fruit.
Does the hon. gentleman say his father does not own a fruit farm ?
He was a school inspector up to the last live or six years, and never had a fruit farm at all ; and when his father bought the fruit farm this young man was in college. I would like to ask the minister how a man, however intellectually bright he may be, but knows nothing about fruit, can all at once develop into such an expert.
I cannot tell the hon. gentleman when his father bought the farm.