I think it is a great pity there should be any objection to this Bill. The very fact of its being introduced shows that there is a necessity for it. I was surprised to find an hon. gentleman who has been so long connected with the Committee on Agriculture as the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) opposing a Bill that is intended to protect our great dairy industry. The question is not, as some hon. gentlemen seem to think, what position the Minister of Agriculture may have taken years ago upon another measure, but what is the position taken by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) now when a Bill is being introduced to preserve the great dairy industry. The bon. gentleman should not try to defeat the object of the Bill-
I would like to ask the hon. minister who is trying to do that V
The hon. member for East Grey.
Not at all.
The hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) argues that the present law covers all this, and there is no necessity for this measure.
I think it does.
If that view prevails, we shall not get this new law passed, and the manufacture of this pro-cesss butter will go on in this country. The question has been before my department as well as before the Department of Agriculture, and it has required very careful consideration. We have come to the conclusion that the present law will 'not 1594
prohibit this article, which it is intended to manufacture in this country. The way to stop it is to nip it in the bud, before the business is established and a vested interest is created with valuable machinery. We find objection made to this Bill, and it is argued that, as the Minister of Agriculture made certain remarks upon another measure introduced some time ago, therefore, this Bill must not be introduced. That is not a proper course to take. If I wished to refer to old events, however, I might point out that the Bill introduced by the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) was a Bill to encourage the production of oleomargarine. The Bill proposed by that hon. gentleman placed a customs duty upon oleomargarine imported, and an excise duty upon that produced in the country ; and, as the excise duty was lower than the customs duty, the general effect of the Bill was actually to afford protection to the manufacture of oleomargarine in Canada. I moved in amendment that the manufacture and sale of this material be absolutely prohibited. That prevailed with the government, and the law was framed in that way. The resolutions before us have for their object the prohibition or manufacture of another article which we consider injurious to the dairying interest, but which is not covered by the existing law.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
I wish to say a word in justice to my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule). The hon. Minister of Customs (Hon. Mr. Paterson) has not done justice to my hon. friend. A certain object is to be attained, and my hon. friend argues that if the existing law were enforced that object could be obtained now. He is entitled to his opinion on that subject, and it is quite unfair for the Minister of Customs to charge him with endeavouring to defeat the object of this measure, which he says can be attained, and should be attained, without a change of law. The hon. minister has given a somewhat terse description of the object the Minister of Agriculture has in mind when he says that the proposition of the Bill is to nip this bad butter in the bud. I am sure the process could not be stated more effectively, though I do not know exactly what it is. I do not know whether my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture would be inclined to give his proposed Bill the heading suggested by the Minister of Customs, and bring it before us as a Bill intituled ' An Act to nip oleomargarine in the bud.'
After the scolding that the Minister of Customs (Hon. Mr. Paterson) has given to one hon. gentleman, I think it well, before saying anything with reference to the resolution before the committee to give the Minister of Agriculture the most positive assurance that I have no desire whatever to obstruct the passage of resolutions which will help to improve in any way the character or promote the
sale of butter in the country, I think, however, the resolution ought to be explained a little more fully before the Bill is introduced. I notice that the resolution says, ' That it is expedient to pass an Act to prevent the improper marking of butter.' That would seem to apply to all butter. But, if every package of butter made in this country is to be stamped or marked in some particular way to indicate its quality, that would be a most serious interference with trade, something which it would be practically impossible to carry out.
So that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Henderson) may not be in any way misled, I would say that the marking does not refer to the quality of the butter. It only provides that butter marked ' creamery ' shall be made in a creamery.
Then, from the wording of the resolutions we have been very much misled. If the Bill is only intended to apply to butter made in a creamery it may be quite possible-
That provision of the Bill only applies to creamery butter.
And does not apply to dairy butter ?
I will read the provision :
No person shall brand or mark the word ' creamery ' or any combination of words which includes the word ' creamery ' upon any box, package or wrapper containing butter, unless the butter contained consists wholly of creamery butter manufactured in one place.
That is the only clause that applies to the marking or branding of butter.
That is rather an accusation against the farmers of this country that they have been indulging in the practice here prohibited. I never heard of it before, and I do not think it is done to any extent. What the hon. minister said a short time ago is perfectly true-there is a very good class of butter made throughout the country and put up in very suitable packages. It is not made up, as a rule, in the way the hon. gentleman speaks of-buying it in country stores and repacking it. So far as my section of the country is concerned, the day of that practice has entirely passed away. We never hear of a merchant repacking butter, because, if he did so, it would result in loss to himself. The practice at the present time is to give out pails holding about fifteen to seventeen pounds to the farmers' wives who take them home and fill them with first-class dairy butter, then return them and get another pail. These pails are shipped by express to the large markets of the country, and in that way the best possible price is obtained. Where a farmer is able to make Mr. HENDERSON.
a larger quantity, he takes a tub holding twenty-five to thirty pounds. In this way the dealers secure first-class butter, which is in many respects quite as good as creamery butter, amd by some preferred, as it is not quite so costly. My idea was that if these packages had to be stamped, and inspected and marked in any way that was going to cause the least interference with the trade, a trade which is carried on to a large extent in country stores, it would be an injury not only to the business man who handled the butter, but to the farmers who made it. I am glad to know, however, that the hon. minister is not placing such restrictions on the trade as would cause that interference. Possibly I will be better able to discuss this matter when the Bill comes down. I am quite willing, having elicited this information, now to lea^e the matter until the Bill is before the House.
Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin).
I think it would be advisable to have the Bill printed so that we may read it and know what it is. I would like to say something on this question, but I want to be sure first that I know what the Bill is.
The rules of the House require a Bill of this kind to be introduced by resolution. The resolution contains only a general description of the Bill, the details will come when the Bill itself is introduced, which I propose to do the moment this resolution is passed.
When I heard the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) and the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) expressing their views upon this question, and attacking the motives of the Minister of Agriculture, and referring to his past record on this question; and when I heard the hon. member for Leeds claiming credit for having placed an Act upon the statute-book prohibiting the importation of oleomargarine, butterine and other such articles, my mind went back a few years ago when a debate took place in the House of Commons on this question, and perhaps my hon. friends opposite would like to have their memories refreshed as to what their views were on that occasion. They have endeavoured to refresh the memory of the Minister of Agriculture as to what he said and did. The hon. member for Leeds claims to have introduced a measure to prohibit the manufacture, sale and importation of oleomargarine. As the Minister of Customs has stated, that was not the object of the member for Leeds, nor was it the policy of the member for East Grey.
Would the hon. gentleman allow me one moment ? The amount that was put on it was declared to be prohibitive, and that is why it was not an Act absolutely to prohibit. But the amount
put on it was a prohibitive amount, and it was believed then to be sufficient.
I see. And then the member for East Grey, believing that it was prohibitory of the manufacture of these articles, supported it for that reason, he was in favour of that prohibition.