June 24, 1903

CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

The services of one man would do for the province of Ontario because the inspection of one plant once a year would suffice.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

Would not that come under the Provincial Factory Act V

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I hardly know whether it would be the duty of the province to see to that or not, but it would be money well spent by the Dominion if a good man were appointed, say in Ontario. I think a good man could be secured at a salary of $1,500, who might go from one town to another and inspect the plant, whether owned by a municipality or a company. We have had three or four deaths in Ontario caused by a live wire. There was one in Ottawa and one in the town of Chesley. Owing to the defects in the transformers, or to their being worn out, so great a volume of power came 170

over the wire that simply to touch it killed a man.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I am not very familiar with the duties of electric light inspectors, but judging by the description given by the hon. minister they are rather of a nominal character, and the work that should be done by an electric light inspector is not really done at all. I have never yet discovered the actual benefit conferred on the community by means of the services such as are referred to in the item of $800.

I can understand the testing of meters. Every meter is tested before it goes out, but that would surely occupy a very small portion of the year. The hon. minister is asking us to vote $800 for the salaries of two men-one at Three Rivers and one somewhere else.

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

One $500 at Three Rivers, and one $300 at St. Hyacinthe.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

For the purpose of testing meters at these two places. How many hours a year will these gentlemen be employed ?

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

I cannot say exactly. I understand that the same men are generally inspectors of gas and electricity. They inspect the gas meters and test the purity of the gas but they do not inspect electric meters except when called upon either by the company or by the one who uses the meter. They cannot touch the instrument except in the presence of the parties.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The law provides for inspection once a year ?

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

Owing to fires or removals or other accidents, they may be called at any moment to inspect some meters.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Would it not be wise to have them make an inspection once a year of a certain number of meters at least, selected indifferently. Why is it desirable to restrict their inspection to cases where they are called in, because the majority of people are not aware that they have that right to call upon the services of the inspector.

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

The law requires an inspection every five years.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Why not make it once a year ?

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

Experience has shown that these meters do not require to be inspected oftener than once in five years. With regard to more frequent inspection, perhaps the users or the company would object. They do not like these instruments to be touched by anyone. When

properly inspected, they are fixed and nobody can touch them except with the consent of both parties, but the services of the inspector might be called upon at any moment on account of fires or removal or other accident so that he must be on the spot and charge a certain amount for the inspection. They have nothing to do with the repairing the meters-that is the affairs of the company. The inspector only waits until his services are called for to examine the meter when the parties disagree.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Of course, the insulation of wires and the adoption of other methods for the protection of life and property are really more important than the purposes which seem to be served by the Act at present.

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

I admit readily that a more rigid inspection of the installation and of how the wires are fixed would be very important. But, as the law is now, the officers have no duty except to inspect the meters, either gas or electric.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The fire insurance associations in some cities have what they call an inspection of these electric light installations. But, in some places, at least, I do not think the inspection amounts to anything, I know that in some parts of Nova Scotia with which I am more familiar, electric light installations have been made that are really of a dangerous character. I do not say that that is the case now, but I know that it has been the case in the past and it may be so now for all I know to the contrary. It depends, I suppose, to some extent on the person employed to do the work. It seems to me that it would be very desirable that these officers should be given duties, and they should be capable of performing those duties, more nearly concerning the safety of life and property. We know that in various parts of the Dominion men have been killed as the result of improper insulation of wires or through the proximity of telephone or telegraph wires. A telegraph or telephone wire may get broken and come in contact with an electric light wire, and a person passing along the street coming in contact with that wire may be killed. It does not seem to me that the precautions necessary to avoid accidents of that kind are in any way under the control or subject to the inspection of those officers. These matters are of greater importance than the duties performed by these officers at the present time-looking after meters, and, possibly testing the strength of the electric current. The minister might say whether this subject has been under consideration.

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

The question is a very important one, and I thank the hon. leader of the opposition for having brought it to my attention. I shall carefully examine the law as it stands Hon. Mr. BERNIER.

and see what can be done in the direction he has indicated.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

Would not the trouble be that if the government undertook to say when wires were properly placed in a house, if anything resulted prejudicial to the owners, the government would be responsible ?

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The MINISTER OF INLAND REVENUE.

I do not think it would be right to undertake the inspection of every house, but there might be an inspection with regard to plant and material. But at present the only duty assigned to our officers is to test these meters.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I think they go further than that sometimes, and that they ought to do so. One trouble with the electric light is that a plant for so many lights of say, sixteen candle-power is installed, and the light is not really more than eight candle-power. Who is to determine whether they are up to the standard or not ? The inspector does so when he comes around. There may be no meters in connection with the plant. In our plant there are none. The inspector goes to a store where the consumer has refused to accept the statement of the parties supplying the light, claiming that it is not up to the standard and decides that matter. But the trouble is that the inspectors are not always available. They ought to go round every year and be available at any time, for the light may be up to the standard to-night and very defective to-morrow night-it depends on how the dynamo is run and how many volts go through. That cannot be determined by the user of the light and he must depend on somebody else.

Adulteration of food-to pay Mr. J. M. Ferguson. barrister of Montreal, for professional services in connection with the preparation and drafting of amended Act 61 Vic. chapter 24. $100.

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June 24, 1903