HC Deb 07 June 1905 vol 147 cc946-7

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has observed that the hon. Sydney Fisher, Minister of Agriculture in the Dominion Cabinet, has declared that the continuance by Great Britain of an embargo on Canadian cattle could only be described in his opinion as an unfriendly act; and also that there is much irritation on the part of Canadian agriculturists respecting the matter; and whether, in view of the protest recently communicated by the High Commissioner of Canada, he will advise the Imperial Government to make such concessions as will allay the existing irritation and conduce to a better understanding with the Canadian Government on this question.


I have seen such a statement as the hon. Member refers to attributed to the Canadian Minister of Agriculture, but I am not aware that the report is accurate. This question has attracted, for some years past, considerable attention in Canada, and although no such protest as the hon. Member mentions has reached me through the High Commissioner, the subject is one which has been separately considered by no less than five succesive Presidents of the Board of Agriculture as well as by my predecessors and myself, with the most earnest desire to meet the wishes of those interested in the matter in Canada. My right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture feels it impossible to depart from a policy deliberately arrived at and to incur the risk which undoubtedly attaches to the importation of live cattle from a country which, though it may be at a given moment free from cattle disease itself, has an open frontier of over 4,000 miles in extent. I have no doubt that the Canadian Government and public fully appreciate the gravity of the risks involved, and the facilities given for the importation of fat cattle, subject to slaughter on arrival, appear to me to be calculated to reduce to the utmost any hardship which the necessary restrictions on importation impose on the industry.


Has there been any disease in Canada since this Bill passed into law?

[No Answer was returned.]