James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)
' Mr. M. N. CAMPBELL (Mackenzie) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 8 to amend The Canada Grain Act (Warehouse receipts).
The purpose of the bill is to restore to the farmer the right which he enjoyed under the old Canada Grain Act of determining the destination of his grain when it was shipped through a local elevator. The bill which was put through this House at the last session and which was given its first reading on May 11, 1925, retained, in its original form, that right to the farmer, but an amendment was afterwards carried abrogating it. Under the law as it stands therefore the farmer has no say in the destination of his grain when it passes through any local elevator and, as I say, the object of this bill is to restore that right to him.
Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.
Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 9 to amend the Criminal Code. He said: This is a bill to strike out subparagraph 4 of paragraph (a) of section 1140 of the Criminal Code. The sub-paragraph which it is desired to strike out limits to three years the time within which action may be commenced forany offence relating to or arising out of the location of land which was paid for in whole or in part by scrip or was granted upon certificates issued to half-breeds in connection with the extinguishment of Indian title. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.
On the Orders of the Day:
Sir HENRY DRAYTON (West York):
Can the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) tell us how soon we may expect the Auditor General's report? We have now been sitting three weeks and the report is overdue. I would also ask him whether what one hears is correct, namely, that the report is completed with the exception of the introductory chapter. I may tell the minister that so far as the House is concerned the report would be quite acceptable at the present time without that introductory chapter, which the Auditor General could submit subsequently.
Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance):
Replying to the last part of my hon. friend's question, I have no knowledge that the report is ready, except volume I, but I shall inquire.
I have from the Auditor General a memorandum under date January 28 pointing out that the delay has been due largely to work necessitated by the general election. The Auditor General says:
There are engaged on 'these accounts, in addition to temporary clerks, some forty of the permanent staff. These permanent clerks have been obliged to give a considerable portion of the day's work to the audit and payment of election accounts, resulting in a diversion from their regular work and in a delay in the preparation of the report.
I fancy there is something in that. I know that I have had complaints, as I suppose every hon. member has had, in regard to delays in making of payment to officers employed in the election. The Auditor General concludes his memorandum thus:
I am making every effort to complete the report this week. The greater portion of it is now in print ready for binding.
I was a bit curious to find out how far the Auditor General was in default and I had a record made of the dates on which the Auditor General's report has been submitted to parliament from the year 1907 on. I notice that in 1907 Mr. Fielding, in presenting volume III, said that there were two other volumes which he hoped to bring down very soon but as that volume was ready he would present it at the earliest possible moment. The House met in that year on November 28 and the first volume was presented on December 2. In 1911 the House met on November 16 and the report was tabled on January 10, 1912. In 1912 the House met on November 21 and the report was tabled on January 14, 1913. In the next year the House met on January 15, 1914, and the report was tabled on January 19 and January 28. In 1916 the House met on January 13 and the report was tabled1 on February 7, February 10 and February 14. In 1917 the House met on January 19 and the report was tabled on April 19. In 1919 the House met on February 20 and the last volume of the report was tabled on April 22. The different volumes were tabled respectively in that year on March 10, March 26, March 28 and April 22. In 1920 the House met on February 26 and the last volume of the report was tabled on May 14. In 1921 the House met on February 14 and the last volume was tabled on April 4. My hon. friend! was then in office and I appreciate why he is crowding me. In 1922 the House met on March 9 and the report was tabled on March 13. In 1923 the House met on January 31
and the report was tabled on February 1. In 1924 the House met on February 28 and the report was tabled on March 3, and in 1925 the House met on February 5 and the report was tabled on February 16.
Sir HENRY DRAYTON:
My hon. friend will no doubt recognize, Mr. Speaker, that during some of the years he refers to returns had to come in from overseas.
I appreciate that.
Sir HENRY DRAYTON:
That ran along for some time after the war. I should be sorry indeed to see the last reform set by his illustrious predecessor disregarded. The right Hon. Mr. Fielding was very, very strong upon the point that the report ought to be tabled immediately the House assembled.
Mr. Speaker, I shall telephone the Auditor General and find out the reason for the delay.
On the Orders of the Day:
Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the hon. Minister of Customs and Excise (Mr. Boivin) if he will have laid on the table all orders in council issued during the past two years for the release of alcohol from distilleries within a shorter period of time than that set forth in the Inland Revenue Act. I understand that such orders in council are not laid on the table under the rules of the House, but if the minister will be good enough to accede to my request I shall appreciate his courtesy.
Hon. GEORGE H. BOIVIN (Minister of Customs and Excise): I shall have copies of the orders in council referred to prepared and laid on the table just as soon as it is possible to do so, Mr. Speaker.
LOCARNO TREATY On the Orders of the Day:
Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):
Mr. Speaker, is the leader of the government-I mean the acting leader -prepared yet to divulge to the House whether the government intends to recommend to parliament our adhesion to the Locarno treaty?
Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Leader of the House):
My hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) the other day asked that the correspondence relating to the Locarno treaty should be laid on the table of the House. As I promised at the time, we communicated with . ' . >
the British government for the purpose of obtaining leave to do so. We have had a telegram from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs saying that as soon as he has ascertained the views of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs he will communicate further with us. I suppose it is better for us to wait until this little formality is completed before I give my right hon. friend our views on the treaty.
I cannot see what relation that has to the decision of the government whether ihey will recommend adhesion or not. The minister stated when the matter was up before that the government had decided. Why should not parliament know what the decision i-S?