ask the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Cardin) when I may expect an answer to an order for a return which was placed on the order paper on May 5th? On Saturday, May 24th, I called the attention of the minister to the fact that an answer had not yet been given.
I would ask the Acting Minister of Immigration (Mr Stewart, Edmonton) to make a statement in regard to the fact that it is rumoured that Chinese are being employed in the coal carrying vessels running between Montreal and Sydney.
Subtopic: CHINESE EMPLOYED ON BESCO SHIPS
information regarding a legal action brought by the department against the brokerage firm of Miller, Court and Company of the city of Vancouver. Action was brought by the department on account of a denial by the firm in question of the constitutionality of the law under which they were taxed in connection with transfer taxes. The action was tried before the senior magistrate and judgment was given in favour of the department, and a fine of $100 imposed. No mention was made of costs. An appeal was entered, and it was tried before the supreme court of British Columbia, and on that appeal the finding of the magistrate was sustained. Again no mention was made of costs.
Mr. Speaker, I move in amendment that section 9 of the said act be repealed. I may say that this section relates to contributions for political purposes, and is as follows:
No unincorported company or association and no incorporated company or association other than one incorporated for political purposes alone shall, directly or indirectly, contribute, loan, advance, pay, or promise or offer to pay any money or its equivalent to, or for, or in aid of, any candidate at an election, or to or for, or in aid of, any political party, committee or association, or to or for, or in aid of, any company incorporated for political purposes, or to, or for, or in furtherance of, any political purpose whatever, or for the indemnification or reimbursement of any person for moneys so used.
Dominion Elections Act
Subsection 2 of that section deals with the officers liable to punishment for violation of the above subsection. Last year the committee dealing with this matter made the recommendation that this section be repealed. Section 4 of the report brought in on Wednesday, June 5, 1929, according to the votes and proceedings, contains the recommendation that the said act be amended by repealing section 9 thereof. As I understand the matter, when the committee met this year there were some matters that were not dealt with which were in the recommendation of last year, this being one of them.
Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that for some years labour bodies all over this country have protested against this section. It is quite easy for great corporations to hide their contributions to campaign funds, and undoubtedly great corporations do contribute to campaign funds in spite of this section. However, this section works a very great hardship on the labour movement in Canada in that it effectively prevents any labour union from contributing to campaign funds. We do not believe this is fair. When the trades unions undertake to contribute to campaign funds, using their money for this purpose in a perfectly open way, it seems only right that they should be permitted to do so.
I think a great many members on both sides of the house will realize the justice of such action as I am proposing. Several years ago we had this matter before the house as an amendment, and the amendment to repeal this section received a very great deal of support in the house. I do not wish to precipitate a debate at this time, but I would hope that in view of the fact that the whole question has been considered several times by this house, and further that it was recommended last year by the committee, the house might accept my amendment to-day.
Mr. Speaker, as was said last night by the chairman of the committee, the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power), this amendment was recommended to the house last year in the fifth report of the committee. This year, in view of special circumstances, the committee agreed that the amendments which were contained in that report were not to be pressed this year, and that only the amendments which were necessary and required to meet the conditions of the coming election would be brought down. That was agreed upon, and the legislation was introduced by the government along the lines of the report unanimously brought in.
As my hon. friend has said, this amendment was recommended by the committee last year.
I have no objection to the amendment, except that perhaps the members of the committee would rather have the matter referred back, which would involve some delay.
May I just say that the Labour group in the house as such was not of sufficient strength to have its own representative on the committee. We could not make any direct representations, but this is a matter which affects us in this immediate election just as much as some other matters which were before the committee, and if the chairman of the committee has no strenuous objection it would seem to me the most direct way to let the amendment go through now without referring the matter back.