April 13, 1933

CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

I think that information is very important. The other day I asked the minister to table the report of the Board of Grain Commissioners for the year ended July, 1931. At that time I had in my hand the reports for the previous years and in looking over the particulars I could not find a single item which could be identified as an expenditure for legal services. Evidently the expenditures were so small that it was not considered necessary to concentrate them in a separate item. In view of this, it is hard to understand why a solicitor should now be appointed at a salary of $5,000.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I have a list of the detailed general expenses which include legal fees. The estimate for the current year is $3,000. I have not the particulars for the past year but I should imagine they would be about the same amount.

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CON
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

About a year or a year and a half ago.

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CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

Why does his salary not appear in the statement of expenditures for the crop year ended July, 1932?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I speak subject to correction, but I assume that it would be included in the salaries item.

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CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

It does not appear in the expenditures for the 1931 crop year. I have looked over the reports for the two years and I cannot find anything which could be identified as an expenditure for legal services.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

My curiosity has been somewhat aroused by this new appointment. This is the age of economy, of coordination, of the avoiding of overlapping and other hackneyed matters, and yet this appointment is made. We have entered into a period of extreme quietude so far as the administration of the grain act is concerned. There has been no trouble in connection with grading and the quality of grain has been high. Everything has been running as smooth as

Supply-Trade-Grain Act

silk and yet we find the minister appointing a legal adviser to the Board of Grain Commissioners. The salary to be paid is $5,000. a rather snug little sum these days and more than most- of us in this chamber are receiving. As I understand it, prior to this appointment the annual cost for legal services was only about $500. We are just entering the Easter season and I shall try to keep my language moderate. The ministry has chosen a very convenient and quiet time to discuss these matters; we are all necessarily more or less under the discipline of the hour but we want the information just the same.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend can get any information he wants.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

What was the idea of departing from the fee system, whatever it cost? My understanding is that the cost was less than $1,000 per year, and yet a permanent official is being appointed at a salary of S5,000 at a time when there is the minimum requirement for legal counsel.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

As my hon. friend recalls,

the act was amended in 1930. Without doubt there was a general desire upon the part of everyone in western Canada, as well as those having to do with the administration of the act, to see that it was as effective as possible. As I have stated already, the act provides for the appointment of resident assistant commissioners. The appointment of this legal adviser to the commission generally enables the commission to give the resident assistant commissioners the full value of his advice on legal matters. Appeals are constantly being made by farmers to the board in connection with elevator companies and others and frequently the elevator company or the other business concerned has legal advice while the farmer has none. Mr. Taylor takes charge of all such cases and puts them forward in the proper and legal form. In other words, he is the general legal adviser to the board, to the assistant commissioners and to the complainants of the character I have mentioned. I think he is rendering a very valuable and useful service to all concerned.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Is the salary of

this official being charged to the administration of the act which has to be paid by the farmer? If it is, then all I can say is that it is just another case of the government policy of loading everything on to the farmer. I may be wrong in this surmise, but the minister has not. indicated the amount of the fees paid before this counsel was employed.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

As I stated to the hon.

member for Lisgar, I am very sorry that I 53719-252

have not before me the information for the preceding five years.

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Surely the minister

would not employ a permanent official without knowing what it was costing under the other system. Surely he is not going to admit that he does not know that much about this branch of his department. It looks like another extravagance practised by this government at a time when it is preaching economies from the housetops. We want some more explanation about this item.

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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

This official is appointed at a salary of $5,000 and yet when any important matter comes up it is handed over to another firm of lawyers. For fifteen or twenty years we managed to get along without employing any firm of lawyers.

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CON
CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

They were not employed unless they were needed from time to time. When the grain act was amended two or three years ago we appointed not only three grain commissioners but three or four assistants. Now it seems that we must have a lawyer and an assistant to the lawyer. All these officials are required to help the grain commissioners arrive at a decision because they are the ones who decide what is to be done.

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LIB

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

I must confess 'that I

was amazed ait the last remarks of the minister in connection with his counsel. As hon. members will recall, in 1930, there was a very thorough investigation of the Canada Grain Act. As the minister pointed out, aissistant commissioners were provided to provide a little closer contact with the farmers in each district. After all, the Canada Grain Act has a board appointed for one purpose only, namely, the administration of the act; that is the duty of the board. The new board which was appointed met, I think, with general approval of the grain growers and elevator companies in western Canada, and we all feel it should be able to administer the act. If this new solicitor at $5,000 a year is appointed to advise the board, which is after all the oourt of appeal in oases of dispute, and if the appointment is made because the board hardly feels competent to interpret the act which this parliament passed, well and good. But the minister makes .the amazing statement that one of the duties of this lawyer is to act on behalf of the appellants.

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How can he be counsel for the board and at the same time be counsel for the appellant? As I understand the matter, the board is the court that must make a decision in a case of appeal against the action of an elevator company or some other organization or individual. The elevator company, of course, will have a solicitor to present its case before the Board of Grain Commissioners, and naturally the appellant, whoever he is, would have his own lawyers. But how a solicitor before the board can undertake the duty of advising the board and at the same time of advising the appellant, I cannot understand. Perhaps the minister will explain.

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April 13, 1933