April 13, 1933

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I do not think there is

any difficulty in understanding that. This board is not a court in the sense that the Supreme Court of Canada is; it is rather a court of equity than a court of law.

Topic:   TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Ninety per oent of its

dealings is with farmers. A substantial portion of its time is taken up with elevator companies and grain dealers. Where there is a conflict, it has usually been between an individual shipper or farmer and an elevator company or broker or someone of that character. The board will sit to hear those complaints.

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LIB

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

Will the minister pardon me for a moment? He knows many of the complaints are not against elevator companies; they are against weighmasters, or officers of the board.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Yes, but I am simply

indicating the general class, shall I say, of disputes that may arise. They may be with weighmasters.

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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

But generally speaking,

the dispute is between the individual shipper and the elevator company or grain concern. Last year, for instance, I find in a memorandum just handed me, that 127 complaints were heard by the board. In forty-two cases no grounds for complaint were found. The complaints were made; they were gone over carefully and dismissed as being without ground. Fourteen cases were withdrawn; thirty-nine settlements were arrived at, and thirteen were found to be outside the jurisdiction of the .board owing to questions of law or matters that had to go to the courts of the land. In five cases the board ordered

a stated settlement. In one case there was a prosecution of the defendant. Thirteen cases are not yet disposed of.

This legal adviser that I mention is certainly of value to the farmer who appears before the board. The board is a moving body which, for the convenience of the farmers, the grain growers of the district, holds hearings in different parts of the country. The legal adviser would give assistance to the farmer who was making a complaint, thus saving him the expense of retaining a lawyer. I do not think we should make this board's hearings of a character that would force a man to have a lawyer appear before it. I remember very well, when the Board of Railway Commissioners was first organized, the late Justice Mabee would scarcely hear a lawyer before the board on the ground that complainants would be private citizens and it was not fair to put them up against skilled lawyers representing railway companies. In a measure the grain commission is of that character. It is desired to have these things as informal as possible and to deal with them on the grounds of equity. But it is desirable and certainly useful to those who present their claims that they should have the assistance of someone thoroughly familiar with the act so that they may put their claims forward in the best possible form. That is one of the services this lawyer renders. I do not wish to reiterate this to the point of being tedious, but as I said before, in the board's business many matters arise of a small or petty legal character, such as questions of licensing elevator companies and so forth.

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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

But in the aggregate my hon. friend must understand they would cost a great deal more if fees were paid to outside lawyers. Owing to the growing business of the board it was thought desirable to retain this lawyer.

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CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

The explanation of the minister is not very satisfactory. Instead of asking whether a solicitor had been appointed for the Board of Grain Commissioners, it seems that I should have asked the question: Has a legal representative for the farmers been appointed to represent them before the-grain commission? Then the answer might have been yes. Whether he is to be temporary or not I do not know; the answer is not very satisfactory.

Supply-Trade-Grain Act

We are told that many small eases arise in regard to licences where the advice of the solicitor is required. I am not altogether unfamiliar with the man who has been appointed, and I venture to say that Mr. E. B. Ramsay, the man whom we appointed as head of the Board of Grain Commissioners, is just as competent to settle these questions as is E. L. Taylor.

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LIB
CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

I shall tell my hon. friend more about that before we are through. When Mr. E. B. Ramsay was appointed chairman of the grain commission, he had the full confidence of every farmer in Manitoba. He was recognized as thoroughly competent to discharge the duties of his office. When we revised the Grain Act in 1930 he was present at almost all the sittings of the committee of agriculture, and most of the provisions of the clauses of the grain act were made with the sanction of Mr. Ramsay himself. He is quite familiar with every section and subsection of that act; no lawyer can be better qualified to administer the act than he is. It is unnecessary to appoint any man to instruct him as to the provisions of the grain act. So much for that question. This lawyer's duties as outlined by the Minister of Trade and Commerce are so ridiculous that I think the minister should give us some better explanation for the appointment of Mr. E. L. Taylor, who is well known in Manitoba.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Who is he?

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CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

Well, he was a Conservative candidate in the constituency of Mountain in two elections and he was defeated. I am not sure whether he was ever elected to the Manitoba legislature, but his name figured very largely in the election scandal in the constituency of Gimli. That is the man who has been appointed.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It is always very easy for one with prejudice to besmirch the character of someone who, of course, is not able to defend himself. I shall say, without fear of contradiction by any self-respecting citizen of this country, that Mr. Taylor is a respected barrister and citizen of the city of Winnipeg and holds the confidence of a very large proportion of his fellow citizens. I am not questioning the fact that he was a Conservative. After all, is it a sin or crime that a man should espouse the Conservative cause?

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CON
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It may be so considered, but I suggest to the hon. member for Lisgar that it is neither courageous nor fair to besmirch by innuendos the name of a man who has no opportunity to defend himself. I have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Taylor is a respected citizen in his own community.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

What attitude did the

minister take in the customs inquiry? Did he not cast a blemish on anyone's character then?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I will tell my hon. friend what attitude I took. We looked with great care into various matters pertaining to the administration of the Customs department- this is more or less out of order, Mr. Chairman-but from one end of the five months to the other I never put my finger upon nor uttered one syllable against the personal character or reputation of an individual-not one.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

What about the speeches the minister made in this house, casting insinuations against several members sitting opposite him? He cannot deny that because it is on Hansard.

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April 13, 1933