November 27, 1940


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. P. E. WRIGHT (Melfort):

I wish to ask a question of the Minister of Agriculture. Has an order in council been passed yet declaring 1940 an emergency year, and if so will it be tabled before the house adjourns?

Topic:   ORDER IN COUNCIL DECLARING 1940 AN EMERGENCY YEAR
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

Yes, the order in council has been passed. I will see that it is tabled.

Topic:   ORDER IN COUNCIL DECLARING 1940 AN EMERGENCY YEAR
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CEREALS IMPORT COMMITTEE

QUESTION AS TO PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

May I ask the Minister of Trade and Commerce who is acting in Canada for the British cereals import committee at the present time?

Topic:   CEREALS IMPORT COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Answering offhand

I would say that the British cereals import committee, acting in connection with wheat purchases, is in touch with the wheat board.

Topic:   CEREALS IMPORT COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is

not the point. Who is representing them?

Topic:   CEREALS IMPORT COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

There is nobody that I know except the wheat board.

Topic:   CEREALS IMPORT COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Tuesday, November 26, consideration of the motion of Mr. Brooke Claxton for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Blackmore.


NAT

William Kemble Esling

National Government

Mr. W. K. ESLING (Kootenay West):

This unusually long debate prompts a reference to the comment of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) regarding the rules of the house, with particular bearing on the time limitation on speeches of private members. If it is proposed to have a committee appointed to discuss changes in the rules it is to be hoped that the time limit will not be abolished, because in the years since the rules were last amended, in 1927, there have been but few occasions when a private member could not touch the highlights in the debate on the address or in the debate on the budget within the limit of forty minutes. If we were all gifted with the ability to speak as rapidly as, for example, the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie), when he is in high gear, we could get through our speeches in much less time.

As to the reading of speeches, I know it is unpleasant for you, Mr. Speaker, to have to call the attention of a private member to the fact that he is transgressing the rules, but perhaps if the rules are to be amended it might be made optional whether a private member reads or speaks from notes. It is not always easy for an inexperienced member to speak offhand. He is able to make a more impressive speech, and perhaps a more aggressive speech, if he reads it. Then too a private member is somewhat at a disadvantage in comparison with a minister, because a minister has his publicity staff to prepare his notes, put them in sequence and so on, and he has his private secretary. A private secretary is of real value if he can write a speech for a minister to fit any occasion and also be responsible for his minister's political if not his spiritual welfare.

This session was called for the purpose of permitting the ministers to give to parliament and to the country at large a review of the war activities of each department of the government. It must be admitted that there has been given very little that had not already been broadcast or published through the bureau of information or through the various other publicity agencies. I should

The Address-Mr. Esling

like hon. members to ask themselves, have the ministers given to this house any new information in connection with the war beyond the fact that commissioned officers must come up from the ranks and that there is a possibility of extending the term of training under the National Resources Mobilization Act from one month to four months?

There have been criticisms and there have been comments and suggestions and complaints from private members, and perhaps the government may be disposed to take action, particularly in connection with suggestions which are not given in a critical spirit. Take for example the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Gardiner); in connection with the calling of men to the training camps he might be disposed to let it be known that Canadians who are attending universities in the United States, sometimes by reason of the fact that they desire special courses at a university or are taking advantage of scholarships, may be permitted to take their training course after their studies are completed. Word went out to all of them, and the parents were caused considerable trouble because those students were told to report for medical examination. It interferes with their studies, and more than that they are under a heavy expense if they have to come home. Further, the local banks vouched for these boys, and they had to secure from the foreign exchange board permits to cover their tuition. When we refer to a matter, part of which is connected with statutory legislation and the other part with regulations, we realize of course that the statutory legislation must be complied with.

But may I cite the case of a young man who gave up a service station and enlisted in the 111th battery. That battery was transferred to Edmonton. No sooner had it reached there than he was sent to hospital, where he remained for one month. After hospitalization he was discharged from the army and was given a warrant for his transportation to the place of recruiting, namely, Nelson, British Columbia, a distance of 600 miles. The whole journey would require about 30 hours. Despite the month he spent in hospital at Edmonton, no sooner did he reach his destination at the point of recruiting than he was again taken to hospital for another month. After discharge from that hospital he went to his home and was again taken to hospital for a period of four months.

The point I make is that this man, whose condition was such that he had to be hospitalized for six months, was given a warrant for his fare, but no provision was made for a berth or meals. That man had to sit up for

[Mr. Esling.l

almost thirty hours. If one travels on the trains to-day he will meet many commissioned officers. Possibly they pay part of their expenses out of their own pockets, but we do know that they have comfortable accommodation. We know they take their meals regularly. While a commissioned officer may be of greater importance from the standpoint of the military code, the fact remains that a buck private is just as human and should at least have some consideration.

That boy has asked reimbursement for his hospitalization, and lie is told that there is no provision for such reimbursement. I refer to this case particularly because I know similar instances will undoubtedly develop. I suggest that when a man is in such poor physical condition it is not unreasonable to provide him with at least a berth and meals. Let me ask any member of the government or any hon. member if he would permit or expect his son to make such a trip without such provision.

May I now speak briefly about taxes. At the last session the Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley) brought down the heaviest taxation budget in the history of Canada. The people accepted it with good grace, and they are expecting even heavier taxes in the next budget. They will accept them with good grace

they will always accept taxation with good grace, so long as there is no evidence of profiteering, patronage or a lack of business ability in the operation of the various departments. I suggest however that the minister-ought to give serious consideration to taxation by the provinces. Relations between this government and the legislatures in the provinces are such that, regardless of the report of the commission on dominion-provincial relations, it should be in a position to persuade the provinces to curtail their expenditures. To-day in British Columbia, on the-eve of an election, they are bringing down the heaviest budget in the history of the province, in the face of the greatest revenue the province has received. Is that any evidence of cooperation with this government? Not the least.

Many times in the house we hear the statement that the government should conscript wealth. Of course it should. The budget shows that the Minister of Finance has not overlooked that fact. I took the trouble to obtain figures from the financial authorities of the three western provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. When we consider the taxes in the higher brackets of the federal and provincial governments, what do we find? We find that in British Columbia the combined provincial and federal taxes of a man with a taxable income of half &

The Address-Mr. Esling

million dollars-and there must be such men, because the government makes explicit provision for them-left that man only $4,000. In Alberta the combined taxes amount to $3,000 more than his half million income, the result being that he owes somebody $3,000. Coming to Saskatchewan we find a little more leniency; the man in question would be left $14,000. But it must be remembered that he has still to pay his defence tax. Then, in addition, such people must have their city residences, and must pay municipal taxes. They must pay for the upkeep of their homes, and we look to such people for generous contributions to patriotic and war service funds, and for the purchase of war bonds.

There is only one thing to be done: The minister must use his persuasive powers on the provinces to cut down their expenditures during the war. What may happen? It could easily happen that a man in this high bracket -and those in lower brackets are bearing the heavy burden proportionately-would say, "Well, if I have to pay out my income in taxation I might as well sell my securities, and I would not then have to pay any tax." Such a thing could happen, and when it does the government will have to take emphatic steps in some direction.

I should like to return to the observations of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) respecting the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, which are to be placed under the Pacific command. It is a matter of regret that the headquarters are not to be established on the mainland instead of on the island. The location indicated involves additional expense, and the delay which will be caused by the necessity of travelling ninety miles by water each way. The distance to travel would be greater than that required were the headquarters in Vancouver, for instance. The people in southeastern British Columbia feel that perhaps their distance from headquarters has been responsible for the districts of Kootenay West and Kootenay East being overlooked. Evidently this prompted the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. MacKinnon) to make emphatic representations to the minister and to the departmental officials in connection with the apparent lack of interest in that portion of the province.

These two districts cover considerable territory, because they stretch to the Alberta boundary. We feel that had headquarters been located in Calgary rather than on the island, the attention to the needs of the section would perhaps have been more generous. As the hon. member for Kootenay East showed to the minister and his officials,

during the last war these districts gave to the dominion the 54th battalion and the 225th battalion, while in this war four batteries have been raised and all removed to points quite distant for training. This district has also given a number of husky stalwart loggers for the forestry battalion but we have not a single unit in the district. The people have given of the best of their manhood and they feel that the district is neglected.

There are a number of voluntary defence corps throughout the district which have been sponsored by branches of the legion. These units are made up of from 200 to 250 men and are located in Trail, Nelson and Rossland. The men turn out two hours a night for three and four nights a week and are under the direction of officers who served in the last war. They are forced to use wooden guns which are baited with a bit of lead, but they go through with their drills nevertheless. They are the finest specimens of young manhood that could be found anywhere. Many of them are keen to get into a permanent unit, but when they write down here they are simply told that there is no provision for such a unit because no equipment is available. They do not ask for equipment; they are perfectly willing to continue just as they are. But they do want a little recognition from this government. They do not ask for uniforms, they do not ask for rifles, but they are not satisfied when there is no one to whom they can report. They are getting no credit for their efforts and they see no future in what they do. I am going to appeal to the minister from British Columbia (Mr. Mackenzie), the gentleman who represents that province in the cabinet. He is supposed to place his stamp of approval or disapproval upon anything relating to the province, so I make a personal appeal to him to use -his good offices with the different departments to see if something cannot be done toward establishing a permanent infantry unit in Kootenay East and Kootenay West.

I come now to the Minister of Finance. He is the motive power behind this war effort. Without his energy, without his ingenuity in raising funds, the rest of the departments would not be able to function. Just in passing I would refer to the importunities which he and the rest of the government -have made over the radio to the children of this dominion to save their pennies for the purchase of war stamps and war certificates. Our country must have been deeply impressed last evening when it was announSed over the radio that the government-I suppose we might say that this is a contribution to the war effort-was going to do away with the printing of Christmas cards for the ministers. Is not that a

The Address-Mr. Esling

magnificent gesture? I find that there are six ministers who have been in the habit of having their Christmas -cards printed at the printing bureau at the expense of the country.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

They are not all Scottish either.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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NAT

William Kemble Esling

National Government

Mr. ESLING:

We have heard pleas for economy, we have 'heard requests that everyone should get behind our national war effort, but I intend .to run the danger of being considered a nuisance by attempting to show the minister and the government how they are permitting legalized pillaging of the people of the Dominion of Canada, and how the government itself is contributing money as well as legal sanction toward this end. I intend to appeal first to the Secretary of State (Mr. Casgrain), then to the Prime Minister (Mr.* Mackenzie King), and then to the Minister of Finance, because each of them has had a word to say in this matter. I am going to refer once more to the Canadian Performing Right Society. Hon. members may laugh if they want to, but I intend to give the ministers certain facts which are of interest to the taxpayers of Canada.

What is the Canadian Performing Right Society? It is a subsidiary of the picture producers and another similar society in the United States. Previously it was connected with various associations on the continent of Europe, but most of those have passed into history. This society has nothing to do with literary copyright; it deals only with musical copyright. The author or composer of a piece of music should receive every dollar to which he is entitled, but this society should be treated the same as any individual. An individual who composes a piece of music must pay $3 for a copyright. In this case the society is on a par with the individual, because it must pay the same fee. However, when an individual registers an assignment of a copyright, he pays $1 whereas this society pays nothing.

When the society started in business in Canada it was necessary to have certain assets, and the parent society in the United States assigned to the Canadian society 2,500,000 pieces of music. No one in this government or in any other government knew whether the United States society was the owner of that music. I am not saying that the blame should be placed on this side or the other side; I simply say that there is inequality of treatment in connection with -this tremendous number of assignments. *The government was given to understand that this action was necessary in order to protect the Canadian composers of music, and an arrangement was made whereby the society was permitted simply to

fill out a card stating that this or that was their piece of music and file it with the commissioner of copyrights. There is no indication whatsoever of ownership, and I say that the Canadian Performing Right Society should be made to show, before it is permitted to collect one dollar of licence fees, that it owns the music for which it collects its royalty. There is nothing unreasonable about that.

Then take the matter of our contributions. The broadcasting stations pay to this society about $100,000 per year. Those contributions are made in the aggregate by all broadcasting stations. We have to thank the late Secretary of State for the appointment of an appeal board. Were it not for that board, which keeps these people within limits, dear knows what the public would be paying to-day. Last year they attempted to collect from the broadcasting stations $188,000, but the appeal board limited them to $98,000. This year they are trying to collect $210,000, and we have to wait for the appeal board to review the matter.

Also, these tariffs of fees are printed at government expense in the Canada Gazette. If you want to read something thrilling, read that tariff published by the Canadian Performing Right Society. Why should the taxpayers pay for the publication of their tariffs of fees which are intended to be charged and are allowed by the appeal board, any more than the government should print free of charge in the Canada Gazette telephone or telegraph or any other tolls?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

It is just a racket.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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NAT

William Kemble Esling

National Government

Mr. ESLING:

It is a legalized racket. The time has come when the government should take a hand in the matter. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation do not seem to worry about it. They have paid to this society $136,000 in the last five years. I suppose that this coming year they will pay them in the neighbourhood of $41,000. But we come back with the statement, "Well, we are obligated; we are signatories of the Berne convention." Does anyone in this house suppose that European countries, all of which are signatories to the Berne convention, are going to send any money to authors or composers in England or in Canada? As a matter of fact there are no Canadian members of this society.

I know that this is a dry subject, but I wish the government would appoint two or three men to go into it and show how the people of Canada are being imposed upon, how the public exchequer is being drawn upon, and how the people are victimized in the collection of these fees under threat of legal proceedings. It is time something was

The Address-Mr. Esling

done. I say, pay them every cent which belongs to them, in respect to music to which they can prove ownership, and beyond that let us call a halt. Let us withdraw from the Berne convention, at least until the world gets on an even keel: we can then start anew and find out if there is any merit in the Canadian Performing Right Society; if so, the government will countenance the authority which it enjoys, under a dominion charter, to collect these fees.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Is it not a fact that many of the writers of poems and songs for which fees are collected have been dead for generations?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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NAT

William Kemble Esling

National Government

Mr. ESLING:

That is the very reason, Mr. Speaker, I say that this society should be required to stand on the same footing as an individual. What has it done? Go back for ten years. Does this indicate any sign of a legitimate operation, that in ten years it has actually paid for the registration of eight copyrights with the commission, and it has paid one dollar each for the registration of twenty-eight assignments? Those are its only evidences of ownership. As I say, it merelj' files a card, but no evidence of ownership, and it puts on the bottom, " Canadian Performing Right Society." I contend that they should pay for every piece of music for which they propose to collect from now on and for which they have collected in the past.

The Prime Minister, in referring to the rules of the house, also commented on the opposition. He suggested that conditions might arise whereby there would be more groups on this side of the house than there are at present, and that the leader of each of these groups would claim precedence in the conduct of the proceedings. It is inequality in the administration of justice and general discontent which are responsible for groups on the opposition side.

I have just referred to one matter of inequality, and I am now coming to another, the matter of the Doukhobors. You cannot carry on a democratic government with one law for one section of the people and another law for others. You must have uniformity. First of all let me say that the Doukhobors who live in Saskatchewan are quite different from those who live in British Columbia. Those in Saskatchewan are largely concerned with the cultivation of the soil. They take their part in public life. They belong to municipal councils, and they aspire to various public offices. The Doukhobors in British Columbia are a people totally apart from Canadians. They take no part in anything, they do not obey the laws, they have been a source of more trouble to this dominion

than any other nationality within its borders. They have committed incendiarism, they have bombed buildings and made all sorts of trouble, and the truth is that neither this government nor the provincial government is capable of coping with them. This government is afraid. The provincial government is afraid. Why? They are afraid of the consequences; they fear an uprising.

At the time of the national registration, through the ingenuity and initiative of the registrar, the majority of these Doukhobors were registered. But they were given to understand that they would not have to participate in warfare. ,

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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November 27, 1940