Colin William George Gibson (Secretary of State of Canada)
Hon. COLIN GIBSON (Secretary of State):
On February 10 the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) asked that either His Honour the Speaker or I look into the recent circular issued by the king's printer with reference to reprints from Hansard.
The hon. member referred to the second report of the joint committee on printing to be found at page 887 of Journals, dated July 14, 1947, and objected that, as concurrence in the report had not been moved, it was a breach of the rights and privileges of hon. members that the recommendations contained in the report should have been put into effect.
Since that time I have received a letter from the hon. member respecting Hansard reprints, emphasizing that he is quite prepared to accept changes in the regulations that are made and approved by the House of Commons and requesting that the previous regulations be continued until such time as any changes are approved by the House of Commons.
I should like to point out that while the joint committee on printing has authority to decide what papers and reports shall be printed, all matters concerning the contents and distribution of Hansard come under the jurisdiction of the committee on debates. Parliament has left it to the king's printer, under the provisions of the Printing and Stationery Act, to set such charges as he deems necessary to meet the cost of printing members' orders for reprints of speeches contained in Hansard.
Recently there has grown up a practice for which there has been no authorization or regulation. Some members of various parties have ordered the printing of pamphlets purporting to be reprints of speeches as contained in Hansard, but which have been considerably altered, through deletions or amendments, from the original text. In many cases subheadings have been inserted, passages have been underlined and in some cases the cover has been adorned with the portrait of the member making the speech. The printing of pamphlets containing such additions does not come within the scope of the duties of the king's printer.
Inquiries of the Ministry
As hon. members may well understand, a reprint from Hansard does not involve much expenditure of time or money; but the printing of speeches which have been distorted from the original text involves the resetting of type, with consequent loss of time and additional expense, at a time when the staff of the printing bureau is working at high pressure to produce not only Hansard but reports of various committees.
Under the circumstances I instructed the king's printer to accept orders for copies of speeches as contained in Hansard only, and to charge therefor the actual cost of printing.