The best would be pretty bad. The people who go into the ridings sell these photographs, size 8 x 10, for thirty-five cents. The paper, the developing, the flashlight bulbs and the use of other necessary materials are worth at least that much, to say nothing of travelling and hotel expenses. And those men staying in hotels for four days would spend at least $20 a day each in that time. On top of that they have their salaries and travelling expenses. Even if they sold a hundred of these pictures at thirty-five cents each it would not pay for the time they spend in the villages, towns and cities. But the money aspect of it is not as important as the fact that in doing this work they are robbing the commercial photographer of his right to make pictures. Surely that is unfair. It is the worst kind of unfairness so far as the photographers of Canada are concerned.
I have no brief for the photographers and have received no instructions from them. But they are all honest men and women. They are paying their taxes, including income taxes, in their respective municipalities. They are paying wages to their employees. They support their churches and belong to service clubs, which involves the payment of certain sums of money. On top of all this they should not be subjected to competition from the government of the kind I have described. The film board was never set up for that purpose. The sooner the Minister of National Revenue or some other cabinet minister steps in and says: Out you go; wait until we clean house, the better it will be for this country. It as the worst kind of competition these people could have.
The Address-Mr. Fraser
I hold in my hand a return made last year with respect to the film board which shows that in that year they made 170,000 stills. Of that number 79,282 were of the size 8 x 10, and were sold at thirty-five cents each. If anyone in Canada will tell me that the making and sale by the government of 79,282 stills out of a total of 170,000 does not mean unfair competition, I say that he should have his head examined.
We are told that passport pictures were made by the film board. These might have been for government officials, and if so I would have no great objection, although in the past commercial photographers have done the job satisfactorily. Why not let them do it now? It would be done a good deal cheaper than it is done by these film board people.
The film board turn out what they call official portraits. I find that 166 of them have been made. I hope that the only member of the ministry who now happens to be in the house has not had his portrait taken by the board, because they charge only $5 each. A reasonably satisfactory portrait by a commercial photographer would cost a good deal more than that. This is just one further instance of robbing the private photographer. We find that these stills cost $93,270, and we will recall that there was only about $200,000 left of the total budget. If we take the $93,270 away we can imagine what is left for the development of motion pictures for educational purposes for the young, the old, and those who think they are young. I like good motion pictures.
If the national film board has nothing to hide it should be prepared to submit to a full investigation, to have its accounts and its activities checked, to have a check made of its usefulness and of its business methods, and to have inefficient employees weeded out.
In the return I received last year the qualifications required were set out. All kinds of qualifications under the sun were given, ranging from salesmen down to a practical chiropractor.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY