Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)
Is the house ready for the question.
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO FORBID THE FIXING OF SPECIFIC OR MINIMUM RESALE PRICES
Is the house ready for the question.
I declare the amendment lost. The question is now on the main motion. Shall the main motion carry?
Those in favour will say aye.
Mr. C. W. Hodgson (Victoria, Onl.):
Mr. Speaker, I take part in this debate with a good deal of reluctance, because I realize there has been considerable discussion on the amendment and subamendment. However, the few words I shall say will take up very little time, and I suggest hon. members should not complain because it is the first time I have spoken on the motion, the amendment or the subamendment.
May I call it six o'clock?
Listening to the debate in the last few days I have come to the conclusion that there is no necessity to rush the passage of the bill, and that its consideration should be left over to the next session of parliament. It is untimely to have all this discussion at the end of the session. I suggest further that it was not necessary to have us come back after Christmas. I say consideration of the bill could have been left over until the next session of parliament.
I oppose the bill because I believe it is a smokescreen in the faces of the consuming public. The hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Combines Investigation Act Croll) has suggested that the government has done everything possible to reduce the high cost of living, but I am suggesting that if in his opinion the hiding for ten months of the flour milling report was an effort on the part of the government to reduce the high cost of living, then he is badly misinformed.
I have received several communications from different organizations and individuals in my constituency. All these have been in opposition to the bill, while I have not received any communication favouring it. Therefore I would be remiss in my duty if I failed at this time to voice my opinion in opposition to the bill. I should not sit idly by and permit small retailers in my riding to be thrown out of business at the expense of the consuming public. Over the Christmas holidays I made it my business to call on as many people as I could and still enjoy Christmas at home. Every retailer and every little businessman is fearful of this legislation.
Apparently the crows have not all gone south, because I hear one from Renfrew North. After listening to the debate there is no doubt in my mind that the fears of the small retailer are warranted. I have seen it happen before and probably it will happen again, when many little retailers were put out of business.
It has been said, and I think it is worth repeating, that the little retailer on Main street, on the back concession line, or in the little village is worthy of a great deal of consideration in the community life of this Canada of ours. We know that when the labouring man is out of work he goes to the little retailer for credit. We know that many labouring men have credit arrangements with small retailers under which they pay every two weeks or every month. Those people depend upon that method of merchandising to supply their families with goods and services.
If you put those retailers out of business you throw that business into the hands of the chain stores and other large businesses. We all know what happens when business of any kind becomes a monopoly. Either the government do not act or they seem to have little power in dealing with it at times.
At 6.15 p.m. the house took recess.
AFTER RECESS The house resumed at eight o'clock.
Mr. Speaker, before the
house rose at 6.15 I stated that I had not received a single communication in favour
Combines Investigation Act oi this legislation. In that I made a mistake because my train was late this morning and I did not have time to go over my mail before the house sat at eleven o'clock. However, during the dinner recess I found a letter on the notepaper of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture signed by one H. H. Hannam. He does not say so definitely, but from the letter one would take it that he probably is in favour of the legislation.
Order. I ruled previously
today that letters emanating from people outside the house referring to the proceedings in the house at the present time should not be read.
I am not reading the letter,
Mr. Speaker, and I do not intend to. I have read it thoroughly, but in reference to it-
I do not wish to be too strict, but I think other members of the house agreed not to discuss the letter.
It was discussed this afternoon by a Liberal member on the other side of the house. It is the same letter that was discussed this afternoon by the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Croll), I believe.
It was referred to by him.
That is all I am going to
do. I am not going to read the letter. I am just going to refer to it.
If the hon. member for
Spadina referred to it I think he probably was out of order, but if he did so, I will allow the hon. member to refer to it briefly.
In this letter Mr. Hannam
is not speaking for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He is speaking for himself, because he does not sign it for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He merely signs it "Mr. Hannam, president and managing director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture". I said it was on their note paper. He used their paper, but it is not signed by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He signs it as managing director. He is responsible for the letter, but I do not think he is responsible for 60 per cent of the farmers of this country. He is certainly not responsible for those in my riding, and is certainly not speaking for them when he writes this letter. I think Mr. Hannam has become more or less of a political stooge. I say that because it is a funny thing that this circular letter, which every member of the House of Commons has received, should be written yesterday and delivered to members of the house today. It looks like a case of giving the football one more kick. I do
not know how he got his job, but I know if the farmers of my riding had any say that he would not have it very long. He would be one more with his hand on the doorknob of the government looking for a job. In view of the way he has acted and the service he has rendered to the government they should give him a job. I see the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) smiling. He would make a good candidate for you for the next election.