January 10, 1958

CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Caslleden:

That deals with any case as from now on.

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James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

Yes.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Caslleden:

I am referring to the fact that this combine operated for a period of

Supply-Justice

some 20 years, according to the evidence. A portion of the time was after the amendment to the act which removed the limit on the penalty. It seems to me that this combine is getting off very easily. I think it could be proved that if these ten companies, which have operated across the whole of Canada, had operated a roofing combine in this country for that length of time, the profits they made because of the combine would amount to many millions of dollars, and that the penalty of $10,000 a company is mere peanuts and is not, as a matter of fact, justice.

Surely the purpose of this act is to prevent and discourage combines and their operation. It seems to me that in this case the purpose is not being fulfilled if these companies can make profits of this kind and get such a very small penalty because of the limitations in the act when the complaint was made.

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James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

I am informed that it was the opinion of crown counsel that the charges he could prove and which he felt would result in a conviction related to the period before the act was amended. That was the opinion of counsel and that opinion, of course, we had to accept. I am also informed that the prosecution commenced about a year ago.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

If one makes a distinction between combinations on the one side and monopolies or mergers on the other, has there been any record in the past of orders by the courts to dissolve monopolies or mergers, or have all the results of these investigations been on the combines side?

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James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

I am informed that the amendment empowering the courts to make such orders only came into effect in 1952, and that there have been no merger or monopoly cases finalized since that amendment in which the circumstances would be such that an order of that nature would be applicable.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciated the minister's previous answer about the initiation of complaints, but if one makes the distinction between a combine and a monopoly or a merger, I was just wondering if the minister could express any opinion as to how much of the research and investigation of the department is going toward the monopolies and mergers side where you are much less likely to get complaints than you are on the combines side.

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James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

It varies from year to year, and I think one can only say that we take them as they come when the evidence arises or when it is brought to our attention. It would not be possible to give a percentage; for instance, that 40 per cent of the attention is directed to looking out for mergers and 60

Supply-Justice

per cent to looking out for combines. It depends entirely upon when evidence of offences becomes available.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Caslleden:

I should like to ask the

minister whether or not among the 30 cases now before this branch of his department there are included charges against some large chain store grocery outlets or against brewery and distillery amalgamations?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

If I understand the question of the hon. gentleman it is as to whether any of the cases recently before us included charges against chain stores?

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

Grocery chain store outlets.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

No.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

Among the 30 cases you mentioned in which there were complaints now before the commission-I am asking whether these included complaints against chain store outlets in the form of combines?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

There are 21 cases before the commission as of today.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

Oh, 21? Do they include any against grocery chain store outlets?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

These embrace only the combine and merger cases and would not include investigations as to whether there is, for instance, what is generally described as the loss-leader practice. That is not included in this figure of 21.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

It was not the loss-leader point that I was particularly dealing with. I was asking the minister whether among the 21 cases now before the commission there were included charges of monopoly practices by large chain store grocery outlets.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

The answer is no.

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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

Are there any investigations

being carried on at this time with respect to mergers of newspapers or other publications?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Mr. Chairman, I am again in the position where, if I gave an answer to the hon. gentleman's question, I think I would be in breach of the principle that until any inquiry has reached a certain stage we do not give information, so I would prefer not to answer that question.

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January 10, 1958