This information was provided by the Acting Prime Minister, not by me. Perhaps, so I can understand his remarks, he will tell us whether personnel from the B and B Commission will be attending this meeting in Yugoslavia.
Topic: BICULTURALISM AND BILINGUALISM
Subtopic: VISIT TO YUGOSLAVIA BY DELEGATION OF COMMISSION
I can answer that and I hope put an end to the matter. The hon. Member asked me whether they were going to attend. I said they could not attend because the convention is over, but two representatives of the said Commission did attend as alternate delegates.
Topic: BICULTURALISM AND BILINGUALISM
Subtopic: VISIT TO YUGOSLAVIA BY DELEGATION OF COMMISSION
Could the Minister of Finance tell us whether he reacts at all to the proposals which were put forward by Mr. Sifton at the very end of last week with regard to the newspaper part of this legislation? 1 assume there is some distinction to be drawn between those proposals and the earlier ones which were put forward editorially by the newspaper in the hands of this gentleman. I should like to know whether the Minister had considered Mr. Sifton's most recent proposal.
Another question I wish to ask came to my mind on reading Friday's debate. It is this. What studies have the Government made to be sure that effective control of Canadian newspapers can really be maintained by this proposed legislation in the light of experience? It seems obvious to me from the editorial policy of the Fredericton Gleaner over the years, for example, and from the interest which Lord Thomson takes in the fact that ownership of his papers may be vested in Thomson of Canada Limited, or with such people as Brigadier Wardell in the case of the Fredericton Gleaner, this is not something to which too much importance should be attached. The fact remains that Thomson newspapers have continued to be an expression in many ways of the ideas of Lord Thomson, the British citizen operating in Britain-and I am not being terribly critical of this. I would just like to hear from the Minister how sure he feels that this will be a really effective way of controlling ownership and keeping it in Canadian hands; apart, that is, from the theory attaching to corporations.
In other words I am arguing that Lord Thomson still retains effective control of the Thomson newspaper chain in Canada as Lord Beaverbrook retained effective control of the Fredericton Gleaner throughout the years even though legal ownership may have been Canadian. I am not talking now about advertising policy. I am thinking much more about editorial and news policy, and wondering whether the Minister feels the particular legislation proposed will meet this problem.
The other question I wish to ask relates to an argument I put forward here last week concerning the quid pro quo or the balance which was achieved by the Minister accepting the nationalization of Time and Reader's Digest in exchange for the protection of Canadian newspapers. I realize there is no way in which we can dragoon the Minister into telling us whether any kind of swap took
place. What takes place inside the Cabinet and within the party caucus is not for us who are outside to know, although we may guess. But I should like to put a bald question directly to the Minister right now with regard to this Time and Reader's Digest situation. Is the Minister pleased with what is in effect the nationalization of Time and Reader's Digest? My hon. friends say "naturalization". I say "nationalization" in the sense of a reference to nationality, not to public ownership.
I hope the Minister will remember this question. It is a very simple one. I should like to know whether he is pleased with the nationalization or naturalization of Time and Reader's Digest.
[DOT] (4:30 p.m.)
The other bit of information I wanted to give the Minister in connection with this matter, or the suggestion I make to him, is that he look at the Financial Post for last Thursday, where he will find on the rear page, I think it is, of the first or second part a full length ad taken by Reader's Digest setting out the various things it offers the Canadian advertiser. This is a very much itemized account giving all the advantages that advertisers have and the special services that advertisers can get through Reader's Digest in terms of specialization in markets, saturation of markets and all the rest.
I would like to ask the Minister how he can read an advertisement like that and not realize that Canadian magazines which do not have the resources of a parent company in the United States cannot possibly match that kind of appeal and that kind of advertising approach. It seems to me it is just impossible. That is one of the reasons I think the Minister might reconsider this particular clause of the Bill and the amendment that is now before the House.
I would assume that since the hon. Member for Red Deer has given notice of his intention to express by his vote how he feels about this whole question of Time and Reader's Digest, and since spokesmen of other parties in the House on the Opposition side have also given an indication that they support this particular amendment, we are in the position, problematically at least-this has worked out in the past but it may not work out this time-that the Government may be defeated on this particular motion. I am still unclear from what was said by the Parliamentary Secretary and by the Minister on Friday whether they are absolute in their interpretation that a defeat on the amend-
June 28, 1965
ment put forward by the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre is in substance, as far as they are concerned, a defeat of the Government that will lead to the dissolution of this House in the face of this lack of confidence in the Government. I feel that we deserve to hear this very clearly. It is certainly not going to affect my vote or, as far as I know, the votes of my colleagues, and I hope it will not affect the votes of any people in this House; but I think we should be completely clear on this point.
I feel that the recommendation both as it applies to Time and Reader's Digest and to newspapers is a reasonable one and should be accepted. It seems to me it is the kind of proposition, particularly in view of the feelings and arguments in the country relating to newspaper legislation, that should be considered by the Government. But if the Government is not prepared to consider an amendment like this and we are going to have the opportunity to vote on it, I think we need to know the answer to this question with complete clarity so we can vote, the Government Members can vote-and particularly those Government Members who are substantially critical of this part of the budget-in all honesty and we can have a real decision on this question. Then we can realize that we are voting on something more than a procedural motion and are voting on the life of this Government itself.
Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about what the Government's attitude is respecting the amendment before the House moved by the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre. As a matter of fact, in looking over what took place in the debate here last Friday I am also concerned about the several points of order raised concerning this particular amendment. However, Your Honour has seen fit to accept the motion as being in order; therefore I suppose there is no useful purpose to be served by going back over this matter and challenging or debating whether it is in order. But taking the situation that we have before us now and the amendment which calls for Bill No. C-118 to be referred back to the committee, and then trying to anticipate what the committee will do with it when it gets the bill referred back to it is a real problem, because on two occasions the House has in fact supported this particular provision.
I know there are members of the Opposition in our party, in the New Democratic
Income Tax Act
Party and other parties who are disturbed because this particular clause 4 was included with the budget resolutions and they had no opportunity to vote separately on it. Furthermore, it was established when we were on second reading that a private member is not competent to move an amendment either changing or deleting this provision. Therefore it is somewhat of a puzzle as to what the committee will do with this Bill if we support the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre. It has been pretty well established, I think, by Speakers' rulings over the years, and in fact in the debate on the resolution stage, second reading and Committee of the Whole House that a member of the opposition does not have the right to move an amendment that will upset the balance of Ways and Means. Citation 243 of Beauchesne's fourth edition says:
All Bills providing for.. .any expenditure whatever...must be first considered as resolutions in Committee of the Whole.
Then it goes on to say at the bottom of the paragraph:
The rule also applies to releasing or compounding any sum of money due to the Crown and to the imposition of any state tax-
Therefore it seems to me that even if we support the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre, unless the Minister of Finance is prepared to move an amendment that will achieve what the Member for Winnipeg North Centre wants, then there is no purpose in sending this provision back to the committee. So I think we should have some indication from the Minister of Finance as to whether he is prepared to move an amendment to clause 4 that will do that for which the Member for Winnipeg North Centre is asking. The hon. Member said, as reported at page 2879 of Hansard for last Friday:
What we are concerned about in asking for a reconsideration of clause 4 is that the House be given a chance to say that it wants subclause (2) of clause 4, namely the special exemptions for certain publications, removed from clause 4.
Even if this amendment is supported and we do send Bill No. C-118 back to the committee, the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre cannot move that amendment, and I think he acknowledged that fact in the statement he made last Friday before he moved the amendment.
In asking the question I agree with what the hon. Member has just said, but is it not appropriate for the House to express its opinion as to what the Government ought to do with the bill when we get back into Committee?
I am not arguing that point at the moment. I think it is appropriate for members of the Opposition to make representations to the Minister of Finance, to plead with him, or whatever else you call it, to move this kind of amendment to his bill. He could have decided to do this between the resolution stage and second reading of the bill. He could also have moved this kind of motion when clause 4 was before the Committee of the Whole. But he did not do so. He did not do so despite the pleadings of certain members of the Opposition. If he is not going to do so now, then it is a pure waste of time for the House to send this bill back to committee.
There are places in our rule book, although I do not have the citation right before me, which indicate that for any motion to be in order there must be some logical conclusion which can be reached. If we have not been able to convince the Minister of Finance of the validity of this point and that there is something wrong with clause 4, then unless he or some other Minister of the Crown intends to move an amendment to clause 4 in line with what is asked for by the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre we are simply wasting the time of the House, in the first instance, and second we are probably attempting to reverse a decision made earlier by the House. That, Mr. Speaker, is also a violation to some extent of the rules of this House.
Therefore it seems to me that we ought to hear from the Minister of Finance, before we take a vote on this motion, whether he is going to take the kind of action that the hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre hopes he is going to take. Because if he does not give that indication, Mr. Speaker, we move back into the committee stage and can do nothing. All the clauses have been passed.