May 10, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)


Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

I hope my hon. friend will not deem it any discourtesy on my part if I do not reply at length to the remarks he has just made. (This bill has been discussed for some time on a previous occasion, when it was up for second reading, and then in committee. On that occasion I had to explain, with my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers), the reasons why we were bringing it in and recommending it to the attention of the house.
I regret very much to have to disagree with my hon. friend, for whom I have the greatest regard, as also for his legal knowledge; but I must insist that every care was taken in the preparation of this bill, with the aid of officers in both departments, and we are not apprehensive about the point which he has brought up to-day.
I wish merely to remind the house that an amendment to the then Trade Mark and Design Act was adopted on March 25, 1927, to permit the registration of shop cards. That obtained for five years, and never once during that interval has the department been seized of the least doubt as to the validity of such an amendment. In 1932 my hon. friend, who was then secretary of state, brought forward a new bill, the Unfair Competition Act, where he did define "trade mark" in such a way that it would apply only to wares and designs associated with wares, and would not include the registration of shop cards. There is not one word in that bill which does so in a positive way. It was only the effect of the bill, in that as it was dealing only with objects or wares it did exclude automatically the registration of shop cards. But not even when that bill was discussed in the house was there the least allusion made as to whether it was constitutional or not to permit by federal legislation the registration of shop cards.
Since 1932, practically every year, when the labour unions came to Ottawa with a program of desired legislation, the request was made to restore the registration of shop cards. It was pressed before me in 1936 and 1937. I may say that last year we had a bill practically ready to achieve that object, and it was delayed only on account of the short session, which, hon. member's will remember, we had last year.

When I introduced the bill this year, on second reading both the Minister of Labour and myself gave a very full explanation of the trend and the particular character of the measure, and I may add that even since this bill was first discussed there has not been the least intimation to the department, except by my hon. friend the former secretary of state, that it may not be within the jurisdiction of the federal parliament.

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