Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinton):
Mr. Speaker, I should like briefly to support as strongly as I can what has just been said by the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell). I think that his protest has point given to it by what happened last year on several occasions. I am not going to go over the long story of those occasions on which strong complaint was made about denying the
use of the mails to certain persons. The matter was discussed in this house last year.
The appointment of a committee may be some advance on the present state of affairs, but, Mr. Speaker, it is not a sufficient advance. If the committee is simply to be a departmental committee, no matter how conscientious or how capable the officials may be, it is still a departmental committee; and I do not see how the policy of the department could fail to have an influence on the minds of the members of such a committee.
If the minister is adamant in insisting that the committee take the form indicated in the bill, then I submit to him that the very least that ought to be done to mitigate the rigours of a provision of that kind is to provide an appeal to the courts, as has been suggested by the hon. member for Greenwood, and as has been proposed in the extremely intelligent brief submitted to the minister by the Toronto board of trade. After all, what reasonable objection can there be to allowing an appeal to persons who suffer this grave disability of being denied the use of the mails? Remember that this power in the hands of the minister, even under a committee, could be used with damaging effect on anyone's business and reputation. What possible objection can there be in a situation of that kind to allowing an aggrieved individual to go to the courts by way of appeal from the decision of the committee? For the life of me, Mr. Speaker, I cannot see why this objection should be taken by the minister and by the government to allowing any person to go to the courts in appeal against what he contended is an arbitrary and unjustified use of these broad powers conferred by the bill in cases of this kind.
I urge upon the minister that, before it is too late, provision should be made in this bill at least to allow an individual against whom this extremely wide power has been exercised to take his case to the courts by way of appeal.
Subtopic: MEASURE TO CONSOLIDATE, CODIFY AND AMEND EXISTING LEGISLATION