April 18, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Henry Arthur Mackie


Mr. H. A. MACKIE (Edmonton):

Mr. Speaker, I wish at the outset, to express my gratitude that this debate has not taken the proportions that debates on previous occasions have taken when the question of the French language has been brought before this House. It is gratifying that in the last two years matters of this sort have been brought before the House and discussed intelligently without having raised questions which become personal both as to the individual and certain communities. The resolution before the House, I believe, is brought forward sincerely and not in order to satisfy whims and fancies, as has been stated by the hon member for North Perth (Mr. Morphy). It is true that the country is getting reports which are perhaps not accurate or at all events which are coloured by the various political papers which disseminate news in their respective jurisdictions. The proposition, however, which is before the House at the present time is that the Government should go to the expense in the long run of establishing what are actually to be archives to be kept in post offices or other public places where the public may resort. That, I believe, is an impossibility as a Government undertaking, both because of the expense it would entail and because of the question as to the advisability of establishing such archives throughout the country.
The dissemination of news in an accurate way, however, is a question which deserves a great deal of consideration and without intending to move any amendment, I think the mover of the resolution would be well advised if he asked this Government to undertake ithe expense of giving the country that information which he has suggested to all those who may so desire it, their names to be tabulated in a list previously to the opening of the session each year. In that way those who are not now receiving Hansard and those papers which they desire

to have for the purpose of informing themselves about particular problems, may have them at a small cost. Let me call your attention, Sir, to the fact also that there is a danger perhaps in acquiescing without some reserve to the resolution which is now before the House in that I find, for instance, that in the year 1707-08 we had before the House a petition praying that railway and other public companies be required to use the French language as well as the English language in their dealings with the public. I find also that in 1909 there was an order of the House for all correspondence and so forth respecting the use of the French language in services of public utility, and that there was also in the same year a petition respecting the printing in both languages of the time of arrival and departure of the trains. These requests are being made to the House of Commons repeatedly by various members, undoubtedly from proper motives and with the best of intentions, but they complicate the subject, and speaking for myself, I would rather support the resolution before the House than the petitions which have been placed before us on previous occasions, because the motive in the present instance is purely that of giving news and accurate information to the public. However, for the reasons I have given, I do not think the resolution will receive the sympathy of the House. Therefore, I think hon. members should rather busy themselves to find out how many of their constituents would require Hansard and to make provision with the Government in order that these people may get it and secure the accurate information they desire.

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