Mr. C. H. PARMELEE (Shefford) moved :
That the fifth report of the Joint Committee on Printing of Parliament be concurred in.
He said : The recommendations of the committee are of such importance that before this motion passes, I think I should call attention to them. The committee have spent a good deal of time in examining into the state of affairs in connection with the translation, printing and distribution of French documents. As everybody understands, this is a dual language parliament, that is to say, a parliament in which both languages are upon the same footing. For years past we have had complaints-and very reasonable complaints-of the vexatious, unreasonable delays in the printing and distribution of French parliamentary returns and reports. The committee deemed the matter of sufficient importance to make some investigation, in order to ascertain whether some reform could not be brought about which would result in the adoption of a system more creditable to this House and more satisfactory to the people.
The committee have made three recommendations. The first is to the effect that the ministers should try and get their reports out as soon as possible after the close
of the fiscal year. The present practice seems to be to delay the preparation of these reports in English until within a very few weeks before the opening of parliament. The manuscript of a very large number of these reports consequently goes to the Printing Bureau almost at the end of the calendar year, and sometimes at the beginning of the next calendar year, or six or seven months after the close of the fiscal year. The result is that the King's Printer puts the whole force of the Bureau on the printing of these documents and returns, and is able to turn them out in time for us to have them at the beginning of the session. But the defect of this system in respect of the translation, printing and distribution of the documents in French is this, that all these returns are then turned over to the translators, so that almost a year's work is put upon the translators at once, and it is utterly impossible for them to have these documents ready in reasonable time. The committee suggests that the ministers should endeavour to hurry up the preparation of their reports so as to have them ready as soon as possible after the close of the fiscal year. In the same connection, the committee have thought that some expedition might be obtained in the larger departments if each of these departments had its own special translator in the department itself, who would be handed the English manuscript copy and go on translating at once. In this way the French and English manuscript could be sent at the same time to the Printing Bureau. If that system were adopted and carried out reasonably well, the great majority of the French reports might be laid on the table at the opening of parliament just as the English reports now are.
This is a matter of principle and right, which warrants us in pressing on the House the necessity of bringing about the reform I have indicated. But I do not wish to dogmatize as to the particular way the reform should be accomplished so long as it is accomplished.
These suggestions would not be complete without some reference to the Printing Bureau. The volume of work has grown immensely within the last two years, and so rapidly that it has outrun the facilities of the bureau and rendered it necessary to provide some additions and greater facilities-