September 7, 1903

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

That particular point lias not been brought before me, but I will endeavour to bear it in mind. Tlie press will arrange the matter among themselves, and we will only interfere in the event of any case arising in which it is alleged that any newspaper is treated unjustly. .

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

I understand that no new cable is established, but the news comes in the same way as it always has come. The object, as I understand it, is simply to have some reporters in the old

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

country to gather news to be sent^ here, keeping in mind the object of catering to the Canadian public. Am I right in that V

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Yes.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

It will be for this association, as being subsidized by the Canadian government, to maintain agencies in Great Britain, possibly on the continent, for the purpose of forwarding news to Canada ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Substantially, that is the object.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

So, this money is to pay the salaries of certain officers in (lie old country that they may gather and send the news ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Not the salaries of the correspondents only, but cable tolls as well.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

If the government pay the cable tolls, or a large proportion of them, they should have something to say about the fees that are to be charged to the newspapers that use the messages. That is where the question of copyright comes in. Has the minister looked into that question ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I do not think it will be necessary, but if any such question is raised, of course, we ought to look into it. But I do not anticipate any .such question, because I feel satisfied that the press will arrange the matter among themselves. We desire to intervene as little as possible. If the leading newspapers of Canada form an association in good faith to get this news and distribute it on terms satisfactory to the press generally we are not called upon to intervene. If any newspaper thinks that it is placed at a disadvantage, and appeals to the government on that ground, of course, we shall look into tlie matter. The government's attention lias not been asked to any question, although, for the last few days, the service has been in operation. In anticipation of this enactment and in consequence of some delay, the House being otherwise occupied, the press have made arrangements and the sending of despatches has been begun. There may be some fault found, but I am bound to say that the cablegrams I have seen indicate that special attention is being paid to Canadian affairs in Great Britain which must be very gratifying to us all. r know nothing of the internal arrangement, but I have seen it stated that they have appointed their correspondents, Mr. C. Robertson, and Mr. Hamar Greenwood, two Canadians living in London. I think I shall not be contradicted when I say that in the cable news of the last three or four days we have had more attention paid to Canadian matters in the old country than in any similar period in the past. While some things must happen which will not be uni-

versally satisfactory, still the service is conducted in good faith, and I have no doubt it will work out to the general satisfaction of the whole Canadian press.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I may not have followed that discussion very closely, and the question I wish to ask may have already been answered. I understand the contributions to this fund apart from the government aid, will come mainly from the daily press, the larger newspapers of the cities. Will there be any objection to the local press throughout the country copying these despatches in their weekly issues ? Or will the right of publication be reserved to those newspapers that contribute to the fund ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Henderson) is asking the same question as was asked by the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke). We have had no special negotiations with the committee on the subject of copyrighting, but if they desire to copyright their news, of course, they would have a right to do it, but only for a short time. The essential value of news is only for a few hours-after that it is open to the world. I do not anticipate any difficulty with regard to the weekly press. Of course, the weekly press can hardly be expected to contribute at the beginning, because it is not wealthy. I do not suppose that they will participate at first, but if, afterwards, they desire to contribute no doubt' the others will be glad to have them do so.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I understand that, until such time as the reports are copyrighted, the weekly press throughout the country can, without being guilty of any misdemeanour, use despatches that are sent.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

That is exactly what they' are doing now, and we do not suggest making any new condition.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

If the hon. gentleman -will look up the daily press he will see that certain cablegrams that appear in certain of the newspapers who pay for what they use, appear a few hours later in other papers who do not pay for them, but who simply rise the scissors.

On section 2,

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The hon. gentleman refers to a case in which the cable company constitutes itself a news agent for collectiong and distributing the news. But in this case the cable company will not be the news agents. In this case, the cost of the service will include the cost of the agencies in London, the payment of salaries, the incidental expenses, and the cost of the tolls, which will all be a charge upon one common fund. The government will contribute the sums herein mentioned to that fund, and the newspapers must satisfy us that they have contributed at least as much to that fund. What proportion they will pay for salaries and what proportion for cables, is a matter they will arrange amongst themselves. We do not distinguish at' all between cable tolls and salaries. These, and all the costs of the service, are charged to a common fund, and to that fund we contribute the sums herein mentioned.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

At that rate the_ cable companies might not find it to their advantage to give as reasonable a rate for this class of messages as they would 1o the large New York papers, for instance, each of which has its own representative on the other side. Has the minister considered whether this association is in a position to get as cheap rates from these cable companies as the New York papers ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I think all the cable companies have a fixed press rate. My impression is that they do not distinguish between a large paper and a small one. but the press rate is one-half the commercial rate-that is my impression. But I have no doubt this newspaper association will be able to secure the most favourable terms possible from the cable companies.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I think we may attain a very .cood object by this Bill, but I cannot ngree with the Minister of Finance that we should disinterest ourselves completely in regard to the employment of this sum after we have voted it. It is very properly placed

in the hands of the representatives of the press themselves, and I have no doubt they will make the best use of it. At the same time, I think we should, to a certain extent, control that expenditure, and see that it is used as much as possible, in the interests of the general public. Since we are contributing a considerable sum, we should see that these news are disseminated as much as possible among the Canadian people. The words in this section, ' that the sums will be paid to any association or committee representing the proprietors of such papers as associate themselves for the purpose of establishing and maintaining such service, are, my hon. friend will admit, rather vague.

1 would much prefer to state that the payment will be made to some regularly organized body, and would go the length of saying that the by-laws under which this organized body was formed should be subject to the approval of the government, and that the government should see to it that the public generally derive as much benefit as possible from this service. I may say that tlie great difficulty with weekly newspapers, particularly those that are published on a Saturday, is in obtaining the latest telegraphic despatches, and those newspapers that do not form part of the regular association, if they wish to publish the latest news, have to pay a considerable sum, much more than they would pay if they belonged to tlie regular association, which their means do not allow them to join. I think some provision might properly be made in regard to these newspapers, some of which have a wide circulation. That can only be done- I do not know that we can do it by legislation-but I suppose it can be done by the government examining the details of the bylaws or rules under which this association will carry on this service. I think also, as this is a venture, so to speak, something new, that we should have at the end of each year, some detailed report of the manner in which this sum has been expended, and also anything else that may be of interest that parliament should know in relation to this service-the number of words transmitted, the way in which the service was carried on, such as we have, for instance. in regard to the work done at our national printing establishment, of which we have had from time to time very extensive reports from the King's Printer. I think it desirable that some addition should be made to this legislation providing for a yearly report to parliament, showing the way the money was exjiended, and giving other needful details. X would suggest that to my hon. friend, and if he thinks it is a proper suggestion, he might add to this Bill a section providing that full information should lie given to parliament of the working of this measure.

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September 7, 1903