September 7, 1903

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I agree that information of that character is desir-

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

able, but if the hon. gentleman will read the Bill again, I think he will see that everything necessary is already provided for. In tlie first place, I do not quite agree that we should control this expenditure in the ordinary sense of the word. We rather make it a virtue that we do not control it ; it is a bonus given to the press to enable them to do a certain public service, and our theory is that we will trust the representatives of the press to a large extent to do that. We have every confidence that they will do it among themselves quite as well as it would be done if we attempted to meddle with it every day. We trust them to do it, and believe that they will do it properly. We only ask first, that they shall contribute their own share, and we reqnire that they shall satisfy the government of that before they can get any money ; and secondly, that they will allow the privileges of this organization to be oxiened on equal terms to all the newspapers of Canada. Now. if these two things are provided for, and they are I fail to see what other things there are'to be provided for. In the event of anything arising concerning which we need to make some regulation, we make a provision here, as the hon. gentleman will see, that the Governor in Council may make regulations for the purpose of carrying out those two objects. If it be found necessaij to define any of these particular things in the regulations, we will be quite free to do so I will take care in any action that may be taken, that the various suggestions which the hon. gentlemen have offered shall receive serious consideration and that as^ fai as may be necessary, they shall be provided for.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

I understand from the hon. Minister of Finance, that although he mentioned the names of Messrs. Briefly and Atkinson, these gentlemen are not the association, that they do not control it [DOT] yet they are the gentlemen who are to use and control this money. I think if that were so, it would be quite unsatisfactory.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I can assure my hon. friend that I have eveiy reason to believe that the arrangements are entirely satisfactory to the Canadian press, whose interest in the matter is greater than ours, because they have to pay out more than a dollar for every dollar we pay. '* e can afford to pay our dollar out of the Canadian treasury without feeling it a burden, but these gentlemen of the Canadian press, when they pay out their dollar, will probably watch it very closely. Messrs. Atkinson and Briefly came to me in the first instance. Subsequently a committee was formed and Mi*. Atkinson is the chairman of that committee. He is the only gentleman who has recently communicated with me on the subject. At all events be has communicated on behalf of the committee, and he informs me that they will obtain a

charter of incorporation. He has acted with the full confidence of the Canadian press generally.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I do not advocate meddling every day with this service, but I think this is rather an important step we are taking, and it would only be fair that we should have proper knowledge at the end of the first year of the working of this service. I am not quite sure but that in certain other countries there is an amount voted by the government to provide a press service. At the end of a year or two we might find it necessary to enlarge the service. There is nothing unreasonable in asking that at the end of the year we should know how it works, what the regulations are, whether the association has been incorporated, how the money has been applied and what parties have availed themselves of this service. These are interesting matters. I have prepared an amendment which is as follows :

A special report in which will be set forth the details of payments made under this Act and all other matters of interest relating to said service shall be laid before parliament within fifteen days after the opening of each session thereof.

If my hon. friend thinks it unnecessary I will not press the amendment.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I do not think the amendment of my hon. friend calls for anything unreasonable, but I think the object may be accomplished without this amendment. In regard to the manner in which the service is being performed, we need not wait until the end of the year. We will all be informed every day in the press, because we will see every day in the press the news that is given.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

That is not sufficient.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

We will know the character of the news, the quantity of the news, whether it is fair and impartial, whether it is the character of news the people of Canada want, and we will know it day by day. All that remains to be known is what amount of money is expended upon it, what we have paid and wliat they have paid, and that will be provided for in the regulations.

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

I would like to ask the hon. minister (Hon. Mr. Fielding) if any arrangements have been made under which the newspapers of Prince Edward Island can come in under this Act ? We are situated in a peculiar manner. We are now in the hands of a monopoly, and telegraph news from across the Atlantic will not be of very much advantage to us on the island unless some arrangements are made whereby the daily newspapers shall be able to receive messages at the usual rates across the straits of Northumberland. I would like to ask the hon. minister if any arrangements are being carried out to that end ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

There is no special arrangement in regard to furnishing news to any special place. The condition is that the facilities of this arrangement shall be open to all the papers of Canada, and if the newspapers of Prince Edward Island are prepared to contribute in the same proportion as the newspapers of the other provinces, I take it for granted they will get the news, and if they do not, I am afraid they cannot get it. This is a case in wffiich the government are not paying for the service ; they are helping the press to perform this service, and the press association will have to put a tax upon every newspaper in Canada which receives these telegrams. I have no doubt they will be only too glad to supply the newspapers of Prince Edward Island if they are prepared to pay their proportion of the cost of the undertaking.

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

I would like to say that we in the province of Prince Edward Island are situated in a very peculiar manner, owing to the monopoly that has existed there for fifty or sixty years. We have been looking for the government to wipe out that monopoly, and place us in the same position as the other provinces of Canada. This Act applies to the newspapers of Canada. I think it is the duty of the government to at once undertake the wiping out of that monopoly, and the placing of the newspapers of Prince Edward Island on the same footing as the newspapers of the other parts of the Dominion of Canada. We have been promised relief from time to time. Some years ago Sir Louis H. Davies, who is now one of the justices of the Supreme Court, stated in this parliament that there was no monopoly. He said that in a year or two the people of Prince Edward Island would ascertain that they are not bound down by this monopoly. That was eight or ten years ago, and yet the people are in the same position.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

What is the position ?

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

The position is that the Anglo-American Telegraph Company charge the people of Prince Edward Island 25 cents extra for every message that is transmitted across the straits of Northumberland. I can send a message to Vancouver or New York for 25 cents, but if I desire to send a message to Prince Edward Island 1 am charged 50 cents. It is a burden on the business of the province, and it keeps our newspapers from getting the news. I would like that something should be done by the government to relieve us from this monopoly.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

As Rud-yard Kipling says, 'that is another story.' Tins Bill does not deal with the question of cable or telegraph tolls. This is a bonus to tiie newspapers of Canada to assist them in doing a certain thing, and if they can do

what they propose to do for Prince Edward Island, we shall be delighted just as we shall be delighted if they can do that for Montreal or Toronto, or for any part of the Dominion of Canada. We cannot make any distinction between cities. My hon. friend (Mr. Hackett) states that because there is a monopoly in the telegraph service, Prince Edward Island is at a disadvantage. He states that Sir Louis Davies said some ten years ago that there was no monopoly. I will not say whether that is correct, or not, but this session parliament has passed an Act incorporating a telegraph company, and in doing that it has recognized that there is no monopoly, because it has given the company the right to extend its lines to Prince Edward Island if it desires to do so.

1 think I am correct in saying that the Bill has passed both branches of parliament. If I am correct in that impression, then the view taken by Sir Louis Davies has been adopted by parliament, that there is no monopoly, because this new telegraph company is at liberty to make arrangements to supply a telegraph service to Prince Edward Island.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Could you not make use of the Marconi system ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I am not saying that the position of Prince Edward Island is not one of considerable difficulty, but the monopoly question seems to have been dealt with, inasmuch as we have already chartered a company with power to extend its lines to Prince Edward Island if they wish to do so for commercial purposes.

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

I remember that twenty years ago, when the government were extending their lines to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to the Magdalen islands, it was intended they should make Souris on tiie eastern part of Prince Edward Island tiie landing station, as being the point nearest to the Magdalen islands with which to connect the system to the rest of the world. When the gentlemen who were carrying out that service and who were employed by the government attempted to land their lines at East Point or Souris in order to complete their svstem they were prevented from doing so by this Anglo-American Company, a private company. Now, it appears to me, that, while the company asserted itself very strongly at that time, it is still holding to its rights. The people of Prince Edward Island have not the telegraph facilities that are enjoyed by other parts of the Dominion, because between eight o'clock in the evening and eight o'clock in the morning, the telegraph offices are closed.

was extending its telegraph service along the Gulf of St. La wrence this Anglo-American Company withstood the government even, and would not allow them to land on the island. Our" fishermen, therefore, cannot get the benefits of this government telegraph service that the fishermen of other provinces receive. I believe that this is a most opportune time to call this hardship to the atttention of the government. If there be a monopoly, let the government arrange with the monopolists to get rid of it, and if there be no monopoly, let the law advisers of the Crown say so, and we will soon get rid of it in that way. The Finance Minister says that tiie fact that parliament has chartered another company this year shows there is no monopoly, but in opposition to that we have the fact that the Anglo-American Company maintained its monopoly in the face of the government itself.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I am ns anxious to do something for the people of Prince Edward Island as anybody, but I am quite sure I know tiie people of Prince Edward Island well enough to know that they will be reasonable and sensible in their demands. So far as the claim to a monopoly goes, the parliament of Canada, which is a higher authority than tiie government, has this session declared that a company which lias been chartered shall have the right to build telegraph lines anywhere in Canada, and that includes Prince Edward Island

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

Has not the other company taken action in the courts to protect their monopoly ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Let them fight it out in the courts. Unless we get our gallant friend, as a military man, to take a force down there, I do not see how a monopoly can be destroyed except in the courts.

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September 7, 1903