February 23, 1909

REPORT PRESENTED.


Report of the Auditor General, 1908, Vol. II.-Hon. Mr. Paterson.


OFFICAL REPORT OF DEBATES.

LIB

Honoré Hippolyte Achille Gervais

Liberal

Mr. HONORE GERVAIS (Montreal, St. James) moved:

That the first report of the Select Standing committee on debates be amended by striking out of the third part the words * deferred until the close of the session,' to be replaced by the following words, ' to be printed and published as usual * and that the said report as amended be concurred in.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the object of this report which is being made by the Debates Committee is to do away with the criticism which has been made against the committee with regard to the delay in the publication of the French edition of our ' Hansard.' Complaints have been made since 1893 against the delay in the publication of the French * Hansard.' One of the causes of the delay arises from the fact that the

French edition of the ' Hansard ' has to be made up from the revised English edition. The consequence was that nobody could obtain a copy of the French edition of the ' Hansard ' until fifteen days after the unrevised edition of the English ' Hansard ' had been issued. These complaints were well grounded because, as a matter of fact, the newspaper men in the province of Quebec, as well'as the French speaking citizens of Canada, have been deprived of what they are entitled to, that is, the French edition of the * Hansard ' at the same time that the English edition is issued. More especially have the members of the House of Commons complained of this delay. The object of this report is to go back to the condition of affairs that was in existence in 1893 when the French version of the * Hansard ' was made from the daily or unrevised edition of the English * Hansard.' By adopting this report the result will be that, within twenty-four hours after the issue of the English edition of the ' Hansard,' everybody who wishes to have the French edition will be able to have it because the French ' Hansard ' will then be out. The revised edition both of the English and French ' Hansards ' will be published as usual at the end of the session and everybody will receive bound volumes. By the adoption of this report the House of Commons will get rid of many of the criticisms and complaints that have been made against the Debates Committee. I might assign as another cause of the delay some unwillingness on the part of certain officials of the Printing Bureau to facilitate the publication of the French edition of the ' Hansard,' an unwillingness which has proved to be, as regards one portion of the population of Canada, offensive and sometimes oppressive. It is to do away with that condition of affairs that this report is presented to the House. Now, let us examine the question of expenditure. There will be practically no increase of expenditure, except, perhaps, that the committee will have to appoint another translator, involving an expenditure of $2,100 a year. That is the total expenditure which will have to be incurred should this report be adopted by the House. The translators will have to work from 8.30 a.m. until late in the evening, as they do now. The two proof-readers now employed will be quite sufficient to do the proof-reading and extra assistance will not be necessary. The daily unrevised edition will be published every morning as usual and the translators will make their translation from that edition so that the printing of the French edition can be done during the next day or during the night. Therefore, twenty-four hours after the issue of the English 'Hansard' the French edition will be circulated and the French speaking members of the House will be quite satisfied with that. It is proposed to increase the issue of both Mr. GEEVAIS.

the French and English edition of the unrevised ' Hansard ' and no extra expenditure properly speaking will be entailed by that. The King's Printer and Mr. Shipman, the able foreman of printing, as well as the very clever chief translator, Mr. Larose, attended the last meeting of the Debates Committee and they assured us that work will be carried out as I have explained, that the present printing machinery is sufficient, and that satisfaction would be given to the French-speaking community in this respect. I trust the House will adopt this report without any further delay, and when it is adopted there will be no further complaints against the Debates Committee.

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LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Liberal

Mr. J. A. C. ETHIER (Two Mountains).

I see that it is proposed to amend the report by substituting the words ' be printed and published as usual,' for the words 'deferred until after the close of the session.' I was not aware that any meeting of the Debates Committee had been called since the adoption of the report at which this amendment was agreed to, and this is the first intimation I have had of this amendment. I would ask my hon. friend ("Mr. Gervais) what is the real meaning of the words ' be printed and published as usual.' If I understand it aright it means that we will have an issue of the unrevised French ' Hansard ' and also of the revised French ' Hansard.' If that is so I have nothing to complain of, but I do not think it was the intention of the committee to impose that burden upon the Printing Bureau, or upon the translators, or upon the finances of the country. If the idea is to publish an unrevised edition of the French ' Hansard ' as well as a revised edition, as at present, I will concur in it notwithstanding that the amendment has been somewhat of a surprise to me.

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LIB

Honoré Hippolyte Achille Gervais

Liberal

Mr. GERVAIS.

When the report of the committee was presented, some of the English speaking members said that it might cause a delay in the publication of the revised English edition of the ' Hansard.' I admit that was the case, and in consequence of their representations the report of the committee was amended in the direction I have indicated. The amendment will remove any cause of fear on the part of the English-speaking members that there will not be an expeditious publication of both editions of ' Hansard.'

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

There are serious objections to the proposals contained in this report and I do not think it should be concurred in by the House. One proposal is that instead of the English revised edition being distributed to the public and the press as at present, a sufficient number of copies of the daily unrevised edition should be circulated. To this I take exception. It is not proper to hold members responsible for what appears in the unrevised edition of

'Hansard' when they have had no opportunity of correcting any errors which may have crept in from one cause or another. This proposal means that the unrevised edition uneorrected will be circulated and published in the press of the country, and that members may be held responsible for statements which were never made by them. That is an injustice to the members and it is misleading to the public. That system has been found in the past not to work well, and I do not believe it should be resorted to again. The report also says that the debates be translated into French from the daily unrevised edition which means that the errors in the unrevised English edition will be translated into the French edition. That would be very unfair to the French members, and it would be unfair to the English members. >

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LIB

Honoré Hippolyte Achille Gervais

Liberal

Mr. GERVAIS.

I may assure the hon. gentleman that the French members will be quite safe and satisfied with the adoption of the report. Let the French-speaking members manage their own business. They are ready to relieve him from the care and trouble of protecting their own interests.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If they are satisfied the English-speaking members still have a very strong objection to it because if the unrevised edition is translated they might be made to say in the French edition many things which they did not say, but which would be used against them in the country. It is bad enough to hold a man responsible for what he did say, but let him have an opportunity of confirming the record of his utterance and do not attribute to him something he never said. It would mean the translation of an incorrect copy and that would be bad for both parties, bad for the House, bad for parliament and misleading to the country. As to the proposal to defer the publication of the revised version in English and French until after the close of the session-

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LIB

Honoré Hippolyte Achille Gervais

Liberal

Mr. GERVAIS.

I am doing away with that objection by the amendment I am now proposing to this report.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That amendment I now see omits the provision deferring publication and declares that a revised edition shall be printed and published as usual. That does away with the objection I raised to that part of the report, so of course I have nothing further to say upon it. I understand there is another proposal in it to appoint another translator.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

As I understand we may create an office, but neither the committee nor the House has any right to report in favour of any particular person to fill an office because that will be the duty 47i - i

of the Civil Service Commission in the future. Therefore it seems to me it would be quite out of place to recommend it here.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. TAYLOR.

The committee were induced to make this report owing to the continued cry from our French friends that they were not in possession of the debates for a week or ten days after the occurrence of a debate in the House, and after consulting with the officials of the translating staff and the King's Printer, we came to the conclusion that we could not provide them with a daily ' Hansard ' without adopting the course recommended, and by adopting this course our French friends will get the speeches within twenty-four hours after the English edition is delivered to the English-speaking members. To meet that view of the ease we decided to report as we have done.

Then the revised edition is what now goes out to the public press. I consider this simply a waste of money because there is not a newspaper that makes any use of it; they get the revised edition when it is a week or ten days old, and if you go into any newspaper office in the country you will find the 'Hansards' in the waste basket. If they are supplied with any report of the debates let them have it fresh from the House, the day after it is published. That was the view I took and the view taken by the committee generally. The revision of speeches will go on as usual, the members will make corrections inside of twenty-four hours; the revised edition will then be printed, but the bound volume will not be printed until the close of the session. I think the course adopted is the best in the interests of the House and the country.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

So far as the unrevised edition is concerned, it is perfectly clear that up to the present time there has been practically no French edition whatever. As both languages are used in the House it seems to be a fairly reasonable proposition that there should be a French unrevised ' Hansard ' as well as an English, and from that standpoint I would be inclined to concur in the report of the committee. So far as distribution to the press is concerned there is something in what my hon. friend from Grey (Mr. Sproule) has urged, that some hon. member may occasionally be put in an unfortunate position through the inadvertant alteration by the 'Hansard' reporters of something that he has said. For example, he may have used the word * not.' It may happen in the hurry of debate, in the confusion that very often arises in the House, that word may escape the attention of the reporter and in that way _ he may be made to say precisely the onnosite to that which he did say. However, I would think difficulties of that kind would be only very oc-

casional and I would suggest to the Committee on Debates that when the unrevised 'Hansard' goes out to the press and the country-as a matter of fact it goes out to the press and the country to-day because every enterprising newspaper gets a copy of the unrevised-but when it goes out in this formal way it might be worth while to put a note at the commencement of each day's 'Hansard' explaining that it is subject to correction and has not been revised by the different members who have spoken. If that were done it would probably minimize the objection of the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule).

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Motion agreed to.


PRIVATE BILLS-FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 75) respecting the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Company.-Mr. Pardee. Bill (No. 76) to incorporate the Imperial Fire Insurance Company.-Mr. A. Hag-gart. Bill (No. 77) respecting a patent of the Submarine Company. Mr. Proulx. Bill (No. 78) to incorporate the Superior and Western Ontario Railway Company.- Mr. Conmee.


PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.

?

Thomas Hay

Mr. A. H.

CLARKE moved that the Public Accounts and Volumes 1 and 3 and section O of the report of the Auditor General for the fiscal year ended 31st March, 1908, be referred to the Select Standing Committee on Public Acccounts.

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February 23, 1909