Judges have their whims and humours in regard to these matters, and in these matters they are acting in an extra-judicial capacity. With all deference to the learned gentlemen in my own province who have occupied seats on conciliation boards, I think it would have been very much better if these judges had not been on these conciliation boards. While it would be desirable, if you are going to have a board, to have somebody who is acquainted wtih the law, I do not like these extra-judicial duties being performed by the judges of the country.
No, the judge only goes as far as to order an investigation.
Air. A1ACDONALD. This Bill is inaugurating a new and novel principle, inasmuch as it deals with the rights of innocent business men carrying on their business in the same way as it has been carried on in this country and in England, and in a. way which is expressly recognized in England. As this Bill is going to seriously interfere with all these conditions, I have endeavoured to point out some phases of it which require consideration, and I would ask the minister, if he is unable to agree to refer the Bill to a special committee, to give us the widest possible attention with regard to any amendments which may be proposed for the purpose of protecting honest business men who make arrangements. I have made these few remarks with the idea of having all join together in this House so that if any measure is to be adopted, it may be made as satisfactory as possible.
I have listened rather carefully to the discussion which has taken place, and it seems to me that the general opinion, as it has been expressed, is favourable to some measure passing this parliament which will more effectively deal than any legislation on the statute-books at the present time with trusts and combines that work an injury to the public. The only difference that I see in the main in the discussion is that while there are some gentlemen on this side of the House who would like to see certain amendments inserted and have the present law made a little clearer in certain particulars, there 2204
seems to be, on the opposite side of the House, a very decided desire to, if possible, burk legislation altogether at the present session.
I beg the hon. gentlemen's pardon if I have misunderstood their motive. We are now within a short time of what is desired to be the prorogation of this parliament and any suggestion that the Bill should be referred to a select committee at this stage of the proceedings of the House can only be taken to mean that it shall not pass this session.
down on the 18th of January, and from that time until to-day no suggestion has been made to me or to any member of the government that the Bill should be referred to a select committee. If hon. gentlemen had any desire or intention of that kind, they were at liberty to exipress it to any member of the government at any time. They need not have reserved that suggestion until this present stage of the session.
I do not know that that very wise observation is an ai'gument in favour of prolonging or extending the time for inquiry in regard to this Bill. I think that the whole argument of the hon. gentleman, if you could call his remarks an argument, was one strong plea in favour of legislation being enacted as soon as possi-legislation being enacted as soon as possible rather than at a later stage of this
If the hon. gentleman will allow me to finish I think I will be able to make my position clear. The Bill has been before the House for nearly three months,
hon. members have had ample opportunity of studying it, and if they have not taken advantage of that opportunity they can hardly blame the government. However, I think it is perfectly reasonable to take the attitude which has been taken by some member's that certain clauses of this Bill should be discussed very carefully, and if thought desirable should be amended in certain particulars so as to make the meaning perfectly clear. It is not the desire of the government to put through a measure which is going to work an injury to any corporation whatever in this country that is carrying on a legitimate business, and if the Bill, as framed does that I, for one, am perfectly. agreeable to add to the Bill such features as may be necessary to safeguard the interests of corporations _ carrying on legitimate business in a legitimate way. But, I do not want to have the features omitted from this measure which will make it effective in dealing with corporations that are not conducting their business in the interests of the public. It seems to me that this purpose can be served by the committee passing such of the clauses as appear to be non-contentious. There are many of the clauses in regard to which, once the committee has considered them carefully, the committee will have an entirely different view. The fact that exception is taken to the definition of the word ' combine ' illustrates what I have in mind. The definition, I admit, is a very broad one, and if everything that comes within that definition were to be considered as illegal, I would be the first one to move to strike it out altogether. But that is not the intention of the measure. It is not the combination as such that is aimed at, but the fruits of the combine where those fruits are contrary to public interest. One might see a notice to the effect that persons belonging to a certain category were not to be admitted to a certain show ground or a horse-race, and he might think on reading the definition of ' persons ' that he was excluded until he found by reading the description further that it only applied to persons under sixteen years of age. It is the same with this measure. There may be a combine which is perfectly legitimate, and unless it can be shown before a judge of the high court that this combine is such as is enhancing prices unreasonably, but one stage of the proceeding would take place. The penalties do not become applicable at that stage. Further investigation takes place in which all the parties interested take part, and my hon friend from North Simoce (Mr. Currie) surely will not say that after a judge of the high court has passed upon a combine, and its business had been investigated by a board, and it has been found that a certain class of Mr. KING.
business has been carried on which is detrimental to the public, that such a combination should not come under the Criminal Code or should not be put in such a position as to render the nersons responsible for it liable if they persist in their manifest wrong doing. It seems to me that once you establish that, after careful and thorough examination, such as provisions; is made for by this measure, it is all important there should be other legislation such as at present exists for seeing that the conduct complained of is, effectively stopped. I would suggest that we should proceed in committee, and if there are any contentious clauses the proposed amendments to them can be considered, and no doubt we will be able to so arrange them as to make them generally acceptable to the House. There is no need for the House to take evidence at this stage. We have plenty of evidence in the report of the select committee of 1888, and what is now needed is a more effective means of ascertaining the exact situation in regard to the working of these combinations.
Mr.' LANCASTER. I would suggest to the Minister of Labour, that it is unbecoming on his part to lecture the opposition as to the wisdom or unwisdom of any course which in the public interest they deem it necessary to pursue. The hon. gentleman complained because we were not prepared to swallow his Bill holus-bolus on a minute's notice, and he told us we had plenty of time to consider it early in the session. The fact of the matter is that the very resolution on which his Bill is founded was only moved to-day and the hon. gentleman took three and a half hours in the busiest time of the session to explain this wrnnder-ful measure. And yet, he thinks it preposterous that we should want consideration in a committee to find out what all his talk was about. I trust that in future the Minister of Labour will not have the temerity to lecture this side of the House on the propriety of their conduct.
I understood the minister to express himself that this measure must be forced through this House and become law this session. It is important now that the minister should state frankly whether he does propose to press this legislation to a finality this session, which it is expected will last only a few weeks longer.
I am not aware that I used the expression that I desired to force any legislation through, and indeed I should very much regret if legislation of this importance were forced through the House. On the other hand, I helieve that the people of Canada are anxious to have legislation of this kind passed, and I can see no
reason why it should not be enacted at the present session. As we go through the different sections I think it will become apparent that our differences exist with respect to only two or three clauses of the Bill, and these slight differences can be reconciled in committee by conference. Possibly we have not very much time before prorogation, but I do not think this Bill will delay the business of the House, and if it can be put through this session I think it ought to be put through.
Mr. RHuDES. Why does the Minister of Labour object to this Bill being sent to a special committee?
For the simple reason that I do not think any useful purpose would be served. On the other hand there is very serious objection in that such a reference would probably mean that the Bill would not'become law this session.