April 26, 1910

TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANTS.

CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Before the orders of the day are proceeded with, I wish to call the attention of the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) to a communication that I have received from a prominent gentleman in my riding, and which I beg leave to read. It is dated 23rd of this month.

Dear Mr. Lennox,-My object in writing you is to lay before you certain facts in connection with the immigration department at St. John, N.B.

I came out from England on the Allan Line steamer ' Corsican ' recently, landing at St. John, N.B., on Saturday evening, April 2nd. The vessel docked at 6 or a few minutes before 6 o'clock that evening, with about 600 passengers on board. The Allan Company had two special trains ready to take us to Montreal, had all the passengers' baggage on deck ready to land, had arranged to have the customs officials on hand to pass the baggage, when we were told that the immigration agent would not permit any passengers to land that night, and so far as I could learn from the captain of the ' Corsican,' without any special reason. We all had to remain on board that night, as not a passenger was permitted to land, and we did not get away from St. John until 3.30 on Sunday afternoon, causing much annoyance and inconvenience to all the passengers.

You would oblige me very much if you would lay this matter before the proper officials at Ottawa.

I lay this before the minister with the hope that he will make inquiries into the subject of the complaint as soon as convenient.

Topic:   TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANTS.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I will be glad to take up the matter of the letter my hon. friend has read. Of course, we desire to avoid delay and inconvenience as much as possible, but it may be that in the present rush when there are so many ships coming in and so many people to handle, the difficulty was not avoidable. I will be glad to go into the matter fully. Certainly I can assure my hon. friend that there is every desire on the _ part of the department to redress any grievances that may occur.

Topic:   TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANTS.
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CON

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS STAFF.

LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I have the following communication to make to the House:

The Clerk of the House having requested, for the reasons set forth in his communication to me dated the 25th instant, copy of which is hereto appended, the withdrawal of my recommendation respecting a proposed reorganization of the staff of the House of Commons, laid upon the table of the House on the 6th instant. I hereby withdraw the same in order that the subject may be further considered.

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COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT.


Mr. KING moved the third reading of Bill (No. 101) to provide for the investigation of combines, monopolies, trusts and mergers which may enhance prices or restrict competition to the detriment of consumers.


CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I would like to say with regard to this Bill, that having looked over it somewhat carefully. I have reached the conclusion that it will prove to be a gold brick in so far as it will give any relief from combines under the law. This Bill contemplates, first, affidavits to be examined by a judge of six parties that they are affected by some combine injuriously. Then, provided the judge is satisfied that there is prima facie evidence, he grants permission to have a board of inquiry named. That board holds an inquiry, and provided the board reaches the conclusion that there are evidences to satisfy them that a combine exists, then, I take it, the case is allowed to stand for the time being. They decide^ that a combine exists, but if the parties interested continue to carry on their work, then the penalties under this Act may be imposed, but they are not imposed, I understand, until an inquiry is made before a judge, and an indictment is framed which has to be inquired into by some court. But it does not appear to me very evident what court it is, whether it is 253

the Exchequer or any other court. But this indictment must take place before any other inquiry or trial can be proceeded with. Then that court may impose a fine, and I imagine that if the court imposes a fine the penalties of the Act can be enforced as well as penalties under the criminal law. But after that is done, I imagine that the individual or combine has a right to appeal. Now the natural course will be that they will make their appeal to the court of appeal, and a combine is not likely to give up its rights so easily where such large interests are involved. The case will continue before that court of appeal until the court disposes of it. Suppose that the conviction is sustained, then the combine may go to the Supreme Court and fight it out there.; and suppose that the conviction is sustained by the Supreme Court, the combine may take it to the Privy Council. Now, after this is all done, justice may be meted out. But what will be the result? The case has got to traverse at least six courts before there is any infliction of a penalty that is collectable. Now, are there six men to be found in Canada who will be innocent enough to undertake a prosecution under these circumstances?

Another feature which attracted my attention is that when you come before the first court, the prosecution has got to take place under the same law that has been on the statute-books for years, and under which it has been declared that no prosecution can be successfully carried on with the object of getting a verdict. That statement has been made in this House, and also toy the late Attorney General of the province of Ontario, Sir Oliver Mowat, a prosecution under this case 'has got to toe made under exactly the same law. Then what is the remedy? The remedy is one or two things, or both. One is that if the article dealt with is an article upon which there is a customs duty, the Governor in Council may reduce the duty to whatever extent they see fit. Or, on the other hand, a penalty may be imposed that is provided under the criminal law. Now I say one or both things may be done. But we have had the same law on the statute-books since 1899, providing that the same thing might be done, and we have had no prosecution. Why? Because it has been said bv eminent lawyers who have looked into lit, and by that very high authority, Sir Oliver Mowat, that no prosecution can successfully be carried on under that law; and yet this is just exactly the same law that has been declared to be unworkable, and under which a prosecution could not successfully be sustained. If you look over the whole ground you can come to but one conclusion and that is that this Act is only a gold brick to the people, making them

believe that some new device has been introduced whereby they may get justice and whereby that which is a combine to the detriment of the consumer or the producer may be punished. I am sure that the law will remain on the statute-book for years to come and no prosecution practically will take place under it. I need not say anything with regard to the trouble, annoyance, delay and everything else that are going to result, or as to who will pav the expense, because it is so unworkable that it seems to me that it is little less than a straw. It reminds me very much of the story of the German who traded horses. When he was asked if he had any fault, to which he Teplied, no except some trifling ones of no account. After the deal was completed, the new owner said what are those trifling faults, to which he replied- one that the horse was hard to catch and the other that was no good when he was not caught. The people have got this Bill and it is no good when they have got it.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT.
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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the House foT a moment or two to a paragraph that I find in the Winnipeg ' Tribune ' on the cement merger.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

OrdeT.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT.
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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The question is on the third reading of this Bill.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Has my hon. friend reference to this Bill ?

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CON
LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I understood that the hon. gentleman wanted to' put a question.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

No, it is in reference to combines that I want to speak. In the early part of the session I drew the attention of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) to the effect that the cement merger was likely to have in increasing the cost of cement in the province of Manitoba and throughout the Dominion. I hold in my hand the Winnipeg ' Tribune ' of the 23rd instant, a paper that hon. gentlemen on the opposite side used to swear by. It is as follows :

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HIGH TARIFF AND COMBINES.


The advocates of high protective tariff would do well to consider the effect of high duty in the case of cement. In the course of last year about 400,000 barrels of cement passed through Winnipeg, and roughly speaking, about half of this quantity was used in Winnipeg, or for Winnipeg works. In view of the inordinate amount of building in the city and such works as the new bridges and the power plant at Pointe du Bois, which will alone require at least sixty or seventy thousand barrels, it is more than fair to assume that at least the same quantity will be required by Winnipeg ratepayers this year, namely, 200,000 barrels. How much more will this amount cost this Mr. SPEOULE. year than last? At the present time contractors in the city are paying $2.40 a barrel for the same grade of cement as they were purchasing as low as $1.80 last year before the merger was formed, which was brought into existence by the high protective tariff- an advance of 60 cents. This means that if this rate is maintained-and there is no reason for supposing anything else-Winnipeg alone will pay $120,000 more for its cement than last year. At the present time the merger is selling cement at from 10 to- 15 cents a barrel less than the price at which it can be brought in from the United States. They have protection of from 51 to 52 cents per barrel, which is prohibitive. A barrel of cement can be sold at the factory anywhere in Ontario, in round figures, at $1 a barrel. The duty is, therefore, over 50 per cent. If the duty were reduced to 30 * per cent, which is the average charge on manufactured goods, then it would be possible for the consumer of Manitoba to import their cement from the United States, if the Canadian merger did not make a fair price. I would like to emphasize what I said in an earlier part of the session when I had the assurance of tire Minister of Finance at that time that a Bill was under way which would deal with this matter. It is very important to the western country. I may say that in all our great structures today due perhaps to the increased cost of lumber, we are using cement very largely arid while the ' Tribune ' estimates that 400,000 barrels of cement will pass through Winnipeg this year over different lines, I think it would be safe to say that a far larger quantity of cement will have to pass through Winnipeg to supply the needs of that growing country. I would like to ask the minister in charge of this Bill if he intends to make an investigation and take such proceedings as to cause the meTger to do what is fair with the people in the west. The suggestion of the ' Tribune ' that the protection should be reduced on this article, I think, is a very fair and wise one. I think that when we find that mergers are causing an increase in the cost of commodities which they are producing which is unfair to the consumer, the government should reduce or take off the duty altogether if it is necessary to force the combines to give the people the product, whatever it may be, at reasonable price. There is no doubt about this cement merger being a serious drawback to the west. You could get cement 'at $1.80 last year; now it is $2.40 a barrel. That is brought about, I am satisfied, 'by the merger, and the government ought to take immediate action to protect the consumer in this matter.


CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

Mr. Speaker, before the Bill is read a third time I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Labour (Mr. King) a question in connection with clause 5. It says :

Where six or more persons are of opinion that a combine exists, and that prices have been enhanced or competition restricted by reason of such combine, to the detriment of consumers, such persons may make an application to a judge for an order directing an investigation into such alleged combine.

In connection with that application, made by such six persons, there will be considerable expense. There will have to be legal advice and quite a lot of expense in connection with it and the question I would like to ask the Minister of Labour is whether the government intend to assume that expense. I may say that if they do not the utility of the bill is entirely destroyed. I would like an answer to that question before the bill is read a third time.

Topic:   HIGH TARIFF AND COMBINES.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. MACKENZIE KING (Minister of Labour).

Mr. Speaker, the hon member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), in all his speaking on this Bill, has, I think, kept too largely in mind the enactments passed with which he has had to do. He seems to forget that in this measure particular stress is not laid on the prosecution side, but that it is rather to the investigation feature that the government look for the chief advantage to be derived. The hon. member for East Grey has pointed out that there may be half a dozen different stages through which persons adversely affected by a combine may have to go before they get the result which they would like to get in the way of a remedy. Let me say in the first place that there are *certain classes of industrial evils in regard to which publicity is more effective than penalty and therefore it is not in the penalty (side of this measure that the remedy will lie so much as in the fear and consequence of the publicity which will be given to the wrongful doings of particular combines.

Topic:   HIGH TARIFF AND COMBINES.
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April 26, 1910