May 6, 1918

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L LIB
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Francis N. McCrea

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCREA:

From Toronto. Mr. Clarkson reported that from the books of these thirteen companies, as he bad examined them, the cost of manufacturing paper was $56.90 a ton. Mr. Pringle, after having held I don't know how many sessions at different places, but very many, on the 1st of September, or prior to that, made an interim report to the effect that he had not completed his investigation and examination, but that he had gone far enough to satisfy himself that the cost of making paper -as established by the auditor was a

fair and reasonable conclusion to arrive at, and he stated in effect: Whilst my examination is not completed, I would recommend that the price of newsprint to the Canadian publishers from September 1 to January 1 be 2.85 cents a pound, or $57 a ton. The publishers, who had all the opportunity they needed, could have produced any evidence that they wished to, attended all the sessions and sittings, and asked all questions. They could have been represented to establish their case that paper should be sold at $50 a ton. They evidently did not take any part in the investigation, or not very much, but instead of accepting the recommendation of Mr. Pringle of 2.85 cents a pound they came down in force to Ottawa and simply told the Cabinet and the minister: You shall not accept Mr. Pringle's report; if you do-I do not know what they said, but it sounded to me like a threat.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

Nothing of the kind. The hon. gentleman will permit me to say 'So, as I was present. Nothing of the kind was said by the publishers. There was no threat whatever. *

Mr. MicCREA: No threats? Just listen. Mr. Richardson, Member of Parliament for Springfield, is, I may state, the proprietor of the Winnipeg Tribune, and wias one of the publishers who attended that meeting, and spoke before the sub-committee of the Cabinet. The publishers came down to protect against the Government accepting Mr. Pringle's report. Naturally, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, and hon. gentlemen, if you would hot expect, when this delegation came before the sub-committee of the Cabinet, that they uTould offer some argument why they could not stay in business and pay the increased price, or give some reason to show that the manufacturer was getting an exorbitant price. But what did Mr. Richardson say?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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Francis N. McCrea

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCREA:

Shortly before the election. Here is what Mr. Richardson said:

The newspapers are doing a good work for this country. You may And if you grant this order that it .will be necessary for the Union Government to take over the national newspapers and furnish their own editorials.

I)S that giving an argument why the publisher could not pay the price, or why the manufacturer was getting too much? Was that a threat or what would you call it? I would call it a threat not an argument.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

Will the hon. gentleman allow me a word? That is not a correct transcription of what wras said because there is no such thing as national newspapers. How'ever, the point I made was a joke and was laughed at and aocepted as a joke, as the hon. Acting Minister of Finance, wrho was there at the time, knows.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

As to the furnishing of their own editorials, the hon. member must see, as everybody saw, that that was a joke.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION
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Francis N. McCrea

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCREA:

Mr. Rowell, replying to your statement, said:

They would lack variety in that case.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION
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Francis N. McCrea

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCREA:

Hold on a minute. Here is what follows:

Mr. Richardson: If you contemplate that possibility I think you would rather hesitate before making an order of this kind.

Is that a threat, or giving a reason? I ask you

.

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Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member must address the Chair.

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Francis N. McCrea

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCREA:

Is that an answer or a reason wdiy the manufacturers of newsprint should not get the price suggested by the commissioner w'ho had been appointed by this Government?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

It w'as no particular reason. The reason the publishers waited upon the Government and asked that the order be not enforced was that the publishers withdrew from 'the investigation months before, having made up their minds that the investigation wyas loaded against them and that they could not rely upon having a decent investigation. They refused to proceed. They never asked that the price of newsprint be less than cost plus a reasonable interest on capital.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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UNION
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Francis N. McCrea

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCREA:

Mr. Speaker, I put it to you and to this House, the Government

had not been asked by the manufacturers alone to appoint a commission, but by the manufacturers and' publishers jointly. They appointed Mr. Pringle, who is well known to the members of this House, and I do not think any hon. member has a right to impugn Mr. Pringle's character or honesty. They not only appointed Mr. Pringle, but Mr. Clarkson, a capable and prominent auditor. The Government appoints only capable men. Mr. Clarkson's report* that he investigated the books of thirteen of the leading manufacturers in Canada, and that he found the cost to be $56.90 per ton. Mr. Pringle recommends that $2.85 shall be the price from September 1 to January 1, and when he completes his report the price may be more or may be less.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
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May 6, 1918