Mr. JACQUES BUREAU (Three Rivers):
Mr. Speaker, I have only one word to add to what I said previously, but before I do so I want to re-affirm what I said before, namely, that it is rather late in the session to bring forward such an important measure as this one, and I for one do not want to assume any responsibility in the matter. I do not, however, want to be understood as objecting to the Bill; any measure which will tend to restrain combines, monopolies, trusts and mergers and the enhancement of the price of commodities, has my sympathy. But I do not believe that we ought to be called upon to make a pronouncement or
to assume any responsibility when such important legislation as this is brought down, to use a stereotyped phrase, in the dying hours of the session. I have looked over Bill No. 166, and I find matters to which exception can be taken and matters to be discussed in committee as the sections are read; but there is one thing in particular which affects the principle of the Bill and to which I desire to call the attention of the House. The Bill constitutes a tribunal to enforce the Combines and Fair Prices Act, 1919. In one of these two Bills-I do not know which one it is as they are. so closely interwoven-it is stated that the two Bills shall and ought to be read together of course, for otherwise you cannot have a fair or intelligent understanding of the Bill. In other words, Bill No. 166 creates the tool which is to be used in working out the object of Bill No. 167. Bill No. 166 creates a tribunal to try an offence which is not yet before the House, that offence being in Bill No. 167. I may be wrong, but, in my opinion, in this case the cart is before the horse; let that however, be as it may. The principle of the Bill is to invest a tribunal with powers similar to those of the Railway Commission as regards railway matters, but to deal with those matters which form part of Bill No. 167, namely, to investigate and restrain combines and monopolies. After this tribunal has been vested with wide powers to investigate all these matters and to pronounce upon them, and after the procedure under which the investigation shall be held is determined, clause 41 of the Bill states:
The Governor in Council may, in his discretion, either upon petition of any person interested, lodged within one month after the making of the order, decision, rule or regulation-
This is the making of the order, decision, rule or regulation by the .board which is to be created under this Bill. It goes on:
-or within such further time as the board, under special circumstances may allow, or of his own motion, at any time-
After all that has been done, after all these investigations have been held, and after all these rules and regulations and judgments have been made-
The Governor in Council may of
his own motion, at any time, and without any petition or application, vary or rescind any order, decision, rule or regulation of the board, Whether such order or decision is made inter partes or otherwise, and whether such regulation is general or limited in its scope and application.
This whole system-the court which is to be created and the procedure which it is to
follow-is subject to the whim, I might say, of the Governor in Council, who can upset it with a stroke of his pen. If the Government is in earnest, if they are not merely trying to throw dust in the eyes of the people, let the board have full power, and -if any wrong done by the board needs righting, let it be done by the judiciary of Canada; let it be done by the Supreme Court. That is one of my objections to this Bill. ,
There are other things in it which do not please me, but which are matters of opinion and can be discussed when the Bill is in Committee. Certain changes will have to be made undoubtedly, because I notice that some clauses conflict with others, but that we can discuss later. Now I do not want people to go out and say to-morrow that I am against the principle of this Bill. I am willing to support anything that will ease conditions and help reduce the cost of living, if that is possible. What I object to is that such important legislation as this should be brought down at this late hour of the session, when hon, members have not an opportunity to consider it thoroughly before passing judgment upon it.
Subtopic: BOARD OF COMMERCE ACT, 1919.