July 3, 1919


has been shown by the hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson), they, too, have recommended the adoption of a policy1 similar to that which we are venturing to enter upon by this legislation. Consequently from the courses now being pursued in other countries, from the deliberations of hon. members of this House through these latter years and their observations of what is taking place in our own country, and particularly from the earnest deliberations of the Cost of Living Committee of this House, we surely now come to the discussion of this measure fairly well prepared to deal with it intelligently and to pass upon it according to its merits. Therefore, it seems to me the second reading may now be passed. But I invite hon. members opposite to say yes or no to this legislation. Surely it is not sufficient on the part of any hon. member to say, as did the hon. member, I think, for Kent-at least, one hon. member opposite-" I refuse to take any responsibility." No hon. member can refuse to take responsibility. He must stand for or against legislation that comes before Parliament. If hon. members are opposed to the measure, let them say they are opposed to it; if they are in favour of the measure, let them say they are in favour of it; and if they are not in favour of the measure, let them direct the attention of the House to a better form of legislation to attain the end that this Bill has in sight. Motion agreed to.


UNION

William Sora Middlebro (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Unionist

Mr. W. S. MIDDLEBRO (Grey North):

Mr. Speaker, rule 8 provides that upon a division the Yeas and Nays shall not be entered upon the minutes, unless demanded by five members. As five members rose to ask for the Yeas and Nays, we are therefore entitled to have the Yeas and Nays taken.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

There being no contrary voice, there can be no division of opinion.

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UNION

William Sora Middlebro (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Unionist

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

As it now appears that the House is unanimous that the Bill should receive its second reading, I do not insist upon the formal taking of the Yeas and Nays.

On motion of Hon. Mr. Meighen (Acting Minister of Justice), the House went into Committee on the Bill; Mr. Boivin in the Chair.

On section 2-definitions:

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

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Amendment agreed to. Section as amended agreed to. On section 4-appointment:


UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

I refrained from speaking on the principle of the Bill, Mr. Chairman, because the few remarks I have ito make have reference .to clause 4, and I think they are practically along the same lines as those of the member for Chateau-guay-Huntingdon (Mr. Robb). This Bill [DOT] particularly exempts agriculturists and employees; it therefore deals particularly with manufacturers and merchants. Now, not all manufacturers and merchants are profiteers. This House has no sympathy with those that are, and there can be no objection whatever to having the most thorough investigation. But I want to. point out .that this Bill provides for wide means of inquisitorial examination-that it is possible to go very completely into what have hitherto been considered the private affairs of a business concern. No business concern that is doing what is honest and right has any fear of investigation; but it does want the investigation to be made by an impartial man, and I contend that the last part of subsection (2) of clause 4 should be amended so as to provide that ithe chief commissioner of this board shall be a judge-a judge of staiiding, a judge of reputation as a fair-minded man. A judge is a man who has been accustomed to give fair play to all concerned, to arrive at his conclusions after the evidence has been heard from both sides. A judge usually has a very wide experience, for he touches a great many phases of life in his judicial career, and he learns to know a great deal about the general transactions of business. Therefore a judge is eminently fitted to act as chairman of this very important board. I know perfectly well that the class of people throughout Canada who are to be investigated 'by this Act are quite prepared to submit freely and voluntarily to any such investigation as Parliament may order, there will be no obstacle thrown in the way, but they wish to be assured that that investigation will be at the hands of an Impartial commission.

They do not want that commission to be headed by some lawyer who is a sensationalist, who wants to make a reputation for himself, who is constantly passing out to the press reports that are of a. half-baked

or half-considered character. They want a man of judicial temperament and of reputation as a fair-minded man. I move, therefore, that subsection 2 of section 4 be amended by striking out the following words at the end thereof: "Or who is a barrister or advocate of at least ten years' standing at the bar of any such province"; so as to confine the choice to a judge of the Superior Court of any province.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTEK:

Unless the constitution of the commission is changed, this amendment would be very unfair. The commissioners are appointed for only ten years, and to take a judge off the Bench, where he may, subject to good conduct, remain for life, and to make him a commissioner under this Act for a term of ten years is not fair to the judge. I point out to my hon. friend (Sir Herbert Ames) that judges, who are all of such judicial mind and who are so fair and so adverse to sensation, are drawn from barristers of ten years' standing; so that the judicial mind is not' confined to those who are not of the Bench. There are judges who like sensation, just as there are lawyers who like sensation, and if the proper type of lawyer is appointed to this board he will be found to be possessed of the judicial mind and the dislike of sensation which my hon. friend so much desires to find in the appointee.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I really do not like to leave it open to the Governor in Council to appoint a judge alone, especially a judge of the Superior Court. It is quite possible that no judge of the Superior Court will accept the office.

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

The public would be far more satisfied with this enactment if they felt that its administration was in the hands of a man who had proved himself to be a wise and impartial judge. Very wide powers are being placed in thehands of this Chief Commissioner- wide powers are being placed in the

than have ever been given to any one in Canada. If you wish to have the Act accepted with favohr by the public, you should give to the public a guarantee that the nomination will be of such a character that justice and fair play will be assured.

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UNION

Levi Thomson

Unionist

Mr. LEVI THOMSON:

The chief commissioner of the Board of Railway Commissioners is a lawyer, and I do not think iany complaint has ever been made with regard to that board. Some members of the Bar who have not been appointed as judges may be better suited to this position than any judge who might be available. I do

not think the Government should be circumscribed in their choice; the very best man available should be had. The suggestion of my hon. friend (Sir Herbert Ames) would, if adopted, restrict that choice and endanger the carrying out of the desire of the House. In my opinion, the section is better as it is.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Subsection 3 provides a ten-year job for somebody, and whoever is appointed may hold the job until he is seventy-five years of age. I cannot quite understand why these commissioners should be limited to the professional class, to judges or to lawyers. I am not ready to admit that all the wisdom centres around gentlemen who have been trained to the Bar. But in preparing this legislation the Government are following the procedure laid down by the Prime Minister in selecting his Cabinet, for he has practically surrounded himself with lawyers. The business men, the labouring classes and the agricultural classes throughout the country have a suspicion that there are too many lawyers in this Government, and it is not a very great recommendation of their abilities that it takes twenty-three of these gentlemen and two under-secretaries to do work that was better done by the fourteen ministers of the Laurier Administration.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I see six lawyers around the hon. member now.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

That is not an argument that all the wisdom centres around these gentlemen. These gentlemen of the law have been living upon, the public treasury for the last three years, holding various commissions and that kind of thing, and now that the military tribunals are going out of business jobs must be found for them somewhere. The impression in the country will be that this is a measure to provide positions for some friends of the Government whose jobs are fading away now that peace has come.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is a matter of wonder to me, then, why the hon. gentleman supported the measure. As to the occupation of the man who should be chairman, the reason for this provision is the same as in the case of the Railway Commission. In the appointment of the chairman of the Railway Commission, the same class is to be selected from, the reason being that the work of the chairman is judicial, and that in a very short time there will grow up a body of jurisprudence that will be of value in the further conduct of the work of this board, just as there has grown up a like

body of jurisprudence in the work of the Kailway Commission. If the chairman were of any other occupation I cannot see how he could carry on his work efficiently unless he had counsel appointed to sit beside him and give him assistance. The work as chairman is essentially judicial; the other two commissioners do not require to be lawyers.

Amendment (Sir Herbert Ames) negatived.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not think it would be well to have an assistant chief commissioner when there are to be only three commissioners. There is an assistant chief commissioner of the Railway Commission, but I think it would be better not to have that here. I therefore move:

That subsection 1 of section 4 be amended by striking out all the words after the word "and" in the second line thereof and substituting therefor the following: " each of the others shall be known as assistant commissioner."

I move also:

That subsection 3 of section 4 be amended by striking out the following words in the second and third lines thereof: " and the Assistant Chief Commissioner the office of Assistant Chief Commissioner " ; and by striking out the words " they respectively continue to be members " in the fourth line thereof and replacing them by the words " he continues to be a member."

Subsection 3 will then read:

The Chief Commissioner shall be entitled to hold the office of Chief Commissioner as long as he continues to be a member of the board.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTEK:

You have three commissioners, and you call one of them chief commissioner. Why give any other title but commissioner to the others?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Because I want the other * two to be equal, so that there will be no priority as between the other two.

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

Have we the assurance of the minister that every effort will be made to secure a judge as chief commissioner?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The minister has not the matter entirely in his own hands. I realize that other things being equal, the reputation that attaches to a judge, " the divinity that doth hedge " him, would be of considerable value.

Sir HERBERT AMElS : And his experience and reputation.

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July 3, 1919