July 3, 1919

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

How does the minister argue that it is necessary that the chief commissioner should be a judge or a lawyer, when, according to clause 6, two commissioners shall form a quorum, and subclause 3 of clause 6, says:

No vacancy in the board shall impair the right of the remaining commissioners to act.

And in that case if the judge or lawyer who is the chief commissioner should resign, then the other two commissioners, who may be farmers or business men, are. in the judgment of the minister quite qualified to act.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes, because when they do any order made must be supervised by the chief commissioner. That appears in a clause in the Bill. The very same principle is followed here as is followed in the Board of Railway Commissioners. In the Railway Commission the junior commissioner may act, but there is a supervisory power in the-chairman of the commission. It is on account of that power that he requires to have a knowledge of the law.

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Mr. McM ASTER@

I trust the minister

will not regard my objection as captious. But he rather depreciates the status of other commissioners by calling them " assistant commissioners." There was some reason for the word " assistant " when he had an assistant commissioner, but now when he has three commissioners and he calls one of them a chief commissioner, there is no necessity of calling the others assistant commissioners. They are not there to "assist" the chief commissioner; they are there to do their work as commissioners.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The chief commissioner is a commissioner too, so that I think the distinction is just a little bit clearer.

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Mr. McM ASTER@

It makes no great difference. What is the necessity for the provision that the chief commissioner shall be entitled to hold the office of chief commissioner so long as he continues to be a member of the board?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN :

It means simply that once appointed he is entitled to hold that position so long as he is a commissioner.

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Mr. McM ASTER@

Does not that go without saying?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Perhaps it does, but

this is merely taken out of the clause in the Bill creating the Railway Commission. I move to strike out the words " the assistant chief" in the twenty-second line and to replace them by the words " assistant," so that the clause will now read:

An assistant commissioner shall have all the powers-

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Amendments agreed to.


L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I notice there is no

provision made here for either the chief commissioner or any of the commissioners being able to speak or understand both languages. In a body like this that is proposed to be a democratic court, and to which any man may come with his story, not necessarily being represented by counsel, it is highly essential that someone on that body should be able to understand both languages. It is desirable that the chief commissioner should be able to speak both languages, but if not the chief commissioner, at least one of the body should be able to speak both language.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That may be, but I do not think an amendment should be made circumscribing the powers of the Governor in Council to gain that end. There was no such provision in the appointment of the six members of the Railway Commission, and the circumscription would be greater here if you compel one of the three commissioners to speak both languages. If it is practicable, that may be done, but it may not be practicable. I do not know.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I do not wish to be obnoxious, but I have just been informed that the Bill has not been printed in French.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARGHAMBAULT:

I understand that when a clause in English is passed, the similar clause in French is also passed. There may be a discrepancy between the clause in the French and the same clause in the English Bill. Therefore, if clauses in French are to be passed without our knowing how they read, I do not believe it is fair to go on with the Bill.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

If a clause passes, then that clause as passed in English as translated into French exactly as passed.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

There may be an error in translation. I remember cases where the sense of the French clause was entirely different from the sense in the English clause although the translators did their best to translate it properly. If we are to be asked to pass a clause in English and then see the translation of it, and the translation has a different meaning from the clause in English, that is not a proper way of passing, the Bill.

. Mr. MEIGHEN: Of course, if the translation is wrong I presume it could be corrected.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

It is often wrong. How could it be corrected?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It could be corrected

at all events where amendments are made.

. Mr? ARCHAMBAULT: Next year.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, this year. For example, clause 4 must now be translated into French, which will amount to the same thing as if the French translation of the original Bill was in the hands of the hon. member. Where we pass a clause without amendment it may be true that the clause in French is passed automatically. We must always run the risk of wrong translation, more or less.

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July 3, 1919