July 3, 1919

L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

There are some

hon. members who do not understand English very well, and I think they are entitled to read the Bill in French. I do not think we should proceed with the Bill when it is not printed in French; I believe there is a rule to that effect.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

There is no hon. member present who does not understand English well. I am sure all hon. members behind him do', and certainly my hon. friend does.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I am not so sure about that.

Section as amended agreed to.

On section 5-Chief Commissioner may authorize a commissioner to exercise certain of his powers:

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Here is the very same objection that we had to the Civil Service Commissioners delegating some one else to carry out certain duties.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That cannot be done

under this Bill. The commissioner can only authorize another commissioner, not an outsider.

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Section agreed to. On section 6-quorum:


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Mr. McM ASTER@

There will have to be a change made in line 8 on page 3. You have the words " Assistant Chief Commissioner " there.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The Government have received protests from Boards of Trade against this legislation, and it is scarcely fair to the House or the country that the minister should come down at this late hour

I

with the Bill and immediately start to amend it. Either his officers have not been careful in drafting the Bill or the minister himself has not been careful. We have been sitting here since eleven o'clock yesterday and it is now nearly one o'clock in the morning and the House will be opening again in another ten hours. I think it is not fair to the House nor to the men in the Press Gallery, who have been here since early morning, to go on with the Bill to-night. I think we should report progress.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. member need not be afraid about the drafting of the Bill. It was decided when the Bill was drafted, not to proceed upon the principle of having any one as Assistant Commissioner. It was thought there should be no priority as between the two. These are merely clerical amendments. There is virtually no other amendment except one to amend clause 19, merely to provide that the money for salaries and so forth shall be voted by Parliament instead of being left to the Governor in Council.

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

I would suggest

where these clerical amendments have to be made the clause might stand.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes.

Section stands.

On section 7-where interested in matter, etc., Governor in Council may appoint another person to act:

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Mr. McM ASTER@

After providing that

no commissioner who has got an interest in any matter can act as a judge in that matter, which is quite proper, this clause goes on to provide:

Provided that no commissioner shall he disqualified to act by reason of interest or ot kindred or affinity to any person interested in any matter before the 'board.

That is directly contrary to our practice before the ordinary courts, where a judge refuses to sit if his son appears before him to represent a party. A fortiori, if a commissioner 'has a son whose business is being investigated, it seems to me that that commissioner should not sit, but that someone should take his place. I think I have only to point this out to the minister for him to see the reasonableness of my suggestion.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The clause does not

mean that. It does not empower any commissioner to act in a case in which he himself is interested as against the common law.

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Mr. McM ASTER@

I am not complaining about the first part of the clause but the latter part.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The latter part is a common provision, and is indeed in the Act creating the Railway Commission. The first part of the clause provides that if there is affinity or kinship between the commissioner and any one on trial before him, upon application by the commissioner or by the Governor in 'Council without application an ad hoc commissioner may be appointed. That is not compulsory at all. The latter part of the clause provides that if it should not be done, and later it should turn out that there was some kinship, that shall not upset the whole proceeding.

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L LIB

Thomas Vien

Laurier Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

It means that the commissioner would not be disqualified from sitting in a matter in which he had a direct interest. The minister says it does not give him the right to sit, but the clause clearly says that he is not disqualified from sitting, and if he is not disqualified he is qualified to sit when a matter in which he is directly interested comes before the board.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What I said was that there was nothing to qualify a man as against the common law, that is, if the common, law disqualified him from sitting by reason of interest this does not qualify him. He is disqualified if he is a judge of .a lower court buit no judge of a court of record is now disqualified on account of interest. The law presumes that his character is such that he will not be influenced by that fact.

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Mr. McM ASTER@

He can be refused in our province.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

He cannot throughout the rest of the Dominion if he is a judge of the court of record.

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Mr. McM ASTER@

Where a commissioner is interested in a matter which comes before him he may be replaced under this clause by the Governor in Council appointing another man. I think that the law should go farther. I think it should provide that no man should sit in an investigation in which he is personally interested. I would suggest the advisability of amending the Act in that sense. I am rather surprised to learn that in the other provinces in the Dominion a judge can sit on a matter in which he is personally interested. With us in Quebec that would be a just ground for

objection. Under our practice no judge would think of sitting on a matter in which he is interested. .

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July 3, 1919