May 2, 1922

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

There is a large increase which I should like the minister to explain. Would he also state to whom this money is paid? That is, is it simply paid to the Printing Bureau; or how much of it, if any, is paid outside of the Printing Bureau? Does this include the publications of the statistical bureau; and if it does, is there a corresponding decrease in other departments owing to the consolidation of the statistical branches?

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

As to the consolidation

feature of the matter, I am not prepared to answer the question offhand, but this amount is all paid to our own Printing Bureau. As my hon. friend will remember, prior to last year this work was done by the different departments, and when it was transferred to this department of printing, a guess was made as to how much it was going to cost and we guessed wrong. Therefore, we have to put in a sufficient amount to cover the expenses this year.

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CON
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I regret I have not that information with me.

1ST 1

Supply-Trade and Commerce

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PRO

Robert Milton Johnson

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSON (Moosejaw) :

The minister has stated that formerly this printing was done in various departments. Will he tell us if he has effected economies by consolidating the printing under one department?

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

That was the idea of the consolidation. We shall be able to measure that when the returns are all completed.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

In the absence of a little defence for the previous government by the minister, I cannot allow my hon. friend (Mr. Johnson), with his usual subtlety, to get away with the suggestion carefully concealed or partially veiled in his question. This consolidation was commenced long ago by the late government, and it was fairly well accomplished, with the object of effecting these economies. I asked the minister if he could show us that other departments were not duplicating some of these charges which, apparently and undoubtedly, have been charged to this department. He said that he had not the information with him. I do not think it would be fair to leave the committee with the opinion that the late government did not effect this economy. I do not wish to harp on the matter, but my hon. friend was just a little too clever in the way he put his question.

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PRO

Robert Milton Johnson

Progressive

Mr. JOHNSON (Moosejaw) :

I have another question to ask in connection with this item, and I should like to assure the hon. member for Centre Vancouver (Mr. Stevens) that he gave me credit for something that was not in my mind. I had rather thought this estimate of more importance than the reputation of any party. The question I would like to ask is: To what extent is there a demand for these government publications? I speak from observation covering a number of years, and it seems to me that, in past years, no matter what party happened to be in power, some sections of the country were flooded at times with publications that were not needed. I believe they have a value; but they have a value only if they go into the hands of those who will read them. Are they asked for, or does the department distribute them more or less indiscriminately ?

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

They a're asked for, and the mailing list is revised periodically. Post cards are sent out asking those who have received these reports if they desire them continued. If no reply comes, the names of those who do not reply are eventually

CMr. Robb.]

taken off the list, and the list is revised from time to time.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

The hon. member for Moosejaw (Mr. Johnson), has brought up a question of some importance. I suppose, as a member of Parliament, a man receives a fairly liberal supply of these publications. I think I can speak for the average member of this House when I say that fully one-half of the publications, which are issued by the government and sent to the individual member, are of no practical use at all. We do not look at them; we do not open them; we consign them to the waste-paper basket a minute or two after we receive them. I am sorry to say that my experience has been that many business houses which receive these reports do the same thing. The mailing list could be very greatly curtailed. Five or six years ago the quantity of unnecessary printing that was done in this country was a positive scandal, and we undertook to see what could be done to remedy that difficulty. Not only was the number of publications greatly reduced, but the mailing list was greatly reduced. I believe the minister would perform a very valuable service if he would look into the question of a further reduction of the mailing-list and also a further reduction in the number of publications. In my own case, and I think it is the case with every member of this House and every member of the local legislatures in this Dominion, more than half what is sent might well be dispensed with and that money saved. If the minister will give that matter his consideration I think he will do a valuable service.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I will give my hon. friend that assurance so far as my own department is concerned. I cannot be responsible for other departments.

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Item agreed to. Progress reported. On motion of Mr. Beland the House adjourned at 10.35 p.im. Wednesday, May 3, 1922


May 2, 1922