February 3, 1933

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

So far as this handbook provides reliable information I have no exception to take; it is the kind of publication which I think is very useful. However, in this particular number a very considerable part is devoted not to authentic information on matters of general interest but to what purports to be an account of the recent Imperial economic conference held at Ottawa. There is given what purports to be a story of the conditions which led up to the conference, what took place and what achievements were attained. I must say very frankly that the greater portion of What has been added in this way this year is in the nature of Tory propaganda; it is ini no sense of the word reliable statistical information and should not be published and circulated at government expense. In addition, I say that it should not have been written at government expense. I would point out that there is material in this book which has not been written by anyone connected with the bureau of statistics, and I make that statement without fear of contradiction by the minister.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I am afraid my right hon. friend will have to face my contradiction.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Then I shall read the minister a statement from the book itself which shows that what he is now saying is wrong.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

This book was compiled by the bureau and was then submitted and discussed with the Department of External Affairs in so far as the imperial conference references are concerned. If the right hon. gentleman will refer to something specific to which he takes exception, I shall be very glad to pay attention to what he has to say. I am simply asserting that this book has been compiled in a manner similar to all the preceding issues.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I will draw the minister's attention to a note which the Dominion Statistician evidently felt it important to insert in this book. It is signed by Mr. R. H. Coats, and reads:

This handbook has been prepared in the Dominion Bureau of Statistics from material which has, in the main, been obtained from tile different branches of the bureau.

In certain special fields information has been kindly contributed by other branches of the government service.

I venture to say that none of the material relating to the conference has been supplied by the bureau; as the minister says, it has been contributed by the Department of External Affairs.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My right hon. friend is wrong. It was written by the officers of the bureau and then submitted to the Department of External Affairs for verification or such comments as they chose to make.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The statement of the Dominion Statistician is this:

This handbook has been prepared in the Dominion Bureau of Statistics from material which has, in the main, been obtained from the different branches of the bureau.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Necessarily, in this book

there must be information which is not drawn immediately from the bureau of statistics. For instance, I open it at random. Take life insurance: obviously, such information on that subject as is purely statistical would be in the bureau and other parts would come from Mr. Findayson, superintendent of insurance. As regards the Post Office Department, such information as there is in this book regarding, post offices would be compiled from the bureau in part but would include information secured from the Post Office Department. So one can take other portions of the book. As regards the water powers of Canada, the bureau would have such information as is purely statistical, but where there are historic references or matters of interest of a literary character pertaining to water powers, that would be furnished by the water power branch. There is nothing sinister about the introduction. I venture to say it is the same as is used in all others. It is simply a routine introduction that has always been used.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would draw

the minister's attention to what is clearly an insertion in the book, undoubtedly inserted after the whole book was finally prepared. I think the minister can see there are four pages that are largely in the nature of illustration, that clearly have been added to the book and that do not form a part of it as it was originally prepared, dealing entirely with the Imperial economic conference of 1932. I have no objection, if the government so wishes, to the reproduction of pictures and the like, of the Imperial economic conference, but surely there has been enough of that at the public expense without perpetuating it indefinitely in government publications. May I draw attention to the very first page. I would ask by what authority the government.

FEBRUARY 3, 1933 ip 1809

Supply-Trade and Commerce

inserts this kind of thing in a handbook which purports to be authoritative as to existing conditions in Canada?

The agreement signed to-day constitutes a definite advance towards closer empire economic association. Because of this, we may fairly lay claim to an achievement greater than that of which any other conference can boast.

All this is, as is stated at the end:

Excerpt from the speech of the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett, Chairman of the Imperial economic conference, at the plenary session, Ottawa, August 20, 1932.

It goes on:

We have commonly acknowledged that empire association can be based advantageously upon the principle of reciprocal preferences, and by our several agreements have evidenced our belief that these preferences ensure the greatest benefits when they are predicated upon a general empire tariff plan.

. . . but this propitious beginning must not blind us to the fact that it is but a beginning, and that if this scheme of closer empire association is to endure and bring to each one of us the benefits we hope for, further action must be taken at a not too distant date.

How does that- find a rightful place in an official handbook of present conditions in Canada? It is a reproduction of a part of a speech made by the Prime Minister at the Imperial economic conference and contains a number of statements that are highly controversial. There is not in this house agreement that a general empire tariff plan is what is desired. I venture to say that bon. gentlemen opposite are very much in doubt about the wisdom of a general empire tariff plan, and certainly everyone on this side of the house is decidedly opposed to anything of the kind. Why should we and those whom we represent be called upon to authorize an expenditure from the federal treasury for the spread of that sort of political propaganda? There is an introduction by the minister, with a very nice portrait of himself, which is quite appropriate, but a little further on another portrait of the minister also appears. I have not any objection to any number of portraits of the minister being published, but if he intends to circulate them, let him circulate two different ones, and not the same one in two different places and sizes.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Where are they? I have not seen them.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There is one

on page 7 and another on page 179, the same portrait but a little smaller.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

We do that to save

expense.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That, however, is a minor affair and I do not wish to more

than mention it. I want however, to draw attention to the minister's review at the beginning. The greater part of it was taken up with the imperial and international situation. It is in large part simply one of the minister's speeches on the Imperial economic conference and its effects. I have no objection to the circulation of the minister's speeches in as large numbers as he chooses so long as this is not done at the public expense.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

What is my right bon.

friend referring to now?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The introduction on page 7, what the minister has to say there and on the following pages about the imperial conference, why it was called, what it did, and so forth.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That is not any speech at all.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is the same sort of material the minister is using in his speeches.

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LIB
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is the same tone. I thought my hon. friend said "the same dope," and so it is.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It shows that I take my

speeches from the material of the bureau.

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February 3, 1933