May 11, 1933

LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

He has talked enough now.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT LOAN, $750,000,000 REDEMPTION OP OBLIGATIONS AND PURCHASE OF UNMATURED SECURITIES
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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

If it suits the purposes of the hon. member we can let the bill go through committee and I will hold the third reading.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT LOAN, $750,000,000 REDEMPTION OP OBLIGATIONS AND PURCHASE OF UNMATURED SECURITIES
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, considered in committee and reported.


CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

When shall the bill be read the third time?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT LOAN, $750,000,000 REDEMPTION OP OBLIGATIONS AND PURCHASE OF UNMATURED SECURITIES
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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

At a later hour this day, if that suits hon. members.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT LOAN, $750,000,000 REDEMPTION OP OBLIGATIONS AND PURCHASE OF UNMATURED SECURITIES
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

At this sitting.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT LOAN, $750,000,000 REDEMPTION OP OBLIGATIONS AND PURCHASE OF UNMATURED SECURITIES
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RADIO BROADCASTING ACT

PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF


Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) moved the second reading of Bill No. 99, to amend the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act, 1932.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

I was under the impression that the Prime Minister would have something to say on the second reading of the bill.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I thought we might have the discussion in committee.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It seems to me it is rather important to have some pronouncement on the second reading, because this bill will come as a great surprise to the house and to the country, especially as it is being introduced at this stage of the session. When the Radio Broadcasting Act was passed at the last session of parliament we were told that its provisions were based on the report of a royal commission endorsed by a committee of this house and, as such, should commend themselves to hon. members. My recollection is that, for that reason, the bill went through without much discussion. We assumed that we were passing legislation in accordance with what the committee, after listening to all the representations that had been made, deemed to be wise and prudent provisions in the circumstances.

In particular, it was stressed that appointments under the radio commission would be made just as are appointments to departments of the government generally, by the Civil Service Commission. We were also advised

[Mf. Spencer.]

that, with regard to capital expenditures, whether in the acquisition by lease or purchase of new stations or of stations already in existence', parliament would have a voice in the matter and that the acquisition would not rest solely with the commission on approval of the governor in council. Above all, we were told that the expenses of the commission would be met out of its receipts, and that while parliament would have to make appropriations, thus bringing before the house a review of the whole situation, such appropriations would not exceed what was likely to be raised in the way of receipts from the commission's own operations.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That has continued.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

After parliament had listened to these representations the bill was passed in the belief that the act would be carried out as set forth, and last year provision was made, in the nature of an appropriation, of $400,000. This year that appropriation has been raised by $600,000 and parliament has been asked to grant $1,000,000 for the commission, as compared with the sum I have already mentioned as having been voted last year, $400,000, which we were led to believe would be sufficient.

Yesterday we passed an appropriation of $1,000,000, assuming that that amount would be equal to what would be raised by the receipts of the commission itself. As I read the present measure, the commission is to have -the right to expend not only the $1,000,000 appropriated by parliament but in addition all that it may raise by way of receipts. That seems to me to be going very much further than this house was led to believe was intended at the time it made the appropriation; for that appropriation of $1,000,000 would not have passed the commons, certainly not without considerable debate, unless it had been deemed that it would be the total expenditure which the commission would be in a position to make.

I wish to take strong exception to the provision in this bill that the officials, the clerks -and employees generally of the commission, are not to be appointed by the Civil Service Commission as are the clerks and employees of departments of government, but that the commission is to be given a free hand in the making of such appointments. I do not believe there is an argument that can be brought forward in support of giving to the commission any such powers. The employees of the radio commission are no different from the employees of the department of government which has heretofore had

Radio Broadcasting Act

charge of radio broadcasting, and those employees were all under the Civil Service Commission. I see no reason why they should now be taken out. Also as respects this commission which as yet is untried, why should we remove the matter of its expenditures, operations and so on, from such control as parliament may continue to exercise over capital expenditure? On the score of the measure taking away from the Civil Service Commission its authority in the matter of appointments, taking away from parliament its control over capital expenditures and of vastly increasing the total expenditure of t'he commission, giving to the commission all the funds that it will raise itself through receipts in addition to what may be appropriated by parliament, the bill is objectionable. Every one of these three grounds is subversive in its character of principles to which we should adhere, and contradicts absolutely the provisions of the original act which we were told was based on the report of a royal commission and of a committee of this house. On these grounds we on this side will certainly oppose this measure as strongly as it possibly can be opposed.

May I say to the Prime Minister that seeing that it has been brought in at this stage of the session I think be ought to withdraw the measure. It is not treating the House of Commons fairly to bring in at this stage of the session a measure subversive of all that we have understood to be governing in the matter of the radio broadcasting commission and particularly after this house has permitted the appropriation of 81,000,000, an increase of $600,000 over the appropriation of last year, to be passed with the distinct belief and understanding that it would cover the total expenditures of the commission and that that was supposed to be the amount which the commission itself would be able to raise from its own receipts. AH through this session we have been led to believe that the commission's total expenditures would be limited in that way and that the original provisions of the act would be complied with. If it is necessary to change this or for any reason to alter original provisions then I submit the bill should be held over until another session when all these matters can be fully discussed.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. C. E. BOTHWELL (Swift Current):

Mr. Speaker, I do not know of any organization in this country that is as unpopular as this radio commission. Apparently there is no place that one can go in this country without hearing complaints. I have received 53719-3075

considerable correspondence from radio users in the west and yesterday I forwarded to the minister a memorandum made up by a group of radio users in the city of Moose Jaw. A portion of the letter enclosing the memorandum reads as follows:

The change in wave lengths has resulted in spoiling the reception of practically every one of the good American stations which we were able to get here in Saskatchewan, and in place thereof w*e have to content ourselves with purely local programs, which, as you know, are not to be classed with either the Columbia or National programs.

We have had to stand for a lot from the new radio commission here in the west, but when Mr. Charlesworth took it upon himself to boast of what he had done for the west, it was about the last straw. So far as radio programs in the west are concerned, we were much better off before they had any commission, than we are to-day.

I do not know that I can put the complaints that we hear in better words than those contained in this memorandum and for the information of the house I propose to quote what this group of radio users have said. The memorandum reads:

1. Judging the commission by what it has produced so far, it would appear that the members of the commission have no personal grasp of the actual history or requirements of radio broadcasting entertainment in Canada.

2. During the past season in the main the programs provided over Canadian stations have been very much inferior to the programs provided in previous years.

3. This is most particularly true of programs sponsored by the Canadian radio commission.

4. The finest programs we get in Saskatchewan are furnished by western agencies without any assistance or even recognition by the Canadian radio commission.

5. The chain programs furnished by the Canadian radio commission consist practically entirely of broadcasts by some orchestra or band with the exception perhaps of the corn husker program on Saturday night which consists of old time dance music with appropriate calling off.

6. The commission through its chairman has publicly announced that it intends to borrow programs from the NBC and put them over the Canadian chain.

7. It also announced through its chairman on one occasion that there were no good comedians in Canada (which may or may not be true, but there is no evidence of any effort on the part of the radio commission to find out).

8. The demand for Canadian broadcasting commission was due to the desire on the part of Canadians to have programs of a Canadian flavour and to induce Canadian listeners to listen to Canadian stations with programs of a Canadian flavour rather than programs of an American flavour.

This is particularly necessary in western Canada where so large a proportion of our people are of foreign origin.

Radio Broadcasting Act

The demand for such programs featuring Canadian ideals, disseminating in a palatable way information as to Canada's history, Canada's status in the world, and Canada's future.

9. A program of symphony music is just that, namely, a program of symphony music. It is much more palatable well played by a foreign orchestra than it is not so well played by a Canadian orchestra, and the mere fact that a program of symphony music is coming over a Canadian station has no particular significance, particularly to the foreign born, and those of foreign extraction in our country.

10. The Canadian Pacific Railway broadcasts and the Canadian National Railways broadcasts of previous years were splendid broadcasts. The radio commission has apparently made no attempt to continue these programs. The Canadian National Railways programs particularly were fine from a national and educational viewpoint because they gave Canadian historical skits and playlets, such as we hear from an American viewpoint over the American. stations.

11. The announcement by the radio commission that they were going to procure and broadcast over the Canadian chain American programs was most unpalatable because the commission was appointed to wean our listeners away from the American programs, and it was entirely unnecessary because the American programs were already accessible from the American stations.

12. Following some criticism on the floor of the house, the radio commission through its chairman made a statement in Toronto that Montreal and Toronto should realize that they were not the whole of Canada and that the commission had done some wonderful things for the west. The fact of the matter is the commission has done absolutely nothing for the

13. The First Battalion, King's Own Rifles of Canada at Moose Jaw, have one of the finest military bands in the country. The bandmaster wrote the commission offering the services of the band for broadcasts and received from an employee of the commission a curt if not insulting reply. Many people claim to have written the commission with helpful suggestions and to have received not even the courtesy of an acknowledgment of their letters.

14. Jf any further evidence were wanting of the absolute total ignorance of the commission of the condition of broadcasting in western Canada the commission itself furnished this evidence by the change in wave lengths of the Saskatchewan stations. Prior to this change in wave lengths it was possible to get the following American stations regularly with splendid tone and plenty of volume:

KFYR, Bismark.

WCCO, Minneapolis.

WHO and WOC, Des Moines.

KSL, Salt Lake City.

WENR, Chicago.

This will do for an illustration.

The commission announced that the reason for the new k.c. ratings of the Saskatchewan stations is to conform to the international agreement. Whoever made this international agreement knew nothing of the situation in western Canada.

The stations above referred to can none of them with the exception of KFYR be heard in Saskatchewan when the Saskatchewan stations are broadcasting. In addition the Saskatchewan stations cannot be heard outside of their own centre when these stations are broadcasting.

To illustrate: One of the finest programs put over on a regular schedule by the Western Telephone Systems was the fireside hour from Regina Sunday night 9:00 to 10:00. Listeners in Moose Jaw trying to listen to this program through CKCK, Regina last Sunday night found it impossible to do so due to the fact that WOC, WHO came through at the same time and it was impossible to detune them and hear Regina, so that throughout this very fine program there was the other program coming through, speaking voices and singing voices and orchestra mixing in with the fireside hour.

All over Saskatchewan radio listeners find themselves in this wretched position, that their favourite Canadian station is ruined by their favourite American station, and they cannot listen to either when the other is on. In fact the situation is such that in the city of Moose Jaw for illustration, and in the city of Regina for another illustration the only stations which can now be heard satisfactorily are the purely local stations. Even in the immediate rural vicinity of the cities in which Saskatchewan stations are located the local station cannot be heard with any quality of tone because of the heterodyne caused by the carrier signal of some other station.

Had the commission deliberately planned to make it impossible for Saskatchewan listeners to hear any but their local station it could not have been achieved more satisfactorily than it has been done.

One is forced to one of three conclusions, either:

1. That the commission does not know what it is doing, or

2. That it does not care, or

3. That it has deliberately made these wave length adjustments to produce this state of affairs in Saskatchewan to compel Saskatchewan listeners to listen to such programs and only such programs as are available over their local station whether of chain or local origin.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Who signed that?

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

It is not signed. The letter is from Schull & Marquis, a firm of reputable solicitors in the city of Moose Jaw.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Then there is no evidence whose opinion that is.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Except what it says in the letter-from a number of radio listeners of the city of Moose Jaw.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But who are they?

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   PURCHASE OF STATIONS-APPOINTMENTS TO STAFF
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May 11, 1933