May 11, 1933

LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I am only judging from the letter written by the firm of Schull & Marquis. It is in the nature of a personal letter making a protest on their own behalf as well as on behalf of the others who joined in. snaking up the memorandum. I wanted to put that on record because of this fact. Since

Radio Broadcasting Act

coming to Ottawa to attend this session one hears complaints on every hand of this radio commission and the way they have manipulated things so that radio users are not able to get the benefit of the radio they bought and paid for, and when I see that the chairman of the radio commission states, "There is difficulty here but we have done wonderful things for the west," I want to show what the situation in the west is.

I believe that before any further money is voted for this commission before we give them any greater power than they now have and before they are allowed to employ their own officers, clerks and employees without the intervention of the Civil Service Commission we should have some evidence that the radio commission know what they are doing.

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

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. JOHN VALLANCE (South Battle-ford) :

When the bon. member for Swift Current (Mr. Bothwell) was reading the memorandum complaining of the radio commission the Prime Minister asked who had signed it, and the hon. member for Swift Current replied that he had received it with a general letter written by a reputable firm of lawyers in Moose Jaw. For the edification of the Prime Minister may 1 just read a few extracts of opinions which have been expressed by individual radio listeners in the province of Saskatchewan complaining of the action of the radio commission. I do not know whether I should read them all, but I have quite a few of them condensed and I will give the names and places.

Here is one from W. S. Pierce, Archiwill, Saskatchewan, He has this to say:

We would like to express our dissatisfaction with the change in your wave length. Your station CJRM was about the only station we could get clearly on a good night. Now you are placed so close to WENR and WLS that we cannot get you or them in the evening.

Then Miss G. E. Grant of Sceptre, Saskatchewan, writes:

As we take the wheat prices for the elevators here at Sceptre, we are very disappointed with the change in your wave length. It is not half as good as it was before.

Mrs. G. Hill, Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan, writes:

Since they changed the wave length we cannot get Fleming at all and have to put on all the volume we have to get CJRM-

That is the Moose Jaw station:

-and if Saskatoon is on, we cannot get it at all. Saskatoon interferes with all the stations terrible.

Then there is a complaint of the same nature from Mrs. A. Brown of Birch Hills,

another from M. McMillan-I do not suppose *that is the member, but the name is McMillan. He writes:

Since you have changed the wave length we cannot get Moose Jaw with Saskatoon on as they both come in about the same place on our radio.

Then there are other complaints from Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Abbey, Ridpath, Herbert, Melfort, Glenellen, Swift Current, Masefield, Saskatoon again, Richlea, Grandin. Leroy, Wadena, Milden and Regina, all making the same objections which are set out in the memorandum which was read by the hon. member for Swift Current. I feel just as he does, that instead of the chairman of the radio commission telling us what wonderful things they have done for the west, in view of the protests that are now being made against the radio commission I think we should get from the minister through his radio commission some illustration of the wonderful things that they have done for the west before we vote any more money for the commission.

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

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I wish to add my protest to those

which have already been expressed by my hon. friends on this side of the house against this bill. I do not see what justification there is for giving the radio commission power to employ all its officers, clerks and employees in any different way from that prevailing with the other departments and public agencies of this government. The reason which is given in the explanatory note is that the Civil Service Commission has not in the past been accustomed to employing personnel of the type required by the radio commission, and it is not considered that the Civil Service Act is a suitable vehicle through which the commission should obtain its employees either technical or clerical. Well, Mr. Speaker, I cannot for the life of me see any good reason in that explanatory note. What they say there applies to every other department of the government when it is first placed under the Civil Service Commission. For example, the Civil Service Commission had not in the past been accustomed to appoint, and did not possess the qualifications for appointing, legal officers in the Department of Justice or financial experts in the Department of Finance. The practice that they follow is to appoint a board of men who are competent to select the men required from among the applicants for these positions, and the Civil Service Commission acts upon the report it receives from these various boards. Surely this radio commission, and especially at this time, should not be a state within the state, should not be

Radio Broadcasting Act

exempt from all the restrictions and control which are exercised over the other departments of the government. I agree with my hon. friend who has just spoken that there is no public body in Canada, no government body, so unpopular as the present radio commission. As far as I am concerned I must say, although I do not suppose it matters much, that the radio commission lost my entire confidence immediately after they took office, when, as it was shown in the house last session, the commission had been appointed on October 3, and sworn in on October 30 or 31, and that two days before they were sworn in a licence was given to a political newspaper in Montreal. The commission did not act after its appointment. The licence was granted by the Minister of Marine just two days before the commission was sworn in. They say they have no responsibility, because they were not sworn in when the licence was granted. But the law gave them power to prevent the opening of that station. In that instance we had an example of the worst kind of political patronage. When the radio legislation was passed I was the first on this side of the house, on the second reading of the bill, to voice my approval and give my support. Had I known that the commission now in office was to be appointed I would not have given to that bill the support I then gave. I have not confidence enough in the commission to relieve it from the control and necessary restrictions other departments of government are under. I am also opposed to section 3 which gives them the right to expend the moneys they receive from any business carried on under the act, apart from those moneys appropriated by parliament. This body is under the control of parliament. We cannot free parliament from responsibility for these moneys. As I said a few moments ago I am opposed to building a state within the state, especially in view of the personnel of this commission.

Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, on account of the

very illuminating speeches which have been delivered since this hill was introduced I am very happy that it has not been carried. Since I mentioned in the house that I would pull Mr. Charlesworth's whiskers I have received two anonymous letters, one in capitals and the other in semi-commercial characters. I do not pay any particular attention to them, but I do say that the Prime Minister will never say about the chairman of the radio commission the nice things he has said about the chairman of the tariff commission. Here we have a gentleman who

has been writing articles in a Toronto publication-writing about music. What does he know about music? He gave lectures about this, that and the other thing; now he is non compos mentis all the time, and is supposed to rule the air. He is full of hot air, that is all he is.

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

Percy Griffith Davies

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVIES:

You are.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Who says that?

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

Percy Griffith Davies

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVIES:

I do.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

The hon. member has

exploded.

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

Percy Griffith Davies

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVIES:

I suggest you have.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

First of all, the hon. member is. a newcomer in this house. He has to learn the law before teaching others, and he will learn the law by listening to others.

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

Percy Griffith Davies

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVIES:

Make it interesting and

I will listen.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

He will gain great advantage by listening to others before making such an exhibition of himself.

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

The hon. member said if it

were made interesting he would listen.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I am not accepting the

judgment of the hon. member, the baby of the house. I am not surprised when he shouts, because we always hear babies scream.

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

Percy Griffith Davies

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVIES:

What about yourself?

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Oh, I am speaking in a

most delicate way. I say this, that the Prime Minister is master of the land; the chairman of the radio commission is master of the air. I wonder why the aeroplanes of the Department of National Defence are not put under his control. I wonder why the flags are not put under his control, and everything in the air. The birds-why are they not put under his control? Everything that has wings and is lighter than air, or up in the air, should be under his control-as should my hon. friend the baby of the house. He should be under his control, also, so that we would have peace in this House of Commons.

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

Hot air is not under control.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Then you are full of

hot air.

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

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

You cannot make another speech before the orders of the day are called.

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

The hon. member spoke, but

he did not say anything.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Speaking seriously I am

.asking the government to keep control of the

Radio Broadcasting Act

radio commission. I was very sorry when.

I heard my good friend the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau) say he would not interfere with the work of the radio commission. When he said that I was scandalized.

I say to him now, while he sits next the Prime Minister, that he should run the radio commission as well as 'his own department, with an iron hand and a velvet glove. He should be the master of the radio commission. Then when we come to this House of Commons we would find one man who would be responsible for what has been done by the commission. This is true parliamentary doctrine which no hon. member on the treasury benches will deny.

We have a Civil Service Commission. It is either good or bad. If it is good, leave to it the powers it should have; if it is bad, abolish it. There was a hole made in the law favouring the Postmaster General by which he was allowed to dismiss postmasters of post offices having revenues of $3,000. Under the change the Postmaster General was allowed to dismiss postmasters who previously could be dismissed only by order in council. That power was granted to him. He was granted the power to appoint postmasters to post offices earning a net revenue of $3,000. That change was an encroachment upon the Civil Service Act. Now, in connection with the radio commission, we have another encroachment of the same kind.

I have nothing to say particularly against any member of the board. The Quebec member seems to be a very pleasant gentleman, although I have not had many dealings with him. I am very discreet in these matters. I do not know the expert, and I know Mr. Charlesworth only from reading what he has written in Saturday Night. In addition to *that there has been some personal correspondence. Are these men superior to the members of the Civil Service Commission? Why should exception be made in favour of the radio commission when there is no exception made in favour of the Minister of Marine? Are these men of the radio commission such superior men? I see the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) in his seat, also the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) and the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre)-they cannot make permanent appointments in their own departments, except by a vote of the House of Commons or through the Civil Service Commission. Why should there be any exception in favour of Mr. Charlesworth and his two companions? I ask the government to decide now whether or not it will stand behind the Civil Service

Commission? I ask them whether or not the Civil Service Commission is a body worth having. That is the main point. We have to know how things are being done. If they are done properly one way they should always be done that way. That is the statement that I make with full responsibility as a member for a constituency in which there are many radio listeners, and in which there will be a permanent broadcasting station if the minister grants the licence that has been asked for for months and months. In the name of my own people as well as of all Canadians I protest strongly against such discrimination. Can a thing be good and bad at the same time? It is impossible. Sir, I entertain great fears that the Canadian people will not be treated fairly by the chairman of the radio commission. That is my personal feeling; I express it here in the House of Commons. I do not trust that man. I wonder why I should be bound to accept the decision of a radio czar in this country. It is absurd. Is there a milk bottle in the House of Commons?

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