March 6, 1934

BUREAU FOR TRANSLATIONS


The house resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Cahan for the second reading of Bill No. 4, respecting the bureau for translations, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Chevrier.


CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ALFRED DURANLEAU (Minister of Marine) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, after listening to my hon. friends opposite, this afternoon, discussing the stand taken by the press of this country on this bill No. 4; I wondered whether their mind had not been influenced by editorials which we have read of late. It might be interesting to know who organized and spread the campaign undertaken by a number of French Canadian newspapers, even before this measure was introduced in the house.

We did not intend, sir, to carry on a long debate over this bill. We had even hoped after the masterful statement made by the hon. Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan), followed by the convincing speech of the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), who is unquestionably an expert on the subject, that the house would have adopted the second reading and referred the bill to a committee.

However, our hon. friends on your left, sir, put up a concentrated opposition; however, I do not doubt it is genuine. But judging from the speeches delivered this afternoon, I cannot do otherwise than state that this opposition is directed by the general staff of the Liberal party and aims at influencing public opinion.

I listened, to-day, to the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Ferland), who stated that this bill had been so draughted that it could be interpreted one way in one province and another way in another. Judging from the standard of speeches delivered, this afternoon and for some time past, my opinion is, that they were delivered in view of influencing public opinion and intended as political propaganda. I have, sir, not only read-

. Mr. VENIOT: I rise to a point of order. The hon. gentleman has just made a statement in French, with regard to the speeches made on this side of the house this afternoon, attributing a motive to the speakers on this side. He says that in those speeches hon. members on this side wish to influence the public for election purposes. He has no right to make a statement of that sort.

Translations Bureau-Mr. Duranleau

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CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

I humbly submit, Mr. Speaker, that the point of order is absolutely uncalled for, because the Minister of Marine is entitled to say that the speeches made on the other side of the house were intended as political capital. There is nothing unparliamentary in that.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Will the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) be good enough to elaborate the point of order? I did not quite comprehend it.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

The Minister of Marine, in his remarks, said he was convinced that the members on this side, in opposing the bill, were making their speeches with the main object of influencing the public for election purposes. He is attributing a motive to us, and he cannot do so.

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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

I have listened to the words uttered by the Minister of Marine, and I submit that they are absolutely in conformity with parliamentary procedure. No one was mentioned; it was simply an allusion to the fact that on the other side of the house * speeches were made with such and such a motive, merely a political motive.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

On the point of order, I suggest in all frankness that a great many speeches made on all sides of the house are for the purpose of influencing public opinion. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if the Minister of Marine is ruled out of order for making such a statement, most of us, when we make speeches in this house, in which we endeavour to influence public opinion by explaining our position, would be ruled out of order.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

I do not suggest that we are not allowed to make speeches to influence public opinion. My point is that no hon. member has a right to stand up in this house and say to any other member, "You are making 'that speech to influence the public for political purposes." That is attributing a motive, and under the rules of the house no motive may be attributed.

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CON
CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I cannot believe that the hon. member for Gloucester is serious in raising the point of order.

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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

I was stating, a moment ago, that a campaign had been cleverly organized, even before this bill was introduced in the house. And when I read in a newspaper that this bill was directed against French influence in this country, I greatly regretted that the author of this article had summarily set aside the

statement and the clear, sound precise and genuine explanations made in the house by the hon. Secretary of State. Moreover, that he had summarily disregarded a career well fulfilled, in the course of which, the sponsor of this bill, the hon. Secretary of State, has always given proof of fairness towards all races and languages in this country and shown much sympathy towards his fellow-citizens speaking the French language-no one can deny this fact-often at the expense of his popularity. I invite the author of this article to visit Montreal where he will meet in all quarters French Canadians who will uphold and praise the attitude which the hon. Secretary of State has always taken towards all races of this country. He will also become aware that, in his constituency, our colleague has no more devoted, sincere and enlightened constituents than those speaking the French language.

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?

Mr FAFARD (Translation):

Is the hon. minister aware that the Secretary of State has no translator in his department and that he does not speak the French language.

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CON
CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

Glancing over the speeches made by the opposition and reading the articles published in newspapers, we must conclude that the opposition to this measure can only come from an inexact or even false interpretation, to some extent, of the provisions embodied in it. After all, if we consider these speeches and articles, there are only four objections to the bill; first, it would deprive this house of one of its most cherished privileges; secondly, it would result in lowering the value and efficiency of the translation in the various departments; thirdly, it would make the position of translators in this country more precarious; fourthly, it would endanger the status of the French language in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, all these points have been fully discussed since the opening of this debate. I want to be as brief as possible, but I must admit that the first objection does not impress me very much. The house is the ' sole guardian of its own privileges, but it is never prevented to waive them from time to time in the interest of a more efficient conduct of public affairs. These privileges, however, are but a sequel to our duties as mem-i bers and I submit, Mr. Speaker, that our primordial duty is to ensure, through sane and proper legislation for the country and its people, the wise conduct of public affairs.

1230 COMMONS

Translations Bureau-Mr. Duranleau

Should our rights and duties, in the fulfilling of this task, become conflicting, and if the ones have to supersede the others, who is the member of this house who would dare maintain that our duties ought to give precedence or bow to our privileges? Therefore, Mr. Speaker, if this measure is a wise one, as such, if it is a proper one, if it is calculated to improve the translation service in this house and in all departments, would it 'become bad, as such, just because it would slightly infringe upon the privileges of the members of this house?

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LIB
CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

My hon. friend from Kamouraska (Mr. Bouchard) says that there are many "ifs". If he listened to the speeches delivered on the other side of the house, he must have realized that all the arguments of our hon. friends opposite are based on "ifs".

Mr. Speaker, the second objection to this bill is that it will result in lowering the value and efficiency of translation in all departments. That is a serious objection, because it strikes the very principle of the bill; but I wonder, Mr. iSpeaker, where one can find either in the spirit or in the letter of this bill, any proof of the claims of our hon. friends opposite. In order to judge, you must first ask yourself whether the present system is giving all the results that you are entitled to expect from it and whether it works out efficiently and rapidly enough. It is an extraordinary thing that although our hon. friends made long and frequent speeches and carried on a splendid effort, not one of them cared to suggest any improvement that might be brought into the present system. It is surprising that it is the press of the country that complained most frequently and most violently about the present system, about the documents being published in one language only and also about the delay in the translation. I may add, Mr. Speaker, that- very often these complaints were fully justified. Therefore, it is strange that when we are about to remedy that condition, when we wish to improve the translation system through a bill that has been thought out and studied during many months by men who,

I believe, know something about translation, [DOT] it is strange indeed that these same newspapers, even before the bill was submitted to the House', protested most strongly against the improvements which we wanted to bring into the present system.

Is there one member in this house who will maintain that the present system is perfect?

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LIB
CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

Will you say that there is no place in the present system for improvement, that there is no need to change it, considerably if necessary, in order to make it fully efficient? For it is the French race, the French section of this country that has had and still has to complain about the present system of translation. It *was for us to complain, because, quite often, the French editions were useless owing to the tardiness of the translation.

What we want to secure with this measure is precisely a more elaborate translation of all official public documents, a translation which might not be any better than it is now -because I do not wish to criticize our translators or the translation that has been done up to now-but which will be carried out in the shortest possible delay.

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LIB

Joseph Georges Bouchard

Liberal

Mr. BOUCHARD (Translation):

There is

nothing to that effect in the bill.

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March 6, 1934