June 30, 1934

UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River):

It must be gratifying to the house to find itself in such fairly close agreement on this matter of the use of radio facilities for election purposes. I appreciate very much the generous attitude that has been taken by the leaders of both the major political parties. I hope they will see to it that there is justice for all political parties in the use of radio. The one to which I happen to belong is not possessed of the necessary funds to undertake any extensive use of the radio, and in all probability it will be confined pretty much to local stations. I would like to direct the attention of the government and the leader of the opposition tc the fact that the total cost of election of all the members from the province of Alberta who sit in this section of the house did not exceed that of two national chain hook-ups It is out of the question for us to finance that sort of thing. I agree with the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart) and approve of the suggestion he made. I disagree with the attitude of the hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Gagnon), who, I think, has not given this matter the consideration he usually gives to such questions. After due consideration I am satisfied that he would accept as fair the idea that there should be one national broadcast at the beginning of the election campaign when the manifestoes of the three parties are put on the air, and there should be one at the close of the campaign from the major parties in the country. I believe those broadcasts should be free of charge to the parties concerned. I have no objection to the house entering into an arrangement for defraying any necessary overhead caused to the commission, but I do approve of the proposal that there should be a free initial broadcast and a free closing broadcast for all major political parties.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. D. MORAND (East Essex):

I wish to put myself definitely on record against any free use of the radio during election campaigns. If we wish to preserve nationalization of radio we must realize that in doing that you come in competition definitely with private business in the way of newspapers, and I do not see how you can expect to use the national radio in competition with other publicity agencies. In the United States I am advised that they have a rule for private stations whereby when a station gives a certain length of time to one party a similar length of time must be offered to the other party or parties. I think that idea might be looked into in making rules for both privately or publicly owned stations

Radio Broadcasting

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. JEAN FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata):

This radio commission is another wart on the government. The government is shifting its responsibility in all ways. Last year when I asked the hon. Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau) if he had any control over the radio commission I was very sorry when he answered, "Well, I do not know," He should have direct control.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU:

I beg your pardon, I never made any such answer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Well, the hon. minister made a normal reply, he did not say yes, he did not say no. Gentilment le Normand repond: "Ca me dit pas oui; ca me dit pas non." That was the answer of the hon. gentleman. I think he should have direct control over the radio commission, and the radio commission should be responsible through him to this house. That is my humble view. It would save a lot of difficulty and trouble. Therefore I am against the extension of the powers of the radio commission. It is the more necessary for the hon. gentleman to have direct control over the radio commission because it will save the Prime Minister a lot of trouble. When people work radio cross word puzzles and are unsuccessful they write to the Prime Minister's office and the Prime Minister directs his secretary to answer them: "What is the right answer?" Why do they waste the time of the right hon. gentleman? I have upstairs in my file an original letter sent by the Prime Minister's office telling a man in Montreal how he should do the radio cross word puzzle. I think the Prime Minister has enough to do in ending unemployment and bringing back prosperity without worrying himself about such childishness. If the Minister of Marine had control over radio and the people knew that, they would write him, and I know the minister would be a good enough business man to tell his secretary to refer all those people to Mr. Charlesworth and the secretary of the radio commission.

I am against the extension of these powers, first as a matter of principle and in the second place in order to give the Prime Minister a chance to look after the affairs of the country instead of wasting his time answering such futile questions.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ALFRED DURANLEAU (Minister of Marine):

The question of direct control of the minister over the radio commission is a very much debated question in this country. Hon. members know very well that when the question of nationalizing radio broadcasting was

brought up the associations requesting nationalization were strong in their demand that the radio commission should be absolutely free from political control, and I think everybody will admit that since this commission has been in operation it has been absolutely free from such control. I defy my hon. friends to show any instance where the party on this side of the house received preferred treatment from the radio commission. I may say that we were unable to broadcast some of our meetings over the commission's stations because of the tremendous cost. The commission represented that they had to make large disbursements for the use of telephone lines throughout the country, amounting to practically SI,000 an hour for a coast to coast broadcast.

I do not think hon. gentlemen opposite can complain of being ill treated in this regard. We have heard them over the radio so many times in the last two years that I think they have had the preferred treatment. That has been so much the case that to-day in Montreal when my hon. friends opposite have a broadcast on the air the radio owners tune in something else.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I should like to ask the Prime Minister one question arising out of what he said a moment ago. I quite agree that in federal elections the Prime Minister should have the last word over the radio on any national broadcast, but I wonder if he would tell me how, not being a member of the legislature, he succeeded in having the last word in the recent provincial campaign.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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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:

The right hon. gentleman is in error; I did not have the last word. The last word, over another radio altogether, was said by the gentleman who is now the premier-elect of the province of Ontario.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
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Motion agreed to, and bill read the third time and passed.


CUSTOMS ACT AMENDMENT


The house resumed from Wednesday, June 27, consideration in committee of Bill No. 124, to amend the Customs Act-Mr. Matthews-Mr. MacDonald (Cape Breton South) in the chair. Section 1 agreed to. On section 2-Governor in council may order that excise duties and taxes be disregarded.


CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

Would the minister tell us what articles come under this section?

Customs Tariff

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Robert Charles Matthews (Minister of National Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MATTHEWS:

I may say that gasoline is one of the principal items.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS ACT AMENDMENT
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Section agreed to. Sections 3 and 4 agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT


Hon. R. C. MATTHEWS (Minister of National Revenue) moved that the house go into committee on Bill No. 125, to amend the customs tariff. Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. MacDonald (Cape Breton South) in the chair. On section 1-Governor in council may order that excise duties and taxes be disregarded in certain other cases.


CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

Apparently this bill is

going to do away with some of the excise taxes that have been charged in the past, and I refer particularly to the matter of gasoline. In the fall of 1932, some time about November 9, I brought, up this matter in the house and said that while we were taking off the dumping duty we were still charging the excise tax, which amounted to one and a quarter cents per gallon on gasoline. Shortly afterwards the Minister of National Revenue made a long speech in which he tried to make out that this tax did not amount to very much anyway. It does amount to one and a quarter cents per imperial gallon, which now, apparently, is to be done away with.

I do not object to that at all; I am glad it is being done, but I think the tariff on gasoline is still too high. I have in my possession a way bill covering a tank car of gasoline brought into western Canada from the United States. This tank car came to a place called Wilcox. The cost of the gasoline at the refinery was $305; the duty was $299.77. In other words, practically speaking there was a difference of only $6 between the cost of the gasoline and the duty imposed. The price of gasoline is one of the factors which go to make up the cost of production in western Canada. I may say that there is no single factor which has entered into the cost of wheat production and the production of other grain to any greater extent than has the cost of this commodity. Many of our farmers in the dried out areas are unable to get feed to feed their horses and cattle, and for that reason they are farming with gasoline tractors. Because of the high price of fuel they are farming at a disadvantage, as compared with

those people who are doing their work with horses. Even after paying the enormous duty, which was equal to the original price, the gasoline could be laid down at Wilcox at a price of 18-9 cents per gallon, whereas the cheapest the farmers can buy gasoline from the Imperial Oil Company at Regina, laid down at Wilcox, is 19-7 cents. In other words, they were taking full advantage of the duty, and charging more for gasoline than the price at which it could be imported.

These conditions should be rectified. The duty of 2) cents a gallon is ridiculous, and the excise tax of an additional 3 per cent results in a great injustice. The investigation we had last year into the prices of gasoline disclosed that the manufacture of gasoline cost less than one cent a gallon. The people in western Canada are paying 47 cents freight per hundred pounds for crude oil brought in from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the freight rate on gasoline from that point runs up to $1.40 per hundred pounds. The oil companies in Canada take advantage of the 2\ cents duty and

3 per cent excise tax, and yet the farmers can import gasoline after paying all the duty and enormous freight cheaper than they can buy it in Regina at the present time. I say that the duties on gasoline are ridiculous.

I know of a company in Regina called the Highway Gas Company. It began operations, by bringing in crude oil from the Tulsa oil fields as well as from Alberta. At the end of ten months operations that company was in a position, selling gasoline 4 cents per gallon below the price asked by the Imperial Oil Company, to declare a profit of 8 per cent, a special bonus of 5 per cent, and to buy back 20 per cent of its preferred shares. In other words, it had a profit of 33J per cent in a ten month period, by selling gasoline at a price 4 cents lower than that asked by the Imperial Oil Company. This company was a thorn in the flesh of the Imperial Oil Company. After trying to get rid of the independent companies by competitive prices and one thing and another, last spring an agent came from Chicago-he was supposed to be an independent agent-to buy the independent refiners. He went to one company, the plant of which was valued at $39,000, and paid $125,000 for it. In order to get their money back, the next day they shot up the prices on distillate

4 cents a gallon, and the farmers had to pay for the excess price paid for the refinery. The same thing happened in Montreal in connection with an independent refinery, known as the LaSalle Company. Three companies, formed a subsidiary company and had a man named Todd, buy the small companies in

Customs Tariff

Montreal. The head of the LaSalle Company was given a job at an enormous salary, and has nothing to do. He was recompensed in that vvay for selling out. The price of gasoline in Montreal was immediately raised. The excise tax of one cent a wine gallon, which amounts to 1J- cents an imperial gallon should be taken away, and the duty on gasoline should be reduced to about one cent a gallon. A protection of 2-J cents is given, and they have the further protection of the 3 per cent excise tax. I say that this matter of gasoline prices should be investigated by the committee which up until a few days ago was sitting, and which proposes to sit after prorogation.

There is no one factor which affects our western farmers to-day more than does the price of gasoline. It affects every man who drives a small car, who has a gasoline engine or any other machinery operated in that way. I brought this matter to the minister's attention two years ago. At that time he tried to side-step the issue. Again, to-day I bring it to his attention. There was an investigation into gasoline prices, and we had all the facts before us. Some hon. members on this side tried to bring the matter before the house for discussion, but we did not have the opportunity. We were voted down, solidly, by the present government. To a man, they voted against having the gasoline situation aired, and given to the public. This is a matter of vital importance. I should like to know what other articles may be affected by this measure. There must be another long list of articles to which the federal excise tax refers. I believe it refers to cylinder oil, and I should like to know from the minister if I am correct in my assumption.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I should like to concur

in the remarks-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

Let the minister answer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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CON

Robert Charles Matthews (Minister of National Revenue)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MATTHEWS:

In reply may I say

that the bill refers to any article subject to excise tax in the country of export.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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June 30, 1934