I agree with the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) that, this year particularly, when so many new and important bills have been passed, bills that have been so extensively amended, it is difficult to know just what each bill finally contains and what the clauses mean, without having the bill as finally adopted. I am not talking about going home and spouting on the election platform, but every constituent at home has a right to ask his member of parliament what a particular bill is as finally passed. I have had numerous requests not merely for copies of bills but for an explanation of precisely what some particular bill provides, the terms of the bill, the powers embodied in it and what must be done under it. But I have not been able to give definite information; I have simply had to assure those who inquired that I should have to wait until the bill finally passed both houses of parliament, because bills are so extensively amended that you cannot tell in what form any bill will finally emerge. It is far more important this year than ever before that bills should be available in completed form to every member of parliament who wants them. Will bills be
available in the Senate in sufficient numbers to enable all members of the house to receive copies? If not, then the suggestion that copies of the bill can be obtained means little. It is practically useless if they are so limited in numiber that every member cannot receive i copy.
l man of great learning, and you know the maxim, ignorantia legis neminem excusat- ignorance of the law excuses no one. But, 3ir, this is very serious. The reason why there are so many amendments is the fact that the legislation has been half baked. It has been prepared by third rate clerks who do not know their job and who hand out to the government such rotten legislation that they have to amend it this way and that. It is a patchwork which it is impossible to describe, and then it goes to the Senate and when it comes back no minister is able to recognize his brain child. Who can get a clear idea of the law maker's intent? In the last five years every bill has been turned upside down from the moment of its introduction into this house until the amendments have received their last reading. Something should be done, and I hope we shall be able to find out what has been passed during this session. Perhaps it is the intention of the government to prevent the people of Canada from finding out what legislation they have passed; they are probably so much ashamed of it that they do not want the Canadian people to know what their achievements amount to. But does anyone expect any member of parliament, with the vast amount of correspondence that must be carried on, and the reading of blue-books and all that, to follow every change in a bill as shown in the votes and proceedings? It is absurd. It is the more absurd because very often bills go to the privy council and changes are made at great expense to the exchequer through faulty drafting. It was proved in the committee on translations last year that there was great lack of knowledge on the part of those who drafted the legislation. It had been printed five or six times before it suited the taste of the cabinet members. If any bill can be printed so many times before it is approved by them I do not see why it cannot be printed once for all for the use of members once it has become the law of the land. The waste occurs before the bill is considered by the cabinet, and when we need the bill in its final form we cannot get it.
some connection with it. The sum of $35,000 is required, or alleged to be required, by the departmental officers for certain expenses. I may say that the amount of this vote has been reduced in recent years and it is necessary to employ extra help to meet conditions which have arisen by reason of the administration of the Weights and Measures Act and the general policy of the department to enforce the act in consequence of the price spreads investigation, and for additional services.
I think I should make an explanation of this item. It is to permit the holding of an essay competition in Australia, with a view to making Canada better known in that country. The pupils of the secondary schools in the various states of Australia will be invited to submit essays on Canada, and the successful' contestant will be awarded a return trip to Canada as a prize. Recently the Australian government, through its trade commissioner, held a similar competition in Canada and the successful contestant is shortly to leave on a visit to Australia. I may say that this competition was requested to be held by the Australian trade commissioner as a compliment to his country.
W'hen the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) was Prime Minister. Canada was first in England, but, unfortunately, Australia has passed her because of the policies of this government. Canada now ranks second or third in London, and instead of holding competitions this government should endeavour to learn from Australia the reasons for her success. Perhaps this may be unnecessary as the government may have an opportunity of learning from the Liberal party. Two years ago, $100,000 was voted to the Department of Trade and Commerce for advertising to be carried on in England under the control of the High Commissioner for Canada. Instead of making his report to the Department of Trade and Commerce, that gentleman made it to the Department of the Secretary of State for External Affairs. The Department of Trade and Com
Empire Trade Agreements
merce asked for 8100,000 of Canadian money to be given to Mr. Howard Ferguson to be used for advertising; he used that money to give dinners and so forth, but he did not make a return to the minister who supplied him with it. This shows the little care this government has taken to follow parliamentary traditions.