July 5, 1935

TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION

CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS


Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) moved the second reading of and concurrence in amendments made by the Senate to Bill No. 86, to establish a dominion trade and industry commission. He said: Mr. Speaker, the Senate committee on banking and commerce gave considerable attention to this bill and the result is that several amendments of a far-reaching character have been made. I shall indicate them to the house as carefully as possible. The first amendment is to section 11, page 5 and line 12. Subsection 2 in the bill as it left this house reads: Any person violating any provision of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding two hundred dollars. Trade Commission-Senate Amendments The amendment is to insert the words "guilty of an offence under this act and" after the word "be" and before the word "liable." The next amendment is to section 14, on the same page at line 29. After the word "public" insert the words "or where such agreements exist and in the opinion of the commission but for their existence wasteful or demoralizing competition would exist in any specific industry."


LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

What is the significance of the amendment?

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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:

Having agreed to the

principle of the acceptance of the agreements, they would 'be extended to cases in which the result of there being no agreement would be demoralizing and wasteful competition. I think that is one of the matters referred to in the report of the commission.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

If I heard the amendment

correctly it would seem to indicate that where an agreement exists they might be permitted to sanction it.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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 is the principle

which we adopted when we passed section 14. In order that there may be no misunderstanding, perhaps I had better read the first part of the section:

Id any case where the commission, after full investigation under the Combines Investigation Act, is unanimously of opinion that wasteful or demoralizing competition exists in any specific industry, and that agreements between the persons engaged in the industry to modify such competition by controlling and regulating prices or production would not result in injury to or undue restraint of trade or be detrimental to or against the interest of the public or where such agreements exists and in the opinion of the commission but for their existence wasteful or demoralizing competition would exist in any specific industry the commission may so advise the governor in council and recommend that certain agreements be approved.

That is repeating the words which appear in the earlier part of the section so as to carry the effect of the proposal into both matters which are mentioned in the section.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

You not only give them

the sanctioning of new combines but you permit them to sanction existing combines.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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:

There is an investigation under the combines act and they must be satisfied that there is no undue restraint of trade or injury to the public interests or anything detrimental to the public interests. Investigations may be made with respect to existing agreements because the early part 92582-272 i

of the section provides against wasteful or demoralizing competition. This carries into the fabric of the latter part of the section, the wording of the first part.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

In the eyes of some people all competition in itself is wasteful and demoralizing.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If what my

right hon. friend says is correct, would it not be wise to insert the word "unanimous" before the word "opinion" in the amendment?

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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 think the right hon.

gentleman is right as the early part of the section provides for unanimous opinion with respect to wasteful or demoralizing competition and I am not sure that that is not carried into the proposed amendment. I think the word "unanimous" ought to be inserted between the words "the" and "opinion." With respect to the second amendment on page 5 I move that we disagree with their honours and ask that the word "unanimous" be inserted between the words "the" and "opinion" in the second line of the proposed amendment.

The next amendment is on page 6, line 4. For the words "the relevant sections" there is substituted the words "under sections four hundred and ninety-eight and four hundred and ninety-eight A or any other relevant section.

I think that is satisfactory. Then in section 15 the words:

The commission shall be charged with responsibility to recommend the prosecution of offences against acts of the parliament of Canada.

That is true ; they do not themselves carry on prosecutions. In line 10 they have added the words "the attorney general of Canada" between the word "and" and the word "make," leaving out the words "undertake or carry on." They think that possibly it conflicts with the powers of the provinces. I think these amendments are satisfactory. In section 16 it is proposed to delete the words "or commodities," on the theory that the Interpretation Act covers the point without repeating it in the statute. The letter "s" is struck off the word "grades," making it "grade" in lines 29 and 30. The next amendment is one of importance, adding to subsection (1) of section 19 the words:

Provided that the commission may by regulation prescribe a list of specific commodities to which, in its opinion, it is impossible to apply this paragraph, and this paragraph shall not apply to any commodity appearing in such list.

4294 COMMONS

Trade Commission-Senate Amendments

That refers to "Canada standard," and inasmuch as it has been pointed out that the words could not apply to every commodity 'because of difficulties in the actual carrying out of it, the commission, it is considered, should have power to prepare a list to which it does not apply. That, I think, is satisfactory. The next amendment is in section 20, which is far more difficult. There is substituted for section 20 the following:

20. The commission shall receive complaints respecting unfair trade practices and may investigate the same and, after investigation,

(a) If of opinion that the practice complained of constitutes an offence against any dominion law prohibiting unfair trade practices may order and require all persons who are parties or privies to such offence to cease and desist from further continuance of such practices and/or

(b) If of opinion as aforesaid may communicate the complaint, and such evidence, if any, in support thereof as is in the possession of the commission, to the attorney general of Canada with a recommendation that such parties or privies to such offence be prosecuted for violation of the applicable act. The attorney general of Canada, if he concurs in such recommendation, may refer it, with the complaint and evidence, if any, either to the director of public prosecutions or to the attorney general of the province within which the offence is alleged to have been committed, for such action as may seem to be appropriate in the circumstances.

In my opinion there is grave difficulty about that, for this reason. When we were framing the section it seemed clear to us that if the unfair trade practice was a violation of the statute then of course the provisions with respect to prosecution would apply, and that as regards any other unfair trade practice that was not covered by legislation it would not 'be within the competence of this parliament to direct that those engaged in it should cease or desist. The Senate is of the opinion that inasmuch as it has made the limitation to refer to a statute only, this amendment would be valid, and on that understanding of it I quite agree. But it does not touch what is called an unethical trade practice; it only refers to trade practices covered by existing statutes or which may hereafter be covered by statute.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My right hon. friend will appreciate the fact that I have not had an opportunity to more than glance at the proceedings-

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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 have not either.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

-and therefore I cannot speak on the effect of some of these amendments. But a casual glance at the amendments would cause it to appear that under the changes made by the Senate it will

rMr. Bennett.]

now be possible to violate any act named in section 2 without incurring a greater penalty than an unenforceable order of the commission not to do it again. I do not know whether my right hon. friend sees that possible effect.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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 wish to make it clear that in my opinion this is bad:

If of opinion that the practice complained of constitutes an offence against any dominion law prohibiting unfair trade practices may order and require all persons who are parties or privies to such offence to cease and desist from further continuance ...

That is the very negation of the principle of enforcement of law as I see it. If there is a statute and the commission is aware that it is being violated, the duty of the commission is to point out to the director of public prosecutions and the attorney general of Canada that- action should be taken, and not to tell someone, "Stop doing it and be a good boy." It is their duty to punish the offenders for what they have done, and that is the view I still hold.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

The "don't do it again" provision.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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:

It seems to me to be at variance with the whole theory of jurisprudence. If men have violated the law the mere fact that someone says to them, "Don't do it again," cannot possibly free them from proceedings being taken by any person who desires to make a complaint before any magistrate. I am bound to say I cannot agree with that amendment.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend from Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie) suggests that the Senate should, at this stage, be asked to cease and desist.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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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 know of many hon. gentlemen opposite to-day who would not be unwilling that it should cease and desist until they find a place there.

Topic:   TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN CERTAIN SENATE AMENDMENTS AND NON-CONCURRENCE IN OTHERS
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July 5, 1935