March 1, 1937

CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (Winnipeg North):

On many occasions, Mr. Speaker, I have found it necessary to criticize adversely certain of the measures which have been introduced by the government. On this occasion I am more than pleased to be able to congratulate the government, and I am very happy to have the privilege of doing so. In many respects this legislation will be far-reaching in its effects. Personally I think $20 per month may be a little low for persons of the age of forty, but I hope this may be just a beginning and that as the years go by we may be able to increase the amount.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Sanderson in the chair.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I should like to ask the Minister of Finance whether his department, in association with the officials of the Department of Justice, have considered the full bearing of a recent opinion of the judicial

3X111-854

committee of the privy council, with regard to a matter such as this. As I read that opinion the privy council have declared it illegal for this parliament to make any appropriation of funds derived from taxation for subject matters over which parliament has not legislative jurisdiction under section 91 of the British North America Act. That is a wide and sweeping declaration of the judicial committee of the privy council which I believe applies not only to pensions for old age but also to pensions for the blind, and a number of the other appropriations aggregating tens of millions of dollars which are annually voted by parliament. In view of that opinion I think the government should take into serious consideration the question whether in voting these tens of millions we are not committing illegal acts which are ultra vires of the parliament of Canada.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

This resolution does not apply to political blindness.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Mr. Chairman, naturally the recent decisions of the judicial committee of the privy council are under examination by the Department of Justice, with special reference to their possible bearing upon all matters of legislation-upon that which is now on the statute books, and upon proposed legislation similar to that now before us. In the absence of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) I can say only that this particular piece of legislation has been submitted to the Department of Justice and has remained on the order paper for some time in order that the bearing of matters to which the hon. member has referred might be fully examined by the Department of Justice. I now proceed with the full approval of the Minister of Justice. At a later stage I hope he may have an opportunity to deal with the phase of the matter to which the hon. member has just called attention. In fact I shall call the minister's attention to the hon. member's observations.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
Permalink
CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

Is this merely an amendment to existing old age pension legislation?

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Yes.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

If, as is suggested by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), it is contrary to the British North America Act to enact the amending legislation, then the whole of the Old Age Pensions Act is unconstitutional too.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I cannot offer legal oplr.-ions, but I gathered that was the legal opinion expressed by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

No; I expressed no legal

opinion whatsoever.

1346 COMMONS

* Combines Investigation-Mr. Bennett

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I am sorry.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I was referring to an opinion expressed by the judicial committee of the privy council.

Resolution reported, read the second1 time and concurred in. Mr. Dunning thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 42, to amend the Old Age Pensions Act.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN CLASSES OF BLIND PERSONS
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COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT

PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR


Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour) moved the second reading of Bill No. 41, to amend and consolidate the Combines Investigation Act and amending act. Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition: Mr. Speaker, the bill has not been, printed and circulated for twenty-four hours. I received my copy only this morning, and this is an important measure.


LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I believe it was understood the bill would not be discussed until it had been distributed. I was under the impression this morning that it had been distributed.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It was on Saturday.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

In that event I quite agree that we should not proceed until hon. members have the bill before them.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

However, I shall not raise any difficulty on that score. The minister at any rate could make his speech on the motion for second reading and if necessary the debate might be adjourned in order that hon. members may study the matter. Perhaps it would expedite their study if an explanation were now given by the minister.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Mr. Speaker, the bill now before the house for second reading is designed to effect several much-needed alterations in the Combines Investigation Act, with the object of making that legislation a more efficient instrument for safeguarding the public interest against detrimental combinations and monopolies. For some years the Combines Investigation Act has not been utilized to the full extent of its appropriate functions. For this reason it has not been achieving the results which were in mind when it was enacted. In some degree this has been due to certain provisions in the legislation itself. Even before the amendments of 1935 were added I think it was the view of those who had its administration in charge that the

act stood in need of improvement. Some of the amendments made in 1935 had the effect of weakening rather than strengthening the act. Those amendments, most of which were introduced in the senate, tended rather to restrict the scope of the act, or to add to the difficulties of its enforcement. It will be recalled that during the last session the government sought to remove one of the outstanding disabilities, but the amending bill was twice rejected by the senate.

It is now proposed to restore the vigour of the Combines Investigation Act and to make it more effective by the amendments set forth in the bill now before the house. Among the changes proposed are the following :

1. The administration of the act under the Minister of Labour by a single commissioner devoting his whole time to this work, instead of by a commission whose members have other important responsibilities, relating- to tariff matters.

2. Provision for the appointment, if necessary, of temporary special commissioners to conduct single investigations.

3. The revision and extension of the definitions of merger, trust and monopoly.

4. The removal of the provision enacted in 1935 which prevents the use, in subsequent criminal proceedings against the person who produced them, of documents which a person is required to produce in an investigation.

5. An increase in the maximum penalties for the violation of the act.

6. The omission of the section added in 1935 which prevents the trial of a person upon the same evidence or at the same time under the Combines Investigation Act and section 498 of the criminal code.

These are the more important of the changes contemplated in the bill before the house. Other changes are proposed, including a revision of the provisions added to the act in 1935, at the instance of the senate, with regard to the returning of documents to persons producing them in an investigation under the act; the strengthening of the provisions relating to the liability of any director who acquiesces in an offence committed by his company; and new sections providing when fines are to be payable to the dominion, that rights to civil action are not intended to be affected, and that trials of persons charged with forming unlawful combines shall be by superior courts of criminal jurisdiction only.

I believe it would be the wish of the house if I were first to deal with the reasons which favour the transfer of the administration of the Combines Investigation Act from the

Combines Investigation-Mr. Rogers

tariff board to a single commissioner. The right hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) expressed a particular interest in this feature of the bill when a few days ago the resolution was under discussion.

The Canadian, legislation in connection with combines represents an orderly and propres-sive development over a period of almost fifty years. In reshaping the legislation, as we are seeking to do at this time, we have sought to incorporate the best features of the several acts which have preceded the present act. The type of administrative agency is naturally one of the most important considerations to be kept in view.

When we turn back to the earlier attempts to deal with combines in Canada we find that various types of administrative agencies have been employed from time to time. For example, the Restraint of Trade Act of 1889, which is now section 498 of the criminal code, made no special provision for the investigation of alleged offences. Several methods of administration were used in subsequent legislation. The Combines Investigation Act of 1910 provided for a preliminary inquiry by a supreme court judge and subsequent investigation by a board composed of three members, which board was appointed specifically for the purpose of investigating a particular complaint. In 1919, during the brief existence of the board of commerce, which was established to administer the Combines and Fair Prices Act, the agency employed was a board of three commissioners.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Was it not called the court of commerce?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER UNDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
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March 1, 1937