April 2, 1937

LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I do not think the hon. member can quote from the proceedings of the committee, because they are not before the house.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
REC

Henry Herbert Stevens

Reconstruction

Mr. STEVENS:

I am not quoting from the records; I am quoting from memory. A third vote was nine to nine, which indicates that it was not a small minority of the committee, but that there was a division of interest.

In the second place, Mr. Speaker, I submit this to you and the hon. members of the house. When this bill was referred to the committee it was with the distinct understanding that the committee would go into the

Combines Investigation Act

whole question of small loans as far as it desired, and I resent and deny the statement of the minister that there have been blocking tactics in order to deprive parliament of an opportunity of deciding the question. I say further that as yet adequate consideration has not been given to the subject or to the bill.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): I submit, Mr. Speaker, that there is no question of privilege involved in what has just been stated by the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens). What I said in the committee last night was my opinion as a member of that committee. I submit that I had a perfect right to state it, and to state also my belief that it was not desirable that bills should be talked out in committee, thus depriving the House of Commons of its privilege of deciding what should be done with the bills. My opinion may not meet the views of others, but surely as a member of the committee I had a perfect right to'state it and to state it here again now.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
REC

Henry Herbert Stevens

Reconstruction

Mr. STEVENS:

Mr. Speaker, I rise again to a question of privilege. Neither the minister nor any other member of this house has any right to impute motives to any other hon. member, and the minister states brazenly now that he repeats it.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I rise to a point of order-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I do not think the Minister of Finance has imputed any motives to the hon. member for Kootenay East. The minister is simply expressing his opinion.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I ask for the withdrawal of the word "brazenly," which is out of order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
REC

Henry Herbert Stevens

Reconstruction

Mr. STEVENS:

I am speaking to a question of privilege. The minister stated it was clear from the minority votes of that committee-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No, I made no such statement. My hon. friend is again contravening the rules of the house by purporting to quote from the proceedings of a committee, and is distorting the words which I used. I submit that the matter is out of order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
REC

Henry Herbert Stevens

Reconstruction

Mr. STEVENS:

Will the minister and the house permit me to read the record?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I think the hon. member has stated his point of privilege sufficiently

to suit his purpose; the Minister of Finance has made his statement, and I do not believe there is anything further to add.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS PROCEEDINGS IN BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Permalink

COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT

PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER TINDER MINISTER OF LABOUR


The house resumed from Thursday, April 1, 1937, consideration in committee of Bill No. 41, to amend and consolidate the Combines Investigation Act and amending act-Mr. Rogers-Mr. Sanderson in the chair. On section 20-Investigation into business of alleged parties to combine.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

With respect to this section, no doubt the minister will recall the Wilkes case and the declaration of law made in England in connection with the issue of warrants, general warrants, search warrants and matters of that sort. Here, without anything other than this statement in the section, we are authorizing the commissioner to enter premises and seize books. I followed the remarks of the minister yesterday, and I agree that it is desirable that in your desire to protect the rights of the subject you should not so protect them that the law cannot be enforced or administered. On the other hand, however, this British country has been extremely careful about that. While I can understand this statute being passed in the form in which it was at the time in question, it is a little difficult in this day to understand why we should be asked to authorize a man to enter the premises of another and take his books, documents or records without warrant other than this.

The criminal code provides for a warrant, and it provides the procedure that has to be followed in order to secure a warrant. During the night I happened to think of the Wilkes case, which is on all fours with this sort of thing. Public opinion was very much agitated by the Wilkes case and the conclusion at which the courts arrived in connection with it. I think it was Lord Ellenborough, although I have not had time to look it up this morning, who delivered that great judgment with respect to the issue of warrants. Here, without a search warrant, without anything in the world, the commissioner has authority, not to deal with the person against whom he has a charge, but " any person who the commissioner believes may be a party or privy to " it. He may walk straight into that person's office, including the office of the solicitor who lie may believe has assisted in the formation of the combine. Not only he, but his duly authorized representatives may enter and ex-

Combines Investigation Act

amine the premises, books, documents and records, and make copies of or retain any of such books, and keep the books of the man whom he suspects as being privy to the combine, or to have assisted in it.

The amendment to the section is striking at this particular time. I can fancy how, under different circumstances, if legislation of this kind had been passed there would have been cries of invasion of the rights of the people. If the judgment in the Wilkes case, which up to the present has been respected, is not to be considered; if the provision of the criminal code with respect to search warrants is to be disregarded, and if without any evidence in the world other than his belief the commissioner is to be in a position of exercising the power of a policeman with a search warrant under the criminal code, then I do submit to the minister it is going too far. That is all I can do.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I recall the objections made yesterday by the leader of the opposition, and I can assure him that in the interval we have given further thought to them. I would point out in the first place that any action taken under this section is taken pursuant to an investigation which has been authorized under the provisions of the act following the application of six persons or at the instance of the minister. I think that disposes of the suggestion that the commissioner may, of his own volition, carry out-

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

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Surely the minister has not read the section. Section 20 covers all that, up to the word "commissioner," but now we have it that the commissioner may believe such person is party or privy to the combine. The minister has nothing to do with it, neither have the six people.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The commissioner does not do it of his own volition.

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

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But he does. He does it of his own volition; he does it because he believes somebody may be a party to it. It says:

The commissioner shall have authority to investigate the business-

And then it goes on-

[DOT]-of any person who the commissioner believes may be a party or privy to ... a combine.

All he has to do is to say, "I have the belief"-and nothing else. The minister knows nothing of it. It is simply that the commissioner believes someone is privy to it, including the solicitor, and he may walk in and, without a warrant, take the books. Certainly for over a hundred and fifty years the Wilkes case has been the governing case in matters

[Mr. Bennett.!

of this kind. Of nothing have we been more careful than the liberty of the subject with respect to his property, and the obtaining of a search warrant to invade his property, so that it may be taken from him. Just because this man believes something, he can do these things. Surely the minister would hardly say that either the six people or the minister have anything to do with it. The commissioner believes; all he has to do is to believe it, and there is no remedy in the world against his belief.

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

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Perhaps I did not make myself clear. What I had in mind was to emphasize that this was pursuant to an investigation which previously had been authorized.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSIONER TINDER MINISTER OF LABOUR
Permalink

April 2, 1937