March 1, 1938

EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION

INQUIRY AS TO TABLING OF FINAL REPORT


On the orders of the day:


CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. A. STEWART (Leeds):

I wish to ask the government and particularly the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) whether the final report of the national employment commission has been laid on the table. If not, when may we expect it to be brought down?

Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): I believe it has already been stated that it is the intention of the government to lay this report on the table as soon as it is printed and available in both languages. I expect that will be in the course of a very short time.

Topic:   EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO TABLING OF FINAL REPORT
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OPIUM AND NARCOTIC DRUG ACT


The house resumed from Thursday, February 24, consideration in committee of Bill No. 24, to amend the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act, 1929-Mr. Power.-Mr. Johnston (Lake Centre) in the chair.


LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of Pensions and National Health):

When the bill was last before the committee all clauses were passed, but the leader of the opposition made a suggestion which I have submitted to the officers of the department, and to which I think it is most reasonable that we should agree, namely, that the act should come into force on proclamation. I therefore move, seconded by Mr. Howe:

That this act shall come into force upon a date to be fixed by proclamation of the governor in council.

That will be section 11.

Narcotic Drug Act

Topic:   OPIUM AND NARCOTIC DRUG ACT
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?

Robert McKenzie

Mr. McKENZIE (Lambton-Kent):

I was not in the house when the minister introduced this bill. I have no desire to reopen the discussion, because the less publicity given this question, the better. I may be entirely out of order, but since it has been brought in I have received communications from certain persons in Lambton county who for over twenty-four years have been growing what is called Indian hemp for commercial purposes. They entered into this project encouraged by the Department of Agriculture and sponsored by them, and have made quite a profitable enterprise out of it during the past several years.

As I read the amendment it is possible to obtain a licence to grow this hemp under certain conditions. That may be all right, but if the restrictions are so great as to make it impracticable to grow this hemp, then I suggest that no licences should be granted at all. If you will look at the Canadian Almanac at page 102, in connection with the tariff, you will notice that hemp seed is listed for free importation. That would lead me to believe that it is possible to import seed and to grow it commercially. I fully realize that if this bill is passed it will be more difficult to control the growing of what is known as marihuana in small plots in back yards, or in flower pots, than it will be to control it in a commercial way.

One grower I have in mind is probably the only man in Canada who has converted hemp into a spinnable fibre for export, and he has built up a profitable sideline. In all fairness, if the restrictions are to be made too severe in the granting of licences, then the privilege should be abolished and this grower should be compensated for the money he has spent on machinery, and for the profitable industry he has built up. I bring this to the attention of the minister because in the twenty-four years that this man has grown this hemp there has been no complaint from the narcotics branch nor from any other source whatever, if there are to be too rigid restrictions he or any other grower should be compensated to the extent I suggest.

Topic:   OPIUM AND NARCOTIC DRUG ACT
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Section agreed to. Bill as amended reported.


TRANSPORT COMMISSION

AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT


Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Transport) moved that the house go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to introduce a measure conferring authority upon a transport commis- sion (the board of railway commissioners to he known as such) to license, regulate and control the transport of passengers and goods by railways, ships and aircraft, and to fix licence fees and transportation tolls and charges and regulate and control other matters incidental thereto. Motion agreed to, and the house went into committee, Mr. Johnston (Lake Centre) in the chair.


LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The purpose of the bill to be founded upon this resolution is to extend the jurisdiction of the board of railway commissioners, which in future, if this bill carries, will be known as the Board of Transport Commissioners, to inland shipping and transportation by air. A bill similar to this was introduced last session in another chamber, and a long series of hearings was held there. In drafting the present 'bill we have profited by the discussion in the other chamber and eliminated such of the more contentious features as are not essential to the purpose of the measure. We believe that this legislation will serve a constructive purpose, and that it will not be particularly contentious in its present form. The bill will have the effect of not only extending regulation to shipping and aviation, but will also have the effect of alleviating somewhat the possible over-regulation of the railways; for it extends to them the power to contract under certain circumstances, with full publicity and full protection against discrimination, giving them to a limited extent the power to contract which shipping and aviation now have.

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I do not think the minister's explanation is an ample explanation of the general principle of the resolution. But possibly we can wait until the bill is brought down to secure the necessary information.

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

This is the second time within a week that the transportation question has been before this house. The other day a committee was appointed on the Canadian National Railways estimates. What that committee will do I do not know, because no questions can be asked in the house.

This second transportation bill was before another body last year and I notice that the minister is dropping one of the main features of regulation, that with respect to motor buses and trucks operating on the highways, which are to-day robbing the railways of their business and are in considerable measure responsible for the railway deficit. These deficits are accumulating. The railway commission is not a transport commission at all. In England they have a transport department headed by a transport minister, who has

Transport Commission

jurisdiction over many matters which were included in the bill introduced here during the session. This is a different resolution. The government should be prepared to tell the house before the second reading of this bill what it is going to do about one of Canada's chief problems, the railway problem. We have no money for ordinary expenditures owing to the deficit on one railway system. What is the government going to do about it? Is it going to have a new transport commission similar to the railway commission which does not now regulate anything?

The minister proposes now to widen the powers of the board of railway commissioners along the lines indicated. We have had three or four royal commissions investigating our railways, including the Duff commission and the Drayton-Acworth commission, and their recommendations were ignored. Now it is proposed to give these new powers to the transport commission. I doubt that that regulatory body will be able to regulate anything. Are you going to include in its jurisdiction all forms of transportation? We had a debate in the house the other day about what they are doing in England along this very line, not only in respect to railways but in respect to motor trucks and buses, reducing the railway deficits and putting the British railways in a condition of efficiency which is a credit to the mother country. Is the minister prepared to put all the cards on the table, or is he going to hearken to another body which discussed this bill last year and take out of it what should be in it, namely the power to regulate these means of transport which are taking the cream of the business from the railways? In England a hundred years ago the railways ruined the canals; now the motor trucks are ruining the railways. If this body is not prepared to deal with the problem in Canada some other body will take our place in 1940. I am not prepared to say what should be done, but this resolution does not go far enough, and I am sorry to see the minister dropping some of the clauses which should be in the bill if we are to have anything other than merely remote control. We know what the railway commission is; we know what the Duff and Drayton reports showed about the way it regulates.

Last week we sent the railways and shipping accounts and estimates to one committee, and now we are to have another body. Look at what the Duff report says about passes. Talk about deadheads on the railways!

I do not wonder at their having deficits. If by this measure we are going to give up control to

outside bodies as vre have been doing, then responsible government is at an end in this country. We meet here week after week and month after month, yet one of the most important problems facing the government is not dealt with; in fact a private member is almost afraid to mention it. But I intend to keep the matter before the house and before the government because something must be done. We had a similar situation in Toronto and the county of York and adjoining counties, where the Mackenzie and Mann interests had an intolerable grip on the people. They had light, power and transportation franchises all over the three counties, beyond any public control. But the city grappled with that situation and cleaned it up. If they could do that, surely this federal government can do something about what I suggest. I hope we shall have some definite proposals and explanations before the second reading.

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB-PRO

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal Progressive

Mr. THORSON:

Will the minister indicate briefly in what respect the proposed bill differs from the one which was introduced in the senate last year?

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The bill differs from that of last year in that any attempt to include control of traffic on the highways has been deleted. The difficulty in that connection of course is that the government has jurisdiction only at certain points. Our legal officers advise me that we have jurisdiction over trucks passing from one province to another, or crossing the international boundary, or in certain of the dominion government parks. It was felt on reconsidering the matter that such jurisdiction as we have is too limited to be particularly effective, under the conditions which prevail in Canada, and in view of the strenuous opposition of the provinces we have decided to delete that feature from the bill this year.

Moreover, an investigation bearing upon these matters is now being carried on in Ontario by the Chevrier commission, from which we hope and believe constructive legislation will emerge.

Another change is that we have excluded from the restrictions relating to shipping the carriage of materials in bulk, such as wheat, coal, iron ore, sand and gravel, to the regulation of which there was a good deal of objection. My own opinion is that the objection was not well founded and that it would be in the interest of those objecting to have regulation extended to those commodities. However the opinion before the last committee was almost unanimous against my view, so that for the present we have dropped regula-

Transport Commission

tion for those commodities from the bill. There are other minor changes which will become apparent when the bill is distributed. I think these are the major changes.

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I notice that the resolution proposes that the board shall have power to regulate the transportation of passengers and goods 'by ships. Can the minister tell us whether that will apply only to ships on the great lakes, or will it apply also to ships in the coastal trade on the Atlantic and the Pacific?

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

It is not proposed to apply that type of regulation to coastwise shipping wholly within British Columbia, to coastwise shipping along the coast of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, or up the St. Lawrence as far as Father Point. It does apply, however, to boats coasting from those points into the great lakes and to boats coasting from a port in British Columbia to a port in another province of Canada.

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Why is the coastal traffic

not to be regulated? Does the minister not think there is need for it?

Topic:   TRANSPORT COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OP PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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March 1, 1938