March 9, 1939

CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

But what is the purpose?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I never had in mind such matters as race and religion and all the other things which might divide the people of a country. I should like to get away from that altogether. That was not in my mind.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Then what is the purpose of the board?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I can state it again. It seems to me that there is an entire misapprehension on the part of my hon. friend with regard to the purpose of this bill. I stated at the outset

that the purpose was to coordinate the film activities of the various departments. As they are now, five or six departments are engaged, not in producing films but in having films produced, and are showing them and using them for their own purposes, which are quite proper. But there has also been a good deal of overlapping and inefficiency which we believe can be obviated by having this board, which will concentrate, unify and coordinate them all. That is the real purpose. There is, however, a more or less remote object, and that is the getting out of what may be called national films, which it would not be the duty of any one department now showing films to initiate.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Will the minister give an illustration? What does he mean by a national film?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

There might be an educational film for the use of children throughout the country, for educational purposes. I give that merely as a possible example, but I emphasize again, the primary purpose of the bill as it is now is to coordinate the work at present done in the various departments. The national objective may be carried into practice, but that is at the moment not the primary purpose. The purpose is to bring about efficiency and economies, because there is some waste as the work is carried on at the present time in the various departments, and to make a better use of the film bureau which we now have. My predecessor will bear me out, I believe, when I repeat what I said the other evening, that we have in the film bureau as well equipped a plant as there is in north America. The hon. member for York South the other night rather objected to that statement and conveyed the idea that it was not an efficient organization.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

I simply asked the minister to satisfy himself on the point.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

To-day there was in my

office a gentleman who, I know, has had a wide experience in all lines of film production. In fact, he was at one time engaged in Hollywood itself. He assured me to-day that the equipment we have in our own film bureau in the Department of Trade and Commerce is the equal of anything of its size in Hollywood. It is absolutely up to date. I repeat that for the information of the committee. I do not know that I can add anything more at the moment. I am not familiar with the technicalities of the film business, as my hon. friend is, but I am assured that we have an efficient plant, and I am satisfied that by

National Film Board

having this film board or some similar organization. we can improve efficiency, practise economy and secure a much better distribution than we have now.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

When this motion was

before the committee the other evening, just at eleven o'clock I was responsible, I believe, for its being carried over, but there are one or two observations which I wanted to make. I am under a slight apprehension -as to just where we are heading if this resolution passes. In the first place I wish to say frankly that the motion picture bureau operating under the Department of Trade and Commerce, as far as its activities go, with the more or less limited appropriations that have been voted from year to year in the past, is in my opinion one of the most efficient, from the point of view of both equipment and personnel, that one could desire to have. I think the country has been extremely fortunate in having that personnel.

Another point referred to by the the minister is this. In recent years there has been a tendency to develop motion picture branches within other departments. I think that is deplorable, but we do not need a film board, nor need we have any bill, to deal with that. That is purely administrative. It is not peculiar to the motion picture industry. For instance, in statistics there is an. overlapping, although some years ago it was all brought into the bureau of statistics.

The motion picture bureau was established for the purpose of serving all departments; but it is one of the inherent sins of the civil service

I do not say this in a condemnatory way, though it is a fact nevertheless-that there is a strong tendency on the part of civil servants to develop and expand their particular branches. For instance, there was a certain natural resources branch of the old Department of the Interior which was started with one man and a stenographer, and within a few years it had grown to 180 employees with vast expenditures for printing, illustrating and all the rest of it. Most of the material issued was taken from the bureau of statistics, revamped and issued a second time on very fine paper, with equally fine printing and lithographing. That was done away with.

What I am afraid of is this. We shall build up a film board-it is called a film board, and that is the dangerous part of it; but according to the resolution the board is only to review and report. Well, one does not need to erect a new board to review and report. The minister has told us that several deputies have already reported. At least that is what I understood him to say.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

No. They conferred as to

what sort of organization should be set up.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Well, there are the deputies and other responsible officers in the other departments; all that has to be done if there is overlapping, is for the Prime Minister-because if there is overlapping, the necessary action must be taken under the authority of the Prime Minister-to have those responsible in each department for the motion picture business get together, and then the Prime Minister, simply by order in council, would provide that the motion picture bureau, which might be put anywhere, I do not care where, should as at present constituted serve as the motion picture organization for the government. That is all that is necessary. A long review is not required nor is it necessary to constitute a new board. I venture this statement. If this resolution passes, if a film board is started, within five years there will be another radio commission or some other duplicate of that body,

When I was minister, speaking from memory I believe the vote for the motion picture bureau was in the neighbourhood of $50,000- I think it was less. Last year it was $88,000, and this year it is $150,000. That is before this coordinating effort has even begun. I warn the government that if this motion carries, they are heading in the direction of a new body of commissioners-I think a commissioner is contemplated, but I venture to say there will be commissioners or a commissioner and two or three assistants-and then there will be a glorification of their duties and their office, with an ever-increasing expenditure and ambitious undertakings entered upon. I would appeal to the Prime Minister to deal with this question in this way: that he and his colleagues in council issue instructions to the deputy ministers concerned-and if they know it comes from the cabinet they will act accordingly-that they must get together, iron out their differences, and turn over their activities to the existing bureau. If they do not like to turn them over to the Department of Trade and Commerce, or if it is thought better to put the bureau under some other department that can handle the work better, put it there; but do not let us start calling in outside people to tell the government what to do in a simple matter of administration.

In saying this, I am not criticizing the so-called motion picture bureau. It has been well managed, and I think its equipment is good. The hon. member for York South (Mr. Lawson) and I have differed on this before, but it is a perfectly friendly difference of opinion;

National Film Board

many of the films that have been issued have been of such a nature that I question whether it would be commercially possible to make and distribute them. That is particularly true of educational films, which have been valuable and which have been sent to various countries. Speaking now with my knowledge of the situation three or four years ago, to my mind this bureau has rendered a valuable service to Canada. But let us keep down the expense. I venture to say that if the government gives Mr. Badgley and the present staff of the motion picture bureau a reasonable vote, and turns over to that bureau the activities which have grown up in other departments in recent years, it will have an organization just as satisfactory as any that might be created in the form of a commission. I should like to emphasize that I think it necessary that we face these questions as administrative matters. They do not call for a public or semi-public investigation; they are purely administrative.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

No.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I am going to be very

strong in my opinion about that, because I know what I am talking about. The Prime Minister has frequently emphasized the principle of responsible government. He will please believe that I am not criticizing now, but I am urging that this is a case where the responsibility of the government can properly be exercised. I know that whoever is Prime Minister is an extremely busy man and cannot possibly delve into all the details of departmental conflicts and matters of that kind. But I assure him that if he will take administrative charge of this matter and instinct the various departments to get together, that can be done without need for this legislation. I fear that if this bill is allowed to pass, it will be simply the foundation for another commission. That may not be intended, but that is what it will become. I know the tendency, and it happens before one realizes it. So I warn the government that in my opinion they are starting something both costly and unnecessary.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I remember a discussion that took place in this house a few years ago, when the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) was criticizing the Department of Fisheries in regard to the manner in which it had expanded during the previous few years. He gave as an example a workman engaged to shovel snow in front of the parliament buildings; and his analogy was that he came back five years later and found a whole line of offices, containing the

commissioner of snow shovellers, several assistant commissioners, an accountant and a whole staff of employees. That is what is liable to happen in this case, and I quite agree with what was said by the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens).

In saying that I do not want it to be understood that I am in any way disparaging the effort that is being made to concentrate these activities within one department. I think that is all to the good. I think anyone in this house who has had anything to do with education, directly or indirectly, will appreciate the value of visual education in this day and age. I know that in connection with schools, colleges and universities a bureau of this kind would be of tremendous value, and I know it would be put to wide use. So I am hoping that despite the criticism that is being offered against this plan, which in my opinion will lead to extravagant expenditure that would be better devoted to the production of films rather than to the establishment of a commission or board such as is suggested here, the same amount of money will be voted but will be spent on the actual films rather than on the body that is to look after this work. I am quite certain that this can be carried on along the lines suggested by the former Minister of Trade and Commerce. I personally have desired to take advantage of these activities as carried on in different departments, and have found it difficult to know exactly where to locate certain films. I knew they existed, but I did not know exactly how to go about getting them. We would write one department; they would suggest that we write some other department, and by the time we got in touch with the right department the reason for wanting the film had disappeared or we had found another source.

In considering the development of this activity I hope the minister will take due cognizance of the fact that most schools are now being equipped with certain types of projectors, and will see to it that the films issued by his department will be such that schools as well as commercial enterprises may take advantage of them. All schools have not the 35 mm. machines; some have 16mm. and some 9 mm., and I should like to see this bureau developed in such a way that it will be of practical assistance to every institution in Canada as well as to commercial enterprises for the purpose of advertising Canada to better advantage both within and without this country. I hope the minister will take the criticism I am offering, in good faith. I am anxious to see this development,

National Film Board

but I am not anxious to see it along the line suggested. I should like to see the department organized so that those who may wish to take advantage of it may do so without too much trouble.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Rather than resenting what my hon. friend calls criticism, Mr. Chairman, I would say that he has advanced better than I did myself the reasons why there should be a film board or some central organization. When my hon. friend says that he approves the idea of one body-and I think he said this-being responsible for the distribution of films of an educational nature, for instance, which might be sent to the schools, and that sort of thing, he is presenting an argument for some central body to do this work.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

You have it now.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

No.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Sure.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

We do not have it now. I must differ with my hon. friend.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink
CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

What does Mr. Badgley

do now?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL FILM BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT FILM ACTIVITIES-INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE TO CENTRALIZE DISTRIBUTION
Permalink

March 9, 1939