February 25, 1944

SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO ASSIST MR. SPEAKER IN REVISION OF STANDING ORDERS-REQUEST FOR SUGGESTIONS

LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

May I address the house

for a moment? This morning a meeting was held of the committee considering the rules of the house. We have proceeded to some considerable extent in our deliberations. It was thought however that some hon. members who are students of parliamentary procedure might wish to place their views before the committee at its meetings. With this in mind I would ask that any hon. member who wishes to place his views before the committee might forward a letter addressed either to me or to the Clerk of the House of Commons before Tuesday next, when any such letters as may be received will be considered by the committee.

Topic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO ASSIST MR. SPEAKER IN REVISION OF STANDING ORDERS-REQUEST FOR SUGGESTIONS
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RADIO BROADCASTING

APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION


Hon. L. R. LaFLECHE (Minister of National War Services) moved: That a select committee be appointed on radio broadcasting to consider the annual report of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and to review the policies and aims of the corporation and its regulations, revenues, expenditures and development, with power to examine and inquire into the matters and things herein referred to and to report from time to time their observations and opinions thereon, and to send for persons, papers and records; and that, the said committee shall consist of the following members: Messrs. Bertrand (Prescott), Boucher, Casselman (Mrs.) (Edmonton East), Cold well, Diefenbaker, Douglas (Queens), Durocher, Hansell, Hanson (Skeena), Hazen, Isnor. LaFleehe, Laflamme, Macdonald (Brantford Citv), McCann, Martin, Matthews, Mullins, Picard, Rennie, Ross (St. Paul's), Tripp, Veniot,



Radio Broadcasting Committee and that the presence of at least nine members shall be a quorum of the said committee and that standing order 65 be suspended in relation thereto.


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Does the minister

purpose making an explanation first? Or does he expect us to go ahead and make some suggestions?

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

He should speak.

Mr. LaFLECHE: The purpose of the

motion is very well put in its present form.' It is the same as it was last year, and I have no introductory remarks to make.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak to this motion I wish to place before the house for the consideration. of the committee certain views and suggestions. I do this with only one thought in mind, namely, the wishes, welfare and interests of the Canadian people as a whole.

I accept the cardinal principle that radio, as an important medium of enlightenment and entertainment, should in its major aspects be national in scope, and should be and continue to be free from control by private interests. Experience over the years has shown that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has not been able to fulfil its functions without the assistance of private radio stations. I believe tome seventy-six of these stations are permitted to operate subject to certain limitations in respect to increase in number, and increase in power of those already in existence. Their facilities have been used throughout the last few years for the distribution of many of the programmes of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There is an advantage in the national system and the privately-operated stations working in cooperation; it provides stimulated competition, mutual competition, if I may say so, in the improvement of programmes. .

The report of the committee which sat last year was tabled but not concurred in. Page 656 of Votes and Proceedings of July 22, 1643, contains a summary of the recommendations which had been made by previous committees. With your leave I should like to run over the various recommendations, to the end that I may be able to discuss the suggestions I have in mind. In 1932 they emphasized the paramount importance of a single national authority to control all broadcasting in the public interest. There can be no argument about that recommendation, but later on I

shall submit that, since the national radio in recent years has become ever increasingly commercial in its scope and aetivities, there must be set up a new type of national authority to control broadcasting in this country. In 1932 it was recommended that the public ownership of all high-powered stations under a national system of broadcasting-

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise to a point of order. The motion before the house is to set up a committee; it is not to- discuss the report of a previous committee.

I would say that the discussion should be confined to the motion. Earlier in the week we spent two days trying to get a committee on war expenditures appointed. Time was taken up, not in discussing the merits of having such a committee appointed but in discussing a previous report. I do not think the time of the house should be further consumed in that way at this time. There will be an opportunity to discuss the whole radio broadcasting question on supply or on other occasions, but in the setting up of a committee I submit that the discussion should be limited to the motion. I hope my hon. friend will pardon me for having interrupted him. If he is permitted to discuss the report of a previous committee, others will wish to be given like latitude, and the time of the house will be taken up with a discussion altogether apart from the motion before the house.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

On the point of order, with due deference to the Prime Minister may I say that I was not discussing the provisions of the report. I was summing up the recommendations which were set forth in last year's report to the end that I might make certain suggestions as to what the committee should take into consideration once it is convened.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The report of the last . radio broadcasting committee-I think the same applies to the previous report-was brought in during the last days of the session and there was no opportunity to discuss it. While it would facilitate the work of the house not to go into too great detail in discussing this report, I fancy the house will want some latitude shown the discussion which has now arisen. I do not think it will take very long, but there are certain points that have not been discussed and I believe the house generally would wish to have them brought out. As I understand it, that is what my hon. friend is attempting to do.

Radio Broadcasting Committee

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Is it the idea of the Prime Minister that hon. members who were not members of the broadcasting committee will not be permitted to suggest certain questions that the committee should study during its sittings? For instance, I have some strong views about commercial advertising over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I am sick and tired of hearing about soap and laxatives, and I just turn off those programmes. There will be no opportunity for me to discuss these matters if the report of the committee is tabled at the end of the session and concurrence is not moved. So far as I know this is the only opportunity to discuss these matters. The Prime Minister speaks about supply. At the moment I have not in mind the item he may be thinking of, but it seems t,o' me that this is a proper occasion upon which private members could intimate to the committee certain topics which they think should receive consideration,

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend has asked me a question. Replying to the two leaders of the opposition may I say that my point is simply that there is a time for everything, and that time is governed by the rules of the house. The rules of the house afford ample opportunity to discuss all ques* tions relating to radio broadcasting. If one wishes to do so, he may discuss radio broadcasting on the speech from the throne, at an appropriate time on supply, and on the budget and there are other occasions. The purpose of the motion is to get a committee appointed at the earliest possible moment.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

To do what?

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend says, "To do what?" It is to consider the annual report of the' Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and to review the policies and aims of the corporation and its regulations, revenues, expenditures and development. The committee is to be appointed for that purpose, but that certainly does not mean that this is the time to discuss a report tabled in a previous year, or matters other than those that come strictly within the terms of the resolution.

Mr. MaoINNlIS: Mr. Speaker, before you give your ruling I should like to point out that there is no way in which the debate on this motion can be limited except by arrangement between the government and the opposition. It seems to me that this motion is wide open for a debate on everything con-100-55J

nected with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. That is quite clear from a reading of the terms of reference:

That a select committee be appointed on radio broadcasting to consider the annual report of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and to review the policies and aims of the corporation and its regulations, revenues, expenditures and development, with power to examine and inquire into the matters- and things herein referred to.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that every item there is a matter for discussion in this debate-that is, if the members want to carry on a debate. I am not advocating a debate on this motion. I have nothing to say on it personally, but there is no way in my opinion, under the rules of the house, in which debate can be limited on the terms of reference here set up. The question is whether the committee shall be appointed or not. What is a member to discuss if not the matters mentioned in the terms of reference?

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

I did not quite hear what the leader of the opposition or the hon. member for York-Sunbury said, and I trust that my observations will not be repeating what they have said. They still seem to be a "still small voice crying in the wilderness."

If we are to confine our remarks to the setting up of the committee, there is nothing we can talk about. All we can do is to look over the names proposed: Messrs. Bertrand, Boucher, Mrs. Casselman, Mr. Coldwell, Mr. Diefenbaker, and the rest, and discuss the colour of their eyes and what they are wearing, and so forth. It seems to me that when a committee is being set up, hon. members of parliament have the right to express in parliament, which is supposed to be the voice of the people, what they expect of our government-owned broadcasting corporation, and of broadcasting in general in Canada, in order that the committee, when set up, may take into account the matters that have been brought before parliament by the people's representatives. I do not see how we can discuss that fully without discussing the report that was made last year.

We all know that these committee reports come down to the house in the dying hours of the session. Perhaps my hon. friends of the Progressive Conservative party were talking about that; I could not hear. But very often we have asked in the committee itself whether concurrence would be moved when the report was brought down. Sometimes concurrence is not moved on the understanding that when the committee is set up the following year we might be able to discuss further the matters

Radio Broadcasting Committee

contained in the report. That is why some of us do not insist on moving concurrence in the report in the dying hours of the session. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that on this motion a review of broadcasting in Canada is entitled to discussion.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

Speaking to the point of order, among the other purposes for which this committee is being [DOT] set up is to review the policies and aims and development of the corporation. In the various reports which have been submitted to parliament in the last number of years, the committee on radio broadcasting has made certain recommendations which, if carried into effect, would constitute the development of the corporation. I submit that the proper place to discuss the report of last year is before this committee when it is set up, when it oan be determined whether or not the recommendations which have been made in former years have been put into operation and whether or not there has been development in any particular lines.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I hope my hon. friend is not suggesting that the report of last year's committee is to be considered by this year's committee. That is what he seemed to intimate, and it strikes me as a strange Suggestion.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

I see nothing strange in that. So far as development goes, I think it has been the practice to review, perhaps not minutely, what has been accomplished from year to year in putting into effect the various recommendations which have been made. I know that last year in the committee many of the recommendations which had been made by the 1942 committee were reviewed, and comment was made as to the progress and development which had been made by the corporation over the past year.

So far as moving concurrence in the report goes, it is a question of just what concurrence means, whether it means merely acceptance of the report or endorsation of the report. A report such as the committee made last year or the year before, in my judgment, might be concurred in, in the sense that it would be accepted but not necessarily endorsed, because a great many of the recommendations would take a long while for implementation and the government or corporation would have to be given considerable time to put the recommendations into effect. I submit that any member of the house could appear before the committee and give his opinions there with reference to the policies and regulations and development of the corporation, and so forth, and that the time of this house would be saved by having the discussions there rather than before the house.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW POLICIES OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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February 25, 1944