February 25, 1944

SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Maybe I am. I may want to join your party some day, but I do not think so. I say that because I believe it. Believe me, Mr. Speaker, the C.B.C. cannot dangle the name of Coldwell in front of the people of this country almost every day without its having some effect on them. I believe in some way or another-do not ask me to prove it because I cannot; I have only the same belief that many others have-the hidden hand,is there trying to build up the C.C.F. party.

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

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

We have news value; that is all.

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

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

You say you have news

value.

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

That is why he is in favour

of it; he is all for it.

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

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Do not be

envious.

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

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

To get back to the corporation itself; my hon. friend has said that he wants the C.B.C. to control all programmes in Canada; he wants a greater measure of con-

Radio Broadcasting Committee

trol placed in the hands of the C.B.C. I do not believe that would be a good thing for Canada. I do not believe we should haye a body set up to control anything that the public really wants. I do not think it will work out. I am certain it will not. The public are going to make their demands; and furthermore- it is a very dangerous thing to have such authority centralized in a body that is so powerful in- respect of propaganda.

The hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) has talked about the board of governors and has mentioned some changes that should be made here and there. I do not think he went far enough. My opinion is that the whole organizational structure of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation should be revamped. That is my view. If. you want a board of governors, then let them be the governors of the C.B.C. and not the governors of all radio broadcasting in Canada. That is my firm conviction. I have nothing against the corporation; I believe it is a great asset to Canada. But I say that the C.B.C. should operate on a competitive basis with private broadcasting stations. I believe there should be a separate body, a sort of semi-judicial body-not administrative; we may call it a board, a three-man commission, or whatever we like-to which the C.B.C. would nominate one member, the private broadcasting stations another and the government the third, who would be chairman. Let that body administer radio in Canada-and I should not use the word "administer" because I have said it should not be an administrative body.

Let that body supervise, and issue rules and regulations in the best interests of broadcasting; not in the best interests of any corporation or any private station; but rather in the best interests of the Canadian people. That is what we want and what we should have. If we do not have something like1 that, what are we going to have? We shall have something the same as we have to-day. Some of us have said that if we are to have a board of governors we should have on that board someone familiar with agriculture. I agree with that principle, and I believe the government was wise in listening to our suggestions in that regard. Someone else advocates that on the board we should have a representative of labour. That is all right. The first thing we know someone will suggest that there should be a representative of the professions, and someone else will say that the janitors and office boys should be represented on the board.

Where are we to stop? Let the government name its board of governors for the broadcasting corporation, but revise the rules and

regulations so that the supervision of all broadcasting will be placed in the hands of an entirely separate body composed of men with some knowledge of radio, some knowledge of business, some knowledge of art, and some knowledge of what the people want.

This is what I advocate. I do not believe broadcasting in Canada will be satisfactory until something along this line is done. In my view broadcasting in our country under the rules and regulations set out under the present act is not suitable even to the government. They may say it is, but I do not believe that is so. It is a sort of sore spot or irritation, so far as the government is concerned. Let us revise those rules and regulations; let us have a new broadcasting act, and put broadcasting where it belongs.

That is what I ask, and what I would advocate when I sit as a member of the committee.

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

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, after all is said and done, if the programmes had a little more of the humour of the hon. member who has just taken his seat it would not be such a headache to turn on the radio and listen to those programmes broadcast across Canada. The people of Canada are humorous; they understand humour. The corporation, however, seems to be under the impression that the humour of Charlie McCarthy is all that is worth transmitting across the international boundary line.

Many of the United States programmes carry out the policy of those who were in control between 1936 and 1939, and who have been in control since the beginning of the war in 1939. That was a policy of surrender-' ing too much political, economic, social, financial and military initiation to Washington.

After all is said and done, we must look at the constitution of the board. We have before us the original act of 1936. Before that, committees met in 1934 and 1935. The formation of the board was supported by a former prime minister, Lord Bennett, who was leader of the party to which I belong. It was under him that the commission of 1934 was created, and through him that investigations by a royal commission were made in Japan and many other places, before the report was presented. It was never intended that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation should be outside the control of parliament, "ither as to policy, name, regulations, expenditures, revenue or development. It was never intended it should be a law unto itself, or that it should operate over the heads of the high court of parliament.

Radio Broadcasting Commiltee

In my opinion the mistake made was that we should ever have had a board. We should have had one chief administrative officer who, with the help of his assistants, would administer the affairs of the board. What are these boards? Undoubtedly any board appointed by the government is a political board. The government of the day appoints the members of the board. Former governments have done the same thing, and the government after this one will probably do the same. Under the act why should clergymen sit on the board?

I say the whole administration of the C.B.C. should be administered from the commercial aspect. Why should sectional interests be considered in making appointments? Why should the policy of the board be sectional, rather than national in scope? Why should certain people be appointed only because they represent certain localities, or because they represent a church or some, other society?

Should not a commission be a public body administering public funds, and should it not be operated under public ownership, and alone from the commercial aspect? Should it not be free from any of the errors I have mentioned? One section in the report of the committee says:

Members of the board of governors to be persons of broad outlook, having knowledge of the tastes and the interests of the listening public, and able to make a definite contribution to the solution of the problems before the corporation.

If one looks over the list of those who have been appointed through the corporation can it be said, even by the widest stretch of the imagination, that those who have been appointed have received their appointments for the reasons of efficiency set out in that section?

In addition to that, I believe that nominations to the board should be abolished, and that a chief executive officer should be appointed, who alone will administer the C.B.C., and we would get better results from radio, this mysterious instrument of modern society, than are being obtained from radio operated in the present way. The executive, however, should be completely under parliamentary control.

Another principle laid down by the committee which considered radio broadcasting was this:

The independence of the corporation from partisan control to be assured by its constitution. As a trustee for the people of Canada and the payers of licences, the Board of Governors should render an account of its stewardship regularly to parliament and be subject to ultimate parliamentary control.

In my opinion we have had too many managers and temporary managers; we have not had a long-term policy of administration, and politics in the C.B.C. have been rampant. The policy has been one of drift, particularly in the last two or three years. I believe that those who are paying $2.50 for licences would receive better results and better programmes and would have more confidence in the system if we had one chief executive.

The political provision was violated in connection with the Winnipeg convention, when Mr. Meighen was not allowed to speak. Again at Hamilton Mr. Bracken was not allowed to speak. If there is no humour in the corporation, there should be some sportsmanship and those who are leading parties should be allowed to give their views on the political situation. The hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Lacombe) should be allowed to give his views, and also the leader of the Bloc Populaire (Mr. Raymond). There are other leaders of groups in the house; in fact there is a noble seven at the other end of the chamber. Why should not they all be given equal rights? Some of them may provide some humour. The other day the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains provided considerable humour when he was discussing another matter and his remarks were taken up by the humourists all over the country. He might entertain certain views on some of these public questions.

From 1936 to 1939 when disarmament was taking place, when we were losing our friends and when the causes of the present world conflict were shaping up, this corporation seemed to misjudge the whole situation. Since 1939 they have continued to misjudge things. For these reasons I think the board should be reconstituted and made up of those who have some knowledge of present day matters.

There is a kindred body which seems to be quite a favourite of this board. I refer to the Gallup poll. As I said last year, it is all gallop and no poll. This is one of the most mischievous institutions there is in the country and the Canadian Broadcasting Cor-portation seems to have a particular fondness for it. The Gallup poll endeavoured to obtain an opinion as to what different countries had done toward winning the war. No one gave any credit to Germany, but the returns showed the following percentages:

Per cent

Russia * 50

Great Britain 42

China 5

United States 3

Radio Broadcasting Committee

The same question was asked in the United States with the following results:

Per cent

United States 55

Russia 32

Great Britain 9

China i

I cannot understand why this mischievous organization should have so much influence by radio special speakers with the board of governors. This is shown by the announcements that are made. Mr. Gallup, the founder, is a United States citizen and his work seems to be a repetition of Mr. Al. Smith's celebrated "straw vote". Announcements are made which in my opinion should not be allowed during the war. This is just political propaganda, and there should be some censorship or control over this corporation to prevent their sending out political propaganda of this or other description.

The public of Canada are beginning to lose faith in this corporation, not only because of their programmes but because of their failure to do what they were supposed to do. The board of governors, the general manager and the acting general manager have never properly or efficiently taken up the question of education as applied to public broadcasting. This corporation could be a great instrument for furthering education and national unity as well as providing entertainment. They could not draw ten people into a theatre with the humour and entertainment they send out over the radio. On Sunday nights at eight forty-five o'clock the speakers who are to talk on public questions give at times only half truths to the public. More use should be made of the radio as an instrument of education.

The time has come when there should be a reorganization of the whole system. Those who pay licence fees should be given value for their money. Certain sections of the act and of the regulations have not been enforced. Toronto seems to be a dumping ground for officials from all over Canada, and some of the programmes they put out are certainly not up to date. I hope this house in the year to come will see to it that we get a permanent organization with a continuity of policy as intended by the founders of the system. The system we have to-day does not commend itself to the wisdom and judgment of the country. There is wide dissatisfaction throughout Canada, not only with regard to the programmes but with regard to the administration.

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

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. W. A. TUCKER (Rosthern):

I should like to draw attention to something which I think is of importance to this parliament. We are in a time of war, and it seems to me that the administration of this country and the activities of this parliament should be of greater interest to the people than anything else that happens at any other place within Canada. I am told that the news of what happens in this parliament is edited by a board in Toronto, the members of which do not observe what occurs. They are attempting to interpret to the people of Canada something which they have not seen, something which they can judge only by what is sent to them from Ottawa.

Perhaps this is one reason why at night the ten o'clock news broadcast sent out from Toronto does not seem to us who have been here to portray accurately what has taken place. I most urgently suggest that the doings of this house are important enough to warrant their being edited by people who observe the house in session.

Just to give an example of what this leads to I should like' to refer to the news broadcast sent out at ten o'clock on February 21. Before I go on with this may I say that I have been and still am a believer in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation operating as a nationally owned and controlled public institution. I have been a believer in that ever since radio came into existence. The reason why I speak is that the people I come in contact with claim that there is a shading of the news in favour of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. The leader of the C.C.F. party (Mr. Coldwell) is continually being held up as the leader of the future, as the man who is to lead us into the promised land and all that sort of thing. They claim that, to the extent the radio can do so, it is tending to build up a feeling throughout the country that the leader of the C.C.F. is a man of destiny. There is a widespread belief that the C.B.C. is continually shading the news in that way.

If the C.B.C. is to be used as a political instrument of that kind, then something must be done. People who believe in the C.B.C. just as much as anyone in this house have said that to me. If that opinion exists all over the country, then there must be something wrong and it is not for me or anyone else to prove it by going deeply into the matter. To come to this broadcast of February 21, it outlines in full the charges of the leader of the C.C.F. party in regard to the aluminum eomract, and he is given about twenty-five lines. I will now read from the transcript of the broadcast and leave it to the judgment of

Radio Broadcasting Committee

the house whether it gives a true picture of what actually happened. The transcript goes on to say:

The Minister of Munitions-Mr. Howe-said that some of the statements which Mr. Coldwell had quoted as having been given in evidence appeared incredible. He thought that the evidence should be tabled in the house.

Then it goes on to speak of the Progressive Conservative member for Danforth , (Mr. Harris) and says:

The Progressive Conservative member for Toronto Danforth-Joseph Harris-suggested an amendment to Mr. Cleaver's motion for approval of the committee's report. The amendment would require all evidence to be tabled, and discussion of the motion postponed until it had been studied.

As the Speaker was about to put a motion by Mr. Harris, Mr. King said there were the best of reasons for having the committee sit in camera. He added that the government would welcome full discussion, but that the committee could not fulfil its function if the evidence were made public. Mr. Howe said he was aware it would be a breach of confidence if the evidence were disclosed.

In other words, it starts off with the charges of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) and deals with them seriatim and at great length, and as the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) has stated, the next night the broadcast repeated the charges he had made, apparently to make quite sure that the people would know what the charges were.

Then it creates the impression that just as Your Honour was about to put the motion, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) stepped into the breach and saved the motion from being put to the house, and it makes out that the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) then changed his mind after the Prime Minister had stepped in. But we who were here in the house know that it was made plain, taking all his remarks together, that the Minister of Munitions and Supply never had any intention that the evidence should be tabled. Here is just one statement of others which should have made it plain. At page 711 of Hansard, he is reported as saying:

I am quite aware that it would be a breach of confidence, and particularly a breach against myself, if that evidence were tabled.

Can anybody who sat in the house say that the Minister of Munitions and Supply seriously intended that the evidence should be tabled when he had said that it would be a breach of confidence against the government of the United Kingdom and particularly against himself to table it? It was obvious to all that he had no such intention; but here in this broadcast it is held out to the country that the Minister of Munitions

and Supply had the idea that the evidence should all be tabled and that then the Prime Minister stepped into the breach, the Minister of Munitions and Supply then, fell in line. That is the way it struck me when I heard it. It was held uip to the people that the Prime Minister stepped in and stopped him. The fact is it was quite clear that the whole house felt that the evidence should not and could not be tabled. It was not a matter at all of the Prime .Minister suddenly stepping in and .stopping the evidence being tabled. It was a matter of confidence., trust and good faith toward others, particularly the government. of the United Kingdom.

There are people throughout this country, thousands of them in the armed services, who are too busy to follow the daily newspapers carefully, and there are thousands of farmers who take only a weekly newspaper. But they do follow very carefully what comes over the C.B.C. They feel that that is one thing they can rely' on to be absolutely unbiased and fair. The reason why I am speaking this afternoon is that it is the duty of this house to see to it that these people's trust is not betrayed and that we do not permit some unknown persons in Toronto, who are not following the proceedings of this house, to shade their reports in such a way as not to give a true picture of its proceedings, and particularly they should not convey to the listeners a wrong impression of what happened in this house. Therefore, I urge that these news broadcasts be absolutely fair and impartial. If they are not; if the idea gets around that these reports are being shaded, what is to become of the people's confidence in national broadcasting? What is to become of their confidence in the nationally owned and controlled radio institution? We had better see to it, if we want to maintain the people's confidence in the national radio system, that such items as this are not repeated and that what happens in this House of Commons is portrayed to the people, not in such a light as this report from which I have quoted, but in the true light, reflecting faithfully the deliberative proceedings of this legislative body of a great nation conducting its business in parliament in a dignified manner worthy of the great nation that Canada, is.

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

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. RUSSELL BOUCHER (Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker) and the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) make their accusations against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, it does seem to me that we should not let this occasion go by before

Radio Broadcasting Committee

we in this house give the national radio system our fair consideration and look upon the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and radio broadcasting generally, from the point of view of what it should mean in our national life. I do not think the man on the street, the average Canadian, has any opinions about radio other than it is one of the greatest organizations for improving human welfare and one of the worst organizations for destruction, if it is used in that way, that this country could ever produce. Taking that into consideration, I think that in setting up the radio committee this year we should try to appreciate the immeasurable importance to Canada of the necessits' of national control of radio, having due regard to the importance and efficiency of private radio stations as well. We should take a long-sighted and broad-minded view of radio, realizing the leadership it can give'in culture and education, in action, and in insight into future development, instead of being merely the interpreter of the views of any one man or any one party. It is abhorrent to me to think the Canadian government has allowed a regulation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to ban political discussions over the air. What is political? What is not political, I ask? Surely the banning of political discussions by the foster child of the government of Canada casts a slur upon that which is political, a slur which we members of the House of Commons should not stand for. Surely things political should not be represented as being some sort of scurvy generated here which the government cannot allow to be cast out over the air. to the people of Canada through the national .radio system.

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

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

If the hon. gentleman will allow a question, without agreeing or disagreeing with his point of view, do I understand him to take the position that the government should have issued an instruction to the board of governors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on the matter of broadcasts?

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

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

I am very glad to answer that question. Here we have the government of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation still without a head; it has an incomplete, inefficient and incompetent board of governors, and the government takes no steps to amend that situation at the earliest possible date. Surely that responsibility rests on the government.

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

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

My hon. friend is not answering my question.

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

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

I answered it very clearly,

I think.

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

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

No; there is a point of principle involved in it. Does my hon. friend take the position that the government should on occasion, when it thinks it advisable, instruct the board of governors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as to their duty?

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

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

My answer is certainly no. But I also say this, that the government cannot shirk its responsibility by having as its nominees men who cannot reflect its opinions to the people of Canada.

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

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

My hon. friend earlier in his remarks criticized the government because it had not given an instruction to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

Because the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have carried out a policy that was not consistent with Canadian thought and Canadian desires. As a matter of fact, what has happened to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the past year? I do not think there is anybody in Canada who would not say that the policy of the board of governors, and indirectly of the government, has been a policy of drift. I do not think the leadership has been shown by the C.B.C. in the national, cultural and educational life of the country which the people expected of it. As I see it, cultural and educational matters, as well as music and entertainment, should have priority over commercial or partisan subjects.

We learned last year that the board of governors were pleased over the fact that their income was supporting their programme, so that the C.B.C. was not involving the government in any expense. It does not seem to me that that is to the credit of the corporation. We all realize that in Europe the radio has been used as one of the greatest propaganda machines on the fact of the earth, and that in some places it has had a very evil influence. It is true that in many private stations, particularly to the south of us, where commercial interests preponderate over the radio, another undesirable extreme is reached. Canada set up the C.B.C. with a national network to give an example and to provide leadership to the people, but that leadership has not been forthcoming.

I agree with the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) that some board should be set up which would coordinate and adjudicate in an impartial manner .upon the multifarious problems of radio, not in the roles of judge, jury, prosecutor and accused, but as an impartial body. I believe the board of

Radio Broadcasting Committee

transport im its dealings with the railways is performing an important function in an impartial way, permitting public ownership and private enterprise to run side by side to the benefit of the people of Canada. In the C.B.C. a similar rule could be applied, but that is not possible while control is confined to one power with a national station, operating at once as judge and jury, as accused and prosecutor.

I am sure the average Canadian citizen is anxious to see the tone of radio broadcasting much higher than it is. He would like to be able to look upon the board of governors of radio as men not only inspired by the national viewpoint and beyond partisan, local or community influences, but having a far-sighted national and international vision, men ready to give leadership and encouragement, men. not afraid to delve into the problematical or to engage the best authorities on current problems to broadcast their views, even though those views might savour of something political ; for, after all, politics is in our very being, and we must keep our eye on the political ball and the factors of political progress. It is not enough that the C.B.C. has a policy of propagandizing accepted1 ideas more or less confined to one group or one community. It is my contention that the public are not represented as they should be on the board of governors. Why cannot we have a board unhampered by political, sectional and other prepossessions, prepared to deal with matters on a basis which will give a proper place to commercial, cultural and educational matters, while dealing adequately with news and amusements? Will anybody say that our present board of governors has done that? Can anyone feel that parliament has enabled the board to perform these services, when there has been for so long no governor, no managing director, and a shortage on the board itself?

I do not believe that the C.B.C. has risen to its opportunities. Canadians have not the respect or admiration for the corporation or for the board of governors that such bodies should be able to command. Surely, in relation to matters of current interest, the C.B.C. could broadcast the leads which are given, instead of merely repeating their version of these events. As a member of the house, I refleet the viewpoint of the men I meet when I say that if government enterprise, as exemplified by the present management of the C.B.C. has done the best it can, -we want no more of such a board of governors. The time has come, with the war at so critical a stage, with conditions in Canada as they are, to raise the standards of the C.B.C. to a much higher level and to make much greater use of it.

Mr. BERT H. SOPER (Lanark): Mr. Speaker, \ye have heard a good deal of criticism this afternoon, some favourable and some unfavourable, of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The hon. 'member for Broadview (Mr. Church) raised the old complaint that Mr. Bracken was not allowed to speak over the radio. I should like to ask you and this house why Mr. Bracken should be allowed time on the radio of Canada. Whom does he represent? He does not represent this house; he does not represent anybody; he is neither a member of the House of Commons nor a member of any provincial legislature. It seems to me that any member of this house has more right to ask for time over the C.B.C. than Mr. Bracken has. If anybody is to be granted time to express his political views, let those who are privileged to represent the people of this country come first. If Mr. Bracken wants to "sell" himself to the Dominion of Canada, let him get elected to this house. This is where he should b.e. He should not be going up and down the country criticizing and trying to defeat every piece of constructive legislation which is put before us. It is easy to go out and criticize; let him come here and take an interest in what is going on and show the people of Canada what he can do.

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

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. S. H. KNOWLES (Winnipeg North Centre):

I feel it is only common courtesy that some member of this group should rise to express a word of sincere thanks to the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) and the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker) for the opportunity they have given to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to-night to mention the name of Coldwell. I suggest to Your Honour that a radio might be brought into the chamber this evening at ten o'clock in order that too many hon. members may not yield to their curiosity to go and find just what is reported on the news.

Before I deal with the one specific point which I wish to mention, I think I should correct the hon. member for Rosthern when he tried to create the impression that the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) did not actually change his mind the other evening on the matter of tabling the evidence which we were discussing at that time. The hon. member quoted from the remarks of the minister after, as we feel, he had changed his mind. But the hon. member did not quote the earlier statement when, in response to the question of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon)

Radio Broadcasting Committee

whether he felt the evidence should be tabled, the minister said quite clearly, as reported in Hansard at page 704:

Yes, I think so; and I would suggest to the chairman of the committee that he move to have the evidence in this particular case tabled in the house.

A little later the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) came into the chamber end spoke to the matter, as reported on pages 709-711. The Minister of Munitions and Supply then rose again to explain his position, and it was at that time that he gave the opposite view which the hon. member for Rosthern has already quoted.

However, I rose for only a moment or two to refer to one matter in connection with the work of the committee which is to be set up under the terms of this motion. It is my privilege in the city from which I come to have fairly extensive contact with trades union organizations and to be at many meetings of trades union bodies. These organizations naturally - discuss matters mainly relating lo labour conditions, matters closely affecting their own work. But there are many occasions when these bodies discuss other matters of public interest. I know of no matter of public interest which has caused so much discussion in trades union circles over a long period of time, apart from actual labour questions, as the alleged interference by the Minister of National War Services (Mr. LaFleche) in connection with the programme "Of Things To Come," which took place last November. As many hon. members know, many protests have been made by labour bodies as well as by others; and I urge, not only on my own,' behalf, but on behalf of organizations such as those to which I have referred, that this committee, when set up, go into the matter thoroughly. A full investigation should be made to determine what actually happened at that time, and responsibility for any interference should be definitely fixed. One reason for this inquiry and for fixing the responsibility should be to make sure that this kind of thing will not occur again.

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

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. G. B. ISNOR (Halifax):

As a member of the committee for several years I had intended to inquire of the last speaker (Mr. Knowles), the moment he stopped speaking, whether he was making the charge that the Minister of National War Services (Mr. LaFleche) interfered in connection with the broadcast of a programme known as "Of Things To Come." Was that his charge?

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

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

If the hon. member wishes to check the record he will find that I insisted that the committee should make an inquiry into the "alleged" interference.

Mr. LaFLECHE: Why don't you be plain about it?

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

February 25, 1944