Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Acting Prime Minister) :
Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to lay on the table an order in council which establishes the Canadian information service. This service is being set up to provide for the distribution of information about Canada to the peoples of other countries.
Canadian Information Service
The need for such a service has been generally recognized. Canada has a vital interest in international peace and prosperity, and an important part to play in the attainment of these objectives. It is essential, therefore, that our people and country be known and understood abroad.
Those with whom we trade must know our country and its possibilities; those with whom we are associated for the maintenance of world security must know with whom they are cooperating, and what may be expected of our cooperation. In short, both trade and diplomacy, to be carried out successfully, need a background of understanding based on factual information objectively presented.
During the war years Canada's diplomatic representation abroad has had to be increased to keep pace with our increased obligations. In 1939 we maintained only four missions; to-day we have high commissioners in all the capitals of the commonwealth, and ambassadors and ministers in many other countries. At the same time the network of trade commissioners is being increased with a view to giving the utmost help to Canadian trade, which means, in the last analysis, help to every Canadian. All these representatives need to be kept thoroughly informed about what is going on at home.
During the last three years, pioneer work in the way of supplying information abroad has been done through the wartime information board, in conjunction with embassies, legations and trade commissioners. It will be the first duty of the new service to develop adequate reference and information services for all these Canadian representatives abroad. For this reason it was considered advisable to retain an interdepartmental, rather than a purely departmental, service.
The service is to be directed by a committee on which departments and agencies primarily interested in external peace-time information are represented. This committee will be under the chairmanship of A. D. P. Heeney, deputy head of the Privy Council office. It will also include Norman Robertson, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs; M. W. Mackenzie, Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce; Doctor Augustin Frigon, general manager of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; the government film commissioner, and the director of the Canadian information service.
Geoffrey C. Andrew, who has been secretary of the wartime information board for more than two years, and more recently has been acting as general manager, has been appointed director of the new service.
I should like to pay a word of tribute to the work which the wartime information board, and before it the director of public information, performed during the war years. The establishment of an information agency was a relatively new venture for Canada. It was a necessary task, and a difficult one, and much useful work has been done. Since V-J day the board has been steadily cutting down its services within Canada. A few days ago the last general manager of the wartime information board, Mr. A. D. Dunton, returned to his peace-time employment as editor of the Montreal Standard. I think it proper to say that he takes with him the thanks and admiration of all Canadians who can recognize a good and difficult job well done.