July 19, 1946

LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I understand that after the peanuts have been put through the process and converted to oil they are chemically pure. If no one heard that the product had been full of some disgusting material there would be no objection raised. We want to protect the people as far as possible.

Topic:   FOOD AND DRUGS ACT
Subtopic:   LIMITATIONS UPON IMPORTATION AND SALE TO GENERAL PUBLIC
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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

In what condition does raw sugar enter the country? Would it not be excluded under this section?

Topic:   FOOD AND DRUGS ACT
Subtopic:   LIMITATIONS UPON IMPORTATION AND SALE TO GENERAL PUBLIC
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I would not think raw sugar comes in in a disgusting condition. This section must be read together with section 4 of the act, which states that food shall be deemed to be adulterated within the meaning of the act, and then these different things are set out.

Topic:   FOOD AND DRUGS ACT
Subtopic:   LIMITATIONS UPON IMPORTATION AND SALE TO GENERAL PUBLIC
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Section agreed to. Sections 3 and 4 agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE

COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE


Hon. BROOKE CLAXTON (Minister of National Health and Welfare) moved that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to present a bill to establish a Canadian information service for collecting and distributing abroad information concerning Canada and to coordinate and assist the information service of the government and Information Service



to provide for payment of salaries of staff and expenses of the service from moneys appropriated by parliament.


PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

Is the minister going to explain the purpose of the resolution?

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I shall be glad to do that, either now or later. It was the hope of the government that we might have first reading of the bill and then have it distributed. We would then take up the estimates of the Canadian information service, at which time h-on. members could secure full information about its operations, and proceed with the second reading of the bill at a later time. That seems to be the logical way to proceed.

In reply to the hon. member for Kamloops I would say briefly that the Canadian information service was established on September 28, 1945, by order in council P.C. 6300. It succeeded the wartime information board, which had been set up on September 9, 1942, by P.C. 8099. The wartime information board succeeded the directorate of public information which was brought under the Department of National War Services by P.C. 3333 on July 19, 1940. That succeeded the committee of public information which was established on October 7, 1939 by P.C. 2654 and by P.C. 4073 of December 8, 1939. The heads of these services were successively Mr. Walter Thompson, of the Canadian National Railways; Mr. Herbert Lash, of the Canadian National Railways; Mr. Charles Vining, of the newsprint export manufacturers association; Mr. John Grierson, Mr. A. D. Dun ton, and the present head, Mr. G. F. Andrew, to all of whom we are indebted for distinguished service during war time.

The purpose of the Canadian information service is much more limited than that of the wartime information board or its predecessors. Its purpose as set out in the order in council is to provide means and facilities for distributing information abroad concerning Canada and to coordinate and assist the public information services of the government. That purpose was amplified by the acting Prime Minister, after P.C. 6300 had been tabled, when he said-

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

What date was that?

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

That would be immediately after September 28, 1945. He said:

Those with whom we trade must know our country and its possibilities; those with whom we associate 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.

At a later date I will, if requested, outline the way in which information services were developed during and after the war, in other countries as well as in Canada. I know of no country in which a similar service is not set up under one form or another, and in every country that I know of the service is set up on a much more elaborate scale and at greater cost than is intended for the Canadian service.

The aim is to establish a small service as compared with the service in any other country, to be under the immediate administration of the director, Mr. G. F. Andrew, but with regard to matters of policy and major concern to be subject to the supervision of a supervisory committee. On that committee would be representatives of other government information services, as well as representatives of the Department of External Affairs and the Department of Trade and Commerce. There would be a staff at Ottawa and their first function would be to provide for Canada's offices abroad, wherever and whatever the offices may be, information about Canada. That was found to be necessary to keep them continuously informed during the war, and it has been found useful, desirable and necessary in the post-war period. The information service takes several forms. It includes the distribution of books as reference libraries, and publications. It prepares reference papers on matters of current interest, such as for example, the situation as to food, Canada's trade, Canada's financial aid to other countries; and it sends out descriptive booklets as well as a regular daily air mail service, a weekly summary of news, and a monthly publication. In addition it supplies our offices abroad, through or in coordination with the national film board, with films, still pictures, and so on. It also, of course, answers inquiries received from abroad, and tries in every way possible to make Canada better known in other countries, the need of which is agreed to by everyone.

This information is sent to the officers of the Canadian information service at New York, Washington, London, Paris and Canberra. The material also goes to our diplomatic representatives in the countries of the British commonwealth and in foreign countries where we have representatives. It goes to the trade commissioners and other representatives, and officers of Canada stationed abroad.

I noticed in the Montreal Gazette to-day a dispatch on the front page on the introduction of this bill which certainly is intended to give every appearance of being a news dispatch. The byline is from the Gazette's resident correspondent at Ottawa, July 18. Then fol-

Information Service

lows what appears to be a news dispatch, but it has a serious misstatement of fact and several statements of editorial opinion. One of the things stated there is:

External Affairs has publicity men attached to many of its embassies and legations in other countries.

It states that therefore the Canadian information service is not necessary. The only publicity men, as they are called here, attached to embassies or legations are officers of the Canadian information service. External Affairs has no other public relations or information people in its service. When that is said it meets very largely the point which the Gazette correspondent or the Gazette itself tried to make.

Similar services are considered to be necessary by the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Australia, New Zealand and every other country that I know of. All the countries I have named have information representatives in Canada, at Ottawa or elsewhere. I have fairly full information about the size of the offices, the size of the staffs, and the amount of the expenditures of many of these information services of other countries. Of course we are anxious to set up this service, as economically as it could be done having regard to the needs of the Canadian people. I can assure the house that I know of no more modest service than that which we seek to set up,, and I know of none in which the salaries are more reasonable and the total over-all expenditure is as small.

I have dealt with the primary function of the information service. But it also has another function, and that is coordinating and assisting the other information services of the government in Canada. It has done that. Perhaps I should give a concrete example. There is an interdepartmental committee called the rehabilitation committee. It is furnished with a chairman and a secretary as well as with expert assistance by the Canadian information service. The food information committee is another example, and I could give others. That is the kind of thing that has been done by way of coordinating and assisting other Canadian information services.

The third function of the Canadian information service is to act in connection with Canada's attendance and participation in international conferences. It has been found by every country that it is desirable at all the major conferences to have attached to each delegation an information officer to arrange for press conferences, for the preparation and release of material to the press, for the preparation of background material, and that kind of thing, so as to ensure that so far 63260-228

as possible the reports of material of primary interest to the country concerned-in this case Canada and its citizens-are made continuously available by the delegation through the ordinary press agencies for distribution and dissemination at home. Such an information officer attached to a delegation is able to advise the delegation on presenting its material, on meeting the press, and on other questions sometimes quite technical, which things are necessary if a country is to secure an adequate dissemination of information about its position.

The fourth function of the Canadian information service is to act as the information bureau or supply the officers for the information bureau at international conferences held in Canada. I have in mind not only the two Quebec conferences but also the second meeting of the council of UNRRA, the meeting of the food conference, the meeting of PICAO and others, where the Canadian information service provided what was in essence the international staff necessary to discharge the informational needs of a great international conference.

Another function of the service is to arrange for foregin visitors to come to Canada and to see that as far as possible while in Canada they receive whatever facilities may be necessary to enable them to see what they want to see of our country. That kind of service is now furnished by every government. We have found it necessary to do it, and it is necessary that it should be done by a special service.

Finally there has been set up, as hon. members know, the united nations educational, scientific and cultural organization-UNESCO, as it is called-which was the result of meetings held at London in November, 1945. Canada signed the convention, and some sixteen countries have now ratified it. Canada no doubt will ratify it in due course, and it will be necessary then for some agency in Canada to act as the corresponding unit, the funnel through which there will be two-way communication between UNESCO and the proper agencies in Canada; and that will be partly the Department of External Affairs, and partly the Canadian information service.

The bill, which I hope will secure first reading, and will be distributed soon, is very much along the lines of the order in council setting up the Canadian information service, under which it has been working since it was set up some months ago. As I have said, it is the hope of the government that if first reading is secured for this bill and the bill is distributed, at once we shall move into committee of supply, and there I shall be glad indeed to deal with the estimates of the privy council which

Information Service

relate to the Canadian information service and answer all questions which hon. members may put.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. FULTON (Kamloops):

Mr. Speaker, the minister has given us a complete picture of the operation of the Canadian information service and has outlined in general terms the methods by which it is proposed that the service should function.

With respect to his suggestion as to the method of procedure from now on, with deference to the minister, and although we appreciate the anxiety to get through the business of the house, I feel nevertheless that our greatest anxiety should be to discharge efficiently our task here as an opposition to criticize measures brought before us and thereby to help the government more efficiently to discharge its task as a government. We do not feel that to accede to the suggestion put forth by the minister would in any great measure expedite the business of the house, and certainly it would not enable us to make that full and searching examination of this measure which we feel it to be our duty to make.

Speaking of the way in which this Canadian information service will operate, the minister said that its task would be to spread information of Canada to foreign countries, and in particular to spread information about Canada's efforts with regard to food and financial assistance to other countries.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Oh, I did not say that at all.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

I understood the minister to say that.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I gave food and financial assistance as examples of the kind of subjects on which reference papers were prepared in Canada and sent abroad. It is by no means limited to that.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

I was not suggesting it was limited to that. I was merely pointing out-

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

That was by way of example.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

-that that was one of the functions, to assist in the dissemination of information on these heads. In this connection I should like to say that criticism has been voiced that this service it is not operating efficiently, is not discharging one of the legitimate functions which, if it is felt to be essential at all, the people would like it to discharge.

I want to make the reservation here that we do not accept the necessity or the desirability of having this service. We intend to question it, and to question whether it is discharg-

ing its duties efficiently. But if it exists at all we feel it should render some service, and we wish to find out whether we are getting value for the money which is being spent.

I have before me an editorial which appeared in the Sherbrooke Daily Record; and in order to save, possibly, somebody on the other side the trouble, I will say now that I avow quite frankly the paper is not friendly to the government. It does, however, reproduce some facts from independent observers and these should be brought to the minister's attention. It is in the issue of May 8 of this year and appears under the heading, "Canadian Publicity in England". It begins:

In spite of the expenditures incurred by the federal government to support the Canadian information service-

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I do not like to interrupt the hon. gentleman but I would raise a point of order. Some time ago I endeavoured to read from an editorial an extract with regard to some remarks of the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, and a point of order was raised by the hon. member for Peel that I must not read from a newspaper editorial. I thought it was a curious point of order, but I was told by the Chairman-we were in committee-that I could not read from the editorial. Having been told that once, I should UKe to ask Your Honour whether that is permitted or not.

Topic:   CANADIAN INFORMATION SERVICE
Subtopic:   COORDINATION OP AND ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE
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July 19, 1946