May 28, 1948

FLOOD CONDITIONS

FRASER VALLEY AND OTHER BRITISH COLUMBIA AREAS-OPPORTUNITY FOR DISCUSSION

LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. G. A. CRUICKSHANK (Fraser Valley):

Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, I had intended moving the adjournment of the house to discuss a matter which I consider to be of national importance, namely, the floods in the province of British Columbia, particularly the Fraser valley; but I understand that under the rules it is not customary to move such a motion if we are going into supply.

I do not wish to weary the house, but I must point out that this has become a very serious matter in British Columbia. It is no longer a Fraser valley matter, but a national matter, since the whole economy of the Pacific coast is involved. I should like to have the assurance of the government that I shall be given the privilege of speaking when estimates come up this afternoon in committee of supply.

I am particularly concerned about the situation in my own riding. I have already purchased my ticket for flight home if I can get an aeroplane, because I consider it my duty to be in my riding at this time. As I have said, this is a serious matter, because lives are at stake and the damage has already exceeded millions of dollars. Last night another dike went in Sumas prairie, and if the river rises thirty-two inches more the town of Chilliwack will be flooded and millions of dollars of damage will be done. I should like to have the assurance that an opportunity will be given me to discuss the matter; otherwise I shall consider it my duty to move the adjourn^ ment of the house.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   FRASER VALLEY AND OTHER BRITISH COLUMBIA AREAS-OPPORTUNITY FOR DISCUSSION
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Justice):

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) will this afternoon be introducing a resolution on the diking of marshlands, under which I think the hon. gentleman could say anything he wished to say and be in order.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   FRASER VALLEY AND OTHER BRITISH COLUMBIA AREAS-OPPORTUNITY FOR DISCUSSION
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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

But that is restricted to the maritimes.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   FRASER VALLEY AND OTHER BRITISH COLUMBIA AREAS-OPPORTUNITY FOR DISCUSSION
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REPORTS AND PAPERS

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to table copy of an order in council, P.C. 2413, setting up a water board for the three prairie provinces; also copy of order in council P.C. 2412, setting a floor of fifty-eight cents per pound, basis Montreal, under butter.

Topic:   REPORTS AND PAPERS
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CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE


The house resumed, from Wednesday, May 26, consideration of the motion of Mr. Pouliot for concurrence in the first report of the standing committee on debates.


IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. JEAN FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata):

Mr. Speaker, resuming the debate on the motion for the adoption of the report of the committee on debates, I have just a few words to say. The whole idea is to improve the publication of the debates so that only corrections and not revisions are made in due course. Hon. members had an opportunity to read the report, which was printed both in Hansard and in Votes and Proceedings, and I hope that those who are not members of the committee have read it.

I must pay a special tribute to my colleagues the members of the committee who expedited the proceedings, and to the king's printer, the editor of debates, and Mr. Yves Fortin, who is also a very able man, for the information with which they supplied us. I have one word also to say about the clerk of the committee, Mr. Antonio Plouffe, who was most helpful to the committee and to the chairman in dealing with this matter.

I wish to suggest a slight amendment to the last paragraph of the report, which reads as follows:

Your committee further recommends that the government consider the advisability of increasing the number of complimentary copies of the daily edition of debates to members from ten to sixteen.

It should read thus:

Your committee further recommends that the House of Commons authorize the increasing of the number of complimentary copies of the daily editions of debates to members from ten to sixteen.

Report of Debates Committee

I hope that the house will agree to that. I want to give credit to everyone in this matter. Each member realizes that Hansard must be a true picture of our deliberations here, that nothing of what is said should be changed except when there is a slip. There is no use in painting the lily. Therefore Hansard should be accurate. That is one thing.

The second thing is this. Not long ago I spoke to the king's printer, and he told me that if this method be adopted, and if the suggestion which came from Mr. Young, the editor of debates, be accepted, it will be possible to have the bound Hansard two months after the date the speech is made. If the method had been adopted prior to this session, we would already have the bound Hansard of January, February and March. It will save money also. But I do not insist much on that point, although the saving would be considerable, because the question of the saving of money on printing comes under the jurisdiction of the joint parliamentary committee on printing. It is an altogether different matter. The purpose of the committee on debates is to see to it that the records of the house are accurate, clear and truthful.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

I should like to call the attention of the house, Mr. Speaker, for three or four minutes to this report, concurrence in which was moved in the house last Wednesday. The motion made by the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) is one of the most important that we have had before us since the last war started. In the first place, may I point out to the house that the people back home in the constituencies know very little-in fact, almost nothing-about what goes on here. They rely on three agencies for their information. The first is printed Hansard. I am glad to see that a large number of public men and businessmen in the district from which I come read it. But at the present time when we are voting large sums of the people's money- nearly two billion dollars in the present estimates-the people have little knowledge of what goes on in the house.

In our city we used to have three morning newspapers and three evening newspapers. No one could criticize them. They have been doing a great work. Those who represent them in the press gallery are discharging a great public duty. During the war an information bureau, which I strongly opposed, was set up.

I always contended that that was a reflection on the press, and a suggestion that they were not doing their duty in letting the public know what was going on. At that time

the newspapers were under censorship. Today there is no censorship. We see the result of it in the debates in the house.

I do not care whether members are given one copy, five copies or ten copies. That is not the point I wish to make. My point is that the public are not getting the information they should be getting about public affairs, when we are voting, in the civil estimates, sums running into two billion dollars of their money. They are not getting the news they should be getting back home in the constituencies. The result is that the people have little or no knowledge of what is going on in public affairs. For instance, with regard to external affairs, days after these matters are discussed here some statement is given out, and the public know absolutely nothing about that particular department. We are dependent on the press and on the radio. The radio is like the tower of Babel, if you ask me. Some people turn it off a moment after they turn it on. Nevertheless they must pay for it. The public has very little advantage from it because the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been turned into a department of propaganda. .

It is necessary to see the cause and effect of this lack of information back home in the constituencies. You find it in the halls when you attend meetings. Questions are asked on matters which the predecessors of those who are voters today knew all about. I remember meetings when I was head of the city of Toronto. Some of these were attended by three or four thousand people; the subject under discussion w'as the taking over of the street railway. In provincial and dominion election campaigns these meetings have been superseded by the radio and all that kind of thing. No one can criticize the newspapers, because they always have the last word.

In conclusion I should like to say this. We must see the cause and effect if the public are not kept informed of what is going on. In Toronto, as I say, we used to have six newspapers. Now we only have one in the morning and two in the evening. The two in the evening are the only two I know of that have not increased their rates, and they have been doing splendid work. But they have instituted here what they call the columnist system, and when you read the various columns you find that some have the tendency to write about what is said by leaders and ignore the others. As for myself I do not care. I do not need that kind of publicity. I have never depended on it. I will say, however, that the people are

Report oj Debates Committee

entitled to more information than they are getting today. What the solution is, I do not know.

I am glad the hon. member who introduced this motion has called the attention of the house to this matter. He has been an able chairman. He has called attention to one of the weaknesses in our democratic system, and the agencies we have for making it work. In the last few years I have noticed in the newspapers pages and pages of sporting news and other matters in which a great many of the people may or may not be interested. We cannot criticize the press. They know their own business best. With the high cost of printing, and with the newsprint situation as it is, I do not know how the newspapers are carrying on at all. I wish to say a word of appreciation of their services to the public. I hope that appropriate measures will be introduced to give the public the information to which they are entitled.

I think the hon. gentleman deserves a great deal of credit for having brought this matter to the attention of the house.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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CCF

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

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

Mr. STANLEY KNOWLES (Winnipeg North Centre):

As a member of the committee, Mr. Speaker, may I in just a word support the motion for concurrence in the report and thank the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot), the chairman of the committee, for the slight change he has suggested in the last paragraph. I think I can say on behalf of the committee that it brings the report more into line with what was the understanding of the members of the committee. I am sure that everything in this report is all to the good and deserves the support of the house.

I have just one other word to say. I should like to take this opportunity to express appreciation of the splendid work in connection with Hansard that is done by the reporters on the floor, the amanuenses upstairs, the editor, the associate editor, their staff, the king's printer, and the printers and other workers at the printing bureau. They all do a good job.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Mr. Rinfret moves that in the paragraph following paragraph 7 all the words after "that" be deleted and replaced by the words: "the House of Commons

authorize the advisability of increasing the number of complimentary copies of the daily edition of debates to members from ten to sixteen."

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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LIB

Colin William George Gibson (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Hamilton West):

I think the amendment moved by the chairman of the committee was that the House of Commons authorize the increase, not the advisability. It was intended to authorize the increase in the number.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The clause will read:

Your committee further recommends that the House of Commons authorize the increasing of the number of complimentary copies of the daily edition of debates to members from ten to sixteen.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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Amendment agreed to.


IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Just before the report is adopted I want to join with the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) in what he said concerning Hansard. Ours is the best Hansard published in the British empire, and probably in the whole world. That is due to the efficiency and congeniality of those who comprise that staff, and they deserve all credit.

Motion as amended agreed to.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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SASKATCHEWAN RIVER

BRIDGE AT OR NEAR SASKATCHEWAN LANDING


On the orders of the day:


May 28, 1948