Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of
That a joint committee of both houses of parliament be appointed to consider the interim report of the committee appointed to study combines legislation, tabled in the House of Commons Friday, October 12, 1951; and to consider appropriate
amendments to the Combines Investigation Act based thereon.
That twenty-six members of the House of Commons, to be designated by the house at a later date, be members of the joint committee on the part of this house, and that standing order 65 of the House of Commons be suspended in relation thereto:
That the said committee have power to appoint, from among its members, such subcommittees as may be deemed advisable or necessary; to call for persons, papers and records; to examine witnesses under oath; to sit while the house is sitting, and to report from time to time;
That the said committee have power to print such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee for the use of the committee and of parliament, and that standing order 64 of the House of Commons be suspended in relation thereto.
And that a message be sent to the Senate requesting that house to unite with this house for the above
purpose and to select, if the Senate deems advisable, some of its members to act on the said proposed joint committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, hon. members of this chamber I am sure are familiar with the interim report of the committee appointed to study combines legislation which is referred to in this resolution. This committee, which I shall refer to as the Mac-Quarrie committee, since that is the name of its chairman in order to avoid confusion with the joint committee referred to in the resolution, was appointed by me with the approval of the government in June, 1950. Its terms of reference, to which I shall make detailed reference in a moment, were almost unlimited. Its first act, in July, 1950, was to send out letters to consumer, farmer, labour, industrial, mercantile and other organizations. I shall quote in exact terms the letter of invitation and the press release that relates thereto. The letter is dated Ottawa, July 7, 1950, and reads as follows: Dear Sir:
At the session of parliament just concluded the Minister of Justice announced the appointment of a committee for the purpose of studying the Combines Investigation Act. The members of the committee are the Hon. Mr. Justice J. H. MacQuarrie of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia; Dr. W. A. Mackintosh, vice-principal of Queen's university; Professor Maurice Lamontagne, assistant director of the department of economics, Laval university; and Mr. George F. Curtis, dean of the faculty of law of the university of British Columbia.
The terms of reference of the committee were given by the minister as follows:
"The terms of reference are to study, in the light of present day conditions, the purposes and methods of the Combines Investigation Act and related Canadian statutes, and the legislation and procedures of other countries, in so far as the latter appear likely to afford assistance, and to recommend what amendments, if any, should be made to our Canadian legislation in order to make it a more effective instrument for the encouraging and safeguarding of our free economy.
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, I desire to emphasize that no suggestions of amendments are being made to the committee for its consideration. It is the practice, however, to take stock of such acts from time to time to see whether any modifications should be considered in the light of administrative experience, changed conditions or otherwise. It is for such a purpose that this study has been arranged."
For its assistance in this study the committee is anxious to receive as soon as posible from organizations, firms and individuals whatever views they may wish to express upon matters within its terms of reference. In order to avoid duplication, notices of the study being made by the committee are not being sent to individual members of organizations. It would be greatly appreciated, therefore, if you would inform your affiliated organizations and individual members, where practicable, of the desire of the committee to secure as wide an expression of views as possible. The committee would welcome representations not only from organizations and members thereof but also from any person who wishes to make comments or suggestions.
Representations may be directed to particular provisions of the laws or may relate to general matters of policy.
You may recall that the royal commission on prices in their examination of restrictive business practices- gave particular attention to the practice of resale price maintenance and recommended that careful study be given to this problem from the viewpoint of its effect on price competition amongst wholesalers and retailers. In view of this the committee invites comments on this particular problem as well as on the Combines Investigation Act generally. In particular, the committee would appreciate receiving extended comments on the tentative conclusion of the royal commission on prices as to the effects of the practice upon the public interest. The matter is dealt with in Vol. I, pages 27, 28 and 41, and Vol. II, pages 256 to 259 of the report of the royal commission on prices as published by the king's printer in 1949.
All representations received by the committee will be treated as confidential to the committee, and will not be used for purposes other than those of the committee or quoted unless permission is requested and granted. Those making representations, however, may give whatever publicity to them they desire. Communications should be addressed to the committee to study the Combines Investigation Act, Justice building, Ottawa.
May I refer again to the desire of the committee to receive representations at an early date and suggest that submissions should be forwarded, wherever possible, by the early part of August.
Yours very truly,
(sgd.) J. H. MacQuarrie Chairman, committee to study the Combines Investigation Act
Then, coincident with the sending out of that invitation, there was a press release dated July 10, 1950, headed "Committee to study Combines Legislation", and reading as follows:
The committee recently appointed to study combines and related legislation has made public today the text of a letter inviting the submission of views from all sections of the Canadian public.
The letter has been sent to national organizations including consumer associations, co-operative societies, labour unions, trade associations and business and professional groups asking them and their affiliated organizations and individual members to submit briefs. The committee expresses a desire to secure as wide an expression of views as possible and indicates that it would welcome from individuals as well as from organizations whatever views they may wish to submit in this matter.
The members of the committee, as announced by the Minister of Justice-
Then the press release goes on to indicate who they are, and the terms of reference are also given.
As a result of these invitations, Mr. Speaker, the MacQuarrie committee received a considerable number of formal briefs and many informal letters from organizations and individuals, and also held many interviews in relation to those written communications. Certain organizations required more time for the preparation of their material than was at first expected, with the result that the last brief to be received did not come to the committee until December, 1950. As late as