March 17, 1952

COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT

LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT

LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, on March 7 last the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright), in the course of his contribution to the debate on the address, referred to a matter which he had asked the Combines Investigation Act commissioner to investigate and report on, and expressed his willingness to table the report which was made by the combines commissioner on that occasion. Objection was taken to that procedure upon what seemed to me to be an excellent ground, namely that if we permitted members to file documents of that sort we might find ourselves following the practice of the United States congress in that regard. It was pointed out, however, by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) that if this document were presented by a minister, it would take the curse from it. I am glad indeed to table the document, and I suggest to the house that it be reported completely in Hansard because it deals with a matter which is of great interest now to all the farmers of Canada.

By way of introduction to the tabling of the document, I might perhaps insert in Hansard at this point the information that the hon. member for Melfort had asked the commissioner to investigate and to report upon-

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Casselman:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I should like to know under what rule this statement is being made by the Minister of Justice.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I understand that earlier in the session a question arose with respect to a report which it was requested should be tabled, and objection was taken to the tabling of the document. The minister now is asking permission of the house to table the document. This is the time at which documents should be tabled. I understand the minister would like to go further and have the document included in Hansard. Am I correct in that understanding?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

That is right, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Is it the wish of the house that the document should be included in Hansard?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wrighl:

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this document be printed in Votes and Proceedings. Had it been allowed to be printed in Hansard on the day that I asked that it be printed, I would have commented on the letter at that time to a rather larger extent.

I certainly would consent to its being printed in Votes and Proceedings.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, may I say that I objected to the printing of this letter in Hansard, when it was first asked for, on the ground that letters, articles and the like which are not read are not eligible to be printed in Hansard. If documents, letters and newspaper articles are filed and so printed, Hansard will no longer be what it is entitled, namely, House of Commons Debates. With whatever ruling Your Honour may make in connection with the document submitted, for which the minister accepts responsibility, I would not be in conflict. But I respectfully suggest that the printing of letters and other documents received by members or tendered by members would be a wrong practice for us to adopt.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me that, the objection having initially been taken to the printing of this letter verbatim in Hansard, it should stand without alteration, otherwise we are going to get into an extraordinary position. If the procedure now suggested by the minister is followed, it will establish a principle under which a minister to whom the letter was not addressed, having received from an official in his department a copy of a letter addressed to another hon. member- here the hon. member for Melfort-is then able to have it tabled. It is not a letter addressed to the minister at all. It is not a document, and I suggest it would be establishing a questionable precedent to allow the minister to have that letter either tabled or printed in Hansard, or in Votes and Proceedings. It seems the letter must come, if it comes at all, from the hon. member to whom it was addressed.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Mr. Speaker, if there is any grave objection to the course that is being suggested, I for one am not anxious to press

480 HOUSE OF

Printing of Documents in Hansard it. While this document takes the form of a letter in reply to the hon. member for Melfort, actually it is a report upon the questions which the hon. member addressed to the combines investigation commission, concerning a matter of very great interest to the farming industry of Canada. Having regard therefore to its substantial character, perhaps it would be of interest to all members of the house and of public interest generally that it should be tabled and printed in extenso in Hansard. If there is any disposition that that should not be done, I think it will be a very easy matter to inflict a few remarks upon the house and thereby submit the substance of the report in a debate at some appropriate opportunity, and perhaps that is what I should do.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, the minister may be unduly sensitive about the reception that the house will give to any remarks he may make. I judge that from the words he has just used, but I do not think it should be put upon that basis. When he says that he will then be called upon to inflict some remarks upon the house instead of simply tabling the letter, I would point out that this discussion relates to a ruling which Your Honour made a few days ago, and which should be well understood by hon. members. That ruling applies to members of the government as well as to other hon. members. What was pointed out a few days ago was that unless it is something that falls strictly within the ordinary rules of the house, there are other opportunities which present themselves to introduce into the records of the house any remarks or any part of any document which could be read.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, in relation to the earlier ruling you made, and in respect to what has already been said, that hon. members should be clear on this particular point. Either we are to be permitted to file statements, letters or other material of the kind without their being part of a speech made in the house or fitting into any of the rules which ordinarily apply, or we are going to recognize some established practice which brings them into the usual channels of publication in Hansard.

I suggest that if it is to be the rule that hon. members must avail themselves of some ordinary opportunity in debate to put such material on the record, then that rule should be followed in every case. I do believe it would be unwise to extend the practice of permitting documents to be placed on record without being read. For reasons that are obvious, consent is accorded to the Minister

of Finance in presenting his budget, and to ministers in regard to schedules of figures and information which simply supplement statements they are making in the house; but now that this has come up I think it would be well, Mr. Speaker, if you did draw a distinction between the tabling of schedules of that kind by consent of the house and the suggestion that communications, documents or otherwise should be placed on the record at any time without being read when these simply refer to subjects that could be dealt with in the ordinary course of debate.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

There are public documents which it is necessary to table, and they should be tabled at this time. Apparently the Minister of Justice was under the impression that the house would like to have this document tabled and included in Hansard. The hon. member for Grenville-Dundas (Mr. Casselman) raised a point of order as to whether the document should be tabled. I understood the hon. member for Melfort would like to have it included in Votes and Proceedings. Would it meet with the wishes of the house to have this document included in Votes and Proceedings'? Agreed?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

No.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

It is not agreed?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fullon:

I for one attach some

importance to the point that was raised earlier as to the origin of the request that this letter be printed in Votes and Proceedings. The point which I think is important is that this being a letter, or having taken the form of a letter, it should only be printed-in any part of the records of this house-on the request of the hon. member to whom it was addressed. If, therefore, it is clearly understood that the request that it be printed-wherever it is to be printed-comes now from the hon. member for Melfort to whom it was addressed, then I myself would have no objection to that course; but, with respect-not because of any personalities whatever, but simply because of what I regard as the proprieties of the situation-I must object to a letter being printed at the request of some hon. member to whom it was not addressed.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Melfort has made the suggestion, as I understand it, that it should appear in Votes and Proceedings. I understand it is the wish of the house that that be done. Agreed?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER TO MEMBER FOR MELFORT
Sub-subtopic:   PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS NOT READ
Permalink

March 17, 1952