March 18, 1953

CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Put it on

Hansard.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

My room is no secret place, and the hon. member will be welcome. I have not time to teach him from the floor of the House of Commons.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Let us have the truth today.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

That is exactly what we are working for; and I would remind the hon. member that if he wants to know the truth, then let him come where I can talk to him.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

I am prepared to have you talk right here, and put it on the record.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

And I am prepared to have you come to my room and learn it there; and I will tell you that you will learn the truth.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. Noseworthy:

You cannot back up what you are saying.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

Don't think for one moment that I cannot. I can back it up far more than the hon. member would dare think. He will never know a lot of these things himself, although he seems to be curious about them. Let him come around and find out.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. Noseworthy:

I challenge you to do it here.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

All right. You come around and see me and I will put you through a six months' course that will be your salvation.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

Will you give him a diploma?

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

These things have to be learned by much study, and probably by much prayer and humility.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

There is a lot in that.

18. 1953 3065

Special Committee on Broadcasting

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

And by much teachableness. The facts are not hidden to those who wish to find them. The evidence abounds for those who are ready to see it.

In our broadcasting system we must have provision for a thorough and sympathetic presentation of all aspects of any and every problem which would be of interest to the people. I think all hon. members would agree with that statement. In the light of it I would ask them to consider the broadcasting policy followed by the C.B.C. during the last five years, and then ask themselves whether that objective or principle has been observed.

The people ought to have the privilege of deciding for themselves the kind of programs they shall have. Let me tell the house what has happened in my community, which is served by the local radio station CJOC. If they broadcast material which meets with strong disapproval on the part of the people in the area, they soon hear about it. But if the C.B.C. broadcasts over that station things that meet with the disapproval of the people in the area, their voices are as those crying in the wilderness. And that, in my opinion, is a very serious condition.

Considering every aspect of the question, and the principles I have thus far laid down, it seems to me that the only solution to the problem of allowing the people to have the kind of programs they want is to permit a good deal of local control. I cannot see how that can be obtained in any way other than by having local broadcasting stations under private ownership, which will be sensitive to the desires of the people in the areas they serve.

I should like to have that matter discussed with considerable care in the committee about to be set up. It ought to have a strong bearing upon what the committee's recommendations would be in respect of the C.B.C. and broadcasting generally in Canada.

May I refer to a statement made by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Cold-well), because I wish to express my diametrical opposition to it. As reported at page 3018 he said:

Propaganda of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for the private control of television, whether they realize it or not, and of those who associate themselves with that propaganda, is in effect, in my opinion, treasonable to this country.

The hon. member is quite entitled to his opinion; but it is my opinion that just exactly the opposite is the case.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

He did not say who they were.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

The C.A.B.

3066 HOUSE OF

Special Committee on Broadcasting

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

"And of those who associate themselves with that propaganda", but he does not say who they are. Why does he not come out openly and say who they are?

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters consists of men who are in close contact with people throughout this country. On the other hand the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation more or less resides in ivory towers. Anyone who says that the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, with its roots and its contacts right down among the people from coast to coast, does not know what is good for broadcasting in this country, is just unrealistic. And I suspect that it indicates in the mind of the hon. member who made the quoted statement a strong tendency toward the idea that it is possible to find two or three or perhaps four or five men in the nation who know just exactly what everyone in the nation ought to hear, and who are determined to see that they shall hear it, whether they want to or not.

That is the socialist concept, as I understand it; and it is just diametrically opposite to the Social Credit concept. It shows just what the C.C.F. stands for. It shows just what centralization means in Canada.

There are two types of mentality in the world. In Canada today there is one type of mentality that thinks the people ought to be told what to do, and there is the other type that thinks the people ought to do the telling as to what is to be done. In a democracy the fundamental essential is that the people shall tell those in authority what to do. Just as soon as people begin to think in the opposite direction, while they may call themselves democrats, they are democrats only in their own opinion. This is fundamental.

I should like to make one or two general comments on the position taken by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar, for whom I have much respect although I do not agree with his general attitude to life, that of telling the people what to do. Democracy is 'based upon checks and balances. Notice how carefully in this and in all other Anglo-Saxon nations there have been set up checks on governing bodies. In Great Britain there is the House of Lords which stands as a check on the House of Commons. In Canada we have the Senate as the check on the House of Commons. And in practically every aspect of government we have checks set up against those who have power.

What finer -check could there be against the government of the C.B.C. than strong, local, privately-owned stations? And if that is not a check, what -check would you have? The general position of the Social Credit league,

party, group, association or call it what you will-we do not exactly like to call it a party; we have always called ourselves "The Social Credit league" in Alberta, and we have looked upon ourselves as just a group of people banded together seeking the attainment of the things which the people desire and ought to be able to have, bearing in mind the resources available-might be set out in the following words: Some of the speeches already made in this debate insupport of present government policy in respect -of radio and television would lend the impression that those who oppose that policy would completely overthrow the present Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-throw it to the dogs-and hand over -all broadcasting and television to private interests to exploit-and that without law or regulation.

Our position has been made clear over the years, that we -do not -believe the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, operating side by side and in competition with independent radio stations across Canada, should -be the controlling body. We believe that the C.B.C. has its place in Canadian radio, and I might say a very important place. It has a very important function to perform, and we support the C.B.C. -as a body functioning in the interests of good -radio in Canada.

Our objection is to the fact that, by law, it is endowed with powers to control and regulate its competitors. Our position is that there should be a separate body or board that would function as an umpire. We do not behove the umpire should be -one of the players in the game.

Because we believe in a separate regulatory body, surely by no stretch of the imagination can we be, therefore, accused of wanting to turn radio and television over to American influence. We are of the opinion that any crown corporation of the kind we are here dealing with, especially if it is given all the power which some members of this house and of certain political parties are advocating, might arrogate to itself such authority as would make it a powerful propaganda body whose purpose would be to perpetuate a party in power, or exercise a dangerous thought control; or, worse still, fall under the domination of dangerous and subversive alien influences and make it possible for them to undermine and eventually destroy all that is true and good and really democratic in our Canadian -lives.

As a possible safeguard we strongly urge that this parliament set up a select standing committee on radio, television and the C.B.C., with terms of reference broad enough and specific enough to enable the committee members constantly to scrutinize C.B.C. policy

and performance, and thus to .guard against the dangerous .possibilities inherent in the present set-up.

Social Creditors favour the setting up of this committee.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker,

I am only going to detain the house for a few minutes, and I admit at the commencement of my remarks that they are rather in the nature of special pleadings for the city of Victoria. I make them because Victoria is not represented in this house during this session owing to a vacancy which exists there; and also because I am not a member of the committee and, therefore, may not have another opportunity to present the case of the southern area of Vancouver island. I would ask that when the minister closes this debate, or when, the matter is being considered in the committee, the position of Victoria and some of Vancouver island in respect of television be cleared up and explained. Until the last month or so Victoria had hoped that one or other of the applicants who were anxious to establish television stations there would have been granted a licence. But only a few weeks ago, when this matter was being sounded out, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation advised that they would not, at the present time, consider any licences for the city of Victoria. That meant that some portion of Vancouver island would still have to depend for its reception of television programs on the neighbouring station in Seattle.

As I said, until recently it had been hoped that either the C.B.C. would establish a station of their own on the southern part of Vancouver island, or that they would permit some privately-owned station to be granted a licence. About a month or so ago, however, the C.B.C. said they would establish a television station in Vancouver and it was expected that this station would cover Victoria. Therefore, they said, they were not now in a position to consider applications for licences for television broadcasting in Victoria.

That has been a shock to the people of Vancouver island, because not only is Victoria the capital of British Columbia but it is also a busy industrial part of the country; and the immediate vicinity of Victoria has been building up and increasing in population very greatly during the past few years. They resent being referred to as a fringe area of a place called Vancouver, or anywhere else.

Furthermore, we have heard recently that the city of Hamilton will be granted a licence while the C.B.C. television station is established in Toronto. Hamilton and Toronto

18. 1953

Special Committee on Broadcasting are separated by about 40 miles in an air line. The air line between Vancouver and Victoria is nearly double that distance. Furthermore it is not merely an air line across flat terrain. The television waves would have to pass not only over the sea; there are a number of fair-sized mountains on Vancouver island and not inconsiderable hills on the gulf islands, which lie in the direct air line between the city of Victoria and the city of Vancouver. Therefore it is extremely doubtful whether any programs sent out from a television station in Vancouver could be received well on Vancouver island.

For those reasons I would ask the minister when he is summing up this debate to explain the situation as far as Victoria is concerned. If he is not in a position to do that at the present time it might be referred to the committee.

When I asked a question about this problem in the house on February 26, the minister said it would be receiving further study. I can only express the hope that the further study and decision will not be delayed for many months until such time as the station in Vancouver has been set up and tested; because, whether the reception is fair or only indifferent on Vancouver island, there is still a demand for a separate station in Victoria, or in the vicinity of Victoria, which can look after the island problems as distinct from the problems of Vancouver and the mainland.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

May I relieve the hon. gentleman's mind by telling him that Victoria is not to be included in the Vancouver area.

Topic:   BROADCASTING
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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March 18, 1953