June 16, 1954

PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

There is one point in connection with handling these claims that I should like to draw to the attention of the Secretary of State. Apparently when Chief Justice Ilsley made his report he suggested that to qualify an applicant must be first of all a Canadian citizen; he must have been a Canadian citizen at the time that the loss or injury occurred and also at the time of the presentation of his claim for adjudication. These two recommendations are fair enough; but he went on to define what the time of application should be in the case of those who had already

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Supply-Secretary of State applied, and as I understand it his finding was that the time of application would be taken as the date on which a commissioner was appointed.

The commissioner was not appointed for some months after Chief Justice Ilsley had made his report. The setting of the time in that way has had a very unfair result in some cases. One case has been drawn to my attention where the person concerned was a Canadian. He was treated very badly by the Japanese; returned to Canada in 1942, and was called here to Ottawa in order to give his version of what had been done to the prisoners by the Japanese. He filed a claim, and then later filed an official claim in 1945. His health had been so undermined by the treatment he received that he was advised by medical men to go to the United States. Incidentally, this man is also a doctor. He went to the United States, and in order to practise there he had to take out United States citizenship. He took out that citizenship in 1951, a short time before Chief Justice Ilsley had made his report. The result is that now he cannot qualify for any compensation. He was a Canadian citizen at the time he suffered the injury, but by the time the commissioner had been appointed in 1952 this Canadian had become a United States citizen, and he cannot qualify for a claim against the United States government because he was not a United States citizen at the time he suffered the injury.

This is a case where the man is entirely innocent. He has done nothing wrong, and I think the arbitrary setting of the date of application as the date on which the commissioner was appointed was not right. The order in council should at least have contained some exception so that where a Canadian had filed his claim earlier, believing that he was meeting all the requirements, he should not be ruled out simply by this arbitrary provision that the date of filing his claim shall be taken as the date the commissioner is appointed. Is there not some way by which a proviso can be written into the order in council which would meet a case of that kind?

I need only cite the facts for hon. members to see that this is an unfair result, and the last people any of us want to see injured are those who actually suffered at the hands of the Japanese. As we all know, they suffered perhaps more than any other Canadian citizens during the war years. I hope that something can be done to meet a situation of this kind.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

On that point, Mr. Chairman, I will not speak in detail, but in a general way I am familiar with the particular

case to which the hon. member referred. So far as I can judge from my recollection-I have no papers under my hand-what he has said agrees with the set of facts represented to me. This is the kind of case which was in fact considered by Chief Justice Ilsley specifically in his report. He specifically recommended the exclusion of those cases. The government accepted the Ilsley report. We have varied the report in one respect, as the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra knows. It could be varied in another-there will be some review when these matters get a little further advanced-and if the government then comes to the conclusion that any substantial amount of injustice has been done by this rule there certainly will be a review of the matter. But I think all members of the committee would agree that the first persons who should be considered-and this is in accord with the Ilsley report-are those who were Canadian citizens and still are Canadian citizens.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

The minister has said that the first priority was given to cases of claims for personal injury.

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LIB
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Prisoners of war, so far as their personal sufferings are concerned, are relatively easy to deal with; but I know of cases where there is a mixture of personal injury and property damage. With respect to the cases that I have in mind neither branch has been adjudicated. I ask the minister what is being done to settle the jurisprudence, if you like, in dealing with these cases.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

On that point, I am sure the members of the committee will appreciate that I have no degree of familiarity with the detailed operations of this commission. No one would expect me to have. I would think that if a claim or a partial claim- perhaps I am unwise in saying this-were partly for personal injury and partly a property claim and both were made at the one time as one claim it would not be adjudicated in two parts. It might be so adjudicated if there were some representations made. If the hon. member for Kamloops will bring the particular cases he has in mind to my attention I will be glad to get specific explanations in these cases for him just as quickly as I can.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I am gratified to have the minister's assurance. However, there is one other point I would like to bring to his attention without going into detail. The recommendation of the commission was that the authority for a claim or the basis for a claim be on a decision as to whether or not a person was a Canadian at the time when the

injury was suffered. I would suggest to him that if he examines at least the tentative rulings which have been made, and I am not prepared to say they are final rulings, he will find there is a tendency on the part of the commission to impose undue technicalities, if you like, in the way of the establishment of the basis of Canadian status on the part of the claimant. I would suggest that the commissioner, Chief Justice Ilsley, left those words in a rather general way and I would suggest to the Secretary of State that they are being interpreted by the commission in a rather narrow and technical fashion. He might well ask the commission itself to undertake a review of the interpretation of Canadian status of all claimants with respect to these things which the claimant must prove in support of his Canadian status before his claim will be recognized.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

This is the first time that this suggestion has been made to me but I shall be very glad to look into it.

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Item agreed to. 418. Companies branch, $81,495.


PC

Daniel Roland Michener

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Michener:

Mr. Chairman, having had some experience in a similar department in another field I appreciate something of the work of this branch. I would be interested to know from the minister what number of incorporations have been made in the past calendar year or fiscal year.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I do not carry these figures in my head but I am informed that there have been 838 under part I, and 36 without share capital under part II of the act.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Michener:

Perhaps what I have to say, Mr. Chairman, relates to two or three items and possibly I can discuss them all at this time. This branch, first, is a revenue-producing branch as well as a spending branch and I have taken the trouble to total up the revenue from companies' trade marks, patents, and another small section known as copyright and industrial design. It appears that the revenues amount to about $1,500,000 which is about 57 per cent of the estimates which the minister is now submitting to the committee, and it therefore comes near to paying its way. Two of these items produce a surplus. I note, for example, that according to the estimates trade marks will cost $877,000 and the estimated revenue is $758,000. I would suggest to the minister-and I think this refers to the copyright office-that the privilege of a patent or copyright is a very valuable one to those who acquire it and perhaps that is one of the services which

Supply-Secretary of State might be regarded as worthy of putting on a self-paying basis. I would ask whether the minister has considered increasing the fees in this office so as to put it on a parallel with the other two branches both of which are paying their way so that all three of these branches, which provide a very useful service, would all pay their way.

I ask that because I note that the percentage of increase for this department for this year is 12 per cent if one deducts the unusual expenditure of $1 million last year provided for coronation expenses. That 12 per cent increase is somewhat in excess of the percentage of increase of that useful index known as the gross national product, and perhaps the minister would care to comment on that point.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Chairman, I have no wish to cast any reflection upon the hon. gentleman but perhaps, like most hon. members, he has had to be absent from the house at times and he may have been absent on the day on which this matter was previously discussed and failed to notice that parliament during this session passed a bill increasing the fees. My officials assure me that the increase in patent fees will be enough to produce a surplus next year and I will be very disappointed if there is not a surplus.

In the case of the companies branch I felt the hon. gentleman might have had some criticism to make, because I had some to make when I became minister. I felt they were deriving an undue revenue by not dealing with these matters as expeditiously as they could. It was not because the officials were not zealous, because they are zealous, but because they had not enough staff. It seems to me that if a government undertakes to provide a service, and to exact fees to pay for it, it should give that service. I have no apology to make for the increases in staff in this revenue-producing branch of the department. I think they all ought to pay for themselves, but they should not be regarded as profit-making and enough staff should be provided to deal with the work expeditiously. I am sure the hon. member will agree with me.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Michener:

Just to ensure that I understand the minister correctly, do I understand that these particular fees are based on the fees as approved this session?

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LIB

Item agreed to. 420. Bureau for translations, $1,076,997.


PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

I would like to ask the Secretary of State a question, if I may. When

Supply-Secretary of State the increase in this department was noted a year ago the Secretary of State at that time said that most of the increase was due to the Department of National Defence, the work of which had been transferred. Would the Secretary of State now say just a word as to the reason for this substantial increase?

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The hon. member for Greenwood is perhaps more conscious than most of us of the fact that expenditures tend to increase. He keeps that in his own mind and in the minds of most other hon. members. I am informed that the largest part of this increase is due to the salary increase given to civil servants effective December 1 last.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I do not know whether the Secretary of State is in a position to do so, but if he is I would like him to comment on a suggestion which has been made on several occasions previously. The suggestion is that in the same way as there has been established and put under his authority a bureau for translations responsible for the translations of all departments, there should also be a bureau for publicity responsible for the publicity of all departments, so that if one of his colleagues comes and says, "We have a publication with respect to the treatment of hog cholera which we think should be publicized as being of general interest", then the bureau might undertake to do so. If another department comes and says "We have a treatise on the home freezing of apples that we think is of interest to the people; would you publicize it?", this bureau might undertake it in the same way.

As I understand it, the bureau for translations was established with a view to economizing on the cost of translating which up to that time had been carried on in separate departments under their own control. I want to ask whether the minister does not think that a bureau for publicity might exercise an over-all control and a very healthy limitation upon the amount of government publicity and the cost of government publicity.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Chairman, if it is not unparliamentary, my comment on that suggestion would be "God forbid". I am not and never have been an advocate of thought control. I think the only proper kind of control of government publications outside each department is the control exercised by the treasury board. I would hate to see one minister set up as the censor of another.

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June 16, 1954