He was preparing a speech on some other matter which was of more importance to him at that time than the question of freedom of speech.
I have just checked the record, Mr. Speaker, and noted that in the year 1947-1948 there were numerous sittings of the committee on human rights. My hon. friend shone by his presence and was missed very much when he did not attend the sittings. Upon looking at the record for 1947 I find he attended two sittings of the committee and missed six. In 1948 he attended three and missed ten. This is unfortunate, because if he _ had attended all the sittings of the committee the report would have been much more conclusive as a result of his experience, and perhaps now we would have legislation on human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is a fact.
We have spoken about freedom of speech, and there is freedom of the press. Freedom of the press is another thing that is very interesting. When I was in London in 1937, at the time
of the coronation, I recall that the press imposed censorship upon itself on news concerning the Duke of Windsor and his marriage. There was no regulation, but they thought the atmosphere existing at the time did not permit the press to give some of the details about the marriage and wedding trip of the Duke of Windsor. Now, that was a curtailment and it was self-inflicted. Is my hon. friend so sure that the press is free? It is not, and no legislation can change it because the press is the mirror of the views of its owner.
What newspaper is free from its own owner? I ask my hon. friend that question. With his wide experience he knows quite well that if the owner of a newspaper is in favour of a certain thing, that newspaper will not speak against it; otherwise the editor will be fired. He knows it. What law can change it? How can he change the relations that exist between the owner of a newspaper and his editor? Naturally, some owners of newspapers are more broadminded than others. It happens sometimes. There is a time when they may say to the editor, "Stop", or "Go". My hon. friend, with all his learning and with all the fine speeches he has made about freedom of the press, cannot change it.
Now, the press is not free from the advertisers. For instance, an advertiser who pays for a full page daily advertisement deserves recognition by the newspaper that prints his advertisement. Can my hon. friend deny it? Can anyone deny it? This is a tie; this is a string. This string may become a big, strong, powerful cable. Can my hon. friend change It? No, sir, he cannot. And when we begin to analyse his motion we see that while it is wonderful theoretically, in practice it is hard to apply.
And then, as to radio, I happen to be in different places, and on one occasion I attended the silliest thing I have ever seen. It was a conference of the Canadian Bar Association on the uniformity of law. Does my hon. friend know about it? Well, I was there, and all the attorneys general of the provinces were there. Some were asleep; some were awake.