April 12, 1962

NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

I put a question on the order paper last week concerning the loss of production in paper mills arising out of the recommendations of this commission. The reply I received was that no loss of production has been anticipated. I feel this is a valid question on this item. By that answer is it meant that the government has considered the possibility of loss of production in Canadian paper mills and has concluded that there will be no loss?

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

Mr. Chairman, that would depend entirely on the direction in which the consequences flow. It has been contended by at least one publisher in Canada of a so-called Canadian edition of a foreign periodical that there would be a reduction

2926 HOUSE OF

Supply-Privy Council in the requirement lor coated paper. This is on the theory that any withdrawal from their circulation would not flow to the advantage of Canadian periodicals and be reflected in increased purchases of coated paper on their part.

The correctness of the view of the publisher that I referred to again depends on whether he is right in saying that the result would flow to the advantage of different media of communication. That is the question. This is a matter that will have to be discussed in due time when this house takes up the proposals that arise out of the study made by the royal commission. I do not think we can pursue it here in this committee at this time.

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NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

On an item such as this 1 dislike bringing up an issue that involves my riding, but the Provincial Paper Mill in Port Arthur is the mill that provides paper not only for Reader's Digest and Time but also for most Maclean-Hunter publications. The minister is probably aware that the unions in that plant supported by other related groups have made representations to the government with regard to the likelihood of a loss of a minimum of 75 or up to 120 days work in a very busy mill.

The dilemma is this, and I wish to present it to the minister for a bit more information. If the recommendations of the O'Leary commission are not carried out we have an indication from Maclean-Hunter and other Canadian publishers that they will be forced to fold Canadian magazines such as Maclean's and Chatelaine and therefore out would go that part of the production of Provincial Paper Mills. On the other hand Reader's Digest and Time say that if the government proceeds with the legislation they will have to withdraw to the United States and out will go that part.

In a small way we have a problem for Solomon here. No matter which way the thing moves there is the likelihood that this particular paper mill, which is the largest producer in Canada of coated papers, is going to get it in the neck. I am sure the minister will appreciate why I am so anxious to know, as the representative of the people of that area, what negotiations the government has carried on with the various people involved so as to obtain some idea how much truth there is in the threat of Reader's Digest and Time that they are going to go back to the United States. For this reason I shall be very interested in the legislation when it is introduced to see to what extent it will come to bear on these companies.

I know the minister really cannot give much more information than he has but I

wish to ask him whether negotiations or discussions have taken place recently-by that I mean within the last three or four weeks- with the representatives of Reader's Digest and Time as to their likely course of action should the government implement the recommendations of the O'Leary report.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

Mr. Chairman,

questions as to what action may be taken on the report are, I think, quite extraneous to the item now before us. The item is related to an amount required to pay the expenses incurred by the royal commission. As to what is proper discussion in relation to action to be taken on the report, of course, that will come before parliament in due course. The question is perhaps quite understandably anticipating discussion of that kind and I think it would be altogether premature.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

May I ask the

Minister of Finance a question. I listened to what he had to say a few moments ago rather heatedly in reply to the interesting observations made by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate. My recollection is that when the minister spoke outside of this chamber over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television facilities and perhaps also over the private television facilities, with regard to the question as to why the O'Leary commission recommendations were not included in the budget he said not what he indicated a few moments ago but that there was no intention to deal with them and he gave no indication that the government was going to bring in legislation dealing with those recommendations in another form. Certainly so far as my memory serves me the minister-and I wish to be fair to him-that night indicated that there was no intention to deal with the O'Leary commission recommendations and that there was not anything unusual about that matter; that it was the government's policy; and that if it had been otherwise, it would have been provided for in the budget.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

The hon. member is entirely mistaken. I did not say whether the government was going to take action or was not going to take action. That was not the question that was put to me. The question was in relation to there not being any reference to that subject in the budget. I made the response that I indicated here earlier this evening, namely, that the subject was such that it would be much better that it be dealt with by itself rather than be included in a budget with a great many other subjects.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Is not the real fact that the government had decided not to deal with the O'Leary recommendations and

that this decision was represented by no reference to the O'Leary commission in the budget report, but that the next morning the Prime Minister received a delegation of certain proprietors of certain periodicals and that it was as a result of the representations made there, in the light of coming events having to do with a general election, that the government changed its mind and the minister was put in the humiliating position in which he found himself the next morning?

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

No, Mr. Chairman. There is not one word or tittle or trace of truth in what the hon. member has just said. That is a piece of Martinian conjecture from start to finish and there is no truth in it.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Would the minister say I was justified in saying that there was a certain representation from certain proprietors of certain periodicals-certain instruments of mass media of the written word-the next morning that called on the Prime Minister? Or perhaps it is a fact that the Prime Minister did not advise the Minister of Finance that there was such a delegation that called on him the day after the budget had been delivered. Is that a fact?

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinion):

No, Mr. Chairman. Apparently the hon. member does not know what facts are.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Has the hon. gentleman the exact words of what he said on television? Has he the text there? This matter may prove to be very important.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

I have in my office the text of the answers given on the French television.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

That was wonderful.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

Thank you very much.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Boy, was that good.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I think it would be very helpful, and I am seeking to be helpful-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

-if the minister would do this. I should not want to hold up the item now that my amendment has been defeated. However, I think it would be helpful if the minister would undertake to get the exact words as there would have been a tape recording made for reference purposes of what the minister said, and we know how much attached this government is to tape recordings. Would the minister give us the precise words that he used outside the house to the public about the omission from his budget speech- on television in English-of any reference to the O'Leary report?

Supply-Privy Council

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

I recognize the hon. member for Port Arthur.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

This was a statement to the press in the press conference which the Minister of Finance always has the honour of having with the press gallery after the delivery of the budget.

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April 12, 1962