Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):
Yes. There is no rhyme or reason in it and it ought to be cut out. Apart from these 1,745,916 licences that were issued, I wonder how many more ought to have been sold. I do not think it is possible to see that everyone pays the licence fee.
So far as the minister's own department is concerned, I have made a rough calculation and I believe it costs eight tenths of one per cent to collect his whole revenue, and here is twelve per cent being paid to collect these licence fees, or a loss to the people of Canada of $527,500. The minister asked me in the committee whether I had a suggestion to make. I have. The corporation must have a limitation upon the amount they should have. Taking the collections amounting to $4,260,000, and the population of 12,000,000 so that is roughly 33 cents per capita. Suppose we gave the corporation forty cents per capita; that would be a basis on which to suggest how much money they could spend. Many people do not like to be bothered with this licence fee, especially nowadays when nobody may be in when the collector of the fees calls; or the householder may have forgotten to buy the licence and someone comes to the door
and tries to collect. It is a nuisance, and it is ridiculous to have these people prosecuted as criminals for not paying their licence fee.
As I said at the beginning, it is about time we had an independent tribunal set up-not a political parliamentary committee, because that is what committees always are-to review the whole question of radio broadcasting in Canada. The report which is now before us might Just as well have been written by the C.B.C. In fact I almost thought it was when I went to the meeting. There is no criticism in it. It is the greatest piece of whitewashing that I have ever seen.
Although the C.B.C. have done a good job -I am not uncritical of them-what is needed is a revision of the act, and it should be done as soon as possible.
I shall not discuss the bill now. I shall wait until we get into committee.
Subtopic: CORPORATION TO RECEIVE LICENCE FEES- ADVANCES ON ACCOUNT OF CAPITAL EXPENDITURES