August 24, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Thomas Reid


Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster) :

I rise at this time to make a few remarks about this bill, and to criticize some of its provisions and also some of the omissions from the report and from the bill.
First of all may I say that as one who listened to the speech of the Right Hon. R.
B. Bennett when the bill setting up the
C. B.C. was introduced, I should like to correct one general misinterpretation. Those of us who sat in the house at that time did not visualize or realize the C.B.C. set-up which we have to-day. I say that unqualifiedly. Those of us who listened to the speeches on that bill visualized something like the Canadian National Railways. We visualized a set-up like the present air service, so that if anybody wanted to enter into competition with the Trans-Canada Air Lines they would go before a different board entirely and ask for a licence. If you want to run a railway you do not go before the Canadian National Railways, and ask for permission. The same principle applies to air services. I think we should definitely keep that in mind, when discussing the C.B.C.
I have heard the leader of the C.C.F. and some hon. members on this side say that there is something -wrong now when we criticize the C.B.C. W'hen I have taken exception to some of the things that have happened they say to me: "You voted for it. didn't you?" Of course I voted for it, but I doubt whether I would vote for it to-day if it came before the house, particularly in the light of what has taken place since the commission was set up.
Nothing much was done on the committee, and I am not making any carping criticism of the members of that committee with regard to the appeal board, but anyone who
has had any experience at all in going before the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and I have, cannot help but feel if there is one thing needed more than another it is a board to whom the public and the people of Canada can appeal when unjust decisions are made.
I want the Minister of National War Services (Mr. McCann) and the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Howe) to consider the case I have in mind. In the city of New Westminster we were good enough to have a licence for a radio station granted. It was meant to serve the district and the city of New Westminster. The owner of that station was given a frequency of 1230 on the dial and 250 watt power. After they had been in operation they experienced a great deal of criticism from the stations in Vancouver because of the aggressiveness and the splendid programmes put out by the owner of the station. Protests were made to the C.B.C. that the station in New Westminster was crippling them. It was not long before we found out that 250 and 1230 on the dial covered only a certain portion of the district. During the day you could hear the station fairly well for a distance of about twenty miles out; but those living close to the boundary found that at night time there was so much interference from radio stations across the line that it practically blacked out radio station CKNW. Therefore an appeal was made by the owner of CKNW to have a change made. I do not like to say this, but I think he made the unfortunate error of asking a member of parliament to assist him. I know there are a lot of carping statements made about the interference, so-called of a member of parliament. I am making no apology, for when one of my constituents appeals to me and tells me that he believes an injustice has been done I shall make some representations on his behalf. I maintain that it is the duty of a member of parliament, if he is truly representing his people, when an appeal is made to him with regard to an injustice, to see what he can do about it. An appeal was made after being refused by the CJ5.C. Since we were sitting in Ottawa I was asked to go before the board, and I did so. I think perhaps it was a mistake, because it was intimated quietly to me that it was just too bad for a member of parliament to appear on behalf of anyone.
Taking the view of the leader of the C.C.F. that politics should be kept out of it, I wish to say to him that if he wants to represent his people fully and truthfully and faithfully he will fight for them when he believes they have a grievance. Apparently it is now felt
Radio Broadcasting

by some that it is wrong for a member of parliament to listen to an appeal. If a man has a case before the Canadian pension board and fails, are we to tell him when he comes to us that it is political interference? Will any member of parliament care to do that? It is up to us to fight on behalf of our constituents when we feel they have a case. Parliament is the court of last appeal. If any member of parliament cannot be appealed to on any matter, then democracy is gone. I view with alarm what has taken place in the past.
Let me return to the case to which I was referring. Station CKNW was allotted, as I said before, 1230 on the dial. The only other station on the same wave band is in the district represented by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low). That station is located at Prince George and appears at 1250 on the dial. Prince George is in the interior.
At one o'clock the house took recess.
The house resumed at three o'clock.

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