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


Thomas Reid



I thank the hon. member for that information. So that we in the cities of New Westminster and Vancouver are not alone in the matter to which I have just referred.
I am going to continue with one further point. In the report of the committee and in the bill before us there is a proposal to increase fees. Yes-not exactly to increase fees; they are not honest about it, because they are actually increasing licence fees in a subtle way. Why do they not come out boldly before the public and say, "We need an extra fifty cents"? They will get pretty close to forty cents from the people of Canada, because the cost of collecting those fees is not going to be deducted, if this bill passes, from the $2.50 radio fee. In other words, Mr. Speaker, about fifty per cent of our people who have no radios, and no licences for radios, are going to be taxed for the collecting -of fees. If you take the number of licensed owners as 1,745,916, and multiply it by four, which would be the average number listening in on each radio in any home, you will find it comes to about seven million people. So that there must be about five million people who do not listen to radios, or who have no radios at all. But these people are going to contribute to the public treasury of Canada a sum running up to $500,000 to pay for the collection of radio fees for which they receive no benefit. As I say, it is one of those subtle ways of raising the licence fee. Why do they not come to the people of Canada and say, "Look here, we are giving you first-class programmes"-which is a debatable point-"we want more money, and we recommend that the licence fee be raised
by twenty-five to fifty cents." But no, they know that would not be popular. That however is the test. If the C.B.C. stands high in the estimation of the people of Canada they would gladly agree to an increase in the licence fee. Just note that they are not proposing to the people of Canada in this report that they raise the licence fee, they are doing so however, and that is one of the reasons why I am going to oppose the bill.

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