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


Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

I have given the facts with respect to this whole business, and I give them simply to show to the members of this house, and to get it on the record for the people of the country, what we are up against in relation to this fast growing and ever expanding octopus or Frankenstein monster the C.B.C. I believe it would be well for parliament to reject the bill now before the house at least for this session. I do not favour in any way the expansion of the C.B.C. until such time as we have assured ourselves that we have built up adequate safeguards against a system of creeping paralysis that is being cooked up for Canadians by forces behind the scenes for the definite purpose of curtailing individual right of free speech and free thinking in Canada.
I am not accusing the C.B.C. of being the force in society that is cooking it up. There are plenty of others that are doing that-cooking up, I say, a definite curtailment of the right of free speech and free thinking in Canada. I do not want in any way to lend my hand or to contribute to the creation of a bigger Frankenstein monster until we have learned how to control the one that we have.
There are four short suggestions which I should like to make, and which I think would be adequate to keep the government busy until next session at least. I like to be constructive, and I do not want the minister to feel that I am criticizing him. I know he is new in the business and has his hands full. However, I should like to be helpful, and in everything I do I hope I shall always strive to be constructive.
I think the government should busy itself in the drafting of a well defined policy subject to complete review by this parliament every year; that it should be satisfactory to the people of Canada; that it should be laid down in no indefinite terms-a policy which will at least make certain that the oyster does not control the man rather than the man the oyster. When I was on the west coast some years ago a native showed me with pride the great oysters produced out there, almost as big as my hand. Those were the oysters they could produce in the warm waters off the coast, and they told me there was a tradition there that men did not know whether the oyster controlled the man or the man the oyster. I believe, when I see what the C.B.C. has been doing, that it is high time we decided whether parliament shall control the C.B.C. or whether the C.B.C. shall control the people. Instead of section 2, subsection 4, of the bill as it is now before us, I suggest that the general manager and board of governors of the C.B.C. should all be removable at any time for cause- observe, I say for cause-without our having to submit to the condition that the recommendation shall come from the board itself. That condition I suggest, is a monstrous thing, and I shall fight it every step of the way. Imagine expecting us to put in a general manager who may be removable for cause at any time-how? On the recommendation of the corporation! Bless ray soul! Talk about making a closed corporation to get them away from the control of parliament and to enhance their sacrosanctity! No. I cannot believe that is the thing to do. It certainly is not a safeguard against the potential power and danger in such a set-up as the CJB.C.
My next suggestion is this. I believe that the policy laid down by the government should allow competitive networks of private stations in the provinces. The proposal made by my colleague the hon. member for Macleod last night is an excellent one. I do not know just what way could be found to do it, whether it would be wise to grant a certain channel to each province to be used as they see fit, either for a government-owned station or for a privately-owned concern, but I do say that there should be left sufficient private stations in the province to take care of local needs, and also to be able to form networks whenever they think it wise and desirable in order to get to the people the things the people want.
There is no argument under the sun that can convince the members of this house and the people at large that the C.B.C.. from its regional stations, can meet the needs of all the various localities in the dominion. They cannot do it. We have built up in Alberta a fine
[Mr. Low.)

Radio Broadcasting
listening audience around CFCN in Calgary, with a certain desirable wave channel. I understand the C.B.C. proposes to take over that channel and set up a great 50,000 watt regional station.

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