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


William Alfred Robinson


Mr. ROBINSON (Simeoe East):

Coming now to the report of the committee of 1942, it reaffirms the principle of-
. . . the public ownership of all high power stations under a national system of broadcasting, with low power stations individually operated or coordinated in relation to the dominant system.
The report goes on to say, at page 1095:
The private broadcasting stations have no vested interest in the sound-waves they are allowed to use. The government and the .corporation should not hesitate to terminate any licence when it is in the public interest to do so. Any increase in power considered necessary and desirable to occupy the channels allowed under the Havana agreement should be made in stations owned or taken over by the corporation.
I do not think anything could be much clearer than the proceedings from which I have quoted, and these phrases from the final report of that committee, and I think it will be seen that the C.B.C. is only proposing to do now that which it had in contemplation some years ago and which has been delayed by reason of the war. At the same time I urge the C.B.C. and the government to give every assistance to the affected stations in allocating the best possible alternative wave lengths to them and to allow them to develop sufficient power on their new wave lengths to maintain and continue their present fine position as community stations.
In conclusion, I should like to say a few words as to the committee itself. I personally found the work extremely interesting. It was the first time that I had had the privilege of sitting on the radio committee. As the various statements were made, the witnesses were examined and the representations were given to us, I am sure that every new member of the committee, including myself, obtained an entirely new, and in most respects satisfying, picture of the present position of radio in Canada and of its future development.
I heartily concur in the recommendation that a similar committee be appointed each year. I should like to emphasize that it should commence its work early in the session.
I would go farther and say a few words about the personnel of the committee. Radio is a fascinating, but an extremely technical, subject. In the committee we were tremendously assisted by hon. members who had had the opportunity of sitting on previous committees and who had a good grounding in the subject. Perhaps I should not mention names particularly, but I should like to make some mention of the good work done by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) and the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Ross). I should also like to pay a tribute

Radio Broadcasting
to the able chairmanship of the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Maybank). Therefore I think any committee which is appointed in future should have a good proportion of old hands and a fairly generous sprinkling of new blood, so that a good many members of the house may be given an opportunity to study our radio problems.
I believe that a yearly committee is essential if parliament is to exercise the close scrutiny which should be exercised over such a powerful instrument, if we are to be assured that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is carrying out its declared functions, for instance, that it is giving coverage to remote and sparsely populated areas and equality of opportunity of discussion of public questions.
One of the questions which should certainly have the attention of any future radio committee was that raised by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and touched on by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), namely, the matter of appeal from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation decisions. It seems to me that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as a regulatory as well as an operative body, must at times be placed in a somewhat anomalous position. The present committee did not have the time to study this question carefully, but it has left the door wide open to future study. I agree that such study should be made.
I do not think I can be accused of taking up too much of the time of the house, but I feel that I have spoken sufficiently long at this late hour of the session on the general aspects of the measure before us. There are a few particular points which I should like to refer to later but I can do that when the bill is in committee.

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