November 2, 1951 (21st Parliament, 5th Session)


Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Mr. Garson:

It was September 10. This
interim report was made and tabled accordingly.
I believe I should say a word concerning the term "interim" as related to this report, and stress that it refers only to the fact that it has been made before the committee has finished all of its work. But so far as resale price maintenance is concerned, the report expresses the considered views of the committee in a complete and final manner.
The views that were submitted to the MacQuarrie committee were general views upon the subject of resale price maintenance and were not expressions of opinion or representations upon a concrete proposal, much less upon draft legislation.
But now we find that the situation is greatly different. The MacQuarrie committee has reached its conclusions and has made its recommendations which are-as hon. members who have read this report know-of a most specific character. The MacQuarrie committee has recommended in effect that the practice of resale price maintenance should be prohibited. Now, therefore, there is a specific and concrete proposal upon the record.
In the light of this specific and concrete proposal the government has been strongly

urged, by many individual merchants and manufacturers and by the executives of several representative industry or trade associations, to afford them an opportunity to present their views to the government or to a parliamentary committee. The government has decided that it ought to accede to this request but that it is preferable from many standpoints that this presentation of views should take place before a joint parliamentary committee open to the public and to the press of Canada in such a way as to make the information which is presented there available to all concerned, including all the members of this house. The joint committee will therefore be directed to consider the MacQuarrie committee's interim report and to consider appropriate amendments to the Combines Investigation Act based thereon.
The study of this matter by a parliamentary joint committee, with the attention which I feel confident it will get from the press, will tend to develop a much better informed public opinion upon the matter than was possible with the MacQuarrie committee type of inquiry where confidential communications were solicited, which have great value to a committee set up on that basis but which unfortunately do not serve to educate the public. It is true that in its interim report on resale price maintenance the MacQuarrie committee went some distance towards informing public opinion of the arguments made to it for and against resale price maintenance. As hon. members will recall, it summarized these arguments in what seemed' to me to be an admirably objective and judicial manner in the body of its report, as an introduction to its own conclusions based upon these arguments. But I suggest that this summary, admirable as it is, still leaves room for a fuller treatment of the arguments pro and con in the interests of developing upon this subject a public opinion which will be as well informed as possible and which will be of great assistance, I am sure, in the administration of the legislation.
It is the hope and the expectation of the government that this joint parliamentary committee will get its work under way at the earliest possible moment and will proceed with sufficient dispatch to enable the appropriate legislation it is set up to consider to be dealt with by parliament before the end of this session, as forecast in the speech from the throne.
I therefore move this resolution without further discussion in order that the joint committee may get on with its work as soon as possible.

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