April 23, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)


I might point out to the minister something which I know must impress him, that is, the exceedingly complicated nature of the bill, which is really a complete revision of the Patent Act. I have been trying in my own way to give a reasonable amount of study to it, but the more I see of it, the more I learn about it, the more convinced I am that I know comparatively little about it; and I do not believe that, except
for a very very few, others have a much greater knowledge of the bill than I have. If t here ever was a piece * of legislation that should go to a special committee, where the representatives of the department and, if you like, the representatives of the manufacturing interests, as well as chemists and others who are engaged in the laboratory and other investigatory work, might be invited to give their views upon it, this bill undoubtedly is legislation of that character. It is exceedingly difficult to criticize intelligently the sections of such a bill as this, the contents which have not been carefully studied, because we are met with just such answers as the one the minister has given us, which unquestionably has a good deal of force in it, if one understands it, and that is that the section has been in the act ever since we have had an act. On that account one hesitates to disturb it because it may have some other relations which we should not like to interfere with. But the minister's reply is scarcely satisfactory in view of this fact: as nearly as I can learn, in constructing the new act the draughtsman has lifted out of the British act whole sections and just conveyed them into this l^islation. I have no reason whatever to assert that they are not entirely fitting; but certainly the House is not passing intelligent judgment on that fact under the present circumstances. Nor do I know that any of us are able intelligently to criticize the bill. The only way in which we can consider legislation of this kind is to have it go to a committee who can hear the views of the officials of the department and others who are conversant with the subjects it deals with. I am afraid it wall be impossible for me to present properly the views I have in mind on several sections in the bill owing to their highly technical nature. One hesitates to speak dogmatically about a technical matter in the way we are forced to speak in the House, where one might by a little questioning get a correct understanding of ordinary subjects. But this is only one instance of the difficulties that are to be encountered in this bill. As we proceed and come to clauses 38, 40, 41 and 42, which are the main sections of the bill, I, at any rate, shall be quite reluctant to give my consent to the bill. I do not suppose that it makes much difference whether I do that or not; but certainly I cannot agree to the bill going through as it stands. I feel we are going to make errors that perhaps will be serious to many of the interests of the country; whereas if the bill went before a special committee it could be studied with some degree of that thoroughness and effect which it deserves.

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