June 1, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Gawtress Raymond


Mr. W. G. RAYMOND (Brantford):

move, Mr. Speaker, that the recommendation in respect of printing, which is contained in the third report of the special committee appointed to consider and report upon Bill No. 2, respecting the Copyright Act, which was presented to the House on the 29th ultimo, be concurred in. The committee recommended the printing of 1,000 copies, 800 in English and 200 in French. It was hoped that 200 would be sufficient in French, although a great deal of interest was manifested in the work of the committee by the French authors. And as members of this House are of course all aware, the literature of Canada is perhaps rather more complete in French than it is in English.
The committee in their work were animated by the idea that perhaps the most important thing to preserve in the nation was its thought, the product of its mind; for after all, the intellectual attainments of any country are its most valuable attainments. The committee recognized the fact that the thinkers have done more for the advancement of the world than even the great commanders or warriors, and that while the work of Alexander, or Caesar, or Napoleon has been swept away by time, just as the sand castles of the boy on the sea shore are swept away by the rising tide, yet the great thinkers like Confucius and Buddha, Jesus Christ, Shakespeare and Darwin, are immortal; their thoughts live forever. It is therefore highly important to preserve the literature of a nation, and it is preserved by the copyright laws which give the necessary encouragement to its authors.
I do not wish to take up the time of the House unnecessarily, but this I think is a question in which we are all deeply interested; we must feel the greatest interest in the intellectual progress of our country. Those who study the development of copyright law will
find it a most fascinating subject; they will find from the first decree on the subject from the Star Chamber in 1556, or some eight years before the birth of Shakespeare, down to the last British copyright act of 1911, there is covered almost exactly the period of development of that great English literature of which we have so much reason to be proud and for which mankind should be thankful. And, as we come down through the various periods, we find in each of them that when there was an improvement in the copyright law there was a corresponding improvement in the literature of the period immediately following.
This bill is an endeavour to bring the copyright legislation of Canada nearer to that of Great Britain and more in keeping with the Berne convention. I hope the government will be able to find a time for the consideration of this bill by the House. The hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Chevrier), who has had the matter in charge, has devoted a great deal of time, trouble and care to its preparation, as have all the members of the committee, and I sincerely trust that the government will set aside a time in which the bill may be introduced before the House is prorogued. I should be glad if the House would concur in the recommendation that the proceedings of the committee be printed.

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