FOREST, Yves, Q.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Missisquoi (Quebec)
Birth Date
June 25, 1921

Parliamentary Career

April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Stanstead (Quebec)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Stanstead (Quebec)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Missisquoi (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (August 30, 1968 - September 30, 1970)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 185 of 185)

June 19, 1964

Mr. Yves Forest (Stanstead):

Mr. Speaker, if I congratulate the hon. member for Port Arthur (Mr. Fisher), the sponsor of this bill, it is for the interest he has shown in this very important matter and the opportunity he is giving us to discuss, in this house, the necessity or inadvisability to submit the community antenna systems and the like to the supervision and control of the board of broad-

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cast governors, with the results we know and might expect, especially as regards programming and other non-technical questions.

It is the second time that a motion for second reading of this bill is brought before the house. Last November 29, the hon. member introduced Bill No. C-30, of which Bill No. C-40 now before us is an exact replica. I had the opportunity then to take part in the debate and I am glad today to add new comments to the few remarks I could make before the time allocated to the examination of that proposal had expired.

As the hon. member himself pointed out at the time, it is not sure either that the bill is complete or constitutional and that parliament has the authority to legislate in that respect.

This is a burning question at the present time and it could have great repercussions on Canadian t.v. viewers; it concerns, as well it might, several hon. members. It was discussed in the press throughout the country.

Indeed, all the newspaper accounts I have read were against any measure which would restrict individual freedom. One has to be jealous of one's freedom and be especially alert in that respect these days because governments have taken the habit of enacting legislation and regulations which often infringe upon the fundamental rights of citizens.

Like many others, I received from my constituents several communications showing concern on their part and the desire to get information or to make representations to me. Though a good number of them were perhaps prompted by people who had an interest in the matter, I am sure that many of them wrote to us of their own accord.

However, I can understand, as the hon. member has put it, why he is concerned and disturbed by the fact that these systems may, providing certain circumstances and in certain places, facilitate the reception of American broadcasts and promote the participation of foreign capital in the setting up and managing of corporations or companies which operate systems of that kind.

Since the first bill was introduced and while waiting for the report requested from the board of broadcast governors, the ministers concerned, that is the Minister of Transport and the Secretary of State, then in office, decided to stop issuing licences in some cases, everything following the press release of last December 30. I think that order has now been cancelled. However, since then the requested report was tabled in the house last

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March 19 and printed in Hansard. I agree with the hon. member that, in the not too distant future and in the interest of all those concerned in those operations, the government will announce the future policy it intends to follow in that field. Many people or corporations already have invested rather considerable sums of money and are waiting impatiently for the government's decision to proceed. Personally, I feel that this policy or decision will not necessarily follow the recommendations made last March 19 by the joint committee of the board of broadcast governors and the Department of Transport.

I think that many hon. members would be opposed to that body being granted the right to decide what our fellow citizens can see on their television screen, especially when such regulations could apply to only a certain part of the population.

I know that the government, the Minister of Transport (Mr. Pickersgill) and the Secretary of State (Mr. Lamontagne) are studying that matter seriously, and I am confident that they will find a logical and realistic solution, in keeping with the best interests of Canadians, taking into account the special circumstances surrounding that case, which is very complicated and hard to solve.

The systems involved-and I am still referring only to the community television networks, which in fact are only an extension of the antenna any individual can instal on his house and which are used only to get a better reception of the signals which are already there, in the air, and which play a totally passive role and are no substitute for any television broadcasting of signals-do not transmit any program and, therefore, from the logical and practical viewpoint, cannot be subjected to the same standards and regulations which are provided or set up by radio and television broadcasting stations.

It is one thing to control what programs can be broadcast, but it is another thing to tell the people what programs they will be allowed to watch on their set.

Also, we know that everything that concerns the field of communications is very important here in this country and plays a leading part in what is called "The search for national purposes or objectives".

We must take into serious consideration and not exaggerate the role played by those systems as regards the transmission of signals coming from our neighbours to the south. As

a matter of fact, 30 per cent of all cable systems in Canada do not transmit signals from the United States, but are used only to provide a variety and an improvement of programs already picked up in an area, or else they increase the capacity to pick up programs of Canadian stations which could not be seen otherwise.

Moreover, the subscribers of these networks represent only 5 per cent of all homes having television and even in this small percentage, one has to take into account all those who, like myself, live near the American border and can pick up television shows with an ordinary antenna or even without any.

It is obvious that in our country, the great majority of our people are concentrated in more or less narrow strips of land in the southern part of the country along the borders and can easily pick up the powerful American television stations. Such is the case in the eastern townships and except channel 7, the excellent station operated by the newspaper La Tribune in Sherbrooke, we can easily pick up American channels but hardly French and English stations of Montreal if we did not have the cable transmission services which are much appreciated by some 20,000 subscribers to the dozen of networks operating in our area.

Such is the situation of about half of the Canadian people. Regulations restricting the freedom and rights of a class of citizens would, in my opinion, only be unfair and discriminatory.

We appreciate the efforts and the contribution of the national network and of all private stations which are indispensable to us, and we acknowledge their merits. They actually offer us several interesting programs which are sometimes of great value.

It must be recognized, however, that our fellow citizens often look at programs originating south of the border and which our neighbours, with their unlimited means and greater facilities in every respect, can offer us in a more complete and elaborate manner.

At a time when, as evidenced by the Tel-star experience, we shall soon be able to see programs coming from any country in the world, television viewers in Canada should not be prevented from seeing programs of interest to them. In my opinion, attempts should be made rather to encourage, help and prompt the C.B.C. network, as well as t.v. and radio stations and our artists, to present choice programs of prime quality and likely to hold the attention of Canadians who,

in general, are interested in their country, in their culture, in our projects, in our artists, and who gladly watch our programs when they satisfy their legitimate aspirations.

That solution would perhaps be more practical, more realistic and easier to apply. I know that we are already immensely contributing towards the operations of the C.B.C., the national film board, etc., corporations promoting a Canadian culture and a Canadian mentality, but we sometimes wonder if the best means are being taken to achieve this highly desirable purpose.

I do not want to imply that I am against all controls; wire television systems now have to comply with regulations established by the Department of Transport which controls the issuance of licences and which can, beforehand, give particular attention to stations receiving and relaying programs, the area covered, etc., and, above all, it is reasonable to expect that those networks have the obligation to broadcast Canadian programs when it is technically possible to do so.

I have no objection either to corporations or companies which operate such systems and want to obtain a licence being owned and controlled by Canadian interests in a large proportion, if not entirely.

However, we must avoid passing regulations that would deprive an individual of the right to watch on his t.v. set what he might pick up himself by using or erecting a more expensive aerial, which he avoids by becoming a subscriber to a community system. A regulation to the contrary would be an undesirable change. Our present legislation provides and assures that our country has broadcasting means under Canadian control and requiring a certain amount of Canadian content.

The objectives and purposes mentioned in section 10 of the Broadcasting Act passed in 1958 certainly did not forbid to listen to or watch programs from foreign countries, in order to seal off our culture against outside influence, when on the contrary it can develop and improve through contact with the views and the clash of ideas from all parts of the world.

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November 29, 1963

Mr. Yves Forest (Sianstead):

Mr. Speaker, I must say to the hon. member for Port Arthur (Mr. Fisher) that, personally, I do not share at all his opinion with regard to his proposed object in introducing this bill.

Those sections which complement Bill C-49 are very short; indeed, it is not a question of changing the definition of the term "broadcasting", but only of giving it a broader sense. However, I believe that this bill could seriously affect a very great number of T.V. viewers.

This proposed amendment of the Broadcasting Act and Radio Act will result in placing T.V. community aerials systems or other similar operations under the control and supervision of the board of broadcast governors, if I understand the explanatory notes accompanying the bills.

Personally, I feel that the board has enough authority as it is, and that it should not be allowed to interfere in a field which is not its concern, especially in view of the nature of this system and of the service it renders.

In addition, I truly fear for the freedom of viewers who can now select the program or channel of their choice. Indeed, under Department of Transport regulations, licenses are issued only for systems which meet the technical and mechanical requirements concerning, for instance, the height and location of antennas, the type of cable used, the territory served, and the signals which are received and transmitted.

Mr. Speaker, I also feel that the result of those regulations is to restrict the broadcasting of television programs by cable to the waves that can already be received in a given area through proper equipment or antenna.

It is essential, of course, that regulations should be applied to ensure the orderly and proper operation of this system.

In order to be in a position to decide whether it is advisable or necessary to pass this legislation, it would be necessary to know something about the services rendered by this system and the part it plays in the broadcasting of programs.

At present, television signals are picked up by two mediums in areas more or less distant from broadcasting stations; first of all, through the adjunction of one or several individual antennas, which is the first and only method possible in many areas. Generally, this method is rather costly for the owners of television sets. In addition, it involves a great deal of inconvenience, without ensuring an adequate reception in spite of the high standard of the receiving set or of the broadcasting stations.

On the other hand, a group of individuals or a corporation may set up at a location that lends itself to the reception of waves, a tower or powerful community antenna that would surely be more costly, but the cost of which could be divided among all users. They would thus be assured of a much better reception from distant or low-power stations, as well as of a wider variety of programs.

In short, this is only an extension of the usual antenna, except that a main antenna is located in a place where reception is better and where interference is reduced to a minimum.

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This antenna, as any another ordinary antenna, can only pick up signals which can already reach a given area. It neither reduces nor adds anything to the broadcast, it does not alter in any way the waves which are merely picked up and retransmitted. It is an absolutely passive element which moreover does not interfere in the public field.

It can be claimed, that in such a case, the need has created the means.

Some ten years ago, there were few, if any, such organizations in this country.

Today, there are more than 300, with an average of 800 subscribers for every system. A total of 240,000 homes, that is about a million people, are served by such systems.

And more than half of those systems operate in the province of Quebec.

I remember that about ten years ago, more particularly in the eastern townships, we had to set up expensive individual antennas, which frequently did not work because of storm damage, on account of the distance from Montreal, for topographical reasons or due to the mountains around us. In fact, we were getting better pictures from stations on the other side of the border, in the United States, and I think that this was the case of all areas near the American border.

Now, thanks to that system, we are able to watch Canadian stations, and more particularly those of Montreal, which was formerly impossible.

And we now have a choice between two fine relay systems, and can enjoy television of a quality we never knew before.

Those systems are appreciated by all their users. They supply us with very high-grade television at a very reasonable rate and they enable us to watch Canadian programs in our district, which are generally excellent, even if there is room for improvement.

The subscribers have a diversified choice and are completely free to watch whatever program they like.

The local broadcasting stations have no reason to fear such a system, for it multiplies the number of telespectators and thus increases the audience which can enjoy its favourite programs.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that any additional regulations would be unnecessary and unwelcome. It might interfere with the liberty of the individual, who wants to be able to choose whatever program he pleases.

Mr. Speaker, I see that it is six o'clock. I had several things to add. I hope that I will be able to continue my remarks if and when Bill C-49 comes before the house.

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July 29, 1963

Mr. Forest:

Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the hon. members who sit on this side of the house, I would feel remiss were I to let this opportunity go by without congratulating the Minister of Justice for this bill concerning the salary of judges in the different courts.

Due to the late hour, I will have only a few words to say on this bill which not only provides for a well deserved salary increase for the judges in the various courts, but deals also with the appointment of eight new judges to the superior court to fill a very great need. As you know, this is a civil law court in the province of Quebec. I also congratulate the minister for acting with such speed.

I remember that for many long years members of the bar, with the support of the newspapers, the trade unions and a host of public authorities, have been requesting the appointment of additional judges to the superior court. However, it was only in the last few weeks that the premier of Quebec, Mr. Jean Lesage, realized the situation and authorized the appointment of eight new judges in the districts mentioned by the Minister of Justice, particularly the district of St. Frangois-Bed-ford. I am sure that the appointment of a judge in the St. Frangois-Bedford district will greatly speed the administration of justice.

I take this opportunity for congratulating the Minister of Justice who, in such a short time, has done all he could to help the administration of justice. This is characteristic of the dynamic spirit of the federal government.

In addition, I hope the Minister of Justice will appoint those judges to the superior court before the fall sittings, which will make for a better administration of justice at the very beginning of the court hearings in September.

Since I do not want to delay the passage of this bill, I conclude my remarks by offering, on behalf of the lawyers from the province of Quebec and the hon members sitting on this side of the house, my congratulations to the Minister of Justice for this timely legislation.


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June 25, 1963

Mr. Yves Forest (Siansiead) moved

the second reading of Bill No. S-8, respecting Quebec Fire Assurance Company.

He said:


Mr. Speaker, since this is the first time I have the pleasure to speak in this house, I shall no doubt be allowed to join in congratulations, even if it is late, to those you have received from all comers of the house.

I congratulate you for the dignified and efficient way in which you preside over the debates of the house. My congratulations are also for the one who now sits on the chair, the Deputy Speaker, who is also chairman of committees.

I congratulate him for being appointed to that high office after being a private member for a short time. My best wishes, too, to the deputy chairman of committees.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is rather simple; it is first to change the name of this company. The English name is now The Quebec Fire Assurance Company, and it is requested to change it to Quebec As-

surance Company. Now, the French name which was "La Compagnie d'assurance de Quebec contre les accidents du feu" is changed to "La Compagnie d'assurance du Quebec".

I think that my hon. friends from Lapointe (Mr. Gregoire) and Joliette-L'Assomption-Montcalm (Mr. Pigeon), the experts in the French language, will approve the selection of this name that sounds nice and appreciate the fact that it is shorter, while describing more exactly the operations of the company.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this change of name does not affect the rights and obligations of the company, and results in no problems in the case of procedures against the company.

The second purpose of the bill is to increase the authorized capital stock of the company from $225 million to $900 million, divided into 20,000 shares of equal value, namely $45 each.

That is, in a few words, the purpose of the bill.

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