Anthony Chisholm ABBOTT

ABBOTT, The Hon. Anthony Chisholm, P.C., B.A., LL.B.

Parliamentary Career

July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Mississauga (Ontario)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (September 15, 1976 - September 15, 1977)
  • Minister of State (Small Businesses) (September 16, 1977 - November 23, 1978)
  • Minister of National Revenue (November 24, 1978 - June 3, 1979)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 123 of 124)


October 28, 1974

Mr. A. C. Abbott (Mississauga):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to put a question to the Minister of State for Urban Affairs. The mayor of Toronto made a statement today in connection with the council of Toronto supporting the MetroCentre plan subject to certain conditions being honoured and certain co-operation being derived from the federal government. Can the minister advise that the government will be co-operating closely with the city of Toronto to ensure that this project goes forward?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   METROCENTRE PLAN, TORONTO-REQUEST FOR FEDERAL SUPPORT
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October 22, 1974

Mr. A. C. Abbott (Mississauga):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak on this bill I should like to congratulate the minister on his appointment and for his fine speech this afternoon. The minister once again has demonstrated his competence and his knowledge, and in the very early opportunity he has had he once again has demonstrated his approach and intellect in meeting the complexities of this legislation.

Tonight we heard a lengthy address by the hon. member for York-Simcoe (Mr. Stevens) regarding this bill. He spent very little time dealing with the bill itself, but carried us forward to a variety of topics, including a general discussion about the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. The hon. member referred by some striking financial sleight of hand to the number of complaints received by the department, and then went on to divide the number of complaints into the amount of money spent on the entire consumer services of the department, some $17.5 million, telling the House that this was the total cost of all complaints received in any one year since the department was formed. The hon. member obviously drew this figure from the 1974-75 estimates covering a variety of activities, of which approximately $1 million represents expenditures by the branch which looks after consumer education, information and complaints.

I noticed that the hon. member was not content with referring the House to these striking observations, but also told the citizens of Toronto at a meeting of a chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants the same story. I assume that when one reflects on that point raised in that part of the hon. member's speech one can judge the merit of the rest of it.

Again the hon. member referred to a number of problems he foresaw during this parliament, including that in

October 22, 1974

respect of "a brutal majority," to use his colourful words. I suggest this is a strong phrase to use to describe what is only a moderate majority, but one which I think the Canadian people are gratified to see on this side of the House.

The hon. member referred to the fact that in this competition bill, again to use his colourful words, "we are sailing through uncharted waters". We have heard the minister's comments and we are aware of the endless references in this House to this whole area of competition policy since 1966 when it was introduced by the economic council in its report, reiterated in various pieces of legislation, and again only in the last session in the legislation which received second reading and went to the committee.

Once again this bill has been introduced. Once again the public is to be given the opportunity, both consumers and business organizations, to bring their points of view before the committee. Surely that could hardly be described as uncharted waters.

There were some points of substance raised by the hon. member for York-Simcoe, but they were in what might be termed a derivative fashion since he drew a melancholy note in respect of the words of the former hon. member for St. Paul's who is no longer with us. Unfortunately the people of St. Paul's did not choose to return that particular member, but his words will be immortalized in the Hansard of the thirtieth parliament thanks to the contribution of the hon. member for York-Simcoe.

The minister, in his comments on this bill, did not choose to reiterate in complete detail each and every policy that is contained in the bill because this is all familiar to members of the House. It is hoped when the committee deals with it, and deals with it hopefully expeditiously, this long planned competition policy for Canada will be made into law.

I think there are a great many Canadians who have seen defects in the previous legislation, in the draft bill which was introduced. I happen to be one of those who found a considerable number of defects in the original draft legislation which was brought into this House, but the bill we have before us this evening is one which, on almost every count, is bringing Canadians a first-class competition policy.

Instead of bulldozing a policy through the House the previous minister and the minister before that introduced a draft bill, and allowed the most elaborate possible type of consultation. Out of that elaborate consultation was derived a bill which can now come before parliament without fear that it will be a disservice to the Canadian people.

During the previous committee stage certain proposed amendments were introduced. Some were of a minor or technical nature. Some dealt with specific wording such as the hon. member for York Simcoe asked be considered. I hope these amendments will reappear. I hope that perhaps some others might reappear as well. Most of them are of a minor or technical nature dealing with anomalies in particular spheres of industry which were not contemplated at the time the bill was drafted.

Combines Investigation Act

I find it curious that the hon. member for York Simcoe does not want amendments introduced, wants all the amendments introduced today, does not want the bill to receive any positive treatment at the committee stage, and does not want any reaction to contributions made by industrial, business or consumer groups.

The hon. member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Rodriguez) made a speech containing some extremely fishy references and long lists of products. However, I did find one clause of the bill on which he reflected where I too share his dissatisfaction, although I do not think for quite the same extreme reason. I do not find the clause in respect of double ticketing a particularly effective one to be introduced into such an important blueprint for the competition policy of this country.

I hasten to say that I do not support the practice that is known as double ticketing by retail food stores. I think those stores have given their undertaking in this regard, and are not practicing this unfair form of behaviour. In any event I do not think this is a particularly appropriate clause to introduce in a bill of this scale. As the hon. member pointed out, it really does not deal with the question of the revaluing of inventories. I think very few members of this House would suggest that at no time should there be no ability on the part of businesses or industry to revalue their inventories.

Apart from that, I do not think this particular clause deals with the revaluing of inventories but rather deals with a particular practice of a grocery company finding additional stickers on a package and then not choosing to award the customer the lowest of the particular prices. My objection first is that I do not think it is broad enough or important enough to place in a bill of this dimension. Second, I think this often is brought about inadvertently by companies handling hundreds of thousands of items. It might be that every day by accident they are committing this particular offence. To that, extent, and that extent only, would I support some of the comments made by the hon. member for Nickel Belt. I wish to say, however, I believe the Canadian people are aware now that parliament intends to introduce a piece of competition policy that will suit this country and be more akin to the type of advanced concepts in other nations. I suggest that time has arrived. I also suggest I do not believe it will require "a brutal majority", the description used by my hon. friend. I think this bill, its concept, and the amendments which may be made in committee and reintroduced in this House will commend themselves, and I trust will soon be made into law for the benefit of Canada.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DEFINITIONS, POWERS OF INVESTIGATORS, OFFENCES
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October 11, 1974

Mr. A. C. Abbott (Mississauga):

May I first join with other hon. members in offering congratulations to Mr. Speaker and to his deputies. I know they will carry out their difficult task of overseeing this House with the same skill as was shown by their predecessors. I should also like to congratulate the mover (Mr. Duclos) and the seconder (Mr. Lee) of the Address in Reply, new members like myself, who have set a high standard at the beginning of a new parliament.

I am pleased that I can follow in this debate the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Sharp), and that I can offer congratulations to him on his appointment. I should also like to say, as someone who has known him over the years, that I suspect there is no member of this House, with the

possible exception of the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker), who has rendered more service to this country than the President of the Privy Council.

As a new member it is with feelings of some trepidation and awe that I rise to speak in this Chamber. I suppose it is a feeling known to all who have done so. Anyone with a sense of history must feel somewhat overwhelmed by an appreciation of the great figures who have spoken here, or in the Chamber which preceded this one, or in the British parliament itself. I suggest that no greater honour could fall to any Canadian than of being elected to this House and speaking to fellow members of this Chamber.

I am grateful that the right hon. member for Prince Albert is in his place. There is no one probably, in the history of this parliament-who has added more colour, more drama or more excitement to its proceedings, than has the right hon. gentleman.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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October 11, 1974

Mr. Abbott:

I can most certainly spell it, and I can speak of it with enthusiasm because it is already among the major cities of Canada in size and importance, adjoining, as it does, the great metropolitan area of Toronto. There is a disposition on the part of the residents of that great and dynamic metropolitan community to look upon Mississauga as merely a part of that metropolis and to take it for granted.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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October 11, 1974

Mr. Abbott:

Whatever else I may accomplish in this parliament I can at least say that alphabetically I lead the list of all the members since confederation. I do not know how long I can maintain that record.

I represent the constituency of Mississauga. There are some members who are perhaps not overly familiar with this community. Possibly there are some who cannot even spell it.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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