March 15, 1926

IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle):

Mr. Speaker, now that we have the Prime Minister with us-whom I am happy to welcome to this House-I should like to put a question to the government. During the recess a Canadian Press cable appeared in the press in the following terms-I quote this from the Montreal Gazette of March 9:

Labour members of the House of Commons heckled Lieut.-Col. L. C. Amery, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, at to-day's session concerning the publishing of the dominion's opinions in regard to Looarno treaties. Colonel Amery fenced his questioners skilfully, and stated that publication must depend somewhat on the feeling of the dominions themselves. If the dominions were willing he must then consult with the Foreign Secretary.

Colonel Amery finally announced that the treaties would be fully discussed at the Imperial Conference to be held in October leaving the impression that he had little intention of revealing beforehand what had already passed between Whitehall and the dominions.

The Prime Minister was not in the House at the beginning of the session when I requested the leader of the House, the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), to have this correspondence laid on the table as soon as possible, to enable intelligent consideration of the question by the members of this House. Later on, if I remember rightly, the hon. Minister of Justice stated that the government had not yet heard from London whether or not the

Locarno Treaty

correspondence should be published. If this despatch gives a correct resume of the answer of the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, it would appear that the objection has come from some of the dominions, although neither Canada nor any other of the dominions is mentioned. I should like to ask the Prime Minister, if he has no objection, to enlighten the House on the subject, so we may know whether or not the objection has arisen in London or has come from some of the overseas dominions that the correspondence should ndt be revealed to the so-called sister nations before it has been looked into by the small close chamber in London, next fall.

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, before I

reply to my hon. friend's question, perhaps I may be permitted to thank him for his cordial words of welcome?

I anticipated that this question might be asked to-day, and having in mind the importance of avoiding any misunderstanding with respect to the answer to be given, I deemed it advisable to communicate in the first instance with the (Prime Minister of Great Britain and intimate to him the reply which the government intended to make to the question should it be asked. As the hon. member has just stated, my colleague the Minister of Justice informed the House that we were in communication with the British government and had requested that we should be permitted to bring down the correspondence. The British government thought it unwise to have the correspondence produced. Under the circumstances it seemed to our government advisable that the reasons therefor should be expressed in terms to be agreed upon between the British government and ourselves.

I shall therefore ask the House to pardon me if I read the reply which I propose to make to my hon. friend's question, and which reply in form and substance is that agreed to by the Prime Minister of Great Britain and myself:

Following the request made in parliament for publication of the correspondence exchanged between the British and Canadian governments on the subject of the treaties of Locarno, including the preceding negotiations, the adoption of the treaties and any exchange of views upon the adhesion of the dominions, we advised the British government that the Canadian government was prepared to accede so far as any communications on its part were concerned, and asked to be informed of the views of the British government as to the publication of its despatches. We are informed by the British government that they do not see their way to consent to the pub-

lication of their despatches, as they were of a detailed character, covering many phases of the negotiations and in many cases containing confidential information as to the views of foreign governments. The British government considers that the publication of this correspondence would be prejudicial to future free interchange of opinion, whether with foreign governments or between the different governments of the empire. Without prejudice to the position that in general it is advantageous to make public as much as possible of such exchanges of opinion, we are prepared to agree that in this instance the objection of the British government to the publication of despatches embodying conversations with foreign governments is well taken. The British government has agreed to the publication of that part of the correspondence which relates to the proposal to hold an Imperial conference in October, 1926.

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Can I secure from the

government to-day any statement as to its policy with respect to adherence to the Locarno treaty?

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker, I think on reflection my right hon. friend will perhaps agree that it would be better to take up the Locarno matter at a stated time, and that time some time other than that at which the League of Nations is holding its assembly in Geneva. I do not know that my remark applies so much to a statement of the government's policy as it does to possible debate and comment that might arise upon it, and for that reason I intend later in the day, should we reach Motions, to ask my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) not to proceed with the first motion standing in his name. As my right hon. friend well knows, the conference at Geneva is not likely to occupy more than a few days longer, and I think it is inadvisable that any comment should take place either in this House or in the press of the country at the present time which might directly or indirectly have a bearing upon the proceedings there.

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am in entire agreement with the Prime Minister as to the wisdom of deferring discussion in view of probable differences of opinion that would occur.

I cannot see the bearing though of the present critical situation at Geneva upon the announcement of the government's intention, because doubtless the British government knows the government's intention in that respect-at least, I presume it does.

Personnel of Cabinet

BUTTER TARIFFS On the Orders of the Day:

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. S. F. TOLMIE (Victoria, B.C.):

Mr. Speaker, while the tariff on butter entering Canada from the United States is some 4 cents a pound, I noticed in the press recently that the United States has raised the tariff on butter entering from Canada from 8 cents to 12 cents a pound. What does the government intend to do under the circumstances?

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. ROBB (Acting Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the price of butter in Canada to-day is higher than it has been for some years, and the tariff against United States butter has not been altered for some years.

CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL On the Orders of the Day:

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. EDMUND BRISTOL (Toronto East Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to call the attention of the government and the House to a short quotation from the Buffalo Evening News in reference to the diversion of water by the Chicago authorities, containing an attack that is apparently being made on this government and the Dominion in respect to the matter. Under date of March 10 the following despatch was sent from Washington:

A resolution offered by Mr. Gorman recites that "the government of Canada and certain Canadian water-power interests had erroneously contended that the water is unlawfully withdrawn."

They are undertaking an investigation according to this paragraph:

A joint resolution providing for an investigation of the right of Chicago to divert water from lake Michigan was introduced in the House to-day.

The investigators would be empowered to inquire into the activities of public officials and their associates who are ''directly or indirectly receiving remuneration from Canadian authorities for disseminating false propaganda against Chicago's diversion of water."

The despatch continues:

''The report is current," the resolution said, "that this erroneous Canadian propaganda is being disseminated and kept alive in the United States by public officials, who themselves or through professional and business associates are receiving remuneration for their services from water-power and other interests of Canada.

Will the Prime Minister or the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) enlighten the House with respect to this matter?

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior):

Mr. Speaker, I have not had my attention directed to the article in question, but I can assure the House that so far as I am aware no officials of this government are giving out any information whatever.

If the officials of the American government are in receipt of moneys from water-power interests in Canada, I assure my hon. friend that this is certainly not with the knowledge or consent of this government.

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William):

With further reference to the question of the hon. member for Toronto East Centre (Mr. Bristol),

I should like to ask the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) in view of the fact that Canada is as much interested in the diversion at Chicago as are those states which are fighting Chicago before the Supreme Court of the United States, and in view of such statements published in the press as those quoted by the hon. member for Toronto East Centre, has the Canadian government any represent-, ative present at these proceedings to look after Canada's interests and to see that Canada also backs up the opposition to the steal which Chicago is carrying on?

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

We cannot be officially represented, but we are watching every move that is made. The government is being kept fully informed of all the proceedings whether before the Supreme court, in congress or elsewhere, but we are not offically represented.

Topic:   LOCARNO TREATY
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PERSONNEL OF CABINET


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to

ask the Prime Minister, now that he has returned-and whom I am also pleased to welcome with a welcome which will be all the more sincere if we are able to get the information I ask for-if he is able to tell the House now the intention of his government or ratheir of himself with respect to the filling of ministerial portfolios, and especially as to whether Hon. Mr. Marler, Hon. Mr. Massey and) Hon. Mr. Sinclair are still members of his government, and if not, when they ceased to be such. Not omitting the particularity of that question, I wish to add the general question again, what does the government purpose to do with regard to the vacant portfolios?

Topic:   PERSONNEL OF CABINET
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I first of all should like to thank my right hon. friend for his welcome. If it is pleasing to him to see me back, I can assure him it is also very pleasing to myself to be sitting opposite to him again. In regard to the question which my right hon. friend has asked, he will probably have observed that the government is

Personnel oj Cabinet

proceeding fairly rapidly and fairly satisfactorily with the filling of the vacant portfolios. I am pleased to be able to stand here as one minister of the crown, wh-o, having been defeated, has been again returned. I hope that to-morrow it may be possible to announce that another minister has been returned; if not to-morrow, possibly a week hence. Within a fortnight I hope it will be possible to announce that a third minister has been returned. I believe there are five vacancies altogether, or rather that at the beginning of the session there were five vacancies, the remaining two, namely the portfolio of Minister of Trade and Commerce and that of Minister of Immigration and Colonization we hope wil be filled in due course. I might say to my right hon. friend that at the time of his administration, just prior to the time at which the present government took office an December, 1921, there were eighteen portfolios which had been filled by ministers. We thought it advisable to reduce the number of portfolios, and that number was reduced1 to sixteen. We have felt that this is an opportune moment to make a further reduction in the number of portfolios, and a reduction will be made from sixteen to fourteen. It is intended to have the Department of the Secretary of State assigned to the hon. the Minister of Justice. The Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-esta'blishment and Health will be assigned to a minister in charge of one of the other departments of the government; of this I shall make a further announcement later.

With respect to the ministers without portfolio who have been mentioned by my right hon. friend, I would say that none of the ministers without portfolio continued to be members of the government for any length of time after the recent general election. Before this parliament met all the ministers without portfolio had requested that, they should no longer be invited to come to council, and they have not been so invited since parliament has been in session. The one exception I should make respecting the sending of notices to Privy Councillors other than those with or without portfolios is that of the Minister who formerly held the position of Minister of Railways and Canals, the Right Hon. Mr. Graham. I have asked Mr. Graham to consent to continue to be present at the proceedings of council, and this request he has kindly complied with. I think I have answered my hon. friend's question. If there is any point I have omitted I shall be gllad to endeavour to supply the information.

Topic:   PERSONNEL OF CABINET
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I want to be quite clear. I understand from the Prime Minister that the three ministers without portfolio referred to have not been members of the government since the general election?

Mr. MACKENZIE KING I would not say since the general election; I would say that subsequent to the general election and prior to the meeting of parliament they retired from the government as ministers.

Topic:   PERSONNEL OF CABINET
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TRADE TREATIES

EFFECT OF DEPRECIATED CURRENCIES OF FRANCE AND BELGIUM


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. L. J. LADNER (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask if the government has recently passed an order in council, the effect of which is to bring France and Belgium in the class of Germany and Russia with respect to depreciated currency. Then I want to ask if that has any effect on the (trade treaties with France and Belgium.

Hon. GEORGE H. ROIVIN (Minister of Customs and Excise): In answer to my hon. friend I would say that no order in council has been passed by this government concerning any importation of goods from France or Belgium since I have become a member thereof. A memorandum was issued by the Department of Customs on the 15th of February giving effect to the provisions of subsection two of section 40 of the Customs Act. This subsection provides that in connection with goods imported from countries where the value of the currency is substantially depreciated, the value for duty purposes shall be the same as the value of similar goods manufactured in England. If they are not manufactured in England then the value is to be that of similar goods manufactured in a European country where the currency is not depreciated. The only instructions given by the department to our officers throughout the country were to consider as substantially depreciated the currency of those countries which has been reduced in value more than 50 per cent.

Topic:   TRADE TREATIES
Subtopic:   EFFECT OF DEPRECIATED CURRENCIES OF FRANCE AND BELGIUM
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March 15, 1926