This bill is introduced in response to a very large number of resolutions and requests that have come from public bodies throughout Canada, nearly all of them asking for legislation to prohibit the importation, manufacture and sale of pistols and revolvers. The house is aware that to grant a request of that kind would involve very serious constitutional questions as between the rights of the dominion and those of the provinces. As a matter of fact, upon inquiry, I find that there is no manufacture in Canada of pistols or revolvers. I also find that the importation of pistols and revolvers is already prohibited under the Customs Act except under permit from the Minister of National Revenue.
The remaining question is as to the sale of these articles. In the bill which I am introducing, I have endeavoured to provide further safeguards to restrict the sale, possession and carrying of pistols, revolvers and other offensive weapons. I have endeavoured to recast the provisions of the criminal code in respect to these matters and I think on the whole the present 'clauses have been very much strengthened.
I should like to direct a question to the government. There is a rumour to the effect that several thousand boxes of New Zealand butter are on the high seas on their way to Canada. My question is: Can the government confirm that rumour and, if so, are any steps being taken in regard to the matter?
There is on the order paper question No. 3 couched in somewhat similar terms.
Assistance to Provinces
The government cannot indicate with any degree of certainty the number of pounds of butter that are on the ocean from New Zealand to Canada, but it has been advised that substantial quantities of New Zealand butter are on the ocean en route to this country. The government has, under the provisions of the trade agreement, taken appropriate action to deal with the situation.
As rumours are appearing in the press at the present time regarding the financial assistance that is being given by the Dominion government to the provincial governments, particularly of the west, may I ask the Prime Minister whether ihere have been any recent communications with the provincial governments regarding this matter and, if so, say since March 1, whether he would be prepared to lay any such communications on the table?
Communications have been had with the four western provinces. Letters were dispatched to the premiers of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with respect to their financial position. A reply was received this morning from Manitoba; a telegram was received indicating that a reply from British Columbia was in the mails, and a telephone communication revealed that in Saskatchewan the matter is under consideration. The situation in Alberta is, of course, somewhat different from that in the other provinces. When the replies have been received, the letters with the replies will be given to the house.