June 5, 1934

LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The hon. member will see what I will do when the matter comes to a vote.

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CON

Franklin White Turnbull

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TURNBULL:

I only hope my hon. friend's example will be followed even at the twelfth hour by some of those who sit around him. There is still time for the sinners to repent.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

They won't do it.

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CON

Franklin White Turnbull

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TURNBULL:

I am afraid not. My hon. friend knows them better than I. do. There has been no repentence from :he benches opposite, but in any event it would be pretty difficult for them to repent now.

I thought they were going to try to hang their hats on those amendments that were made in committee, but they found the hook was not strong enough even for that. They voted against the second reading; they voted against, not only against having a bill that might be approved in committee, but against having a bill at all. Then they have attempted to create the impression that they have made this bill in committee. If they have made the bill in committee, why do they not vote for it? If they did not make it in committee, why do they say they did? Why do hon. gentlemen not get off the fence and sit on one side or the other? Let them say either they are for this or they are against it; let them say that it is good or that it is bad, 'but let the country know where they stand and know it in certain terms so that hon. gentlemen oannot go around the back townships during election time and try to lead the people to believe that they stood on both sides.

They said that there were thirty-three amendments to the bill, but before the second reading hon. gentlemen were told that amendments were coming, and the bulk of the thirty-three amendments, all the important ones except possibly one, came from this side of the house, Moreover, eight of the thirty-three amendments were consequential ones; a change was made in one section in connection with natural or related products and the same change was made in eight

Marketing Act-Mr. Turnbull

others. They hoped to be able to hang their hats on those amendments as an excuse for saying it might be to their political interest to support the bill, but there is not a single amendment that has in any way changed the principle of the legislation. If every one of those amendments had been inserted in the bill when it came down for the second reading, that would not have served as an excuse for any hon. gentleman on either side to vote any differently from the way he did, because the principle was exactly the same after the insertion of the amendments as before. There may have been some changes with regard to the consequences of the price spreads investigation, as to what should happen in connection with the report when it was made, but there was nothing at all that changed in the slightest degree the principle of the bill, which was the provision by the government of machinery, not whereby the government should market goods, but whereby the primary producers themselves, not forced into it by the government but on their own initiative-because aside from the exceptional circumstances under section 9 the initiative comes in every case from the producer-may organize themselves, take advantage of the machinery provided and try at least to get a better share of the consumer's dollar whether it be in this or some other country. I say again that except for exceptional circumstances provided for in the one section there is in the bill nothing whereby the government forces its views on anybody, but there are in it provisions for which the producers may carry out the work themselves. Nevertheless we heard hon. gentlemen day after day declaring only one thing, that the producers shall not have the opportunity to organize themselves to meet marketing conditions that prevail not only in Canada but outside.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

They did not say that.

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CON

Franklin White Turnbull

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TURNBULL:

There is no other

deduction, inference or meaning that is possible from the day to day opposition we have had to this bill, with the exception of the second part which has to do not with marketing but with the investigation of spreads and prices. So far as the marketing feature is concerned, I repeat that since the day this bill was first introduced in the house all that the opposition of hon. gentlemen opposite has meant is that they have declared that so far as they are concerned-and I am excepting the hon. member for Melville and the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid)-the primary producer shall not through the medium of this bill have the privilege

of initiating a movement to allow him to have greater control in the marketing of his own product with the object that he will market it better and obtain a higher price for it. But because this government, possibly for the first time in the history of Canada, has really attempted through federal legislation in conjunction with provincial legislation to give the primary producers a chance to organize to meet the great organizations with which they have to deal, I am supporting the third reading of this bill.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KINO (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker,

there are at least three results apparent from the lengthy discussion which took place on this measure in committee of the whole. The first is that the bill as introduced was very much in need of amendment. Opinions may differ as to the value of the amendments that have been made, but I assume that the government has attached importance to them, otherwise they certainly would not have been added to the bill. I do not believe that the value of the amendments can be estimated by their number, or by the particular amount of space that they occupy in the bill. I think they are to be valued only by the extent to which they bring the bill into conformity with customary constitutional procedure and practice, and into conformity with legislation which ensures to the representatives of the people the opportunity of legislating in the interests not of any one class, but of all classes in the community.

The second apparent result is that there are provisions of the bill with which pretty nearly all members of the house are in agreement. There are large portions of this measure with respect to which there has been practical unanimity. I might draw the attention of the house to the fact that the bill is divided into two parts, the second part dealing with investigations. I think I am right when I say that the second part of the bill encountered no opposition at all, once the government had made a very important change with respect to one or two of its clauses, the limitations of which were pointed out in the early part of the discussion. The scope of this portion of the bill was as a matter of fact vastly enlarged by an amendment proposed by the opposition which extended its provisions from regulated to all natural products.

The third apparent result is that with respect to certain provisions there is a diversity of opinion between members of the official opposition and hon. gentlemen opposite which is very wide indeed, and which I fear

from what has been said thus far by members of the administration may prove to be irreconcilable.

However, I am rising at the moment not for the purpose of opposing the bill on its third reading, but rather in order to propose at the close of my remarks that the bill be referred back to the committee of the whole with the request that the committee reconsider certain of its objectionable provisions with a view to seeing if those provisions cannot be so modified as to make the bill acceptable to the house as a whole. I hope I have made it clear that as far as the purpose of the bill is concerned, as far as the necessity for the introduction of legislation for the regulation of marketing is concerned, we on this side are in agreement with hon. gentlemen opposite. To certain of the provisions of this particular measure, however, there is a very decided opposition on the part of some, in fact of all of us on this side. The question then naturally arises as to whether the provisions to which we take exception are so all-important in their significance as to render it advisable and necessary to oppose the bill on the third reading in the event of the government not agreeing to refer it back for further consideration to the committee of the whole, or the committee of the whole upon reconsidering it not making certain of the changes, or whether it should be supported on third reading simply for what there may be of possible good in some of its provisions. notwithstanding the possibilities and probability of great harm that, if adopted, it may have as a whole.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

You cannot improve it as far as I am concerned.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

As to the amendments which have been introduced may I say that certain of them have been, I think, distinctly beneficial, and in the right direction. I am not desirous of claiming for any particular part of the house the credit for these amendments, although I think if it were desired to do so it could be shown that the more important amendments have been the result of suggestions from this side of the house. Among amendments which I think are in the right direction are amendments which have restored in a very real way the control of this House of Commons over certain phases of the subjects dealt with in the legislation itself. The first amendment I refer to is the one which provides that the expenditures in connection with the bill shall be made out of moneys appropriated by parliament. That I think is an all-important amendment. The original bill provided that these moneys were

1934 3703

Marketing Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

to be taken by the board out of the consolidated revenue fund. There was no requirement as to their being appropriated in the first instance by parliament. In other words, parliament was simply abandoning its control over expenditure. I pointed out as forcibly as I could at the outset that that was certainly ignoring the fundamental principle of control over expenditure and taxation by the House of Commons. I am glad that the members of the ministry have thought it well to amend the bill in that particular and to get rid of that obnoxious feature.

Another amendment is that the ministry shall report to parliament within a certain time, within fifteen days of the reassembling of parliament, all action which has been taken and expenditures incurred under this measure.

It has been stated over and over again that this is experimental legislation, and great power is given under it to local boards to initiate schemes which are to be approved by the governor in council, but of which this parliament has no information at all, and with respect to which it would have no information had the bill not rendered it obligatory that a report should be made to parliament within a stated time. That report at least gives some opportunity to this House of Commons to review the various schemes which may be brought forward. So I regard that as an important amendment.

There was a provision in part II of the bill which had to do with the powers of investigating committees. That provision gave power to the committees to designate what were to be offences punishable by fine or imprisonment. It was pointed out from this side of the house that there again the function of parliament was being wholly abrogated through its function and power being given to boards unnamed and unknown, and still to be constituted, to create offences which would be so punishable. The bill as it now stands sets forth, as part of the statute, what constitutes offences as well as the penalties. Parliament itself has named what the offences are to be. To that extent the bill has been brought into conformity with constitutional procedure and practice.

Then there has also been an amendment with respect to the powers of these local boards which brings their actions and regulations very much more under the control, if not of parliament, at least of the ministry. In the bill as originally introduced powers were given to local boards to make regulations which would, if violated, be punishable by fine and imprisonment. These unknown and unnamed boards were to have authority to make regulations, and parliament's part in

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Marketing Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

the procedure consisted in setting out in advance the penalty which was to attach to the offences to be named by the local boards. The government have seen fit to alter that provision of the bill and to require that all these schemes of local boards shall in the first instance meet with the approval of the governor in council, and the governor in council being responsible in an immediate way to parliament there is at least an approach to the restoration of the authority of parliament over a great deal that is set forth in the bill.

Now, Mr. Speaker, these are important amendments, and all of them are in accordance with the fundamental principle which safeguards the sovereignty of parliament. That is the basic principle underlying the amendments that have been made. What I wish to suggest to hon. gentlemen opposite is that they continue to apply that principle to all the provisions of the bill; and where the bill as it stands at present is deficient in that it takes away from this House of Commons powers and authority which the house should not part with, but which it should keep in matters of legislation, that such power should be restored by the committee of the whole after the bill is referred back to it for that purpose. If it be a sound procedure and practice with respect to control by this House of Commons over expenditure and taxation, with respect to the legislation of this House of Commons as to regulations and offences and with respect to other phases of control by parliament so to amend the measure as to ensure the safeguarding of a fundamental right of parliament, a right by which alone the liberties and the rights of citizens can be maintained, surely it is equally important that the bill in all particulars should be made to conform to that great fundamental principle.

That brings me for a moment, to the consideration of what is responsible for the taking away from parliament of these powers that some of us feel should be retained by parliament, and having them given to other bodies, it is due to a certain theory of delegation of powers. This theory of delegation of power aas come to the fore rather rapidly and very recently. It has within limits been found necessary at Westminster with respect to some legislation there, but I would point out that the condition at Westminster, a parliament that deals with matters corresponding to federal, provincial and in many cases municipal matters in this country, is very different from the condition with which this parliament is faced. I think we should be particularly careful to see where a tendency of that kind if too largely indulged in is likely to lead us.

If it is absolutely necessary and the tendency is safeguarded to a sufficient degree then I would have no exception to take to it, but if it is simply adopting an innovation in constitutional procedure, particularly at a time when innovations are coming from other quarters that we all know threaten the very existence of parliamentary institutions, then I say the innovation should be considered with the greatest care before it is permitted to go very far. While the policy of delegating power has gained certain headway at Westminster I would point out to hon. gentlemen opposite that where it has done so it has been always with the exercise of the greatest caution on the part of the government. In fact the government at Westminster has been most careful to see that any powers of delegation should be so granted as not to deprive parliament of the complete supervision which it should have in the interests of all classes in the community, particularly with regard to measures relating specifically and especially to the interests of one particular class. There is one principle which governs in matters of delegation; it is the essentially subordinate character of delegated legislation; it is that the power of the body which is receiving the delegated power always must be subordinate to the power of the body which confers delegated power. The power to legislate, when delegated by parliament, differs from parliaments own power to legislate. In other words parliament itself is supreme in the matter, particularly in legislation, and parliament should not give to another body power to legislate on any subject to a greater extent than parliament itself is prepared to legislate with respect to the matter under consideration. Any power delegated by parliament is necessarily a subordinate power because it is, and must be limited by the terms of the enactment whereby it is delegated.

That seems so obvious as to be hardly necessary to assert it, yet when one considers the provisions of this measure one finds that parliament is giving to local bodies, as yet unnamed and unknown, power to draft legislation, and later to the governor in council power to enact these drafts into legislation and enact other legislation infinitely more considerable in extent and in importance than that which parliament is retaining to itself as governing the situation in hand. Surely that procedure is not right. During the course of this discussion many reasons have been advanced as to why these powers have to be delegated. It has been stated that they deal with matters of detail, that parliament

Marketing Act

Mr. Mackenzie King

has not time to consider these things, and that the executive ought to be in a position to govern in these matters. But may I point out that government consists of three distinctive branches. There is the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch. If it had been intended that the executive was to become the legislative body, the constitution of the country would have made that clear, but so long as the function of legislation resides in parliament it should be kept in parliament and not transferred to the executive much less to other and inferior bodies.

I am going to seek to ayoid much in the way of quotation this evening; indeed I intend to make my remarks as brief as possible, but I should like to quote in particular one page from a volume to which I have referred previously and to which the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) was fond of referring when he was in the position which I now occunv. It is so pertinent to this entire legislation and so clearly and concisely expressed that I think it will give hon. members in a moment the complete picture I should like to present to their minds. The volume is entitled The New Despotism, and is by the Right Hon. Lord Hewart of Bury, Lord Chief Justice of England. This is what Chief Justice Hewart says, at page 76 in describing how this system of delegating power works:

The excuses which are offered even by the most able of the apologists of the new despotism are sometimes rather entertaining. It is said that parliament simply has not time to do otherwise than delegate legislative power; that parliament, even if it had the time, has not the reouisite aptitude for the work; and that, after all. it is not the task of parliament, but the task of the executive, to govern the country. The last of these three propositions is said to constitute the "greatest justification for del"gated legislation." Now. to some onlookers it may occur that, if this threefold defence is really to be regarded as a fair and considered statement of the frame of mind which exhibits itself in the new despotism, nothing could well be more grave. For what does it mean? Let it be granted, for the sake of the argument, that there are matters of detail which can hardlv be debated at length across the floor of the House of Commons. Let it be granted, again, for the sake of argument. that from time to time an act of parliament may involve technical matters which require careful and protracted consideration at the hands of experts and specialists. Neither of these circumstances, nor the pair of them in combination, can be said to afford the smallest reason why the work which is done should be done behind the back of parliament. nor without its knowledge and real assent. Nor do these or any other circumstances afford a reason why the order which is

made, or the decision which is given, should be so contrived as to be beyond review in a court of law. As for the third of the propositions, if it contemplates anything over and above what in a particular emergency may be rendered necessary by "sudden causes and occasions" or "promptitude to meet the exigency of the case," it is not easy to imagine anything more mischievous or more subversive.

I ask hon. members to listen particularly to these words:

True, it is indeed the task of the executive to govern the country. But it is the task of parliament to make the laws, and the real business of the executive is to govern the country in accordance with the laws which parliament has made. Is it not precisely because it is the task of the executive to govern the country that it is so dangerous to hand over to the executive the power of making laws as well, and of making them in ways which, while a kind of formal homage is paid to the sovereignty of parliament, have the effect of employing the sovereignty of parliament to oust the jurisdiction of the courts.

That is exactly what this legislation does. So far as regulations and offences go, it simply hands over to the executive, which we all admit exists for the work of government and administration, the making of practically all the laws which are to be an outcome of the provisions of this particular enactment.

Hon. members have said that these laws are intended to help the producers. But how is this help provided? The bill allows a group of producers to initiate a scheme, and to present such scheme to the executive. If it is approved lby the executive, it becomes the law of the land, although parliament has not had any say in the matter at all. It is done behind the doors of parliament; it is done outside the walls of parliament, and yet it all becomes part of the law of the land. That is not preserving the sovereignty of parliament ; that is not preserving the principle of sound constitutional government. That is one of the features of the bill to which hon. members on this side take such strong exception.

Is it necessary, in order to frame a marketing bill which will be of service to the farmers throughout the country, to sabotage a great constitutional principle of government upon which the security of the rights of all depend? Is not such a consequence too great a price to pay? That is the point I should like to make in criticism of the measure. I submit that in seeking to serve one end, the government is taking a step which either deliberately or inadvertently is destroying fundamental principles of constitutional government. Surely such a course is not necessary to achieve a legitimate end. I believe one of

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Marketing Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

the reasons parliament has been countenancing such legislation is that, under the stress of emergency, we have become accustomed to granting great powers to the executive in matters of relief. These powers having been asked, always with the statement from the Prime Minister that they would be carefully safeguarded, and session after session we have become more or less accustomed to consenting to give them to the executive. But there is another reason, and it is this. Throughout the world there have been great changes in matters of government in many countries. Some of the effects of those changes are making themselves felt in our own country. I am afraid a good many of our own people, instead of holding to what has been the bulwark of liberty and freedom throughout past centuries, namely, the British constitution and all it stands for in the working of British parliamentary institutions have, under conditions which, however, prevail to-day, been prepared to accept a lot of the new ideas and new doctrines offered as a means of salvation in countries which have yet to learn the meaning of freedom. The influence of doctrines of the kind is, I believe, much more subtle than most of us have had reason to assume.

This afternoon my hon. colleague and very dear friend, the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) made a statement as to his view of the position a member of parliament holds in relation to his leader. He pointed out that a leader had certain responsibilities in matters of legislation which possibly a private member did not have. He said that a leader of a party has to regard himself as representing not any one class but all classes, and not only one constituency but the country as a whole. It was his view that a leader has to have regard not only for the problems of his own country but must also have regard for international relations, and the like. He believed that a member of parliament, a humble follower coming from an agricultural constituency, for example, and particularly an hon. member representing mostly people interested in a particular industry or occupation, would be in quite a different position. I believe I am stating the hon. member's position correctly.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And he agrees with me. With all respect to my hon. friend, and he is a much older parliamentarian than I am, may I say that if he puts forward a doctrine of that kind he would cause it to appegr that years were beginning to get the better of his judgment.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

That is what the Prime Minister has tried to tell me.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is the old theory of delegation which at different times has been put forward as the one which should govern representatives in parliament. I say that the delegation theory in the matter of representation is not the one under the British parliamentary system by which members have been assumed to carry out their duties in parliament.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Since the time of Burke.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Since the time of Burke, the Prime Minister has said and I wish the Prime Minister also would take the lesson to heart, because he too in many things is getting away from the true theory. The Prime Minister has well reminded us that when Edmund Burke was addressing his constituents in Bristol he told them that they were entitled to have not only his vote in parliament, but that they were entitled to have as well, his judgment and intelligence and his powers of reasoning, in regard to all questions which came before parliament, I cannot understand how any person could question at this time the fact that, once an elected member takes the oath and takes his seat in this house he must regard himself no longer as the representative of a class, a sect or of a group in the community from which he comes but as one of the representatives of all the people, of all classes and of all parts of the country.

I was surprised this afternoon to hear the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman) indicate that he was here at the instance and under the direction of some local unit of the United Earmers of Alberta, no>t to do the bidding of his own judgment, and not to take an independent stand as a member of parliament representative of all classes, but to do the bidding of a particular group in the community which sent him here.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I am sure the right hon. gentleman does not wish to misrepresent what I said. I stated in answer to a question as to whether or not I belong to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation that I was nominated by an organization which associated itself with that body. I did not say my judgment would be limited by it.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I believe when my hon. friend reads Hansard he will find that he said there had been a local body which had sent him here, and that he was here subject to the direction of a particular

Marketing Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

group. I do not remember the word he used when referring to the unit of the United Farmers of Alberta. Certainly that was the impression I gathered, and I find other hon. members gathered the same impression. However, I am quite prepared to accept my hon. friend's statement about his own position. I do know, however, that there are hon. members who take the stand that they are being sent to parliament by certain groups, and that in parliament they are bound before all else to represent the views and interests of those groups. I say that that theory of representation is all wrong. I believe it does not matter how great or how humble the followers or the leader of a party may be, they all have the same responsibility to the people as a whole, and to the country as a whole. Once they enter parliament in the capacity of representatives, they cease to represent any individual class; they are bound to forget their personal interests; they are bound to have regard for the interests of all classes in all parts of the country and are the representatives of all. It is for that reason and upon that basis that many of us of the opposition have taken our stand in opposition to certain clauses of this measure.

I should like to ask the Minister of Agriculture if I am not right when I state that the bill is founded on the theory that there will be an occupational group which will draft a scheme to be submitted to the governor in council and the governor in council must approve or disapprove of such scheme? If he approves that then the scheme becomes law? I believe that is a correct statement of what is provided in the first part of the bill. In connection with each scheme, regulations are made and offences created. I say that that is legislation based not on any theory of representation by population, but on a theory of representation by occupation. I submit that, once we begin legislating not on a basis of population, but on that of occupation, we are beginning to undermine the British parliamentary system of government, and if we continue it will not be long before we get the kind of thing which the hon. member for East Hamilton witnessed in Russia where, as he knows quite well, occupational groups determine what the law is to be. When such determination receives the approval of the supreme command it becomes enforcible over the country as a whole.

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LAB

Humphrey Mitchell

Labour

Mr. MITCHELL:

I should like to point out that the occupational groups do not have any say in Russia.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Occupational groups or those who speak for occupational

groups, present the scheme to the government, or to the superior council,-whatever its particular designation may be. The arrangement is then made binding upon all. It is a system of planning from beginning to close. At least my hon. friend will agree in this, that in Russia they have no parliament the members of which are representative of the people as a whole, but they have this council which has authority to make laws for the entire population in a manner which they believe will serve occupational interests. What, may I ask, is the difference between that and what is in this bill? This is exactly the same thing, only it is done under the guise of parliamentary forms; but parliament is a mere facade so far as being any real part of the structure once parliament has prorogued and the real work of legislating is begun. I presented the matter I think fairly to the minister when I said that these occupational groups prepare the scheme, the governor in council assents to it, and as I have said, until the bill was amended, this parliament had not even a say as to the amount of money to be spent. This board and the governor in council were to have power to dip into the revenues of the country and take what was needed for their purpose, and there was no obligation even of reporting to parliament on the matter.

References have been made to the British legislation. Let me point out the difference between the two, because it is very marked. So far as Great Britain is concerned, they have in their marketing act provision for the working out of certain schemes and having those schemes approved by the min'ster; but, before any scheme can become effective in Great Britain, it has to be laid before the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and a resolution approving of the scheme has to be passed by both houses of parliament. Why have we not that or some such similar provision in this bill? Why cannot we have it? If the minister will put a provision to that effect in this bill, it will remove three-quarters of the objections that we have to it. Give to members of parliament who represent the interests of all classes the right to have a say as to whether a particular scheme is to become law or not. If, after a scheme of the kind is presented and it is found to be full of compulsory or other features, it will before becoming the law of the land be open to parliament at least to debate the merits of the scheme. As this measure is drawn up, however, parliament is not given even the opportunity to debate the question, or the issues that may be involved.

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The whole matter is settled apart from parliament altogether. Surely we do not wish to

begin with that class of legislation in this House of Commons. If we start to-day doing so nominally for one group of producers, I suppose that to-morrow we shall be asked to do the same thing nominally for groups in some other trades or occupations, and then be asked to do the same thing for industry and the like, permitting the manufacturers, for example, to frame their own scheme and give the governor in council power to approve their scheme, which, once it is approved, shall become a part of the law of the land.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I believe, and this is a phase to which I wish to draw attention before I conclude, that the whole purpose of certain provisions of this legislation is to lead up to just where that kind of thing will be possible, where the governor in council will be able, with respect to the whole production of the country, and the whole industrial life of the country, to have the say as to the directions along which the production and the trade of the country are to proceed.

May I point out another feature that relates immediately to what I have just been saying, namely that it is the duty of every member of parliament to have regard for the interests, not of one class only but of all classes. Surely with respect to any legislation that affects prices, any legislation that has to do with the supply of articles of consumption, legislation that touches all the natural products of the country with the exception of those of the mines, there is every reason why the interests of consumers should be considered by this House of Commons in any legislation that is enacted. Where will you find from the beginning to the end of this bill a single clause that safeguards the interests of consumers? There is not one mention of the word "consumer" that I have been able to discover in this whole bill anywhere, nor any provision which safeguards the consumer. How different in that particular is the British legislation! I have in my hand a copy of the British enactment, the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1931. Several pages of that act are taken up in seeing that the interests of consumers are specially cared for in any legislation that has to do with marketing. Let me read only one section, section 9 of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1931, being chapter 42, 21 and 22 George 5:

The minister shall appoint two committees (hereinafter in this act referred to as "a consumers' committee" and "a committee of investigation") for Great Britain, England and Scotland respectively.

2. A consumers' committee shall-

(a) consist of a chairman and of not less than six other members, who shall be such persons as appear to the minister, after consultation with the board of trade, and, as to one member, with the Cooperative Union, to represent the interests of the consumers of all the products the marketing of which is for the time being regulated by schemes approved by the minister; and

(b) be charged with the duty of considering and reporting to the minister on-

(i) the effect of any scheme approved by the minister, which is for the time being in force, on consumers of the regulated product; and

(ii) any complaints made to the committee as to the effect of any such scheme on consumers of the regulated product.

It sets forth, the powers of the committee of investigation and provides that;

If a committee of investigation reports to the minister that_ any provision of a scheme or any act or omission of a board administering a scheme is contrary to the interest of consumers of the regulated product, or is contrary to the interest of any persons affected by the scheme and is not in the public interest, the minister, if he thinks fit so to do after considering the report and consulting the board of trade-

(a) may by order make such amendments in the scheme as he considers necessary or expedient for the purpose of rectifying the matter;

(b) may by order revoke the scheme.

Et cetera, et cetera.

There are numerous other provisions scattered throughout the act all of which are to safeguard the interests of consumers. But here we are in this parliament representative of all classes of the community, representative of the consumers of Canada as a whole, and we are being asked by the government in this legislation to allow all matters relating to the regulating of marketing and questions that affect the prices and supply of commodities and the like to be dealt with by these interested occupational groups, and without a single safeguard being provided to protect the interests of the consumers. I say, Mr. Speaker, that that is a feature of this legislation that I do not think will commend itself to anyone in the country. The producers in any particular occupation are not so shortsighted as to fail to see that, if a particular group of producers are to get rights only on condition that the interests of consumers generally shall not be considered, it will not be very long before they themselves are going to be vitally affected as consumers of the products of other groups of producers. In theory and practice alike this bill- leaves out of account the responsibility of members of parliament to all classes in the country, and I say, Mr. Speaker, that in presenting

Soldier Settlement Act

it in this form the government has been neglectful or forgetful of the first obligation of a member of parliament.

I see, Mr. Speaker, that it is eleven o'clock. I know the house is anxious to take a vote, and, if it is agreeable, I might conclude if there are not other speakers.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We cannot take the

vote to-night, because there are other members to speak.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
Permalink

June 5, 1934