April 22, 1936

CON

Herbert Earl Wilton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. E. WILTON (Hamilton West):

I should like to say just a few words before this bill receives third reading. I am quite in sympathy with what has been said by my hon. friend from Broadview (Mr. Church) with regard to the burden of debt that has been imposed upon the municipalities. I speak from personal knowledge, having had several years of experience in municipal administration; I do know that municipalities have been burdened beyond the point where they can carry on. But I do think at this time there should be no division of opinion in regard to the necessity of solving the-problem of unemployment, because the solution of that problem will mean the solution of the problem which confronts every municipality in regard to small home owners, many of whom are being forced out of their homes because of the heavy taxation imposed upon them by the municipalities due to their need of extra revenue.

I am only sorry, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot agree with the proposition to leave the solution of this problem to a commission. To me that seems to be simply putting oil the evil day. To my mind it is the direct duty of this government and this parliament to take such action as will lead to an immediate, or as nearly immediate as possible, solution of this problem. If this matter is passed on to a commission no doubt, as commissions usually do, it will take a considerable length of time to bring in its finding, and even after that report has been made probably months will elapse before anything definite is done. Looking at the whole question from the point of view of the people we represent I cannot get away from the thought that the people of Canada look to this parliament itself to settle such questions as that of unemployment. It seems to me that if we have to appoint commissions to carry out everything we want done the people had better elect commissions and do away with parliament. We are sent here to do the business of the country, but we pass that duty on to someone else.

Every speaker has agreed that it is necessary to solve the problem of unemployment and much criticism has been offered, but so far I have heard nothing in the way of a solution. It seems to me that in handling our financial affairs with regard to unemployment we simply go deeper into the mire every time we attempt to do anything, because we follow the vicious system of borrowing money with which to repay borrowed money. No matter what is done our national debt is increased, and we are creating a tremendous burden which will have to be borne by the next generation.

Instead of continuing this vicious circle of borrowing and using the same money over and over again in order to carry on, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me the best solution is to find some new source of revenue. By that I do not mean some new source of taxation but some new source of revenue which will bring relief to the overburdened taxpayer and which will help the small home owner to retain his property. I believe this government should adopt some ways and means of developing its own natural resources, thereby creating new wealth which may be used to reduce the national debt and relieve the municipalities of the need for the additional revenue they have had to find. In turn the municipalities would be able to help the home owners who are already overburdened with taxation and debt. It seems to me something along that line would be a very constructive step to take, since it would open up a new source of revenue without any additional taxation.

Let me repeat, Mr. Speaker, that in regard to the solution of the problem of unemployment I do not think there should be any division of opinion in this house except, possibly, as to the means to be adopted. My feeling is that this question should be handled directly and immediately by this parliament instead of being turned over to a commission which will take months to prepare and bring in a report, and in all probability after that report is brought in we will find ourselves back where we are now.

Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
Permalink

CUSTOMS ACT AMENDMENT


Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of National Revenue) moved the third reading of Bill No. 11, to amend the Customs Act. Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.


CON

NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD


The house resumed from Tuesday, April 21, consideration in committee of Bill No. 17, respecting the national harbours board.-Mr. Howe.-Mr. Johnston (Lake Centre) in the chair. The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Johnston, Lake Centre): When the committee rose last night it was considering section 3. National Harbours Board


CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I suggest that for greater clarity in. dealing with this clause we discuss it subsection by subsection. The first subsection provides that there shall be, under the minister, a board to be known as the national harbours board. The minister is responsible to parliament for the administration of the harbours by this board, and the word "under" is not clear and definite. We found it necessary in other similar bills to insert the words "under the direction of." It was suggested at one time that it should be "under the supervision of," but there is no doubt that in matters of general policy these boards must be directed by a minister of the crown. Therefore I suggest for the consideration of the minister the insertion of the words "the direction of" in the first line of subsection 1 of section 3, between the words "under" and "the," as making for clarity and definiteness.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I see no objection to the change. I am not just sure what the implication is, but no doubt my hon. friend has looked into it. My thought is that this board will not require a great deal of direction. We hope to have expert management, perhaps more expert than that of any minister at the head of the department could be, and they will act on their own in most particulars. But obviously the minister is responsible for their actions. If the subsection can be allowed to stand I shall be glad to look into it and bring it up latter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Then the first subsection will stand.

Subsection 1 stands.

On section 3, subsection 2-Body corporate. Agent of His Majesty.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

With regard to the second, I find something that is, I think, new in parliamentary legislation:

The board shall be a body corporate and politic and be and be deemed to be, for all the purposes of this act, the agent of His Majesty the King in his right of the Dominion of Canada.

I suggest that that section should properly end with the word "politic"-"The board shall be a body corporate and politic." I understand the phrase about vesting the title in His Majesty the King in his right of the Dominion of Canada to lands and property; we use this expression frequently in legislation and in legal documents. But this board is not only under the supervision and direction of the minister as to general policy, but is subject in many respects to orders in council. I have no objection to its being a body corporate and politic for certain purposes, but

I do object, I think it is without precedent in our legislation, to a particular board or bureau or commission or commissioner being declared by act of this parliament to be the agent of His Majesty the King. The only agent for His Majesty the King in Canada, outside of the peculiar functions of His Excellency the Governor General, is the government of Canada or some department of that government.. Therefore I suggest that this clause should be reconsidered.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The Department of Justice explained the matter to me in this way: That of course "the agent of His Majesty the King" means the agent of the king purely for the administration of this particular act; that the Halifax harbour commissioners in a case before the supreme court were declared by the court to be the agents of His Majesty the King for the administration of the harbour commissioners' act. In other words we are simply calling them what the supreme court of Canada has declared them to be.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I entirely dissent from that suggestion. It may have been stated, in an opinion of one justice, of the supreme court or otherwise, that a harbour commission not under the supervision or direction of the minister but operating under a particular statute, was an agent of His Majesty the King. For instance, as we shall see later, in matters of land expropriation, in matters of other property which is in the possession of this commission, such property will be vested in His Majesty the King in the right of the Dominion of Canada. That expression is clear and definite as to the vesting of property. But I suggest it is a most extraordinary thing to say that you are setting up a new government outside of the government of Canada to administer the affairs of what is really a particular department or branch of a department under a minister of the crowm.

Mr. HOWE; I have before me the act to amend the Canadian Farm Loan Act, assented to April 17, 1935, which I assume my hon. friend knew something about.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Perhaps so.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Section 3, subsection 5, reads:

(5) The board shall be a body corporate and politic and be and be deemed to be for all the purposes of this act, except contractual dealings between the government of Canada and the board relating to the purchase by that government of the capital stock or bonds of the board or the repurchase by the board of those bonds, the agent of His Majesty the King in his right of the Dominion of Canada and to take security, receive, lend, pay, agree, acquire, hold, convey, transfer and otherwise do as this act directs or authorizes as such agent and not otherwise.

National Harbours Board

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Thiat is a different matter

altogether.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Is the farm loan board under the minister, as this one will be? The harbours board in effect and in practice will be part and parcel of the minister's department. I do not think the farm loan board is.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Section 3 of the Canadian Farm Loan Act states:

3. There shall be a board, known as the Canadian Farm Loan Board, which shall be a body politic and corporate and shall consist of four members, one of whom shall be the minister who shall be chairman thereof.

Then, in the interpretation section "minister" is defined as follows:

(i) "Minister" means the Minister of Finance for the time being.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Yes, but that is entirely

different.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Quite different.

The farm loan board is not part of the Department of Finance., but the harbours board is made a part of the department of transport, when it is formed. In effect and in practice this board will be a part of the department.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

We would save time if we

were to reserve section 2 and take further advice upon it, because it opens up a great many questions. If this body is a separate, distinct and independent agent of his majesty it certainly should not be placed under a minister of the crown. A minister may be a member of the board, as in the instance to which the hon. member has referred, namely the farm loan board, but the board cannot be an independent agent of His Majesty in his right of the Dominion of Canada and still be under the direction and supervision of the proposed minister of transport. I suggest that if the board is the agent of His Majesty the King, then His Majesty in his right of the Dominion of Canada is liable as principal for all actions of the board, all questions of liability and damage, and, as I suggested on second reading of the bill, it opens up the way for bringing an action against the government, because His Majesty in his right of the Dominion of Canada is the government. It opens up the way to bringing an action against the government by petition of right and like procedure, and leads to great confusion. I can see no reason why the board should be described as an agent of His Majesty the King, any more than any department or bureau of government or any other government commission should be

described in that way. I respectfully suggest that the minister might hold the section for the time being, and seek further advice. If the section is adopted it will lead to very considerable discussion with regard to certain other provisions with respect to which, in my opinion, it is entirely inconsistent.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
Permalink

April 22, 1936