November 2, 1945

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement on the issuance of permits to exservicemen to start business.

On Friday last the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Ferguson) asked me "how much longer returned soldiers are to be refused permits to go into business," apparently suggesting that it was a general policy of the wartime prices and trade board to refuse permits to ex-servicemen. This, of course, is not the case. However, on Tuesday, when he raised the matter again he made it clear that what he had in mind was not so much a general policy but some particular instance, raised in some letter received by an ex-serviceman; so I suggested that he put a question on the order paper. He has not yet disclosed the particular letter to the house. He has, however, disclosed a letter to the press. I have assumed that it w'as the same one and have had the case traced, and am now in a position to make a statement on it without further delay.

Before I tell the house where this particular case stands, it may be useful if I explain the position and policy of the wartime prices board in regard to issuance of licences. Ever since May, 1944, when the whole question was considered by cabinet, the board has in general been issuing licences freely to returned servicemen and others. Flowever, there have been a very few fields where, because of acute shortages of raw material, it would have been pointless to issue licences freely; indeed it wTould have been unfair to existing operators whose supplies had already been drastically reduced, and uneconomical from the point of view of making the best use of available supplies to meet civilian demands. Therefore the board has not been able to grant licences freely to three groups: to industrial sugar users, to users of broom corn, and to certain manufacturers and distributors of textile products. Even here, however, special arrange-

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merits have been made to ensure that exservicemen who immediately before enlistment had owned and operated businesses in these restricted fields, should get not onty their licences but also their appropriate quotas of supplies.

The most recent figures, those for the month of September, show clearly what has been happening. In that month the board issued 3,212 licences to new entrants into business; of these, 710 went to ex-servicemen. Only in nine cases was the board unable to grant licences requested by ex-servicemen; in other words, 98-7 per cent of applications received from ex-servicemen were granted. Further, if those nine cases had been filed within the last week or so they would not have been refused because they were all textile cases and the supply situation is now such that the board expects to be able to grant licences freely within a few weeks.

This brings me back to the case raised by the hon. member for Simcoe North. I find that the application, about which he is apparently concerned, reached the board's licencing division in Ottawa only on Friday, the day that he raised the question in the house, and that the board has dealt with this application in the same way as others being received currently in the textile field. A form letter has gone to this applicant requesting that the board be permitted to hold his application for a short time, because they expect to be able to issue a licence to him within the next few weeks.

I think that the hon, member for Simcoe North may have been misled by the phraseology of the letter which he handed to the press, and I would admit that the terms of the latter are not clear. The official in the board's cotton administration who wrote it was not directly concerned with the issuance or refusal of licences; the matter had been referred to him because he was in a position to advise the applicant about tire position of raw materials in the field he was planning to enter. In. this, as in other cases, the board tried to warn the new entrant of possible troubles ahead; usually such advice is much appreciated. However, as I said before", despite the warning issued, the licence application subsequently came forward to Ottawa in the usual way and it will be approved shortly.

Topic:   PERMITS TO EX-SERVICE MEN TO GO INTO BUSINESS
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WAR AND DEMOBILIZATION

PROVISION FOR APPROPRIATION OF $1,365,000,000 FOR WAR PURPOSES, DEMOBILIZATION, PROMOTION OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY, ETC.


The house resumed from Thursday, November 1, consideration in committee of a resolution to grant to His Majesty certain sums of money for the carrying out of measures deemed necessary or advisable in consequence of the war-Mr. Hsley-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair,


DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE (.ARMY)

LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

When the committee rose last night we were considering item No. 6 of the army estimates. Shall the item carry?

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

There, were certain questions to which the minister promised a reply.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of National Defence):

The hon. member for

Nanaimo asked me certain questions with respect to the signal service in the Northwest Territories, to which I have attempted to prepare answers. He asked first whether the wireless stations in the Northwest Territories would be manned in future by the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. The answer is that it is proposed that the Northwest Territories radio system will continue to be operated by the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. '

He asked whether these opportunities would be extended to the northwest staging route, which is also an important communication line. My answer is that that is now under consideration. It is probable that the R.C.A.F. will be responsible for the operation of the land line communications facilities on the northwest staging route, but no definite decision as to the final responsibility for operation has yet been taken.

He asked for what amounts were contracts let for the reconstruction of the British Columbia telephone line between Vancouver and Hope, and between Victoria and Campbell river, and also to Port Alberni. My answer is that those contracts were arranged by the Department of Munitions and Supply and the Department of National Defence for Air. When the estimates of these departments are before the committee I think that that information could be made available.

My hon. friend also asked what arrangements had been made for the disposal of the equipment obtained by the Pacific Coast Communications board. That matter is still under consideration, and that same answer I must make

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with respect to possible arrangements to continue the service in more remote parts of British Columbia through which telephone lines were constructed for defence purposes, and as to the wireless link between the Charlotte islands and Prince Rupert.

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

Do I understand that no arrangements have been completed with British Columbia Telephone with respect to the reconstruction of those lines? What will be the disposal of the equipment at the conclusion of hostilities? I was under the impression that arrangements had been made whereby certain equipment would be made available under certain conditions to the B.C. Telephone.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

These questions come within the department of Munitions and Supply or National Defence for Air. Perhaps my hon. friend would put his questions then, or I could bring them to the attention of my colleagues for answer when their estimates are before the committee.

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

Were not those agreements made by the Department of National Defence for the army?

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

I am advised that the contracts were made by the Department of Munitions and Supply. I am'afraid that I cannot elaborate on that.

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PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

I would like to ask a question which relates to each of these items from No. 5 to No. 10. It applies to every one of them. The other day in connection with the naval service the minister said that the accounts were paid by the department. I take it that some of these costs apply to the termination of contracts and for deliveries of stores which were ordered in war and will not be used in war. Can the minister say how much of this item and succeeding items down to No. 10 represents the termination of contract payments, how much represents stores paid for which will have to be destroyed or turned over to War Assets, and how much represents stores which will be useful in the future? Would he at the same time say whether he himself decides on the amount that will have to be paid on the termination of contracts, or is that done in the Department of Munitions and Supply?

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

If it is a straight cancellation charge, that amount is taken, up in the estimates of the Department of Munitions and Supply. If the manufacture of the equipment in question is completed and the equipment is delivered to the army, that is included in the item under consideration. It may be that after delivery some of the equipment

[Mr. Abbott. 1

will ultimately be declared surplus and turned over to War Assets. I do not know that I can readily give my hon. friend a break-down of that latter category. I can tell him how much of the estimate covers commitments from the previous year. There have been no new commitments since V-J day. Between V-E day and V-J day there were some new commitments for signal and wireless equipment, because it was then contemplated that we would be carrying on the war against Japan, although I am advised that these commitments were limited. I do not know that I can at this time give definite information as to what portion of the equipment previously ordered and delivered or to .be delivered will ultimately be declared surplus. That whole question is being reviewed by the staff. Obviously we are going to be in a good equipment position, with ample motor vehicles, ample signalling equipment, all the latest and most modern types of equipment for the reserve army and for setting up adequate reserve stocks for the permanent force. Consideration will have to be given by the staff as. to what is a proper and appropriate ' division under these two heads, and the balance I take it would be declared surplus and be disposed of. I am afraid that I cannot give the break-down in exactly the way my hon. friend asked for it. Cancellation charges as such are borne by the Department of Munitions and Supply.

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Item agreed to. Ammunition and bombs, $70,525,161.


PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASE:

The minister is budgeting for $70,525,161. Expenditures to - September 30, 1945, were $17,123,030, which leaves a balance of $53,402,131. Since the active campaign has ended, it does seem to me that the figures are out of line, and I would imagine that there could be some paring down of this $53,000,000 odd from September 30 on.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

The committee might like to have a brief break-down. As in most of these items from now on this is largely a carry-over to clean up existing commitments. Of the total estimated provision of $70,525,161. $47,058,880 represents commitments incurred prior to the beginning of this fiscal year, and $23,466,281 represents commitments incurred since April 1 last. This item is literally a clean-up item.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

There is nothing in the item regarding experimental work by the minister's department?

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

I should not think so. There may be some small amount for -orders of new

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ammunition to round out types that we have run short of, but the item is for the straight purchase of ammunition and .bombs.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

I meant new equipment that it might be desired to test and check and that might be coming in to the minister's department.

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November 2, 1945