Is that the case known as the Free Press case?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: Yes-Fort Frances Pulp and Paper Company v. The Manitoba Free Press Company:
In the event of war, when the national life may require for its preservation the employment of very exceptional means, the provision of peace,, order and good government for the country as a whole may involve effort on behalf of the whole nation, in which the interests of individuals may have to be subordinated to that of the community in a fashion which requires section 91 to be interpreted as providing for such an emergency. The general control of property and civil rights for normal purposes remains with the provincial legislatures. But questions may arise by reason of the special circumstances of the national emergency which concern nothing short of the peace, order and good government of Canada as a whole.
And a little further down:
It may be, for example, impossible to deal adequately with the new questions which arise without the imposition of special regulations on trade and commerce of a kind that only the situation created by the emergency places within the competency of the dominion parliament. It is proprietary and civil rights in new relations which they do not present in normal times, that have to be dealt with.
The kind of power adequate for dealing with them is only to be found in that part of the constitution which establishes power in the state as a whole. For it is not one that can be reliably provided for by depending on collective action of the legislatures of the individual provinces agreeing for the purpose.
Where an exact line of demarcation will lie in such cases it may not be easy to lay down a priori, nor is it necessary. For in the solution of the problem regard must be had to the broadened field covered, in case of exceptional necessity, by the language of section 91, in which the interests of the dominion generally are protected. As to these interests the dominion government, which in its parliament represents the people as a whole, must be deemed to be left with considerable freedom to judge.
The other point which arises is whether such exceptional necessity as must be taken to have existed when the war broke out, and almost of necessity for some period subsequent to its outbreak, continued through the whole of the time within which the questions in the present case arose.
When war has broken out it may be requisite to make special provision to ensure the maintenance of law and order in a country, even when it is in no immediate danger of invasion. Steps may have to be taken to ensure supplies and to avoid shortage, and the effect of the economic and other disturbance occasioned originally by the war may thus continue for some time after it is terminated. The question of the extent to which provision for circumstances such as these may have to be maintained is one on which a court of law is loath to enter. No authority other than the central government-
And ,of course here it means the government which in its parliament represents the people as a whole.
-is in a position to deal with a problem which is essentially one of statesmanship.
It is that problem of statesmanship which is before the house at this time. I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is not a problem of a party or of partisanship, though every time the necessity arises to do something of this kind, no matter which party is in power, is always an occasion for the parties opposed to the government to reaffirm in the strongest possible terms their attachment to the constitutional processes of parliament. I think it is quite proper that they should be affirmed. No one deplores more than I do that at times there should be occasions when it is necessary and inevitable to ask parliament to delegate some of its legislative powers to a government in which it is willing to express and to maintain its confidence. It is unfortunate that that should be so, but it is nevertheless a fact; and it is, when the circumstances arise, a question of statesmanship as to whether or not that shall be done, whether or not the circumstances are such that it i3 requisite for the safety of the state as a whole that it be done.
As I said before, the matter was the subject of extended debate when the resolution of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley) appropriating in bulk $1,365 million was being discussed at the end of September and early in Ootober, and that was a similar occasion. It is not in accord with traditional constitutional practice that moneys should be placed in bulk by parliament at the disposal of the executive without specific appropriation in a schedule of estimates called and indivdually considered.
But under certain conditions it is inevitable that that be done, and it was done each year during the period of active hostilities and it is being done again at this session, of parliament. When war breaks out, the War Measures Act, which was passed in 1914 and which is now chapter 206 of the revised statutes of 1927, contains a delegation of legislative powers to foe exercised by the governor in council as circumstances may require. The statute provides that the issue of a proclamation declaring that a state of war exists is conclusive and that slate of war is deemed to exist until another proclamation declares that it has come to an end, and technically that might be sufficient to enable the governor in council to carry on for a protracted period. But it was the intention of that War Measures Act, I submit, to delegate these extraordinary powers to the governor in council for the purpose of making such orders and regulations as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion, or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, peace, order and welfare^of Canada.
I believe it was intended to delegate these powers for the purpose of enabling the governor in council to take such expeditious
measures as might be required to secure the safety of the state against the immediate dangers resulting from a state of war; and though it might be technically correct, it would not be within the general intent, of that statute that the governor in council exercise under that statute extraordinary powers to protect the safety of the state against dangers arising out of the economic disturbance consequent upon war.
On the former occasion that aspect wasgone into and it was stated by many hon.members that such was their view. Resolutions or recommendations or reports submitted to the Canadian Bar association were invoked to show that that had been the view of a committee of the Canadian Bar association, and there were specifically cited portions of that report which I venture to read again, because the argument I wish to submit is strengthened by the language used there, to which I could find none preferable. I quote from page 690 of Hansard:1. Continuation of controls after the war. There appear to be many who believe that some measure of control, specially in relation to ceiling prices, should be had and continued for some time after the war as a transit and adjustment period policy. Otherwise prices might jump suddenly to extreme limits, and bring a chaotic situation.2. Should the necessary controls be continued under the War Measures Act?
It is expected by some, feared by others, that the federal government, for such controls as may appear necessary to maintain, will continue to rely on the authority of the War Measures Act.
And the view was expressed that that should not be done.
Your committee recommend that the proclamation declaring that the war no longer exists be issued as soon as the war with the enemy is really at an end according to the established principles of international law.
Let us make the distinction here between the war emergency itself, which is the fact of a state of war, an an economic emergency, which, though a consequence following the war, is not the war emergency. It may be an economic emergency. The calamity against which we have to protect the nation is not the war itself, or a consequential defeat of our arms, or the invasion by the enemy, but is an economic state of affairs that may be most serious, and that may. or may not be adequately coped with by the provinces. If the federal administration feel that, after the war, and in relation to such economic conditions of the country, a state of emergency exists, of a most serious character, and national in scope, let them face the issue directly and submit to .parliament a new law affirming the existence or the apprehension and determining the exact nature of the new emergency.
That is what had been decided even before this report was made. At the time I exhibited to the members of the house this bill which I had received from the printers on August 2S last designed for the purpose of submitting to the house the belief of the government that a state of national emergency existed, and asking the house to pass up<*n that question and declare whether or not it shared the view that there still existed a national emergency which givps to some of the matters that normally fall within the provisions of section 92 of the British North America Act, aspects which are not proprietary and civil rights in their normal acceptation but which are something more vital to the safety and well being of the state as a whole.
Hon. members will recall that at that time I quoted a sentence or two from a speech which had been delivered by the leader of the opposition in April of this year and which I placed on Hansard at page 690. I will not read it. again to the house but will sim.ply paraphrase it. The statement was that it would be dangerous to cut off all at once the controls that were found to be necessary' during the war period; that they constituted something which would have to be unwound carefully and according to careful planning.
Once again I deplore that this has to be so; but if it is so, neither the government nor parliament would be discharging its responsibility to the Canadian nation if it did not adopt appropriate measures to cope with the situation. And it is not only in this country that such a situation has arisen. Hon. mem-
bers doubtless know that there has been recently adopted by the parliament of. the United Kingdom a bill dealing with supplies and services, and transitional powers to continue for a period of five years the delegation to His Majesty in council in respect of regulations which had been made for the purpose of meeting conditions arising out of the war.
Hon. members know that the parliament of the United Kingdom adopted in 1939 the Emergency Powers Defence Act, which provided that: *
Subject to the provisions of this section, His Majesty may by order in council, make such regulations ... as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of the realm, the maintenance of public order and the efficient prosecution of any war in which His Majesty may be engaged, and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.
This bill of 1939 had been passed foir a period of two years subject to its being extended from year to year if an address were presented to His Majesty in that behalf by each house < of parliament. The last extension by address would have expired on August 24. 1945, and the coalition government. had introduced a transitory powers bill for a period of two years. Before the resignation of the non-Conservative members from the coalition government, it had not been possible to have the bill considered and passed.
Subtopic: BILL TO CONFER CERTAIN POWERS UPON THE GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL