July 5, 1946

ARMY AND NAVY VETERANS


Mr. W. A. TUCKER (for Mr. Cleaver) moved the first reading of bill No. 244, respecting the Army and Navy Veterans in Canada. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE

INQUIRY AS TO CANADIAN REPRESENTATION


On the orders of the day:


PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition) :

I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister. It has to do with the announcement of the peace conference to begin on July 29. The question is this: Has the Prime Minister or the government been invited to that conference and, if so, is it the intention of the Prime Minister to go? Perhaps I might be permitted to observe that in my judgment this country would expect him to go, and I think parliament would expect it. I may add, for those whom I represent, that if he should go we shall be disposed to facilitate the work of the house during his absence.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

May I say to my hon. friend in reply that up to the present no invitation has been received by the government of Canada to be represented at the Paris conference on July 29. I have no doubt that it will come in due course, and as soon as the invitation has been received I shall endeavour to inform the house as to the action the government is prepared to take upon it. May I say to my hon. friend at once that I appreciate the words which he has just addressed to myself and to the house, and thank him for them. What decision may be ultimately reached, as I have just said, will be made known in due course.

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UNITED NATIONS

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL-PREPARATION FOR WORLD TRADE CONFERENCE


On the orders of the day:


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

May I answer a question which was addressed to the Minister of Trade and Commerce yesterday by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon). The question was:

Will the minister make a statement as to what steps are being taken and what progress is being made by the united nations economic and social

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council by way of the preparation for the prospective world conference? Is there a possibility that the conference will be called this year?

The answer to the question is as follows: Following the adoption of a resolution by the economic and social council, the secretary-general of the united nations has announced that arrangements are being made for a preparatory committee to meet in London on the 15th October, 1946, "so that a further constructive step may be taken towards freeing the productive forces of the world."

The following nations are members of the preparatory committee: Australia, Belgium-Luxembourg, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, India, Lebanon, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Union of South Africa, the U.S.S.R., the United States and the United Kingdom. The suggested basis of discussion is as follows:

(a) International agreement relating to the achievement and maintenance of high and stable levels of employment and economic activity; (b) International agreement relating to regulations, restrictions and discriminations affecting international trade; (e) International agreement relating to restrictive business practices; (d) International agreement relating to intergovernmental commodity arrangements; (e) Establishment of an international trade organization, as a specialized agency of the united nations, having responsibilities in the fields of (b), (c) and (d) above.

The secretary-general announced that in view of the scope and complexity of the preparatory work which will be necessary before the international conference on trade and employment can be held, it will not be possible to hold the conference until next year.

Negotiations relating to tariff changes will, it is expected, be held early in 1947. Work is now being done in various countries on this specific aspect of the proposals, but it is not possible for a date to be fixed at this time.

The second question is answered by what I have already said.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

STATEMENT AS TO FURTHER LEGISLATION


On the orders of the day:


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I should like to give the house, such information as I am in a position to give in answer to the question which was asked a day or two ago by my hon. friend opposite as to the further business of the house this session. I would preface anything I have to say by making clear that one or two matters might come up that I have over-{Mr. Mackenzie Kin?.]

looked or have not in mind at the moment, or of which the government has no knowledge at the moment, which will require consideration before the session is over. But I believe I can outline in pretty complete fashion the measures which still remain to be considered, and generally the amount of work which will have to be covered before the session comes to a close.

First of all, I need not enumerate the bills or resolutions which are already on the order paper, and I need not enumerate the measures which are before the Senate. I would regard anything that is now on the order paper either of the House of Commons or of the Senate as part of the business that is still to be completed before the session is over. The chief item of business, of course, will be the consideration of the budget. The debate on the budget will begin on Monday of next week, and it is the intention of the government to have the debate proceed pretty much without interruption, save that possibly one day a week may be devoted to taking up bills which are on the order paper so that a little more latitude may be allowed for consideration apart from debate of certain aspects of the budget debate, also to help keep the order paper cleared of some of the bills which may be accumulating and which it might be well to have before the other house without too much in the way of delay. How long the budget debate may continue I am not in a position to say. I leave it to the members to judge for themselves as to how far it may be advisable for the different parties in the house to seek to agree among themselves as to the amount of time they would wish to take in the discussion of the general resolutions. It may be that by conference between the whips and by agreement of the members of the different parties themselves it would be possible to limit the number of speeches that will be made.

May I make it clear that I do not wish in any way to shorten the business of this session or cause it to be pressed on unduly. Any suggestion I am making is what I believe to be in accordance with the wish of hon. members that we should if possible conclude the business before we get into the autumn. Looking at what there remains to be done I confess that unless there is some kind of organization among the different parties of the house, I see no prospect of the house adjourning for some little time to come. I do think that a little more organization will help to get over that possibility.

There will be in addition to the main debate, the several resolutions and bills based on the budget. Their consideration will take some

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time. They will constitute one of the major subjects of discussion. There are, of course, the estimates that still remain to be passed, and they are considerable in volume.

The next category of measures which may take some little time, it seems to me, are the bills which have to do with veterans' affairs. Some of these measures cannot be introduced until after the committee which has been considering veterans' affairs has made its final report. There are several of these bills. I hear the minister saying twelve. I am prepared to accept that at the moment, but I should be surprised if there may not be more before we are through. However, that brings me to something which I shall state very clearly to the house

Some bills will be necessary which otherwise would not unless it is possible to obtain from the house permission to continue a little longer than is at present provided in the statute the time allotted for the continuance of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act. As hon. members are aware, that act expires within fifteen days after the meeting of the house, at whatever time parliament reassembles. In considering the situation very carefully the government has come to the conclusion that there are some powers now exercisable under order in council that will have to be continued under special enactments at this session unless the house is agreeable to extending a little longer than is at present provided the powers that are now granted under order in council. I am going to ask the house to consider very carefully whether it would not be prepared to allow the government to have, instead of fifteen days after the reassembling of parliament, a period of sixty days during which such orders in council as it may seem desirable to have maintained, may be continued. It will be apparent from what we have seen elsewhere that were certain powers to have to be discontinued at a definite moment, almost immediately thereafter regret might be experienced that the existing powers had not been continued a little longer. The government does not wish to exercise any powers that are not absolutely necessary. On the other hand we do not wish to run the risk of not having the powers that may be necessary to meet emergent situations that may still continue. I am going to ask on behalf of the government, as I have said, that parliament consider amending the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act in one particular. Section 6 at present reads:

Subject as hereinafter provided, this act shall expire on the thirty-first day of December, one thousand nine hundred and forty-six, if parliament meets during November or December, one

thousand nine hundred and forty-six, but if parliament does not so meet it shall expire on the fifteenth day after parliament first meets during the year one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven . . .

That is the fifteenth day after parliament meets in 1947. The government would like to bring in a measure under which this section would be amended to extend the time to the sixtieth day after parliament meets instead of the fifteenth day after parliament meets.

I realize that in considering this proposed amendment hon. members will wish to know at what time parliament is likely to reassemble.

I believe it would be meeting the wishes of hon. members generally if I were to give an immediate undertaking that, unless something unforeseen may occasion us to call parliament sooner than the time I am going to mention, or something occur which might render it desirable to take an extra week or two before calling parliament, parliament will be called before the end of January, probably the last week in January.. That would mean we would be asking to be authorized to continue in force orders in council with respect to a number of matters that we regard as more or less essential, until sixty days after the time parliament reassembles. If we are not granted that power, of course we shall have to introduce a number of bills to give us authority under statute to continue until that time powers we feel may be essential to meet emergent situations.

For the past several months officers of the Department of Justice and officials of the other departments most directly concerned have had under close examination all the orders in council which derive their authority from these statutes, that is the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945 and the War Measures Act, with a view to the elimination of those no longer necessary to enable the government to deal effectively with problems of the transition period which are national in scope. As a result I am now in a position to make a report to the house on this important subject and to indicate the extent and nature of the problem, giving certain of the more significant figures involved.

Of the total of 7,103 orders in council under the emergency powers, no less than 4,015 already have been revoked or have expired or are spent. Some 90 more can and will be revoked very shortly. Some 624 will be allowed to expire with the expiry of the National Emergency Transtional Powers Act, 1945. It has been found that 127 can be re-enacted adequately under other statutes. Of the balance of 2,247, some 1,541 are minutes authorizing war duties supplements for government

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employees. The remaining 706 orders in council constitute the real body of the government's existing emergency powers. They cover such miscellaneous and important subjects as the following: the constitution and operation of the various agricultural and fish products boards, by means of which Canadian supplies are maintained and contract commitments met in the critical world food situation; the maintenance and operation of price controls, rationing and distribution; regulations respecting enemy patents and other enemy property; wage control and emergency labour relations regulations: entry into Canada of dependents of ex-service men; the winding up of ex-servicemen's estates; procedure for salvage operations by naval vessels; controls upon the supplies of fuel, timber, steel and construction materials; control of exports, and the operations of the Canadian wheat board. That is not an exhaustive list, but these are specimens.

It will be evident at once that until the peace treaties have been signed and until world conditions have become more settled, many if not all the powers conferred by this group of orders in council will have to be continued for periods of time which will vary according to circumstances. At the same time it will be recognized that it would be a task of major proportions to translate into legislation all the orders in council which in the national interest need to be retained during the transition period.

I might leave the matter at that and give hon. members an opportunity to carefully consider what attitude they may wish to take when the measure is brought forward; but it is the intention of the government to bring in a bill to amend the act as I have just indicated, asking for that extension of time. It may be that hon. members may wish to ascertain the attitude of the government toward some measures I have not mentioned. In connection with anything of the. kind the government will endeavour to give the fullest possible information.

In addition to what I have mentioned as to the bills already on the order paper and those that may come to us from the senate, I should mention that there may be some bills arising out of the reports of the committees of the house. One cannot say exactly what they will be until we know what is contained in the reports of the committees. However, I have here a further list of bills that we expect to bring in and dispose of during the present session. They are bills respecting the financing of the Canadian National Railways; to amend the criminal code; to amend the Immigration Act, consequent upon the Canadian

FMr. Mackenzie King.]

Citizenship Act; respecting the Department of National Defence, having to do with the ministers and deputy ministers of the department; to amend the Canadian broadcasting act; respecting the Canadian information service; to amend the Federal District Commission Act; respecting Quebec branch line construction, Canadian National Railways; respecting the Toronto harbour commissioners; respecting merchant seamen's compensation; to amend the National Housing Act, 1944; to amend the Militia Pension Act; to ratify Canada-United Kingdom tax agreements; re Canadian war crimes regulations; possible legislation respecting Canada's membership in the united nations organization, and a possible amendment to the Superannuation Act.

That is quite a list, but most of the measures I have mentioned are I believe, noncontroversial and will not involve much in the way of discussion. It is nevertheless a lengthy bill of fare, and if we are to conclude the work of the session reasonably soon it will, I think be necessary, as I have said, for the whips of the different parties to meet together and see if they cannot arrange some general plan of organization that will help expedite the business.

Some hon. members have spoken about when we will begin morning sessions.

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Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO FURTHER LEGISLATION
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

And Wednesday evening.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And Wednesday evening, as my hon. friend says. I can see there is a disposition to expedite matters and a readiness to begin morning sessions fairly soon. However, I doubt if it would be wise to attempt the morning sessions until we conclude the debate on the budget. It has been customary not to begin morning sessions until the reports of the different committees have been made to the house, and I should hope that the reports of most committees might be in by the time the debate on the budget is concluded. If that should be so, then I think the government would be prepared, if the house is willing and so desires, to begin morning sessions about that time.

Hon. members will have seen that I have a notice on the order paper to take Wednesday evenings. I have learned, since having the notice inserted, that in some parts of the house there is the feeling that if we are to have morning, afternoon and evening sittings, we ought to have one evening in the middle of the week which we can call our own. If that is so, I shall not press the motion now on the order paper.

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I was only Lying to help.

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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister lias referred to the programme of work for the remainder of the session, and the means for expediting it. If I understood him correctly he indiqated that the work now on the order paper in the form of bills or resolutions should be proceeded with, that any work before the other chamber should be proceeded with, and that any work arising out of reports of committees should be proceeded with; and has read a dozen or more bills which are still to come before the house. From all that, on top of the budget and the estimates, it is apparent that we have a heavy programme of work still to complete, without adding anything more.

The Prime Minister has indicated further that if the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act is to be discontinued fifteen days after the next session, still another batch of legislation will have to come in at this session; and he has raised the question whether the house would agree to extending that measure from fifteen days to sixty days after the next session meets, in order to obviate the necessity of considering a large number of additional bills at this session. I believe I have stated correctly his summary of the situation.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes.

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Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO FURTHER LEGISLATION
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July 5, 1946