March 18, 1947

TRANSITIONAL MEASURES


CONTINUATION OF ACT OF 1945 UNTIL mat 15, 1947


LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Justice) moved:

That, whereas subsection one of section six of The National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, chapter twenty-five of the statutes of 1945, as enacted by chapter sixty of the statutes of 1946, provides that subject as thereinafter provided, that 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 sixtieth day after parliament first meets during the year one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven or on the thirty-first day of March, one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven, whichever date is the earlier: Provided that, if at any time while

that act is in force, addresses are presented to the Governor General by the Senate and House of Commons respectively, praying that that act should be continued in force for a further period, not in any case exceeding one year from the time at which it would otherwise expire and the governor in council so orders, that act shall ;ontinue in force for that further period.

And whereas it is considered desirable to continue the said act in force until the fifteenth day of May," one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven;

The following address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada:

To His Excellency Field Marshal The Right Honourable Viscount Alexander of Tunis, Knight

of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Companion of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, upon whom has been conferred the Decoration of the Military Cross, one of His Majesty's aides-de-camp, General, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada. May it please Your Excellency:

We, His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, respectfully approach Your Excellency praying that The National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945 be continued in force until the fifteenth day of May, one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven.

He said: Mr. Speaker, on Friday I indicated to the house that an address would be moved praying for an extension of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, until May 15. 1947. This procedure is provided for in section 6 of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945 which, after establishing the day upon which the act will expire, contains the following proviso:

Provided that, if at any time while this act is in force, addresses are presented to the Governor General by the Senate and the House of Commons respectively, praying that this act should be continued in force for a further period, not in any case exceeding one year, from the time at which it would otherwise expire and the governor in council so orders, this act shall continue in force for that further period.

As matters stand at the present time the act will expire on the 29th of this month. As the house is aware, the legislation introduced by the government at the beginning of the session, which was intended to give permanent effect to certain orders and regulations made under emergency powers-or, perhaps I should say, rather than "permanent effect", effect for a further length of time of a year, or thereabouts, in most instances-has not been fully dealt with by parliament, and none of it has received royal assent. As yet opportunity has not been presented to introduce a bill which is to continue in effect the orders which are required for a limited period beyond the end of March.

In order that the measures which are to be provided for in this legislation may not expire before the legislation becomes effective, it is necessary to extend the life of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, sufficiently to enable parliament to complete its work and royal assent to be given to the resulting statutes.

As I indicated on Friday, I think it would be unsafe to plan for the completion of that legislation within a period of less than approximately thirty days after the conclusion of the

Transitional Measures Act

Easter recess. I should like to make it plain that the government has no desire to continue beyond the end of March any orders or regulations of the governor in council, except those to be appended by way of schedule to the Continuation of Transitional Measures Act to be based on the resolution standing in my name on the order paper, and except the orders and regulations of the governor in council to be replaced by the following bills:

An Act to Amend the Canada Grain Act;

An Act to Amend the Militia Pension Act;

An Act to Amend the Customs Act;

An Act to Amend the Feeding Stuffs Act, 1937;

An Act to Amend the Inspection and Sale Act, 1938;

An Act to Amend the Fertilizers Act;

An Act to Amend the Immigration Act, and to Repeal the Chinese Immigration Act;

An Act Respecting Import and Export Permits;

An Act to Amend the Militia Act;

An Act to Amend the Patent Act, 1935;

An Act Respecting Supplemental Payments on Mail Contracts;

An Act to Amend the Department of National Defence Act;

An Act to Continue the Revised Regulations Respecting Trading With the Enemy (1943);

An Act to Amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act, 1935;

An Act to Provide for the Sale and Export of Agricultural Products.

Then there is a bill, not yet before the house, relating to the compensation of government employees.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

It is before the house now.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The resolution is before the house, but the bill has not been introduced.

The government is therefore prepared to revoke, effective the first day of April, all orders and regulations of the governor in council, with the exceptions I have mentioned. Submission will be made to council promptly to effect such revocation.

I am further prepared to give the undertaking, on behalf of the government, that as soon as the bills to which I have referred receive royal assent, orders and regulations of the governor in council which they replace will be revoked.

It may be that I have been just a little too concise in what I have said. But it may also be that what the government's plans are is perfectly clear. I should like what I have said to stand exactly as I have said it, as the

government's undertaking. Perhaps however I might elaborate a little so as to explain what the plan is.

We have before parliament, at various stages, these bills which I have mentioned. We also have a resolution on the order paper which will be used as the basis for another bill, called the Continuation of Transitional Measures Act; and to that bill will be appended, as I have explained to the house before, a number of orders in council, approximately fifty-five in number.

Now, it is not necessary to continue in force any orders in council which derive their validity from the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, except those orders in council and regulations which are to be [DOT] appended to the Continuation of Transitional Measures Act, and except the orders in council which are to be replaced by the legislation before the house, namely the list of acts and bills I have mentioned. Therefore the government is prepared to revoke, as of April 1, all orders in council except those I have mentioned. And as soon as the bills I have mentioned receive royal assent, they are also prepared to revoke all orders and regulations which the legislation itself replaces.

I do not know that I need say very much about the necessity for the bill. If we saw any reasonable probability of all this legislation becoming law before March 29, I think we would not ask for this extension. But every one of us knows that it is utterly impossible, in the time that remains before us, between today and March 29, for this legislation to pass its various stages in this house and in the other house, and to receive royal assent.

The matter is so important, and the results would be so disastrous if there were to be an abrupt termination of all these orders and regulations on March 29, that the government has a responsibility to begin-and to begin in time-to see to it that that result does not ensue. That is the reason we are proposing, on this 18th day of March, this address to His Excellency; and a similar address will be introduced in the senate.

I do not think that on this occasion I should outline in any detail the consequences of these orders in council lapsing. However, I might say just in passing that if they do lapse, rent control will disappear; eviction control will disappear; price control will disappear; the supplements to old age pensions now payable under orders in council could no longer be paid, and labour legislation which provides for a system of collective agreements between employers and employees would cease to have any effect. The effect of such an abrupt lapsing of this emergency legislation would be

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confusion, if not chaos. My colleagues who are more intimately connected with the various phases of the matter could go into the thing more fully than I am prepared to do at the moment, but I think it is realized, whatever our views may be about controls, that this would be no way to end controls. To those who do not believe in controls at all on principle, the argument I think must be convincing that controls must be abandoned or dropped in a little more orderly way than this would be. To those who believe that there must be some measure of control in some of these fields for some time to come-and that is my belief-the importance of not permitting a lapsing of this control legislation on the twenty-ninth day of March is very great indeed. I am therefore moving the resolution.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) has gone a long way in accepting the suggestions made during recent months by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken) and those on this side of the house, that statutes such as this which grant extraordinary and emergent powers should be brought to an end at the earliest possible day. I think consideration should be given to the repeal of the War Measures Act, another act in the same position as the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act; for as long as acts such as these stay on the statute book there is a continuing invitation to governments to utilize them and thereby abrogate the powers and prerogatives of parliament.

A lot of legislation has been introduced at this session and I think it has been passed with reasonable dispatch on the part of this parliament. When the minister spoke on February 4 last, as reported on page- 82 of Hansard, he set out in detail the various bills that were to be introduced by the government to take the place of orders in council. If it had not been for the fact that some other legislation was introduced which was not emergency .legislation, such as that dealing with the Chinese exclusion act, in my opinion there would have been no necessity for the minister to ask for any extension of this par-: ticular statute.

I think the time has come to put a stop to unnecessary departures from constitutional legislative practice and process. I think this is a step toward the restoration of the sovereignty of parliament over a bureaucracy noted by its multiplicity and even by its anonymities, a bureaucracy which in many cases is still above the law of this country, denied, as the individual is, the right of recourse to the courts against those acts that

are done to him individually and which he believes to be unjust. The minister might well continue the step he has taken today and make provision immediately to do away with those portions of the orders in council which deny the individual the right of recourse to the courts when at any time he is treated any differently by order in council or by regulation from others in the same class.

Our experience has shown that when you do not trust the courts, injustice and unfairness is the natural consequence. Now that we are taking this step forward, and a step forward it is, to deny extraordinary powers by way or order in council, I suggest to the Minister of Justice, through you, sir, that now is the time to show that, the emergency having passed, the courts of this country should be trusted to protect the rights of the individual. I am going to ask the minister when he gets the opportunity to take the house into his confidence in regard to whether or not parliament in fact has the power to pass this legislation at all. .

At the time the bill was originally passed in the fall of 1945 the doctrine of emergency that had been enunciated in the privy council by Lord Haldane in 1922 and 1923 was still believed to authorize the dominion- parliament to entrench upon the legislative jurisdiction of the provinces under the guise or excuse of emergency. Within the last year a decision has been rendered by the privy council in the case of Attorney General for Ontario and the Canadian Temperance Federation. ' This case arose in connection with the Canada Temperance Act. I should like very much to have the minister explain how it can be justified under the excuse of emergency to pass large portions of the legislation that is being submitted to parliament, indeed the address that is now before parliament. If I understand that authority aright, and it has been interpreted on a number of occasions, not by the courts but by outstanding jurists and writers of jurisprudence, the doctrine of emergency no longer exists, and the excuse for the dominion parliament to entrench upon the legislative ambit of the provincial legislatures under the British North America Act no longer holds.

I intended to ask the minister to do what he has already indicated would be done, namely, to repeal or revoke all orders in council passed under the War Measures Act and continued under the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act as of March 31. That has been done. The other day I had occasion to suggest to the minister that he give us a list of all orders in council that were in effect

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at the present time. I did that on March 14, and my remarks and the answer of the minister appear at page .1370 of Hansard. At the time it was impossible for the minister-or difficult, he said-to set forth in detail the orders in council that were in effect. Apparently now there is no necessity of having a list of those that are in effect and those that are being repealed, because all will be repealed as of March 31. But I am sure, sir, that I should not be denied the opportunity of saying this, that it was a serious situation that was revealed, that the people of Canada were subject to laws of which the cabinet was unable without great difficulty to set forth a list. We had an experience not so long ago of a secret order in council, and I am going to ask the minister when he replies to advise whether or not there are any other outstanding orders in council which will remain secret or are at present secret.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I will say at once that I know of none.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

The minister says he knows of none. I presume by that he is guarding against the possibility that one might turn up which later on he might locate. I do not know about that. At any event I accept that assurance from him that there are none.

Next, if we pass this transitional bill covering a period of six weeks there is nothing to prevent the government from passing orders in council during that six weeks over and above those comprised as an appendix to the omnibus bill. Section 2 of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act will still remain in effect, whereby the governor in council may make regulations and orders in council to facilitate the readjustment of industry and commerce, maintain and control and regulate supplies and services, prices, transportation, property, rentals, employment, salaries and wages, and so forth, and assist the relief of suffering and the restoration and distribution of essential supplies and services in any part of His Majesty's dominions or in foreign countries. I therefore think that the minister's declaration should go further and that he should undertake that no orders in council will be passed on and after March 31 under the powers contained in the act in regard to any matter other than those covered by the list of subjects and the orders in council appended to the omnibus bill, except by way of repeal of existent orders. I think too that he should give us the undertaking that in asking for this extraordinary undertaking departmental heads and officials shall be denied the right of passing regulations further and other than those now in effect.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

You mean taking the price ceiling off? That is what it means.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

I do not mind dealing with that, but the minister specifically refrained from it and I am simply following him. I am asking for the assurance that parliament shall not go through the motions of denying the right of the government to pass orders in council under the transitional powers act with the government still in the position of being able to pass orders in council by reason of the continuance of the act for a further period of six weeks. In other words I want the assurance that the act will no longer be in effect except in so far as it is necessary to carry out the provisions made by the orders in council printed as an appendix to the omnibus bill. With that assurance, sir, we of the opposition are prepared to give support to the address that has been moved. It will mean that in giving that support parliament would now be making its declaration of supremacy and a declaration on the part of all of us that hereafter except in a very few matters the rule of bureaucracy in this country which continued throughout the period of the war and since will have come to an end.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Big-gar):

Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to give support to this resolution. We believe that pending the passage of the omnibus bill it is essential that the government have power to continue controls in the interests of the Canadian people. We all remember the chaos that occurred in the United States about the first of July last year when their controls went out of existence because of the negligence of congress of that great country. The government of the United States at that time was unable to restore in very large measure the conditions that had existed prior to that period of chaos, and we would not be a party to anything that would bring about a similar condition in this country. Those of us who were in the United States last autumn when the president announced the removal of the remaining controls will remember the manner in which prices skyrocketed almost within a few hours of the removal of those controls.

As I listened to the discussion this afternoon and to the points made by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) my mind went back to the period following the first great war. I remember how at the close of that war hon. gentlemen who now comprise the government of this country criticized very

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bitterly the former administration because it had been necessary to utilize orders in council to do many of the things that must be done following a war of the magnitude of the war of 1914-18, as it had been following the second world war. I have in my desk at the moment one or two acts passed by my hon. friends to my right when they were in power from 1930 to 1935, such as the "blank cheque" legislation, the Natural Products Marketing Act and other acts of that kind giving the government of the day powers to pass orders in council to do many things which in the opinion of many of us should be done only by parliament. But it seems necessary that parliament must at times give authority to the government to do the things which it must do in an emergency.

I approach this question from a different point of view from that taken by the hon. member for Lake Centre. Parliament is sitting now, and I do not think the controls that have been lifted already during the sittings of this session should have been lifted without some discussion in this house. The cost of living has jumped during the last few months, and in my opinion this house should first have had the opportunity of discussing what should be done with regard to the controls which have already been removed.

As to the right of parliament to decide what shall be done, the bill which is to be introduced by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) to secure from parliament powers in the fields covered by the omnibus bill is I think now the proper procedure for this house to follow. As far as this group is concerned we are not anxious to see the government destroy those controls which work to the benefit of the Canadian people. Indeed we should like to see some of the controls which have been removed put into effect again to improve the conditions of our people at this time. And so, Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to give the government this exten-tion of six weeks.

It has been suggested that this should not have been necessary had we not been dealing with other legislation which was inconsequential, but the only bill mentioned by the hon. member for Lake Centre as being in the latter category was the Chinese Immigration Act. As I recall it the discussion of that measure took only one day.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

That is correct.

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?

Mr. COLD WELL@

And if my memory

serves me correctly, that day was February 11.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

That is correct.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Since then it has not been discussed and it certainly has not delayed the business of this house. It was an attempt, with all its defects, to remove something that never should have been placed upon the statute books of this country.

My hon. friend makes a great deal of the denial of the right of the citizen to bring an action against the crown. That has not been the result of anything which the C.C.F. group has done in Canada.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

May I just interrupt my hon. friend to say that he has not interpreted correctly what I was saying, which was as to the right of the individual to have recourse to the courts being affected by an order.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I was thinking of

what the hon. gentleman had to say the other evening when he did raise that question. So far as I know, only one government in this country has granted by statute the right to bring an action against the crown, and that is the C.C.F. government of Saskatchewan. Under clause 3 of the Crown Corporations Act of that province, a crown company can sue or be sued. I just wanted to mention that because this question has been raised two or three times in the house.

May I say that we are in favour of giving to the government the extension of power for which they have asked. May I add that if things move slowly through this house and it is necessary to extend the time beyond May 15, we shall be prepared to assist in granting that extension.

Mr. SOLON E. LOW (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see the government take this step, which we consider a step forward, to relinquish some of the unusual and extraordinary powers which they felt they should have to meet the emergency situation brought on by the war. We should like to see the government take steps as soon as it is possible in the interests of the Canadian people to relinquish more of these powers and to restore to parliament its full sovereignty. We are prepared to support the resolution to extend the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act for a period of six weeks. We hope that in that period we shall be able to make sufficient progress to make it unnecessary for the government to ask for any further extension. We shall honour our commitment to assist in every possible way to get these bills through so that there will not be any necessity for asking for that extra extension.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. STANLEY KNOWLES (Winnipeg North Centre):

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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. gentleman should not use this resolution as a pretext to discuss old age pensions.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. KNOWLES:

Mr. Speaker, like the

Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) I am referring to old age pensions only so far as this resolution deals with the matter. If you will recall the remarks make by the Minister of Justice, he said that this resolution has to do with orders in council covered by a long list of acts which this house is now dealing with, plus the orders in council which are a schedule to the omnibus bill. There are fifty-five or more of them. He specifically named old age pensions. My point is that when I asked the government a few weeks ago abput this matter, the answer was that the subject of old age pensions is under discussion with the provinces, and that was given as the reason why it could not be expected that the matter would be dealt with in this house at the present time. I submit if that is the reason why it cannot be dealt with before March 31, that can go on being the reason for the entire life not only of this resolution but of the omnibus bill.

I call upon the government to realize that in the meantime the old people are suffering. The government has the power now, between now and March 31-even if it were to give to the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) an undertaking not to pass new orders in council after that date-to amend order in council P.C. 6367 of August 10, 1943, and raise the amount of the old age pension. This order in council included in this schedule

is different from other orders in council in this document. The others, whether I agree or not, are for the most part orders which are on the way out, orders which hon. members to my right at any rate wish to get rid of. But so far as the old age pension order in council is concerned, no one suggests that it is on the way out. We hope it is on the way up. If the government's reply is that they can do better later when they get an agreement with the provinces, well and good. But let us not wait until that maximum of $50 a month, shall we say, is attainable. Let us have an act or order in council right now improving the position of old age pensioners, in order to avoid suffering even for another month. That is my whole plea. I ask that this necessary resolution be not used as a basis for delay.

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March 18, 1947