April 14, 1947

CONVICTION OP BRITISH WAR BRIDE UNDER LIQUOR REGULATIONS


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

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

I do not know to whom I should direct this question, whether to the Minister of Mines and Resources, the Secretary of State or the Minister of Justice. It has to do with the conviction a few days ago of a British war bride for an offence contrary to the Indian Act, in the matter of an infraction of the liquor regulations. The question I wish to ask is this. In view of this anomaly having arisen and this woman having been declared to have the nationality of her husband by reason of marriage, is consideration being given to the amendment of the Citizenship Act to remove this anomaly, or in any event to grant this woman a free pardon?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   CONVICTION OP BRITISH WAR BRIDE UNDER LIQUOR REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. GLEN (Minister of Mines and Resources):

I do not know whether the

question is addressed to me, but I believe it should be placed on the order paper. At all events I shall take this as notice, and perhaps the proper minister will give an answer later.

Flood Control

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   CONVICTION OP BRITISH WAR BRIDE UNDER LIQUOR REGULATIONS
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INQUIRY AS TO CHANGE IN SITTING HOURS

PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Peel):

I should like to direct a question to the acting leader of the government having to do with matters closer to home. Has the government given consideration to the point raised before the Easter recess in regard to changing the sitting hours of the house?

Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Acting Prime Minister): The government has given the matter some consideration and has decided to postpone further consideration until the dean of the house has returned to his duties here.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO CHANGE IN SITTING HOURS
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HOUSING

CURTAILMENT OP UNESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION TO


PERMIT COMPLETION OF VETERANS* HOUSES On the orders of the day:


PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. K. FRASER (Peterborough West):

I should like to ask the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply whether consideration has been given to curtailing unessential building so that hundreds of partly completed veterans' houses across Canada may be finished without further delay in regard to such materials as nails, lath and lumber.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   CURTAILMENT OP UNESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION TO
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I would ask hon. members to be brief and to the point when putting questions on the orders of the day.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   CURTAILMENT OP UNESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION TO
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

May I have an answer? I am referring to the hundreds of houses partly constructed.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   CURTAILMENT OP UNESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION TO
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LIB

George James McIlraith (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. G. J. McILRAITH (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply):

I can easily answer part of the question, but it is difficult to find just what portion of the hon. member's fairly lengthy statement forms the question. It has to do with the shortage of building materials which does exist at present. Continuous consideration has been given this problem, and to enable veterans to complete their houses a system of priorities has been worked out for housing materials for veterans, which has been announced regularly from time to time. That system is in operation at present. I do not know what more I can say at this time by way of answer to the question. It would require a long statement to cover the matter fully.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   CURTAILMENT OP UNESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION TO
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

My question is whether consideration is being given to the curtailment of unessential building.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   CURTAILMENT OP UNESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION TO
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FLOOD CONTROL-FEED GRAIN SUBSIDIES-VACANCY IN HALIFAX CONSTITUENCY-STATEMENT OF MR. BRACKEN


Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of Finance) moved that the house go into committee of supply.


PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

A few days ago the acting leader of the government (Mr. St. Laurent) indicated that each Monday, by a motion to go into committee of supply, hon. members would be given an opportunity to raise questions they might consider to be important and which had not been dealt with or finally decided. I am aware that a number of hon. gentlemen propose to bring up different matters. I want to mention only three, and I shall deal with them very briefly.

The first matter I wish to bring up is one which has been presented to us every day recently from different parts of Canada. I refer to the damage arising from floods in various sections of the country. It is the question of flood control and conservation. As hon. members know, we have on the statute book the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act, a measure which has gone a very long way toward the rehabilitation of some of the drier sections of western Canada. I believe it is generally accepted throughout the nation that this is a wise and constructive policy. Events of the last few days in different parts of Canada indicate that legislation of this kind should be extended, and that this sort of policy should be provided for other places. Today one reads that almost in the centre of the dry belt of the prairies floods are doing serious damage not only to farms but also to farm buildings and to urban centres. I am referring particularly to the valley of the Saskatchewan near the city of Saskatoon. The newspapers are full of reports of the flood damage in western Ontario. For two or three days last week I had the opportunity to see something of the damage done by floods along the Grand river, the Thames, the Sydenham, and other rivers in that district. As I witnessed that damage it occurred to me that one of the greatest opportunities to do a permanent job of reconstruction is before the province of Ontario and the Dominion of Canada, in the immediate initiation of a well-rounded out policy of conservation for that area.

Within a mile of this building we can see some of the damage that has been done in the valley of the Rideau, right in the suburbs of this city. It will be said that a problem of this kind falls primarily upon the provinces. By a

Feed Grain Subsidies

measure that is correct. But in respect of a problem of this magnitude I say we cannot rest on our oars by taking any such attitude. The problem of the conservation and development of the natural resources of the nation is a major responsibility of the central government as well as of the provinces.

Canada has been profligate in respect of her resources, with, the result that in many instances our forests have been overcut. Our soils have been w'asted-not only on the plains of western Canada but on the slopes throughout the east. Our streams have become sedimented and the flow of our rivers altered to the point where in the spring we suffer from floods in the same areas where in midsummer the rivers are dry or relatively so.

The dominion government has not been without plans in respect of this particular kind of problem. Its plans were set- out in the proposals of the dominion as they were presented to the dominion-provincial conference in August 1945. They looked toward meeting conditions such as these which this year have caused so much waste and damage throughout the nation.

At pages 24 and 25 of this document the approach of the dominion government is indicated as follows:

Activities for which the provincial governments are responsible, and which the dominion is prepared to consider assisting, provided specific agreement can be reached-

And it goes on in these words:

Assistance to raise provincial standards, in the general national interest, in respect to the conservation, protection and development of provincial natural resources.

And then, under the heading "Agriculture"-

Extension of conservation activities to ail provinces. For example, water conservation, land drainage, marsh lands rehabilitation, land clearing, soil erosion control.

Here we have a problem right on our doorstep. The need of action is emphasized by the tremendous loss we see on all sides. In this outline by the government there is an indication that it has given some thought to the matter. But nothing is being done-for the reason, I take it, that the dominion and the provinces have not been called together to discuss this very kind of thing.

What I wish to do today is to point out the problem, and to indicate that in large measure it is the responsibility of the central government-a matter to which it has already given some thought, but about which nothing is being done because the dominion and the provinces have not been called together. With

all respect I suggest this is an added argument for their being called at once to meet in another conference.

The second question I wish to raise has to do with agricultural subsidies, or a certain phase of that subject. On March 17 last the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) announced a policy of feed grain drawbacks amounting to 25 cents a bushel on barley and 10 cents on oats. This announcement was made while parliament was in session, and it is reported in detail at page 1408 of Hansard. At the moment I shall not take time to read it, but I have no doubt hon. members will recall the announcement made on that occasion. The effect of that policy was to reduce the cost of feed grain to certain users of those products. Two weeks later, on April 2, when the house was not in session, a report appeared in the press indicating that another statement had been made by the minister.

Topic:   FLOOD CONTROL-FEED GRAIN SUBSIDIES-VACANCY IN HALIFAX CONSTITUENCY-STATEMENT OF MR. BRACKEN
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The same statement,

Topic:   FLOOD CONTROL-FEED GRAIN SUBSIDIES-VACANCY IN HALIFAX CONSTITUENCY-STATEMENT OF MR. BRACKEN
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

I shall read from the Free Press of April 2, which contains a report of a speech made by the Minister of Agriculture at a banquet held in the Prince Edward hotel at Brandon, Manitoba. The report states:

He also announced that the refund of 25 cents per bushel on barley and 10 cents on oats offered to purchasers of feed grain for live stock will be discontinued on August 1, 1947.

On March 17 it was announced that the subsidy would be continued; and then, according to this report, on April 2 it was announced it would be taken off on August 1. I believe the house is entitled to know what the situation is, so that there may be no confusion or misunderstanding. We should be told whether this second statement is a statement of government policy; and if so, whether the minister or someone else in the government will elaborate upon it. A bald statement of that kind, with no announcement of modified policy in related matters, leads to misunderstanding and confusion in the minds of those who are directly interested in such change of policy.

For example, when the policy was announced on March 17 there can be no doubt that feeders throughout the country planned their work having in mind that the policy first announced would be carried out. Two weeks later they read in the press-whether it is correct or not-that on August 1 the policy is to be discontinued. If it is not continued it will mean that those who are in or are going into that business-the feeding business-will at. that time find their costs of production increased, with the result that either the prices

Vacancy in Halifax County

of their products must be increased or their production must drop. I am asking that the government's policy in this respect be made clear, and I do so chiefly because there is a great deal of confusion and considerable misunderstanding with respect to it.

The other point I wish to raise at this time is one which affects all hon. members. It has to do with the vacancy in the constituency of Halifax. This vacancy has continued now much longer than vacancies in other constituencies which have occurred in the last few months. For instance, the constituency of Pontiac remained vacant only 137 days from the time of the death of the late member, Mr. McDonald, to the time of the election. The constituency of Parkdale was vacant 203 days from the time of the resignation of Doctor Bruce to the election on October 21, 1946. The vacancy in Portage la Prairie existed for 172 days from the death of Mr. Harry Leader to the election on that same date. In Riche-lieu-Vercheres the vacancy existed only 63 days from the time of the death of Hon. Mr. Cardin to the time of the election on December 23 of last year.

The Cartier vacancy existed for only 60 days from the time of the unseating of Fred Rose to the election on March 31 of this year.

If an election were called tomorrow in Halifax the lapse of time between the vacancy occurring and the election would be 206 days, longer than the vacancy in any of these other seats. In this connection I am going to quote the opinion given-I was going to say of another authority, but I will say, of an authority. It was given when the present Prime Minister sat where I am now sitting. He had this to say about a similar situation that existed at th'at time. I am quoting from Hansard of January 29, 1934, page 18, where the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) is reported as having said:

However, if still further evidence is required to show not only the manner in which the public has lost confidence in this administration but the manner in which the government has lost confidence in itself, it will be found in the fact that at the present time, and since May last, there has been a vacancy in the representation in the constituency of South Oxford. I ask the administration this question: When the writs were issued for the constituencies of Yamaska, Restigouche-Madawaska and Mackenize, why was not a writ issued for the constituency of South Oxford?

I ask the same question, substituting only the names of the other constituencies I have mentioned. When the writs were issued for the constituencies of Cartier, Richelieu-Ver-83166-1291

cheres, Portage la Prairie, Parkdale and others why was not a writ issued for the constituency of Halifax?

I submit, sir, that on these three matters the government should have something to say at this time, particularly with respect to the first two. One is a matter of national importance, and one a matter which needs to be cleared up in the interests of the producers. The other concerns us all, but chiefly the electors of Halifax. I submit that the government should make a statement now as to when it intends to see that that constituency is represented in this house.

Topic:   FLOOD CONTROL-FEED GRAIN SUBSIDIES-VACANCY IN HALIFAX CONSTITUENCY-STATEMENT OF MR. BRACKEN
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COST OF LIVING-AMENDMENT, MR. COLDWELL, TO MOTION FOR COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

April 14, 1947