December 5, 1947

OFFICIAL REPORT

FOURTH SESSION-TWENTIETH PARLIAMENT 11-12 GEORGE VI, 1948 VOLUME I, 1948 COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM THE FIFTH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1917, TO THE NINTH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 1948, INCLUSIVE BEING VOLUME CCLX FOR THE PERIOD 1875-1948 INDEX ISSUED IN A SEPARATE VOLUME OTTAWA


EDMOND CLOUTIER, C.M.G., B.A., L.Ph., PRINTER TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY CONTROLLER OF STATIONERY 1948



House of Commons debates



Speaker: The Honourable Gaspakd Fauteux Friday, December 5, 1947


FOURTH SESSION-TWENTIETH PARLIAMENT-OPENING


The parliament which had been prorogued on the seventeenth day of July, 1947, met this day at Ottawa, for the dispatch of business. Mr. Speaker read a communication from the Governor General's secretary, announcing that His Excellency the Governor General would proceed tQ the Senate chamber at three p.m. on this day, for the purpose of formally opening the session of the dominion parliament. A message was delivered by Major C. R. Lamoureux, Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, as follows: Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the Governor General desires the immediate attendance of this honourable house in the chamber of the honourable the Senate. Accordingly the house went up to the Senate chamber. And the house having returned to the Commons chamber:


VACANCIES

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the house that during the recess I received communications notifying me that the following vacancies have occurred in the representation, viz:

Of Honourable H. F. G. Bridges, member for the electoral district of York-Sunbury, by decease;

Of Honourable Grote Stirling, member for the electoral district of Yale, by resignation.

I accordingly issued my warrants to the chief electoral officer to make out new writs of election for the said electoral districts, respectively.

Topic:   VACANCIES
Permalink

NEW MEMBERS

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the house that during the recess the Clerk of the House has received from the chief electoral officer certificates of the election and return of the following members, viz:

Of Honourable Milton Fowler Gregg, for the electoral district of York-Sunbury;

Of John Horace Dickey, Esquire, for the electoral district of Halifax.

Topic:   NEW MEMBERS
Permalink

OATHS OF OFFICE


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 1, respecting the administration of oaths of office. - Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the house that when the house did attend His Excellency the Governor General this day in the Senate chamber, His Excellency was pleased to make a speech to both houses of parliament. To prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy, which is as follows:

Honourable Members of the Senate:

Members of the House of Commons:

Conditions throughout the world continue to be difficult and disturbing. 'The dislocations resulting from the ravages of war have become increasingly apparent. In Europe production has made only a partial recovery. In Asia, over large areas, active fighting continues. Shortages of the necessities of life, particularly of food, are still acute. In many countries, political and social unrest is serious. Failure to agree on peace settlements with Germany and Austria is preventing the recovery of Europe.

Canada was recently represented at a meeting of the nations of the commonwealth in Canberra. Problems related to the peace settlement in the Pacific were discussed in an exploratory^ manner. The government has welcomed the initiative of the United States in proposing an early conference on the peace treaty with Japan.

Governor General's Speech

The Canadian delegation to the general assembly of the united nations took an active part in its proceedings. Canada was elected to a seat on the security council. Canada was also represented on the united nations special committee on Palestine. (Support of the charter of the united nations remains an essential feature of Canada's foreign policy.

While unsettled conditions still prevail in Europe and Asia, Canada has continued to enjoy general prosperity. Employment and national income have reached levels never before attained. Our country has not been unaffected, however, by the problems and difficulties of other countries. Many nations with which we trade have been unable to restore their full productive capacity. Their consequent inability to increase their exports in sufficient measure to pay for their imports has greatly complicated Canada's foreign exchange position.

A permanent solution of our exchange problems and the future well-being of the nation depend upon the revival of world trade. An important step forward in this direction has been the successful conclusion of the recent discussions at Geneva. A positive achievement was the conclusion of trade agreements with eighteen other nations. You will be asked to approve these agreements. Canada is now represented at the united nations trade conference in (Havana, which it is hoped will result in the establishment of an international trade organization along lines agreed to at Geneva. The trade agreements and the establishment of an international trade organization will provide a sound foundation for the expansion of world commerce, production and employment.

Provision of a temporary character has been made to conserve and supplement Canada's reserves of United States dollars. The measures recently announced to deal with the various aspects of the immediate foreign exchange difficulty will be submitted for your approval.

The present shortage of United iStates dollars will necessarily limit Canada's capacity to render further economic assistance to other countries. Canada, nevertheless, remains one of the few great producing countries with capacities unimpaired by the war. It is deeply gratifying that our country has been able to play so large a role in rendering assistance to war-devastated lands. In proportion to population, Canada's record has not been equalled by any other country. In the effort to further the great task of world recovery, Canada will continue, so far as is possible, to apply the principle of mutual assistance. Further assistance must, however, take into account the exchange difficulties which have arisen.

My government has progressively removed the controls made necessary by war. To meet a continuing need for some controls, you will be asked to approve an address praying that certain orders and regulations covered by the Continuation of Transitional Measures Act, 1947, which will terminate on December 31, be continued in force for a further period.

Due to the gradual and orderly procedure that has been followed in the removal of controls, such increases in prices as have occurred have been less than would otherwise have been the case. My ministers are concerned with increases in prices which have added to the cost of living. In certain instances, increases were

felt to have been unjustified and price ceilings have been restored. Officials in the departments of government most immediately concerned have been directed to keep under constant supervision conditions of production and supply which tend to raise the level of consumer prices.

The demand for the products of our primary industries generally continues to remain at high levels. In view of the price fixed for the 19481949 crop year under the wheat agreement with the United Kingdom, you will be asked to consider a measure to provide for an increase in the initial payment t'o producers.

Despite the continuing scarcity of certain supplies and high building costs, a greater number of houses are being completed this year than in any previous year. You will be asked to consider plans for a low rental housing project for veterans.

A measure similar to the one introduced at the last session of parliament to provide more effective machinery for the adjustment of differences between employers and employees will be submitted for your consideration.

The demobilization of the wartime forces of Canada was concluded in (September. 'Steps are being continued to coordinate the Organization and administration of the three armed services. A measure to consolidate all statutes relative to defence will be laid before you.

The fisheries prices support board, tihe dominion coal board, and the maritime commission authorized by legislation have been duly constituted.

Measures to which your attention will be directed include bills to revise the income tax Jaw, the Dominion Elections Act and the Canada Shipping Act. Bills relating to veterans will also be brought before you.

It is the intention of the government to recommend the reappointment of the select joint committees on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and on the revision of the Indian Act.

Lengthy discussions between a delegation from the national convention of Newfoundland and a committee of members of the government have been held to explore the possibility of finding a mutually acceptable basis for the union of Newfoundland with Canada. The government has announced terms which it believes to be a fair and equitable basis for union should the people of 'Newfoundland desire to enter into confederation.

The marriage of Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth has been the occasion of widespread rejoicing. To Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth and to His (R'oyal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, the people of Canada extend all good wishes for their future happiness.

Members of the House of Commons:

The public accounts for the last fiscal year and the estimates for the coming year will be laid before you.

You will be asked to make financial provision for all essential services.

Honourable Members of the Senate:

Members of the House of Commons:

May Divine Providence continue to bless this nation, and to guide the Parliament of Canada in all its deliberations.

Business of the House

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Permalink

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is customary at this stage for the leader of the government to make a motion to the effect that the speech of His Excellency the Governor General to both houses of parliament be taken into consideration on a subsequent day, and the day usually fixed is the following Monday. However, as hon. members are aware, in order to deal with some urgent public business, the session has been called earlier this year than usual, and also, I hope, it may make it possible, in the course of the following year, for prorogation to come earlier than it has of late. The government has sought to arrange the business of the house in accordance with a procedure which, we hope, will expedite its business and meet with the convenience of the members generally.

I understand that my colleague, the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) has had some interviews with the leaders of the different parties, and that, while no definite agreement has been reached, agreement is possible on the course of procedure and a program that might govern during the next few weeks. I shall therefore indicate to the house what, in the opinion of the government, would be the most expeditious and advisable procedure to follow in the course of the next few days.

Unless there is good reason why it should not be carried out, the government's intention is to have the mover and the seconder of the motion for an address of thanks to H's Excellency in reply to the speech from the throne speak at a later stage this afternoon and to have the debate on the address continued on Monday of next week. The government would have preferred to have had the debate on the address left over for some weeks, to be resumed after particular measures we have met together to consider immediately have been dealt with. I understand, however, that the leaders of the parties opposite prefer that they at least be given the opportunity to speak immediately on the address. If that is the case, the government will agree to have the debate continued on Monday next by the leaders of the different parties with a reply to be made by an hon. member from this side of the house. Then it is proposed to adjourn the debate. May I say that for this there is ample precedent. There have been other occasions where the debate on the address has been left over for some considerable time. There is no rigid rule governing the time.

5849-1}

Having regard to the business of this particular session, the government feel that the course we are now proposing will be the best one to follow.

On Tuesday of next week it would be my intention to introduce a resolution to approve the Geneva agreement. The Geneva agreement, as hon. members are aware, relates to reductions in tariffs and to questions of trade, and is perhaps the most important agreement in matters of trade that has been arrived at by representatives of many nations at any time. The agreement has much in the way of promise of improvement of trade relations between the different nations of the world through the years to come. At least it is the hope and expectation that that will be so.

In connection with the consideration of the Geneva agreement, the government has thought it would enable hon. gentlemen opposite to speak on the agreement if we reserved Tuesday next for the leaders of the three parties with a reply to be made by someone on this side, and then, to meet a request made from the opposite side, to allow the debate to continue for another day. An adjournment of the debate would then be made. The entire debate on the Geneva agreement is likely to occupy a very considerable period of time. We could not expect it to be concluded between now and the end of this year even if it were the only question before the house. But it is important, in considering other measures, that the house should have before it the larger objective which it is expected the Geneva agreement will serve, in order that such other measures as may be brought forward may be seen in their true light as temporary measures only, necessitated by circumstances w'hich have arisen within the present year, and over which the government of the country has had no real control.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh!

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not know the source of amusement, but may I say to my hon. friends that if they were aware of conditions as they are in the world today, they would not smile at a statement that no single country has control of conditions throughout the world today and that every country in its internal affairs is more or less affected by those conditions. However, I have no desire to comment further on that at this time.

The intention then would be that on Thursday the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) would introduce emergent measures he has already announced to the public to

Business oj the House

help overcome the present shortage of United States dollars. Debate on these measures would follow throughout the day.

There are two other measures which should not be delayed too long because, in the ordinary course of events, unless dealt with earlier, they would expire on December 31 of this year. One is an address to provide for an interim extension of the transitional measures act of 1947 and the other is the Agricultural Products Act, 1947. As I said, both of these measures would expire on December 31 unless the house approves of their being extended for a period that may be agreed upon in the course of the discussion in the house. The purpose of having those measures brought in on Friday is that the house will then have before it practically all the legislation it is intended to introduce between now and the end of the year.

I have no doubt that hon. members will be anxious to visit their homes and their constituencies at the Christmas season. In order to make sure that as much progress as is possible is made before Christmas Eve, I intend to ask the house to sit on Wednesday night of next week and of the week following to the end of the year. I think we should also sit on Friday evenings during the present month. I have just been reminded that today is a Friday. We shall not sit tonight. What I have said has reference to next and succeeding Friday nights. That is all I have to say at the moment in regard1 to the proposed procedure. ,

As I have indicated I have handed in a notice to the Clerk, which will appear on the order paper of Monday as follows:

That the debate o

If there is no objection, I will move that motion now. This might afford hon. members an opportunity to ask questions concerning the proposed procedure if they so desire.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I do not get the full portent of the resolution the Prime Minister has just moved, but from his previous remarks I gather it is his desire that, the discussion of public issues, which many people feel is the right of parliament, should be postponed after one day's discussion in order to proceed with other legislation.

The Prime Minister indicated that there had been some discussions between the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) and at least the leaders with respect to trying to expedite the work of this session. There have been. The first suggestion was that there should be no debate on the speech from the throne at all except by the mover and the seconder of the address.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink

December 5, 1947