the second reading of Bill No. 86, to amend the Continuation or Transitional Measures Act, 1947.
He said: Mr. Speaker, in moving the second reading of this bill, an act to amend the Continuation of Transitional Measures Act, 1947, I should like to review and, if I can, to clarify some of the issues which have emerged in relation to it. Whatever he may think as to the continuance of the emergency up to the present time, no member will deny that during world war II a national emergency arose.
To deal with the problems created by this national emergency, the government introduced a number of economic and financial controls in respect to matters which it was admitted under normal peacetime conditions would fall within section 92 of the British North America Act and within the jurisdiction of the provinces. The government's authority to deal with these matters was not established by this parliament. It was established by the War Measures Act which was passed in 1914 to deal with a similar emergency created by world war I.
Section 2 of the War Measures Act, 1914, provides that the issue of a proclamation by His Majesty or under the authority of the governor in council shall be conclusive evidence that the war exists and of its continuance, until by the issue of a further proclamation it is declared that the war no longer exists. At the end of world war I the War Measures Act was not repealed and therefore, when world war II began, the government had only to proclaim on September 1, 1939, the War Measures Act of 1914 in order to eliminate all conflicts of jurisdiction between the provinces and dominion. This granted supremacy to the federal parliament to the extent that it was necessary to deal with the emergency of world war II.
Many harsh things have been said by our Progressive Conservative friends in this house concerning the orders in council now under
discussion and the alleged bureaucrats who administered them, including the alleged No.
1 and No. 2 bureaucrats, the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe). The leader of the opposition alleges that the present Liberal administration in connection with these orders in council has been guilty of centralization, dictatorial bureaucracy, and invasion of provincial rights, and I believe also of incipient totalitarianism.
Characteristically, he has not at any time taken the trouble to prove these serious charges. We of course emphatically deny them. Most of the orders in council complained about, which authorize all of this alleged bureaucracy, were passed under this War Measures Act of 1914, introduced by a Conservative government under the leadership of Sir Robert Borden and left on the statute books at the end of world war I by the Union government presided over by a Conservative. Order in council P.C. 8528, which is the key order, was drafted as a copy of an order passed during world war I under the War Measures Act, and the words, "unreasonable and unjust", stood the test of time from 1914 until they were somewhat disturbed by the decision in the McGinn case just a few weeks ago.
In saying this, sir, I am implying no criticism whatever of Sir Robert Borden or of the Conservative government in 1914. On the contrary, I say he was right in passing the War Measures Act and we have been right in invoking that act. It is the leader of the opposition and his colleagues in this house now who are wrong in criticizing us for invoking the act passed at that time.
At the end of world war II, the present government did not continue to act under the War Measures Act. As soon as the war ended, this government, which is now charged by the leader of the opposition with flouting the authority of parliament, came back to this parliament for authority for the transitional powers it required to carry on in the post-war years. This authority took the form of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, the preamble to which recites, among other things, the following:
And whereas the national emergency arising out of the war has continued since the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan and is still continuing;
And whereas it is essential in the national interest that certain transitional powers continue to be exercisable by the governor in council during the continuation of the exceptional conditions brought about by war-
Transitional Measures Act
This is a very pregnant statement-
-and it is preferable that such transitional powers be exercised hereafter under special authority in that behalf conferred by parliament instead of being exercised under the War Measures Act.
In other words, sir, the moment the war was over, instead of this government in any way disregarding the rights and powers of parliament, it ceased to invoke the War Measures Act and came back to parliament for authority to carry on during the post-war period. Thus when our Conservative friends rant in this house about restoring to parliament the powers of parliament, they completely ignore the fact that as soon as the war was over this Liberal government, true to its traditions of acknowledging at all times the' supremacy of parliament, came back to this house for the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, just as we now seek the passage of the bill which is now before the house. But what our friends of the Conservative party must not forget, I suggest with all deference, is that it is the majority of parliament which determines these matters and not the minority, no matter how noisy and truculent it may be.
After 1945, having secured the authority to carry on in the post-war period, this government came back in 1946 to call for an amendment to the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act of 1945. Then, in the further development of this policy of consulting parliament at all times for authority for each new phase of decontrol, in 1947 this government came back to parliament seeking the passage of the Continuation of Transitional Measures Act, 1947. To this act at that time was attached a schedule which, as it was originally presented-as the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) said the other day-contained fifty-seven orders in council; but those had been whittled down to fifty before the bill got through the house. These orders in council -that is, the exact text of the orders in council themselves-were laid before the house in their entirety. Then, order by order and section by section, they were gone over by this parliament; and they will appear in the schedule to that act, with the amendments which were made by parliament to those orders in council indicated as part of the schedule. In other words, parliament approved these orders in precisely the same way that it would approve the sections of a statute. Any suggestion that the procedure followed was a secret procedure or a flouting of parliament is not in any way supported by the facts. More than that, by section 4 of this 1947 act, it was provided that in addition to these orders in council
Transitional Measures Act set out in the schedule to this act of 1947- the terms of which orders in council had been approved of by parliament-the governor in council might revoke in whole or in part any order or regulation, but he could not amend any order or regulation. That means that far from parliament having delegated-as it has done on a number of occasions and as it is quite proper for parliament to do-legislative power to the governor in council, parliament in that bill did no such thing. It undertook itself to go over the exact terms of the orders in council; and by the terms of the act which this government introduced the governor in council was limited to the revocation of the orders but had no authority to amend them in any way.
Was this procedure a flouting of parliamentary authority? Did the consultation of parliament, year by year, take away from parliament's powers? Did the prohibition under section 4, which prevented the governor in council from amending the orders in council which parliament had approved and placed in the schedule to this act, give unto the governor in council any dictatorial, bureaucratic powers, as those words are used by the leader of the opposition? Did the duration of the act until not later than March 31, 1948, as provided in section 7 of that act-thus necessitating the government's coming back to parliament within approximately one year -indicate upon the part of this government a desire to destroy or prejudice parliamentary authority? Surely, Mr. Speaker, the answer to each of these questions is a resounding no.
Topic: TRANSITIONAL MEASURES ACT. 1947 CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
No, no. In language reminiscent of the French revolution, tumbrils, barricades and battlements, he talked about restoring the powers of parliament. What powers, Mr. Speaker? What powers does he want to restore?
Topic: TRANSITIONAL MEASURES ACT. 1947 CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS