March 25, 1949

PRIVILEGE

REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE ON MARCH 24

LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Yesterday the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), as reported on page 1947 of Hansard, quoted a press report of November 22 last stating that I had referred to the-

-creation of a defence commitments authority, an entirely new and unprecedented government agency whose function is to enable the military authorities to enter without delay into future contracts for material and equipment which otherwise would have to wait for parliamentary approval next midwinter. Already contracts in excess of $29 million have been placed by this agency.

I think the leader of the opposition expressed some surprise that I should have said that. Of course I said nothing of the kind. There is no new agency. Authority to expend funds is given by parliament, and only by parliament. What happened was this. A representative of British United Press telephoned me and began by asking what was the amount of the defence appropriations for the current year. I told him that there was a cash appropriation and an additional commitment authority. I remember getting the estimate book and referring him expressly to item 243 on page 32. In order to explain to him the difference between cash appropriation and commitment authority, I read the following passage:

-to authorize total commitments for this purpose of $255,514,584, including authority, notwithstanding section 29 of the Consolidated Revenue and Audit Act, to make commitments for the current year of $227,082,515, and commitments for future years of $28,432,069, against which commitments it is estimated that actual expenditures in 1948-49 will not exceed $207,082,515.

That was the authority conferred by parliament, and the only authority conferred by parliament. When the report to which the leader of the opposition referred appeared, I at once telephoned the representative of the B.U.P. who had spoken to me, and pointed out the mistake. He had confused "commitment authority" conferred by parliament with some new authority or agency to make future commitments. That was the

reason for the error in the report. When I pointed this out to him he said that of course I was right, that he remembered what I had said and that he would send out a correction. Whether the correction was sent out or printed, I do not know.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE ON MARCH 24
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the Minister of National Defence that when I was quoting that report there was no question of my expressing surprise. I asked the minister if that was a correct statement, and he indicated that it was not. I would not have expressed surprise, because I would not have been surprised at any statement made by the Minister of National Defence.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE ON MARCH 24
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PRICE $2 PER BUSHEL BOTH DOMESTIC AND UNDER CANADA-UNITED KINGDOM AGREEMENT

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a statement about the domestic price of western wheat. The Canadian wheat board is now under instructions to sell wheat for domestic use on the same basis as wheat is sold under the Canada-United Kingdom wheat agreement, namely, $2 per bushel basis No. 1 northern in store Fort William-Port Arthur or Vancouver, plus a carrying charge of five cents per bushel.

As already announced, it is the policy of the government that returns to the producer in respect of domestic sales of western wheat shall be the same as under the British contract. This means that during the remainder of the present crop year and throughout the next crop year, western farmers, through the wheat board, are assured of a price of $2 per bushel basis No. 1 northern in store Fort William-Port Arthur or Vancouver, plus carrying charges, in respect of both domestic sales and sales under the British contract.

I am making this statement now so that there may be no misunderstanding about the effects of any subsequent decline in world wheat prices or domestic wheat prices below the British contract price.

Topic:   PRICE $2 PER BUSHEL BOTH DOMESTIC AND UNDER CANADA-UNITED KINGDOM AGREEMENT
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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wright:

Will this $2 price also apply to wheat being sold in Canada next year for feed purposes?

Topic:   PRICE $2 PER BUSHEL BOTH DOMESTIC AND UNDER CANADA-UNITED KINGDOM AGREEMENT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Yes, Mr. Speaker; that price will apply to all wheat sold for domestic purposes.

Inquiries of the Ministry

Topic:   PRICE $2 PER BUSHEL BOTH DOMESTIC AND UNDER CANADA-UNITED KINGDOM AGREEMENT
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DISCONTINUANCE OF SUBSIDY ON WHEAT FOR FLOUR PRODUCTION-QUESTION AS TO PRICE OF BREAD


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. E. G. McCullough (Assiniboia):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce, or to the Minister of Finance, to both of whom I have sent notice. As the result of the discontinuance of the government subsidy on wheat going into the production of flour, is it expected that there will be a general increase in the price of bread throughout Canada?

Topic:   DISCONTINUANCE OF SUBSIDY ON WHEAT FOR FLOUR PRODUCTION-QUESTION AS TO PRICE OF BREAD
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance):

The discontinuance of the subsidy of 46| cents a bushel will of course result in an increase in the price of flour. There may be some items entering into the making of bread, the cost of which is down. The competitive situation in the baking industry is quite good in most parts of Canada-

Topic:   DISCONTINUANCE OF SUBSIDY ON WHEAT FOR FLOUR PRODUCTION-QUESTION AS TO PRICE OF BREAD
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?

Some hon. Members:

Where?

Topic:   DISCONTINUANCE OF SUBSIDY ON WHEAT FOR FLOUR PRODUCTION-QUESTION AS TO PRICE OF BREAD
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

-and I would not care to hazard a guess whether the discontinuance of the subsidy will result in any general increase in the price of bread.

Topic:   DISCONTINUANCE OF SUBSIDY ON WHEAT FOR FLOUR PRODUCTION-QUESTION AS TO PRICE OF BREAD
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

What about the McGregor report?

Topic:   DISCONTINUANCE OF SUBSIDY ON WHEAT FOR FLOUR PRODUCTION-QUESTION AS TO PRICE OF BREAD
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INTERNATIONAL WHEAT AGREEMENT

REQUEST FOR TABLING OF REPORT


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. T. J. Bentley (Swift Current):

Will the

Minister of Trade and Commerce at an early day table a report showing the number of nations who have signed the international wheat agreement, and their obligation to accept or sell wheat under that agreement?

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WHEAT AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR TABLING OF REPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I received the report only this morning. I will table it early next week.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WHEAT AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR TABLING OF REPORT
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March 25, 1949