October 19, 1949

COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT

INCREASE IN PRICES OF CRUDE OIL, GASOLINE AND FUEL OIL

LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Hugues Lapointe (Solicitor General):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a copy of the letter of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) to the Attorney General of Saskatchewan in answer to the latter's request for an investigation into the prices of crude oil and gas, requested yesterday by the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue).

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICES OF CRUDE OIL, GASOLINE AND FUEL OIL
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ORDERS IN COUNCIL

TABLING OF SUMMARY


1948, to June 30, 1949


LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to an undertaking given at the last session of parliament at the request of the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), I wish to table a summary of orders in council for the period October 1, 1948 to June 30, 1949. These orders total 11,461, of which 6,589 are treasury b'.'ard minutes. The summary runs to 423 pages, and, as can be appreciated, its compilation has taken a considerable amount of the time of the staff of the privy council office.

The hon. member asked that in tabling the summary it be indicated opposite each of the orders which ones had been tabled or gazetted and which ones had not. This has been done. The government is naturally anxious to meet the wishes of the hon. member and of the house, but it has occurred to us that the information which the hon. member is really seeking has reference to orders in council that are not treasury board minutes, because treasury board minutes are purely administrative in character.

When the undertaking was given, I had not appreciated the amount of work involved; but, having given the undertaking, I felt it should be carried out in the exact terms in which it was given. It would greatly expedite the work of providing this information in future if it were understood that the summary would refer only to orders other than treasury board minutes, and that it would not be necessary to indicate whether the orders have been tabled or gazetted. In this

way I think the house would have the information in which it is interested, and the summary could be prepared and tabled much more expeditiously and would be more useful to members of the house.

I might add that I have looked up what the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris) said on this subject on April 25, 1949, and the proposal I have made would appear to meet his wishes and facilitate the bringing down of these summaries in a much shorter time after the passing of the orders. If it is satisfactory to the house to have that done the next summaries will be so prepared. If, after the summaries have been tabled, hon. members feel that they are not getting sufficient information, the matter can be brought up again. "We wish to provide hon. members with any information they may regard as helpful to them in considering the matters with which they are concerned.

Topic:   ORDERS IN COUNCIL
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SUMMARY
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

What the Prime Minister has said as to the course that he has in mind entirely covers the situation so far as I am concerned. I do not think anyone has any interest in the treasury board minutes. The purpose is to have a summary of the orders in council tabled.

Topic:   ORDERS IN COUNCIL
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SUMMARY
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SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

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

I wish to bring to the attention of the Prime Minister a suggestion I made on September 22 last in reference to the setting up in this house of a committee on ministerial powers. The Prime Minister, in tabling the summaries of orders in council, has gone a long way toward meeting the desires of parliament, and it is in that spirit that I now ask him whether, having regard to the trend, which I mentioned on that occasion, toward delegated authority, consideration might be given to the setting up of such a committee as I have suggested.

Topic:   SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

The hon. member was kind enough to let me know in advance that he intended to refer to the suggestion he made in his speech on the address on September 22, and it has been given some consideration. I do not think the government would be prepared to recommend the setting up of such a committee at the present session of parliament, but I do feel that the suggestion has merit.

Committee on Ministerial Powers The hon. member pointed out that such a committee had been set up in the parliament at Westminster. All I would care to say at this time is that between now and next session the government is prepared to give careful consideration to the operation of that committee in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, and, in the light of its operation and of such other considerations as may seem relevant, to indicate at an early stage in the session of 1950 whether we would be prepared to support the establishment of a similar committee in Canada.

Topic:   SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I thank the Prime

Minister.

Topic:   SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS
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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Church:

How many of these orders in council ever reached the Supreme Court of Canada, may I ask?

Topic:   SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

To answer that question might require a further considerable amount of work in the privy council office. Having tabled the summary of the orders, I think I will have to leave it to the hon. member himself to see them and select those he thinks have reached or should reach the Supreme Court of Canada.

Topic:   SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS
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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Church:

A return to the house indicated that there were 160,000 orders, and only two ever reached the Supreme Court of Canada.

Topic:   SUGGESTION AS TO COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL POWERS
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QUESTIONS


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)


ORDERS IN COUNCIL PASSED SINCE MARCH 1, 1949

PC

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Progressive Conservative

1. How many orders in council have been issued or passed since March 1, 1949?

2. Of these, how many have been (a) published in the Canada Gazette; (b) tabled in the house?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   ORDERS IN COUNCIL PASSED SINCE MARCH 1, 1949
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October 19, 1949