Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved:
That on and after Monday, November 14, 1949, until the end of the present session, the house shall meet at 11 o'clock in the morning of each sitting day, and that in addition to the usual intermission at 6 o'clock p.m., there shall be an intermission every day from 1 to 3 o'clock p.m.
He said: The reason for presenting this motion at this time is my understanding that it is the hope of a large number of members of the house that it will be possible to complete the work of this session not later than December 3. Of course no one would wish to slight the consideration that still must be given to the matters that remain to be dealt with. By going on the eight-hour day schedule at this time we feel that it will be possible to give due consideration not only to the matters which are already indicated on the order paper, but to some which are yet to be introduced.
As you will see, Mr. Speaker, there are twenty-three items under government orders at the present time, and some of them have several subdivisions. For instance, there are the estimates, which will provide the occasion for the debate on external affairs which the Minister of Public Works announced it was our hope to initiate next Wednesday. There are the estimates of other departments in which the general item of administration has not yet been considered, and these will give rise to some debate.
In addition to those measures and such others as are on the order paper of the other place, it is the intention of the government to introduce a certain number of additional bills, of which I have a list here.
There will be a bill to amend the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. It is not a substantial amendment; it is designed to clarify and to make more readily workable certain of the provisions of the act. There will be a bill to fix
the duration of the Agricultural Prices Support Act, and another to fix the duration of the Fisheries Prices Support Act. A bill will be introduced to amend the Customs Tariff Act, in certain minor particulars having to do with articles which under the tariff are now prohibited entry. There will be a bill to amend the Industrial Development Bank Act, to enlarge the proportion of the available funds that can be used in what are classified under the act as the larger loans. Certain minor amendments are required to the Dominion-Provincial Tax Rental Agreements Act to conform with the legislation and practices of certain of the provinces.
The Department of Trade and Commerce will have a bill to amend the Emergency Exchange Conservation Act, and also a bill to provide assistance in the production of coal in the maritime region of Canada. The Department of Transport will have a bill to increase the amount of stores that may be kept as a bank to supply the requirements of the services. The present act has a limitation that is found to be insufficient to allow the department to have a bank of stores necessary for convenient administration.
There is also to be a bill dealing with the encouragement of construction of Canadian vessels. That will be brought down at an early day.
In addition to these, there will come from the Senate, or at least it is hoped that there will, the consolidated national defence act, which is now under consideration in that house; a bill to amend the Customs Act, and a bill to amend the Surplus Crown Assets Act, clarifying the procedure for the disposal of surplus property of the various departments of government. These bills are being introduced in the Senate, probably at its next sitting.
Hon. members will recall that the speech from the throne refers to a bill to provide for the continuance of functions now vested in the Department of Reconstruction and Supply. After careful consideration it is proposed to introduce, before the end of the session, legislation to provide for the redistribution of the functions of the Department of Reconstruction and Supply and the Department of Mines and Resources among three new departments, to come into effect upon proclamation. The departments are to be known respectively as the Department
Business of the House
of Mines and Technical Surveys, the Department of Resources and Development, and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration; under the latter will be placed the administration of Indian affairs. Though this is really one subject three bills will be required, and a consequential amendment to the Salaries Act.
Within the next few days the Minister of Finance expects to make in the house the statement which he promised to make before the end of the session, in regard to the government's policy as to crown property in the municipalities. Consequential upon that statement, which will require for its implementation legislation that it is intended to introduce not this session but early in the next session, some legislation may be required, probably in the form of an additional supplementary estimate, to bridge over the period until the permanent legislation is enacted.
I would not like hon. members to feel that we were definitely committing ourselves that there will be nothing else. Nothing else is now foreseen, but additional legislation may be required because of unforeseen developments between now and the end of the session. But hon. members will realize that this is still quite an important program, particularly when added to the program we have before us on the order paper. If it is felt that the public interest is being properly served by our proceeding at the pace we have adopted since the beginning of the session, there will be opportunity for full and serious consideration of all these matters. But it would not be possible, or certainly not as easy, to feel that satisfaction about it if we did not add these two additional hours to each day's sitting between Monday and the time at which it is hoped prorogation can take place.
Subtopic: FURTHER LEGISLATION
Sub-subtopic: CREATION OF THREE NEW DEPARTMENTS