June 14, 1950

PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Was it not Sir

Boyle Roche who said that rather than Parnell?

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

It is the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) who is saying it now.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I think I am correct. What is the attitude of Canadians generally at this time? This is an important measure so far as they are concerned. I listened with a great deal of interest to the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green). He placed great emphasis upon the powers given to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) under the bill. I am going to approach the bill from a somewhat different point of view, and I trust I will not repeat the arguments of the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra. The great majority of the Canadian people are most anxious to see peace in the world today. The great majority are loyal to our country, and if necessary would give their

utmost in its defence. The great majority of the Canadian people know that wars of the past were, and wars of the future will be, caused by one of two things or both of them, the struggle for power and/or the struggle for possessions.

I believe the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) and the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) are men who seek and desire peace. I believe they sincerely hope that the United Nations will function, and that somehow or other we car develop peaceful relations betwen the two great opposing forces in the world today. Nevertheless I am sure that if they are going to convince a considerable number of sincere Canadians of their sincerity in this regard they have got to do certain things that have not been done to date, and that are not provided for in one instance in the provisions of the bill. In order to convince the Canadian people that the government is doing all it can to work for world peace, I believe it has to demonstrate more fully that it is working to secure the implementation of article 2 of the Atlantic pact. I also believe that for the government to convince the vast majority of the Canadian people that it is working for peace it must make certain that no one shall profit out of preparations for the defence of Canada in the future. What is the attitude of the party to which I belong?

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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?

An hon. Member:

You tell us.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I will tell you. On January 31, 1949, my leader, when speaking in the house, placed on record the official policy of the C.C.F. with relation to the present international situation. At that time he had this to say, as recorded at page 92 of Hansard:

The C.C.F. however, insist that such a pact should be based upon the broad principle so clearly stated in the Brussels treaty. It must provide for the fullest possible economic co-operation, aim at a high standard of living and increasing democracy in all participating countries, and thus give the western world the dynamic democratic leadership which is the only real answer to communism.

Further on he had this to say:

The probable cost of the military and other commitments to this pact make more urgent than ever the immediate introduction of the C.C.F. policy to place the burden of taxation on those best able to bear it. It also emphasizes the need for measures of control over industry and production, which would allow for the effective planning and use of our resources to meet all our obligations and at the same time to develop a higher standard of living and social security for all our people. The C.C.F. affirms again that the best defence against communism and all forms of totalitarianism rests not on military might but on social justice.

On March 28, 1949, my leader had this to say, as reported at page 2074 of Hansard:

The proposed treaty, in article 2, pledges the parties to contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and wellbeing. They pledge themselves to try to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and to encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them. Indeed, in the opinion of the C.C.F., as it was of those who formulated the United Nations charter, plans for military aid and security are of little value unless based upon a determination to build by mutual agreement the positive social and economic conditions of peace which involve wide measures of international planning for the common good.

Every proposal to increase and distribute food supplies and other necessities of life is a proposal to remove the causes of discontent which, in turn, cause men to grasp the promises of dictators whether they are of the fascist or of the communist variety.

At page 2076 of Hansard for the same date he had this to say:

Then, too, because of our own geographical situation, our military preparedness would be a crippling burden to us. As a part of the North Atlantic fraternity both our danger and our burdens should be lessened. But whatever burdens in the field of defence are involved-and let me say this to the government with all the emphasis that I can give it-no one must be allowed to profit in the production of instruments of war. We urged before the last war that all munitions industries should be nationalized. We reiterate that now and demand that profiteering in related industries must be eliminated by every means at our disposal.

That is the attitude of the C.C.F. towards preparations for defence and the deficiencies exhibited in the bill. We are not alone in that; leaders of all parties have expressed their desire to see armament industries nationalized and to see the profits from the production of defence materials reduced. That view has been expressed by representatives of all great parties. The people of Canada have had experience in two major wars, and if this government is to convince them that we are sincere in our efforts to preserve world peace and that our preparations are purely on a defensive basis, in the opinion of this group we must do three things. First, we must do more to implement article 2 of the Atlantic treaty. Second, we must build social security in Canada more quickly. Third, we must take the profit out of preparations for defence.

Now I am going to quote some of the great leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties. First I am going to quote the late Right Hon. William Ewart Gladstone, the great Victorian leader of the Liberal party in Great Britain. I am quite sure that even the anaemic descendants of that party in this house will still pay some attention to the

Defence Supplies

words of that great statesman. I am quoting from the "Life of Gladstone" by John Morley, volume III, where Gladstone said:

. . . But one inevitable characteristic of modern war is that it is associated throughout, in all particulars, with a vast and most irregular formation of commercial enterprise. There is no incentive to Mammon-worship so remarkable as that which it affords. The political economy of war is now one of its most commanding aspects. Every farthing, with the smallest exceptions conceivable, of the scores or hundreds of millions which a war may cost, goes directly, and very violently, to stimulate production, though it is intended ultimately for waste or for destruction. Even apart from the fact that war suspends, ipso facto, every rule of public thrift, and tends to sap honesty itself in the use of the public treasure for which it makes such unbounded calls, it therefore is the greatest feeder of that lust of gold which we are told is the essence of commerce, though we had hoped it was only its occasional besetting sin. It is, however, more than this; for the regular commerce of peace is tameness itself compared with the gambling spirit which war, through the rapid shiftings and high prices which it brings, always introduces into trade. In its moral operation it more resembles, perhaps, the finding of a new gold field, than anything else.

Then I believe the hon. member for Van-couver-Quadra (Mr. Green) referred to the debate on a bill which was introduced in this house in March, 1939. I want to quote in part what was said by the late Right Hon. Ian Mackenzie when introducing that bill, as it appears at page 1767 of Hansard for 1939:

The government is determined that in peacetime, where private industry must be utilized, there shall be the strictest possible regulation of profits both in the interest of the taxpayer and in deference to public abhorrence of profits made from products which involve destruction of human lives and misery among nations.

It is obvious that in introducing this bill minus the restriction of five per cent on profits the government has forgotten the words of Right Hon. Ian Mackenzie on that occasion. Then speaking in the same debate the late Hon. R. J. Manion, then leader of the Conservative opposition, had this to say at page 1774 of Hansard:

It is suggested I proposed that there should be no profits at all in the manufacture of munitions in Canada; but a remark of mine quoted by the minister showed that I was open to conviction in the matter, because I pointed out the danger of the idea not working out, and I left a door open. I do not believe that we could eliminate profits one hundred per cent; but if the personnel of the munitions board is well chosen and endeavours to carry out the provisions of the legislation along the lines indicated by the minister, eliminating all but five per cent-which is eliminating ninety-five per cent of profit-that should satisfy the people of the country to a large extent.

There the leader of the Conservative opposition, speaking for that party, indicated that it would like profits on munitions and defence supplies limited to five per cent. Now I come to a quotation from the speech made during

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the same debate by the present socialist Progressive Conservative member for Van-couver-Quadra at page 1787 of Hansard:

Sooner or later we shall have to face the question of how we are going to obtain these armaments. I suggest to the government that before they proceed any further with the present policy they should reconsider the whole question. They should arrange to use the dominion arsenals as Australia and the United Kingdom have done. I do not believe the Canadian people approve reliance being placed exclusively upon private firms for our armaments, and I do not believe they will tolerate, let alone approve, armament rings and armament trusts, which are likely to spring up as a result of the government's policy. On the other hand, I have no doubt our people would be solidly behind a policy such as that adopted by Australia and the United Kingdom, even though this policy required in the beginning a heavier capital outlay than does the present policy; the government have at hand the means of raising the money under their new plan for financing capital expenditures on a ten-year basis. I suggest that in dealing with this very important problem the government show a little more of the foresight and initiative and courage of the individual Canadian.

Today the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra largely confined his remarks to a very justifiable criticism of the enormous powers given the minister, but I noticed that he did not suggest there should be some socialization of the armament industry or of the industries producing defence supplies.

Now I should like to conclude my references, and my support of the argument we advance in this connection, with a few quotations from an article that appeared in Maclean's magazine of August 1, 1931. The article is headed, "Salesmen of death. The truth about war makers, by Lieutenant Colonel George A. Drew." In this article I find the strongest arguments in favour of the C.C.F. approach to the munitions problem that have been given in printed form by a member of any other party in this country. The subheading reads, "A plain-spoken denunciation of an armament industry which makes wars to make money . . . 'this

Frankenstein monster must be smashed or it will smash civilization.' ". The article goes on:

Strangely enough, in all the discussions which have taken place in anticipation of the conference which is now but a few months away, the outstanding lesson of the last great Geneva-the naval disarmament conference of 1927-had apparently been completely ignored. That lesson, which is of the utmost practical importance in preparing for the next conference, lay in the disclosure that behind national competition in armaments and navies lies a vicious commercial competition of armament and shipbuilding companies which seek to promote international ill will for the purpose of preserving a ready market for the death-dealing equipment they produce. The lesson of that conference was perfectly clear; that private profit in the production of armament furnishes one of the most active sources of international friction, which can be

removed only by some form of national ownership which would eliminate the personal advantages resulting from sales.

It was only to be expected that a very definite limitation should be placed on the possibility of personal profit from this enormous national demand, and in 1915 all armament factories were placed under government control by the Munitions Act, and the public assured that the profits of the industry were strictly controlled by the newly created ministry of munitions which had been placed under the dynamic leadership of David Lloyd George.

It is vitally important, for the purpose of understanding the sinister possibilities of private interest in the production of arms, that the public know what an utter sham this' supposed control actually amounted to. True, the profits were controlled, but only to the extent that they were not to exceed twenty per cent, which was the average profit of the English armament companies in the years prior to the war. What this profit amounted to may be appreciated by remembering that the artillery ammunition alone shipped from England to France during the war had a value of over $4 billion. The profits on this one item amounted to something like $800 million. The story was very much the same in all the warring countries except that in the United States the percentage was even higher.

Who received the benefit of these enormous profits? Primarily, of course, it was men like Zaharcff who emerged from the war probably the wealthiest man in Europe. But this rich harvest was also shared by bishops, cabinet ministers, members of parliament, and men prominent in all walks of life. These were the financial results. What of the causes?

Further along the article continues:

Several years before the war, when Sir Frederick Borden, then minister of militia in the Laurier government, and Hon. Louis Philippe Brodeur who was later minister of naval affairs, were in London, they were lavishly entertained by officials of Vickers Limited. At dinner in the Carlton hotel one night, Mr. Brodeur was astonished at a remark made by their host who had been complaining bitterly of Premier Campbell-Bannerman's attitude toward disarmament. "Business is bad," he said. "How could it be otherwise with a man like Campbell-Bannerman. in office? Why, we haven't had a war for seven years!" He made a similar comment later to Sir Frederick Borden and two of his colleagues in the cabinet, both of whom are still living, saying that the government were a hopeless lot, and that the empire was going to the dogs as there had been no war for several years and there was not even one small war in prospect. These conversations made a profound impression on Sir Wilfrid Laurier to whom they were later repeated, indicating as they did with such surprising frankness the attitude of one of England's greatest armament producers towards the disarmament proposals of Campbell-Bannerman.

Before proceeding to read another extract or two, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that Campbell-Bannerman was a Victorian Liberal who practised Liberal principles to the full. As I said before, I am sure that if some of the anaemic descendants of the great Liberals of the Victorian period were to follow more closely in the footsteps of their ancestors, this house would be presented with bills different from this one.

I continue to quote from the article:

An examination of this summary shows that while the production of the forty-eight allied companies covers an extremely wide field, most of the things they produce are necessary equipment for the modern war of machines either at the front or in the complicated supporting organizations. Significantly enough, armaments and shipbuilding occupy first place. Most other armament companies throughout the world are similarly interlocked with apparently peaceful enterprises.

This presents a real difficulty that must be faced. Any suggestion of the nationalization of armament production will undoubtedly be met by the owners with the argument that these great corporations are essentially makers of peace and not war material, and that the severance of their interdependent interests would threaten the financial security of industries upon which so many thousands of workers depend for their livelihood. Probably the reorganizations necessary would entail some hardship, although it is not suggested that the armament factories be confiscated but only that they be expropriated under proper terms of compensation. But no matter what temporary inconveniences be involved this is merely a matter of detail that should not in any way be permitted to obscure the main issue, which is simply whether it is, or is not, advisable to permit the manufacture of arms and armament by companies whose selling policies are determined by the desire for profits and not in any way measured by actual national requirements.

I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that we are glad to have the support of the leader of the Progressive Conservative party for the nationalization of the armament industry, and the nationalization of industries producing defence supplies.

Then he goes on to say:

It is not suggested that national ownership of the armament industry throughout the world is a panacea which will cure all international strife. There are national prejudices and age-long suspicions which will always be difficult to overcome, but these suspicions and hatreds can be overcome by education in time if they are not constantly brought to the boiling point with insidious propaganda spread by those whose business would disappear if anything approaching an effective agreement to submit to international arbitration were even achieved. Just so long, therefore, as these companies continue to be operated for profit will they continue to employ the methods of persuasion in high quarters which they have found so effective.

At another point the article states:

One serious obstacle that must be overcome in convincing the people of the world that disarmament is everybody's business is the cynical attitude which is all too common that war is an inevitable evil and that the most we can do is to postpone it as long as possible and, when the time does come, hope to be just a little better armed than our enemy. Hand in hand with this attitude is the belief that we maintain peace by being better armed than our neighbour and thus preventing attack. An excellent example of this point of view is furnished in the following extract from an editorial in the Canadian Defence Quarterly of April, 1931:

"The world today has prohibited aggressive warfare but defensive wars are permitted; therefore, the nations still regard the use of armaments as the ultimate instrument of national security. So long as this condition remains, human nature decrees that each nation will strive to be armed with armament superior in quality, and if possible quantity,

Defence Supplies

to that of other nations. It is doubtful, therefore, if nations would forgo the abundant benefits which result from private enterprise in the armament field."

It is interesting to note in this article from the Canadian Defence Quarterly that even the defence department is aware of the abundant benefits which result from private enterprise in the armament field.

The article concludes with these words:

Words like these have been repeated so often that they have acquired general acceptance without any appreciation of their full import. No one, yet, has been able to demonstrate the "abundant benefits" resulting from private enterprise in the armament field, unless they be the enormous increase in the casualties to all combatants, or the huge profits acquired by men like Zaharoff, Krupp, Schneider and Grace.

Mr. Speaker, the present leader of the Progressive Conservative party has written an article of great interest at this time. I quoted the article to indicate that at least when he wrote it he believed in the nationalization or public ownership of the armament industry, and those industries producing defence armaments. There is no question about it; I believe that other governments have done better than Canada in this regard. For example, the government of Australia, as mentioned by the member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green), has advanced farther in the public ownership of certain armament industries. In Great Britain much more has been done in that direction.

I listened with a great deal of interest to the explanation given by the minister for dropping the former five per cent clause respecting the limitation on profits. I believe the minister s explanation was the clearest and most logical explanation we have heard of that clause. I quite agree with the reasons for dropping the clause when the clause was phrased as it was, and one had to take into account the capital used in the production of the armaments or goods supplied. We in this group would like to see an amended clause inserted in the bill clearly restricting the profits on defence supplies to five per cent.

. In general, Mr. Speaker, this group believes in the principle of public ownership. While we believe there are certain major industries that should be brought under public ownership in the near future, we certainly believe that any industry producing armaments or war supplies directly should be brought under full public ownership at this time. At least if this government is going to convince the Canadian people that groups of people in this country are not going to profit largely from the supplying of these armaments and goods, there should be introduced into this bill a five per cent limitation on profits.

Defence Supplies

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in criticizing this bill we in this group believe first of all that the bill gives the minister too much power.

I am not going further into that matter. We do not criticize the amount of power given to the minister on quite the same grounds as those mentioned by the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green). But when one looks at the bill and sees the powers given in section 3, on reading that section carefully one realizes the enormous powers given therein to one minister of this cabinet.

If this bill is to create in the minds of the Canadian people confidence in the desire of the leaders of this government, and of this government itself, to work for world peace and to prevent the building up of profits from the supplying of defence armaments and supplies, we believe there should be a clause limiting at least the profits on those armaments and supplies to five per cent. I am sure that nothing less will satisfy the Canadian people in this respect. Nothing less will give them confidence in the policy of this government and nothing less will be keeping faith with our affirmations, our beliefs and those of the Canadian people.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

When one reads a bin of this kind, Mr. Speaker, he is lead to exclaim, as a good many people throughout the country are now exclaiming: What is happening to our democracy? I draw to the minister's attention an article which was published in Maclean's magazine on the 15th of this month, in which his own picture appeared and in which certain statements are made with regard to the fate of democracy in Canada, and I would ask him to consider that article not as something facetious, not as having merely entertainment value but as being the consolidation of the opinions of a great many people throughout this country.

When the resolution preceding this bill was before the house I said that I was surprised that the minister would allow himself to be brought under the criticism which would inevitably come to him if this bill were to be introduced. My reasons for saying that are these. I want to assure the minister, Mr. Speaker, that I have regard for him and for his ability and that anything I say here today is not said by way of personal criticism of the minister at all. What I want to assure the house about is that I am opposed to granting to any minister, I do not care who he is, the sweeping economic powers which this bill proposes to grant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe). My reason for opposing the granting of such sweeping powers is that it is not in the interest of democracy in peacetime to do

[Mr. Herridge.l

so. We must believe in democracy. Otherwise we are a bunch of hypocrites. We talk about it enough and we try to act as if we are operating a true democracy. But when the government brings before parliament a bill of this kind, proposing to grant to any single individual sweeping powers, the extent of which I shall recite briefly in a moment, then I say to you, Mr. Speaker, there simply cannot but be the shadow, and a mighty thin one at that, of true democracy.

Why do I say that there are sweeping powers proposed in this bill? I heard the minister say the other day, speaking on the resolution, that this bill proposes to reduce the powers that he already had under certain other acts, including the Defence Purchases Act, the Department of Munitions and Supply Act and so on. That may be so; it probably is so. But that is no argument for granting at this time the powers that are included in Bill No. 302 unless, as I said the other day, the minister is prepared to show to the house and to the country that we face a real emergency.

I thought that the minister would give a statement to the house on motion for second reading of the bill in order further to clarify the situation as a result of the request that some of us made the other day about this business of an emergency. To take a look at the bill for one moment, and without dealing in detail with any of the specific clauses of it, here are some of the powers that it is proposed that we should grant to the minister. Under different types of circumstances, we propose to give to the minister the power to requisition or to expropriate anything that he sees fit to requisition or to expropriate and which he, in his opinion, feels would be necessary for the defence of this realm. That does not exclude anything, including the suit on your back or the machinery you may have in your shop.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

That is going to extremes.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I will admit that that is carrying it to the extreme limit; I agree; and perhaps the minister would not do that. But just the same, we are giving him the power to do that. If we are giving him the power, then there is nothing that he could not do if the proper occasion arose or if the proper combination of circumstances came about. Not only are we giving him the power to requisition or to expropriate in any way he desires or to buy anything that he thinks is necessary for the defence of the realm, but we are also giving him the power to do it at a price which he himself sets; and there is no recourse against his decision, except perhaps a costly reference to the exchequer court.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

On such terms as the minister may decide.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

Yes, on such terms as the minister himself may decide. That is not democracy. That is far too sweeping a power to give any man in peacetime. By the way, those who wish to get evidence of the truth of the things I have just said, have only to refer to clause 3 of the bill, with its various subdivisions.

Then there is another thing. This bill proposes to give the minister the power to compel any manager of a factory, or any board that is operating in this country a factory, an industry or a business dealing in defence materials or materials which may be required for defence, to give to the minister any information he may desire; and the only undertaking that the minister has to give is that he will not tell anybody about it. I think that is carrying the powers of any man to lengths which should never even be dreamed of in peacetime. It is all right in wartime, Where we are facing real dangers, and where things have to be done quickly, for us to clothe our ministers of the crown with power to get things done, and to get information when they desire it. Certainly so; but in peacetime a minister of the crown ought to depend upon the natural processes of voluntary information, and not clothe himself with power to nose into things, when he thinks it is necessary for him to know about the business of any corporation in this country.

Through the power given the Minister of Trade and Commerce in this bill he can negotiate any contract of any kind for defence purchases, without consulting even the members of his cabinet, and certainly without consulting members of parliament. Well, if that is not a dictatorial power, I have never heard of one. Why should any minister be granted power of that kind in a time of peace? Why should all that power be vested in one man?

Of course the minister will claim he will not do it alone, and that he will have a board, perhaps, or that perhaps he will have the help of the governor in council. Provision is made in the bill that the governor in council may appoint assistants; but it does not say that they shall, or that it is necessary, or that the minister cannot negotiate contracts, make purchases or requisition materials without consulting the cabinet or without consulting parliament-not by any means.

That carries the thing absolutely too far. Section 4 of the bill states that the minister shall have exclusive right or authority to buy or otherwise to acquire defence supplies, and to construct or carry out projects required 55946-229J

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by the Department of National Defence. That clothes him, alone, with that authority; and it cuts out any other possibility of consultation or assistance. No one else can possibly run any competition-not even the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton), who is supposed to be running the Department of National Defence for the people of Canada.

I believe that defence purchases, just in the same manner as any other purchases, made by a government or for or on behalf of any government, ought to be made through a purchasing or requisitioning commission. I do not think any one person in any government should even ask for those powers. In years gone by a good deal of suspicion has gone along with the concentration of purchasing power in the hands of one or just a few individuals in the government. Everyone knows about the suspicions that always attend such things. In years past most governments that have valued their standing, and that have been anxious about the operation of true democracy, have set up purchasing commissions that were independent of political interference, to do their purchasing, so as to shun the very appearance of evil.

Well, I am surprised that the Minister of Trade and Commerce would allow himself to be put in a position where the appearance of evil goes stalking after him, and will accompany him every step that he goes, so long as this measure is in force, and his name is set down as the exclusive authority for the purchase of defence supplies.

I believe the wise course in any event is to set up a commission and to clothe it with the necessary powers to make purchases-to do it quickly, to do it properly, and to render accounts as quickly as possible both to the cabinet and to members of parliament. We had a perfectly good corporation for doing that sort of thing. I understand the Canadian Commercial Corporation has been doing a good deal of purchasing of defence supplies for the government. When the other day we were discussing the resolution preceding the bill, I asked the minister to tell the house wherein the Canadian Commercial Corporation had failed to do its; job, and why it was thought that that corporation was not able now to do the work efficiently.

I must say that although I reserved my decisions with respect to the bill, I said the other day that I would withhold any decision, and until such time as I had heard the minister reply to some of the questions asked, or such time as he had made a statement satisfying me, I could not possibly say whether I could support the bill. Having reserved my decision, and having now read

Defence Supplies

the bill, and having heard nothing whatsoever to allay my fears, I cannot do anything but say that I most certainly oppose the bill with all my strength-and I am speaking for this group.

I believe in true democracy. I believe that in peacetime or any time other than a time of emergency, we should not clothe any man or any small group of men with authority to do arbitrarily what they alone think ought to be done for the defence of the realm or in any other way. I believe every man must render account to the representatives of the people; no man can set himself above the law. Every official of government and every minister of the crown must concede that he cannot or should not, under the rule of law, do anything except that which the will of the people demands that he do.

I am asking the minister now if he has any requests from the people of Canada to clothe him with this power. If he has not, then I ask him by. what right he is bringing in this bill to clothe himself with these powers. I ask the government and his colleagues to come to his defence and to show any good reason as to why the Minister of Trade and (Commerce ought to have or ask for such sweeping powers as are contained in this bill. And until such time as the people of Canada have asked that such wide and broad powers be given to him, I can only assume that they have not desired it and, for that if for no other reason, I would oppose the bill.

I do not intend to enter into any debate on the philosophical aspect of defence procurement, or anything else. I said the other day that I still have faith in private enterprise and in its ability to produce as, when and where required for the defence of the realm. But I do say that where private enterprise has failed in the past to produce and to deliver as, when and where required, it may be necessary for the government to set up some enterprise such as was done at Sarnia for the production of synthetic rubber. I think that that is all right. But I certainly oppose the government's acquiring all those industries in Canada that may contribute materials for defence or other purposes.

I shall have to say without qualification that we are in opposition to the bill, and cannot in any way condone the request of the government to clothe any one man with such extraordinary and sweeping powers.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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LIB

Henry Alfred Hosking

Liberal

Mr. H. A. Hosking (Wellington South):

Mr. Speaker, in taking part in the debate I should like to assure hon. members that it is not my intention to take up much time. I rise only to ask one question and to make one point.

I would ask the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) who comes from British Columbia if, when he was stating the policy of national defence for the C.C.F. party, he was stating the policy of the national party or that of the British Columbia party. I believe there is a great divergence of view as between the different parties. In fact, many hon. members of this house would say that their views are at right angles to each other. I think it will be found that their views are completely opposed. I do not believe that members of such a group have the right to criticize a party that is united.

In making my point as to what is the proper method of making purchases for the Dominion of Canada I would suggest to the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) that it is well known to all hon. members that a lawyer is generally the best person to defend a guilty party because he is most voluble and eloquent. I suggest to my hon. friend that he was most voluble and eloquent in trying to make his point.

Any business firm of which I have any knowledge has only one purchasing department. I am glad the Liberal party is carrying out a businesslike policy of having only one purchasing department, and I am more than pleased that the Right Hon. C. D. Howe is the man chosen to head up that purchasing department.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. M. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, this is a measure for the setting up of arbitrary power, the kind of power which in other states brought about the beginning of the destruction of the type of freedom we live under. This is being introduced in peacetime, at a time when the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe), who is sponsoring the bill, says that there is no emergency. This is a measure which should be utterly repugnant to anyone who believes in or has any understanding of Liberal principles. I am quite sure that I could find in the speeches of ninety per cent of the members of this house most eloquent passages declaiming against this kind of thing. As I say, it is entirely repugnant to the whole genius of our constitution.

It is difficult to speak about this because I am afraid there are a lot of people, both inside and outside the house, who think that this is just a lot of abstract nonsense being uttered by some of us who ought to know better, who ought to be practical men and not delay the house in talking.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Hear, Hear.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I am going to thank the minister because at the moment he seems to be listening. I realize quite well that everything I say will go off his back just like

water off a duck's, but nevertheless it is something that for the moment he is listening and seems to be interested in what I am saying. The minister is a practical man and perhaps he will think that anyone who puts in his time worrying about political theory could have employed it to better advantage. But not everyone in this house thinks that way. I know there are members of the government opposite-and some not sitting opposite today-who have not always thought that, who have been very eloquent-when I say eloquent I mean eloquent-in their objections to arbitrary government and in their belief in the rule of law. Perhaps they will be interested if I read a sentence or two from an authority which some of them know much better than I. I am going to quote from what is perhaps the greatest living English authority on the law of constitution, and I refer to Dicey. I shall quote from page 202 of the ninth edition. If hon. members will be kind enough to follow what I read I think they will come to the conclusion that if what I read does not cover this bill, then there is no such thing as making a clear statement that will cover the bill. Speaking of the rule of law he said:

It means, in the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power-

Does any sane man contend that this bill does not give arbitrary power? I am not discussing for the moment whether the minister will use that power correctly. We all know the minister is a sensible and capable man, but that is not the point. This is arbitrary power and in giving arbitrary power to a man you must consider that while you may give it to a man you believe is a good man, that power may get into the hands of a man you might not consider to be good. You might even find that a good man is somewhat corrupted by power, but we shall not deal with that. I read on:

-and excludes the existence of arbitrariness,-

Does anyone doubt that there is arbitrariness in this bill? The minister can ask a man to do something and if he refuses he can have him fined $5,000. That is the effect of this bill. If the minister and that man do not see eye to eye, he may be fined and have no recourse. I continue:

[DOT]-of prerogative, or even of wide discretionary authority on the part of the government.

Does anyone doubt that all those things are deeply embedded in this bill? I quote again:

It means, again, equality before the law, or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law courts-

Defence Supplies

Is that what this bill provides?

-the "rule of law" in this sense excludes the idea of any exemption of officials or others from the duty of obedience to the law which governs other citizens or from the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals:

By this bill the minister is excused from obedience to the law; he is put above the law. I should like to quote at this time something which many of you have seen day after day if you have the judgment, whether it is good or bad, to read the Globe and Mail. This is what appears at the head of the editorial page:

The subject who is truly loyal to the chief magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.

If this bill is not an arbitrary measure, I should like to know what it is. I want to make this point as clear as I can. I have said that there is no emergency. I said the other day, and I repeat what the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) has already said, that if there was an emergency nobody would be readier than we on this side to give emergency powers. But we have been told, and we are entitled to rely on that, that there is no emergency. After saying that we were ready to give the powers if they were necessary, I went on to say, as reported on page 3483 of Hansard of June 12:

I say that before we can be asked, or should be asked, to give any such powers as these we should know exactly what kind of difficulties are facing the minister at the moment. What are the things that cannot be done under the powers of the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the other authorities which do exist? Nothing has been said yet to indicate that.

Then I went on to say that I and those with whom I was associated would be only too ready to act if there was an emergency. I will say this about the Minister of Trade and Commerce. He has contact with and a status with the business community of this country which the rest of us might envy. I do not begrudge him the fact that he has built it up perfectly properly. I contend that without all these additional powers to which I so strongly object the minister could carry on with the existing organizations. The minister has great influence now. I will not say that I like it all and I will not say that I like some of the measures which have given it to him, for some of those measures do give him a considerable amount of power.

Of course the minister's answer to my question was no answer at all. He gave us a hairsplitting statement that this measure was really taking power away from him-and in a narrow technical way he was correct- because he told us that the Department of Munitions and Supply Act which was widely used during the war was still on the statute

Defence Supplies

books, and that under it he had greater powers. I think that is quite true except as I said when I interjected this morning-and I say it again-to all intents and purposes in the last few years that act has been as dead as Queen Anne. The fact that the minister, who is pretty good at using power, did not invoke the act so far as I know, and certainly not to any great extent, proves to my satisfaction that it was really in the discard.

As to the measure we have before us, I am not going to take much of the time of the house to discuss it. I would ask members to read section 2 in order that they may see the range of it, how much it covers-it will fairly take your breath away-and then read the other clauses and see the power that is given. I am not going into detail on that because my point is to argue that here we have an arbitrary measure which is not needed, that the existing law is perfectly adequate, and that no attempt has been made to satisfy us that the existing law is not adequate. Yet we are asked to pass the bill, and I suppose the majority will vote it through.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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?

Mr. Kowe@

Mr. Speaker, on a question of

privilege, I assure my hon. friend that the existing law is much more than adequate.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Oh, yes, you mean the munitions and supply act.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

That is the existing law under which purchasing is carried on.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

If you want to split hairs you are quite right.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I am not splitting hairs.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

You are

quite ready to do so. I will repeat my point, and members will have to judge for themselves. The Department of Munitions and Supply Act has been on the statute books, and is like a lot of other statutes which they have forgotten to repeal. I think the minister will not deny that it has virtually not been availed of, and what I am interested in and what we are all interested in is not what is in the munitions and supply act but what is in the bill before the house.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
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June 14, 1950