June 14, 1950

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

If my hon. friend thinks the

munitions and supply act is not being invoked, let me point out to him there are a few cases before the exchequer court where the appellants really believe it has been invoked.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

If the minister wants to go back into ancient history-

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

They are over there now.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Cases often stay quite a long time in the law courts, and I expect if one looked into this matter the

same thing would prove to be true. Let the minister talk about the munitions and supply act if he wants to. What I am interested in is the bill now before us. At any rate the minister will agree that the bill before us will replace the Department of Munitions and Supply Act. I want to deal with the bill for a minute or two. Of course the powers are very wide and involve stockpiling, making contracts and, as has already been pointed out, stepping into the shipbuilding industry. As I said, I do not need to go into any more detail. I want to say, however, that it was put to me by a man whose judgment I respect very much, and could not possibly disregard, that the things contemplated to be done under the bill need to be done in order to get on with the business of our defence. I told him that I think I am just as anxious as anybody is to see the business of our defence proceeded with, but that nothing has been said to indicate that the powers presently existing under the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the defence department, which will get their votes, are not sufficient to make it unnecessary for us to have this measure.

A question occurred to me but I think I have answered it to my own satisfaction already. I take it that the bill is not ancillary to the vote that we will be passing for the Department of National Defence, that no attempt is being made to get further moneys in this way, and that everything that must be done by way of purchasing must be done under the estimates relating to the Department of National Defence. In other words, this is not an indirect way of getting what should be got directly.

There is one point that should be mentioned. There has been a rather feeble and childish attempt to say in the bill that if there is a disagreement on price then the matter may be referred to the exchequer court. I should like to ask the minister what he would have thought when he was in business of fixing prices before the exchequer court. I venture to say that the minister would have said, "What, go and spend months and months before a court!" He would have settled the matter then and there one way or another. I think it is a most unmeaning provision which is put in there as a kind of gesture to try to lessen the appearance of arbitrariness which sticks out everywhere in the bill.

I have tried to express my view on this question. What disturbs me most is the manner in which the bill has been received. One hon. member told us this afternoon that this is the kind of dictatorship we want. Many foolish things may have been said in the house but I wonder if anything more foolish

was ever said. I hope nothing so foolish will ever be said again during my time in the house as "that is the kind of dictatorship we want." One might have hoped that among the serried ranks of the government supporters, 190 members, there might have been somebody to speak out against the bill. One is almost tempted to call the roll of some of the ministers who, one knows, cannot possibly like this kind of thing. Apparently, however, they have allowed themselves to be lulled to sleep in some way or other, or they believe, like the hon. member who spoke a little while ago, that the Minister of Trade and Commerce can do no wrong, which has really nothing to do with the matter anyway.

I cannot expect the Minister of Trade and Commerce to be interested in these remarks. I am surprised that he has remained in the house because he must regard it as an utter waste of time to talk about political principles. The minister is a man of action, and indeed I think he regards the House of Commons as a rather foolish place. I think when we ask him questions about the business he is conducting he regards it as a rather unwarranted intrusion on private life. I thought so the other day when he said quite frankly that the Polymer Corporation was not a public enterprise but was his enterprise, and I think I know the way he meant it. It was said in all good faith, and there was a considerable measure of truth in it. As I said a moment ago, one might have expected something different from some of the other men in the cabinet. There was a time when I would have thought that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) would have taken this kind of thing seriously. As I have said, there are other men in the cabinet who I know would have taken it seriously at one time, but I do not think anything is to be gained by conducting a poll.

I cannot take my seat without expressing the hope that there will be at least one among the 190 members of the government side who will say a word in favour of what I believe to be freedom and against what I believe to be the extremity of arbitrariness. If that is not to happen, if there is nobody in the majority, about which we are so often reminded, who will speak out in that fashion, then I can only hope that the voices of those who are objecting will be heard outside the house, and that church and educational institutions and people everywhere who understand that freedom is a delicate plant that needs constant cherishing will give voice to that feeling in order that this measure, which I regard as arbitrary and evil, may not be passed in its present form. I shall vote against it, Mr. Speaker.

Defence Supplies

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

Mr. Speaker, because I feel this legislation is so charged with terrible consequences I find I must not only vote against it but speak against it when the bill is before the house with Your Honour in the chair. This type of legislation always presents members with a serious dilemma. We are told that the international situation is such that we are called upon to take strenuous and unusual measures to arm and equip ourselves, to build up stockpiles and so on, in order that we may be prepared for an emergency which we all hope will not actually arise but which unfortunately might arise. When it is put upon the basis that what is to be done under the new bill is in the best interests of the country, you are placed in a very difficult position when considering whether or not you should oppose it. Having given the matter that consideration, however, and being fully aware of the seriousness of what the minister said when he indicated that he needed these powers, I find I cannot agree that these powers are necessary, and have come to the conclusion that the bill is fraught with more harmful consequences than the good that may be done under it.

I want to make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that we are not objecting to the things that are to be done under the bill; that is, the stockpiling and so on. As other speakers have said, if we were convinced that this was the only way in which those precautions could be taken that we want to see taken, then I suppose reluctantly we would have to agree to this legislation. But I am not in the least convinced of that. I cannot see why the minister needs this tremendous, sweeping power for which he is asking, in order to carry on defence purchases, in order to instruct the Canadian Commercial Corporation which already exists and is already authorized to act as the defence purchasing agent. I hope the minister will explain that to us, for I cannot see it.

I wish it were not always the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) who is concerned in these things, because sometimes I am sure he must feel that we have a personal antipathy to him. That is not the case, but it seems all these matters concern the same minister, and he is the minister we have to criticize all the time.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mitchell:

He has not done a bad job for this nation.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I do not know why the government keeps repeating that. It is readily admitted that during the war he did a good job for the nation. Let us analyse the power we are giving a minister; let us call him

Defence Supplies

Minister X. We are asked to give him power to control not only the plants which directly manufacture the materials of war but everything which may enter into a defence project. The mining industry, the lumbering industry, the clothing industry; every conceivable element of our economic life that could possibly enter into the manufacture of anything which might be needed in connection with national defence, directly or indirectly, is to be under the complete control of one minister. Not only has he power to set the price, to compel people to make delivery within a certain time, and so on, but there is no appeal from that arbitrary power except a very limited and, as the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell) has said, a really nugatory appeal by reference to the exchequer court as to the matter of price. And I think it is important to note that any such reference must be on terms laid down by the Minister of Justice. That is provided in the bill. A man has not the right to take his case before the exchequer court as he sees fit; it will be presented to the court on the terms contained in a reference drawn up by the Minister of Justice, and then only in reference to the price. What about the other matters? There is no appeal. The minister can set a time limit just as unreasonable as can be conceived. There is no appeal. It may be a physical impossibility to conform to that time limit, and because a man is unable to do so he may be liable to a penalty of $5,000.

I think it is fair, too, to observe that we have not been told of the proximity of this emergency which is said to justify the granting of these powers. By one minister we are told that nothing has happened at the recent conferences to change the picture as far as we are concerned. Then we are asked by another minister for powers which I think it is correct to say have never before been taken by a government in peacetime, when we have not been told that an emergency is imminent.

Having been told by one minister that nothing has happened to change the outlook as far as we are concerned, I cannot vote for a bill which gives another minister these undemocratic powers, when we have not had any further explanation as to the real necessity for them.

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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, it seems particularly strange that when a bill of this kind is before the house for the first time in printed form the minister should not consider it necessary to explain the bill in detail when hon. members would have an opportunity of following what he had to say with

[Mr. Fultcn.l

the words actually before them. He gave a broad statement when the resolution was before the house, and when that resolution was in the committee stage he replied to certain points that had been raised. As yet, however, he has made no attempt to explain this extremely important bill, to analyse its effect in relation to the other legislation that is integrated with it, or to give hon. members one solid reason why we should be called upon to confer these extremely wide powers in peacetime.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I overrated the intelligence of the opposition. If I were starting again I would give a more comprehensive explanation.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I should be very glad to resume my seat and continue later if the minister is prepared to give an explanation, as long as he would not close the debate.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I am afraid that procedure would not be parliamentary.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I have examined the bill, and I am convinced that far from being more restricted, in many ways this legislation goes much further in peacetime than at least one of the acts which it repeals. The Department of Munitions and Supply Act, which is being repealed, is written in considerable detail, making it possible to understand exactly what is intended, what procedure is to be followed, and what actually are the powers of the minister. One of the well established principles of all legislation of this kind is that words appearing in an act must be read with the continuing meaning of those words right through the act; and in the Department of Munitions and Supply Act the words used relate very largely to munitions of war. It is perfectly obvious that in peacetime munitions of war are limited. Therefore I suggest that far from being narrower, when the new legislation refers to everything required for defence purposes it has a very much wider application than the munitions and supply act, which is still in effect and which is based largely upon the requirement for munitions of war.

I recognize, though I do not think the minister has clearly explained it, that some legislation is required to carry on the activities of the Canadian Commercial Corporation if the Department of Munitions and Supply Act is to be repealed, as undoubtedly it should be repealed having regard to the words I mentioned and the obvious fact that it is a wartime act. Nevertheless it would seem to me that the simple and proper way to deal with this, to the extent that such a change in legislation may be necessary, is to add any amending sections that are

required to the Canadian Commercial Corporation Act. Failing that, if for any reason it is not thought the Canadian Commercial Corporation Act should be continued, then the Defence Purchases, Profits Control, and Financing Act, 1939, which was a peacetime act, could be continued; and whatever amendments are regarded as desirable as a result of experience in intervening years could be made.

Let us see exactly what this particular act does. Here is an act which, if the members will only fully examine it, places practically the whole of our economy in the hands of this minister; that is written in four pages, and a considerable part of it is the definitive part of the act. Brevity is always highly desirable where brevity serves a useful purpose. When you are handing over to a minister the powers that are conferred by this act brevity, to the extent that it does not in any way bring any measure of control over the activities of the minister for the protection of the public or even for the protection of the government itself, is brevity of a dangerous kind.

Let us examine what this act does. It gives to the minister, according to section 3 (a), the power to:

buy or otherwise acquire, exchange, process, develop, repair, maintain, store and transport defence supplies:

What are "defence supplies"? Defence supplies are defined in section 2 of the act, and this is the definition:

"Defence supplies" means arms, ammunition, implements of war, vehicles, mechanical and other equipment, watercraft, amphibious craft, aircraft, animals, goods, wares, merchandise, articles and materials of all kinds required for any project or otherwise for the purposes of defence;

The only limitation upon the all-embracing effect of those words I have read, which embrace every conceivable thing which is available for our use in this country, is that it be for defence purposes. In addition to all the wide specific terms used in that section, it says, "articles and materials of all kinds." Surely, that is wide enough. We have been told that defence means the strength of the whole nation. What single thing is there that cannot be interpreted as for defence? It may be interpreted as necessary for defence to take over any part of the animal population of this country. It may be regarded as necessary for the purpose of defence to operate all the railways; it may be regarded as necessary for the purpose of defence to take over the control of production of all wood products; it may be regarded as necessary for the purpose of defence, having regard to the fact that our economy is in itself such an essential part of defence, to take over the 55046-2S0

Defence Supplies

control of the banks and other financial institutions. Do not let anyone say this is too wide an interpretation. As indicated in the Atlantic pact itself, all these things are regarded as part of the strength of a nation to defend itself. It is still within the scope of these wide powers for the minister to declare that those things are necessary for defence.

Under this act the minister can buy and sell, and generally deal in all these various things that may be embraced by such a definition. Let us look at section 3 (b). It reads: acquire, store and maintain stocks of strategic materials, and other materials or articles entering into the manufacture of defence supplies or the construction, development, repair or maintenance of projects, and sell or otherwise dispose of such materials or articles and use the whole or any part of the proceeds for the acquisition of further such materials or articles;

Mr. Speaker, once the step has been taken to declare that any particular segment of our economy is an essential requirement to our defence, this may become a great national trading organization exercising its influence directly over the whole of our daily activity in this country. Granted that the minister goes rather far today, granted that the minister has extremely wide powers under other existing acts; but this goes further than anything we have had before. It goes farther than one of the acts it repeals, the Department of Munitions and Supply Act.

Let us consider section 3(c), which reads: construct or otherwise acquire, carry out, develop, repair and maintain any project;

(d) arrange for the performance of commercial and professional services;

(e) require any person who is obligated by any contract to deliver any defence supplies . . .

and so on. Under section 3(e)-

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Beaudoin):

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but as he knows, he should not refer to specific clauses of the bill on second reading. That can more properly be done in the committee. At this stage we are discussing the principle of the bill.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I shall proceed to state what it does do. This bill makes it possible for the minister to require any person who produces, deals in, or has in his possession or control, any materials or articles needed for the completion of a contract, with respect to which a requirement has already been established, to give certain priorities. As outlined by the minister the other day, another provision of this act is that the minister may require any person to furnish such information respecting defence supplies dealt in by him, or projects of a type

Defence Supplies

executed by him or respecting his production and other facilities relating thereto, in such time and manner as the minister may specify.

Where is the rule of law? Where is the defence of the rights of the individual? We have been hearing a lot about a bill of rights, both in the international and in the domestic field. Where is the right of any individual if a minister, no matter who that minister may be, may require information of this kind? There is no definition as to the type of information that is wanted, nor is there any measure of restraint excepting the discretion of the minister himself.

Then the act does provide for the employment of the Canadian Commercial Corporation. There is also a provision that the minister may do further things, and mark the extent of this. In case these powers are not wide enough, and I would not have thought there was any doubt about that, then the minister may do any other such thing as may be authorized by the governor in council in regard to the procurement and disposal of defence supplies and projects.

What is a defence project? During the war one defence project of great importance, and one which was completed with commendable speed, was the great power plant at Arvida. But what we have before this house at the present time, in peacetime, is the power to do that sort of thing in this time of peace. If that was actually a part of our defence requirements in war, it certainly is a part of our defence requirements in peace; and this bill is wide enough for this minister to construct anywhere in Canada, quite outside the scope of any other legislation that this house has adopted, any power project for the purpose of providing power which he might think necessary for the potential defence of this country. Those are the realities. Any one of those things I have suggested is not in any way a straining of the actual, clear and explicit meaning of the words of this bill that is before us.

Then again the bill has the effect of repealing the Defence Purchases, Profits Control, and Financing Act, 1939, which has already been referred to. In the explanation given by the minister, which he has not followed up and which he says must be taken as the full information that we are to have from the man who is to be declared a dictator under this act, it is interesting to note that he nevertheless did not even bother to explain to us why it was necessary to repeal the act known as the Defence Purchases, Profits Control, and Financing Act, 1939. That act has this interesting feature. It was a peacetime act based upon certain experience which demonstrated the necessity

[Mr Drew.]

of preventing profiteering in defence supplies in peacetime. That act imposed certain restraints that were regarded as wise by this government as a result of disclosures which had been made as to the profits which were resulting from some of the preparations then being made for defence, such as those which are contemplated under this present bill. Why should we remove all those restraints and all those protections which are contained in an act which was brought into this house with such acclaim?

With regard to the Canadian Commercial Corporation, we also know that this has been described to us as a highly efficient means of obtaining the defence requirements of this country. The last statement made by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Clax-ton) during the last session of this house refers to this organization and its place in the procurement of our defence requirements. At the time that act was introduced, on July 2, 1947, the then minister of trade and commerce, Mr. MacKinnon, had this to say, as reported at page 4948 of Hansard of that date:

The government, in deciding to continue a single civilian purchasing agency for the services, was anxious to take advantage of the efficient organization that had already been built up and was functioning under the Department of Reconstruction and Supply. Many of the key personnel involved in these activities during the war are now carrying out duties as employees of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, and handling procurement problems for foreign governments and UNRRA.

As one reads on in that speech, it becomes quite clear that it was intended that the Canadian Commercial Corporation should be the peacetime procurement agency for our defence requirements. Then the Minister of National Defence himself, as reported at page 4959 of Hansard of July 2, 1947, in referring to this act said this:

It is not a wartime show because it is not wartime, but this carries into peacetime in the person of Mr. W. D. Low and other senior officials the experience and the knowledge and the files and the contacts with industry throughout the country which the Department of Munitions and Supply built up over six years.

That quotation leaves no doubt that the house was being informed that this Canadian Commercial Corporation, as the civilian procurement agency for the Department of National Defence and for the government, was carrying forward the experience of the six years' activities of the department of munitions and supply; and that, as the Minister of National Defence stated, the expert staff of the department of munitions and supply were being transferred to the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

Then also to emphasize that this was a body that was doing the things which had

been done by the Department of Munitions and Supply Act, the Minister of National Defence said at a later point in his remarks:

As I pointed out, these are exactly the same people who had this continuous association through the Department of Munitions and Supply with the suppliers of munitions during the war.

That was the idea that the house had. It has actually been the role of this Canadian Commercial Corporation.

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LIB

George James McIlraith (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

And it still is.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Then again the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) had this to say on July 2, 1947, as reported at page 4964 of Hansard in referring to this same organization:

It was felt that some central agency of government other than the Department of National Defence could do defence purchasing. When the Canadian Commercial Corporation was created a large portion of the personnel of the purchasing branch of munitions and supply was transferred to that department.

This bill that is before us has the effect of establishing on a new basis the powers of the minister. If the courts today were called upon to interpret the powers under the Department of Munitions and Supply Act, which uses terms that indicate that war is actually under way, the courts of this country, under well-established legal principles, would give an interpretation to the sections of it, bearing in mind at all times that these sections were drafted in time of war and were intended for war purposes, and therefore would give as narrow an interpretation as could reasonably be given to the extension of any powers conferred in that act. But if a court is called upon to define this present bill, the judges will properly say, under established principles of legal interpretation: This act was passed in peacetime; the parliament of Canada, knowing that there was no war, gave this tremendously wide power and therefore, having regard to the width and breadth of the terms, we must interpret this act in the broadest way. For that very reason, Mr. Speaker, I submit that this bill, as it stands now, gives infinitely wider powers to the minister than those which he has under the Department of Munitions and Supply Act, an act which is much longer and which goes into a great deal more detailed explanation. But certainly the repeal of the act which limits profits is one which should be examined carefully; I refer to the act known as the Defence Purchases, Profits Control, and Financing Act, 1939. I am aware that during the time I was out of the house this afternoon the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) quoted something that I had written some time ago in regard to the manufacturing of munitions of war or, rather, of defence supplies.

Defence Supplies

I certainly believe, as I believed then, that where industry is called upon to produce something under the dreadful necessity of arming this country, and where they have not all the problems of competitive selling, but rather only the simple fulfilment of a contract handed to them by the government, with a certainty of payment and a certainty of profit, those profits should be strictly limited, and that the needs of the country should not be the basis of extravagant profits at any time.

But I certainly would be most reluctant to see this House of Commons so casually and so callously disposing of this act, which does still make it possible to prevent profiteering from the demands created by danger to our freedom. If anything, I should like to see this act amended and brought up to date. I do not in any way change the views I held before. On the contrary, all that has happened since then has impressed more firmly upon my mind, even than it was at the time I wrote the article "Salesmen of Death", that there should be the most effective possible control over profiteering at the time that the dreadful threat to our freedom necessitates the expenditure of enormous sums of the people's money, resulting in heavy burdens of taxation for Canadians now and in the years ahead.

Hon. me'mbers appear to feel that there should not be debate even upon this vitally important subject. They would like to take the view expressed by one member, and say, "We trust the minister, so let her go. Don't bother about the act. Don't bother about the powers. The minister is a good fellow. Parliament doesn't need to know. We are sure he will do everything all right, no matter what power he has." It is something like the old saying, "Don't shoot the man at the piano; he is doing his best."

But this goes further than that. The man at the piano may be doing his best, but there are faulty notes that have been struck, and it would be well for us to examine this piece a little more carefully before we are satisfied that this is the best we can do. Because, after all, we are the ones who have to assume the responsibility-not the government.

In this particular case I would recommend to many hon. members, and particularly members of the government, that they read from Hansard of March 10, 1939, beginning at page 1751, where the then minister of national defence explained the reasons for introducing this legislation to control profiteering. In that speech he took occasion to quote the then prime minister of Canada, whose views, even while he still lives, have

Defence Supplies

been given something of a measure of sanctity by members of his party. At least they profess that those views have particular force. And, no matter what political opinions might be expressed otherwise, many of his views were extremely sound.

On this particular occasion the then minister of national defence quoted the words of the then prime minister, as they appear at page 1753 of Hansard. These are the words of the Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King:

I share the hon. member's abhorrence of anything in the nature of profiteering. I cannot imagine a more contemptible means of seeking to make one's fortune than by doing so at the expense of the lives of others. . . .

If there are to be no profits, I cannot think of any way in which industry can be carried on other than by its complete nationalization.

. . . The choice lies between state monopoly and private industry, or partly the one and partly the other. ... .

Guns and shot and powder are not the only materials required for war. They are not the only materials that present a temptation in the matter of profits when war occurs. . . .

Are all these things to be procured only under a government owned and controlled system which will not permit of profits being made? All that could result from a policy of that sort, if it were possible, would be the creation of a non-profit socialist Island inside a competitive economy. But I doubt very much if we could get that far in Canada in a great many years, and, even if we did, whether it would be a good thing for -the country. . . . I am afraid that for a long time to come we would not recover what in the interval we had lost in the way of individual initiative and freedom. . . .

Government manufacture may be desirable in regard to certain kinds of essential supplies which we require continuously.

I think private industry, where it is engaged in the manufacture of munitions and war materials, has to be watched closely to see that excessive profits are not made. . . .

We should seek most carefully to control private industry, but I cannot see how, in a system of competitive industry, you can totally eliminate the possibility of some profit being made. As hon. members of the house know, there is a great variety of special articles required as war supplies and equipment. It would be going much too far not to expect these to be obtained at least in part from private concerns which would expect to make some profit. Where, however, private industry is permitted to undertake the manufacture of munitions and war supplies, I believe there should be very strict government supervision. All contracts should contain provisions which will ensure that there will be no opportunity for other than a reasonable profit. I may tell my hon. friend that this whole matter has been given very careful consideration by the government. So far as any contracts with which we may have anything to do are concerned, every effort will be made to prevent anything in the nature of undue profits being secured by those who obtain the contracts.

Those words of Mr. Mackenzie King were offered as the basis for the argument put forward. Hon. members did not say then, as one hon. member said this afternoon-and I am sure sincerely-"Well, certainly, we

want everything done properly. But we trust the minister; so let him go ahead. We do not want any details as to how it is to be done." But that was not the way it was done then. And it was this very government-this very government-which at that time, having stated the needs, did not say, "We rely on this minister", or that minister. On the contrary they introduced the Defence Purchases, Profits Control and Financing Act, 1939, in peacetime, and passed that act for the purpose of doing the very thing they said should be done.

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that this government certainly is not the one to tell us, and to tell the people of Canada, that that practice was unsound, that we are to abandon any measure of statutory control over profits, that we are to abandon any of the restraints that were imposed in peacetime-in 1939- because of the disclosure of certain profiteering that had taken place at that time. It would seem that this is the government which in the light of the experience of the years should say, "We are going to strengthen that act." If this government were prepared to say, "We think at this stage that the Canadian Commercial Corporation, as procurement agency for the government for defence supplies-"

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
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:

The Canadian Commercial Corporation is not; it has never been the government procurement agency for the Department of National Defence. I have said that three times in this debate.

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

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

If the minister said that three times in this debate he said something three times that is the direct opposite of what the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) has said. The Minister of National Defence has said that it is the procurement agency and the quotations from Hansard I have just given indicate that at the time the bill was introduced the house was informed that it was to be the procurement agency for the Department of National Defence.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
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:

Nothing of the kind.

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

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

In fact it is the procurement agency for the Department of National Defence at the present time. It operates as the procurement agency for the Department of National Defence under this device: By an amendment the Minister of Trade and Commerce was made the minister responsible for the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

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

June 14, 1950