September 9, 1950

PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I do not think that was gentle.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

That is gratuitous too, I think.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

We thought that it was gratuitous at the time, but it produced results.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

I meant my hon. friend's comment.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

Let us get away from these big words.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

We have urged that the steps that are taken in this house should be taken in keeping with the seriousness of the times through which we are passing. Among the

many things that have been said over the radio and have been written, I think it should be almost compulsory to read the record of the speech given last Sunday night by Mr. Ross Munro over the C.B.C., and also an article which appeared in Life magazine, and which was republished in the Ottawa Journal of September 2 under the title: "The Battle of No Name Ridge". This was an article written by James Bell, who described the things that he had seen in the desperate struggle for one of the ridges which are so critical to the outcome of the battle which is taking place in Korea today. I was particularly struck with one expression that was used in the article. In relating the statements of one of the officers in regard to the situation it quoted an officer named Craig as saying this, after having referred to some of the tragic things he had seen:

We'll take this piece of real estate, but the cost is going to be terrible.

Mr. Speaker, he was referring to a ridge without a name in distant Korea. His men of the marine corps had already made their first assault and almost all of them had been lost. But he went on to say, "We will take that piece of real estate, but the cost will be terrible." [DOT]

I think all of us might for a moment consider what that "real estate" means to each one of us. It is not land in Korea that is in issue in the struggle there. What is in issue in that struggle is a great principle, a principle which has been given practical expression for the first time in history, when free nations will stand together to preserve their freedom. Never before have we seen joint action of this type under an organization such as the United Nations.

Only yesterday the Secretary General of the United Nations spoke of the importance of what is taking place there. While I am not quoting his words exactly, their import was that if we succeed in Korea a tremendous step forward will have been taken in restraining aggression anywhere else. He also said that if we had not taken joint action there we would have seen one move of aggression after another throughout the world. He might have added, in clear and definite terms, that if this effort to restrain aggression by joint action should fail-and God forbid that that should happen-then it would be extremely difficult to convince any of the other puppets of the Kremlin that it is dangerous to carry out their instructions.

Yes, there is real estate at issue in that struggle; but the real estate is not the real estate in Korea so much as it is the real estate which makes up the homes of the people in this and every other country

Essential Materials (Defence) Act throughout the world. What is being determined there is whether the very centre of our free life, the homes where our young people are brought up and are taught to face the future, is to be secure under a free and democratic system, or whether those pieces of real estate here and in other countries are to come under the vilest form of slavery the world has ever known.

That is the issue. The issue is whether some day we are going to see commissars coming in through the door and telling us how we shall live, or whether we are still going to be able to regard those homes as the places where freedom finds its full expression in the most decent terms.

That is the issue; and we must gauge everything we do to the imp'ortance and to the scale of that issue. The issue is not the fight in Korea, but is one which stands before us, throughout the whole world. We have urged, and we urge again, that the government face that issue with a recognition of an emergency on a scale which has not been interpreted by the government. Having said that, let me add that no matter how much we recognize the emergency, and no matter how much we want it clearly defined, that should never be an excuse for supporting bills which disregard the basic principles of parliament, bills which disregard the responsibility of members, bills which in any way depart from the constitutional authority and responsibility of parliament.

Certain things have been said about the bill not declaring an emergency. I am not going to deal with the statements made by the speaker who followed the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), because they are not worthy of further consideration; but I am going to refer to a bill adopted by the government in 1945, a bill which was passed and became the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act. That was the measure which laid the foundation for wide emergency powers on a basis similar to that we are now asked to approve. The words used were quite similar in many cases.

In that bill the nature of the emergency was both stated and declared in the preamble which, after reciting the general faot that certain orders in council had been passed under the War Measures Act, used these words:

And whereas the national emergency arising out of the war has continued since the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan and is still continuing; and whereas it is essential in the national interest that certain transitional powers continue to be exercisable by the governor in council during the continuation of the exceptional conditions brought about by the war and it is preferable that such transitional powers be exercised hereafter under

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Essential Materials (Defence) Act special authority in that behalf conferred by parliament instead of being exercised under the War Measures Act.

This is on all lours with the measure now before us. The legislation has been whittled down year by year so that there are only four continuing powers remaining under it. The very government which now presents this bill to parliament, asking for similar but much wider powers than those conferred under the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, saw fit then to state and to declare the emergency upon which that measure was based.

This is not something to be dealt with in the manner in which an attempt was made to deal with it. This is not something put forward only for the purpose of seeking to raise issues of one kind and another. May I say again, however, that every member of the house has a right to resent the suggestion that when he makes an argument regarding a measure of this kind which does not happen to conform with the stated views of the government, there is some sinister or hidden purpose behind the argument he makes.

This bill is one which recites the events that have taken place; it recites the fact that parliament has approved of the action of Canada in the discharge of its obligations under the charter of the United Nations; it recites the fact that Canada, in order to safeguard national security and to assist the United Nations, is making certain defence preparations; it recites the fact that steel and other materials, electrical energy and other services will be urgently required; but it does not state in any way that the situation described there creates an emergency or a situation which necessitates the abandonment of our ordinary constitutional allocation of authority.

If the mere recital of events, important though they may be, is sufficient at any time to support the statement that it is desirable for the dominion government to do something, if that is good in law, then I submit that our constitution has become a mere scrap of paper. It is only necessary to recite events, to state that it is desirable that certain things be done and the dominion government can then step into any field, whether it is covered by section 91 or section 92 of the British North America Act or by the broader residual powers contained in that act.

It seems to me that it is most unfortunate to introduce a bill with the broad applications of this bill just before the time when the dominion government is meeting representatives of the provincial governments to

discuss joint dominion-provincial affairs, because this bill does not attempt to specify those subjects which can be dealt with under the bill. I hope no one will suggest that it is not possible to specify the materials and services which are to be subject to the provisions of the bill because the government under the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act of 1945 did specify the subjects which could be dealt with under the wide powers therein conferred. Section 2 of that act reads:

The governor in council may do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may, by reason of the continued existence of the national emergency arising out of the war against Germany and Japan, deem necessary or advisable for the purpose of

(a) providing for and maintaining the armed forces of Canada during the occupation of enemy territory and demobilization and providing for the rehabilitation of members thereof;

(b) facilitating the readjustment of industry and commerce to the requirements of the community in time of peace;

(c) maintaining, controlling and regulating supplies and services, prices, transportation, use and occupation of property, rentals, employment, salaries and wages to ensure economic stability and an orderly transition to conditions of peace;

(d) assisting the relief of suffering and the restoration and distribution of essential supplies and services in any part of His Majesty's dominions or in foreign countries that are in grave distress as the result of the war; or

(e) continuing or discontinuing in an orderly manner, as the emergency permits, measures adopted during and by reason of the war.

If it was possible in 1945 to specify the subjects, materials and services which were to be covered by the terms of an act of this kind, it is equally possible now and may I suggest that it is infinitely more important because we are now going back to something which we thought only a short time ago we had abandoned. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) has expressed his disapproval and dislike of controls. We now have before us a bill providing for the widest measure of controls over all aspects of our daily life and the economy of our country, but without specifying what is to be done or the subjects that are to be covered. That is something which we think calls for -careful definition and careful drafting.

Of course the Minister of Trade and Commerce did say that if this bill were passed he would regard it simply as a stand-by power. That expression is often used in regard to power of other kinds. The suggestion is made that if the gentle suggestion of the minister is not -acted upon quickly enough the power will be connected. You can visu* alize a more ready response to his suggestion by any person who feels that power operating.

The minister says that this power is to be something in the nature of a club to get results.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Your words, not mine.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I am giving a simple and clear interpretation of what the minister means. The minister means exactly what he says, that he wants behind him power of this kind so that he can say to anybody he deals with, "You do this, or else." That is not what I understand to be the rule of law, either in time of emergency or otherwise. I think in a time when the main issue is the difference between two systems, one a free system and the other a slave system, we should make sure that government is not conducted on the basis of "you do this, or else."

I am not using that term as a term of offence so far as the minister is concerned. This is a bill that we are being asked to put on the statute books to become operative for any minister who may occupy that position. If we take the assurance that it is not intended to put this bill into effect then what we are being asked to do is to pass a bill which is not to be operative as law even though it is on the statute books. The Winnipeg Free Press of August 26 contains a report of a speech delivered in Toronto by the Minister of Trade and Commerce in which he is reported as saying:

_ Those who believe that we are plunging headlong into the controlled economy of those years-

That is, the war years.

are mistaken. Those who are hoarding, those who are raising prices in anticipation of a controlled economy, are doing a disservice to themselves and to the communities in which they live.

All will agree with the latter part of that statement, but the general substance of what the minister said was summed up in a heading in the Winnipeg Free Press of that date in which they said that the Minister of Trade and Commerce denies controls are coming. If that is so then it does not improve the situation in dealing with this bill. It simply means that instead of government by law we are going to have government by blackmail. That is exactly what it means. You are not going to say, "Here is the law, which we have laid down in clear and understandable terms." People who produce, whether they be farmers, industrialists or anyone else, are going to be told, "If you do not do what we tell you, then we will pass an order in council that will deal with it, under our wide and almost unlimited powers." That is absolutely contrary to the basic principles of the rule of law and the responsibility of parliament for the type of law it enacts.

Essential Materials (Defence) Act

Yes; we want those measures which will hold down the cost of living, prevent inflation, and make it possible for the minister to deal effectively with the requirements of our defence preparations. We not only say that without reservation; we urge that effective steps be taken. Saying that, we also urge that the bill this house passes should be consistent with our traditions, with the experience of the last war, and with the frequent statement by the minister himself that he wants our people to know what controls there will be. For that reason we urge most earnestly that this bill be not now read a second time, but that the government review the matter and bring in a bill which will clearly state what the government considers to be the emergency and declare that emergency, as it did in 1945 under a similar bill. We urge also that it specify, just as it did under section 2 of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act in 1945, what the subjects, services and materials are with which it proposes to deal.

We wish to support effective measures. We hope, however, the government will remember its own statements in regard to its experience with controls, and that in this case it will be prepared to review its decision and bring in effective legislation which will enable it to deal with the emergency which does exist, but which will still retain the authority of parliament over laws and establish the rule of law within this country.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. J. W. Noseworthy (York South):

Mr. Speaker, I, too, will support this bill. I am not nearly as alarmed at the prospect of giving to a government elected by the people necessary powers in a time of emergency as is the leader of the official opposition (Mr. Drew). I feel that under our democratic system it becomes necessary to entrust emergency powers to the government for use in a time of national crisis, and that so long as that government has to go back to the people for re-election, and so long as its policy has to secure the support of a majority in the house, we are not endangering democracy by giving that power.

I am not surprised to hear the speakers for the opposition oppose these controls. As a matter of fact I was a little surprised to hear the leader of the official opposition state so unreservedly that he was in favour of controls which would curb the rise in prices and assist in the production of those goods necessary for war. Especially was I surprised in view of the way he and his party voted a few days ago on our subamendment, which asked for these controls and subsidies for the express purpose of curbing the rise in the cost of living. For three years here during the war I listened to Conservative opposition

Essential Materials (Defence) Act to any controls that were brought into operation by the government. I listened to their oratory, and to their pleas to the government to decontrol the moment war was over. All their opposition to controls and their appeals for decontrol did them no more good in June, 1949, than our support of controls did us. They were just out of step with the public. Whether or not we were also out of step is not clear. This much is certain, however, that it was not the general public who were crying for decontrol immediately after the war. As late as 1947 a Gallup poll showed that seventy-six per cent of those polled were in favour of the retention of those controls which had helped keep down prices during those years. The cry against controls did not come from wage earners, housewives or the ordinary people of this country. It came from those sections of society that stood to gain most by the removal of controls. That demand was voiced by the official opposition and by that section of the press which supports it. Certainly there were people who groused about controls during the war. Businessmen groused about the amount of red tape, and I have no doubt there was more red tape than was necessary. But the people who groused most were not the common people, the wage earners, the housewives, those who make up the majority of our population. Wartime controls, I think it is generally agreed, were beneficial to our war effort, and certainly were in the best interests of the people of this country.

There is a fear on the part of some people that controls exercised by a democratically elected government will deprive us of our freedom. I can think of only one freedom that will be jeopardized by such controls; that is the freedom of those in positions of power and influence to raise prices and exploit their fellow men to the limit the traffic will bear. I feel it is the duty of a government to protect that large part of our population which is at the complete mercy of those who would exploit them. We speak of the present high prices being due to increased wages, the low productivity of labour, scarcities, and so on. Certainly when we have a scarcity, whether it is genuine or whether it is artificially created by those who control any given commodity, prices rise. It is not a question of the cost of production. It is simply a question of what the traffic will stand. We see that today manufacturers are refusing to quote prices on goods for future delivery because prices are rising. Within two weeks' time they may be able to put up the price, not that the cost of production within those two weeks has increased; it is not a question

of relating it to the cost of production, it is just a question of getting what the traffic will bear.

I want to deal briefly with this theory that the high cost of living today is due to high wages and low man-hour productivity. That is the theory which the press that supports the official opposition, and the press that supports the government, has been building up recently. It is a great line of propaganda built up by those who are paid to build up that type of propaganda to leave that impression in the public mind. Actually those receiving the wages and salaries are today receiving a smaller portion of every dollar that business spends than they were receiving in 1938, one year before the war. The dominion bureau of statistics reports, in the national accounts of income and expenditures, that in 1938 36 cents out of every dollar that was paid out by business and industry across this country was paid in wages and salaries. In 1948, and I do not think the picture is very different today, only 35 cents out of every dollar paid out by business and industry went into wages and salaries. In other words, wages and salaries today are receiving a smaller percentage of every dollar that is paid out by industry and business than was received in 1938.

On the other hand, in 1938 corporation profits amounted to 7 cents out of every dollar paid out by business. In 1948 corporation profits received 11 cents out of every dollar paid out by business. Today wages are receiving 1 per cent less of every dollar paid out by business and industry than was received in 1948. In 1948 corporation profits were receiving about 4 per cent more.

I want to take a second example from the dominion bureau of statistics figures. From these figures I am trying to show that the rise in wages and low productivity is not the main cause of our present rise in the cost of living. If we take 1938 as represented by 100 in each case, wages and salaries for 1948 reached 302 or just about three times what they were in 1938. On the same basis corporation profits in 1948 reached 468, nearly five times what they were in 1938. The average of all expenditures made by business and industry, putting 1938 at 100, amounted to 312 in 1948. Wages, at 302, were slightly below the average, whereas corporation profits were much above the average.

The effect of controls during the early forties is clearly shown in a table set forth here by the dominion bureau of statistics. Wages and salaries during the early forties, the years that are known as the controlled years, hovered around the four billion

mark. In 1942, 1943 and 1944, they were either just below or just above the four billion mark. In 1948 they were just above the six billion mark, or an increase of one-third over 1938. Corporation profits during these controlled years, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, hovered around the one billion mark. In 1948, they went over the two billion mark. In other words, the total amount of corporation profits in 1948 as compared with 1938 was more than doubled. Wages and salaries in 1948 as compared with 1938 were just about one-third higher.

Here is another example taken from a table issued by the Bank of Canada and entitled "Profits, Statistics for 450 Companies, Summary Statement". For the 450 companies the net income after taxes had been paid during the controlled years 1941, 1942, 1943. and 1944, ranged from $235 million to $263 million. It was rather steady for those four years. In 1949 the net income was up to $499 million, more than double what it was during the controlled period. From these statistics it is quite evident that business and industry stood to gain more from decontrol than wages and salaries. In the same statistics there is given a break-down by classifications. Here are a few figures from that break-down. In the industries dealing with food and food processing, the stockholders had to be content, under control during the early forties, with from $7 million to $8 million a year net income. In 1948 and 1949 they managed to get just over $13 million. Then let us take the primary textile industries. During the years when there were controls, they had to be content with somewhere between $3 million and $4 million a year. In 1949 they received $10 million. I find that the pulp and paper industry, which is probably enjoying tough times during war, had to be content in 1942, 1943 and 1944 with net income ranging .from $9 million to $12 million. In 1948 they received $64 million and in 1949 they were still up to $54 million. The iron and steel industries, under control, which had to be content with from $12 million to $13 million, received $25 million in 1948. The electrical equipment industry which had to be content with $8 million during the control years received $21 million in 1948. These are the net incomes received by shareholders of those industries. In the non-ferrous metal industries the amount received in net income rose from $70 million in the forties to $111 million in 1948. Then here is a remarkable case, namely the retail trade and service industries. Those were the industries with assets over $200,000. They are not the little corner grocery stores; they are not the small independents; they are the chain and departmental stores. Under control they had to be

Essential Materials (Defence) Act content with $6 million net income each year; but in 1948 they were able to get up to $16 million.

I submit that an important part of the rise in the cost of living is to be found not entirely in the rise in wages or the drop in the productivity of the worker but rather in the income that has been siphoned off and charged up to consumers. I think one fact that we must keep in mind i9 that the Canadian consumer pays those profits just as directly as he pays his taxes to this government. Those profits come out of the consuming public just as much as do the taxes which are paid to the Canadian government.

I therefore submit in closing, Mr. Speaker, that the main factor contributing to the rising cost of living is not the rise in wages or the low man-hour productivity. Unless the picture has changed in 1950 from what it was in 1948 and 1949, wages and salaries today are still taking less of every dollar paid out by business and industry than wages and salaries were taking in 1938. There is no doubt that these statistics show, on the other hand, that corporation profits share of that dollar is, in practically every instance, twice what it was, not in 1938 but during the war years in which we had controls. They further show that the benefactors of decontrol were not the wage earners and the salary earners of this country; they were the shareholders of the corporations.

As the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) has said, my quarrel with this bill is that it does not state explicitly enough-in fact, I do not know whether it states it at all-that the minister is given power to control prices right across the board, if necessary. The leader of the official opposition told us that this bill empowers the minister to do just that. I hope it does. But I would like the bill much better if the minister could stand up and give us the assurance that it gives him power to control prices across the board and thereby to check the rising cost of living which today is eating more and more into the pay envelope or salary cheque of every worker in this country.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. L. Smith (Calgary West):

I have

said very little, Mr. Speaker, during the present session of the House of Commons. In fact, my attendance in the house has not been good for reasons which 1 think might be obvious to everyone. We members do not, however, need to worry so much about that because the correspondent of the Globe and Mail has taken over responsibility for the morals of members having regard to attendance in the House of Commons,

526 HOUSE OF

Essential Materials (Defence) Act and he puts your name in the paper when you are not there. In order that he may have complete information as to last Saturday, I should like to say that I was at the football match between Ottawa and Hamilton and enjoyed it greatly. I repeat that I was there on a Saturday afternoon.

I shall not discuss any other than one detail of the bill which is before us, and I shall discuss that with the idea that I am being helpful to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (Mr. Garson), who no doubt is responsible for the legislation which is brought down.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

And also the Solicitor

General.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

I know, but he is the fellow who lets you out of jail when you should stay there. He is the man who runs that kind of show.

I agree with the leader of my party that this bill gives the widest of powers to the government by order in council. I have read it very carefully, and I have looked up the odd authority. 1 intend to give the house the benefit-perhaps that is the wrong word to use-of my views as to what the law is with respect to matters of this kind. However, before I do that may I say that this bill may have some indirect benefits that are not contemplated by us at the present time.

For example, under this legislation the minister will have the power to pass regulations to take care of a strike against the people of Canada. He will have power to settle another problem which has been agitating us for a long time, namely, the settlement of the freight rate discussion, the most futile and foolish thing that I know of, that has been going on. It has been a great thing for some lawyers, but it has accomplished nothing for anyone else. There is now an appeal before the Privy Council of Canada, which is the most nonsensical kind of appeal that I ever heard of. I attended one of them more years ago than I care to remember. What happens is this: One day you will have Jones and Smith-I have promoted myself to the cabinet rather quickly, I know-in attendance. The next day you will have Brown and Robinson, and Jones and Smith will not be there. They will not be there for good reasons. They will be looking after their departments, and looking after the business of the country. Therefore these appeals from the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada to the Privy Council of Canada are, to my mind, the most futile and even nonsensical methods which could ever be adopted to try to settle any problem.

In other words, the railways need a certain amount of revenue. They can only get it

from rates. Why in the world we cannot settle what that amount is, find out what it costs to run a railroad, give them their percentage of profit and work out some scheme of that kind, is beyond me. I mention these two things because in our discussions with respect to the strike we accomplished nothing in connection with the great broad problem of solving deadlocks in labour matters.

I do not wish the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) any ill, but now he has an opportunity to take care of situations of that kind. I am sure that if he were to consult me I could give him some excellent ideas with respect to what this House of Commons should do. I think it might be an excellent idea to get the rule of law operating just a little bit in connection with these matters. No one would be harmed very much, and we might find some finality. But he seems to welcome problems, and a couple more of the kind I have mentioned will be handled by him expeditiously at least because I am sure the minister is expeditious. Whether he is right or wrong is an entirely different matter. Perhaps his greatest quality is how quickly he does things. That is not a bad quality because when he is wrong he finds out quickly, and I am sure his colleagues will be of great assistance in putting him on the right track once that has been demonstrated. But his mind is such that you need the demonstration; you do not need just arguments with respect to it.

On this bill I confine myself to one point. I said a moment ago that I am taking this position to be of assistance. No one has denied or will deny what we need in this time of emergency-let us not be afraid to use the word. That is the only reason we are here. We were called to an emergency session, a special session.

I spoke of the Minister of Justice, and I speak to him now with the respect and deference that is due to his high position. I say that in my judgment this bill, from a constitutional point of view, is not worth the paper it is written on, and will be upset if anyone cares to attack it.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

A curbstone opinion.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

Horseback is a better expression to use. But it may be that a reading of the Canada Temperance Act case will support everything I say. If the minister wants some light reading here it is.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

However, you do not get paid for the opinion.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

He who is without hope is finished. Since the minister is going to control all these things I will be around with my little bill looking straight at him.

*

Essential Materials (Defence) Act

I lay this down as a basis. The fact that obligations are international has not altered the basic law of this country one single bit. That was held by the privy council and there is no doubt about it whatever. The year was 1937, and that has not been altered. I say this. The law has gone so far that the only way this parliament can interfere with or abridge the rights of the provinces is that there must not only be a state df emergency, but you must in your statute declare that emergency as a matter of fact. Here surely is the position. What the privy council did in the Canada Temperance Act case was virtually to say that if the parliament of Canada said, as a fact, that an emergency existed, then any argument to the contrary, that there was no emergency, was futile. Perhaps it was not put just as simply as I have put it, but that is the law in Canada today.

In his speech the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) prided himself and his department on the fact that they had found another method of interfering with the powers of the provinces. The minister shakes his head.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

He shakes his head horizontally. I do not want to seem to be agreeing with my hon. friend.

Topic:   ESSENTIAL MATERIALS (DEFENCE) ACT PROVISION FOR CONTROL AND REGULATION OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF ESSENTIAL MATERIALS AND SERVICES
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

Well, I think if your head had a little more shaking in other directions it might improve your appearance. It is my humble opinion that there is no way in which this parliament can interfere with the jurisdiction of the provinces except by expressly saying that they are doing so in an emergency. If we did say that, that we are taking action because of an emergency, there would be no question of anyone coming along and arguing successfully that there is no emergency.

That is what the privy council has said, and that is the law of the country. I say this -and it is not said in a partisan way-that this statute of ours is based upon there being a national emergency. If so, why do we not say so? Why are we all afraid to say that an emergency exists?

I said I intended to try to be helpful. If this legislation is to stand up anywhere, then I think the government must go as far as I have said. It is not sufficient to deal with it as it is dealt with in the third paragraph, which states:

And whereas effective action by Canada in order to safeguard the national security and to assist the United Nations in accordance with its obligations makes it necessary to provide for defence preparations on a greatly increased scale.

As a matter of law they might have been dealing with butter, leather or anything else.

But it does not alter the fact that, to have our legislation stand up, we must be explicit. Of course orders in council do interfere with the rights of the provinces. I submit once again-and with this I conclude-that there is no way I can find where parliament has power to abridge the jurisdiction of the provinces, except for the one reason of an emergency. If that emergency exists parliament must say so, not as a matter of law but as a matter of fact.

If we say that as a matter of fact, then the government can do almost anything it wishes to do. I ask the minister to accept my suggestion, not because I have any reputation as a constitutional lawyer. I have not. After all it seems to me the expression "constitutional lawyer" is greatly exaggerated in this country. The constitutional cases are very few indeed; one could read them all in an evening.

We are now seeking to do improperly what we can do properly by the method I have suggested. We are seeking by indirection to do something which we do not care to do by the simple and direct method. I do not want anyone, particularly the minister, to be offended by my use of a word, but I must say that what this measure does is to try to do by subterfuge what could be done directly.

Topic:   ESSENTIAL MATERIALS (DEFENCE) ACT PROVISION FOR CONTROL AND REGULATION OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF ESSENTIAL MATERIALS AND SERVICES
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Would the hon. member permit a question? Is it his impression that this parliament has the power to pass laws regarding defence, and regarding trade and commerce?

Topic:   ESSENTIAL MATERIALS (DEFENCE) ACT PROVISION FOR CONTROL AND REGULATION OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF ESSENTIAL MATERIALS AND SERVICES
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

With regard to trade and commerce?

Topic:   ESSENTIAL MATERIALS (DEFENCE) ACT PROVISION FOR CONTROL AND REGULATION OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF ESSENTIAL MATERIALS AND SERVICES
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September 9, 1950