September 11, 1950

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I suggest that the Canadian Press need not apologize or bother to publish the statement of the leader of the opposition to the effect that his amendment would not kill the bill, because it would of course have exactly that effect.

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

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

You are not going to control the press in this bill, are you?

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

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I must say that I am amazed at the direction that the debate on this bill has taken. The bill provides for the allocation of such materials in scarce supply as may be required for the defence of Canada, and for the fixing of prices of materials so allocated, in order that the short supply may not have the effect of increasing prices.

The amendment contains parts facing in two opposite directions. First it says that the government should declare a state of emergency. There could be only one reason for that, namely, an emergency arising out of apprehended war. It would mean invoking the War Measures Act of 1914. That act

would give the government overriding power over provincial jurisdiction and allow it to take any action that in its wisdom it believed to be necessary for the prosecution of government in a state of emergency.

The amendment goes on to say that the government is taking far too wide powers. It suggests that if we wish to allocate materials we should declare in the bill the materials that we wish to allocate; that if we wish to decide what materials are in short supply, we should decide that now; that if we make an error as to the material that may in future become in short supply, there is nothing we could do about it later.

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

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Nonsense.

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

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

The amendment leaves the Conservative opposition in a position to go before the Canadian Corps Association and say: We want to place legislation on the statute books, and we do not want to place any limitation on the powers of the government; we want to invoke the War Measures Act and place the government in a position to do anything required. They could go before the Canadian Manufacturers Association and say: We tried to stop this clubbing of industry into submission-I believe that is a phrase that is used by the opposition. They could say: The government should by this legislation declare what materials are to be controlled, and put them under controls now, so that industry would know where it stands. That is the effect of the amendment.

Some strange phrases are being used. The hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefen-baker) used the stock phrase: "Parliament is being by-passed and ignored." To show the extent to which parliament is being bynpassed and ignored, I would point out to him that in the last twelve months parliament has been in session in the months of September, October, November, January, February, March, April, May, June and August. In other words it has been in session ten out of the last twelve months-and he says that parliament is being ignored.

I believe the hon. member brought in his other phrase, namely, that we were invading fundamental freedoms and human rights in taking power to allocate materials and fix prices.

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

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I never made any such statement or suggestion.

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

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I thought the hon. member did.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Read it.

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

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I thought I could find that in the hon. member's remarks. If he did not include it, I am very glad.

Essential Materials (Defence) Act

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

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Read it.

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

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I would have to argue that we are not exactly doing that. If we are doing it, we are doing it in a very minor way, consistent with the situation in which this country now finds itself.

It has been suggested that this bill will permit the government to take over the railways and settle a railway strike. May I say that it does not permit the government to take over anything. True, it does give the government the right to allocate railway service, provided that there is railway service. In other words, if the railways are carrying on normally, and if it is necessary to move wheat instead of something else, such as newsprint, for instance, the government can pass an order on to the railways to do so. But there is certainly nothing in this bill that will enable the government to take over the railways, and there is nothing in the bill that will allow the government to intervene in a strike such as was dealt with by parliament in the early part of this session. If inadvertently there were such a power in the bill, the government certainly would not make use of it. Hon. members know that the government has a very different process for dealing with labour-management disputes, and there is nothing in this bill to change the process that has applied in that respect over the years.

We are told that this bill constitutes an invasion of provincial jurisdiction. The hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith) went so far as to say that the bill cannot be constitutional because we had no right to invade provincial jurisdiction. I think he took all of ten minutes to study his constitutional points. I suggested his was a curbstone opinion, and he corrected me to say it was a horseback opinion. However, in this bill the government has no intention of invading provincial rights. If any order is issued which constitutes an invasion of provincial rights, the injured party has the right of appeal to the courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada will be quick to abrogate an order if it is in fact an invasion of provincial rights.

The government is advised by its Minister of Justice and is bound to accept the opinion of the Department of Justice-

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Oh!

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

-that this bill is constitutional. The government has the right to bring in measures directed toward the defence of Canada; it also has the right to enact measures relating solely to trade and commerce in this country. The government for the present

Essential Materials (Defence) Act is quite satisfied with that limited right, and feels that no additional rights are justified by the defence situation at this time.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

What does the minister mean by "no additional rights are justified"?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

No rights of invading provincial jurisdiction.

We find the Conservative opposition demanding great war activity. We find them insisting that the manpower devoted to war should be expanded tremendously. We have the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) advocating that the young manpower of this country be conscripted forthwith, and yet we find-

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

On a question of privilege, the minister will not find that statement anywhere, nor can he read that interpretation into my statement, except by a complete twisting of it.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I listened very carefully to the broadcast of the hon. member for Kamloops, and I read it carefully. He demanded conscription, and advised men experienced in warfare not to enlist until they got it. Perhaps his further explanation is required before we just accept his correction.

The point I make is this. The opposition members demand more war activity. The colonels of the Conservative party are demanding that we immediately turn Canada into an armed camp, and yet every measure____

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

That is absolutely untrue.

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

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

That is your statement; I make my own.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Was the hon. member for Kamloops speaking for the leader of the opposition?

Topic:   PROVISION FOR CONTROL AND REGULATION OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF ESSENTIAL MATERIALS AND SERVICES
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September 11, 1950