February 4, 1953

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraith:

Mr. Speaker, I am not in

a position to say whether the government will take any action on that matter. It is quite obvious that I cannot state that. I may say that the minister is in Cuba today and it would be quite improper for me to try to forecast what will be the result of the meetings he is now attending.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY REGARDING IMPORTATION OF REFINED CUBAN SUGAR
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY REGARDING IMPORTATION OF REFINED CUBAN SUGAR
Permalink

LABOUR CONDITIONS

ALLEGED MALTREATMENT OF UNION MEMBERS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

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

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson). Has the minister's attention been drawn to reports of maltreatment by the police of union members out on strike against Canadian Copper Refiners, Limited, in Montreal East? Will the minister look into this matter to make sure that the rights of these workers as Canadian citizens are protected and that the principles of justice are not being violated?

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   ALLEGED MALTREATMENT OF UNION MEMBERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN COPPER REFINERIES
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, my attention has been drawn to the newspaper account in question by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). I have seen it in the Montreal Gazette this morning. Other than that I have no knowledge of the matter.

While we are quite willing to look into the matter as he suggested, and shall do so, I would point out to him that, so far as the newspaper account seems to indicate, this is a matter that would clearly come within the administration of justice which, under section 92, paragraph 14, of the British North America Act, is the exclusive responsibility of the province.

National Defence Act COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   ALLEGED MALTREATMENT OF UNION MEMBERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN COPPER REFINERIES
Permalink

INQUIRY AS TO PENDING PROSECUTIONS


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. Diefenbaker (Lake Centre):

wish to direct a question to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) in connection with the combines report which he just tabled. Are there any pending prosecutions at the present time, and particularly in regard to the alleged combine in the production of fine papers?

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO PENDING PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):

In reply to my hon. friend's question, if he means that an information has been laid and that it is pending in that sense, the answer would be no. If I let the answer remain at that point, however, I think it would mislead the house. We are at the present time considering prosecution in the fine papers case.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO PENDING PROSECUTIONS
Permalink
PC

NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT

PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved

the third reading of Bill No. 103, to amend the National Defence Act.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker, during the debate on second reading of this bill it was made abundantly clear by members on this side of the house that they considered that it was necessary to give some assistance to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) in order to correct the general breakdown in the administration of his department which had been disclosed; and also to ensure the efficient functioning of that department in the future. Members on this side of the house feel that unless the duties of the assistant minister are clearly defined, and if he is only given loose powers of supervision over the administration of all branches in that department, the Minister of National Defence will not be released from the overburden of responsibility which has led to the breakdown in the department.

In order to correct this situation we have recommended that an associate minister for air, with definite responsibilities, be appointed, thus relieving the present minister from some of his duties.

I therefore move, seconded by the hon. member for Calgary East (Mr. Harkness):

That the said bill be nqt now read the third time, but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole for the purpose of amending section 1 thereof by adding the words "for air" after the word "defence" in the sixth line thereof; and by adding the words "for air" after the word

"defence" in the eleventh line thereof; and for the purpose of amending section 2 thereof by adding the words "for air" after the word "defence" in the sixth line thereof; and by adding the words "for air" after the word "defence" in the eleventh line thereof.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Jean Frangois Pouliot (Temiscouata):

I rise to oppose the amendment because it is untimely and meaningless. There are three branches in national defence, the militia, the navy and the air. At the present time, in virtue of this legislation, there are two associate ministers for the whole Department of National Defence which administers the three branches, the militia, the navy and the air. I cannot understand how an hon. gentleman, with the experience of the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes), does not make the necessary distinction between the land and sea forces as he does for the air. His amendment refers only to the air service. He seems to be satisfied that there will be an associate minister for the militia and for the navy, which are two entirely different units. I do not see why he jumps at once in the air for a third minister of national defence.

This, sir, is my understanding. I do not realize the usefulness of having a third minister of national defence for air services when the two who are actually in office are entitled to look after the administration of the three branches of the armed forces. There is more to it. The idea of the hon. gentleman, and of the members of his party, apparently is to give more responsibility to the minister. Both ministers of national defence will enjoy a limited degree of jurisdiction over the department in virtue of the order in council that will be passed in due course or that has been passed by the government. Therefore, sir, in virtue of the legislation presently before us, the duties conferred upon both ministers are given to them by ithe government itself.

In his previous speech on the matter, and in the previous speeches of the hon. gentlemen of his party who spoke on this matter, reference was made to the responsibilities of the minister. If I understand the meaning of the amendment before the house, the hon. member who sponsored the amendment had in view the suggestion of limiting the responsibility of each minister. He did not do so for the land and sea services, but he intends to do so for the air service. I cannot conceive why a gentleman and a parliamentarian of his experience has not dealt with'l*%.K2 basis of responsibility of the associate ministers of national defence. He knows what I am coming to, and I am sure that when I am through with what I am

going to say he will honour me by concurring entirely with me. It appears to be a difficult proposition, but I have enough confidence in the good judgment, the experience and wisdom of the hon. gentleman to be sure that he will agree with me. I say that because of my deep conviction that common sense should be at the basis of all parliamentary debates, in order that the legislation coming before the house and passed by it shall serve its ultimate purpose for the good government of this country.

Well now, sir, that being said, what is the responsibility of the minister? It exists inasmuch as he is the master of his department just the same as the hon. gentleman was master of his divisional unit, the one he was commanding during the war. If there were members of that unit who were coming from different units, as soon as they were put under his command he had full authority over them. Is that true or is it not? Nobody will disagree with that statement. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, my conclusion is that the ministers of national defence, -any one of them, any one of the associate ministers; when I say "the ministers of national defence" the term applies to both ministers-in order to have direct responsibility to the House of Commons for the dealings of their department, must have authority over each one of the civil servants or high officials who are within the Department of National Defence. I presume that everybody agrees with me in that statement. How can we say that any minister of national defence has any responsibility to the House of Commons with regard to men who belong to another department? Would it be fair? Would it be just? It would not be. Pure and simple common sense teaches us that it is important that each minister-and I say that not only as to the Department of National Defence but as to the department of any one of the cabinet ministers-should have direct, immediate and complete jurisdiction over ail those within the department.

Why do the cabinet ministers bring their estimates before the House of Commons of Canada? They do so in order to render account of the dealings of their department and of the payments made by the department to anyone, not only for salaries and wages but for all kinds of expenditures that are approved by the department.

In any contract what is required? It is the consensus of one about a definite thing, whether it be a thing to buy or a thing to do. An essential part of a contract also is the payment that is made whether it be payment of salaries, of wages, for services

National Defence Act

or for things that are delivered to the purchaser. In this case the Minister of National Defence has no authority whatever concerning the payment made on behalf of his department. Those payments are not made by officials of his department. Those payments are made by the officials of another department who are intruders within the department. The minister has no authority over the treasury officials in his department who are under the comptroller of the treasury and who are under the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott). I do not make that statement in order to complain of the Minister of Finance. I do so in order to bring to the attention of my hon. colleagues some facts that I hope will provide them with food for thought.

May I quote an example? Right here within this House of Commons the treasury officials are not civil servants under the authority of Mr. Speaker; they belong to the Department of Finance. They are a branch of the comptroller of the treasury. The cheques that are issued here are issued by the House of Commons branch of the comptroller of the treasury. Here in the House of Commons we have elevator men but they are not under Mr. Speaker; they are under the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier), Our speeches are translated but they are not translated by men who are under the direct jurisdiction of Mr. Speaker as they were in days gone by. They are translated by men who belong to the bureau for translations and who are under the Secretary of State Department. I could quote other examples but I content myself with giving only a few in order that the house may understand mj contention well enough that they may say I am not out of order when I discuss these matters which are of vital importance tc each member of the cabinet and to each member of the house.

Any one of the ministers of national defence cannot buy a soldier's cap or s sailor's cap; he has to make a requisitior for it. When the legislation was changed ] said that the then minister of national defence, who was transferred to anothei department some time afterward, had beer emasculated as to his political jurisdictior over his own staff. Why can they not ordei the purchase of one thing for any one of the branches of the department? The answer is that they are not responsible for the payment for that thing; it comes under the Department of Finance.

I also remember that the national defence purchasing board was established in order tc supply the Department of National Defence

National Defence Act

with the things that were requisitioned by the minister. For many years, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has had no authority whatever with regard to the payments made by his department, and which should be made by his department but are effectively made by the Department of Finance through the office of the comptroller of the treasury.

That change which was made by the late Mr. Bennett had a considerable effect upon the jurisdiction and the responsibility of the Minister of National Defence. In order to give an idea of the growth of the comptroller of the treasury's office, on July 3, 1935, at page 4198 of Hansard, the late Mr. Mackenzie King said:

The appropriation in the main estimates for this jffice was $1,576,851, an increase of $7,112 over the mte of the previous year. We are now being isked to vote an additional $80,000-

So the total amount that was voted for ;he comptroller of the treasury's office in 1935 was $1,586,000. And if I look at the public accounts for 1951-52 I see that the expenditures in 1950-51 were $12,719,000 for ;he same purpose; in 1951-52 the amount vas $14,030,092, and the appropriations in 1951-52 were $14,246,433. These numbers are n italics in the public accounts for 1951-52. The increase has been nearly tenfold in the ast seventeen years.

According to a chart of May, 1938, there vere 79 employees of the comptroller of the reasury in the Ottawa office of the Depart-nent of National Defence and there were '3 in the outside offices, making a total of .52. There must be ten times as many now, jecause the cost of keeping that office is ipproximately ten times as much as it was eventeen years ago. Would it be fair to ay that neither of the associate ministers if national defence has any responsibility to he House of Commons for dealing with those nen who do not come under him in the lepartment? They do not have to listen to ny minister of national defence, but they lave to listen to the Minister of Finance nd they are supposedly independent of all he other ministers, including the head of he government.

They may make concessions, but according d the legislation that has been passed, and he orders in council relating thereto, this 5 the situation that we have to face now. 'hat is why I ask the hon. gentleman who .as proposed the amendment to listen to the fords of Mr. Mackenzie King on March 22, 934, as reported at page 1713 of Hansard:

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King

Liberal

Mr. Mackenzie King:

I do think it is most

nportant that parliament should retain the power, rhich it has had for fifty years, of exercising mtrol over public expenditures in the manner in

which formerly it did. I submit that at the time the bill was introduced the house was not given to understand that the new appointment of comptroller provided by the act meant any withdrawal from the Auditor General of this particular function, which is the most important of all he formerly had, and placing it in the hands of an officer of one of the departments of government. Had the house so understood, I am sure there would have been strong opposition to such a proposal, and that the house would never have consented thereto. I am not sure that when the government brought in the bill its members appreciated the fact that this would be the consequence.

And there is more to it. If one knows how this legislation operates by statute and by order in council, it is the present Auditor General who was appointed the first comptroller of the treasury in 1931. I remember at the time that the then deputy minister of finance was coming fresh from a banking firm of Chicago, the Strauss firm. He had not the same experience as he had when he died, and he was full of ideas on centralization. He succeeded very easily in convincing the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) that his proposal was the best that could be accepted, and he had in his department a gentleman who had very little experience in accounting, and who has acquired more experience since, especially since he has become Auditor General. But this was concocted by two people, by the late W. C. Clark, the deputy minister of finance, and Mr. Sellar, the first comptroller of the treasury who is now Auditor General.

If one appreciates the truth and exactitude of what I have said since I rose this afternoon, how can the Auditor General blame the Minister of National Defence and the Department of National Defence for anything that is done by men who are not under the control and jurisdiction of the Department of National Defence? It seems to be clear enough, sir. The only way out is to give full responsibility to both associate ministers of national defence. These are my concluding words. The only way out is to abolish the office of the comptroller of the treasury and restore parliamentary responsibility in each department in order that each minister of any department should be responsible to the house for all that is done within his department, for the payments as well as for the orders. And that, sir, I leave to the meditation of my hon. friend from Nanaimo and to my colleagues in the house. I wonder if they will say publicly that they agree with me. I consider that they are sincere gentlemen, and I know very well that in the bottom of their hearts they will agree with me, even if they do not say so. And, moreover, I am very positive that they will join me-

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
PC

Lewis Elston Cardiff

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cardiff:

You have a great imagination.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

Well, I am sorry the hon.

gentleman did not catch the point I made. But he needs to meditate a little more. And if he does he will realize that what I have said is based upon parliamentary practice in England. What has been done has been done according to American expediency. Centralization was an American inspiration, while parliamentary responsibility is British to the core.

And that is all I want. I want to be fair to everyone. I am sure that my friends from all sides of the house, when they think over this matter, will join me in protesting against the system of centralization under the comptroller of the treasury, that they will support my contention that the office of the comptroller of the treasury should be abolished. With their support, in a very short time we will succeed, for the good of the country.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink

February 4, 1953