I also note that the purchase
was made not by tender but by negotiation. I am certainly not going to question the legal implications of this transaction. As far as I am concerned and as far as I know the transaction was perfectly legal. Neither am I going to question the integrity of the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys; but I question the propriety of such a transaction. I question whether a cabinet 68108-171
The Budget-Mr. Argue minister who controls a corporation should allow that corporation to enter into such negotiations with a crown company which is an emanation of the crown. I think a mistake was made. I think it would have been far better to have advertised for tenders. Surely nothing could have been lost because, according to the press report, the minister has made a statement that he paid more than it was worth; it was an inflated price that he paid. That being so, what was there to lose in advertising for tenders, having them submitted, and having the transaction fair and above board in every respect?
I understand that in the United States Mr. Charles Wilson sold all his stock in General Motors when he joined the Eisenhower administration. If I remember correctly the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) has disposed of any interest he had in the company that bears his own name. I do not go so far as to say that any member of the government should get rid of any company in which he may have a controlling interest, but certainly it is very unwise indeed for any minister of the government to have a company owned by him entering into a business transaction to purchase the equipment owned by a crown corporation. It certainly would have been much better if tenders had been asked for, and if, in the ordinary course of the way business is done, on that basis it went to the person or the company who had submitted the highest tender.
I turn now to deal with some aspects of another department. I hold in my hand a table showing the income tax collected from farmers by provinces in 1950. It was taken from the government's own publication, taxation statistics. If the house has no objection I should like to have it printed in Hansard.
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE