June 20, 1955

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

It was certainly an effort.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraiih:

On the last day this bill was discussed and again today we had the effort of the Leader of the Opposition. I took the trouble to refresh my memory from some notes I made at the time he was speaking, and it is very interesting on analysing that speech to note how much time the hon. gentleman-who does hold an honourable position in this house as Leader of the Opposition, a position which I respect and believe is of real importance under our system-took trying to take advantage of interjections to make smart retorts and irrelevant comments about irrelevant subjects.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

What about all the smart and irrelevant interruptions that came from the other side?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraiih:

They were not ignored, I can tell you. It is very interesting to see on checking over my notes-and I am sure Hansard will bear me out-that the greater part of that speech was not addressed to the bill but to the rather free-swinging language with the members in general.

That is the privilege of the Leader of the Opposition. It certainly takes up time, and it may be proper for him to use the time he has in debate in that way. He must be the judge of the propriety of using it in that way.

He did at times deal with the bill; he read some of it. I leave that part of his speech with the suggestion that hon. members on all sides of the house check Hansard carefully, and check the Defence Production Act, and note the number of times the limiting clause in the relevant section was omitted. I am quite sure that if hon. members do that, they will dispose of the effort of the Leader of the Opposition very quickly.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Give us those clauses.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraith:

I shall come to some of the specific sections in a few minutes. I am quite sure that while we heard from him a great deal about the supremacy of parliament, no effort was made to relate the bill to any breach of that principle.

We noted at the same time his appeal directly to the press, not through the Speaker. That, again, is his privilege. If he wishes to do that, he may. I still think it is not quite a parliamentary method, but if he chooses to use it, it is quite proper to do so. But I am quite sure if those same editors to whom he addressed so many of his remarks, and whose opinions he valued so highly, will read his remarks when they have a copy of the act before them, and read those parts of the sections he quoted as against the whole sections from which he was quoting, they will know how to deal with him, and will be able to deal with him much more effectively than I could deal with him.

I feel that the treatment of this subject has gotten out of context altogether. It is not one that should be batted back and forth as a jocular subject. I could not help noting from the interjections of the official opposition and from reading and listening to the remarks of many who spoke, that they seemed to be thinking about defence procurement in terms of the first great war. It was so apparent that they had not brought their thinking about what is involved in defence procurement up to date. The speaker immediately preceding me spoke about an abundance of materials in this country which one can now buy readily. However, defence procurement is no longer a matter of buying ready-made goods off the shelf. It is a vast enterprise involving the organization of industry for the production of very complex and very involved equipment.

I am frank to tell hon. members that I have found it very difficult on occasion to appreciate the complexity of some of the equipment. Perhaps no better illustration of that can be found than in the matter of ship procurement. It used to be that one 50433-3174

Defence Production Act looked mainly at a hull, and it was another shipbuilding job. Now there is such a mass of electronic equipment involved that certainly any limited comprehension I have of a technical subject like that is strained to understand even the most elementary things about such equipment. It takes a matter of three years to procure such articles.

The field of radar is one in which Canadians can take very great pride, for the Canadian effort in radar has been not inconsiderable. When you examine into some of the electronic devices and what is required to produce them, you realize that, after an emergency arises or a war begins, it is not just a matter of going out and buying them; it is a matter of intensive effort three or four years preceding the time that equipment is required.

Then when you deal with the procurement of aircraft and examine into the type of metals required, you find a degree of quality required in those metals that was not thought of even in 1951, when this bill was previously up for discussion. Those types of metals are neither developed nor produced, nor are the other engineering problems involved in putting them into the finished article worked out after an outbreak of war, if that equipment is to be of any use in any such war.

Then when you deal with the subject of our defence, it is no longer a matter, as it was 30 or 40 years ago, of a declaration of war followed by a slow-moving process, according to today's standards. The whole concept is so changed that it is difficult, I would respectfully suggest, for the best of minds to understand the revolution in the technique of war that has taken place ever since the conclusion of the last war 10 years ago. Any study of thermonuclear and other types of weapons and possible defence against their use challenges the imagination. I respectfully suggest that hon. members opposite have not brought their thinking sufficiently up to date on the whole matter of defence procurement or what is required today to defend ourselves.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Owen C. Trainor

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Trainor:

Are you dependent on yourself for that information?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraith:

I am entitled to draw my conclusions from the debate, from observing and listening to hon. members opposite. I am entitled to deal with the speeches they make and to show wherein I think they are wrong. That is the way our system functions.

If hon. members opposite had been really concerned with the supremacy of parliament, I respectfully suggest they would have developed debate on the subject matter before the house; they would have tried to deal with

501$

Defence Production Act the issues I am outlining and to express their views on them. It may well be that I would differ with their views, but at least we would have them following the traditional parliamentary methods of expressing and discussing those views.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

May I ask the hon. member a question?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

Yes.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Does the hon. member really believe that these powers should be made permanent?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

Yes. I shall come to that matter in a moment. I must say that the Social Credit party made their position clear. It seemed to me they were not using the right remedy to support their ideas, but at least they did the house the honour of clearly expressing their views. I happen to disagree with part of them, but they were clearly expressed.

To deal with the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition, I would point out that he dwelt at great length on the phrases "the supremacy of parliament" and "the rule of law". He kept asserting and reasserting those phrases. However, he did not make any attempt to show wherein this act violated the supremacy of parliament or the rule of law. Two or three times I interjected while he was speaking, as Hansard will indicate, and also during the remarks of earlier speakers, asking what section they felt violated those rules.

It is extremely interesting just to look at the bill and see what is provided, because I could get no answer from them. The Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Lambton West made much of section

7. That section gives the minister-and by the way, any legislation setting up a department gives the minister authority to exercise the power in the name of the department- the right to remove directors of a company or corporation incorporated under the Defence Production Act. It gives him that power. In any company the shareholders pretty well have the power-at least they try to have it-to control. They own the company, and in most companies they have the control. Here we have a public company created for the purpose of carrying out the procurement of certain defence supplies, where the crown or the taxpayers are the owners of the company.

Neither the Leader of the Opposition nor the hon. member for Lambton West, when they attacked the power of the minister to remove any director of such a company, said how they would have the interest of the

public protected. Is that not an extraordinary position to take? In some way it is a violation of the rule of law if you permit the government to protect the taxpayers' money or-and I am not sure about this-maybe it is a violation of the supremacy of parliament. That is the extraordinary position in which they have put themselves.

Then you go on with some of the other sections of the act, and you find this about the violation of the rule of law. They read section 22 which provides for an appeal to the exchequer court. It reads as follows:

22. (1) A person affected by an order or direction made by the minister under section 21 . . .

And so on. He may appeal to the exchequer court. Where does that provision violate the rule of law? Do not we in this country believe that disputes between citizens or between citizens and the crown are to be settled by the courts? Where is the violation there?

Then they criticize some of the other sections. They talk about section 24, which is another section giving to a person who feels he has a grievance the right to appeal to the exchequer court. So you may go on all the way through the bill and find references, in case of dispute, to the exchequer court. None of the hon. members opposite have pointed out precisely what their objection is to that reference of disputes to the court.

There is one other matter in connection with the bill that I should like to mention. Much has been made of the right of the crown to appoint a controller. A great to-do was made about that matter today by the Leader of the Opposition. I should just like to draw to the attention of hon. members what the Leader of the Opposition omitted to read in dealing with that subject. The hon. member for Greenwood a few days ago, when speaking on the subject, omitted to read it but on that occasion I interjected and had it put on Hansard. Section 27 starts off in this way:

27. (1) Where the minister is satisfied that

(a) a person who has entered into a defence contract has failed or is likely to fail to perform the contract in a businesslike and efficient manner.-

Then the powers are given. But that limitation is there. The reference is to a defence contractor who "has failed or is likely to fail".

We on the government side were asked many times by speakers of the official opposition to assume our responsibility under this act. In the light of the difficulties of defence procurement, because of the materials required, I wonder what hon. member is willing today to take away from the government the right to step into the plant of a defence contractor when that defence contractor has failed to deliver the goods? Surely

the position is just the opposite to that stated by the Leader of the Opposition.

Then in the list of powers which the Leader of the Opposition read today, he omitted reference to a similar limitation. Of course that is a rather important omission. If hon. members will look at section 31 they will find that it gives the governor in council certain powers. Section 31 reads:

31. (1) The governor in council may do and authorize such acts and things and make from time to time such orders and regulations as he deems necessary to control and regulate the production, processing, distribution, acquisition, disposition or use of essential materials or the supply or use of essential services for the purposes of

(a) ensuring the availability of defence supplies or the construction or operation of defence projects for the defence requirements of Canada and for co-operative arrangements for defence being carried on by Canada and associated governments; . . .

Subsection 2 says-and this was the section the Leader of the Opposition made so much of this morning-

Subject to the regulations, if any, the minister may by order, as he deems necessary for the purposes specified in subsection (1) -

That is the limitation on his powers, and that limitation is not to be found in the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition this morning.

A question then arises as to the exercise of the responsibility of a member of the House of Commons. It was quite proper for the Leader of the Opposition to ask members on the government side to be very careful how they exercised their responsibility as members. It was quite a proper appeal, but I wondered why he did not include his own supporters in that appeal.

Let me point out that anyone who considers this subject, and considers it carefully, is not likely to support the stand of the official opposition on this bill. Anyone who does consider that responsibility is likely to want the very best defence procurement we can get in this country. He is going to want, in order to achieve that purpose, the government authority exercising that responsibility to have such powers as will enable him to have all the defence potential of the country mobilized. He is going to want the defence authority exercising that power to have the authority to put in a controller and use the machinery and equipment of any defence contractor who fails to produce as required.

You know, it is a matter of concern these days as to whether we shall have enough defence, and in time. The whole concept of time has changed, and the idea repeatedly expressed in the words of some members of the opposition that "if the emergency arises we will give you the authority" is almost

Defence Production Act pathetic in that it reveals a failure to understand the concept of time necessary in this day and age.

There is one other thing. The language today from the official opposition is a little more moderate. They were concerned about the rights of citizens. Indeed, we had many splendid excerpts from good writers on that subject read to us by members of the opposition. Some of them read well and some of them read not so well, but some of the excerpts read on that subject were excellent. They were completely irrelevant.

I could not help but wonder why the official opposition, on this bill having to do with the use of property and not with the liberty of the subject, were concerned about the freedom of the individual. If they are sincere, and I must assume that they are, why did they choose this bill that has to do with the use of property-and not the use of property generally but the use of property with respect to defence materials and defence equipment only-as the battleground on which to make their stand? One wonders, and one can only hope that the great Conservative party can rise to a better standard of judgment than to choose a bill having to do with authority to use property for the production of defence equipment as the ground on which to fight the battle for human freedom.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I noticed that all hon. members opposite, and particularly the Leader of the Opposition, seemed repeatedly to make personal references, for example to the absence of the Prime Minister. This reference is on Hansard many times today. The Leader of the Opposition of course did make reference at one point to the fact the Prime Minister was absent dealing with the heads of the provinces in an important dominion-provincial matter. I think all hon. members in the opposition, as well as on this side of the house, will agree that is the proper place for him to be on this occasion.

The other evening when one of the members was making that same observation, it was rather interesting to note that the Leader of the Opposition was out of the chamber at the same time. Is this the real purpose, an attempt to attack the ministers personally?

I hope it is not. If it is, of course it is quite within the rules of the house and quite proper to attack them. I am quite sure that one at least of the ministers under discussion is well able to defend himself. I recall previous attacks at a time when I was more closely associated with the Minister of Defence Production than I am now. I know of no one in the house better able to defend himself than

Defence Production Act that minister. I recall the Leader of the Opposition raising the same kind of debate on the North Star aircraft.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

We had an election on that, did we not?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

At that time the debate revealed a complete lack of comprehension of the subject matter by the Leader of the Opposition, just as this debate does. In any event, that is not what I intended to discuss. What I wanted to say is this. It has not been my habit to speak frequently in the house, but I have had an opportunity not given to many members of working in a junior and humble capacity in connection with the procurement of defence materials. I know something of the difficulties of such procurement, and if I may interject a personal note, I did go through that period and can appreciate the tremendous capacity of the minister responsible for that effort now, and of the publicspiritedness of that effort.

We in Canada are particularly fortunate in having had our defence procurement effort marshalled and administered during the last years by the Minister of Defence Production. I think that indirect attempts to belittle that effort, while they are perfectly within the rules of the house, are not conducive to an appreciation of the subject matter before the house.

Several times, Mr. Speaker, I have been asked if I intend to support this bill. I certainly intend to support it, because Ithink it is a measure that is most necessary and urgent. To those hon. members who ask why not bring it on next July I say, have they thought about organizing a department on a permanent basis on the promise to bring forward a bill next July? Surely now is the proper time to deal with this subject matter. Surely now is the time we should have this subject dealt with. Surely the way to have it dealt with is through debate inparliament-not by threats that we shall be here until the end of July or August ifwe do not fall into line with the wishes expressed by opposition members. Surely the proper way is to have a full discussion and debate of all the arguments both for and against the bill. Surely also there is no abrogation of the rule of law if in any

possible dispute there is the right to go to the exchequer court.

Mr. Speaker, I support this bill with considerable enthusiasm, because I believe it does not in any way give unnecessary powers. I believe it preserves the rule of law. I believe it was drafted in such a way as to protect the rule of law and to protect the supremacy of parliament.

It is interesting to note that on June 13, at the opening of the day's proceedings, a proposal for an amendment was offered by the minister. It was an amendment that would give very extraordinary powers to any 10 members-not to members of the government who have the responsibility, but to any 10 members-to bring any control power before parliament. Is that a violation of the supremacy of parliament? Is the provision for having all the estimates voted by the house a violation of the supremacy of parliament?

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that if hon. members will think this thing through and will examine it carefully they will come to the conclusion that this is a proper bill to come before us now, and that it should have their support.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

William Marvin Howe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. M. Howe (Wellingion-Huron):

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Howe versus Howe.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
PC

William Marvin Howe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Howe (Wellingion-Huron):

Defence Production Act freedoms we hold so dear. Let me quote from Dr. Charles Malik, Lebanese statesman and rapporteur for the United Nations commission on human rights, as follows:

In this age of spreading socialism it is difficult to champion the cause of freedom; it is difficult to shout from the housetops that man cannot be absorbed by society, that he is by nature free to think, free to choose, free to rebel against his own society, or indeed against the whole world, if it is in the wrong. But unless we succeed in preserving and promoting man's inalienable freedom, we shall have traded away his dignity, and we shall have destroyed his worth.

He goes on to say that one of our freedoms is exemption from arbitrary control. Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is why we are interested in this legislation; that is why we are debating it at such length; that is why we feel it is a danger to our freedom and to the democratic systems of our country.

What remarks have been made in support of one of the reasons they have given that the legislation is necessary. I am quoting from the remarks of the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Cameron), on June 8 as reported at page 4547 of Hansard:

It was not labour that went out on strike; it was capital that went on strike in 1939, and that was prepared to let Canada go down the drain if they could not have the terms they wanted from the government and people of this country.

I declare, Mr. Speaker, that 10 years after we finished one of the greatest wars this world has ever known, this statement is a direct affront to the teamwork that was shown in this country by industry, by capital, by the people themselves, and by agricultural organizations, that made possible the great contribution to our war effort. It was one of the greatest things this country has ever done. The statement of the hon. member was a direct affront to these people. The fact that this legislation is being put into force is a great affront to our great industrial leaders today, to the leaders of capital, of finance, of manufacturing, of the labour unions, and of agriculture.

Why do not some of the Liberal members rise in their places and speak on behalf of their own manufacturing organizations? Do you believe they want to have their organizations taken over under legislation of this kind in case of an emergency? Do you believe they are going to think well of this? I do not think they are. Some of them had better start thinking about it, too.

One other thing came to my mind with regard to this legislation. We are proud of our freedom and of our democratic way of life. We are proud of the things we have accomplished. We are proud of our humanitarian effort. We think some other things are

necessary. We set up organizations such as the Colombo plan. We give money to the United Nations for relief in the countries of the East and the Far East. We go over there to give them help.

Last year when we debated this question in the house, what was said? Part of our reason was humanitarian. The other reason was that we had a better way of life, that our democracy was greater, that our freedoms were more widespread than theirs. What are we going to do now? Are we going to lose face? Here we have legislation giving to one individual extraordinary powers. When they see that what are they going to say? Will they not say, where is your democracy now? Where is your great freedom? Where are the things you hold so dear? What are they going to say in the face of that? Somebody has said that this is the 41st or 42nd speech. It may be the 43rd, 44th or 45th. What is the reason for it? The minister has said he is not going to make any change, though he made a token change the other day.

Do you feel he is indestructible? Do you believe that he is always going to be there to carry on under this particular legislation? Is he willing to see somebody else carry it on? Some wonderful things have been said about the minister in the last few days. Probably he is well-deserving of them. What about his successor? Is he going to be able to carry on?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

You agree he has a good name.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Wellinglon-Huron):

It is time for outspoken leadership, for a clear declaration of policy and a reaffirmation of our faith in democracy. Therefore I have great pleasure in indicating that I am going to oppose this legislation.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink
LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Applewhaite):

Is

the house ready for the question?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SALARY OF MINISTER AND EXPIRY OF ACT
Permalink

June 20, 1955