October 22, 1957

DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE REQUEST FOR TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Prime Minister is it his intention to lay on the table of the house the correspondence, if there was correspondence, with the provincial governments about the forthcoming federal-provincial conference that the Prime Minister mentioned some time ago?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, at the earliest moment.

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REPORTED TRADE MISSION TO COMMUNIST CHINA


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roselown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask a question of the Prime Minister. I notice that in the newspapers we are told a trade mission is proceeding to China. Could the Prime Minister give the house some information regarding this mission, if it is a mission, so that we may know something about it officially?

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I

could answer that question for the hon. member. There is no trade mission as such proceeding to China in the sense that a large group of people are going on a mission; nothing of that sort is taking place. The situation is simply this. For a number of years we have had a trade commissioner living in Hong Kong and looking after Canada's trade interests in that area. During the course of the summer his area was extended to include adjacent territory, and some time ago our department suggested to him that he might look into the possibilities of trade on the mainland. It was left to him to use his own initiative as to how he would go about that enterprise.

What is happening at the moment is that his proposal is to leave some time in early November for a period of perhaps two weeks. He may visit four cities in China: Peking,

Tientsin, Canton and Shanghai. What he will discover in the course of his visits I do not know. If there is a possibility of disposing of some of our good Canadian wheat in China, naturally he will report to us with regard to that. Actually, he is doing simply what the trade commissioner service throughout the world attempts to do, and that is initiate discussions with people who are interested in trade, discover possibilities for trade on the part of Canada, and inform Canadian businessmen as well as the Canadian government as to what the prospects are. It is a routine mission. It is not really a trade mission; it is just routine business, and it is just the initiative on the part of a trade commissioner dealing with the area that comes under his jurisdiction.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

May I ask a supplementary question. I understand he is going as an official of the department. May I ask who is making arrangements before he goes so that he may meet the right people? Is that being done through any other diplomatic agencies, through the United Kingdom or through any other agency of a government having diplomatic relations with China? Who are the officials who are making the arrangements for him to receive the right treatment in China?

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

I have not the information at hand to answer that particular question, but I will obtain it.

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L L

William Moore Benidickson

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidiclcson:

The press report says that an external affairs man is to accompany him.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. A. M. Nicholson (Mackenzie):

May I

ask the Prime Minister whether it would not facilitate the sale of wheat if we recognized the government of the mainland in connection with this visit?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

I have seen no facilitation or acceleration of the trade in so far as Britain is concerned in communist China, as a result of her recognition of the Chinese government prior to hostilities in Korea.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Algoma East):

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question. May I ask what credentials the trade commissioner will be carrying on this mission, and to whom they will be addressed?

240 HOUSE OF

Inquiries of the Ministry Mr. Churchill: Well, Mr. Speaker, this is simply a plan that has been put forward, and it has not been finalized.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Hon. members across the house may laugh, but this has simply come to notice at this particular time without the final plans being made. It may be that I will have more information for the house in a few days with regard to this particular suggestion. So far as the details are concerned, I have not them available at the moment.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Essex East):

A supplementary question. Can the minister tell us whether or not the proposed visit has or has not the approval of the Minister of Trade and Commerce?

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

I would say this, Mr. Speaker. Our trade commissioners stationed throughout the world are empowered on their own initiative to investigate ways and means of increasing trade with any country.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. T. S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce supplementary to the questions that were asked earlier by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar and others.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. May I remind the house that supplementary questions are to be used sparingly to elucidate answers, and are not to be used for the purpose of engaging in debate. I have permitted five supplementary questions to the original question directed to the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I feel that should satisfy the house, and that we should not go forward with further supplementary questions on that point.

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October 22, 1957