January 27, 1960

FINANCE

TEXTILES

PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Donald M. Fleming (Minister of Finance):

Tariff Board Report on Textiles changers, about a week ago, I can assure the house that the board's recommendations contained in the present report will receive most careful consideration by the government. I should add, however, that some of the items included in this report are closely related to other textile items which are still to be reported on, and there may be merit in dealing with these and the remaining items as a group in formulating government policy with respect thereto.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether you would not clarify our understanding of the rules and procedure in the house in connection with the statement just made by the minister. There seems to be growing up here a practice of reading lengthy statements arising out of reports from boards or commissions. This was not a ministerial statement. A ministerial statement is one which any member of the government has, of course, the right to make and on which we from time to time have the right to comment. But this was a summary of what is contained in the report on a textile reference sent to the board, and in that respect I think it is objectionable. I ask Your Honour for a ruling on the matter so that we may know how to proceed in the future.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Does any member wish to comment on the point raised by the hon. member for Laurier?

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon: May I say this on the point raised by the hon. gentleman. He says that a practice is growing up. I think he has overlooked the fact that in this respect I have simply inherited and carried on a practice that was established before me. If the house does not wish these statements on tariff board references, believe me I shall be only too happy to be relieved of any necessity for stating to the house the gist of these reports. I understand these reports have been regarded by the house as having some value, and it has been the practice to give the house the gist or summary in brief form, as I have done today, of the reports. But if the house does not want these reports brought to the house, believe me I shall be only too happy to be relieved of this responsibility. However, I hope there will not be complaints afterwards about these matters not being brought to the attention of the house.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

May I just add this word in connection with what the minister has said concerning the practice that developed earlier, when we were on the other side of the house. I can speak only for myself, of course; but I know that on no occasion when I tabled a report did I do other than table the report without any comment on it. I

doubt very much whether any of my colleagues who were in the government then did otherwise. In that respect I think the minister is in error. In any event, in the statement he has made the minister has by inference recognized the fact that the practice he has established is contrary to the rules.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinion):

Just to clarify the point, Mr. Speaker, may I say that I was not referring to the practice established by the hon. gentleman. I was referring to the practice established by my predecessors in relation to tariff board reports.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

On that point may I just say this. Your Honour can look up the precedents and the facts, but I think you will find that in respect of reports of the tariff board which were tabled and which involved recommendations and policy decisions, perhaps short ministerial statements were made; but with regard to reports tabled which did not have those consequences, statements were not made.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

There may perhaps be some difficulty from time to time in determining what matters contained in a report should be brought to the attention of parliament. It is perhaps not an easy decision for a minister to make, because he may feel that if he does not bring the matter before the house, complaint may be made on that score. But I think it should be fairly easy to determine what are matters of policy to be announced, and what are documents of another kind which need no explanation. It seems to me that a report by a board which is tabled stands on its own feet, and if no policy is being announced it should not take up the time of the house on routine proceedings.

I am not saying that the minister was not justified in thinking that he was acting in accordance with the previous practice, but I do say that the house should be jealous of its use of this time. It should not be used for the making of statements which are not of immediate importance by reason of the fact that they announce important policy or something of urgent public interest, nor for the asking of questions which are not within the customary limits.

It is my own view that statements should be introduced sparingly, that they should be of importance and should contain some decision of the government which it wishes to announce.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   TEXTILES
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT ON REFERENCE NO. 125
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NATIONAL HOUSING ACT

AMENDMENTS INCREASING AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF INSURED LOANS, ETC.

PC

David James Walker (Minister of Public Works; Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Minister responsible for National Capital Commission)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. D. J. Walker (Minister of Public Works) moved

that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the

following resolution, which has been recommended to the house by His Excellency:

That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend the National Housing Act, 1954, to increase the aggregate amount of all loans in respect of which insurance policies may be issued under the act from four billion dollars to six billion dollars; and to increase from one billion dollars to one and a half billion dollars the aggregate amount that may be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund for the purposes specified in subsection 1 of section 22 of the said act.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS INCREASING AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF INSURED LOANS, ETC.
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Motion agreed to.


REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE BY HON. MEMBER FOR PONTIAC-TEMISCAMINGUE


On the orders of the day: Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Prime Minister whether the hon. member for Pontiae-Temiscamingue, when he made certain constitutional proposals in this house on Monday last including one for the incorporation of the proposed bill of rights in our constitution, was speaking with the approval of the Prime Minister, to whom he is parliamentary secretary? Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member in question is unavoidably absent today keeping an appointment made some time ago. However, the hon. gentleman has asked me a question and I wish to answer it in unequivocal language. The speech made by the hon. member for Pontiac-Temiscamingue was his own in content and thinking; and lest there be any misunderstanding I want to say without there being any question, that the expression of his views on the matters dealt with by him has never been discussed between him and me, either directly or indirectly. I make that very clear, and I thank the hon. member for giving me that opportunity.


LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question. Does the Prime Minister feel that there is any difference between a parliamentary secretary and other private members in respect of proposals made on matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the minister and the department with which the parliamentary secretary is associated?

Topic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE BY HON. MEMBER FOR PONTIAC-TEMISCAMINGUE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, in so far as members of the cabinet are concerned, there are recognized constitutional limitations; but any examination which I made prior to introducing the legislation relating to the appointment of parliamentary secretaries gave no indication that such limitations applied to those occupying the position either cf parliamentary assistant or parliamentary 79951-0-254

Inquiries of the Ministry secretary. Indeed, my recollection-and I have nothing before me to support it, because I naturally did not expect a constitutional discussion on the orders of the day-is that this has been generally recognized throughout.

Topic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE BY HON. MEMBER FOR PONTIAC-TEMISCAMINGUE
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Does the Prime Minister not recall that he insisted on these limitations when he sat on this side of the house?

Topic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE BY HON. MEMBER FOR PONTIAC-TEMISCAMINGUE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I am glad to see that the hon. gentleman regards some of the interrogatories which I made at one time as worthy of the consideration of this house.

Topic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE BY HON. MEMBER FOR PONTIAC-TEMISCAMINGUE
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LABOUR CONDITIONS

January 27, 1960