August 2, 1960

INDUSTRY

AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I have to announce the appointment of a royal commission to inquire into and report upon the situation of, and the prospects for, the industries in Canada producing motor vehicles and parts thereof. So that the house may understand the ambit and authority of the royal commission, with the permission of the house I might set out the particulars.

The commission will be asked to report upon:

(a) the present and prospective competitive position of the Canadian automotive industry, in Canadian and export markets, as compared with automotive industries of other countries;

(b) the relations between the companies producing motor vehicles and parts in Canada and parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies in other countries and the effect of such relations upon production in Canada;

(c) the special problems and competitive position of the industries in Canada producing parts for motor vehicles, and the effects thereof upon the production of vehicles in Canada;

(d) the ability of the Canadian industry to produce and distribute economically the various types of motor vehicles demanded or likely to be demanded by the Canadian consumers; and

(e) measures that could be taken by those in control of the industries producing motor vehicles and parts therefore in Canada, by the labour unions concerned, and by parliament and the government to improve the ability of such industries to provide increased employment in the economic production of vehicles for the Canadian market and export markets.

After consideration it was decided that one commissioner would properly discharge the responsibilities of this office. I am very pleased to be able to report that Vincent W. Bladen, M.A., F.R.S.C., dean of the faculty of arts of the University of Toronto, has undertaken this reponsibility. Dean Bladen, I am sure, is known to hon. members in all

parts of the house as an authority on economics, having been the former head of the department of economics of the University of Toronto and chairman of the institute on industrial relations in that department.

Dean Bladen will start work at once. There will be no delay whatsoever. He will commence this afternoon an examination of the records already available in the departments, and will be in a position to proceed without any delay into a full and complete investigation of the matters set out in the order in council which will be tabled later today.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Marlin (Essex Easl):

Mr. Speaker, as one member of parliament who represents a constituency where the automobile industry plays such a great part in the economic life of the community, I welcome the action announced by the Prime Minister this morning. I may say to him that in announcing the commissioner, Professor Vincent Bladen, that gentleman has a qualification which I am sure the Prime Minister was not aware of, and I am sure if he had been aware of it he would not think the qualifications were as deserved as he and I both believe they are; and that is that Professor Bladen is an old professor of mine, as he is of the Minister of Finance. That, of course, will ease the blow a little in the Prime Minister's eyes, when he realizes that the Minister of Finance was taught some of his basic economics by Professor Bladen.

I had anticipated that the commission to be appointed by the government to look into the automobile industry would have been composed of more than one commissioner. I had anticipated there would be several commissioners so that various groups in the country would have been represented, including labour, management, the consumer and the state. However, the government has decided to appoint a single commissioner. I cannot speak too highly of his qualifications.

The problem facing the industry, however, as I am sure the Prime Minister will recognize, is of such a nature as not to be resolved merely by this study. I hope the inquiry will be prosecuted with dispatch, so the government will be enabled to reach conclusions which will improve the condition in that industry and increase the opportunity for employment. Meanwhile, however, the government, it seems to me, is not absolved from taking corrective measures

7386 HOUSE OF

Royal Commission on Automobiles at the present time. One, of course, would be the abolition of the excise tax pursuant to promises-

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I think the hon. member should not enter into debating ground.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

I thought we had agreed on this, Mr. Speaker. I can say to the Prime Minister that the community from which I come in particular received the decision to appoint such a commission with understanding. We sincerely hope that the inquiry will be thorough and that it will be done quickly, because so much depends on it. The people of Windsor, so many thousands of whom are out of work, join me in thanking the Prime Minister for making this announcement today.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Prime Minister has gone forward with the appointment of a commissioner to act as a royal commission to inquire into the automobile industry. This has been an industry of very great importance to Canada, but in recent years there has been evidence of difficulty in it. We think the scope of the inquiry set forth by the Prime Minister is important in so far it goes, but I should like to have had the Prime Minister spell out the terms of reference a little more adequately to make certain that the royal commission would inquire into all problems with regard to automation and into the field of management, and not a onesided inquiry into the labour unions.

I think it is a mistake to load this whole burden on one man. I believe the royal commission would be more effective if there were a number of commissioners, representative of the main economic groups interested in this industry, rather than putting the responsibility for report and decision on one man. I have another reason for advocating this proposition, Mr. Speaker. Although we in the C.C.F. acknowledge the outstanding qualities of Professor Bladen, nevertheless we believe that he is something of a small "c" conservative in his economic outlook. The commission could well have used additional personnel which would give it something of a broader outlook.

This is an important commission. We look forward to an early report. Newspapers have been saying the report will be in by the end of this year. I would ask the Prime Minister, if he cares to comment, whether he feels an inquiry of this scope may be completed by the end of this year so that action where desirable may be taken.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is this. We felt that if we had appointed several commissioners the period within which the report would ultimately be made would be somewhat longer than it would take one man to discharge this responsibility. As a matter of fact, on other occasions I have heard criticisms that royal commissions were too large in number, but it has always been so. Whatever you do there will always be criticism.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Marlin (Essex East):

Remember Dr. Clark's report.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Marlin (Essex East):

May I ask

a question supplementary to the royal commission announcement. Is it the intention of the royal commission to make its headquarters in Ottawa or, as I think it should, in the city of Windsor?

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

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

I am sure the hon. gentleman has no personal interest in determining where this commission should make its permanent headquarters. This is an entirely objective observation on his part, and I accept it in that sense. May I say that the determination in that regard, of course, will rest with the commission.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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UNITED NATIONS

DISARMAMENT


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of Ihe Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether he has anything to say about the reported invitation of the head of the Soviet government for a heads of government conference on disarmament in New York on September 20, and the Prime Minister's statement as reported in the press that this proposal-I should have called it a proposal rather than an invitation -seems to be a propaganda move.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   DISARMAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTED RUSSIAN PROPOSAL FOR MEETING OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of

State for External Affairs will answer that question.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   DISARMAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTED RUSSIAN PROPOSAL FOR MEETING OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT
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PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that this proposal can be taken seriously. It would obviously be impractical to try to bring together the heads of government of all the members of the United Nations during the general assembly, which is, as I understand it, what the Soviet proposal

amounts to. In effect this is simply another refusal on the part of the Soviet government to resume the disarmament negotiations which they broke off some weeks ago. It appears to be an attempt to undermine the western initiative in calling a meeting of the disarmament commission, which Canada and others have proposed in an effort to bring about a resumption of negotiations. Of course the Soviet authorities would not wish to put themselves in the position of flatly refusing to resume negotiations, and they have therefore, I would suggest, attempted to disguise what is in fact a refusal by putting forward this plainly impractical suggestion.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   DISARMAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTED RUSSIAN PROPOSAL FOR MEETING OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT
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COLUMBIA RIVER-CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING DEVELOPMENT


On the orders of the day:


August 2, 1960