January 29, 1963

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

And the fishermen.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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?

Mr. Marlin@Essex Easl

What arrangement is being made to see that there is consultation with farmers' organizations, as well as with labour organizations, business organizations and, as my hon. friend from Bona-vista-Twillingate points out, as one would expect, with organizations of fishermen. These are important considerations.

Mr. Chairman, I say to the minister this. This clause will determine at this stage of our discussion whether the government really intends to make this an effective board. If this is going to be simply another deception, another fagade presenting something that is going to look good in form but with no real substance behind it, then we might as well know right now. But if it is to be a board capable of providing the planning we need in this country at this time, then we are entitled to ask the government to give evidence of its earnestness. This is the kind of board which should be dealing with unemployment, the balance of payments problem and other aspects of our economic life. It should have power and a relationship to the government away beyond what the ordinary board traditionally appointed by governments has been able to do under our system of government.

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PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Mr. Chairman, the minister is always in a happy frame of mind. If what I have said makes him even happier, or if he finds what I have said to be even more amusing, I can only say to him that if this is his reaction I for one draw the conclusion that this bill is not anything more than a form of well meaning effective deception, designed to convey to the Canadian people the impression that this government at long last has decided to establish an instrument to help it and future governments in planning to avoid the kind of situations which have confronted us during the past five years.

This is an important matter. What I have said tonight is what a government agency has urged upon this government. If the government does not accept what I have said, I ask the minister to tell us what are the recommendations of the special mission of the productivity council. I ask the minister to point out anything that I have said tonight that is inconsistent with their recommendations. If he does not accept the proposal which we have made, it will clearly be another indication that the government is going to allow this report of the special mission to gather dust; that nothing will be done about it; that the government will carry on in its traditional laissez faire manner, with no real

attempt being made by the creation of a new organization to seriously confront the vital problems which affect Canada at this time.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Mr. Chairman, it is a great relief to me to be able for once to release and relieve the blood pressure from which the hon. member for Essex East suffered. I have always said that if, when the time comes -and it will probably come very soon-the electors of his constituency see fit to relieve him of the terrific burdens he bears in this house, he could undoubtedly obtain a position as a leading tragedy or straight actor and make a reputation for himself on the stage such as he has never succeeded in making for himself in the House of Commons. I want to relieve his mind about that.

For once he has not been reading from statements made from Liberal platforms. For once he has not been reading from speeches which he himself has previously made. Tonight he has been reading from a report of the productivity council, or a committee of that council which this government has recommended to be appointed and which this government sent over. I am very happy to see that for once the hon. gentleman established his position on firm grounds as he did at length when he read from this document prepared by a committee of the productivity council which this government sent overseas.

I can reassure the hon. gentleman at once. I can relieve his mind. This bill has been considered by the representatives of the productivity council, by representatives of labour and representatives of industry, and all the problems to which he has referred in such fear and trembling have been considered by those representatives and recommended to the favourable consideration of this house.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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LIB

Maurice Sauvé

Liberal

Mr. Sauve:

This afternoon the Minister of Finance, answering a question by my hon. friend from Essex East, told us that the council could not be headed by a minister-that it was preferable to have somebody independent in charge, and so on. The government suggests that the council should consist of between 14 and 24 members. Is it the intention to appoint other ministers to the board, for example the Minister of Labour or the Minister of Trade and Commerce, or will the board be composed entirely of persons outside the government?

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

I should like to say a few brief words, and when I say brief I mean brief, about the amendment which the government has indicated it is prepared to accept. I am glad it is doing so. I think an amendment such as might have been suggested by

National Economic Development Board

this party would have been better, but I am glad the government is going at least this far.

The brief word I want to say is that I hope this amendment is being accepted in good faith and that it will be acted upon accordingly. I make this plea not just out of idle suspicion but out of some experience with the present government in the matter of consulting with at least one sector of the community before appointments are made. As hon. members know, I had a four year vacation from this House of Commons during which time I had the privilege of being an officer of the Canadian Labour Congress, the central body of the trade union movement of this country. I can say from personal knowledge and experience that there were several occasions, during those four years when there was no consultation before appointments of labour representatives were made by the present government; and there were also occasions when there was consultation, but when, despite the making of several nominations by the trade union movement, the government chose to appoint someone else altogether.

Several references have been made to the productivity council itself. One of the main reasons why president Jodoin of the Canadian Labour Congress found it impossible to sit on that body was that the congress was not consulted as to the people it would like to have as its nominees on that board. In fact, the government itself picked out certain labour people and appointed them directly. I suggest that if a board of this kind is to function efficiently it must be set up in a bona fide manner. The principle of this amendment must be accepted and carried out in good faith. If people are to be appointed as representatives of labour, agriculture, industry and so on, the organizations which speak for these sections of our community must be consulted, and consulted honestly. Unless, in making these nominations, any of these organizations goes completely haywire-and this is not likely in any of these fields-the government ought to accept at least one of the nominations put forward by these various bodies.

It is not necessary for me to give details of things that have happened in the past. I know whereof I speak. I am referring not only to instances in which I was personally involved, because my name was rejected-

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

I hear laughter. I do not blame the government for rejecting my nomination for certain reasons, but for certain other reasons I think the nomination should have been accepted. To conclude, I say once

more that if this board is to be made to work properly the amendment must be acted on honestly and in good faith.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Without accepting any of the references to past history which the hon. member has made, I say that the government has accepted the amendment moved by my hon. friend from Hamilton East. The government wants this legislation to work. It intends this legislation to work, and knows it will work, given the support of this committee which we expect we shall receive.

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LIB

John Robert (Jack) Nicholson

Liberal

Mr. Nicholson:

You will recall, Mr. Chairman, that in the early stages of this legislation, during the resolution stage, I spoke in support of this bill. I must confess that as a result of reading today's mail I am concerned over some of the statements which the minister has made this afternoon.

Under the terms of clause 3 of this bill we are to establish a corporation to be known as the national economic development board. Today I received the January issue of Canadian Business with a picture of the president of the national productivity council on the cover. An article beginning on page 28 headed "What's ahead for the productivity council" contains interesting and informative material on that subject. The president of the council, Mr. De Young says, in the course of this article on page 38:

The unanimous decision of the productivity council has been that we take the broadest interpretation of our terms of reference permitting the council to engage in economic studies and projects relating to removing the road blocks through increased productivity.

Skipping the next two sentences and under the subheading "Role of Council in Relation to the National Economic Development Board" the president continues:

At the present moment we are working to finalize arrangements by which the proposed national economic development board and the national productivity council will become one-

Are we going to bury this council before it is born? That is certainly the inference to be drawn from this article. It says:

At the present moment we are working to finalize arrangements by which the proposed national economic development board and the national productivity council will become one, or at least co-operate in their operations.

My objection is to the words "will become one". I am disturbed to find that before this council comes into being, after the assurances we have had from the minister and others, the productivity council is planning to bring about a merger. Why create two bodies if there is any serious thought of there actually being only one? This highlights the importance and significance of the remarks made by the hon. member for Essex East a few

3240 HOUSE OF

National Economic Development Board moments ago, that we are going to have four boards in fields which interlock and overlap, presided over by four different ministers, and at the same time the government is trying to marry two of them. I should like to hear the minister's explanation of that particular suggestion.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Mr. Chairman, the amendment that the minister has accepted is one which has led to a discussion of labour-management relations and members in all parties have indicated that they favour good labour-management relations. I think all of us are happy to see that such a firm stand has been taken on that issue. But, Mr. Chairman, it is essential when we are discussing labour-management relations, and what this government has or has not done in the past in this connection, to remember that labour and management must be allowed to conduct their negotiations with each other on the basis of equality. The hon. member for Essex East quite rightly pointed out that the government would have to take its courage into its hands and undertake a program of genuine economic planning if this legislation was to fulfil the promise that it holds.

Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that when we are discussing this subject it is pertinent to remind the government that when legislation abridging civil rights in British Columbia and Newfoundland in 1959 was passed by the governments of each of those provinces, it was a time which called for courage on the part of the federal government. Nothing in either of those provinces has done more, nor could anything have been calculated to do more, to destroy labour-management relations than the legislation which was passed at that time in each of those provinces. Hon. members will recall that in the province of Newfoundland legislation was passed which cancelled the certification held by a trade union.

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Order. I am afraid the hon. member is straying a little from the point under consideration, which is a very brief amendment. I would ask for his co-operation.

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NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate Your Honour's intervention and I am grateful for Your Honour's advice. I hope Your Honour will bear with me as I am a new member in this house, and a new member of the committee, but I was seeking to show how essential it was that the federal government should be prepared to do everything which lies within its powers-and a great deal lies within the power of the federal government- to make sure that labour and management deal with each other on the basis of equality. Because it is the responsibility of the federal government to protect the rights of labour, in so far as it lies within the jurisdiction of the federal government to do so. I was urging

it upon the committee that on looking back to the events of 1959 the committee would agree that had the government had the courage to exercise its power of disallowing legislation passed in Newfoundland-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

-and legislation passed in British Columbia, there would be in each of those provinces a much larger degree of labour-management co-operation and harmony between those two economic groups than exists today. I think all hon. members can see the connection between the federal government's responsibility to establish labour-management co-operation in all parts of the country and the legislation which is before the committee this evening.

The amendment offered by the hon. member for Hamilton East is one which, as he quite rightly pointed out, was designed to ensure labour-management co-operation. I suggest most respectfully to the committee that it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that the civil rights of all sections of the community are protected. That includes, of course, protecting the rights of labour.

I do not want to conduct a survey of labour-management relations in all parts of the country, but I think I can speak with some authority on the state of labour-management relations in my own province. Of course, this bill and this amendment are designed to ensure that in British Columbia as well as in other provinces in Canada we will have a much larger degree of labour-management co-operation than we have had in the past. In my own province we have had a great deal of labour-management strife since 1959.

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Order. Both the Chair and the committee as a whole, somewhat to my surprise, have been very tolerant of the remarks of the hon. member to date, which are moving very far from the narrow consideration of the amendment. This amendment has to do with the composition of the board, and asks that the following words be added:

-after consultation with the principal organizations representative of trade unions, farmers, and other groups as the governor in council may determine.

I think out of fairness to other members of the committee, and notwithstanding the fact that the hon. member is new to this house, he should recognize that he is transgressing the rules. It is not fair that I should permit him to do so and then refuse to allow a more experienced member to do the same.

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NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Mr. Chairman, let me once again express my gratitude to Your Honour for giving me your counsel regarding the rules of debate in committee. Believe me, Mr. JANUARY 29, 1963 3241

National Economic Development Board

Chairman, it was not my intention in any way to be unfair either to Your Honour or to other hon. members of the committee. Let me summarize by saying it is simply not good enough for the government to express good intentions. Good intentions will not be enough if this legislation is to be successful in promoting labour management co-operation in all parts of the country. It will take a great deal more than good intentions. It will take courage, and I urge the Minister of Finance, whose responsibility it will be to make sure that this legislation achieves its objective, to carry it out in its spirit as well as in its letter.

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PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Mr. Chairman, I might say in answer to the question put to me by the hon. member for Iles-de-la-Madeleine that it is not proposed to have any minister of the crown, as such on the board. Of course, that does not preclude the setting up of interdepartmental committees or cabinet committees, as everyone in this committee well knows. But there will be no minister of the crown on the board as such.

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NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, my remarks are merely to the mover of the amendment by way of brief congratulations to him for bringing it forward. Just last week I had the opportunity of sharing a platform with the hon. member, and he spent a great deal of his time expressing grave doubts about the power of trade union organizations in Canada, and where they had led some of the trade unions. He expressed considerable fears about the democracy which seemed to prevail in some Canadian unions, including one that is very prominent in his own constituency, namely the steelworkers. Therefore, I can assure him that he has had some kind of revelation in the last few days and is now prepared to put a great deal of faith in the trade union elite.

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January 29, 1963