January 29, 1963

?

An hon. Member:

The joke of the day.

27507-3-205J

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Lockhart Gordon

Liberal

Mr. Gordon:

Mr. Chairman, I once had a very interesting occupation as chairman of a committee that looked into the organization of government machinery in Ontario. One of the purposes of the committee was to examine the relationship of boards, commissions and other agencies, to the government and particularly to the elected representatives of the people.

It seemed to us that, in the first place, there is a useful and proper role for boards and commissions of various kinds, but their responsibilities should be clearly defined, and I must say I think the responsibilities of this particular board could be more clearly defined than they are set out in the bill. It was suggested to us that at least in some cases individual boards and commissions should have a minister of the crown on them, either as chairman or as a member. I remember concluding at that time, and I still feel strongly that it is inappropriate for a minister of the crown to sit as a member of a board, commission or agency of government, with other members who are not elected and who could outvote him.

3244 HOUSE OF

National Economic Development Board

If, as is proposed by the amendment, the Minister of Finance were the chairman of this particular board, and the other members decided that for some reason or other they did not have complete confidence in his judgment, that he was not attending to his business or was just being silly, they would be able to outvote him. While I am all in favour of the appropriate people being able to outvote the Minister of Finance from time to time, and as soon as possible, I do not think this should be the prerogative of appointed officials and appointed members of a board. I would feel this whether the Minister of Finance was to be chairman or just an ordinary member of the board. I think it is wrong in principle, and I for one will oppose the amendment.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Davenport and I very often agree on basic principles although we do not always say so, but I am happy tonight to say I agree entirely with the arguments advanced by him. I think it would be most inappropriate to have the minister on the board. If there were a very high salary, then you might persuade the Minister of Finance to retire and take over the job; but then he would cease to be the Minister of Finance. All I can say is that I concur entirely with the statements of the hon. member for Davenport, and that the government cannot accept the amendment which has been proposed.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Lockhart Gordon

Liberal

Mr. Gordon:

I would like to add I was not suggesting for a minute that the present Minister of Finance be got rid of in this way. There is no suggestion on the part of hon. members on this side of the house that the Minister of Finance should be bribed to vacate his present position. I think we will take care of that in due course.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Chairman, what has been said by the hon. member for Davenport and concurred in by the Minister of Finance is true of certain kinds of boards. There are some boards whose function is quasi-judicial and there are boards which are purely administrative. I would agree that with those two kinds of boards it would be most inappropriate to have a minister sitting on them.

In the case of a quasi-judicial board he would, of course, be accused of bringing political pressures to bear in reaching decisions which should be made outside government. That is why a quasi-judicial board is set up. In the matter of administrative boards the same type of accusation would be made and a board would lose some of its nonpartisan character, which is one of the main reasons for setting up administrative boards. However, in discussing this bill we have been repeatedly told that we are not talking

about a quasi-judicial or administrative board. We are here talking about a planning agency. But really, as the bill stands, this is not a planning agency. This is a large advisory committee with one full time chairman and a group of prominent people who meet periodically throughout the year and who will make some recommendations which the minister may or may not consider. This is not planning.

If this is really going to be a planning board then there has to be very close liaison between the board, which is making plans, and the cabinet, which must pass on those plans and submit them to the House of Commons. In our opinion the only effective way you could have that kind of liaison is to have the minister himself preside as chairman of the board, in order to guide and participate in the deliberations of the board and to take the plans from the board to the cabinet. Otherwise this will not be a planning agency. This will be little more than an advisory board doing exactly what is done now by the productivity council.

This is why we think in this kind of planning agency there is a very vital principle to be considered, and that is close liaison with the policy making organization in democratic government, namely the cabinet. The only way to have that is to have the minister himself as chairman of the board.

(Translation):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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SC

Gilles Grégoire

Social Credit

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, I just heard some fine pronouncements on state planning. I personally think that there is no need for any state planning. Indeed, if I have some planning to do, I am perfectly able to do it myself. Therefore we do not need such planning by the state which the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam (Mr. Douglas) just suggested.

It is quite enough to see that the United States does the planning for the Liberal party, without this country's government also subjecting itself to planning.

The Depuiy Chairman: Order. To my mind, the hon. member's remarks have nothing to do with the amendment which the committee is now discussing; I am sure that the hon. member will try to relate his remarks to the debate on the amendment so that they may be relevant to the matter under discussion.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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SC

Gilles Grégoire

Social Credit

Mr. Gregoire:

Very well, Mr. Chairman.

With regard to the amendment, I just wanted to say that I objected to what I would call a kind of state planning as suggested by the amendment now before the house.

As a matter of fact, such state planning implies that the blueprints for our economy

National Economic Development Board

be set up by some department, for instance the Department of Finance, instead of leaving this to the individual who is able to do so.

That is why we, on this side of the house, will oppose state planning as suggested by the amendment before us.

(Text):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Chairman, I rise for only one purpose. That is to say that when my hon. friend deplores planning by the government, being a comparatively recent convert to Social Credit he may not yet have had time to read the books of Major Douglas, who advocates among other things the establishment of a just price for every commodity on the market from shoe-laces to airplanes. If my hon. friend can tell me how to set a just price for everything on the market without planning, I should like to know how he proposes to do it.

(Translation):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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SC

Gilles Grégoire

Social Credit

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, I have read the books written by Major Douglas, which the member for Burnaby-Coquitlam has just mentioned, and I can tell him how fair prices could be established without state planning. It could be done through the simple application of the law of supply and demand which remains the best way of controlling the economic relationship between individuals, between producers and consumers.

(Text):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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LIB

John (Jack) Davis

Liberal

Mr. Davis:

Mr. Chairman, in focusing on this clause I believe we are confronted with the nature of the planning process. The group in the far corner, the New Democratic party, have extolled to the government the effectiveness of the French system of planning. At the very top in the French system they have a conseil du plan which consists of no less than 57 members. This is not even an advisory board; it is, in the language of the London Economist, a "talking shop". It is not at all effective. The group that is really effective is the staff, the secretariat which works, under the chairman, with the industries of France. Essentially there are some 3,000 members who work with some 300 industry committees. These industry committees are substantially voluntary bodies set up by labour and management.

That to my mind is much more democratic than a hard and fast board at the top which makes the laws, in effect, tells the cabinet, the elected representatives of the people, what policies should be followed and passes directives on to industry. I am for the more democratic process, the one which sets up a board which is purely advisory. Put all the representatives you want on it from different walks of life and interests, certainly, but let

it be more a talking shop than a board which gives orders to the rest of the economy.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Mr. Chairman, I think a word ought to be said in reply to the misleading statements just made by the hon. member for Coast-Capilano. The amendment offered to the committee by the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway was designed to make sure that we have responsible planning, democratic planning. We believe that the planning board ought to have as its chairman a minister of the crown responsible to parliament and the people. I take it this is something that is opposed both by the minister and those who sit in the official opposition.

Surely, Mr. Chairman, even the hon. members of the official opposition can understand that if you have a planning board chaired by a minister of the crown, that it will be a planning board which is responsible to the elected representatives of the people in this parliament-far more so and to a much greater extent than a planning board which has no direct responsibility to this parliament.

It will have to be the responsibility of the federal cabinet to act as the ultimate planning agency, because after all the cabinet is responsible to the parliament of Canada, to the elected representatives of the people and to the people of Canada as a whole. Surely all hon. members in this house ought to be able to rid themselves of such pejorative cliches as "state planning" and "controls" and ought to be able to see at last that it is time we caught up with the rest of the world and adopted genuine, responsible, democratic, economic planning.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Is the committee ready for the question?

Amendment (Mr. Webster) negatived: Yeas, 13; nays, 125.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

I declare the

amendment lost.

(Translation):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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SC

Gilles Grégoire

Social Credit

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I wish to draw the attention of the house to the fact that this time the Liberals have supported the Conservatives. I want this to be mentioned in Hansard.

(Text):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall clause 4 carry? (Translation):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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SC

Jean-Paul Cook

Social Credit

Mr. Cook:

Mr. Chairman, in subsection (1) of section 4, we read the following:

The chairman of the board shall be appointed to hold office during good behaviour for such term not exceeding ten years, as is fixed by the governor in council.

3246 HOUSE OF COMMONS

National Economic Development Board A similar term of ten years is also mentioned in subsection (3) of the same section.

Now, I believe that we should think this over, as we have deplored in past years that persons had been appointed by the Liberal government of that day to important positions, for a long term, and now we must go on putting up with them, even though they are not experienced as they should be.

I feel that this national economic development board, the establishment of which we are approving, is a body which should bring positive results as soon as possible.

That is why I think that a 10 year period would be too long. The chairman could always be reappointed after a certain time, if his services are really satisfactory.

To that end, I should like to move the following amendment to this clause:

I move, seconded by Mr. Plourde, that subsections 1 and 3 of section 4 of Bill C-87 be amended and that the words: for such term not exceeding ten years

be replaced by the words: for such term not exceeding five years.

I ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Nowlan) to study this amendment closely and to accept it.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. Mr. Cook moves that subsections 1 and 3 of section 4 be amended by having the words: for such term not exceeding ten years

replaced by the words: for such term not exceeding five years.

(Text):

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

The hon. member who has moved the amendment was good enough to tell me a little while ago of his intention to do so and in the short interval which has elapsed since then I have been giving this matter some consideration. Ordinarily, I think, the difference between an appointment for five years or for ten years would be a matter on which no great issue could be taken but, as I told the committee yesterday when we were debating this point, I believe we have to appoint to this board as chairman someone who is outstanding in the economic life of Canada- someone who will command the respect, admiration and support of people in business and industrial life throughout the country. I will put this to the hon. member who has just moved the amendment, as well as to other members of this committee: would it be possible to obtain a man of that calibre if the appointment were limited to five years?

Theoretically it might be possible. One might be able to go out of here tonight and put a finger on a person of this kind prepared to serve in this capacity for five years, but I suggest one would probably be faced with

the consideration of someone who was relatively young and inexperienced-someone starting out in life who would be prepared to accept the appointment as a highly satisfactory one-someone, it is true, who might grow into the position. Alternatively one would probably be considering a man on the verge of retirement. I do not think these are the type of appointments which the government has in mind. This appointment is the key to the situation. If this committee believes in a productivity board, as hon. members have all said they do, I suggest it would be most improbable that we should get a person of the calibre we are seeking to come to this board and serve for a period of five years. Anyone who has practical knowledge of these matters will realize the difficulties with which we would be confronted.

I have no time now to go over the other boards which have been appointed by governments, preceding governments as well as this government, but I doubt very much if there are any on which the chairman has been appointed for periods of less than seven years. Most of them have been appointed for ten years. Let hon. members cast their eyes at the various boards-the tariff board, the income tax board and all the rest-which come within the framework of the Canadian economy. I suggest seriously to this committee that the amendment should not be accepted, because by so doing we would seriously prejudice the government in its selection of the type of man we would want to occupy this position.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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LIB

Sylvester Perry Ryan

Liberal

Mr. Ryan:

Would the minister accept a seven year period?

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

As I understand it, what the minister is saying is that he cannot get someone to take this position unless there is provision for a ten year tenure.

Topic:   NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.
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January 29, 1963