January 29, 1963

PC

George Clyde Nowlan (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

I did not say that. What I did say was that I doubted very much if it would be possible to get the type of man we want for this position unless the appointment was for ten years. I did not say it would be impossible. Anyway, until the committee and parliament have passed this bill we are not making any appointments to this position.

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:

Since June 18, particularly, we have had a series of appointments made by this government which, though they were mostly of people who were elected or failed to be elected to this house at one time or another, have not inspired in me very much confidence that the primary qualification which the government looks for in appointments is competence. There never has been, I think, at any time in the history of Canada such widespread patronage as there has been

in appointments since June 18. I am not questioning the good faith or the good intentions of the minister, but it will not be the minister who will make the final decision in this matter; it will be the minister's leader, in whose judgment in these matters I have no confidence whatsoever based upon the quality of the appointments he has made in the past nine months.

It seems to me that for us to vest in this minority government the power to make appointments of this character for this length of time would be a most irresponsible thing to do, if it can be avoided. For that reason it seems to me that since an amendment of a reasonable character has been offered it would be a desirable thing to support it. Moreover, I doubt that anyone would be inspired with very much confidence in any tenure under this government after the way they treated the former governor of the Bank of Canada. The notion that anything put into a statute could be any protection for anyone as long as the hon. gentleman who is Minister of Justice-

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

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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 am sure the hon. member realizes that he is now going too far from the clause or the amendment. I hope he will give me his co-operation by making his remarks relevant.

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:

I am afraid that because of the interruptions from the other side Your Honour was not able to hear me, because I was discussing the tenure of office of the chairman of this board in the light of experiences we have had. If that kind of argument is not permitted in committee I do not know what it would be possible to say that would be relevant. But I do maintain that no one who displeases the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice can count upon his security as long as those two gentlemen occupy the treasury benches. In addition it occurs to me that to give this moribund government any more power than need be given to it would be a mistake. For that reason I am inclined to vote for the amendment.

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

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

I am happy on this occasion to rise and support the minister in his contention. I thought he stated the case very well, and because it is the custom of members of this party to approach these problems in a constructive and non-partisan way, I do not hesitate to say so. We believe that in this instance the minister gave sound reasons for his point of view. We do not think we should play politics with a serious matter of this sort. We do not hesitate to put forward our point of view when we disagree with the government or with the opposition, and since this is

National Economic Development Board an occasion when we agree with the government I should like to reiterate something which the minister has said, but in my own words.

Anyone with any knowledge of administration would realize that we are not going to get the type of man required to be the chairman of a board such as this, possibly a man of middle age or close thereto, to undertake such a large scale and important job when he is faced with retirement after five years. There is always a safeguard: if a person appointed to this important position is not fulfilling the position to the satisfaction of the government or the people of Canada, there are other ways of seeing that the situation is corrected.

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

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson

Social Credit

Mr. Olson:

Mr. Chairman, I hope the minister will reconsider what he has said with respect to accepting this amendment. Because surely all the arguments he advanced are answered in subclause 3 of this clause where it states very clearly that the chairman or any other member can be reappointed. I bring this matter up only because if during the five year period the chairman proves that he is doing the job in line with what is anticipated as a result of the board, he can be reappointed for a further five year period. Then we would avoid invoking subsection (4) and the embarrassment and difficulties which would go with that, as mentioned by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate a few minutes ago, I would hope that the minister would reconsider this matter, because surely if this chairman does do his job properly he can be reappointed for another five year term.

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

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, as usually expected from a historian, the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate has given us something to think about, reaching as he did back into recent and not so recent history to indicate that this may be a worth-while amendment. He has presented us with a bit of a dilemma since he put the case so well, such as the point that this government has perhaps been guilty of a certain amount of patronage. Some of us have had this argument somewhat neutralized because we have a bit of an historical perspective ourselves. We can go back to that golden age of Canadian politics which we heard about last night, when nostalgia flowed and we were back to the golden age of the 22 years. In this period we had a government in power which was so upright that it would never, of course, be guilty of anything like patronage. But since its defeat we have had revealed a peculiar kind of back door or swing door patronage. I wonder whether we really can accept the arguments made by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate. I am thinking of the hon.

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National Economic Development Board member himself as an example, perhaps, of this back door patronage. After all, he had an important position in the civil service, and suddenly he is stood forth and revealed as a Liberal with a capital "L". We have had such people as Mr. Drury, who was a deputy minister, and suddenly he is stood forth as a Liberal with a capital "L".

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. I would ask the hon. member to make some remarks which have relevancy to the amendment now before the committee moved by the hon. member for Hamilton East.

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

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, I am surprised that you cannot see the relevance of this to the historical argument which has been presented. The relevance is that if the Drurys and the Sharps and the Pickersgills, and people like these, have been revealed belatedly as partisans, how can we place any trust in this particular argument? Therefore as far as we are concerned, we have to take, as the hon. member for Kootenay West said, an objective non-partisan point of view and decide to support the argument of the minister. But it certainly does not seem right to me that we can accept the general indictment that was drawn by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate-

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:

Would the hon. member permit me to ask him a question?

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

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

Yes.

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:

Did the hon. member for St. Antoine-Westmount, or did I, get any 10 year guarantee when we went into public life?

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

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

Well, I am afraid that it is never too late for these things to happen, Mr. Chairman. I should like to say to the hon. member that he must have been given some kind of guarantee. After all, Mr. Chairman, with all those majorities in Bonavista-Twillingate there seems to be almost a guarantee given by somebody.

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

Colin Cameron

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cameron (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Chairman, after this interesting exchange into retroactive patronage, perhaps we had better get back to the question of the appointment of the chairman. I also find myself in agreement with the minister, and for the first time since this debate commenced. I think that if we are to have a chairman of this body, about which I still have great doubts, then he will have to have some security of tenure. I was not at all impressed with the argument of the hon. member for Medicine Hat, which was that the chairman can be reappointed. That would be true if we had a provision for appointing him for six months and you could reappoint him every

six months; but I suggest that it would be a rather peculiar character who would accept appointment on that score. I am more interested in what are to be the functions of this chairman than in his personality.

I was interested earlier this evening to hear the hon. member for Coast-Capilano draw some comparisons between his idea of what this body should be, and the agencies for economic planning in France. I am sure he knows as well as I that the large council he referred to is a comparatively recent addendum to the planning agencies of France. The really important one has been the commissariat du plan which had very wide powers and which, moreover, as its first steps, took large strides in the field of public ownership and control of private enterprise. I think we should realize that in France this council is, as he suggested, merely a talking shop, and I suspect a screen erected at a later date to control the activities of the real planning agencies of France. In conclusion, I must say that I am surprised that any member of the Canadian House of Commons considers that this country is in need of another talking shop.

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

John Ross Matheson

Liberal

Mr. Matheson:

Mr. Chairman, may I say a word on this question. Some people suggested years ago before there was any recommendation by the Gordon commission for this kind of board that there might be great advantage to Canada in making money available-perhaps one might suggest the sum of $20,000- for various departments so that the ministers of those departments could choose with some freedom the people who would be of assistance to them in formulating and integrating economic policy. They would account for this money to the Auditor General. This would leave with and repose in the cabinet and particularly those persons charged with the key ministries the opportunity to seek out the best economic guidance and help available to them as they chose to obtain it. Such a proposal would afford the minister the opportunity to make inquiries in fresh fields, and would enable him to be creative even with his own deputies and his own departmental heads. In the creation of the board I do not think any of us really want to see the duplication of a civil service, nor do we want to see erected in Canada something which is going to replace the cabinet from the standpoint of being the decisive policy-making organization of the country. That would be an idea which would certainly not appeal to me.

It seems to me very important, particularly in such portfolios as finance, trade and commerce, labour and so on, that there should be far more integration and co-operation between departments than we have had demonstrated over the past several years. One of

National Economic Development Board

the problems is this. Who is going to be the person integrating and actually helping with respect to this key advisory role? This is an important matter. Many Canadians do not think this particular ministry is going to survive for very long. Suppose it does not survive. Suppose this ministry is defeated or suppose it goes to the country shortly, not to return? Does it make sense then or is it conceivable that the kind of person who may be selected by the present ministry which in six years has been unable to make and formulate any economic plan of any kind whatsoever, long range or short range, is the kind of person who is then going to preside over an economic board that is going to be guiding the destinies of this country for the next ten years?

What is the situation? I submit that it is of great importance that the person who is going to be giving economic advice to the cabinet is the kind of person who is going to command the confidence of the cabinet actually from day to day, from week to week and from month to month. Of course we need the best kind of person available. It may very well be that the kind of person who would be appointed by the Minister of Finance or by the cabinet would, in fact, be the same kind of person that, for instance, a new Liberal government would appoint. It may well be that we admire the same kind of economic brains. There are not many people in Canada who are capable of doing this kind of job on a first rate scale. We should have to look hard in order to find the right kind of person.

But suppose we did not get the right kind of person. What the hon. member for Bona-vista-Twillingate has indicated is that on the part of certain people on this side of the chamber there is a marked lack of confidence with respect to some of the appointments that have been made by this administration. Now, in their dying hours, does it make sense that for ten years they would be the people to determine who would be setting the economic course for Canada after they are perhaps no longer in a position to give any guidance or leadership and when they are not going to be in a position to be supported by those people over here? I refer to the Creditists. I submit that we may be in a position of a long tenure of office. We may be in a position of having to come to terms with the gentleman who is appointed by this administration and saying, "My dear sir, we honour you, we respect you, but we have got to pay you off, we have got to provide a pension, because you are not the kind of person who should be setting the fortunes for this country".

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Mr. Chairman, I wish to point this out. When we express ourselves on this kind of problem, our view must be responsible. It must be just as responsible in economics as it has been, for example, in my opinion in the field of defence. We must consider the likelihood that we shall be running Canada shortly.

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

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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

An hon. Member:

Dreamer.

Another hon. Member: Put it out of your mind.

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

John Ross Matheson

Liberal

Mr. Matheson:

I hear some interjections, Mr. Chairman. Some one says to put it out of our mind. However, may I say that the burden of the Liberal party today is that we must have it in our minds all the time. Everything we recommend in the field of economics or finance is simply predicated on the fact that we cannot do the popular, the easy or the sloppy thing. We must do the thing which is likely to produce the best results when in a few months we will have the duty of running the show.

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. I should like to point out to the hon. member that the amendment is to change the term of the chairman from five years to 10 years. I think that is the only question we have to discuss now.

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