Hon. Walter L. Gordon (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement respecting the surcharge on imports order that was passed by the previous government on June 24, 1962. As hon. members know the legality of this order has been challenged, and the matter is before the courts.
This poses a difficult problem because in many cases those who paid the surcharges, and who might now be entitled to claim refunds should the order be found to have been invalid, passed the amount of such surcharges on to their customers. These customers in turn may have passed the amount of the surcharges on to their customers, and so on. It would not be possible to unscramble a situation of this kind.
Accordingly I should like to inform the house that the government will be recommending legislation on the surcharge order. One effect of this proposed legislation would be to prevent any massive attempt at obtaining refund of moneys in fact paid by now unidentifiable Canadians, an action which would not be in the public interest.
Subtopic: ANNOUNCEMENT OF LEGISLATION RESPECTING IMPORT SURCHARGES