November 26, 1963

MINES, FORESTS AND WATERS CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE


Mr. O. J. Godin (Nickel Bell) presented the first report of the standing committee on mines, forests and waters, and moved that the report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


STATEMENT RESPECTING FORTHCOMING TARIFF NEGOTIATIONS

LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. Mitchell Sharp (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, in responding to a question from the hon. member for Danforth on October 211 undertook to inform the house on the current status of the preparations for the round of GATT trade negotiations scheduled to get under way next year. This round is colloquially known as the Kennedy round, a phrase which recalls to all members the courage and the wisdom of the late president of the United States.

On May 24 I reported to the house on my return from a meeting of trade ministers in Geneva that it had been agreed in principle to convene a comprehensive trade negotiating conference on May 4, 1964. This major negotiation is to cover all sectors of trade, including agriculture. In taking this decision the GATT ministers recognized that a great deal of preparatory work would be required before the opening of negotiations. For this purpose a trade negotiations committee has been established, composed of representatives of all the participating countries, to elaborate the rules for the tariff negotiating plan to be adopted, to work out the means for dealing with the special problems of agricultural trade and non-tariff barriers to trade, and to consider the participation of less developed countries in the negotiations.

This committee, of which Canada is a member, has held a number of meetings and established a series of subsidiary groups to work on particular questions. A subcommittee on the tariff negotiating plan has been at work. The elaboration amongst the countries concerned of a suitable across the board linear reduction plan designed to be largely automatic in operation requires the most careful

and detailed examination. Hon. members will recall that while GATT ministers agreed on the adoption of a linear plan for the negotiations, it was accepted that for countries such as Canada, for which a linear plan would not be appropriate because of the characteristics of our production and trade, the objective would be the achievement of reciprocity through an exchange of concessions of equivalent value.

In the field of agriculture a general agricultural committee has been established by the trade negotiations committee. The terms of reference of this committee are as follows:

The committee shall consider and submit to the trade negotiations committee recommendations in regard to the rules to govern, and the methods to be employed in the creation of acceptable conditions of access to world markets for agricultural products in furtherance of a significant development and expansion of world trade in such products.

A cereals group has met to examine the possibility of coming to general international agreement on acceptable conditions for access to world markets for wheat and other cereals. This group is meeting again during the present month. A group on meats has held one meeting, and a similar body will be established on dairy products. Other subcommittees are dealing with non-tariff barriers and the participation of the less developed countries.

Preparation for a major trade negotiation of the scope which is contemplated is a complex process involving progressive recalculations of the varying interests of participating countries. Agreed methods and procedures will take some time to work out. Indeed, there has already been what the technicians refer to as some slippage in the schedule originally envisaged for the preparatory work. The house will appreciate, however, that the negotiating conference itself is not scheduled to open until May of next year.

Canada is participating actively in the preparatory work and will continue to do so. We wish to ensure so far as possible that the negotiations will have broad coverage and will be substantial and successful. It is important for Canada that the foundations for the negotiations should be soundly laid and should accommodate our own negotiating interests as well as those of the larger participants such as the United States and the European economic community. Our current efforts are directed to this end.

Tariff Negotiations

In addition to the preparations being undertaken internationally, each participating country in the months between now and the formal opening of the negotiations next year will be developing its own negotiating position, including its assessment of benefits and the elaboration of its contribution to the bargaining in the light of its national and particular interests. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions, the government will be very anxious to have the views of all affected Canadian interests in preparing the Canadian negotiating position. However, announcement of procedures for receiving these views has been deferred until the framework of the negotiations can be outlined with more certainty, and I regret to say that it is not possible to give the necessary certainty at the moment.

Nevertheless, for many of the Canadian interests concerned there may be useful preliminary studies which can be initiated now. I know that some organizations in particular sectors of the economy have already begun such studies. The scope of the tariff reducing authority of the United States is known, as is the objective of the United States administration to use this authority to the maximum consistent with the procedures laid down in the trade expansion act and an adequate response from its trading partners, in particular the European economic community. It would be useful for industry to begin to identify and evalue the export opportunities which may be presented in the United States and other main markets so as to be able to respond quickly and effectively when the government is in a position to consult on a more precise and specific basis. It would also be useful if at this stage exporters would advise the Department of Trade and Commerce of barriers to trade other than tariffs which may stand in the way of the expansion of their sales to particular countries.

This statement which I am making today is in part an announcement to the business community, as well of course as to the members of the house, of the procedures we contemplate. The Department of Trade and Commerce itself has been in touch with exporters generally. Indeed, within the next few days I expect to have some informal discussions with leading members of business communities. It is in the light of the government's assessment of the trade benefits of the prospective negotiations that consideration will be given to the concessions that may be appropriate on Canada's part.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

The general purport of the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce will receive the support of Her Majesty's loyal opposition. Indeed, I recall that in September of 1962 I brought before the prime ministers' conference in London the need of a world conference amongst democratic and like minded nations to the end that an arrangement could be entered into for multilateral trade. This suggestion, when made to the prime ministers' conference, was received with criticism in Canada by some of the hon. gentlemen now sitting opposite. However, in the month of October I submitted the matter to the late President Kennedy, set out in the same detail I used when I placed this matter before the prime ministers' conference. Within four days thereafter he informed me by letter, which is available to the house, that he would join with Canada in this initiative which he considered would be of major importance and beneficial to the extension of trade multilaterally throughout the world.

Mention has been made by the minister of preparations being made for the conference next May, I think it is, in Geneva. Certainly the events of the last several weeks have not been indicative of the same determination on the part of some western nations to bring about the desirable objectives of multilateral trade in the terms enunciated by the minister as seemed probable during the summer and early autumn of this year. I hope Canadian industry will react to the suggestion of the minister, and that Canadian interests as a whole will place before the minister and the government their viewpoint on this most important matter.

When we, as the government, said that across the board tariff cuts were not possible unless Canada was prepared to be sacrificed in various industrial areas, that view was ridiculed. However, today it is accepted; it is recognized, as the minister has said, that a linear cut, an across the board cut, would not bring about for Canada that degree of economic certainty to which she is entitled. As a matter of fact, with United States tariffs higher than ours, were we to make the same rate of cut the result would be very little improvement in our potential for the acquisition of markets in the United States and, on the other hand, a vast increase in the potentiality of the United States to trade in Canada.

Therefore I am sure that since the government has accepted the view that was ours, we will naturally follow the course of supporting whatever may be done in this connection. But I would point out one fact, namely that the last two or three lines in the minister's statement indicated to me that certain sacrifices might be asked for on the part

of Canada. My hope is that in whatever action is taken we will maintain to the largest degree possible our preferences within the commonwealth, those preferences having meant so much to our country. The United States throughout has desired to remove those preferences. I know we had discussions in this regard during the so-called dialogues that took place between our government and the government of the United States; but we took the stand, and we still do, that the commonwealth has something to offer, and that there should not be a sacrifice of those preferences because of the desire of other countries to bring about such changes.

Mention was made of agriculture, and I would think this is going to be a very difficult field. One has only to look at the events of the last few days to realize what the situation is in the European community. There were many who claimed that we should try to secure associate membership in the European community but, sir, you do not hear so much about that now.

We find there is grave disagreement among the nations of that community, and in particular with reference to agriculture. I would like very much, and I am sure the house would also like, to have the opportunity to hear the minister explain what the result will be to Canada's markets for wheat in the event that the plan proposed by Mr. Sicco Mansholt, vice president of agriculture for the common market, were carried into effect. The other day he suggested that the common market should have uniform grain prices. That means the uniform grain price in West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg would be $100 a ton. I have not worked this out, but mental arithmetic leads me to believe it would be about $2.90 a bushel, which would be 9 per cent above the current price in France, the community's chief producer of wheat.

If this plan is accepted it means a large increase in France's production of wheat. It is actually all important to wheat production, and I am sure this is something that will command the attention and consideration of the Canadian government. In endeavouring to bring about extension in trade I hope there will be no sacrifice of Canadian agricultural interests because of the action of the European common market.

It is difficult to follow the minister in the detail which he has given. No advance notice was given that there would be a statement in this regard, but I thought I ought to make these observations:

1. Having consistently advanced multilateral trade during the period we were in office, we support the action now outlined.

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Tariff Negotiations

2. We are pleased to find that the old idea of linear and across the board cuts has now been departed from.

3. In connection with agriculture we hope the European common market's initiative, which I mentioned a moment ago, will be watched carefully throughout and that our markets on continental Europe shall not thereby be sacrificed.

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NDP

Reid Scott

New Democratic Party

Mr. Reid Scott (Danforth):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic party I want to thank the minister for his statement, of which he has given us notice from day to day in the past. We knew the statement was coming and were eagerly awaiting it. Those of us who are interested in this field have had so many communications from business and agricultural communities across the country that I for one realize we really cannot deal with this matter adequately on a statement on motions. The issues the minister has raised and the implications of this policy upon the whole Canadian economy are so great that I would earnestly suggest that some time in the new year the minister try to arrange a general debate on this subject; because the matters raised in this statement are far too complex and difficult to deal with at this stage, although we can make some general observations.

I would urge the minister to try to arrange a convenient time at which this matter could be more thoroughly explored. I am sorry, for example, that the minister has not said anything about the implications to the whole program of the French position. Those of us who were on the recent trip to Europe were very impressed by the apparent determination of the French government to torpedo these talks. None of us yet knows the effect of President Kennedy's death upon the whole proposal that is now before us. There are signs in statements now emanating from officials in Washington which seem to indicate that some of these people are having second thoughts about this particular program. I hope the minister will be able to give us some information on this score.

But I come back to the main complaint we have been making from the beginning in regard to the whole Kennedy tariff negotiations. We still do not feel that the government is taking the country into its confidence. The minister has spoken about the desire to enlarge export opportunities, but there is still no clear indication from this government as to where it is going with respect to the concessions it intends to make and how these concessions are going to affect the Canadian economy. I suppose the business community from coast to coast is still in a quandary wanting to know whose ox is going to be gored in these negotiations and what

Tariff Negotiations

plans and programs the government is going to develop to assist them through what will be a fateful transitional period.

I still feel that we are no wiser now than when the minister commenced his statement. The detailed portions of it are of course helpful and will be studied, but so far no clear indication is given to the business community as to what kind of program the government are going to follow, what kind of concessions they are willing to make, who is going to be affected by this, and what plans the government has to assist these industries through the transitional period. We still have no clear indication from the government where it is going in this regard. We have no announced policy in regard to adjustment assistance, without which we have been told we are seriously handicapped and cannot carry on effective negotiations. We were glad to hear the minister talk about commodity agreements, because in many areas these are the only long term solution. We would like to know what the plans are to work out agricultural problems with the European economic community.

All I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that it is just not possible to deal with this matter on motions. It is so serious, so far reaching, so complex, and carries with it such great implications for the whole Canadian economy that I urge that at some convenient time in the very near future a thorough debate be scheduled to discuss this matter.

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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. R. N. Thompson (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, this not being the time for speech making or debate, I would impress upon the Minister of Trade and Commerce the necessity of keeping the house informed on this matter. I support the remarks just made by the hon. member for Danforth and urge that an opportunity be provided for not only a debate on this entire issue but also for studying this whole question, because certainly trade is one of the basic problems that we must face in this increasingly competitive economic world.

I congratulate the minister for having again raised this matter, and I think his remarks indicate something that is sorely needed in our economy. I refer to the need for more consultation and co-operation among the various aspects of our economy. It is a good thing that business is being brought into it. I believe the work of Canada on the committee and the leadership which Canada can give in relation to trade can be made much more effective on this basis.

I would just add that we in Canada do stand in need of a permanent and projected

trade policy for agriculture which will give the necessary assurance to what is still our basic industry. I also remind the minister and his government that along with this question of trade one of the most vital aspects which cannot be separated from it, is the problem in the world today concerning the balance of payments. Along with the newer trade patterns there must also be a new financial arrangement worked out which can facilitate the trade policies which are developed.

I would also remind him that we have not only an obligation but an opportunity within our own commonwealth of nations, and I trust that as we are looking over the entire trade situation we do not forget the aspect of trade that relates to the commonwealth. It is now some six years ago that Great Britain offered us free trade as far as their part of the commonwealth was concerned. The government at that time turned their back on this suggestion; but certainly in the over-all picture there is no better place to begin than with the commonwealth.

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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Real Caouelle (Villeneuve):

Mr. Speaker, I had not been told beforehand about the statement just made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Sharp). Nevertheless, that statement is indicative of the great interest shown by the government in external trade and our trade relations with countries all over the world. It seems intent on increasing negotiations to get a bigger share of international trade, especially with Europe.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) said preference should be given to commonwealth countries. Personally, I think preference should go to countries offering the best guarantees and the best terms, wherever they may be.

Those which do business with us do not do so out of love for Canada but because it is to their interest. Thus we sell wheat to foreign countries at prices lower than those in force in our own country.

It is desirable of course that we seek to deal as much as possible with foreign countries but we must not forget that our domestic market comes first.

We have overseas ambassadors, trade commissioners and others; our industrialists are represented and see to it that our trade relations are maintained and improved in those countries.

There should be government representatives in all regions of Canada to stimulate our domestic market and try to get all the countries of the world to buy our surplus production.

That is our wish and our hope in this corner of the house; moreover, we would ask

the minister to introduce as early as possible a bill or a resolution that we could discuss so as to meet as quickly as possible the needs on both the domestic and foreign markets.

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RAILWAYS, AIR LINES AND SHIPPING PERSONNEL OF SESSIONAL COMMITTEE

LIB

Maurice Rinfret (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Chief Government Whip's assistant)

Liberal

Mr. Maurice Rinfrei (St. James) moved:

That the sessional committee on railways, air lines and shipping appointed November 15, 1963, be composed of Messrs. Addison, Balcer, Bechard, Bell, Deaehman, Fisher, Forbes, Granger, Gregoire, Gundlock, Hahn, Leboe, Lloyd, Macaluso, Mitchell, Monteith, Muir (Lisgar), Nugent, Prittie, Pugh, Richard, Rideout, Rouleau, Rock, Sauve and Southam.

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Motion agreed to.


CONSUMER CREDIT

CONTROL OF USE OF COLLATERAL BILLS AND NOTES

LIB

Sylvester Perry Ryan

Liberal

Mr. S. Perry Ryan (Spadina) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. C-113, to provide for control of the use of collateral bills and notes in consumer credit transactions.

Topic:   CONSUMER CREDIT
Subtopic:   CONTROL OF USE OF COLLATERAL BILLS AND NOTES
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?

Some hon. Members:

Explain.

Topic:   CONSUMER CREDIT
Subtopic:   CONTROL OF USE OF COLLATERAL BILLS AND NOTES
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LIB

Sylvester Perry Ryan

Liberal

Mr. Ryan:

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members know the Small Loans Act regulates part of the cash loan field in Canada. Somewhat by analogy to that act, this measure is designed to regulate the consumer credit field as far as I believe it is possible for the federal government to go at the present time until interpretations have been handed down by the courts defining provincial and federal jurisdiction with more certainty.

This bill has two main purposes; first of all, to give warning to makers of promissory notes given as collateral to deferred payment agreements in consumer credit transactions that they may become liable for payment of the notes to third parties who are innocent purchasers of the notes for value and without notice of the sale of goods transaction; second, to limit the rate of interest chargeable on such notes.

This bill offers alternatives and a somewhat different approach to ideas already contained in one or two bills which are before the special joint committee of both houses on consumer credit. It is my hope that with the unanimous consent of the house the Solicitor General will move to refer this bill to the joint committee on the motion for second reading.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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Inquiries of the Ministry EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

Topic:   CONSUMER CREDIT
Subtopic:   CONTROL OF USE OF COLLATERAL BILLS AND NOTES
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SENTENCE IMPOSED ON ARRESTED

CANADIAN CITIZEN


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, while appreciative of the fact that the Cuban government provided an open trial for the two Canadians charged with offences against that country, the sentence imposed on one of them of 30 years is difficult to understand on the basis of ordinary humanitarian principles. I would ask the minister what the government intends to do in this regard, and what are the possibilities, if he is able to say, of there being a major amelioration of the term imposed.

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Subtopic:   CANADIAN CITIZEN
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November 26, 1963