June 5, 1972

PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

Mr. Speaker, I must say I would probably be opposed to the amendment moved and yet I must also say that in my view the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) has stated in essence what I thought was the understanding, that is, that hon. members would be able to offer amendments at the report stage in the way in which the hon. member indicated.

I have not had an opportunity to look into this thoroughly, but I notice there is an amendment at the report stage standing in the name of the minister. It would appear to

deal with sections in the act which are not covered by the amending bill. I am referring to amendment No. 2. I may be wrong but it strikes me, on the basis of the reasoning of the Chair, that we must only look at amendments at the report stage which can be related to the amending bill before the House. If that is the case, I wonder whether amendment No. 2 of the minister is in order.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Otto Emil Lang (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board)

Liberal

Mr. Lang:

Mr. Speaker, on the question of privilege I should like to confirm that my understanding certainly agrees with that of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). Perhaps I might on this question of privilege draw Your Honour's attention to the fact that the reference of the extension of the act to rapeseed, flax and rye does not appear in the bill. I take it that it appears in this form because that was the original form of the recommendation to support the amendment.

I say to the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) and to the parliamentary secretary that I would propose in due course to urge my colleagues to vote against the amendment, not because I am against it in principle but because of the nature of the deliberations which took place upon it. That, however, is a different issue. I hope at this stage we might go to the substance of the amendment knowing that the history of the matter is as the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre says. That was the understanding concerning the bill at the report stage.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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PC

John (Jack) Henry Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

Mr. Speaker, I have one further comment. In respect of your words to the effect that this amendment goes beyond the context of the bill before us, may I say that while it may not have gone beyond the context of the original bill before the committee it now, in your words, goes beyond the context certainly of amendments at the report stage. If this is so, conceivably it is out of order.

While I know good will must prevail between the House leaders of the various parties, I would suggest at this late hour that perhaps the best way in which to proceed would be to call it ten o'clock and let the House leaders meet again to discuss the pertinent points. Then we could proceed tomorrow with a better understanding of how to deal with the suggested amendment.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Marcel Lessard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Lessard (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, after listening to what the hon. minister has just said concerning the position which may be taken when the bill is examined, I have no objection to this amendment being debated, except that I reserve the support which, for intance, I may give to the said amendment.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

Mr. Speaker, with respect may I add one further point. I say this not in criticism of the Chair but perhaps in criticism of all of us here. It seems to me that when the amendment at the report stage appeared on the order paper, as this one did in the previous session, at no point in time did anyone in this chamber draw to the attention of the hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar (Mr. Gleave) that his motion might be out of order. After all the time that has elapsed, surely the motion should be

June 5, 1972

allowed, if for no other reason than that it was not ruled out of order, and we must at least allow the motion to proceed to a vote.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

It seems to the Chair that the situation is as I indicated earlier, that from the point of view of strict procedure I have considerable doubt as to the acceptability of the motion. Hon. members have referred the Chair to discussions at another time among hon. members. May I point out, with respect, that the Chair has the responsibility to rule on the procedural acceptability of motions such as this. Normally consideration is given to motions when they come before the House for debate.

I have indicated the ruling I would make but am not anxious to make a ruling now, if hon. members would prefer that I defer it. If it is the wish of the House, as was suggested by the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre (Mr. Benjamin), the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) and the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin) who are generally in accord, I will defer my ruling until the next time the matter comes before the House.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the House would be pleased if you would do that. When you are giving further thought to your ruling, I wonder if you would take into account in a particular way the point just made by the Minister of Justice regarding the royal recommendation. I draw your attention to the fact that he was speaking not only about the royal recommendation in last session's bill but about the royal recommendation that is attached to this session's Bill C-204 in which there is a reference which reads, "to extend application of the act to flaxseed, rye and rapeseed".

As the Minister of Justice has pointed out, in the bill as it is before us, which is in the form in which it was reported from the committee last session, there is no such reference. So as I tried to say before, we are dealing not with a situation that is governed by the normal rules but with a situation that is governed by the fact that we have carried over a matter from one session to another and have done it by a clearcut understanding among the House leaders of all parties. If Your Honour will give the matter consideration overnight, perhaps we can deal with it more acceptably the next time it comes up.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With respect to the point raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, may I say that I am aware of the terms of the recommendation but that is not the basis on which I feel that the motion is not in order. I indicated that I thought it went beyond the scope of the bill before the committee.

I consider that in so far as the royal recommendation is concerned, there would probably be no objection on that point. I feel that whatever hon. members, through the House leaders, think they should do is a matter for them to consider. In so far as the Chair is concerned, as I have indicated I will defer my ruling if it is necessary to make it. However, I would prefer hon. members, through the House leaders, to give this matter further consideration and when the matter comes before the House, to indicate to the Chair if any agreement has been reached.

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre): Ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is this agreed?

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING DETERMINATION OF PAYMENT FOR WHEAT-EXTENSION OF APPLICATION TO FLAXSEED, RYE AND RAPESEED
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 40 deemed to have been moved.


GRAIN-REQUEST FOR FORGIVENESS OF OVERPAYMENTS TO FARMERS IN LIGHT OF FORGIVENESS OF DUTIES AND TAXES OWING BY CAR MANUFACTURER

NDP

William George Knight

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Knight (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, on May 25 I

asked the minister in charge of the Wheat Board the following question:

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Justice who is also in charge of the Canadian Wheat Board. In view of the fact that a major car manufacturer owes the Crown $6 million in duties and sales tax and that this debt is to be forgiven, I wonder whether the minister or the government would give consideration to a similar forgiveness of overpayments to farmers, as described in the Auditor General's report?

The answer I received was extremely insufficient and incorrect. The minister said:

Mr. Speaker, I do not see the connection between the two situations described by the hon. member.

I think this points out a lack of continuity in government policy. There are certain groups in our society which are put into a privileged position, such as the large automotive industry, especially in terms of a company that ships cars from the United States. They receive a write-off of $6 million, but the farmer who is affected, as reported in paragraph 64 of the Auditor General's report, by the wheat inventory reduction payments is not in the same position.

The Auditor General's report sets out a number of weaknesses and inconsistencies in the administration of this program. The department has established that some 4,000 farmers have been overpaid approximately $540,000. Of this, $177,000 has been recovered and attempts are being made to recover the remainder.

When it comes to the complaints of farmers in western Canada we are in a situation where 4,000 of them will have to repay the overpayments. This is the position under the Lift program due to misadministration of the government. Yet the government is writing off $6 million for a large corporation. That is the inconsistency of the government. They are the financial backers of this government; let there be no question about that.

Throughout his report we see all kinds of inconsistencies pointed out by the Auditor General. In paragraph 69, on the cost of unused accommodation in Ottawa, we find that $32,000 was spent for unoccupied space in moving the Canada Council to new accommodation. In paragraph 73, on royalties not reported by a foreign licensee, we find

June 5, 1972

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion

that because the royalty portion of the licensee's selling price has been withheld by a foreign government agency, the licensee has not reported sales on which approximately $118,000 in royalties should have accrued to Canadian Patents and Development Limited.

In paragraph 77, on indirect compensation to chartered banks, we find that government deposits aggregating $100 million remain at the disposal of the chartered banks free of charge without the approval of Parliament. At the same time, there is inconsistency on the part of the government when they drag the court 4,000 farmers in this land because of the misadministration of PFRA by the Department of Agriculture. We as Members of Parliament should be pleased that the Auditor General points out these inconsistencies and we should be happy to have the opportunity to read his report.

On page 4 of the Auditor General's report we find that the government is trying to cut back on the services available to the Auditor General to look at government expenses. He points out that there has been a downgrading of senior staff positions and says:

In my opinion, this action by the Treasury Board secretariat is unfair and discriminates against the Auditor General. It should be corrected forthwith. If it is allowed to stand it will mean that his office is prevented from employing auditors in the highest classification in the public service of Canada. It will also mean that in order to reach the highest classification in their profession, his most experienced auditors must leave the-office of the Auditor General.

This action points up more clearly than anything else that if the Auditor General of Canada is to be truly independent he must be free to recruit the staff he needs and to determine their salary levels within the framework of the public service of Canada.

Not only is the Auditor General the most important employee of Parliament but it is a fact that the government is making moves to undercut his position. It is in this report that Members of Parliament such as myself can find the inconsistencies of this government in how it handles revenue. The report points out time and time again the kind of inconsistencies that have occurred.

This is money set aside, budgeted and not spent, built up to over $200 million, to which the government has access for spending on any kind of program it sees fit, without direct action by Parliament. It is a nice chunk of pie ready to be served to the people of Canada before a general election.

Topic:   GRAIN-REQUEST FOR FORGIVENESS OF OVERPAYMENTS TO FARMERS IN LIGHT OF FORGIVENESS OF DUTIES AND TAXES OWING BY CAR MANUFACTURER
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LIB

Marcel Lessard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Lessard (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member in directing his original question to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) sought to draw a parallel between two distinctly different circumstances. The situations mentioned were the Canada-United States automotive agreement on the one hand and the Operation Lift program on the other. The minister in his reply stated that he could see no connection between the two situations and frankly, Mr. Speaker, neither can I.

Although the Canada-United States auto agreement is not administered by the Canadian Department of Agriculture, perhaps I may still reply to that part of the hon. member's question which pertains to this agreement. It is my understanding that this agreement was based on the

principle of free trade. As such it did not envisage collection of duty or sales tax by either party. The amount the hon. member interprets as being a direct liability is, in my understanding, what has been referred to as a contingent liability, not a direct liability nor an outstanding debt owing.

The overpayments to farmers are examples of direct liabilities and as such are quite different both in terms of accounting principles and of actual fact. Under the terms of the Lift program, farmers who elected to participate in the program were paid a specific amount for each acre taken out of wheat production, with an additional payment made when this acreage was diverted to perennial forage production. These payments were made subject to a definite set of governing regulations.

I am certain the hon. member is well aware of the reasons behind the Lift program and I need not go into them in detail. However, I should like to mention the fact that the government, in an attempt to put needed cash into the hands of farmers as soon as possible, made advance interim payments to farmers who submitted claims. Final payments were made when on-farm inspections had been made. Some overpayments did result. Some of these overpayments arose out of arithmetical errors and misunderstanding of the regulations. In other cases there were definite inconsistencies when the actual farm inspections were made.

In conclusion, and to answer the hon. member's question, the government does not intend to forgive or writeoff these overpayments. Rather, we have already collected much of the amount owing and have been, and are, judging each outstanding case on its own merits. Where, according to the regulations, recovery is justifiable we shall attempt to collect the full amount owing.

Topic:   GRAIN-REQUEST FOR FORGIVENESS OF OVERPAYMENTS TO FARMERS IN LIGHT OF FORGIVENESS OF DUTIES AND TAXES OWING BY CAR MANUFACTURER
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PENITENTIARIES-SUSPENSION OF REGULATION MAKING INMATES FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WILFUL DAMAGE TO POPERTY

PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. D. Alkenbrack (Frontenac-Lennox and Addington):

Mr. Speaker, I bring a question before this House tonight which is of vital importance to Parliament, to our penal system and to all Canadian taxpayers. It arises from a sequence of events at Millhaven penitentiary in my riding. During the first week of May a hunger strike and riot were staged by certain inmates, and in the latter action these persons wilfully destroyed an estimated $4,000 worth of federal property, namely, the plumbing in that institution. As a result of this, on May 16 I asked the Solicitor General (Mr. Goyer) the following question:

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General on a subject which has aroused public opinion regarding certain happenings in our penal system. Can the minister inform the House and give his assessment of the extent of damage done by certain inmates of Millhaven penitentiary last week when in a reported protest or strike they wilfully destroyed an estimated $4,000 worth of federal property in that new prison?

The minister said he would be happy to look into the matter. I asked him a supplementary question as follows:

In view of the minister's new but ill-advised policy of full wages for inmates, will he not deduct the amount of damages from their wages?

June 5, 1972

You will note, Mr. Speaker, that the Solicitor General said he would be happy to look into the matter. I now draw your attention to another document, a news item which appeared in the Kingston Whig Standard four days later, on May 20. I will quote from it. It shows that the minister must have looked into the matter, but in a manner harmful and detrimental to the interests of the Canadian public and not in keeping with the protection of persons and property. I quote from the Whig Standard the article headlined, "Prisons suspend rule":

The Commissioner of Penitentiaries has suspended a regulation that requires inmates of federal prisons to pay for damage done to prison property.

The regulation states that when an inmate damages government property he may be financially liable for the full cost or a portion of the cost of repairing the damage.

Regional director John Moloney acknowledged Friday that inmates no longer had to pay. This is a "recent innovation" he said. He did not know why the regulation was suspended.

In the past, inmates made good the damage out of pay credits. They could be deprived of pay up to three months if necessary, but at that time their case was automatically reviewed.

The publishing of this latest piece of policy emanating from the office of the Solicitor General compelled me to ask another question in the House on May 30, which has brought us to this confrontation tonight. Public opinion in my constituency is aroused over this latest policy or desertion of policy on the part of the Solicitor General and his department. I asked, as recorded at page 2675 of Hansard for May 30, the following question:

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General and it deals with a matter I asked the minister about on May 16 concerning deduction of amounts of damages done by inmates to prison property from the salaries of prisoners in federal institutions. On May 20 the regulation holding prisoners financially responsible for wilful damage to prison property was suspended. Would the minister tell the House who authorized that directive?

It has always been an axiom of the common law that Canadians shall be held responsible for damage they do to persons and property. The law applies as well to persons in our penitentiaries and we must uphold especially the regulations governing those persons. Neither the Commissioner of Penitentiaries nor the Solicitor General have the power to change this law. How crazy can the government get in implementing its permissive society?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and the Solicitor General are now projecting their version of the permissive society even into the prisons. Now, under their policy, a person convicted of crime and incarcerated in an institution is a privileged person. The suspension of this time-honoured regulation will only invite wilful damage and vandalism, encourage more riots and discourage the recruitment of guards for the penal service. The guards at present face a tough enough time. There is no need to make it tougher for them to maintain order and to perform their duties in our prisons.

The cost of Millhaven prison, the most commodious and modern in Canada, will be over $20 million when completed. According to the evidence I have placed before you, and according to reports of speeches alleged to have been made by the Solicitor General in western Canada, he and the Prime Minister are following dangerous policies

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion

and are now saying to the criminal elements of Canada, "We honour you in our participatory democracy. We are removing most of the deterrents to your chosen vocation of crime. If you go to prison, we will give you a better standard of living than many taxpaying Canadians enjoy. You can destroy all the property you like; we will not hold you morally or financially responsible. The taxpayer will pay for your damages. We will also restore to you your privileges and in your commodious quarters we will make the taxpayer restore whatever you destroy. You can retain the salaries which we will pay you and thumb your noses at the judges of the courts who sent you here, for you may soon have a privilege that they do not possess, that of the franchise."

May I remind the Solicitor General, Mr. Speaker, that the law of Canada stipulates that we shall at all times maintain the protection of persons and property. It is for this very reason that the Solicitor General's office exists. On behalf of the Canadian people I demand that the minister reveal who authorized this relaxation of law as evidenced in the directive in question. Originally, the director said he did not know why the regulation was suspended. This House and the Canadian people are quite sure that the Solicitor General knows why. The Canadian people are sick of and disgusted with the permissive policies of this government and its failure to govern. They are revolted by the abandonment of well-founded principles and deterrents which used to be assured by law, and they deplore the sick society which has resulted.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES-SUSPENSION OF REGULATION MAKING INMATES FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WILFUL DAMAGE TO POPERTY
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LIB

Douglas Aird Hogarth (Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Douglas A. Hogarth (Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General):

Mr. Speaker, as usual the hon. member of the opposition is only half right. He suggested that the damage in Millhaven amounted to $4,000; actually, it amounted to $2,200.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES-SUSPENSION OF REGULATION MAKING INMATES FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WILFUL DAMAGE TO POPERTY
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PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alkenbrack:

I said the amount was estimated.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES-SUSPENSION OF REGULATION MAKING INMATES FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WILFUL DAMAGE TO POPERTY
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LIB

Douglas Aird Hogarth (Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Hogarth:

Then is $4,000 an estimate of $2,200 worth of damage?

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES-SUSPENSION OF REGULATION MAKING INMATES FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WILFUL DAMAGE TO POPERTY
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June 5, 1972