September 11, 1950 (21st Parliament, 3rd Session)


Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)


Mr. Abbott:

Answering the first part of my hon. friend's question with reference to the preamble of the bill which was discussed this afternoon, the preamble to this bill was worded as it is in order to eliminate the necessity of reciting the circumstances which were set out in the preamble to the other bill and which have a similar application to this bill. Answering his second question as to the goods that will be dealt with here, that is to say, consumer goods with respect to which credit will be restricted, they would not be, either generally or particularly, the same class of goods as would be dealt with under the allocation bill which was discussed this afternoon.
The main purpose of this bill, as the preamble indicates, is to deal with the inflationary forces which now exist and which may become considerably stronger. This is one of the

weapons which the government is suggesting should be used to damp down those inflationary forces. My hon. friend will have seen in reading the preamble to this bill that reference is made to the preventing of inflationary expansion of currency and credit. Under the British North America Act the federal government is given responsibility with respect to currency.
I am not going to go into the constitutional aspects of this bill. I am not a specialist in constitutional law; taxation is more in my line; but I will say that constitutional law offers a wonderful opportunity to make assertions because it is most difficult for anyone to prove you wrong. In the case of a good many other branches of law you have to establish in the courts at an early date that you are either right or wrong, but that is not true in constitutional law. You can assert with a good deal of boldness that a thing is either constitutional or unconstitutional and it is very unlikely that you will be checked up in the very near future.
I prefer in a case of this kind to follow the law and take the advice, which I am bound to take, of the law officers of the crown that the bill which I am presenting is within the legal competence of parliament, and I have been so advised.

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