May 21, 1951 (21st Parliament, 4th Session)


Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)


Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this resolution is to refer the documents executed at Torquay to a committee of parliament for the information of the members of the committee, and for such report as may emanate from the committee to the House of Commons. Objection has been taken that the committee cannot change the agreement. Well, I agree that is the situation. To have forty countries enter into tariff negotiations and not make it possible for representatives of those countries to bind the governments that they represent to agreements reached during the conference would of course make tariff negotiations of this kind impossible. All the countries at Torquay were acting under executive authority. For the United States, Canada, Great Britain, all the countries there represented, the executive of each took the responsibility for signing the agreement on behalf of his country. It is the method followed by British countries, and it has been accepted in countries outside of the British commonwealth.
I do hope that the committee will give careful study to the results at Torquay, because it seems to me that this uninformed debate we are having indicates -that a study of the terms of agreement will be very helpful, particularly to members of the opposition who have spoken. We are told tonight that the results at Torquay have been unimportant to Canadian trade. I believe that many parts of the country will take a different view. We have heard the viewpoint of British Columbia, and I believe we shall get an even stronger viewpoint in the same direction from the maritime provinces. I believe the farmers of this country-

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