June 20, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


William Marvin Howe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Howe (Wellingion-Huron):

Defence Production Act freedoms we hold so dear. Let me quote from Dr. Charles Malik, Lebanese statesman and rapporteur for the United Nations commission on human rights, as follows:
In this age of spreading socialism it is difficult to champion the cause of freedom; it is difficult to shout from the housetops that man cannot be absorbed by society, that he is by nature free to think, free to choose, free to rebel against his own society, or indeed against the whole world, if it is in the wrong. But unless we succeed in preserving and promoting man's inalienable freedom, we shall have traded away his dignity, and we shall have destroyed his worth.
He goes on to say that one of our freedoms is exemption from arbitrary control. Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is why we are interested in this legislation; that is why we are debating it at such length; that is why we feel it is a danger to our freedom and to the democratic systems of our country.
What remarks have been made in support of one of the reasons they have given that the legislation is necessary. I am quoting from the remarks of the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Cameron), on June 8 as reported at page 4547 of Hansard:
It was not labour that went out on strike; it was capital that went on strike in 1939, and that was prepared to let Canada go down the drain if they could not have the terms they wanted from the government and people of this country.
I declare, Mr. Speaker, that 10 years after we finished one of the greatest wars this world has ever known, this statement is a direct affront to the teamwork that was shown in this country by industry, by capital, by the people themselves, and by agricultural organizations, that made possible the great contribution to our war effort. It was one of the greatest things this country has ever done. The statement of the hon. member was a direct affront to these people. The fact that this legislation is being put into force is a great affront to our great industrial leaders today, to the leaders of capital, of finance, of manufacturing, of the labour unions, and of agriculture.
Why do not some of the Liberal members rise in their places and speak on behalf of their own manufacturing organizations? Do you believe they want to have their organizations taken over under legislation of this kind in case of an emergency? Do you believe they are going to think well of this? I do not think they are. Some of them had better start thinking about it, too.
One other thing came to my mind with regard to this legislation. We are proud of our freedom and of our democratic way of life. We are proud of the things we have accomplished. We are proud of our humanitarian effort. We think some other things are

necessary. We set up organizations such as the Colombo plan. We give money to the United Nations for relief in the countries of the East and the Far East. We go over there to give them help.
Last year when we debated this question in the house, what was said? Part of our reason was humanitarian. The other reason was that we had a better way of life, that our democracy was greater, that our freedoms were more widespread than theirs. What are we going to do now? Are we going to lose face? Here we have legislation giving to one individual extraordinary powers. When they see that what are they going to say? Will they not say, where is your democracy now? Where is your great freedom? Where are the things you hold so dear? What are they going to say in the face of that? Somebody has said that this is the 41st or 42nd speech. It may be the 43rd, 44th or 45th. What is the reason for it? The minister has said he is not going to make any change, though he made a token change the other day.
Do you feel he is indestructible? Do you believe that he is always going to be there to carry on under this particular legislation? Is he willing to see somebody else carry it on? Some wonderful things have been said about the minister in the last few days. Probably he is well-deserving of them. What about his successor? Is he going to be able to carry on?

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