July 6, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

No. The hon. member has completely misstated the situation. The act now before us is not subject to review and repeal, beyond the fact that any act is subject to repeal. This act is not subject to review. There is no provision in this act anywhere that makes it subject to review. There is no time limit on this act if the amendment which has been introduced by the Prime Minister is passed, no time limit whatever.
Therefore there is a fundamental difference between us. What we say is precisely what was said in the early stages when this act was first brought forward. There are powers

that are acceptable and there are powers which the government itself says should not be continued. There is no need to repeat what has been said before. Hon. members opposite have asked, "Why did you not oppose this before?" Hon. members know that the same situation arises here and in Westminster and in other parliaments of our kind.
When the act came forward in 1951 for the setting up of the Department of Defence Production, we had to accept the act in principle. We had no choice, since to vote against that act on second reading in 1951 would have been to vote against the very thing we had been asking for before the government introduced it, a Department of Defence Production. The powers went with it, and we made it clear that we thought those powers were excessive and were wrong. But the government itself placed a time limit of July 31, 1956, on those powers and said those powers would not be continued past that time. The government said, not we, that these should not be continuing powers.
All we have said is, "Deal with those powers that you said must not be continuing powers. Make the Department of Defence Production permanent, plus sensible delegated powers properly spelled out and clearly understood by Canadians, and you will find us supporting such a proposition because we have supported it and have asked for it." When the hon. member for Spadina says that he understands the position of the Leader of the Opposition now to be such and such, may I remind him that that is the position we took in 1951; that is the position in March of this year, and it is the position we have taken since this act came before the house for second reading in the name of the Prime Minister.

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