November 5, 1979 (31st Parliament, 1st Session)


Gerald William Baldwin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

The hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters) brought to my attention the difficulty which ordinary people have in understanding the legislation, and not only understanding it but realizing the extent to which, at the whim of the minister on the advice of his officials, the government may vary, change and alter not only these tariffs but the non-tariff structure, and the people who are involved will not know anything about it until it is over and done with.
I am fortunate to be able to sit on the same committee in this ensuing session, and I hope that the committee will continue to give to the people of Canada, as an arm of this Parliament, an opportunity for them to stand up and complain about the practice of using orders in council and regulations under this act without there being some remedy. One of the things which we have suggested, and I hope this government will bring it into force-and I see my hon. friend, the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Baker), who is charged with this bill and is a very useful member of that committee, and also the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Hnaty-shyn), both of whom, I hope, will see to it-is that in cases of this kind there be pre-publication of rules and of orders in council as well as of regulations so that people who are affected will be advised. This will be done by notice so that those who will be affected, the producers and the consumers, will have an opportunity to make representations directly to the government or to the tribunal which will be making the decision, or to members of Parliament who, in the final analysis, are the ultimate harbingers of destiny, as it should be, of the affairs of the nation.
There is no doubt in my mind that a continuation of this practice is the easy way to do things, to sit cosily up in your office and enact the regulation or order in council. Nine times out of ten the minister does it on the advice of his advisers. I am not saying that in a disparaging sense, because it is utterly impossible in the kind of society we have for ministers to be on top of all the data, all the orders in council, and all propositions which are put before them.

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