I have another point I should like to bring up-this is not the first time I have mentioned foreign exchange to the minister. We are really dealing with an act known as the Foreign Exchange Control Act. And I might say to you, sir, that I think a lot of this difficulty rests with the minister -and I am sincere about that.
There was an error in judgment on the minister's part, and I am going to point it out. I will point it out now, because I think there should not be any recurrence of it.
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Foreign Exchange Control I know that we have complaints where constituents are dealt with unjustly, and they do not receive the compensation due to them.
I think it is the duty of a member to bring this to the minister's attention, because the fault lies with him.
He carried out the same, perhaps I should not use the word tactics, when he was minister of militia. It was most difficult to get the present minister to bring down legislation in the house. I remember that one time when he was minister of militia he made a speech which should have been made here in the House of Commons. We asked him about that speech the same afternoon and in a jocular way he said that it was a political speech, and that we would not wish to hear a political speech. Having said that, he was not very serious about it.
That happened on Friday, May 23, 1947.
I hold in my hand an amendment to the Foreign Exchange Control Act, as it is set out in P.C. 2045, and it is that issue I wish to take up this evening. What happened on that afternoon? The house was in session at that time. I might say that the amending order in council was here. I say the minister should have come to the house, as has been done many times by ministers of the crown, and should have informed the house of the amendment. He should have given us the same information as to the amendment. But instead of that he went on the air at night.
We have a press gallery up here, and they could have given the country the information, but the minister thought better to give it out as a broadcast. What happened? The public did not know anything about it.- And that was the condition in May, 1947.
The months of May, June and July passed. Then what happened? Enforcement officers were appointed. I say that the administration is wrong and that the minister* was wrong. First we have the Minister of Finance dealing with the Foreign Exchange Control Act, and then the administration comes through the Minister of National Revenue.
Two citizens . in my constituency were picked up by officers at the international bridge at Lansdowne in 1947. Naturally I wrote to the minister responsible, in that instance the Minister of National Revenue. He washed his hands of it, and said that this was a matter for the foreign exchange control board.
I immediately brought the matter to the attention of the Minister of Finance. Well,
I did not get very much information there, except to find out who was carrying out the enforcement. What did I find? In the course of a short time in the following session the minister placed hundreds of these enforce-
ment officers all across Canada. These were not trained. And I should like to place myself on record as saying that if this had been left in the hands of the inland revenue branch I believe all of these people would have been justly dealt with. I say that because the enforcement officers with the inland revenue branch are well established officials who have chosen that branch of the service for their life's work. Many of them are returned soldiers, and veterans of the first world war. They know how to deal with these infractions.
However, as soon as the apprehension is made these people are passed on to Ottawa, with the result that the work of the enforcement officers here overlaps. First there is the Minister of Finance, then the foreign exchange control board, and then the Minister of National Revenue.
I am now going to ask my question. What happened? A form was sent out by an enforcement officer over here in the foreign exchange control board. I would like to know who Mr. C. A. Rowe is. This officer was appointed on June 2, 1947. Then, who is J. E. Rowe, appointed on September 22, 1947?
In order to obtain the information I wanted I had to ask these questions:
1. How many enforcement officers are employed by the foreign exchange control board?
2. Who are they?
3. What date were they appointed?
4. Where are they located?
5. What salary does each receive?
Naturally one would think that an official who is acting as part of a government organization would be recorded. I wanted to know if this was an honorary appointment. So what did I find? The answer was:
As the officers provided to the board are employees of the Bank of Canada, their salaries are not a matter of government record.
Here we have this document signed by C. A. Rowe. At that time the present Secretary of State for External Affairs was his chief. I did not know that; perhaps I should have directed my question to him.
This is where the administration is wrong. This letter was sent out, and let me point out where it is not quite fair. It is dated September 5, 1947, and, refers to the minister's statement:
In his statement of May 6. 1947, which was given wide publicity in the daily newspapers and over the radio the Minister of Finance announced that customs officials would be instructed to enforce the new permit regulations strictly and that prosecutions would be instituted in cases where Canadians have unlawfully accumulated United States funds or have attempted to export them without permit.
That letter was sent out on September 5, 1947. It was more or less protecting the
minister, and intimated that he had done the proper thing. I can only say again that the Minister of Finance did not do the proper thing.
I am sorry the Prime Minister is not here tonight, but even in his absence there is a recommendation I should like to make. It took me all last year to get this return of 168 pages. No one can tell me that an injustice has not been done. According to the figures given to the hon. member for Lake Centre a moment ago, in 1947 there were 347 cases, the collections were $10,991. This was retained. But they returned $17,000 in 321 cases. I have every one of those names on the list, and not many of them exceeded $50. That money should be returned on the ground that the minister erred in his judgment.
I say that because in December 1947, when Bill No. 3 was before the house, he saw his mistake. Why did he see it? Because he knew then what had happened. In January of 1948 he saw fit to advertise in newspapers across Canada. This is what he should have done the morning after he went on the air on May 26, 1947. The minister will find the details of the Renaud case on file. I do not know why he did not return the money. That woman was just as innocent as she could be. Can the minister tell me why the money was not returned? After he answers that, I should like to put another question. Can you answer my question first?
Topic: BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE