Mr. J. H. Dickey (Parliameniary Assistant, for the Minisier of Trade and Commerce):
Mr. Speaker, the sole purpose of this bill is to extend the Export and Import Permits Act for a further period of three years. By virtue of section 27 of the act it will expire on the 31st day of July, 1957. In this bill no amendment of the act is proposed except the substitution of a new expiry date, namely the 31st of July, 1960.
The necessity for exercising some control over the exportation and importation of goods has existed in varying degrees of intensity for a number of years. It is the opinion of the government that the provisions of the Export and Import Permits Act are adequate to meet current or foreseeable problems in this connection, and that the provisions of the present act should be continued for a further period.
The act provides the authority necessary for control of exports from Canada of arms, ammunition and implements of war, of atomic energy materials and other strategic materials, in order to ensure that these are not shipped to destinations where their use might be detrimental to the security of Canada or her allies. The act also provides authority to control the export of materials which become in short supply, in order to protect the supply position of Canadian industry. The act provides authority for control of all exports to certain countries listed in an area control list, which includes all countries in the Soviet bloc.
The act provides for control of imports only for specified purposes. The most important of these is authority to control imports of any commodity which is under price support in Canada, as butter is at the present time. There is also authority to control imports of any item which is subject to international allocation, as sulphur was during the Korean emergency by the international materials committee. Similarly there is authority to control imports of a commodity by arrangement with the government of the supplying country. This is of
Export and Import Permits Act particular importance to arrangements with the United States government, which does not impose any control on exports to Canada but which may ask Canada to regulate her imports of some scarce commodity from that market in time of emergency.
During the war years and prior to 1947 regulations were issued under the War Measures Act and the national emergency transitional powers act to meet the demands of the situations then existing. The Export and Import Permits Act became part of the statute law of Canada in 1947. The statute was re-enacted with substantial changes and improvements in 1954. The 1954 re-enactment provided for the expiration of the act on the 31st of July, 1957, and parliament is now being asked to continue the act in force for a further period of three years.
I am sure all hon. members look forward to the possibility that future developments in the world situation will be such that this legislation will not always be required. However, under present conditions and having in mind our national security and commitments to our allies, there appears to be no reasonable alternative to the continuation of this act.
I do not believe that any lengthy review of the world situation or the specific provisions of the act is appropriate at this stage of the debate. All of us reach our own conclusions respecting possible developments in the international situation and the prospects of peace or war. However different the bases may be for our views, I doubt that there is a single member of the house who does not agree that if this legislation was required in 1954 it is still necessary today. The experience of the last three years proves conclusively that this act was essential to enable this country to deal effectively with urgent and continuing problems.
The provisions of the act were carefully reviewed by this house during consideration of the bill which was before us in the 1954 session. Since that time its provisions have been found to work satisfactorily for the protection of the security of this country, and have enabled us to comply with any requirements of an international character which have arisen. However, perhaps I should remind the house that the scheme of the act is quite simple. With reference to exports it provides means for the control of the export of certain commodities from Canada to any destination, and the export of any commodity to certain destinations. With respect to imports the act contains power only to control the import into Canada of certain commodities, irrespective of their source. The act also contains the necessary [Mr. Dickey 1
provisions for its administration and enforcement. Continuing efforts have been made to improve the administration of the act, to simplify its application and remove in so far as is practicable inconveniences to Canadian exporters and importers.
Topic: EXPORT AND IMPORT PERMITS ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENT EXTENDING OPERATION TO JULY 31,