Mr. J. H. Dickey (Parliamentary Assistant, for the Minister of Trade and Commerce):
Mr. Speaker, I just want to make one or two comments on the debate we have had on second reading. First of all I wish to express great appreciation to the hon. member for Eglinton for his very complimentary reference to the deputy minister of the Department of Trade and Commerce, Mr. Bull. Certainly the hon. member's reference is highly merited. There is no doubt that Mr. Bull has impressed hon. members of this house whenever he has appeared as a witness before one of our committees, and that was certainly the case in connection with the Export and Import Controls Act when it received consideration in committee.
I know the minister would want me to express this word of appreciation to the hon. member for Eglinton, and to say that Mr. Bull's work in the department has been very greatly appreciated. Our regret in seeing him leave the department is relieved only by our great satisfaction at the important new responsibilities he is assuming and the highly merited promotion in the public service he is receiving.
I do not think I should allow the debate to conclude without pointing out to the hon. member for Eglinton that his description of the powers that are vested in the minister under this act was not quite accurate. The powers he referred to with respect to the establishment of control lists on commodities and an area control list-that is, the general
over-all powers contained in the act-are vested in the governor in council, not in the minister. Orders made by the governor in council in pursuance of the powers contained in the act are of course subject to tabling in the House of Commons in accordance with the provision of the Regulations Act. For this reason I think they are more appropriately dealt with than would be the case if they were ministerial powers. The powers of the minister under the act are the more detailed powers of the day to day issuing of permits and certificates, and in this respect are very much more appropriate powers for ministerial action.
The hon. member for Eglinton and other hon. members have spoken of the reasons underlying the existence of this act. The hon. member for Eglinton indicated that previous extensions of this act prior to 1950 or 1951 were for one year's duration. I think I should point out to the house that those extensions were in the period before the Korean emergency, and I believe the Korean emergency changed the whole situation materially with respect to the necessity for controls of this kind and also a number of other matters.
The hon. member also indicated that in 1947 the main basis for having an act of this nature arose out of the scarcity of materials that then existed. In a general sense I think that is probably true, but the fact that in 1954 this was no longer one of the main reasons but had been supplanted by another reason, which was the necessity of maintaining control of exports of arms and other strategic materials to the communist bloc, simply shows how fundamentally and rapidly situations of this kind can change. It indicates, I believe, the basic requirement for an act of this kind which is carefully drawn to keep the necessary authority and power within reasonable limits, but still contains the powers that may require to be exercised, sometimes with very little notice, in the national interest and to ensure national security.
The three hon. members who have spoken said they feel this bill should be considered and studied in the committee on banking and commerce. I cannot agree with that suggestion, Mr. Speaker. As has been pointed out, the bill itself is very brief indeed and consists of only one clause. In the opinion of the government there has not been any fundamental change in the situation which gives rise to any justification for considering basic changes in the act, either in terms of extending its provisions to cover additional matters or in terms of reducing the coverage of its sections.
Export and Import Permits Act
The hon. member for Eglinton suggested there was not as good a case for the retentions of the controls over imports as there was concerning exports.
That is a matter of opinion. When you realize that the control over imports is an absolute and fundamental necessity for the implementation of any price support legislation of the type referred to by the hon. member, you come to the realization that this is a most important power to have in some statute or other for the exercise of support, for agricultural and other commodities. Therefore I submit that second reading should be given to this bill, after which it should be studied in the normal manner in committee of the whole.
Topic: EXPORT AND IMPORT PERMITS ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENT EXTENDING OPERATION TO JULY 31,