Mr. THAUVETTE (Translation):
The minister is granted-is it the Minister of Agriculture or the Minister of Trade and Commerce? The act makes no mention'-the power to legislate. At all events, the whole mechanism of this bureaucratic machinery will be put into motion by the promulgation of an order in council. The government's policy of governing by orders in council still continues. Governing behind closed doors. The government has made it a principle to disregard the people's wishes and assumes the rights and privileges which parliament possesses of legislating in the interest of the nation on such
vital questions as those at present involved. After the renewal of the signature in blank, the government intends to regulate the natural resources which belong to the provinces, such as forests, mines, fisheries, etc. That is the attitude which the government has taken ever since I have the honour of being a member of this house. We have had these last years a dictatorship which resembles that of Mussolini. We were heading for Moscow; now we have been switched on the road to Berlin.
May I, sir, discuss a few points of this bill. In examining the various sections which will determine the enforcement and working of the act submitted to us, we find at section 3, paragraph 6:
The board shall be a body corporate and shall have power for the purposes of this act to acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property.
I am amazed at the powers conferred on this board-which will legally be constituted by the governor in council-to hold, acquire and dispose of real and personal property, not under the authority of parliament but by order in council. Such properties are to be acquired, not under the authority of parliament but by order in council, they are to be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund. If I understand the wording of the act, they will belong to the board which acquired them and may be disposed of as they think fit and for its own use.
Section 3, paragraph 9 reads as follows:
The governor in council may from time to time authorize payment to the board, out of the consolidated revenue fund, of such sums of money as may be necessary for the purpose of this act.
Always by order in council, the minister may draw from the treasury the sums of money it pleases, turn them over to the board which will pay the amounts deemed necessary for the purposes of this act. Certainly this provision will provide for the expenditure of sums of money drawn from the treasury, without parliament being given an opportunity to discuss whether they are necessary or even being given the opportunity of investigating matters.
However, sir, what seems to me most arbitrary and at the same time most annoying to the farmers of this country who will have to carry on their marketing every day by virtue of the act, are the powers defined in section 4 of the bill, subsection 1, paragraph (a):
(a) to regulate the time and place of marketing the regulated product, and to determine the manner of distribution and the quantity and quality or grade of the regulated
Marketing Act-Mr. Thauvette
product that shall be marketed by any person at any time, and to prohibit the marketing of any of the regulated product of any grade or quality;
Can. one realize what confusion will be created among producers by putting into force this provision of the act! Can one imagine the recriminations and protests which will be forthcoming from all sides when all and each of these small producers will have to sell or ship all or part of their products to the market! I do not intend to question all the farmers of my constituency so as .to find out their views; however, a large number have already protested. This section to my mind nationalizes the commerce of our natural products. It is state monopoly of personal liberty. It paralyzes all private enteprises. It smothers all personal ambition since the output of each and every producer can be restricted.
Are we assured that the preference shown by some farmers to produce certain products instead of others will be respected. Is the board going to meddle with the affairs of every one, annoy these good farmers so as to verify their licences or compel them to join associations which they will very little appreciate? This is one of the provisions to which I have strong objections. The people of this country are not prepared for socialism, they will not easily sacrifice their commercial liberties. Why this state management or rather this nationalization of the commerce of natural products, and why not act likewise with manufactured products?
Is it thought that the government's high tariff have sufficiently protected the manufacturers? Yet reports come in every day from the tariff board informing us that a large number of manufacturers of various goods protest against the high tariffs. They request lower tariffs so as to increase their trade.
I contend, sir, that the same thing will happen with natural products if the government enforces this regulated production and marketing of natural products by order in council.
This will have the effect of creating an atmosphere of uncertainty on the markets where it is hoped to sell the products, an uncertainty as to prices and quantity. The reaction might well prove to be a decrease in the sales. Does any one think that the farmer can keep in storage for an indefinite time perishable goods? All are aware that those who take up breeding for market purposes cannot keep these young herds, which are ready for the market, for an indefinite time. And how many such instances are there! I can well imagine the reception awaiting these
gentlemen of the board when they appear on the market to prohibit the sale of the farmer's herds. The government will be apprised sooner than it expects of the protests coming from the four corners of this country.
This legislation is the result of the high tariff policy advocated by this government and clearly intended to win over the support of those who sit on the extreme left. We have witnessed these last days our friends on the extreme left embrace in a fatherly way this new bom Tory infant as if it were their legitimate child. We have again noted that extremes meet and often have some affinity; however, I wish to point out that the truth is to be found in the golden mean.
Therefore, I would approve a bill introduced by this government purporting to help the farmers in improving the quality of their products. I would gladly support a bill which would be a scheme to help the farmers in their present organizations, farmers' unions, cooperative societies, etc., so as to make these associations more efficient and powerful, in order that their members could obtain a more abundant return and make larger profits on their production.
I cannot be convinced, sir, that producers would be benefited by restricting production. Moreover, would it be human, in these times, to restrict the production of the prime necessities of life, when we are aware that there are so many people that suffer for the lack of the necessary things of life while others have none!
If the government wants to show its good intentions towards the Canadian producers, especially the farmers, let it put at their disposal all the means capable of benefiting them by legislating in a constitutional way, by introducing a bill which would benefit those interested inasmuch as it would be applicable through conviction rather than through constraint.
In closing my remarks, sir, I wish to express my views on section 14 of this bill.
14. Every person who fails to comply with any order or determination of the board or of a local board or any regulation of the governor in council shall be guilty of an offence and punishable on summary conviction with a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars and not more than five hundred dollars, or to imprisonment not exceeding three months, or to both fine and imprisonment.
I loathe to think that this section will render a great service to Canadian producers. Will parliament be held responsible for the
enforcement of this section in connection with offences against any order or determination of the board or governor in council? Does the government always intend to carry on by blasting? This policy has already failed. I do not think it will be a success this time. That is why I cannot approve of this bill.
On motion of Mr. Spencer the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Bennett the house adjourned at 10.47 pun.
Friday, April 27, 1934