Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)
Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):
Mr. Speaker, few measures better illustrate the value of parliamentary discussion than the one now before us for third reading. We have, I believe in a not unfriendly spirit, discussed the proposals submitted by the government, and I think the adoption of suggestions by the government in the form of amendments has improved greatly the legislation. Yet I feel it would be most unfair, not only to myself but to many others who are associated with me, if I did not indicate that it is a little difficult even yet to understand how a private act of parliament should determine an issue so fully national and so very important in the largest and truest sense as that concerning the exportation of power.
I have only this further observation to make. While the executive may or may not be the best body to determine whether licences for the export of power should be issued, there can be no doubt about one thing, that they are as competent to determine that matter as they are to determine whether a statute of this parliament should be repealed. Inasmuch as the executive is now being vested with the power to repeal a statute, which repeal would from necessity arise from knowledge possessed by the executive as to the wisdom or unwisdom of the continuance of the statute, it should follow that the same executive is quite capable of fulfilling the obligation placed upon it by the original statute, namely, of determining whether or not licences should issue. If the power to repeal the statute is not as great as the
Inspection and Sale Act
power to determine whether licences should issue, it is hard to understand what is the true measure of responsibility.
That is all I have to say. I do not intend either to discuss anew the merits or demerits of the measure, or to move an amendment to refer it back to the committee. I content myself with saying that for the reasons indicated I shall have to say "nay" to the motion for third reading.
Subtopic: TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY